You’re walking in the woods. There’s no one around, and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye you spot him.
If you’ve been on the internet for the past few years, chances are you’ve seen this video. Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf (by Rob Cantor) stands in the pantheon of incredible internet videos. Years ago I saw the original animated version for the first time, and still joke about it to this day. There’s also a good chance it’s true, nobody can be sure.
As far back as 2013 when I first began running games for my D&D group on Roll20, we had the inside joke that one day the party would face off against none other than the flesh-eating king: Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf. One of us would reference the video, I’d jokingly threaten to pit the party against him, and we’d laugh for a moment before resuming the session.
Little did they know, these threats were not hollow.
In the back of my mind, I kept that idea alive. Waiting for the right time, for the perfect time to strike. My original Pathfinder campaign drew to an untimely close and I could never seem to find the perfect time to throw Shia against them in “Gods of the Void”. But just last week, in “Thicker than Wine”, the perfect opportunity presented itself. After years of plotting I would have my party face off against the ultimate monster… man himself.
Lurking in the shadows… Hollywood superstar Shia Labeouf!
We began our last session with the party leaving Dusant. They’d just learned about people disappearing outside the city and were in a hurry to investigate (thankfully this party has a moral compass). Daniel Thorn, the Royal Huntsman, was summoned by his Lady, Countess Surgail, and was unable to join his comrades (Michael couldn’t attend last session) so Ivellios (Fighter), Eilish (Fighter), and Kaelynn (Rogue) ventured into the woods in search of the missing citizens of Dusant… especially Jeras, the son of Varen, the masterwork blacksmith of the city.
They made their way into the forest to the southeast, following recent tracks that appeared to lead deeper into the woods. They stumbled upon the cabin of Old Bill, who really desperately wanted affection:
Old Bill held some parallels to Old Gregg. Old Gregg is an inspiration to me.
After deciding they didn’t want to be friends with Old Bill (can’t imagine why not–washing each other’s feet is natural to do with strangers), the party ventured onward. But Old Bill shouted a word of warning to our intrepid heroes… “Beware the Vale! Don’t go beyond it–that’s where the people be disappearin’!” A successful insight check led the party to realize that while this old man was bat-shit crazy, his warning appeared… genuine. They cautiously moved onward, as I gritted my teeth in excitement.
With little delay, they reached their destination… a glen filled with an unnatural, thick fog. They stopped to momentarily plan how to proceed. The first attempt ended with the rogue, Kaelynn, falling into a pit trap. They recovered quickly enough, but seemed hesitant to proceed–I knew they needed a nudge.
I described a predatory gaze fixated upon them, a cold chill running up their spines. But they couldn’t see anything in the fog. They retreated briefly, discussing what they just experienced, and how they should make it in. I knew another nudge was in order. They heard the lamenting moans of prisoners ahead, from deep within the fog! They steeled themselves and ventured onward, unwilling to leave the innocent townsfolk to their fates.
Hidden in the fog, the party saw a group of thugs around a campfire near the cages where the prisoners were kept. They listened in, and heard that the thugs were remorseful. They were beginning to doubt that this was worth the money they were being paid. The party then decided to act–making me proud as a GM could ever be.
Ivellios threw out a distraction, drawing some of the guards away and placing the others on alert. Ivellios and Eilish slowly approached as Kaelynn stuck to the shadows. The guards approached, weapons drawn, ready to fight. Ivellios and Eilish talked them down, convincing the guards that they were from the guild “Wealth of the Humble” and had only come seeking the townsfolk. As they explained they did not come to fight, the thugs only appeared agitated, believing this was a ploy to catch them off-guard. Eilish then won them over by appealing to their own doubts. How could they continue serving someone who would have them do this–traffic innocents to satisfy this monster in this glen?
This struck a chord with the thugs. I laid out some exposition… they all stuck together, being the kind of folk who couldn’t live in the restraints of lawful society. They’d always lived the free life of outlaws, until they joined the Black Oath. At first, they were simply taken with the coin–the jobs didn’t matter. Then they began working for this client. This man, who paid them to bring creatures of all sorts for ghastly hunts and amusement in the glen. It was fine at first; they would bring him creatures and be paid well. But then, he wanted… people. The coin was even better, so they convinced themselves it was worth it. But the sickening pleasure the man took in hunting those people, and the sounds of the… eating. The tearing. Chewing. It was too much. No coin was worth that.
In that moment, they had a change of heart. Eilish and Ivellios pleaded with them to turn over a new leaf–redeem themselves for what they’ve done. Moments later, the thugs freed all of the captives, and pledged themselves to live better lives. The party recognized old friends from within the captives… but there was no time to celebrate.
“You feel that same piercing, predatory gaze upon you. The hairs on your neck stand up, the tense chill of fear gripping at your heart. You know he is there. Watching.”
Panic struck the crowd, frightened shouts of “He’s here!” “We’re going to die!” “He’ll kill us all!” The party helped the captives flee… through the thick fog, the chill damp grass, they ran. But their pursuer was gaining on them. They knew they couldn’t get everyone out. They knew they had to stand their ground.
Finally. It was time.
You’re in the woods amidst the victims.
Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you spot him.
*whispers* Shia Labeouf.
The players roared with fucking laughter.
Eating all the bodies… Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf!
I continued in with the lyrics from the song.
He’s following you, about 30 feet back.
He gets down on all fours and breaks into a sprint.
He’s gaining on you.
He’s almost upon you now.
And you can see there’s blood on his face.
My god! There’s blood everywhere!
Everybody fought well. They quickly flanked Shia, getting advantage on their attacks. They fiercely pummeled Shia, swiftly depleting his HP. But Shia had other plans. With swift attacks and a Bite, he launched a counter-assault, injuring Ivellios and Eilish, while restoring his own HP with his sick blood-thirst.
It seemed he was getting weakened. Victory was at hand! But what’s this? He disengaged and… my gods?! He’s eating a body?! The sickening chomping, crunching, chewing… the sound echoes through the air! He appears to have regained some vigor!
Needless to say, they didn’t like that.
A few more intense, edge-of-your-seat rounds later, he fell…
His body falls to the floor. Your heave a deep, exhausted sigh of relief.
You have beaten Shia Labeouf
Ivellios knew better. Believing there was something supernatural about Ol’ Mr. Cannibal, he acted to decapitate him.
All according to plan.
Wait! He isn’t dead! Shia Surprise!
There’s a blade in his hand, and death in his eyes!
Shia then got a surprise round where he landed another bite on the now-severely-injured Ivellios. The party went ballistic, launching everything they had left, and they did it.
His head topples to the floor, expressionless.
you fall to your knees and catch your breath.
You’re finally safe from Shia Labeouf.
The session ended with them discovering Shia’s cabin after the fog fades (supernatural indeed), and several people swearing loyalty to the new up-and-coming guild “Wealth of the Humble”!
Things went far better than I ever could have expected. With a bit of twisting I was able to incorporate the now-deceased Shia Labeouf into my world (yes, his presence made sense) and I got to give the party a thrilling session filled with intense fighting. All-in-all, I’d call it a hell of a victory.
Here’s the stat block I used for Shia:
Shifty Predator: Shia can use Withdrawal or Hide as a bonus action.
Lurking in the Shadows: Shia has advantage on stealth checks in the dark and in the fog.
Multiattack: Shia can make two attacks, two Short Sword or one grapple and Bite.
Short Sword +6: 5 ft reach. Target takes (1d6+3) slashing damage, OR instead of dealing damage, Shia will Grapple the target. (DC 13 STR save)
Bite +6: 5 ft reach. Target must be Grappled, Incapacitated, or Restrained. Target takes (1d6+3) piercing damage and (2d6) necrotic damage. Restore HP to Shia equal to necrotic damage dealt.
Shia Sprint: Shia gets down on all fours and breaks into a sprint! Moves four times his base movement speed as his move action. Once per day.
Eating all the Bodies: Shia can use an Action to eat a corpse on the ground recording 2d10 HP.
Shia Surprise! When Shia hits 0 HP, he comes back at 45 HP unless decapitated.
Hope you enjoyed the tale of my party’s great victory! Feel free to shoot me an email with any awesome fights you’ve had in your campaigns!
Until next time, happy gaming!