NerdNYC is hosting its semi-annual mini-con, Recess, this coming weekend. If you’re in the area, you should attend. I say this because it’s reliably a good time, not just because I’ll be running a B/X adventure, Kill Bargle!, on Sunday night. Because some players might be young people, or people who only know 4e or whatever, I plan to give my standard introduction to the Old Ways:
This is a game about adventure. Most of the adventures are going to happen in dungeons, and most of the time you’re hoping to find treasure. There are monsters in this game too. Let me tell you about one of them, because it says something important. Let me tell you about the Killer Bee.
You’re like, “Pfff, the Killer Bee? That’s not a monster. Get out of here with your Killer Bee.” But no, seriously: Killer Bees are the worst monster in the game. Because they are a sign that God hates you. Check this out (pull out Moldvay, turn to a well-worn page B37):
You wanna hang out peacefully near the Killer Bee? Sure thing, stupid–the Killer Bee attacks on sight. If the Killer Bee hits you, it will kill yousixty percent of the time. Oh, are you really powerful and high level? Fine: Killer Bee only kills you thirty percent of the time. And if you survive, their stinger keeps killing you making it impossible to cast spells. And they travel in swarms of up to 30.
Want to run away from the Killer Bee? Yeah right, the Killer Bee flies faster than you can run. If they exist anywhere near you, just hand in your character sheet.
A formidable opponent! So what do you get for facing a swarm of Killer Bees and surviving? Nothing. You get a potion of healing, but don’t get too excited now: it’s half-strength.
Keep in mind: the Killer Bee is a 1 hit-dice monster. That means they are among the weakest monsters you will ever fight, and they’ll be just wandering around chillin’ in the safest part of the dungeon.
What does the existence of the Killer Bee tell us about how to play Dungeons & Dragons?
Well, first of all, whoever came up with this stuff was a psychopath. Life is unfair, and so is this game. Sadly.
And also, sometimes it is best to just stay the hell away. Since you can’t run from these guys, try to listen for them. Watch out for clues. Live in terror.
But most importantly: this isn’t a fantasy novel where the hero rises from obscurity and goes onto some epic destiny. It’s a game, where some poor unlucky slob gets stung to death by giant bees and dies horribly as his companions flee in terror. There will be moments of triumph, but there’s also going to be moments when everything’s gone wrong, and there’s nothing to be done except roll with the punches. When your character dies, the best response is to sigh deeply, and reach for the dice to start over.
There’s always something to be learned. And today’s lesson is: watch out for Bees.
much respect to the Honey Badger
I couldn’t find any Wu-Tang clips for Killa Bees that I liked, but writing this reminded me of the Honey Badger video. So!
Armor Class 4 (half-damage from piercing)
Hit Dice 3
Move 120 (40) (can tunnel at 10′ per turn)
Attacks 3 (at Thac0 18)
Damage 1d4, 1d4, 1d8
No. Appear 1d4 (1-2)
Save As Dw3 (honey badger is surprisingly tough)
Morale 12 (honey badger don’t give a shit)
The Giant Honey Badger is an omnivore, about 6 feet long and weighing about 140 pounds. It is immune to poison, and only takes half-damage from piercing weapons, like arrows, daggers, spears, and short-swords. Adept at running backwards, it can execute a full retreat without provoking attacks of opportunity or the like. It can climb with 90% reliability, and can burrow through hard-packed earth (but not stone) at 10′ per turn.