Author Topic: Anecdote Megathread  (Read 23834 times)

Tadanori Oyama

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Anecdote Megathread
« on: March 23, 2009, 08:42:42 PM »
They do them on the show, so why not do more on the forums? Post your best stories from game sessions.


This story is from years ago when I was running a 3.0 Dungeons and Dragons game, my very first long term campaign. It started in the Forge of Fury premade and moved up into the higher levels over months of play. Great time. I spent most of my time being fairly nice to the players. They had tough fights but they got treasure at an amazing rate so they were equipped to handle themselves properly.

At around eighth level I decided to throw them back into the dungeons after a lot of military campaign behind enemy lines kind of adventures. So, they have to get this book for some wizard to win the guy’s help in their country's war. This book is in a tomb but that’s easy enough, they've handled undead before.

The party enters the final room of the tomb/dungeon. The book, which they know is cursed, sits on a stand in the middle of a platform in a floorless room. The platform is held up by a massive pile of bones which descends into darkness. It's connected to the doorway by a narrow rope bridge that has a lot of slack on it. The characters have to balance their way across it, which two of them do while the other two wait.

The Cleric decides to read the book. The trap for the room triggers when the book is removed so I ask him if he’s going to open it on the stand or pick it up. He says he’ll  pick it up and crack it open. The moment he does so two things happen: the platform rumbles and the bones start clattering below them and the book blasts the Cleric with negative energy. He takes light damage but he is now totally paralyzed.

A round later, as the Wizard tries to pull the book out of the Cleric's hands so he could close it and the Fighter is rushing across the bridge to see what's going on, skeletons start to come crawling up over the edges of the platform. The skeletons aren't really a threat to the players but there's a problem. The skeletons are what's holding this platform up and as more and more come to get the adventurers the platform is starting to lower.

The Fighter gets to the platform and starts smashing skeletons as fast as he can because that's how Brutar the Dwarf liked things: smashed. Meanwhile the Wizard managed to get the book loose at last and tosses it into a bag. The Cleric, no longer staring into the cursed book, starts to come out of his paralyzed state. The Rogue is still at the doorway, because 1) he was kind of a dick and 2) the character’s player didn’t want anything to do with skeletons (which he couldn’t sneak attack or inflict significant harm on with his piercing damage).

The platform is about ten feet lower by this point and has pulled the formerly slack bridge tight. Skeletons are still pouring up from the edges and the Wizard manages to convince the Fighter that smashing them isn't actually helping the situation that much. The Cleric, thinking quickly, managed to stumble his way back onto the bridge and start back towards the doorway while the players of the Fighter and Wizard argue about how to stop the skeletons. The Cleric assumes he can take the opportunity attacks without much trouble. But the skeletons don't try to claw him; they grapple him (which took me a LONG time to get right, I wasn't great with the grapple rules) and work as a team to pin him down on the rope bridge.

Now the platform is getting even lower and the bridge is more of a ladder. The ropes are surprising strong and take some of the weight from the platform as it continues to sink, which tilts the platform at a thirty degree angle and forces the Wizards and Fighter to keep their balance and returns their attention to the problem of escape. At that moment the Cleric, using an awareness of his class features he had not yet demonstrated, remembers he could turn undead. He wins his grapple to get out of the pin and I rule he could turn while in grapple so he makes the roll and crits it. He totals high enough to turn all the skeletons on the platform, about ten of them, and then some (skeletons have about 1/2 a hit die, if I remember right). He assumes they will crawl back over the edge, thereby stabilize the platform. I then remind him that because they’re less than half his level so they are not turned; they are destroyed.

All of the skeletons around the players turn to dust; than the platform starts to tilt farther. I inform the players that the burst of positive energy destroyed skeletons still under the platform. The “floor” is at something like a sixty degree tilt now with the Cleric hanging onto the rope bridge while the Wizard and Fighter try to scramble up the slant to do the same. At this point the party is starting to get worried because the Wizard had used most of his spells for the day already and he only has damaging spells remaining, not utility spells. Some anger is also expressed towards the Rogue and his player, who still remains completely safe at the doorway.

Skeleton hands start to peak around the bottom on the platform where it still touches the pile of bones and it begins to tilt again. With some good climb checks from the Wizard and Fighter they get high enough to catch hold of the Cleric's legs. The Clerics player, after checking his strength score, informs them that he couldn't hold them up. The Wizard, in a fit of brilliance, pulls the cursed book out of the bag and tosses it up to the Cleric. He tells the Cleric to lace his arms through the ropes on the bridge and open the book.

The Cleric does so and promptly freezes in position. The remaining skeletons can not reach the Wizard and Fighter before the platform finally comes away from the bone pile and hangs totally vertical. The party is now hanging from the Cleric, who is in turn latched to the rope bridge.

The Wizard, hanging from the paralyzed Cleric, didn't want to try and make a climb check because significant failure would result in a fall into the pit. The Fighter, however, makes a quick check to climb up the Cleric until he is high enough to grab the planks of the bridge. He manages to get to the top and promptly begins kicking the crap out of the Rogue for not helping them. I get them back on track, reminding them half the party is still hanging on for dear life. The Rogue aids another, the Fighter pulls but they couldn't pull the bridge up with the platform attached to it. So they drop a knotted rope to the Wizard and get him level with the Cleric. After a few tries the Wizard gets the book loose from the Cleric’s hands and stuffs it back into his bag.

Within a few rounds the Cleric and Wizard are pulled to the top and the challenge has been conquered. They had the book, and they resolved to never open any books in the dungeon, ever again. Also, the Rogue would have to go first from now on.


rayner23

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2009, 04:43:03 PM »
I know I told Ross, but I'm not sure if I posted it here or not:

I run a game for my high school students and in one session, they were supposed to lure vampires into a town while Obad-Hai used his nature bad-assery to destroy their coffins (Swamp Thing fans will see a blatant rip-off there). Anyway, I told the kids they had to figure out a way to get the vampires to come into the town.

One player said, "Maybe we could pay some parents to let us borrow their kids for awhile."

I told them that a parent would probably find that to be incredibly creepy, but maybe for the right price and a really bad parent . . .

The players looked over their funds and came to the conclusion that it would be too expensive. Then, one player's eyes lit up and he said, "Is there an orphanage around here?"

I was silently proud of them.
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clockworkjoe

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2009, 07:03:33 PM »
Funny bit in last night superhero game. The players were looking for a rare book that contained information they needed. Only one copy was available - in the rare book section of the NY public library - couldn't be checked out. When I told them that, they were crestfallen for a bit as the idea of stealing the book did not even occur to them. And these were characters who all committed multiple felonies - murder, assault, breaking and entry and the nicest PC had stolen evidence directly from the police. But if they couldn't check out the book, then they couldn't get it.

Player logic is hilarious.

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 07:56:07 PM »
And it's a LIBRARY for god's sake.  If it bothers you so much, then hit Kinko's, photocopy the pages you need, and RETURN IT.

Librarians aren't going to press charges.
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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2009, 08:22:57 PM »
And it's a LIBRARY for god's sake.  If it bothers you so much, then hit Kinko's, photocopy the pages you need, and RETURN IT.

Librarians aren't going to press charges.

well to be fair, it was a 3000 page tome.

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2009, 11:06:57 AM »
That one is a surprise. I can never predict what players will and will not destory/steal/kill/burn.

In our regular DnD game yesterday they decided that to get through a massive set of locked doors they could just destory the hinges and pull one down. They knock over one 30 ft door so their way is open. Then knocked down the other door. So it wouldn't be lonely, I guess.

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2009, 02:02:12 PM »
Quote from: Tadanori Oyama
Then knocked down the other door. So it wouldn't be lonely, I guess.

C'mon, everyone knows that covering only half a doorway totally borks the feng shui.
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clockworkjoe

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2009, 07:09:19 PM »
It could be worse. If the door was made out of adamantium, they could have tried to take it with them as loot.

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2009, 09:41:58 PM »
Yeah, only make that mistake once. Turns out that a twenty foot portcullis of solid mithral crafted by Dwarves is both light enough to be carried on a Tensor's Disk spell after being knocked down and expensive enough to throw off the wealth curve of low level adventurers. That was back in 3.0 D&D.

This door was pretty fun to start with actually. They had to get their Rogue high enough to melt the upper hinges. After he did and the door had no connection to the wall he had to make an acrobatics check and if he failed it by too much, the door would tilt. And he rolled a one so the door fall over. It nearly crushed him but some quick thinking from the other party members saved him except for a little falling damage.

The weird thing is that their first plan was to take the place over and make it their new base of operations. Then they started dismantling it. Again: gamer logic.

Maze

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2009, 11:13:06 PM »
Most of you probably heard of all gaming theories and the so like: "gamism, simulationism, etc." that I personally consider as utter bullshit and waste of time.

We should make a whole thread about gamer logic, or tenets of gamers.

This is the only thing I've found:



errr...
« Last Edit: March 29, 2009, 11:16:43 PM by Maze »

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2009, 11:37:01 PM »
Like an "A Study in the Logic of Gaming" thread with stories of the strange things that players seem to think make sense? I could totally get behind that. Should that be a seperate thread or just continued here? I can tweak the title.

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2009, 12:06:32 AM »
Let's start a new thread and keep this thread for more gaming stories.

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2009, 02:46:17 AM »
Hi all! In case anybody missed my waves and salutations in the Introduction thread, I'm Ryan, and I'm new to the forums. I've been listening to the podcast through iTunes for about a week now, and I love it more with each new episode I hear. One of my favorite bits of the show is when Ross and Tom share anecdotes that they receive, so I thought I'd toss my own chips into the pot and share a hysterical happening from my gaming experience.

In my gaming circle, several people have picked up the reigns as storyteller / GM at one point or another, but no one has failed as epically or as frequently as our friend Erik. Erik is one of my oldest friends, and a regular face at the table when I'm running a game, but to us, his turns behind the screen have become the stuff of bad game legend. Even before I joined the group during my freshman year of high school, Erik was running games that were so bad that we still talk about them today, more than a decade later. The example that springs most readily to mind is a travesty that came to be known as...

"The Birthday Game."

I'm tempted to believe that if Andy Kaufman ever ran a Mage game, this is the kind of game he would have run. Given Erik's track record though, I'm pretty sure he planned this out as a straight game and was completely perplexed by the fact that it irritated and confused everyone at the table.

I am happy to report that I was not involved in this session; I heard about it from another friend, Paul, a few months after it happened. The premise was simple: the players were a group of mages who were summoned to an abandoned warehouse by an informant claiming to known the whereabouts of the big bad that they were chasing. As soon as they set foot in the building, the doors slid shut and sealed behind them, eliminating their only visible means of egress. What the players found within was a series of locked doors that could only be opened by solving puzzles, word games and math problems that Erik provided them with in real life. Once they'd solved a puzzle, the door it was associated with would open, and they would get an item for their trouble, as well as passage through to the next door. Once they had completed a few puzzles and collected an armful of imaginary random crap--including a shovel, a bottle of ketchup, and a floorlamp--my friend Paul began to grow impatient.

"This is bullshit," he said. "We're just collecting a bunch of useless junk. Why don't we just blast our way through and find this guy?" The other players balked at this notion.

"I don't think we should," my friend Evan said. "We're probably going to need this stuff at the end of the game. I mean, why would he be giving it to us if we weren't going to need it?"

Even though he had glimpsed the terrifying outline of Erik's designs in the misty distance, Paul decided to bite, and played through another two hours of puzzles before he finally became frustrated enough to take action. By this point, the party had solved so many puzzles that their characters were hauling their door prizes around with a shopping cart that they'd won along the way. Paul began to bore his way through the remaining doors using Forces magick, disregarding everyone else's protests that they were going to need the items that solving the puzzles netted them. When Paul breached the final door, the scene that awaited him left everyone at the table speechless.

"You see a man sitting at the head of a long table that's covered with confetti," Erik said. "He's wearing a polka-dotted party hat and a cheesy bow tie. Behind him, there's an enormous banner that says, 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY!' in big, bubble letters. On the table in front of him is a gigantic birthday cake with chocolate butter cream icing, a single candle burning on top."

" 'What the hell is this?!' " Paul asked, in character.

" 'Welcome to my birthday party, friends,' " Erik responded. " 'Did you have fun playing the party games that I set up for you?' "

" 'Don't you have some information for us?' " Evan asked. " 'About the villains we've been trying to hunt down?' "

" 'Oh, no,' " Erik replied as the hapless NPC. " 'I just told you that so that you would come to the party!' "

As you can imagine, the reaction to this was violent. They tore down the banner, tied this guy up with it, doused him with kerosene, and lit him on fire with his own birthday candle.

Even though it happened more than ten years ago, The Birthday Game is a story often revisited and retold among my gaming friends, and is perhaps the most popular with those who weren't there, myself included. It was a predictor of disastrous things to come in Erik's GMing career, a pathway littered with the bones of abandoned campaigns and sworn oaths that he would never again run a game.

I'll save those stories for another time, so that this post doesn't turn into a novella. However, I have affectionately entitled them, "With Do I Can Kick Your Guts Out," and, "Kill the Mayor, Spare Us The Details."

Thoughts? Comments? Threats on my life?
-Ryan.

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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2009, 07:03:54 AM »
Holy shit! That was hilarious. How old were the players in that game?

They set him on fire with his own birthday candle!!! I love it!!!
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Re: Anecdote Megathread
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2009, 11:19:06 AM »
Thought : Erik reminds me of Sam

Comment : Well writen friend. welcome to the forum and what not

Threat on life : If you ever stop visiting the forum we WILL hunt you.

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