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The Saving Throw
Contest Entry Aug. 2, 2006
Gaming moments with multiple endings, but only one is the real ending.

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Beginner's Luck
  contributed by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

When I get together with friends, at least one of us tends to have a new game for us to try out. On one of these days, a friend showed me an interesting card RPG by the name of Munchkin Fu. For those of you who aren't familiar with the game, players draw cards that correspond to items, classes, traps, monsters, etc. each turn. As our characters defeat monsters, they level up and gain treasure. The object of the game is to be the first to reach level ten.

As time passed, I found myself with quite a bit of beginner's luck. I was able to quickly attain powerful equipment and a useful class, Yakuza, though I didn't realize how useful it was at the time. As it turns out, Yakuza have the special ability to pick up cards that other players cannot. I found myself with some monster cards in my deck, and I wasn't entirely sure what to do with them. A few turns later, I began to realize just how useful they could be.

Though Munchkin Fu is heavily luck-based, and that's the way I was looking at things up to that point, there's also an element of strategy involved. By defeating monsters and finding items sitting around, I eventually found myself with a few useful cards. Among them was a card that allowed me to add a monster to any battle, provided I had a monster card in hand. It would be quite useful for ensuring that a rival was defeated in battle. Another useful card I picked up gave me the power to force any die roll to bend to my will. There aren't many die-based things in the game that I know of, but I figured it was still worth holding onto, despite my limited inventory.

Obviously, it wasn't hard to figure out a plan for these cards that had fortuitously fallen into my hands. I could use my powers as a Yakuza to gather monster cards, pick a strong one, and force it onto one of my rivals when they're up against a foe that they would have trouble defeating one-on-one. Should they attempt to run, which they would almost surely do, I could force their flee attempt to fail using my dice-controlling card. It was a pretty good plan, if I do say so myself.

As I started collecting and sorting through monster cards, I came across something unexpected. A very high level monster that causes death when its opponent is defeated. Now, usually defeat only means losing a level or an item or something, but death means that the character loses everything. I could now essentially destroy any of one my rivals, should I wish to. Of course, whoever I used it on would also be very angry and would do everything in their power to destroy me for the duration of the game. If it took me more than a few turns to beat the game after using my combo, they would be able to arm themselves with enough offensive cards to make the rest of my quest a bit of a nightmare.

Another, less cruel, option would be to hold off a bit and use the card to summon a weak enemy to fight myself for some bonus treasure and a free level up. Of course, that would also be risky because it would involve good timing. If I wasn't sure I could handle two enemies at once, in addition to my rivals, their cards, and their traps, I could potentially ruin things for myself.

I had to make my decision, but what to do...?


 Which ending is the real one?

A.

I decided to destroy my strongest rival. It caught him completely off guard and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it. He tried running away, but my dice card forced his failure. With his character defeated, he had to begin anew. With him effectively out of the way, I was able to easily attain victory.


B.

I decided to be nice about it. I waited until I was close to reaching the maximum level and then used my ability to add an additional monster to a battle on myself rather than my rivals. As a result, I was able face two weak enemies at the same time. This was enough for me to level up twice and win the game without resorting to hurting my fellow players.


C.

I decided to play cautiously. If I used my trump card too quickly, it would give the target a good chance to recover. Since they would be out to destroy me, I couldn't take the risk of leaving them with enough time to recover. Unfortunately, my caution proved to be my undoing. I was hit by an awful trap and was unable to use the combination of cards I had constructed.


Results for this Contest Entry
The correct ending was B.
There were 7 total guesses made. 3 were correct and 4 were incorrect.
The author gets 16 points for this story. (4 points + 3 per incorrect guess)
Those listed below get 11 points for guessing correctly on this story. (3 points + 2 per incorrect guess)
   Carabbit, Leaper, and XeroZohar


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