One of the first sessions of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) that I remember playing with Mike was back in the early 1990s. In normal D&D games, players stay together as a group and are bound by somewhat rigid rules as to what they can and can not do. I learned early on that this type of gameplay was not going to work with Mike (as the powerful wizard, Hitlow) and the other players.
I modified the rules to suit our needs while still allowing for gameplay to be fair and fun for everyone. For example, in the rules of the game, magic users have to memorize the spells that they want to use at the beginning of each day and would have to memorize the same spell multiple times if they wanted to use it more than once during that day. The trade off is that they can cast a spell with absolute certainty that it would work. In our D&D game, magic users could cast a spell at any point as long as the spell was written in their spellbook. However, for it to be a successful casting, the player had to roll a 20 sided die and I would determine if the spell was successful or not depending on the circumstances and the outcome of the dice roll. Using this method, I could specify different spell effects based on the dice rolls. Also, we agreed that magic users were somewhat rare so that their abilities set them apart from the rest of the world.
In an early instance, the players were in a town where they were supposed to buy supplies. While doing some shopping, one of the shopkeeps angered Hitlow by trying to overcharge him for some items. An argument broke out and the guards were called to the scene!
After a brief attempt to explain the problem, Hitlow realized that the guards were paid to side with the merchants and that he was in trouble. The rest of the group was on the other side of town and could not help him. However, Hitlow was very resourceful. He had some powerful magic spells and was not timid about using them!
Live chickens were being sold in a stall nearby. He managed to avoid being taken captive long enough to make it to the chickens where he successfully cast a spell of enlarge on a chicken. However, Mike rolled a high number on the 20 sided die and the spell was much more powerful than normal causing the chicken to grow much larger than had been anticipated. Quickly, he seized the opportunity to turn the situation to his advantage and hopped onto the neck/back of the chicken causing the chicken to start heading out of town.
He cast another spell… This time it was fireball! A ball of fire left his fingertips and headed straight towards the pursuing guards! They scattered out of the way and Hitlow was able to make an escape by riding the giant chicken out of town and hurling fireballs back at anyone that dared to pursue him!
This scene began his reign of notoriety throughout the D&D world. Obviously, a magic user that used his abilities in such a manner would become the talk of the town. Soon, guards in other towns had heard of the incident and were on the lookout for the wizard called “Hitlow”…