DM vs PC's, and keeping them in check.
I was reading an artical on here by "arkelias" about driving your players mad. Though I could waste time picking at samatical points that I didn't agree with, I rather flatter the writer and say that I agree with the majority of the artical and have been doing just that for many years (driving my players mad)
Last night I didn't sleep. I had work at 9 in the morn, but we couldn't stop playing our D&D game till around 5 in the morn. This ment we were all really wacked-out, tired and afriad of the day's work ahead, but we still went forward to battle the beasts of the land of Qwom, in search of elven antiquities (cant spell..screw you).
The players raided coffen after coffen, digging up fallen soilder's belongings, lost spells, rare objects of art and culture. The party had loaded up every sack they had with things that once belonged to living elvs, but now remianed buried in soft soils under acient tomb stones, awaiting the day a bunch of jerk-headed warriors decided to risk the elven people's anger when they dug it all up.
So they dug. They collected and counted treasures that would be considered priceless to the human's homelands (seeing as no elf has ever appeared to a single human in over 700 years). They packed up, calling themselvs pirates all the way, and left for the boat that was ancored on the beach.
Now at this time they had already communicated with a few elvs who decided to appear out of thin-forest to warn them that they are tresspassing in sacred lands. The humans then asked if the elvs were going to kill them for tresspassing, and the woodland people of good-alignment replied with
"we are elves. we do not 'kill' over treasures like your filthy breed. We do not need to risk our lives protecting our buables and trinkets, we will be alive long after the kingdoms you travel from crumble into dusts"
or somthing close to that...
So the humans decide this means that the elves are 'pussies' and nothing the humans do will result in death at the hands of the immortal hippies of these woods. As a DM this always makes me laugh, how when you remove the fear of "death" the parties relax and begin to be bold bastards with no care for what happens next. Each PC spoke openly about spending the treasure's worth at the closest human-port city all the while laughing about the weakness of elven philosophy and lack of 'balls' to protect what is rightfully theirs.
So on the beach, the elves return> This time an elven warrior (Say'tar) was with them. This NPC is old enough to remember watching his family die at the hands of humans bnack during the war-years. One PC, who has a natrual 17 strenght, and enough stupidity/balls to use it on anyone who even snickers at his giant hoard-o-swords and flashy full-plate figures 'nows the time to make jokes about elven rape'.
After graphically detailing the crimes of his ancestors agaisnt the elven people, in their face, while holding elven antiguities with grave soil fresh on the boot, the human PC says...
"and since you can't kill me, your lucky I don't kill you all and sell your stuff too, so run along"
Thats when sleep is cast and everyone rolls innitive, the elves end up going first (what great fate), the spell is cast 6 times from the woods around them all, while the warrior-elves draw swords. The spell puts almost everyone to sleep cept for two human PCs who did'nt think pushing elven-buttons was the smartest idea. The elf known as Say'tar slices the neck of the guy who talked all that rape-crap and all the elves were shocked. The majority of elves present screamed protest in thier home tongue, warning of the good god's hatered for such acts as slicing the necks of sleeping people. The PC woke up the second the sword connected with his throat, just long enough to witness his own death at the hands of a tree-hugging-hippy pushed too far. The remaining 'awake' PCs bug out and finally feel fear, but they still assume they can talk thier way out of any more bloodshed.
Then the elf (Say'tar) begins to recount the crimes of the party at hand.
"You shot your pistol at an elf in the woods by dumb luck you hit him, thats an offence that YOUR people punish by removing hands"
Then he lopped off the dead human's hand at the wrist...
"you dug up my ancestor's graves, I assume you used two hands on that crude shovel to do it"
Then he hacked off his other hand with one quick swipe of his sword.
"You have tresspassed in our lands with the intent and desire to steal from our dead. I assume you did this on those clumbsy flippers you call feet"
Both feet were removed same as the hands...
Now the party that is left awake to witness this are horrified, but they have no idea why anyone would waste the time butchering a dead human. Thats when the elf removed his rod-o-resurection (any elf can use one in my realm since the god's see all good elves to be as trustworthy as any casting cleric), and raised the dead human, with no hands, no feet, and now- no more additude.
The elves then all left, one by one before the rest of the party woke. The humans, still rich with treasure (the elves are above using violence to force humans to return material wealth of any kind)looked at the freekish man left handless, footless, hobbled and humbled, and screeeeeeewed.
The human lands have no clerical power, they lack a god or church that has the power to regenerate limbs etc (low magic realms rule...)and the poor slob started considering what AC a man with two peg legs and hooks for hands would recieve upon returning home.
When the party returned they took all the stolen tyreasures back to the crime lord who hired them in the first place. The contract asked for elven antiquities, and thats what they returned with. Good job, well done, yadda yadda. Then the crime boss (who at this time is backed up by 12 armed men, with half-muskets 'large clumbsy pistols of shoddy condition) looks at the human with no feet or hands, and in disgust says
"what in the hell is that!?"
The freak returns with
"those fricken elves cut me up, what can you do for me?"
with a quick motion of his hand, the crime lord secretly gestures to his guards to kill this sad shape of a man. Innitive is rolled, surprise is accomplished, two guards pop him and he dies. The two guards drag him out the room while the DM (me) starts singing
"oompa loompa, doopity doo, I got another PC death for you"
The group laughs, but know the facts. The crime lord has no place for a cripple, nor access to any form of regeneration. To allow this poor slob to live would be both crule and stupid (seeing as a cripple may sell information about the guild's criminal activities for anything as mundane as food or housing...cus he is usless now, and may try to hold the guild hostage out of desperation)
So the party gets paid, and the boss leaves with his guards (feeding the dead man to his pigs alah 'Snatch' style...good flick for NPC guild ideas by the way).
The party then had the chance to learn from the moment. Did they? doubt it. But at lest they know now, that talking crap about a people's misfortune at your race's hands, less then 800 years ago, is not too bright.