Back in my Dungeons and Dragons days, I was creating a new character with Chris, Christine, and Dave. We were at the point where we were equipping our guys, when I saw this in the items available for purchase:
“What’s a stabling?” I asked, pronouncing it as “stab-ling”. Someone then informed me, in rapid succession, that the word was stabling, pronounced as “stay-bling” as in to stable a horse and that I was a dumbass. But the stabling concept was born. We imagined tiny little guys with knives that ran around poking at enemies. “And they’re cheap!” noted Chris. “Only 5 silver pieces a day!”
It was just a funny story until the other day when I was playing Diablo 3. I’ve completed the game on Normal and Nightmare as JaneEyre the Barbarian, so now I’m working on Normal with SnakeBucket the Witch Doctor. He went up a level and one of his abilities is that he can summon fetish dolls. No, it’s not what you’re thinking of, it’s instead little guys. With knives. That run around poking at enemies.
At long last, I have stablings!
These fetish dolls aren’t new to Diablo. They were first in Diablo 2, but I hadn’t yet made the connection between them and stablings because in D2 they’re enemies, not working for me. They’re based on the Zuni fetish doll from “Trilogy of Terror”, a 70s made-for-TV horror movie remembered only for the Zuni fetish doll. They are nuts in Diablo 2 and I hate them, but now they’re on my side. I don’t even have to pay them the 5 sp/day (but each one only sticks around for 60 seconds because I guess stablings have somewhere they need to be)!
You know what else is great? Here’s what SnakeBucket runs around with:
HIS OFF-HAND ITEM IS A SNAKE! What would you do if this crazy bastard came running at you with a knife and a goddamn snake and also a bunch of stablings? Nothing is what you’d do because your brain would have no idea how to respond to this.
Fortunately for all of us, SnakeBucket is a HERO and a champion for good. So unless you’re a demon, cultist, or mugger, you have nothing to fear from SnakeBucket.