The Intercontinental Proliferation of Disgusting Characters


Roger M. Wilcox

(Originally begun on July 10, 1989)
(Re-begun in earnest in September 2000)

chapter 1 | chapter 2 | chapter 3 | chapter 4
chapter 5 | chapter 6 | chapter 7 | chapter 8
chapter 9 | chapter 10 | chapter 11 | chapter 12

Dawn in North Fliedershire was a beauty to behold. The grass still wet with early morning dew, the first rays of the rising sun peeking out over the eastern hills, the cool nip in the air, the smell of the open countryside — Ringman had seen it so often in the years past, but didn't realize until this moment just how much he'd been missing it.

No armor bedecked him this morning, nor any scabbard on his waist; just the loose linen peasant's clothing he'd worn all through his life with Izabella and their two children, which let the light morning breeze caress his skin as if to say "Welcome back." He glanced down at the ring of shooting stars adorning his left hand. It held neither the glamor nor the symbolism of the wedding ring next to it, but its simple presence meant far more to the future of the land he'd made his home: the restriction against taking items with you to Fordinchuarlikomfterrablaxxuuuuuchh'chh'chh-pt had at last been lifted.

His +4 full plate armor — with the +4 back at the front of its name like in the old days — was safely stowed back in his-and-Izabella's house, along with Prometheus (much to the longsword's chagrin), his +4 large shield, his +1 composite longbow (which may or may not now be a "mighty" composite longbow) and his cache of 22 +1 and 12 +3 arrows, his +4 dagger of throwing, and even his Periapt of Proof against Poison and +3 ring of protection. He'd been sorry to see the 5-foot radius disappear from that last item, but the new 3rd Edition had eliminated such area-effect protection rings entirely. (In fact, it had also eliminated saving throw bonuses from protection rings entirely; since the old radius had only served to bestow the old ring's saving throw bonus on nearby allies anyway, it no longer mattered.) In the stable Ringman had built next to their house all those years ago, safely ensconced along with Warhorse, was his mount's old suit of +3 full plate barding.

In fact, the only magic item he hadn't chosen to bring with him was the +1 ballista guarding the walls of his old home castle on Central Earth. The castle's new occupants — whoever they happened to be, he hadn't lived on Central Earth for nearly two decades — might just need a ballista if the going got rough. Not that a ballista still reduced any visible target to AC 10 like it did in the old days of the First Edition, but still.

AC 10. Odd that that one number still meant exactly what it did before the Third Edition had come crashing down on everyone's head. The whole Armor Class picture had been turned on its ear, so that now a higher number, not a lower, was better. Fully ensconced in all his combat regalia, Ringman's AC was no longer -10 or -11, it was now 32. He still wasn't used to it. Every time he heard such a high AC number, he had to fight off an instinctive panic that he was super-vulnerable and impossible to miss (except on a natural 1).

The rustle of fabric from behind him stirred him out of his reverie. He knew who was approaching, and didn't turn around. He just smiled as her plump arms wrapped themselves around his waist and the sweet tingle of a kiss landed on his neck. Then, in one fluid 17-Dexterity motion, he whirled around, swept his ample wife off her feet, and kissed her loving mouth. "Hi, beautiful," he said.

"Enjoying the sunrise?" Izabella asked. The still-golden light of the low rising sun cast a haunting beauty on her cheek.

"Oh yes," Ringman replied, "Especially now that I have you to look at." He lowered his darling gently to her feet.

She beamed at him, then cleared her head. "I got a telepagram from Danny. He's just got off a guard duty stint at Centaur Settlement Site Forty-Six."

"Yeah?" her husband said. "He's actually protecting the centaurs these days?"

"Says he's one of the biggest centaur's rights advocates on Central Earth now," she replied. "Spent a skill point on the Centaur language, even though the 3rd Edition Field Guide doesn't say they even have a language any more."

Now it was Ringman's turn to beam. "Our son's finally found a calling." He chuckled a bit. "You know, centaurs probably aren't even a threatened species any more. The Field Guide lists their treasure type as just 'Standard' now."

Izabella continued. "Danny also said he's not a weapons master any more, whatever that means."

Ringman puzzled for a second, then said, "Oh! That's right, the Weapons Master was an added class, never part of the core rules in 1st or 2nd Edition. I guess the D.M. decided to drop it entirely. Did Danny say what class he became instead?"

Izabella frowned. "I think so, but I couldn't quite tell. It sounded awfully complicated. Something about psychic fighting, and maybe there was a monk or two in there somewhere."

— Remainder of story yet to be written —


Thanks to that insidious monstrosity known as World of Warcraft, I've kinda lost interest in finishing up a story set in the D&D universe. So, in case I die tomorrow (or before my interest is rekindled), I hereby present a summary of the things I wanted to have happen in this epilog:

Everybody gets rewritten in the 3rd Edition rule system. The total of all their old 2nd Edition levels in all their classes combined becomes their new Character Level in 3rd Edition. They get to "spend" these levels on any feasible combination of Class Levels they desire, for any classes they desire. This is 'cause there's no more Weapons Masters. If it ain't in the 3rd Edition rulebooks, it can't be done.

Some of you might be wondering how the Disgusting Characters are still going to be able to take turns holding up Central Earth, if the notion of 25* Strength has been removed from the game. We need to ask ourselves: How much does Central Earth weigh, and how much Strength is necessary to hold up that much weight? Let's assume that Central Earth is a circular plate the same diameter as the real Earth (8000 miles across), about the same thickness as the real Earth's crust (30 miles in places), and the same average density as granite (24 trillion pounds per cubic mile). That works out to a total weight of 3.6 x 1022 pounds. From the Carrying Capacity chart in the 3rd Edition Player's Handbook, a medium-sized bipedal character with 20 Strength can carry a maximum of 400 pounds, and this maximum goes up by a factor of 4 for every 10 points of Strength above this. Thus, a paltry 360 Strength could carry a maximum of 1.18 x 1023 pounds, more than sufficient to hold up Central Earth. (At 860 Strength, a medium-sized bipedal character's carrying capacity would be 1.5 x 1053 pounds, sufficient to carry the entire Observable Universe.)

Unbelievable Sword pays ol' grampa Ringman a visit on Ringman's now-home plane.

Unbelievable Sword shows off his new arsenal. He found a loophole in the 3rd Edition Epic Level Handbook (which he calls the Book of Epic Wisdom or something), in the tables you use to randomly generate an Epic-Level magic item. If you keep rolling the right numbers, the item's "plus" can keep going up, and up, and up, with no upper limit. It is theoretically possible to get a +infinity sword, or a +infinity shield or piece of armor. (This is true. Look at the tables yourself!) He (ahem) "found" one of these randomly-generated +infinity swords just lying around. He then sold it for infinity gold pieces, and used the proceeds to buy himself a whole arsenal of +infinity weapons, and a +infinity shield with (among other things) the ranged and animated abilities so that he could use it without it being considered "equipped" (and thus allowing him to use his monk abilities while still having an infinite armor class). Of course, the other disgusting characters will probably follow suit and become equally well-armed. It's not clear what you would need to roll to-hit when attacking an infinite armor class with an infinite attack bonus. However, such a character would be extremely vulnerable if the +infinity weapon attacking him had the brilliant energy ability, which ignores armor and armor-enhancement bonuses to the target's AC (bypassing the +infinity armor bonus of the shield). This won't be a problem in 3.5, though, since in the 3.5 rules a shield gives a shield bonus instead of an armor bonus.

Since looting gems or other forms of money no longer yields experience points, Central Earth has reverted to earning x.p. the old fashioned way: mass slaughter. The rate of progress is much much slower than the old method, so Unbelievable Sword is still the highest level character on the planet and will continue to be so for a long, long time.

Ringman laments that it will take two thousand years for baby Bahamut to mature into the Great Wyrm he'll need to be in order to take back his rightful place as King of the Good Dragons. So, Unbelieveable Sword hastens the process along. He summons a ghost, and orders him to touch Bahamut repeatedly. As we all know, the touch of a ghost ages its victim ten years. (Yes, I know they changed that in 3rd Edition. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.) Two hundred touches later, Bahamut is once again at the peak of his powers.

I have no idea what to do with Peter Perfect. He's still at large. He's still not stripped of his paladinhood, though; you know how well he excels as a lawyer when it comes to justifying his actions.

(Plus, I just realized that under both 1st and 2nd edition rules, a hammer of thunderbolts can't be wielded by anyone less than 6 feet tall. Josephus is a dwarf, and believes in following the rules just as devoutly as Ringman does, but he didn't even blink when he said he had a hammer of thunderbolts. This cannot go unchallenged! At least in 3rd Edition, the height minimum doesn't apply if the wielder has the girdle and gauntlets, but no such mention was made in 1st or 2nd Edition.)

Finally, the D.M. reappears, and tells everybody that they have to upgrade to the new 3.5 Edition rules. Then he re-appears, and tells everybody that they have to upgrade to the 4th Edition rules. Then he re-re-appears, and tells everybody that they have to upgrade to the 5th Edition rules. Unbelievable Sword gets fed up and quits D&D. He goes off to play World of Warcraft or something. The end. How many experience points do we get?

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