Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

Dragon Taunting

A war story about our April 24 GURPS game.

My character is a priest, in the plate-wearing D&D sense. In fact, though I didn't plan this, he fits the fantasy-game notion of a paladin pretty closely.
He's just learned a new spell that (if successful) will compel a foe to attack him. (The strategic advantage is that it draws a foe away from a vulnerable or wounded ally. I think of this spell as a "taunt", akin to the WoW warrior ability.)

We've been traveling with a good dragon (named Vicnagolotha), en route to a territory of evil dragons. At a rest stop, she suggested that she could engage in mock combat with us, to prepare us to fight evil dragons if the need arose.

We made plans: we could go all-out against her, she would pull her punches. She would breathe fire so that we could see what that is like, but she would aim over our heads.

We began to fight and saw how clearly outmatched we were. Our hardest-hitting warriors could scratch her a bit if they got lucky. Our mage's spells could only penetrate her magic resistance with great luck. And she could easily knock us down with her wings and tail, or take to the air to elude us entirely.

She pointed at our mage and began to breathe fire over his head. In a bid to "save" him, I shouted "attack me, instead!" and cast my taunt spell. It was a nigh-futile gesture; I had never cast the spell before, and her magic resistance made it extremely improbable that it would affect her at all.

I rolled a critical success. The dragon's head snapped around and she blasted a jet of fire straight at me.

The GM ruled that a critical success on my first cast granted me some extra divine favor so that I didn't get burned by the fire; I insisted on at least the cosmetic damage of having my eyebrows burned away.

Even so, it was a splendid demonstration of the inherent risks of this taunt spell. I'll be pressuring other characters to learn first aid very soon.
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