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Old 12-28-2012, 11:17 PM   #1
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RPGs: Victory and Shame

Reading about elves and dwarves got me thinking about D&D and RPGs in general. I used to play D&D a lot in my early twenties and thirties, other RPGs too.

If there is one thing I've realized during my RPG glory days is that everyone has a slew of RPG victories and horror stories.

Everything from making it through the Temple of Elemental Evil in one piece to playing with a DM (or player) who made you want to stab your eyes out with small, gnome-sized butter knives.

For me, I had a great group for a while. Lots of roleplaying, intrigue. Modules weren't the "end all" of play, but had storylines connected to them. Great group dynamics. Great players. Everyone was up to something (lots of note-passing and such). Political drama. Even some romance.

A highlight for me was when one of my characters found out that her father (once a glorious paladin) had become a deathknight and she had to take him out. Awesome character arc.

Lows for me include DMs that rely too heavily on modules (all hack-and-slash), or, DMs who like to torture their players to the point of making it really miserable for everyone. For example, my (then) BF and I answered a D&D ad and went to play with a new DM who made us all roll up dwarves. We HAD to be dwarves. Okay. Fine. Then he told me I couldn't be a female because he didn't allow female characters in his adventures (they would get raped). We were all level 1 and he kept throwing level 3-4 goblins at us.

We were all knocked unconscious and tied up by the goblins. He would let us try to escape, only to have another group of goblins come along and knock us out again. Literally 5 hours of of this.

Anyway, share the good and the bad.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:41 PM   #2
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I played D&D for a bit, but MERP...Middle Earth Role Playing was my game. Loved interacting with the characters in the books. Those days really shaped my writing. Having to think of plot twists on the fly...great fun.

My favorite RPG moment??

A group of us had been playing this quest for about two years (real time), running all over Middle Earth, collecting clues, fighting everything under the sun....

Finally we get to the end, fight the last bad guy, capture the long-sought after treasure and then....

Our nemesis shows up and takes it from us.

Years of playing, only to get screwed over in the end.

One of my buddies just got up and walked away, never to play again.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:46 PM   #3
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I was playing Traveler with my husband modding and he forgot the name of one of the characters. In desperation, he glanced at the front of the notebook in which he'd prepared the game, and used the first words he saw.

So for the rest of the game, that character was known as Oxford Mathsbook.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:09 AM   #4
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I was playing a male elven archer in a campaign with some friends. We used to meet every Friday night to play.

One Friday, I had to work and couldn't make it, so I gave the DM my character sheet until I could make it the week following. The next game I sat in on, I was annoyed when they kept joking about how the character was molested by gnomes in the bar after eating some *coughcough* "magic mushrooms" or something the one night I wasn't there.

And then the DM threw in a sex change ring because he and some of the other players were getting annoyed that they kept forgetting my character was a dude. I almost--almost--passed the saving throw on that one. Damn it.

Then I stopped playing because they switched to 4E.
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
I was playing Traveler with my husband modding and he forgot the name of one of the characters. In desperation, he glanced at the front of the notebook in which he'd prepared the game, and used the first words he saw.

So for the rest of the game, that character was known as Oxford Mathsbook.
This is funny. I did the same thing. I needed the name and saw a buddy's coke can. So the next NPC was "Lord Caffeine." Horrible GMing on my part!

Man, i really miss those days!
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:27 AM   #6
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I was a DM for many, many years with a loyal core group. They chose me because I could not only run the group, but came up with great scenarios that were not modular and not run of the mill stuff. I often had my players going up against gods and demigods.

The core group consisted of about 10 guys and gals, and everyone of us played together for years while in college, and afterwards. As a DM I gave extra points and treasure for characters that were really creative and stayed true to their alignment.

During on memorable weekend, out of many memorable weekends, we had a large party and had over twenty players. I ended up having to have an assistant DM to handle the smaller side skirmishes while I handled the larger adventure. I also had to limit each player to 2 characters and most of these characters were level 8 or higher.

Well, one long time player decided to bring in two newbees who had never played before. The assistant DM helped them create their characters, a ranger and a cleric. After observing for an hour or so, they decided to finally join in. The first guy, the ranger, charged into a small skirmish without realizing what he was getting into. He died on his first dice roll and I told him to move out so someone else could take his seat. The second player, the cleric, when I asked what her response was, she said she would wait with the horses and pray. What a smart 1st level cleric I told her and gave her a few extra points because she did not waste the DM's time.

To make a long story short, she survived the weekend and many more, and we married about a year later...

As DM, I always demanded the players turn their character sheets to me. I would write the points and treasures down that they collected and return it back to them at the end of the night. This way, I also kept track of what they were carrying and what their health was.

Why was this important?

I had another player who was a paladin carry everything he owned with him. Said you never know what you going to need. Well, I cured him and the rest of the group of this idiotic thinking during one adventure in an underground palace.

The group was walking by a pool when a water elemental sprang up out of the pool. Everyone had to roll to see who got swept in. The pool was 16 feet deep and the water was four feet from the edge. The paladin was the only character to get swept in. I asked what he was going to do.

He said he would hold his breath, sink to the bottom and then spring up and grab the lip of the pool and haul himself out. (NO ONE, offered to throw him a rope. He was somebody always interrupting the games and passing out.)

I told everyone to take a break while I figure the weight of everything he carried on him, including his armor. When finished I told him he had three chances before the weight of all his stuff overwhelmed his strength. His first chance he needed 80 or better. Fail. Second chance I told him his strength was now decreased and he needed 90 or better. Fail. Third chance I told him he needed 99 or better. Fail. He drowned and I kept his character, which are the rules of my games.

Players knew that if they died, I kept their players and they came back later as spirits. This was a way for me to make sure players actually thought about their actions because their were consequences.

I had one player create a cleric and she never ever played the cleric but would always note her character was studying so I would give it points to move up in knowledge and level.

When she finally got the cleric to a level 12, she entered the game and the first thing she did was ask for a chance to revive her other dead character. I told her that her goddess demanded a sacrifice of her character and she readily agreed. I allowed her to keep both, but bumped her cleric back down to a level six, which was were her other character was.

Lots of interesting stories from my time as a DM, but I suspect most of them are, you had to be there type stories...
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Old 12-29-2012, 12:31 AM   #7
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I played D&D for a bit, but MERP...Middle Earth Role Playing was my game.
Funny, I was MERPing with my kids earlier today. My son is a low level but very British wizard. He can conjure cucumber sandwiches and pots of tea....

ETA: my fave moment was the dreaded Random Encounter. A Fell Beast. By a fluke, the scout archer in the party takes it down with one superb shot. Shame it landed on the ranger...
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:30 AM   #8
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:47 AM   #9
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Ah, D&D... I was one of those people who kept saying, "Wait, what do I roll for this?" I'm not good with the numbers. The d4 was the bane of my existence.

That said, I've participated in a couple hilariously epic ones. Two instances stick out in my memory:

In the first one, our party included a very naughty dwarf and a pseudo-dragon, the latter of which became my familiar as the wizard of the group. Which would have been cool, except the dwarf introduced it to mead, and every time I tried to send it off to scout areas for us it would eventually wander back flying in kooky circles, hiccuping to itself and saying things like, "What was I supposed to do? Hey, that castle's really pretty." Which of course led to me facepalming a LOT and having to scry all the time instead. My character was very annoyed, but I thought it was awesome.

In the second, I was an evoker, aligned as "chaotic neutral" and having a very bad day, so when our party happened across a ship that we suspected might have our Significant Questing Object aboard, me and a few others decided to raid it and start throwing fireballs everywhere and take it by force. Which somehow didn't work--I forget exactly what went down--but finally, we realized that we'd have to sneak around and try to obtain the Significant Questing Object by stealth. Which led to our DM facepalming and saying this to me: "Oookay, that was my original intention with this whole ship scenario--finding the Thing by stealth--only now everyone aboard knows what you're doing and everything is ON FIRE. You have fifteen minutes before the ship sinks. Good luck!" Me: "Ooooh. Um. Sorry?"
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:35 AM   #10
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As a DM, I always urged player to write me notes if they did not want the rest of the group to know something, if they had a question, or wanted to make a comment without slowing the game down.

In our core group I had a guy who always played a thief character. He would write me a note that he want to pick so and so's pocket and I would have him roll his dice. If he succeeded I would chose something from the characters list of items he was carrying. Well, other players started noticing the thief was rolling dice a lot, and they would send me notes on what they suspected was going on and the precautions they were taking...

One player a sorcerer, informed me that his right side saddle bag has a magical game trap set in it. Just thought I should know.

Well when the thief finally sent me a note that he was rummaging through this guys saddle bags while the group was off scouting on foot, he lost the roll and I took his fingers. He also lost dexterity and skill points.

Everyone applauded my decision as they were getting tired of protecting their stuff from a member of the group. Got to give the guy credit though, he got away with a lot of stuff before that. He finally found a cleric who could regrow his fingers back, but it cost him more than what he had stolen. He didn't steal from the group anymore...
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:44 AM   #11
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Funny, I was MERPing with my kids earlier today. My son is a low level but very British wizard. He can conjure cucumber sandwiches and pots of tea....

ETA: my fave moment was the dreaded Random Encounter. A Fell Beast. By a fluke, the scout archer in the party takes it down with one superb shot. Shame it landed on the ranger...
Yes, the random encounter! As if a balrog will be strolling through the Shire!
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:52 AM   #12
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I played D&D for a bit, but MERP...Middle Earth Role Playing was my game. Loved interacting with the characters in the books. Those days really shaped my writing. Having to think of plot twists on the fly...great fun.

My favorite RPG moment??

A group of us had been playing this quest for about two years (real time), running all over Middle Earth, collecting clues, fighting everything under the sun....

Finally we get to the end, fight the last bad guy, capture the long-sought after treasure and then....

Our nemesis shows up and takes it from us.

Years of playing, only to get screwed over in the end.

One of my buddies just got up and walked away, never to play again.
Wow. I would have kicked the GM in the junk for this unless there was hope of tracking down the bad guy and retrieving items.

My (ex) BF played with an all male group for a while. The GM had a thing against women (as players and as characters). This was his own made-up fantasy world based in a super-tight, faux medieval setting. Didn't bother me. My BF was having a great time and I didn't want to play with a misogynistic ass. (I get that it was his realm, fine, whatever, but he was also very anti-woman in general and was "appalled" by women who were not "at home" mothers and wives.)

My bf had a character that he'd played for 2 years with this guy. Built him up from a wee squire to a man of 27 or 28. Because the DM started to have difficulty running higher level/powerful characters, he started to do random shit to each PC. "You are hurt and you're 28, so roll a d4 and that's how much strength you lose permanently." Same with Charisma, intelligence, whatever. Essentially, he drove all the players away and the BF started a group of his own with these guys (including me) that lasted for over 10 years.

For me, overly-anal/overly controlling DMs are one of the biggest turn-offs. If you want to be a megalomaniac, go micro-manage at Staples for frack's sake.

We were less interested in maintaining every single tiny precious stat and coin and item and more interested in the character arcs. When the Birthright expansion came out for D&D, it opened up a brand new world for us with country-based combat and realm rulership. (Still one of my favorite worlds in D&D).

Oh, and Thoth, I couldn't run in a group with 10 people. That's my idea of hell. Period. Five was pushing it for us and we all had one character a'piece (unless the group was smaller, like 2 or 3). The most I played with was 8 and we never accomplished anything because of side-chatting and people acting like assholes running off and doing stupid crap "because alignment says so."

As a DM and a player, I had the pleasure of running with people who understood how to make a group work and that it might have been "neat" as an 18 year old to have a paladin and a CE assassin in the group, it was pretty counter-productive and as far from engaging as you could possibly get.

We also avoided the high fantasy stuff where you had level 40 orc champions running around with +20 battle axes of doom while riding gigantic griffons who poop spells. God, kill me, please.
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:55 AM   #13
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:39 AM   #14
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I've never played D&D. Only a bit of Traveler. So no, you're not alone.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:49 AM   #15
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I just was just happily reading through this thread, got to Kuwi, and nearly died laughing.

My friends have been wanting to try out DnD for a while, so I picked up the Essentials Starter Kit. It seems like a nice, cheap little stepping stone to get everyone interested (and it's a lot less overwhelming/expensive than trying to figure out what to get to start a 'normal' game, imo).
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:53 AM   #16
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A few years ago, I was in a old World of Darkness game. The characters were a mix of splats, but it was made up mostly of mages. This being a WoD game, angst and darkness were big, so none of us shied away from conflict with each other, and the GM encouraged that kind of thing.

One day, my mage got into a fight with the rest of the chantry. He wasn't a heavy hitter, but still lasted a while. Then, a character with Correspondence magic (the ability to manipulate space for teleportation and other things like it) walked in. Her trick was using her magic to score headshots with her heavy pistol. She uses her magic, succeeds in landing a bullet, and...

My character only takes a single level of damage. She does it again, and again my character only takes another level of damage. Finally, another character shot mine, and since my character was too injured to dodge, she landed the head. Boom. His head exploded.

There were no hard feelings, but from that point on, we all called her 'Parabotch', and I specifically called her a sadistic killer. She had had rotten luck with rolls before, and continued to have bad ones after. Thinking about her horrid rolls still brings a smile to my face.
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:54 AM   #17
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I've only done a paper and pen rpg once, and while it was fun our dm was a lazy bastard and we only made it through two or three sessions. I wish my lazy ass college friends would get their shit together so we could start a new game this semester.
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:19 AM   #18
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People, the genre forum this thread originated in is about writing. This thread is not about writing, but playing games. I have no problem with the discussion at all, other than it is misplaced.

Therefore, I am porting it over to the Games forum, where it can keep company with other threads of like subject matter and treatment. Enjoy.
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Old 12-29-2012, 08:17 AM   #19
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Awesome, thanks Pthom! I didn't even know there was a games forum. Shows what I know.

I've played a lot of games, starting with D&D. Also played some Cyberpunk (which is kind of LOL because we surpassed the technology in the book by 1997 or something). Loved White Wolf games. I still have my original Vampire: TM (softcover) player's handbook.

Also got into Fading Suns (which is still one of the coolest worlds I've ever played in, a cross between Dune and Babylon 5). Star Wars had an interesting system. Lots of great RPGs out there. I think once the MMOs took over the PnP industry kind of took a nosedive (with no help from the D&D franchise. They're on what? Version 4 now? 5?)

It's funny, none of my fantasy stories are based on any type of RPG adventure. I think that RPGs did give me great practice at creating characters and building backgrounds, though.

I've loved reading this thread so far. I hope to see more posts!
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:42 AM   #20
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Played a fair bit of ad&d, usually as GM becuase no-one else wanted to.

On the odd occassion I've played with a group I didn't know well, I've been pretty disappointed, starting with my first game of Shadowrun. I was only allowed to join as a rigger (a driver / engineer with a fancy car - the rig, a very gear dependant class) as that's what the group "needed" The groups very first action was to "persuade" me to give them almost of all of my money before I'd bought my gear. No dice roll for me allowed, but I got to watch someone else roll one.

A couple of weeks later, with this being pretty much the trend, I left the group after not believing the GM when he told me I had a black mark on my cheek . . . I'd reached the point of paranoia and didn't even believe the group telling me something OOC.

My favourite moment as a GM was my brother convincing the group not to go into a city of giants I'd spent weeks designing but rather sit on a hill outside and just kill the giants one at a time as they came out with lightning spells.

I got my own back with a marvelously paranoid halfling shopkeeper who'd only sell things to people who promised to protect him when bad things came for him in the night. It took work to get him to sell anything, so when he really didn't want to sell the inactive vegetable golem he'd given up trying to activate and I'd put in the corner becuase I thought it was funny, the group wanted nothing more and wouldn't believe all my hints that it was useless - and I gave a lot. The halfling had them questing for him for hours for a pile of vegetables he'd bought from a con artist due to his paranoia.

I think I only got away with it because the quests were so ridiculous. Making a pentagram out of carrots dug up in the grounds of a necromancer's castle by the light of a full moon was only the beginning. They finally twigged I was wasting their time when the halfling started to run out of good ideas and suggested they go see if they could find a vampire with a herb garden to get some magic garlic.

I wasn't mean though, I did let them activate it in the end, in a scene straight out of frankenstein (if it had been written by someone with a vegetable fixation) It had absolutely no skills but Frankensprout made a good party mascot.

Happy days

Craig

Last edited by Wiskel; 12-31-2012 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:05 PM   #21
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The Drop from Hell: Played on Roll20, an awesome internet service.

So, I recently got ONLY WAR. It's the latest RPG in the awesome Warhammer 40,000 gameline. A bit of a primer for those unfamiliar with 40k: It's 40,000 years in the future, humanity is ruled by a galaxy spanning theocratic empire where the standard of living is so shockingly horrible that total war makes a marginal improvement and where the standard side-arm of the elite special forces (who are 9 foot tall superhuman warriors that spit acid, have two hearts, and wear foot thick power armor) is a semi-automatic rocket propelled grenade launcher that fires .75 caliber mass reactive diamond tipped explosive bullets.

In Only War...you do not play those guys.

Instead, you play as a regular joe-dirt who volunteered to serve in the Imperial Guard. You're given flack armor, a laser rifle and then sent into the meat grinder by the billions to win wars of pure attrition. Which is the kind of thing you can do when your civilization has a population of 100 QUINTILLION PEOPLE.

So...

My PCs are gaurdsmen and guardswomen of the Padashen 1st, the first regiment raised from a world called Padashen, a gas giant that is famous for it's vast, floating cloud cities where the fabulously wealthy nobles of a dozen star systems go to relax. The planet was tithed for a regiment, and so the noble riff raff paid their servants to volunteer in their place.

Due to their experience with heights and personal aircraft, they were trained as droptroops: Soldiers armed with light laser-carbines and given gravi-chutes. Think like a combination between a jetpack and an antigravity field which lets you drop from orbit.

Their training was pretty harsh, but they were told they were going up against the Tau: A short, alien species that has been pushing up against human worlds, indoctrinating and subverting colonies left and right. They were told the Tau weapons were crappy, short ranged and weak. The Tau armor was pitiful. The Tau moral was weak. The Tau's training was sub-par, primitive.

Their regiment - alongside three others (A Talleran mechanized infantry regiment, a Mordian Iron Guard tank regiment, and the infamous/famous Tanith 1st and Only light infantry regiment) were going to go after a mostly human planet that had been taken and pacified by the Tau. Their regiment was to drop before the fleet moved into orbit and before the Tau detected them (hopefully). Then various squads would hit targets of opportunity: Free prison camps, blow up anti-orbit guns, hit supply depots, mine roads, that kind of thing.

After a bit of good natured ribbing and playing card games (The sanctioned psychic won...who'd have guessed) the troopship dropped out of the Warp and they were bustled onto a shuttle.

They were all green, mind you. Eager to fight.

The light went green and they jumped, all eight of them: 4 PCs, and their 4 NPC "cohorts" (basically, in Only War, each character gets a cohort that buffs their abilities and makes the squad feel bigger and more powerful. Also, if enemies roll doubles while opening fire on your character, your cohort gets hit instead. Two hits and a cohort is dead.)

So, the PCs roll their Operate: Grav-Chute tests.

The Sarge passed.
The Psychic passed.
The Sniper passed.
The Heavy Weapons...failed.

They land in a forest, each of them hitting dirt...but the Heavy Weapons guy catches a tree branch under his arm-pit and gets his arm ripped off. The Sarge does first aide with his radioman (woman, actually...Narine has a drug problem that she hasn't told the rest of the squad) and orders the rest of the squad to fan out.

The sniper takes up position near a road and spots a squad of human traitors - armed with local weaponry - doing a patrol. The traitor Sargent hears something and the sniper is forced to start things off with a bang: She underhands a frag grenade into the enemy squad, takes down three of them, and the rest of the squad opens up, gunning down the remainder, leaving only one of the traitors alive.

The last soldier, her squad blown to bits in about 5 seconds, throws up her hands and surrenders. The Sarge interrogates her...

Then the Sarge's player IMs me privately: "We're drop troops...we can't keep a prisoner."

And I say, "It's your decision, you're in charge."

He lets her say her last rites, then shoots her in the head.

The Sarge's player private IM's me again and confesses he is bawling his eyes out. His character throws up in the bushes a good way away from his squad. He orders them to move out.

The squad heads on, their moral low. They creep up on the Anti-Orbital gun they're here to disable and spot two pillboxes, both with large Tau made weapons in them. They sneak up, but one of the gunners spots them in the trees. He opens up.

The "weak", "Short ranged" and "underpowered" Tau gun rips the forest to bits, blowing trees in half, vaporizing whole trunks, and almost blowing the Sarge's leg clean off, pinning him.

The Heavy Weapons specialist - who is an INCREDIBLY tough guy, as he's doped up to shit and his socket is covered and patched - has his cohort, Tristriam Blake (a girl, despite the name) line up a shot. Tris manages to hit the first pillbox with a frag missile despite being chronically unlucky. The first pillbox goes down. The second is flushed out by the sniper and our psychic who uses his uncanny ability to SHOOT LIGHTNING OUT OF HIS HANDS to vaporize the enemy.

However, the A-O gun (which is a fortified building in and of itself) has an actual Tau Fire Warrior in command of it's defenses and he sets up a good fight, with men suppressing the squad, throwing down smoke grenades, trying to flank. The sniper picks some off, but the psychic's cohort and best friend is winged in the shoulder, while the Sarge takes a wound in the calf, but not a debilitating one.

They cut their way inside and fan through the building. They come on the Fire Warrior's office and the Psychic takes the lead, opening the door.

The Fire Warrior - as it turns out - is an older, retired warrior, not one of the frontline fighters. Basically, an administrator here to train their human lackeys. He's also very dedicated to the Tau's philosophy of self sacrifice and collectivism.

He's got a plasma grenade in his hands.

The blast blows him to bits, almost kills the Psychic (who manages to throw up a force field just in the nick of time), horribly burns the Sarge's chest and takes out Narine's - Sarge's cohort) eyes and smashes the vox.

They blow the A-O gun.

Now...as a recap.

The Sarge has 2nd degree burns on his chest.
His cohort is one wound away from death
The Psychic is about 5 seconds away from getting seriously hurt (he has basically 0 "luck" points left and the next shot will do critical damage)
His cohort is one wound away from death
The Heavy Weapons specialist is missing his left arm (still chipper)
The sniper is...

Wait, she's fine.

Still, the gun is destroyed...

Now they have to survive the next 24 hours it'll take for the fleet to finish dropping the other regiments!

And they haven't even MET the Tau drones.

Those buggers are NASTY.

But, the Sarge has something written down on his notepad: Find the DI who told us Tau guns sucked and PUNCH HIM IN THE NUTS.

Things that please me as a GM: The part is 50/50 men and women characters. Sarge is a man, his cohort is a girl. Sniper is a girl, cohort is a boy. The Heavy is a boy, cohort is a girl. The Psychic is a boy, cohort is a girl.

Don't know the PLAYERS gender, though, as this is the internet and I just know em by their handles. Still, coolness.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:53 PM   #22
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Someone is my current campaign is playing a lawful good rogue. I find this simple fact hilarious.

Because the player of said lawful good rogue was unable to play for a year in RL time, DH let me and the other guy in the group choose from a list of NPCs to play for a day. This way we were still involved in the story, we were just different people until the third guy caught up to our main characters. I was an elven barbarian (also funny to say) who worked as a rope hauler. His fatal flaw was a horrid temper combined with a tendency to make boasts that he often couldn't live up to. He did crazy things like swear up and down he could haul the ship in solo using only one finger. He almost did it, actually...

Later on he attacked a monster while screaming he'd land a better hit than the first guy, failed to do so, went into a rage and almost died in one hit. The lone wimpy healer saved him from bleeding to death, but then his rage wore off and he lost consciousness again. He had 3 hit points when they made camp for the night, and demanded he be allowed to take first watch.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:40 PM   #23
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I was DM for a Star Wars campaign. I had a special role for what of my players and wrote it down on a sheet of paper. I slid it too him and he was very excited that he would get this role, and that it would be a secret seeing as there were no others in the campaign. The story I outlined was forced to take a drastic turn for the worse when another player found the paper laying unattended on the coffee table. "Why does this say Sith Warrior..." Facepalm
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