Welcome to Tales from the Table, where once a month we will share one of our favorite encounters from the RPG tabletop. Tales range from hilarious first-hand accounts from the GM to harrowing tales of near escapes from the player’s perspective. To see your own tale shared here, visit our submission guidelines page!

Danzo the Great

                                                                                                -Mike O’Dell

My players were introduced to an unusual character in one of the games that I ran, who went from being a fun NPC encounter to a crucial part of one of their campaign plots.

While visiting a tavern in an unknown town, they came across a gnomish man at a bar named Danzo – a fighter with an extremely short temper and abnormally high strength. No one could figure out exactly why he was so strong, he just said that he was a descendent of a legendary fighter and that he’s been that strong as long as he could remember. He was actually so tiny that he carried around a human-sized longsword on his back as a two-handed sword, and was accompanied by a human monk that followed him around and took care of him.

The players ran into this strange couple a few times after this, usually either by hearing Danzo yelling about something or stumbling upon him sleeping somewhere. Once they even had to team up and fight alongside them in an attack on a town, and my players really liked the strange fighting dynamic that Danzo brought to the table (he could do a lot of damage, but didn’t have any constitution and was always knocked unconscious fairly quickly).

Throughout the campaign, they kept finding immensely powerful items made by an ancient warlock long ago – these weren’t necessarily sought after as part of the campaign, but showed up in ‘side quests’ (for example, finding a chalice in someone’s old belongings that, when drunk from, provided the drinker with a protective enchantment for a short duration). Eventually, they stumbled upon a temple belonging to the warlock and found etched images depicting the items; he had created one item for each school of magic and something was supposed to happen when all items were back together, so they started trying to look for them throughout their travels.

The one item they could never seem to find was the sword from the etchings – until one day, sitting around a fire, they started trying to guess where it might be and what kind of enchantment it could hold. They had searched everywhere on the map and couldn’t seem to find it… and “Evocation” was the last school of magic left. Suddenly, one of my players got a strange look on their face. “Evocation… isn’t divine strength or something included in Evocation?”

It came as a great surprise that their small gnomish friend did actually have a valid reason for being so strong, and they had accompanied the holder of this sword all the way around the continent without knowing!

Do you have your own tale from around the RPG table you want to share? Click here to view our submission guidelines and share your story!