We decided that we were going to play for 24 hours straight. This sounded like a lot of fun and it really was.
Everything about the adventure was a blur, especially when they started wandering around the wilderness and walked completely off the map.
Let me back up a little bit. We decided to play the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth that I picked up from somewhere. It was big and had lots of neat stuff in it. It seemed perfect for the 24 hour marathon. We assembled our five or six boxes of sugary cereal as snacks as well as an equal number of two liter Cokes. (Being from the south, you understand that this could have been Pepsi, various root beer, Fanta or anything else.)
Everyone had their characters. Since there was just Bill and Scott, they had two or three characters each. Scott had Thomas the thief and his sister the Mage. (I can never remember her name). Bill had the Cleric and the Fighter. Somewhere in there was an elf. I had all my notes (half page) and proceeded to read the setup information as the module instructed the DM to do.
Of course, they followed the road dutifully and I don't remember if I gave them the player's map or not. I have a feeling I didn't as they continued a march to the North and West. I'm sure I mentioned something about East and South being good choices, but they felt that going East or South was backtracking, so off they went. After five or six encounters (I added a couple in that weren't dots on the GM map), they finally decided to go NE.
If you own the module, they basically made a B-line straight to variable encounter four on the NW corner of the map. Once there I made a fateful roll that will forever live in infamy:
I read it to them as:
You have encountered a Gray Furry Giant Snake.
How it came out was a caffeine-fueled giggle fit where I barely managed to get out the word snake before breaking down into outright laughter. I was crying and they were laughing so hard they didn't hear me squeak out a request for an initiative roll. They kept saying Gray Furry Giant Snake in a sing-songy voice that sounded a bit like Bullwinkle.
Inspired, I went right along with them. We made it through combat and I suggested that the local meatshields wanted to skin the thing.
Exactly how many grey furry giant snakes are there that they know that skinning them makes good pelts?
They decided that whatever great treasure the caverns held was nothing compared to a quest for rare reptilian pelts.
Of course, this quest continued North or West, never East. Heaven forbid they go South. Going that way would lead them back to town where they could possibly sell these blasted pelts.
I admit that I was upset that they were bound and determined to walk off the map. So when I rolled the Furred Snake again, I called an audible.
You have encountered a gray giant furry um.. er.. bumblebee. Yeah, sure, a Gray Giant Furry Bumblebee. ROLL FOR INITIATIVE!
This produced more laughter and eventually another pelt for their new found careers as trappers. The thief wanted the stinger and the poison gland. The magic user wanted the wings and the eyes. They could barely say what parts each character wanted as they stopped off the side of the road and butchered a giant bumblebee. In retrospect, I should have forced a skill roll or something, but alas, they trudged on.
They continued North and West.
I threw a blue dragon (I rolled a 19, honest!) at them that said "GO SOUTH!" over and over as he bled to death. I amassed stone giants (I really didn't roll a 20) to hurl boulders at them to block off all passage North and West. And yet they pressed on to the North and the West.
After that I rolled an 8 again. They encountered a gray furry giant mouse this time, which brought the inevitable comment:
Aren't mice already furry?
More laughter and snorts. Nice. It's 3 am and these fools are nowhere near the cavern will all the details I had worked out. No, I'm pulling out some homemade stuff and changing up the descriptions on the fly hoping that they don't recognize them. They're having a good time, so I just decided to relax and roll with it.
I rolled another 8. (I did, I swear!) They encountered a gray furry giant man.
Yes, they skinned it for the pelt. At 4 am, they were a little bloodthirsty.
After rolling another 8, I declared that there was a cave in the mountainside nearby. I said that they could see the sunlight glinting off the gold from 200 yards away. It looks like there could be an Awesome Staff of Ultimate Magery just inside the entrance.
This didn't phase them.
There are 20 pelts of giant gray-furred skins already cleaned and neatly stacked just outside the entrance.
They walked into a trap that teleported them to the Great Caverns. One of the meatshields died of some awful poison that I remember describing in horrid detail. I didn't care. The sun was about to rise and there was a vampire awaiting them. It was my turn to be a bit bloodthirsty, if not a bit railroad-y.
The rest of the adventure went dangerously, but the group was successful, despite losing just about everyone but the mage, thief and cleric. They got the treasure and went back to town and haggled, cajoled and threatened the highest price for their pelts. The thief kept one pelt claiming it as leather armor. The mage took her jars of body parts and squirreled them off to her lab. The cleric went to pray for some reason.
It was 7 am and we were exhausted. We didn't make it 24 hours, but we had a really good time.
I never ever had a gray furry giant anything encounter ever again.