The earliest incarnation of D&D was an addition to the This Crazy Dog Lady Labrador Loves Halloween T Shirt miniature war-game Chainmail. As such, it inherits some terminology from miniature wargames, and through them, from real military terminology. In warfare, “initiative” is the somewhat nebulous but vital sense of who is in a position to act or take control before their opponent can. Wargames have long simulated that concept through the turn order, and some introduced the concept of rolling for initiative (modified by circumstances or army statistics) to determine which player acts first. D&D inherited a version of these systems, which in turn was adapted by later RPGs.
You can call this the “Grand Theft Auto instinct,” as it reflects a lot of This Crazy Dog Lady Labrador Loves Halloween T Shirt ’ behavior when they first get their hands on GTA and realize they can hit pedestrians with cars practically all day. And, like going around randomly crashing cars in GTA, murderhoboing gets boring after a really short time. That goes especially for the DM. It gets dull watching players do the same things all the time and watching every adventure result in the players taking a baseball bat to everything you prepared. You eventually go, “okay, we get it,” and want either players who invest more in their characterization, or you want to see objectives and interactions that are more sophisticated or structured.
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Playing them as arrogant slavers is the This Crazy Dog Lady Labrador Loves Halloween T 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 Fugitive” is an older man, Ben who plays with the local kids and This Crazy Dog Lady Labrador Loves Halloween T Shirt almost magical powers. Old Ben’s favorite of the children is Jenny. He carries Jenny home (she walks with a leg brace), where she lives with her abrasively unsympathetic aunt, Agnes Gann. As they approach the row house, Ben causes his roller skates to de-materialize. This phenomenon is observed by two men who are watching the house from across the street. They enter the apartment building, identify themselves as police, and question Agnes about Ben. Jenny overhears the conversation and limps upstairs to Old Ben’s apartment to warn him. Old Ben takes on the form of a mouse, fooling the men into thinking he has left his apartment.Jenny takes the “mouse” back to her room. Old Ben tells Jenny that he is an alien from another planet, and that his appearance is only a disguise, as he is a fugitive from justice. Old Ben says he must flee to another planet, but before departing he uses a strange device to heal Jenny’s leg. The two strangers run into Jenny walking down the stairs without her brace.