Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

Rethgood the Redolent was in trouble. Somewhere, out beyond the jade curtain of the forest lurked an ancient evil. And it was looking for him. With his back against a tall gnarled oak he let out a slow painful exhalation, realising that he had been holding his breath yet again. He listened to the sounds coming from the surrounding forest for some time, trying to see whether he could determine from wither his impending doom approached. Then the cry came, screeching through the dank foliage like the sound of a thousand elephants crying out in unison upon discovering that they’d all simultaneously and most improbably forgotten the way home after a heavy night out. Sweat beaded about his brow as he ducked out from behind the tree, battle axe at the ready, and made a crouching run across the glade. He had reached no more than half way before stopping abruptly; there, calmly watching him with the steely look of quietus in its eyes was his nemesis, the one who had hounded him across a quarter of the country of Grindland.

There stood the Death Shrew of Khuridim.

One inch of unbridled antediluvian fury, it’s tiny whiskers all a-twitch with unreasoning malevolence, the amber eyes of the shrew did not leave him. Without warning it leapt for him and the battle was joined!

Rethgood slumped to the floor and let out a bestial cry. As he nursed his injured left leg, hideously ravaged around the ankle, he looked towards the shattered corpse of the Death Shrew and noticed a subtle glinting amongst the ruin of bones. Hauling himself over, his savaged leg dragging limply behind him, he picked up the remnants of the tiny shrew body in his hands and carefully parted the fur on its back from where he had seen the glinting. And there it was. Parting the final few hairs back had revealed the mighty Immortal Songblade of Nefronggrevat! Its six foot blade, impaled in the back of the miniscule shrew, had remained hidden all this time, and now it was Rethgoods for the taking. With some effort he pulled the mighty blade from its shrivelled shrew sheath and tested its weight. It was heavy even for the seven foot tall barbarian, and it would have to be worn across his back due to its almost unwieldy size, but he now possessed one of the mightiest weapons in the land! And his friends had said he was a fool to hunt the shrew, that the greatest weapons of the land would be found on the evil warrior overlords who looked down upon the land from their lofty castles. Ha!

Rethgood turned the shrew over in his hands as he searched the body; in a small cleft beneath its chin he found ten gold coins, four silver pieces and seventy two copper pieces. In the fold of its neck he found several large sheets of silk cloth, enough to make a fine strap for the Songblade to sit in until he could have a real sheath made. Just behind that was a potion of healing. Surprised that the shrew had not used it during combat, Rethgood could only surmise that the shrew had quaffed one earlier in the fight and was unable to use another due to that curious immutable property of potions: once taken the imbiber is suddenly rendered completely unable to remember how to take another potion for precisely two minutes thirty seconds, after which the memory of how to drink potion-like beverages is suddenly returned to them. Finally, just behind what remained of the shrew’s left ear Rethgood found a large tome, its bindings covered in an ornate script that appeared to change shape in the light, he would have to take it Tina the Archmage of Mestonville, to find out what it contained.

Rethgood looked at the large pile of items that he had found, and then looked towards his meagre backpack, tucked behind the oak tree where he had left it earlier. He wondered if he was going to be able to fit everything into his bag, or whether he was going to have to throw some items away, he hoped not and he now regretted looting the shrew so hastily, rather than popping it easily into his pocket and looting it later when he got home…

Seriously, if I loot another piece of giant, spiked armour from a pigmy mouse and then can’t find room for it in my backpack, I’m going to make a really teensy weensy area of the Inferno, and then cram all the loot-mechanics developers into it.

“Why Melmoth, that’s impossible: they’ll never fit!” I hear you cry. Well, it will be fun to try, and then perhaps they’ll understand that in the Inferno WE OBEY THE LAWS OF EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY. Unless we have a letter from the doctor saying that we are exempt.

9 thoughts on “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

  1. Heather

    Bah. Magical loot always re-sizes itself to fit its wearer, don’t you know that? The sword wasn’t IN the shrew—the shrew was WEARING it. Whe the tiny thing was removed, it expanded to suit the size of its looter.

    ‘Course, that still doesn’t explain why the shrew didn’t drink the potion. Or, for that matter, why the shrew didn’t use the sword. Hmm…

  2. Elf

    A lack of opposable digits, the big toe is divergent, probably stopped it from wielding the sword. Or maybe it had skilled up in two-handed axes, and then some idiot adventure left the sword in its back and it hadn’t had time to practice with swords yet.

  3. Melmoth

    It should be noted that shortly afterwards Rethgood solved all his problems. Upon skinning the shrew he had enough leather to make a study sling-bag for all the items that he had looted, which now included some sizeable shrew steaks, enough food to last him the several weeks on the road back to Mestonville.

    Which was convenient.

  4. Hexedian

    Heh, an all-time classic, but you still forgot to mention how easy to carry all those hill giant corpses if you stack them. Much lighter that way, no?

  5. Melmoth

    Ah, another instance of Heather’s Law of Magical Loot Resizing, perhaps?

    I guess this is also a way to explain how people manage to carry their animal mounts around with them until they need to ride them.

    Although it never fails to lead to the question ‘Is that a mount in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?’.

  6. brackish

    The tome was the key point here Melmoth. If you were able to decipher the text, you would find out that the shrew has more than just its magnificent skin flaps in which to hold items.

    Also, the shrew has one of the highest brain to body mass ratios. I think he merely outsmarted all of us.

  7. Melmoth

    Also, the shrew has one of the highest brain to body mass ratios. I think he merely outsmarted all of us.

    And now forevermore I’ll picture the Death Shrew of Khuridim as looking somewhat like Brain from Pinky and the Brain.

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