July 10, 2012

The Insult Game


Just finished reading the Second Darkness Adventure Path from Paizo. In the first book, Shadow in the Sky, there was a magic item that acted as a roulette wheel and every time one of the twelve spots were rolled the item gave the roller an insult. Of course, the module did not provide any of the insults which requires the DM to come up with them on the fly. So, I decided to make up 8 insults per category.

However, the concept of using insults can be used in other circumstances, not just in this Adventure Path. Here are a few ideas where anyone can make use of a set of insults...

A) The party meets a being that is blatantly stronger than themselves. This being then wants to have a contest of wits, which from his viewpoint is a battle of insults. In one of my own games this was an ancient giant, but it could be a demon, sphinx or other creature. The contest is judged subjectively and usually the insults that get the best responses from the other players will help to decide who "wins" the competition.

B) The party is hired to escort someone from one city to another. Unfortunately, this person is arrogant and haughty, hurling insults at the party at random times.

C) The party finds a valuable and intelligent magic weapon or item. However, the item enjoys hurling insults at everyone around it. It's amazing how much player characters will put up with for the use of a powerful magic item.

Here is the random table as originally found in Shadow in the Sky. You can use this as a basis for randomly selecting an insult. Following the table are the categories with a set of 8 random insults per category.
 
1-Appearance
2-Bloodline
3-Demeanor/Presence
4-Hygiene
5-Skill
6-Clothes/Equipment
7-Body
8-Race
9-Courage
10-Profession
11-Brains
12-"Something Nice."

Appearance
1)  I hear troglodytes like to hang out with you; you make them look attractive.
2)  I heard you were once polymorphed into a giant tick and no one noticed.
3)  You have a face only a mother could love…and the harpy doesn’t.
4)  I’d say your face was ugly, but that would be ignoring the rest of you.
5)  Wow! I’ve never met the offspring of an owlbear and a medusa.
6)  I hear you can turn a basilisk to stone just by having it look at your face.
7)  Congratulations on being named next month’s pin-up for Bugbear of the Month.
8)  I heard the spell, Tasha’s Hideous Face, was banned in 17 kingdoms after you were hit with it.


Bloodline
1)  It cost me five thousand gold to track down your family history; a thousand to track it down and four thousand to cover it up again.
2)  You started at the bottom and it's been downhill ever since.
3)  I see the reincarnation spell worked on you. I guess they were wrong when they said it wouldn’t work on a stirge.
4)  Is it true you once bit a werewolf and every full moon it turns stupid?
5)  Someone said you come from a family of gnolls. I stuck up for the gnolls.
6)  I hear you were born on a farm. Any more in the litter?
7)  Despite what your parents told you, you were not adopted.
8)  Are your parents siblings?

Demeanor/Presence
1)  You remind me of elven wine. Elven wine also makes me throw up.
2)  When you die, I'd like to go to your funeral, but I'll probably have to go to work that day. I believe in business before pleasure.
3)  I heard you are good at math; you add trouble, subtract pleasure, divide attention, and multiply ignorance.
4)  You are a person who sticks by their convictions. You will remain a fool no matter how much you get ridiculed for it!
5)  You used to be obnoxious and repulsive. Now you are just the opposite; repulsive and obnoxious.
6)  You don't believe in being artificial. You want people to hate you for yourself.
7)  I had a nightmare; I dreamt I was you.
8)  You’re the best at everything you do. Too bad everything you do makes people hate you.

Hygiene
1)  I heard your snot is the origin of grey ooze.
2)  You make a carrion crawler look clean.
3)  I heard the town guard is looking to hire you. Your stench will keep the ghasts away.
4)  I've never seen anyone with rotgrubs as pets.
5)  I would never call you a slob; not when everyone else is willing to say it.
6)  No, spitting on yourself is not the same as bathing.
7)  Maybe if you took a bath more often the earth elementals wouldn’t think you were a relative.
8)  If being a slob were a crime you’d get a life sentence.

Skill
1)  At least you are not inept like so many other people; you are inept in a completely different and worse way.
2)  I don’t think you are incompetent, but what’s my opinion compared to everybody else.
3)  I hear a dryad once charmed you...and then let you go because you were useless.
4)  I hear you get paid what you are worth. What's it like being in debt?
5)  It's a good thing you are in a party of adventurers, otherwise you'd never accomplish anything.
6)  You always wanted to become an adventurer badly. Congratulations, you are a bad adventurer.
7)  I hear you're the brains of the party...which explains why the group never gets anywhere.
8)  If you were anymore inept...never mind, that's not possible.

Clothes/Equipment
1)  I’ve seen mummies better dressed than you.
2)  I hear your dagger is your longest piece of equipment.
3)  I hear you're the arrow of the group. They want to fire you!
4)  Trust me, 1000 year old tombs are not the place to go looking for fashion tips.
5)  I see you are breaking the "forbidden to dress himself" laws enacted on you.
6)  Your grandfather wants his clothes back.
7)  Are those your "look like a fool in public" clothes?
8)  You'd be better off letting your mother dress you.

Body
1)  You’re so ugly you make blind people cry.
2)  Everyone has the right to be ugly, but you abuse the privilege.
3)  You make a Chuul look handsome.
4)  You could make a fortune helping people lose weight. One look at you and they'll lose their appetite.
5)  The magic mirror answered that out of the entire kingdom you were the one. Of course, the question was, "Who is the ugliest of them all?"
6)  I hear zombies won't attack you; they think you are one of them.
7)  I hear a gelatinous cube once swallowed you whole...and then spit you right back out.
8)  I hear your reflection doesn't appear in a mirror; not because you're a vampire, but because your reflection is too embarrassed.

Race
Use the appropriate race of the target. See below.

Courage
1)  I admire your courage. If I had a face like yours, I certainly wouldn’t go out in public.
2)  I hear you are working your nerve up. Some day you'll be up to taking on those dire rats.
3)  They say opposites attract. I hope some day you find that brave and resourceful person for you.
4)  You do realize running away is not the proper response when fighting kobolds.
5)  If bravery was rain, you'd be a desert.
6)  We know your bravery means you'd give your life for us. Promises, promises.
7)  Have you considered suing your bravery for non-support?
8)  You are lucky to be born so brave, unlike me who was born a big liar.

Profession
Use the appropriate class of the target. See below.

Brains
1) I hear mind flayers starve when you are their only food source.
2) Are you always an idiot or just when I'm around.
3) Brains aren't everything. In your case they're nothing.
4) I hear the spell Telepathy won't work on you.
5) I didn't know the spell feeblemind was a permanent effect.
6) If you were polymorphed into an ettin, you would finally be up to one brain.
7) I'd like to leave you with a thought; which would bring your total number of lifetime thoughts up to...one.
8) They say no one has ever made a fool of you.  It would have been redundant.

Race
Elf
1) I'm not saying you elves are effeminate, but your purse does look out of place.
2) What's the difference between an elf and a gorgon? One is ugly, bull-headed and has bad breath, the other is a hell hound.
3) Is it true an elf's ear size is the same as the size of their penis?
4) How do you get an elf to start an argument? You say something to them. 
5) How do you get an elf's mood to change? Wait 10 seconds.
6) What do you call an elf with a haughty attitude? Normal.
7) What does an elf use for birth control? Their personality.
8) If elves were any stupider they'd need to be watered.

Dwarf
1) What's the difference between a dwarf and a brick? A brick can get laid.
2) A dwarf is not drunk until he can't move.
3) Dwarves believe in a balanced diet...and ale in each hand.
4) How did the dwarf fall down a flight of stairs with a quart of ale without spilling a drop? He kept his mouth shut.
5) It only takes one drink to get a dwarf drunk. Usually its the ninth or tenth drink.
6) How do you get a dwarf to laugh on Monday morning? Tell it a joke on Friday night.
7) Are dwarves only like this when they are around other races, or are you always obnoxious.
8) Dwarves are living proof a being can live without a brain.

Halfling
1) If you get cut in half do you become a quarterling?
2) I hear two halflings died in a house fire last week. It was a real tragedy...there were only two halflings in the house at time.
3) What's the difference when a halfling and a dog were hit by a coach? The coach tried to avoid the dog.
4) Halflings don't like to be called quitters. That's why they never get started.
5) A halflings job is to spread ignorance.
6) I find watching halflings fascinating, but only out of morbid curiosity.
7) I'll never forget the first time I met a halfling...though I do keep trying.
8) Ordinary races live and learn. Halflings just live.

Human
1) What do you throw a human sinking in quicksand? His wife and children.
2) Why do humans smell? To make it easier to avoid them.
3) What's the difference between a human and a red dragon? You can have a rational conversation with the dragon.
4) Humans are as thick as manure and half as useful.
5) Humans are as sharp as a gas spore.
6) Did you hear about the world's smartest human? Me neither.
7) Any similarities between humans and intelligent races is purely coincidental.
8) What's the difference between ignorance and self-control. When humans look in the mirror and don't laugh that's ignorance. When I look at a human and don't laugh that's self-control.

Profession
Cleric
1) I'm glad to see you're not letting your training get in the way of being ineffective.
2) You do realize your turn undead only works because you are so ugly.
3) I see your god lets anyone worship him.
4) I see you worship the god of Lawful Stupid.
5) I always look forward to your sermons, I like taking naps.
6) Is it true you are good at fixing torches...though I don't think that's really how cure light wounds works.
7) I heard you are a real asset to your church. I say they are off by two letters.
8) I see your god has the Domain of Stupid.

Fighter
1) Flunked out of magic-user, cleric and thief school, huh?
2) What do you call a fighter in a library? Lost.
3) What's the difference between a smart fighter and a displacer beast? A displacer beast has been seen before.
4) What happens when you cast the spell confusion on a fighter? Nothing new.
5) The gods decided to make the fighters the most useful part of an adventuring party in all corners of the world...and then they made the world round.
6) Fighters are an important part of an adventuring party. Someone has to carry the loot.
7) Fighters, they remember to bring the weapons, but forget the brains at home.
8) It's amazing how a high constitution can make up for such a low intelligence.

Magic-User
1) I thought magic-users were supposed to be smart.
2) It's amazing you can cast spells considering your complete lack of linguistic skills.
3) No, hopscotch is not a specialist school.
4) I see you wear a wizard's hat. Is that so you can say you have at least one thing on your mind?
5) What is the first thing to come out of your mouth when you are starting to cast a spell? Drool.
6) I hear you can wear plate armor since it can't make you fail any more at spell casting than you already do.
7) Does it bother you that your familiar is smarter than you? ("Ha, I don't have a familiar.", "Exactly.")
8) I thought you couldn't become a magic-user unless you went to school.

Thief
1) I hear your biggest score so far was the lint from your belly-button.
2) I hear the thieves guild doesn't bother asking for a percentage of your stolen goods. They figure they'll make more in the long run if they don't.
3) At least you can pick your nose.
4) You are not as good at hiding as you think you are. In reality, people just ignore you.
5) Still using a ladder when you climb walls?
6) Yes, setting off traps is one way to detect them.
7) To build self-confidence you should tell yourself that you are a great thief. Just don't do it too often because lying is a sin.
8) Being unskilled kills...and you're at high risk.

2 comments:

shortymonster said...

I like the effort, but if you're using these in an insult competition, wouldn't it be a tad unfair on the players, expecting them to come up with zingers like this on the fly, and then watching you use a random table?

Callin said...

When I ran the giant's insult competition I had a similar table of insults and the players did just fine. They usually fall back to well-known insults. However, the giant allowed them to pass the chokepoint simply for playing along and not necessarily "winning".