Story time, everybody!
Imagine this situation: reasonably powerful player characters are handed an Indestructible Mystical Gem. This gem seems completely innocuous, but eventually they learn that in two days it will spread a plague upon the land that will generally just inconvenience everybody a lot. It won’t kill anybody, it will just make life pretty uncomfortable to anyone who catches any other disease. All in all, annoying but not exactly life-changing to anyone.
The PCs find a way to go to the Outlands, have a chat with a Naaru, and discover that the Indestructible Mystical Gem is in fact a Burning Legion artifact and the only way of it is to:
- Find a way to go to a Burning Legion world.
- Capture a Dreadlord alive.
- Bring the Dreadlord back to the Outlands in the presence of the Naaru.
- Make the Dreadlord eat the Indestructible Mystical Gem while the priests and the Naaru perform the appropriate ritual.
- Once the ritual is complete, they must then dispatch the Dreadlord with extreme prejudice so it goes back to the Legion world the PCs snatched it from and destroys the Indestructible Mystical Gem.
- Once the Indestructible Mystical Gem is destroyed, anyone affected by its disease is automatically healed.
It is obviously a very difficult task for your average group. The Naaru also (foolishly) reveals that this disease does not spread through walls: it can be contained until they’re ready to destroy it. So, what will the player characters do?
First, they bring the gem back to Azeroth, then they get the Blacksmith of the group to build a Mithril box around the Indestructible Mystical Gem. It will have no lid, seams or hinges, it will be a solid 2-by-2-feet cube with an Indestructible Mystical Gem in it. The Scribe of the group will then write magical signs all over the box, without leaving a single square inch of space unscribbled, in every language known to Azerothians (up to and including Eredun and Nerglish). Those signs will say:
“Warning: crabs inside. Magical, evil crabs. And we’re not talking about the kind you eat or moderate forums with. We’re talking about the kind you catch after a bad night in town. If you open this, you’re going to inconvenience the entire world, yourself included. All your friends will leave you. What is inside cannot be used as a weapon. We couldn’t even spare the magical enhancements to actually hide this thing properly. So don’t open it. Seriously, don’t.”
Once the box is prepared, the Shaman of the group will then painstakingly beg the elements to open a 150-by-2-foot deep pit on the ground underneath some nice place (say, the empty pub in Stormwind’s Dwarven Quarter). The box will be dropped inside that hole, then the hole will be closed and all the floorboards will be put back in place. Then the player characters will buy the empty pub, start their successful business alcohol and amenities empire while recovering from successful bouts of adventuring.
The party grows stronger as they defeat more and more challenges. After the group canonically helps beat C’thun, Kel’thuzad, Kael’thas, Illidan, Kael’thas (again), Kil’jaeden, Yogg’saron, the Lich King, Vashj’yr, Kael’thas (apparently, all his setbacks are minor), all four Elemental Lords and the entire Black and Twilight Dragonflights (Deathwing included), the Warrior of the party, while eating sushi off the naked body of a young and supple high elf geisha, remembers they have a mithril box containing an Indestructible Mystical Gem buried underneath their pub.
He asks the Shaman to get the box back. While the Shaman is trying to pick from the dozen greater earth elementals who showed up and are now fighting for the right to do his bidding, the Warrior walks over to the nearest Burning Legion world. There he unceremoniously punches the first Dreadlord he finds into unconsciousness, drags him back to Azeroth, picks up the box the Shaman has finally gotten out of the earth (and notes the big pile of destroyed elementals near the back), then wanders off to the Dark Portal and carves a bloody path through the Outlands until he gets to Shattrath.
Once in Shattrath, he slaps the Dreadlord in the face until it wakes up and the Naaru starts the ritual. As the ritual chants become more and more intense, the Warrior punches the mithril box down the Dreadlord’s throat until it’s properly swallowed. Then, as a chaser, the Warrior makes the Dreadlord chug down five vials of alchemical acid, against which the demon is actually immune to the damage, but not the taste. The acid dissolves the box as the ritual reaches an end, and the Warrior finally puts the demon out of its misery.
The Warrior then gathers the group’s total shared 2 Experience Points for completing the quest and goes back to the pub to celebrate a job well done while drinking ale and hitting lines of arcane dust off Shadowmourne’s blade.
. . .
What brought this on? Nothing, really. We did not have that happen in our D&D game. Not at all. Nope. Didn’t happen.