It looks like K’ip is just descending into madness faster and faster here…but, hard to believe, there actually was a method behind the madness all along.
K’ip’s acts of seemingly random insanity aren’t actually random at all – he’s just trying to emulate stereotypical RPG player behavior, covering the popular basics: stealing from allies, trying to seduce any living creature in sight, unprovoked arson and driving a herd of cows along to set off traps. Had it proved necessary, he could have gone on like this for hours, moving from the most widespread tropes of this sort of behaviour to the rarer, but more legendary, examples. Hopefully, though, stopping short of cutting off his own head to replace it with the head of Vecna*.
But he didn’t have to go that far, because his plan worked out perfectly well. While Si’ri was highly confused by his behavior, DM had really seen it all before…seen it, but definitely not liked it. Hated it, in fact. K’ip really got his number down – he had realized that, perhaps, DM wasn’t actually an evil-doer who became (or pretended to be) a DM, he was a DM who had turned evil. And what could have driven a DM over that particular cliff? Chances were excellent that it would have been the behaviour of his players, a well-known psychological strain on any DM. But if that was the case, it was safe to assume that DM would still harbor a pronounced psychological trauma in that regard, and K’ip ruthlessly capitalized on that. As Napoleon once observed, in warfare “The moral is to the physical as three to one.”. Of course, in this fantasy setting he hasn’t yet observed that, and might never exist, even later, but the point still stands. Unlike DM.
Finding a fitting end for DM wasn’t that easy, but then I remembered that he was a gnome (of sorts) and thus at least distantly related to Rumpelstiltskin…whose fable famously ends with him ripping himself in half in anger. Even as a child, I had problems imagining how something like that would even work physically…but one has to admit that it’s hard to beat as a display of aggravation. And I’m sure that many, many DM occasionally feel like doing that, if they could only work out how. So, with some cleverly chosen camera angles covering up the more inexplicable parts of the procedure, this is how DM dies…he died as he lived, livid with rage about stupid players. A DM’s epitaph.
More on Monday.
*Not to mention a possible exchange with another part of Vecna’s which played a role in this chapter.