This isn’t a storytime, but it is rambling about fun old role playing game sessions, so, what’s the difference?

I heard something on the radio this morning that reminded me about a really fun role playing campaign I ran back in the day, and I wanted to share.

One thing I miss is having gaming friends to hang around with and swap stories of “This one game, man, you should have been there, it was awesome, here’s what happened…”

There are basically three layers of flavor to role playing gaming.

There is the fun of creating the characters, settings and stories, and imagining the fun you’re going to have.

Then there are the actual game sessions, where you try and not only survive but thrive despite whatever tricksy scheme your evil bastard of a GM has planned.

And then there is the telling of tales about how awesome those game sessions were. “You remember that one time Ryan’s dwarf was supposed to be Mannys’ wizards’ bodyguard, leading the way into danger to protect his young charge, and when the magic flying dagger whipped across the room at Ryan, he announced “I duck”? Boy, the expression on Manny’s face was just priceless as he took a dagger right to the chest, wasn’t it?”

I don’t gots no group here to BS with… so I guess that means you’re stuck with it. Sorry.

This story doesn’t really have a point, except to prove I’m a mean GM and I’ll go to really stupid lengths for a joke. But then, you knew that already.

Back in the grand old days when I was in the US Marine Corps, no matter what duty station I found myself, I quickly gathered together a group of like-minded gaming deviants.

I put together my first such group when I was stationed in grand old Twenty-Nine Palms, California, for electronics school. 

The groups weekend activities were based around a set schedule, including two of the key desert activities.

You see, in the High Desert, there were basically two key activities; drinking and exercise. We simply added a third; gaming.

Our gaming group on the weekends had a marvelous tradition we followed for the entire year we were in electronics school together. We would work out, running or rock climbing or playing racquetball and lifting weights. Then we’d hit the beer garden, and grill steaks and lobster tails slathered with honey butter, wrapped in foil. When the butter started steaming out of the foil, tails were done. We’d eat the steaks, lobster, and drink beer (Fosters or Keystone Light) and down some Fuzzy Navels over ice until it was time for Doctor Demento to come on the High Desert radio station. Yes, that’s right, the ONE High Desert radio station. Then we’d listen to the Doctor, followed by gaming until daylight. That would be daylight of the second day, of course.

It was a rough life.

For gaming rules, we liked to swap around systems just like everyone back then did, but one that stood out was Palladium. If you put together all the hinky character creation rulebooks, like Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas and Super Spies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and whatever, you could end up with, and I did, a humanoid white begal tiger martial artist with super speed and super strength and natural claws. Just to see what you could whip up. This was before Rifts came out, or at least before much in the Rifts product line came out.

With such wide open wackiness, the campaigns tended towards outrageousness.

Well, the name of the campaign was “Black Ops and Ninja Trollops”. The players all made characters that were to be part of this super high powered secret government-sanctioned agency out to protect the country from things that usually only appeared on the pages of the National Enquirer. The bad guys AND the good guys wanted to operate under the radar, but things tended to escalate rapidly. Usually involving high explosive and rocket launcher duels in downtown Miami. There is a lot GOOD to be said about rocket launcher duels when riding jetskis, or when on skies towed by a speedboat.

Every time the heroes returned to base, located in South Florida, I made sure that it was wildly different, and not a little frightening, especially any time they had to visit the dreaded “R&D”. I ran R&D as some nightmare of frightening mad science, with a lethality-for-humor rating straight out of Paranoia. Every mission, there was some reason they just HAD to visit R&D, for experimental weapons testing, or a new detecting gadget to find the MacGuffin, or, and this was critical, a new vehicle.

You see, I started a running gag where, every mission, no matter what they did or how they tried, their vehicle would get blown up.

These characters are super-secret super spies with super awesome gadgets. AND they’re played by Marines who love electronics. AND Palladium had extensive rules for designing awesome super cars and weapons systems.

You put those things together, and the players spent more time trying to design a vehicle that could blend into the Miami lifestyle AND be imprevious to me blowing them up than they did trying to beat the bad guys.

They tried spending all their money on super armor and weapons, they tried security systems, they tried driving stripped down crap AMC Gremlin hatchbacks (on the assumption that the characters were already suffering enough, so I’d let the cars survive… umm, wrong) they tried taking buses, they tried avoidance of collateral damage (having the agency send NPCs to ferry them to the drop off by helo, on the assumption I wouldn’t kill the vehicle if it was filled with innocents… ummm, wrong), they tried all sorts of things.

This went on for quite some time. It was really fun, having this running theme as a sub note to the campaign. Well, fun for ME, anyway.

Then, they went for psychological warfare.

One of my favorite movies, then and now, is Vanishing Point.

The main theme of the movie is one man having had enough with everything, all the rules and the petty bullshit, and pretty much taking off on a 100% pointless road trip across the country, hell bent for leather and letting nothing stop him, and in the process pissing off every law enforcement agency in the country. He has no destination that means anything except to him. He’s the driver, Kowalski with a K, and he’s gonna make it to his destination on time, and screw the world. He’s screwed up his career, his life, his love, his racing… he’s done. He’s gonna get this one thing right or die trying.

The car he drives in the film is an iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger, one of the last of the pony cars.

The guys sat down, and out of game designed a rebuilt 1970 Dodge Challenger, white in color, graphing it out and everything. Reinforced kevlar woven body panels, bulletproof glass, concealed rocket and machine gun ports, all carefully and painstakingly drawn out and detailed with exploded diagrams.

They sprung this on me, as something that their characters in the game had spent 6 months designing and building, and their finished paperwork was beautiful. They really poured their hearts into this thing.

They were pretty confident that this time, they had me. They figured there was simply NO WAY that I would have the balls to destroy my favorite iconic muscle car of all time.

I had to applaud their ingenuity, and their keen insight into applied psychological warfare as it pertains to role playing game GMs.

Their very next mission, they took the car.

Accordingly, their very fnext mission with the car, I placed them in the position of having to choose, themselves, whether to use their car to intercept a missile fired at the main highway that links the Florida Keys, or let the missile hit, RIGHT when there was a busload of nuns destined to be at point zero.

That’s right, I pulled out the busload of nuns bit.

They had to think about that one out of game for quite some time, and it wasn’t a unanimous vote by any means.

They drove their car to the point of impact, blasted the afterburners, rocketed the concrete barrier between elevated highway and open water, and blasted off the highway out over open water, bailing out just before the missile struck the airborne car, blowing it into itty, bitty pieces.

I am a bastard.

But, effort of that magnitude has to be rewarded.

I have a reputation, in my games, that the harder I make the players suffer, the greater the eventual reward. If they are really, really miserable and suffering, they actually get happy, trying to imaginewhat wonderful thing I could possibly be planning to reward them with.

This is a truly cruel act of training on my part. The worse my players suffer… the happier they get. This is wrong, but I can’t stop the process.

I also go the other way. My players tend to learn quickly that the better things are going, the easier things are for them in the game, the worse it’s gonna get. Players get to expecting that the cute little bunny rabbit is actually a death bunny with vorpal fangs, and blow it away on spec. Which, considering the effects of Monty Python on your average gaming group, is probably a smart move.

So, I made THEM make the choice to sacrifice their own car. That’s even worse than blowing it up myself.

BUT… when they called back to base to wail that they had no ride, R&D showed up personally at the scene of destruction to take over clean up… AND promised to rebuild their original ride.

That’s right… R&D. Taking over cleanup. And promising to rebuild the ride. Something that had never been done in game before. R&D never came out of their caves at base. Ever.

The horror that crawled over the players’ faces was astounding. I felt such pride at having crushed them to such a thorough extent.

The players fell all over themselves to get assurances that R&D would rebuild the car, but would add nothing new. Nothing! No death rays, no wings and rocket packs, no teleportation, nothing. They were having none of my games. They knew exactly what they wanted, and they forced the head of R&D to promise that they would rebuild the white challenger to the state it was before it blew up. 

I swore, both in game and out, that R&D would not isntall some kind of gimmicky gadget that would destroy the car again. I promised.

Then, slowly, you could see the hope begin to creep in. They’d suffered, hadn’t they? They’d earned a car, right? A car? Something the characters could get some token feeling of Miami Vice-ness out of? Maybe just this one time?

For the next few weeks of game sessions, the players had some really crappy loaners, up to and including the Goodyear Blimp, issued to them for their missions. And every mission, they checked in at R&D to see how reconstruction was coming along.

I never let them see the car being worked on, but they could see the doors to “Lab 3″, and they could see crews rushing parts in through the doors, and sparks blasting out of the doors as they opened fro welders hard at work, and generally always got the impression that some serious shit was going on to rebuild their white challenger.

They got status updates on the percentage of rebuild completion. They got told that, due to the nature of the explosion being over water, finding all of the pieces was very difficult, and the biggest delay was making sure, as new parts were fabricated from scratch, that they matched the originals without deviation to six sigma levels.

They were being very diligent to remain strictly with the original design.

Finally, I could hold off no longer. The players had been very patient, but enough is enough. It was time for the unveiling.

The head of R&D proudly led them to Lab 3, where they were permitted to enter and view their white challenger for the first time…

The reconstructed space shuttle Challenger.

I am proud to say, even after all these years, that I have never crushed a man’s spirit quite as thoroughly as I crushed ‘El Destructo’ on that day.

Some people cried. Some laughed insanely. One lost it and sprayed Fosters all over my damn room.

El Destructo just kept repeating, in stunned shock, over and over to himself, “I told him a white challenger, and he gave me a white challenger. Why didn’t I say Dodge? Why oh why didn’t I say Dodge? I said white challenger, and he gave me a white challenger…”

It took a LOT of beer to get them through that crisis, but in the end, well…

I blew that one up too.

I still, to this day, cannot think of gaming in 29 Palms without remembering that proud moment, the unveiling of the white challenger. It was my Mona Lisa, my prime creation, my grand belief in mindscrewing the gamer brought to full, vibrant, luxurious life.

It was my triumph. 

There shall never be a finer gaming moment for me, and when I am old and grey, rocking on a porch at the nursing home looking back at all of the insanity that has been my life, I know that this, this one shining moment, will be one of the ones I treasure the most.

42 Responses to “I guess you had to have been there”
  1. Dechion says:

    One of these days I have a story for you. It all started when our party was hired to clear out a nest of pirates…

  2. Saithir says:

    That’s an awesome story, I wish I had some of these. Sadly my rpg sessions were never that cool. I do remember playing Paranoia a few times though, that’s one of the better systems ever.

    I miss my rpg sessions though. Mostly the Vampire: Masquerade ones. I think I’ve still got that character card somewhere.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I think the concept of Paranoia was enough to make it a great game… nobody ever really cared what the rules were, you got excited over the concept. That’s a game due for a fresh relaunch.

      • Saithir says:

        Oh yes, totally. A game designed from the start to let and encourage both the GM and the players to mess with the players, it doesn’t get any better than that. :]

        And I just noticed on Wikipedia it’s been around for more than 25 years now. Holy crap.

        • bigbearbutt says:

          And i played it when it came out. At any moment, I’ll be lamenting the loss of 8 track tapes.

  3. Mannyac says:

    My chest still hurts..Course that was the same character who put his hand into a glove and was possessed by an alien. Then replaced by the alien (who was, I will admit, pretty freakin cool) then “fixed/healed” thru an unasked for wish from another player…returning to his fairly wimpy human mage state….

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Oh god, I forgot all about the whole “ypur character has been possessed, and this is your new character personality/stat card” thing… I remember that, you played that freaking awesome.

      Shit, i wish you’d write me your take on what went down on that, that was epic.

      • Mannyac says:

        As a matter of fact, the figure I used for that game is sitting up on my desk right now…

      • Mannyac says:

        The funnest part of that character was playing him so that it took months of play for the others to figure out what was going on.

        • bigbearbutt says:

          As I recall, that was a situation where your group entered a master wizard’s ancient library within a keep that had been sealed behind impenetrable wards for years, right? And in the library/study, among so many other things, was that pedastal with a strange, black metal gauntlet with spikes around the edges sitting there on velvet under glass?

          And as the whole party splits off in different directions with ‘I’m tapping for secret doors’, ‘I’m checking out the titles of books on the shelves’, ‘I’m looking to see what’s on the desk’, you announce you’re looking at the gauntlet… and then say, “I put it on”, to which I replied, “You did what?!?”

          And then I had to start scribbling furiously on notes and throwing them your way… you campaign derailing bastard. I write those things on the off chance that if someone were to truly be so incredibly stupid as to put on the evil-looking obviously magical gauntlet found in the library of ultimate evil, I’ve got it covered… but I never actually expect someone to DO that.

          • Mannyac says:

            That’s the one…but I don’t remember it being evil (the gauntlet, I mean) besides sometimes I do that crap just so everyone (including the GM) does the WTF?!?!?

  4. bluezman says:

    As a long time D&D player, this was great to read. It reminded me of the time the DM made us all choose 3 cards from a deck of fate. As I drew my final card, the DM handed me a note that that told me that I had to kill one of our party members. And it was my choice. It took me 3 months to do it. To this day we all still have a great laugh and tons of fond memories of what transpired over those months. Except, of course, for the one I had to kill. Out of game, he’s still upset with me. LOL. The best part was that no one else knew about it until it actually happened. Good times….. that I truly miss. Thanks for this!

  5. Katsiya says:

    That… that was just such a wonderful masterpiece of misdirection and so very ultimately worth it. None of the GMs that I know of would have EVER been able to pull off anything like that, let alone THINK of it. You, sir, deserve a nice tall one for your ability to put out a very nice and evil mastermind of a plan.

    Now I just wish I had a story to tell other than about my Gnome Psion… ;_;

  6. Nabol says:

    I’ve never played any RPG’s except some computergames, unfortunately. I should probably give it a try, it sounds like a “blast” ;)

    But anyway. I was so sure you’d have the missile miss the car by an inch or so, hitting the bus no matter what. And the car would just land upside-down, burst into flames and burn to a crisp. But I have to admit. That was some awesome scenario you came up with :D

    • bigbearbutt says:

      The hard part was always being sure to refer to it as the white challenger, without ever being obvious or getting caught that I wasn’t using the word “Dodge”. I was sure that at some point, someone was going to get suspicious, which would have been fine, busting into the lab to see it 2/3rds finished, but yeah, I made it to the very final reveal without tipping my hand.

  7. Changrey says:

    You’re an ass.
    A complete and utter a-hole. A monster. Evil and twisted beyond all human concepts.

    And I love it. Awesome story.

    /bow

  8. Warscreamer says:

    I … will.. never… play.. with.. you…

    /bow

    this story made my day.

  9. Tsudrats says:

    So … when are you inviting us all over for one of your evil games?

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I have… that’s what Converging Forces is! You get to follow along as I torture Manny and James.

      Hell, I already killed Manny once, and then placed him in a situation where he chose… chose! to have an elf carve into his stomach while he had to hold still, pour powders into the bloody markings, and then set them on fire. Willingly.

      Oh, I am a bastard, yes I am.

      • bigbearbutt says:

        Of course, that’s not true either. *I* didn’t kill Manny, MANNY killed Manny… I just gave him the axe and taught him how to load it.

        • Mannyac says:

          That is true…and the story about the glove & possesion was in the ame vein. Course you knew fomr our time playing together that generally all you had to do was put stuff in front of me….OOoooo shiny.. heh

          • bigbearbutt says:

            Honestly, when I gave you the activation phrase in game, I honestly did not expect you to use it right away like that. What I expected was that the elf would die in a valiant holding action while you ran like hell to try and make it out of the valley alive, and find who she asked you to report to to carry her message on.

            Instead, the entire story changed dramatically, and as far as I’ve been able to make out, you cut about 3 months of character time out by going right to the cave entrance the way you did.

            The original idea was, you’d be evading orcs near the entrance to the valley to try and get word out, then return in force… with Terin. That plan went out the window the second you charged the tree.

        • Tsudrats says:

          True true … and we do appreciate converging forces :)

  10. Kaleesh says:

    God I love storytime.

    I guess I have two D&D inside jokes, neither of which are quite that awesome but still get a good laugh from any former members. For one, Jared was almost killed by a regular farm chicken, (“I pull the talons out of my face.” ” The chicken takes copious amounts of skin and bone with it, leaving you to bleed to death.” Healer: “I stand there.”) and my brother always managed to fall(read: get shoved) off of a cliff. There was also a time when the DM drew a map of the island, and after a second we realized he had unwittingly just drawn a seahorse.

  11. Tgauchsin says:

    I miss roleplaying with a good group. In college a bunch of friends and I got together to play, planscape at the time. One of the guys was playing a lawful evil fire genasie(SP). Well he played it perfectly, and always talked in character it was great. Well one time when a new person was joining and they were roleplaying through it, The new character was like I want help, to get back home as she was now stuck in the one world they were on. WELL he says to her in this gravely IC voice he was using, “What do you want, Pity?”. Well that was pretty funny.

    Several sessions later, something grave happened to him, and she happened to be playing a druid, and could heal him, and he asked for somethign she looked at him and said, “What do you want, Pity?” and the look he gave back, was hysterical, and I can still remember it to this day.

  12. Abette says:

    Oh man the memories you brought up. I actually started playing RPG’s while i was in the Corps! I to miss having a in-person gaming group. I love all the stories and with that the fond memories of life in the corps you bring up. :-)

    You still live in S. Fl?

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Nope, my ass is freezing off in bumfu^& Minnesota now.

      You know, as far as is humanly possible to get in the continental USA from a surfable beach. Damnit.

  13. Phelps says:

    Hey, if you had a station that played Dr. D and Art Bell, then you were still ahead of places like Dallas that has CtCAM but not Dr. D.

    There were three rules when I GMed, and the first is yours, if it’s easy now that just means it’s going to be that much harder later. Second was, you can’t have too much money, because the more money you get, the more expenses I find for you, and third, the only true sin is stupidity, which is punished immediately.

    The best one one the easier/harder scale is from Shadowrun. For those who don’t know, it’s Blade Runner meets Warcraft. We had a couple of experienced gamers new to our group. The old group had moved up from Seattle to Denver, and included a razorboy turned street samurai and my brother the rigger, who ran drones out of a really hardened tractor trailer. The new guys added a faceman/muscle type, and a mage. The first week they are playing, they piss off Aztlan (read: the Aztecs, reborn again, complete with human sacrifice.)

    The next week, they get a super easy job. Steal a prototype from a mom&pop, non-multinational corp. It doesn’t pay that great, but it should be a simple in and out for this group. The old-to-the group players say “Pass. There isn’t enough time to do the right kind of legwork and find out who Mr. Johnson is OR who this corp really is, we don’t know what we are really stealing, and the pay isn’t good enough for the unanswered questions.” The new guys say, hey, come on, this is easy money, and it will help with all the money we lost last week.

    So they go. The sami and the rigger are on FULL alert. He’s got drones all over the place, heavy surveillance, he’s scouring the airwaves for ANY sort of rigger network that isn’t his own. He even backs the rig into the drive. The street sami refuses to even set foot on the property. “You want me for the extraction? I can do that just as well from here, on the back of my bike.” He’s wearing all the armor he can, has his LMG openly mounted on the bike, and does everything he can to scream Bad MF, don’t even think about it.

    So the mage goes up to pick the door lock. She’s up there a while, and starts failing rolls. Something’s wrong. She looks behind her. Open lawn. She looks in astral sight. Open lawn. She checks herself. All her quickened spells have been dispelled. (She had about 4 stat boosters, which is a LOT of experience down the drain.) She mentions it on the radio. The rigger zeroes in on the section of lawn behind her with his drones. He notices that there are slightly warm patches of lawn in a regular pattern. He starts shouting “abort abort abort!” on the comm. She bolts towards the truck.

    That’s when the heavy weapons company of Leopard Guards (Aztlan special forces) throw off the live grass covered thermal panels covering their fighting holes. And open up with heavy machine guns and autocannons. Sure, they would have preferred to get them red handed with stolen tech and make it all legal, but illegal works in a pinch as long as the troublesome runners are out of the way. (That’s the mark of an evil corporation over a regular one. They’ll spend money on revenge, rather than only when there’s a profit.)

    The sami opens up with his piddly machine gun, the rigger cranks up the truck and heads for the gate. With the mage still on the way back. She manages to just hit the lip of the trailer and climb because of the massive damage the cab is taking. He’s trying to get the truck moving and strafe the troops with his drones at the same time. Now the other riggers (two of them) networks come up. The faceman is giving first aid to the mage while the sami is playing rear guard. On a motorcycle. In what is now a vehicle chase between a limping tractor trailer, a motorcycle, three trucks full of military operators with heavy weapons (and one heavily armored mage), and close to a dozen drones of various types.

    The motorcycle and rider are quickly pouring our various fluids. He decides to jump for the truck. His bike catches fire on the way. He’s now standing on a flaming bike at 45 mph five feet behind a smoking rig while ordinance wizzes by him. He fails his roll by two successes.

    The mage saves him with a levitate spell. And then passes out from the strain.

    The rigger says, “brace yourselves”. The sami drags the mage to the front of the trailer. The faceman (new guy) stays at the back shooting at the pickups. Sami straps teh two of them in. Faceman isn’t ready when the rig locks all 18 wheels up and goes from 45 to about 25 in half a second and suddenly has three pickups hurtling towards him.

    Unknownst to the group, that’s also when the rigger arms the explosives he has ready to sever the kingpin on the trailer. Just in case.

    Pickups pile against the dock bumper on teh back of the trailer. Facemen become missiles hurtling at wounded samurai and mages. Now all three are wounded, the rigger shakes the two wrecked pickups off with some violent maneuvers, asks how the group is doing on the comm, and gets back from the sami, who is the only one conscious, “eff em. I’m fine.” Rigger heads for the UCAS/Sioux border.

    “I’m gonna jam the border.”
    “Where?!?”
    “At the checkpoint.”
    “. . .”

    About 500 yards from the checkpoint, ripples off his entire roof rack of rockets hidden under the aerodome. Trucks right through the hardened crossing, and leaves some very pissed off UCAS and Sioux warriors to deal with the pickup full of Aztlan regulars who decided to keep following him. Then he limped it back to their safehouse to examine his $500K or so in damage to his rig and drones, on top of about $70K in medical bills for the rest of them. And $20K in expended ordinance.

    The new guys did more legwork before taking a job after that.

  14. Dovius says:

    Damn, this really makes me want to get into a RPG group, this is AWESOME xD

  15. Kivuli says:

    You are a magnificent bastard, sir, and I applaud you. I only hope that one day I might mindscrew my players but a tenth as completely thoroughly as you did.

  16. Mannyac says:

    OK, so I am from Miami originally. Many years ago I introduced my cousin to D&D..He has been GMing down there for years with the same group of players (all of whom I have met, and some I’ve played with, but since the mid-90’s)
    As some of you know there hits a point where players can get a fairly good handle on how the GM thinks. SOOoo my cousin the evil genius calls me from FL and asks me (who lives in VA) to play in his campaign.

    Really? could be a logistical problem, I say.
    No worries I just want you to play the main bad guy, he says.
    So he sent me weekly reports and I gave instructions to my agents/priests/minions (whatever you want to call them.

    An oh yeah very important point. we somehow…ahem…neglected to let the players know that he (the GM) had nothing to do with what the bad guy did. So it’s now been almost three years as the “Evil God” in his campaign. His players were going crazy trying to outhink him and were constantly running into trouble because the tactics didn’t match his normal ones. it wasn’t until two years into the campaign that they found it it was me. And that was because they finally got to talk to the Evil God…via speaker phone….you never heard such language, hehe.

    It was freakin hysterical.

    The campaign is still running and they’ve won some battles, but they ain’t won the war….

    • Tesh says:

      This is awesome. Thorough cheers for BBB’s nefariousness here, but outflanking the PCs via third party email outsourcing, that’s just cool.

      It makes me want to find a way to weave that into any games I design…

      • Mannyac says:

        On top of making the other players a little crazy, it made his job as GM easier. He could focus on his plot and running the game, and not have to worry about the bad guy’s next move.

  17. Mannyac says:

    Sorry..

    “He has been GMing down there for years with the same group of players (all of whom I have met, and some I’ve played with, but NOT since the mid-90′s)”

    makes more sense that way

  18. Galldron says:

    I swear to you there is a school veiled in shadows that GM’s are sent to. At this school they become a sadistic twisted visage of benevolence. I am now also convinced that you spent time there with my GM. And what would the game have been without you? Thanks ;-}

  19. Kauket says:

    Coming late to the party as usual, but oh my, that was beautiful! I even dragged over my hubby and made him read it; though I prefaced with, “This may give you too much evil inspiration, but you’ll really enjoy this story.” Which he did.

    They hubby, when we are fortunate enough to get an adequate number of people together, GMs our games and is very, very good at it. Not so much in extensive prep or elaborate sets (that dry erase grid mat was pretty high falooting fancy equipment), but in how quickly he thinks on his feet. One campaign long ago, myself and two brothers in law decided we wanted to play as an evil party. Things went about as well as expected, and we ended up with an entire town guard plus a master wizard (who wanted his stolen spellbook back) in pursuit. We ducked into a cave to try to hide, but they blew up the entrance behind us. So there we were a few days later, lost, exhausted, out of spells, starving, our only beverage the water that our cleric–known only as “The Foul One”–made, and we run into a group of fungus men. We’ve got to hit hard and fast: take them down before they can get reinforcements. (“And maybe they’re edible!” says brother #1. “Mushrooms, yuck,” says Brother #2.) We win initiative.

    I roll a 1.

    Brother #1 rolls a 1.

    Brother #2 rolls a 1.

    We stare, aghast, at the traitorous dice, knowing it’s the end of all our evil dreams. The hubby points at me: “Your wild swing knocks the torch out of the hands of Brother #2. Brother #1 flails crazily and sets the torch spinning. Brother #2 chops forward with all his might and splits the torch in half lengthwise. The fungus men tremble in awe at your mad prowess and then flee.”

    Another moment of silence, then the cheering breaks out. I forget who actually coined the term, but from then on, that group was known as “The Slayers of Light”.

  20. Abby Birday says:

    My friends and I learned early on that no one like to listen to our RPG in game stories. So (because we all just happened to be comic artist) we started to draw scenes of our Adventures. When the campaign was over we would exchange and scan each others drawings then make scrap books.

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