Thursday, October 13, 2016

Emotional Shit


There is a chamber in Fuck For Satan’s dungeon in which the characters magically shit their pants and then have to fight their own turds:

This seemingly empty, featureless cell contains a disembodied consciousness which can only possess the excrement of living beings. When the cell door is opened, the being will immediately be in the guts of every living creature present, causing severe debilitating pain as the being forces stomach acid through the intestinal tract (certain chemical properties of the acid is what allows the being to propel the resulting mass), and in two rounds all within the area will vacate their bowels. Each combination of piss and shit, even though possessing one collective consciousness, will act independently. 

Yeah, that is a thing that happens in the adventure. 

I’m not offended or shocked by the above, but I do think it is a lazy and dumb attempt to be offensive and shocking.

Nevertheless, we can think metaphorically about this shit-stirring room instead of thinking on a literal level where you are attacked by the shit your carry in your body. Think about all the other shit we carry around in our daily lives: the petty concerns, the haunting memory of past failures, our anxieties about the health and happiness of our families, the barely-repressed traumas that always already lurk on the edges of our psyches. What if entering the chamber caused that shit to pour out of the characters and coalesce into a monster to be combated? 

Isn’t that at least a little more weird and interesting than "I hit my poo for 2 points of damage"?

This variation on the encounter would work best if the characters have developed back-stories through play. I would describe the "shit" differently to each player based on the mental and emotional burdens their character carries from past adventures, or as something pulled from their background that has figured into the campaign in a meaningful way. Hell, since these are adventurers we’re talking about, you should have plenty to work with. 

Sure, my hack of the shitmonster isn’t genius stuff, but I think you’ve got to admit that confronting your own psychological baggage is a hell of a lot more in tune with the Lovecraftian "we are insignificant specks doomed by our own cosmic irrelevance" trope than wrecking your trousers.