Monday, 23 March 2015

The Best: Gazebos

This is the first post in a (hopefully) regular feature - "The Best" and "The Worst" bits that I have had the luck (or misfortune) to read in RPG products.

I was going to start it tomorrow, but I'm starting a day early in celebration of Raven Crowking signing up as my first follower :-)

His latest post is a new monster - a Gazeball - which reminds me of this fantastic entry from Bob Bledsaw & Mark Holmer's 1978 Judges Guild module "The Fantastic Wilderlands Beyonde".

1014 A large black gate and the remains of a gazebo that has burnt to the ground rests in a small valley. The iron gate leans slightly toward the west and is covered with vines hiding the runes upon it. A mass of stone and debris is all that is left of a small cottage which once stood nearby. Amidst the gazebo is the skull of a collosal giant with the hand of a warrior within it's grinning teeth. The hand wears a ring with a small ruby worth 124 GP. A Spitting Snake; 4+2HD, HTK 23, AC 5; is nesting in the skull on a pile of skins.

I wonder if this is the earliest ever in-print reference to the infamous fireballed gazebo?

Wikipedia has the first publication of the Gazebo story as "Alarums and Excursions in either 1985 or 1986", and there is no mention of it being fireballed. I can't remember when I first heard the story, but it was definitely "I fireball the gazebo".

Anyway, the thing that makes this really amusing (and not just another standard in-joke or Monty Python reference) is the fact that the gazebo has already been burnt - implying that the players have stumbled across the site of this fabled incident - and inside the gazebo lies the true reason why it was fireballed, thus finally solving the age old mystery of why anyone would fireball a gazebo in the first place; finally, distracted by the humour and the ruby, the snake strikes...

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