Today’s comic is near and dear to my heart. That’s because it ruined a trip to Disney World. Let me explain.

So no shit there they were down on the weird science level of the megadungeon. They’d discovered diseased mimics, sentient swarms, and enough “kill me” science experiments to deplete a flame thrower. Suffice it to say that the PCs had plenty of warning about the nature of this level. Enter “The Transformative Platform.”

The room in question was a natural conduit for chaos magic, and a metal platform at the center of the chamber was positively vibrating with transmutation magic. When the party monk declared that she meant to stand on the platform, I did my duty as a GM. And when she took 6d6 damage, stumbled off of the platform, and discovered her brand new kleptomaniac Son Goku tail, I figured that all mysteries were revealed. This platform was dangerous, and it could have unpredictable results.

“I want a tail!” shouts the irrepressible gnome alchemist. “I step on the platform!”

Now here’s the thing about this room. The tail was my one and only bit of original content. I was quite proud of it, and thought it was a decent “affects the PC both negatively and positively in approximately equal measure” kind of effect, just like the module wanted. Sure it stole random objects from party members, but it also acted as the prehensile tail ability that tieflings love to take. Thus, when my pal the gnomish alchemist declared that he was also hopping on the platform, my GM brain stalled out. I was out of content!

“What happens?” asked the gnome.

I rolled the aforementioned 6d6 damage slowly, trying to think. That’s when I noticed the two example transformations baked into the room description:

For example, the creature grows thick, ropy muscles that add a +2 inherent bonus to Strength but subtract a -2 inherent penalty to Dexterity. Or the character is struck permanently blind but gains blindsense out to 10 feet.

I elected to do the stat swap.

“But I throw bombs!” says the alchemist. “I need my Dexterity! I jump on the platform again!”

“I’m sorry, you what?”

“Did I stutter?”

And thus it was that my pal the bomb-throwing Dexterity alchemist gained permanent blindness, mitigated by blindsense out to 10 feet. For a squishy little half-caster with a ranged build, it was not the best combination of abilities. Unable to target critters farther away than two squares on the grid, he was doomed to retirement!

Of course, I knew that he could simply jump on the platform a few more times until he rolled a random “the creature is transformed to its original state” result on table. Or if he was really smart, he could hire a cleric to cast remove blindness/deafness, gaining access to blindsense without penalty!

Unfortunately, these solutions did not come up in conversation. Even more unfortunately, this was the night before my little cadre of gamers was scheduled to take its big trip to Disney World. And believe me, it was a deathly quiet carpool down to the airport, punctuated only by the occasional muttered “just wanted a friggin’ tail” or “completely neutered my character.” (Never fear, gang! The dude eventually got his eyesight back.)

That brings us to today’s question. Have you ever encountered a “random effect” that completely hosed your character? What about a supposedly beneficial ability that outright sucked? Let’s hear it in the comments!


THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!