LRP Moments: Death By Clown

Somebody recently suggested that I should try writing up some live roleplay (LRP) memories. I’m wary because what’s dramatic or funny in the moment may not always work in the retelling. But it worked when I wrote up New Pathways in Lycanthropy, so I’m going to give it a go here. Who knows, maybe this will end up as a regular thing…

* * *

It’s late at night in the market field. Overhead, an occasional star peaks through the clouds. My name is Hereward Saxum, a miner from an isolated community that recently discovered the fantastical world of Edreja. Today I’ve seen magical clowns, unliving monsters, and speeches by the most powerful people in my world.

The market field is almost empty as Father Candle and I walk across it, heading for the tavern tent. Candle is our community’s high priest, an old man with little more than a dagger to defend himself. We know there’s trouble out here in the darkness – hit squads hunting each other through the night, monsters looking for prey in civilization’s shadows. But a quick trip to the tavern should be fine, right?

Someone walks towards us through the darkness. I rest my hand on my sword hilt. I didn’t bring my armour or shield, didn’t think I’d need them. Hopefully, I won’t, but you can never be sure in this place at night.

There’s a jingling of bells. I make out the pointed shape of a jester’s hat. The stranger is one of the sinister clowns that stalk the local carnival. I’ve seen them around all day in their bright motley, laughing, prancing, and occasionally assaulting people. They aren’t mere mortal jesters. They’re magical beings who could take on a dozen heroes single-handed.

“Don’t worry,” I say. “I saw a trick earlier for how to deal with this.”

I face the clown.

“This rabbit walks into a butcher’s,” I begin.

That afternoon, I’d seen someone stop a clown in its tracks just by telling a joke. The deadly jester had burst out laughing, all thoughts of homicide forgotten. And this rabbit joke is one of my favourites.

“Hereward,” Candle says, “I don’t think that will work.”

The clown keeps striding towards me. It’s pulled out a wickedly sharp knife that glows with magic in the darkness.

Sure of myself, I keep telling the joke.

“Hereward,” Candle┬ásays. “We should run now.”

I keep going, a little less certainly than before. The other clown had started laughing by now.

The creature raises its knife.

“Hereward,” Candle says, backing away. “It’s the wrong sort of clown.”

I try to draw my sword but it’s too late. There’s a flurry of blows and I fall to the ground. The clown crouches over me and starts cracking open my skull, ready to eat my brain.

In my last dying moments, I see Candle stride up behind the clown and stab it in the back. My friend has come to my rescue!

There’s a flash of magic and Candle’s blows are turned back against him. He falls next to me, the life running from his body.

The clown giggles in the darkness.

Wrong sort of clown.

* * *

Out of character, I look up into the face of our friend Dave, who’s running this encounter. It takes┬áten minutes to die in game, and he has a stopwatch in his hand.

“You idiots,” he says, shaking his head.

Al and I look at each other and laugh sheepishly. This is a tough break for Hereward and Candle, and one of the dumbest things we’ve ever done, but at least it’s a memorable night.