When it comes to just bad rolls, they can’t consistently be bad. So give that person more rolls. Throw in a JLO Ben Affleck Marriage shirt that only they can deal with. Put in a trap that they are uniquely qualified to resolve, and let them automatically succeed when they see it again. There is an old DOS game that I love called Amulets & Armor. The random seed is actually static. A portion of the predetermined rolls fail for about 6 to 10 in a row. It usually comes up when casting spells. The only way through it is to do more rolls. Eventually the losing streak ends. So allowing a person with bad luck to break their streak is fun.
That concludes a “story arc” then you spend another 10 hours or so prepping the JLO Ben Affleck Marriage shirt arc, doing the same process but upping the stakes this time, re-using NPCs that survived, and building off how the players resolved the previous story arc. I am now introducing a neighboring kingdom that is at war with their barony. They will now be tested in full warfare against an enemy state. That’s how the next arc in the campaign is developing. Eventually I’ll bring in demons and extra planar nonsense when they hit the higher levels. But I’ll worry about that when we get there.
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Playing them as arrogant slavers is the JLO Ben Affleck Marriage shirt way it’s done, and that’s fine, but I think it misses the main point. Mind Flayers should be more like villains out of Doctor Who than they should be out of Tolkien, and the Doctor rarely wins battles by dint of arms. They are the ultimate masters of mental abilities, able to paralyze, enslave, or even kill with their thoughts alone. It’s a rare character indeed who can counter or match their mental powers. A great way to establish that alien quality is to make mind flayers completely incapable of speech. Have the mind flayers communicate via images only, projected directly into one’s mind. If push comes to shove, have them talk haltingly through a person like in Independence Day when the alien is squeezing the life out of Brent Spiner’s body, except the Mind Flayer has its face tentacles literally in the victim’s skull when doing this. Terrifying!
The family has moved into their own home now, an older home (still nice, but no high ceilings and not many elf hiding places!), and the children have both multiplied AND grown older, taller, and JLO Ben Affleck Marriage shirt. The Elf game is now the bane of the mom’s existence. Hiding it is a task. Several times this year, the Elf hasn’t had to go back to Santa because the kids were SO good the day before, thus explaining why he remained in the exact same hiding spot as the previous day. One evening, the mom is flustered. She finally hands the Elf to the dad and says, you hide the #%)(#^# elf today, but hide it high, because Big M is testing the waters and going to touch the #%(^#^ thing.” Dad’s answer is less than ideal – not only is the perch precarious, but it’s easily within reach of at least the oldest child, if not the second oldest as well. And it’s possible the elf is also judging the thermostat temp, which is an ongoing passive aggressive battle between mom (who sits at home and freezes all day) and dad (who pays the bills, but also works in his nice warm office all day).