On Missed Treasure

DM: And there is the pond, here.

Garth: I care most about the area under the planks and the pond.

DM: Well, uh. The only thing you see under the planks is stale fetid water, and inside the pond, you see a giant floating frog corpse about five feet in length.

Rachel: Is in intact?

DM: Fairly intact, yes. It's in the water? So you would have to, I don't know, either get in the water or pull it towards you in some way.

Rachel: How far into the water?

DM: Well, the whole pond thing is maybe 25, 30 feet across, So 10-12 feet?

Rachel: I bet we could throw, what do you call them? One of our grappling hooks.

Garth: Do we want. . . a frog corpse?

Rachel: Well we might be able to figure out how the frog died.

Jordan: Did the frog corpse have anything on his person? Or is he just a naked frog.

DM: Well, all you see is just the belly of a frog that's about five feet long. And only just parts of it, because it is kind of floating in the water.

Jordan: And it's obviously dead?

DM: Well it doesn't look alive no. You don't normally see frogs like that, lying like that, upside down and not moving.

Jordan: Ok, Can I use my quarterstaff?

DM: Not your quarterstaff, it's about 7' long.

Rachel: All right, I take my grappling hook, with a rope and try and throw it out there.

DM: Ok, you can grapple the frog. It makes a thicking *plctch* sound as it hits the water and your rope goes into it. I mean it's standing water because it's separate from the river and you can hook the frog and pull it towards the shore which you do. You now have a frog corpse near the shore.

Jordan: Is there anything on the frog corpse.

DM: When you check the frog corpse --

Jordan: I check it with a rock first, by the way. Hit it with a rock from 20' away.

DM: That is going back in time, so let's be careful about that.

Rachel: I already hit it with a grappling hook.
Garth: Yeah, I don't think it --
DM: We are done with the introductory sections --
Garth: I check the --
DM: Now we are in the full-on player skill holding you to your word section.
{End Simultaneous}

DM: What exactly are you guys doing to the frog corpse.

Garth: Try to pierce it with something. Does it look bloated?

DM: Ok. It is fairly easy to pierce it with anything you wish. What are you doing?

Rachel: I'm looking to see if there are any kind of wounds.

DM: You do in fact see, near the lower stomach of the frog that there are these vagina like gashes all over like it has been stabbed possibly with a spear or a short blade. The interesting thing is, these wounds look like they've puffed out at the edges, like they are ragged.

Garth: Don't get stung by wasps.

Rachel: Are they in a pattern?

DM: They are in a pattern of randomly being stabbed.

Rachel: So it's not like teeth marks?

DM: No, no no no.

Garth: it would be reasonable to assume that something came out of the frog?

DM: That is reasonable.

Garth: Don't drink the water. Let's um. . . {Short discussion about some other topic from earlier}

Rachel: Should we slice him open and see if we find any of the dead things that crawled out of him?

Garth: Maybe some of them didn't crawl out. Sure, why not. Spear tip.

Jordan: What are you doing?

DM: Who's doing what? {Silence} Oh, yeah? Who's doing what?

Rachel: It makes me nervous when he says that. It makes me want to back away.

DM: We're done with easy mode. We're onto hard.

Garth: With you guys nearby, with a spear tip I want to score the belly of the frog.

Jordan: I'm standing back while he does that.

DM: You score the belly of the frog.

Garth: Hoping it's rotted. Weakened.

DM:It doesn't bleed. It's dead flesh. It's like when you cut dead flesh.

Garth: Ok. Cutting a little bit harder, I want to--

DM: Ok, so like you're {simulates cutting motion} trying to cut, open a frog, from five and a half feet away, using a spear, how easy would that be to do, you think? I'm asking, I don't know.

Garth: Dead frog flesh is not leatherly.

Jordan: and it depends on how sharp the spear is.

DM: Ok, you are able to make a cut in the frog. Now the frog has those wounds plus a cut.

Garth: Lifting it a little bit. Do I see any motion.

DM: You don't see any motion. It's hard to see at the end of the spear anything other then disgusting frog guts.

Rachel: Where's your sun-rod?

DM: It's not cause it's dark, it's because it's all disgusting frog guts.

Garth: Let's stop everything and run a dissection.

Jordan: Fair enough. You're better at dissecting stuff alchemist, go for it.

Garth: Yeah, this is gross, I don't want to do it. Let's uh, leave.

Rachel: Ok. Moving right along.

DM: You're leaving the frog --

Garth: Footloose and fancy free.

DM: with a cut in it on the side of the road.

Garth: Sure.

DM: Ok, what are you guys doing now?

And thus ends the tale of how the body of the gnome Hyusi-bigglebag and his magical sword (among other valuable possessions) killed by a giant frog who swallowed him and then died from his repeated dagger stabs was never discovered. The body was later eaten by a Grue.


  1. HA!

    You are a fantastic GM, sir.

  2. I like it. I think if a speedy or inexperienced player ends up missing 2/3 of all treasure it's quite fine. That means a careful or experienced player will end up finding more. If your game is built so all the treasure can be easily found, there is no benefit to care or experience.

  3. Great story! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yea, as a GM I love it when players miss stuff like this!...

  5. Great descriptions, btw: I didn't realize the frog had swallowed someone until you revealed that at the end, but you provided lots of excellent clues :D


  6. Devil's Advocate: I think one must be careful to not make the treasure too horribly concealed... The players do, after all, want to be rewarded for their efforts. And they also have to be careful not to trigger traps and tricks and things like that... If you have too many of those, and all your treasure is hidden, you can end up having an overly cautious, sneakybore game in which fun is not achieved.

  7. You always, always, always cut open the belly of the large creature you've just defeated (or, in this case, found) to see if they ate anything interesting for their last meals.

    Not that I'm complaining. It was a nice sword...

  8. How do they not remember the dead halfling body that had the gems in the stomach?!?!?! Rookies!!!

  9. In our defense, we had recently encountered horrible flesh-burrowing grubs that burst from another corpse. Also, I got to reference Moving Right Along: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMR5JVo21wQ

  10. I think it's great to do these things once in a while, just to shake your players up. They shouldn't relax into thinking it is all "open door, kill creature, take treasure, open next door". They should think "uhm, what in the world is up next?"

    Sometimes you only need to throw in one question (in the right tone of voice) to turn something from ordinary "check for loot" to "creepy sensation of doom", like "so, how close to the X are you standing?" or something like that.

  11. I'm most impressed with how you handled the adventuring party. The descriptions were great, and it is a nice effect to add in a random encounter like that, but I know we all have the moments when the entire group talks at once and wants to go back in time to do things after the fact, but you seemed to have a very steady hand and that's great. Looks like a fun game you have there!


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