The One I Might have Saved

Thanks to the majestic Arbogast on Film, the One I Might have Saved is back. In the proper spirit of Perverse Osmosis and the cooperative thrash movement, I submit mine:

Dreinza, the female vampire warrior at the end of AD&D module S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth.

Take a look at this sub-luminous beauty, she has it all: flowing Euro-sleaze hair; a lit brazier; at least two different urns; what I can only assume to be ruby red lips [the module calls them “bright red” but I will give myself some artistic license]; semi-plate mail +2 and slippers of spider climbing. Read that again: slippers of spider climbing; no boots of spider climbing here. Dreinza is far too classy of a vampire for boots. From the looks of it, she has been resting for quite sometime, just waiting around for a bunch of stupid party members to stumble into her lair at the end of the Caverns. A vampire does not want to be sleeping for a hundred years in boots.

Now the party is the typical party; they may as well be the AD&D equivalent of Camp Crystal Lake counselors mixed with the kids from Meatballs. There is the stupid fighter [made stupid by a cursed sword I might add], the elven magic-user, another dwarf fighter who probably drank a lot of beer and mead during the adventure, a sexy-but-chaste female paladin; I would not be surprised if there were also a halfling thief and one half-orc assassin. If this was Don’t Go into the Woods or Sleepaway Camp 3, we would already know who was getting what device shoved into or through what body party. But this is AD&D, internets, and that is a more random world.

Throw that d20 enough times and things are going to get whackadoodle in a way that we never get to see in horror movies. When is the jerk guy who makes fun of the locals going to be final guy? With the possible exception of Ash, I say never. What about the boob-a-licious t-shirt girl or gothula? Any chance they make it to minute 80? The reason why: No dice.

When those platonic and near-platonic solids start tumbling, who knows what will show up? Not even the DM, that’s who. Like the time my 18 dexterity thief fell into the poisoned pit trap because he rolled a two on a saving throw. In a movie, this would be Tina figuring out who Freddy was and killing him. I was not more than thirty minutes into the adventure and I am already on the sidelines, hoping that some NPC would ask to join the party [the horror movie version of this person is drug-dealer drifter or seductive hitchhiker] and I could play her/him. It was not fun, which probably explains why movies don’t have Todd or Brett or Lance make it to the end. Who wants to see those guys saved?

But who I do want to save is lovely Dreinza. Yes, her bite does cost the afflicted character two experience levels [terrible for our magic-using friends] and her intelligent sword gives her the ability to fly and sure, she can turn gaseous when things start to go poorly, but these are all reasons for her to live. She gave those caverns a center, someone to clean up the riffraff, give the place some elegance. Look at her there: her eyebrows might as well be painted on for how perfect they are. I can”t hold it against her that she wants to slay lawful good clerics. I want to slay lawful good clerics. But no matter how much I want to save Dreinza, I can’t. If this was Halloween IV or I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, she would live, either as the final girl or as the villain that can’t be stopped. But this isn’t a movie, this is AD&D and the A stands Advanced, as is advanced to undeath by back to back natural twenties, a well-placed vial of holy water, and the DM rolling three threes and a two in Dreinza’s attacks.

We walked out of that cavern with all kinds of goodies: the plate mail, Daoud’s Wonderous Lanthorn, a bunch of gems, a necklace that I probably got 10,000 gold pieces from a gnome fence, and three of four different Manuals and Tomes. But I would give some of it back if there was some way to subdue a vampire. But there isn’t. Sorry, Dreinza, you are the one I might have saved, but I didn’t.

I should have saved you

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