Hello again, and welcome to the next in my series of Top 5s. This time it is the top 5 RPG moments of the year. This is an assortment of some of the things my players have done when I have been running the show, or when I have been a player and what we have done to the GM. Enjoy
The Grenade Smuggling Caper
I was running a short Vampire: The Masquerade game where the premise was that the players had characters 100 years old and were a Myrmidon Team. And by that, I mean they were they worked for an Archon, who is the equivalent of regional law enforcement in one sect in Vampire. The players created a group of Gangsters all from the same clan, and as Myrmidons they had permission to take over the underworld in one city. That was where the game started. They had drugs and guns, and they were going after the illegal movies trade. I should also point out that all players were playing Malkavians, which are vampires that are considered to be mad. And one of their powers is to infect others with Madness. I am going to describe the lowest level power in great detail as it is important (and it is terrifying when you consider the possibilities).
Imagine the emotional center of the human brain to be one of those big boards you see in recording studios with long sliders for volume and all that other sound tech stuff. Imagine every emotional response you have appears on that board. They are never all there, because you only give thought to a few things at any given time. But when you are thinking of something you will have some form of emotional response. For the purposes of this example, the slider lights up. It will be somewhere between zero emotional response all the way up to hysteria. The basic level malkavian power zooms in on the slider flashing the brightest and gives the Malkavian the ability to move it to any point on the sliding scale. From zero emotion to hysteria. Think on that for a minute.
Our gang of anti-heroes (technically not quite villains but the line is very blurred) had a lead on the HQ of the movie hub in city. They decided to walk in the front door, but they wanted some insurance. Fortunately, they had a prisoner from their earlier operation, tortured and tied to a chair. They figure they walk in the front door but they want a nasty surprise if things go bad. And they decide a grenade is a nasty surprise. The party leader goes to their prisoner and shows him the grenade.
“I’m going to shove this into you backside, ok?”
The reluctance slider in this poor bugger’s brain starts flashing. A lot.
“No F#&£!*@ way are you putting that anywhere near my backside!”
Party leader uses power and grabs the emotional slider and dials his reluctance all the way to zero.
“Yes I am. Now, hold still. This won’t hurt much.”
With the prisoner’s reluctance gone, he obligingly bent forward upon release to receive “The Package”. The Party Leader had already affixed a Cable Tie to the pin and left it dangling from the unlucky prisoner’s trousers. Fortunately, they never had to use their explosive. In fact they managed to use the same power to make the head guard at the enclosure prone to extreme surprise/fright to the point he ran away and their sniper could take him out. Which just caused him more surprise.
The Party Fart
This was in my ongoing game of Vampire. The players had gotten to the end of an Arc and a party was arranged. Part of the evening was an Elder Salon where the players, along with several other NPCs, were paraded in front of a dozen Elder Vampires. The theory being that a young vampire makes a pitch to the group to try and impress one of the elders, in order to win the honour of entertaining that elder for an hour. Should the Elder be entertained, they potentially gain a powerful ally or patron. One of my players had asked me at the start of the campaign if she could meet one specific elder in the game, and I said sure. I can do that. And that elder was present in the salon. The player, unfortunately, was playing a character with the social graces of a pile of bricks. So, when asked to impress the elders didn’t do amazingly, however, she did enough to make her desired elder take pity. Who then asked her to entertain her.
There followed some awkward small talk, a trip to the fight pit entertainment which didn’t have the desired effect. And then, the Elder – who was bored at this point – decided to take over (yes, that is railroading but railroading for good cause). The Elder decided that they were going to Prank one of the other Elders, the Prince of the city. What followed was a sneaky sneaky tour of the mansion whilst the player tracked down the Prince and discovered that he was being “Entertained” by a pretty young Toreador vampire. By “Entertained” you can absolutely read “Attempted Seduction.”
The Player broke into the adjacent room and listened for the progress of the Seduction. And when they deemed it would be the most effective, they made an almighty fart noise right against the wall of the room. Then, they went through the window and ran for the trees, a furious Prince left to storm into an empty room.
I took another liberty at this point. The NPC Heinrich, who you can read about on the hyperlink, was at the party. And the Prince knew it. And there was already bad blood between them and it is exactly the sort of juvenile thing he would do. As the player and elder ran through the trees they could hear the Prince bellowing that he was going to murder that scrawny Ravnos (Spoiler – he didn’t). That was, perhaps, more entertaining for the players than me as I encouraged a couple of the things that happened, but I still love the image I have of an interrupted pompous Prince screaming impotently at the night because a player decided to ruin his fun with a fart noise.
An Unconventional Unicorn
This happened in the long term DnD game I am playing in. Myself and one of the other players were scouting a location where a bunch of Orcs had been taken prisoner. To give context, Orcs in our game are not automatically evil as elves and dwarves are not automatically good. As we were scouting the area, we stumbled upon something that were not expecting (Kids go to the next in the top 5 please). A Male Unicorn was mounting a female centaur. The DM then said, with more than a little glee, “What do you do?”
My companion and I were separated. And I should point out neither of us had any business being scouts. He was an 8 foot tall Goliath and I was a Dwarf in chainmail, with disadvantage on stealth checks. The Goliath player said “I try and signal Hadrin (my character) to move away and just leave it alone.”
I failed my perception check and narrated that Hadrin was transfixed. And then came to his senses and realised he had no business watching this activity. So I slowly backed away. And, amazingly we seemed to get away undetected. Probably not due to stealth on our part, but more likely the other two were busy. We made a pact to never speak of this again.
That was until the Unicorn pranced up to our camp. Context is needed. One of our party is a Ranger, with a Rhinox mount. A Rhinox is a woolly rhino with two horns. Apparently we stank of the Rhinox and the Unicorn had detected the musk. And followed us back.
We then had approximately 90 minutes of awkward conversation where we discovered that the Unicorn was bound in a trinket and could only get out for a few hours a day. And on those few hours he liked to experiment. And he had never encountered Rhinox before. He offered us a big bag of gold to borrow the Rhinox for a while. And as the Ranger was off doing a side quest at the time, absent his mount, it was left to us to make the right choice.
Basically we pimped out the Rhinox, though ultimately we had to give the money back as the animal became distressed (not at the Unicorn, weirdly, but because we surmise something was happening to the ranger). In the end we still managed to make a deal with “Vesuvian, Lord of Stallions” to help distract the folk guarding the orcs, so all worked out. But we really weren’t expecting a Unicorn Sex Tourist.
Earlier this year I was playing a Mage in a short term DnD campaign where we were searching around an island for clues as to how we got there and how to escape. At one point we were walking along a cliff top and we spotted there appeared to be a cave on the cliff side up ahead. But there was no way to easily get down there so we needed a plan. We had several dwarves in the party, my human mage, and a couple of halflings. We also had a ten foot pole and several coils of rope, each fifty feet in length. So we asked the Halfling Rogue, played by the son of the DM, how he felt about being dangled from a large fishing rod. And then, without waiting for an answer, we tied a rope around his waist and dangled him over the cliff using the pole. This allowed us to get someone to the cave, mind you he discovered a few old birds nests with their old, rotten, eggs along the way. I suppose I could have gotten rid of the smell as prestidigitation is cantrip and can clean stuff like rotten egg – but I didn’t have it. Oh well. From that point on, anytime in that campaign where we needed to get to an awkward out of reach place, our default solution was Halfling fishing. The Halfling was game.
The Incomplete Monologue
The final of this top 5 was from my more recent DnD short campaign, which you can read about on this blog. Click on the hyperlink to read about the adventures of Rhyll’Zt if you want to know more. It was the finale. We had tracked the mysterious villain to his lair underground. There was I, the Drow Swordsman/Ranger, Nanoc the Barbarian, A Gnome Rogue, A Tiefling Sorceress and a Dragonborn Barbarian. And Aye, Nanoc’s chronicler. So, we got to the lair and the villain was right in front of us. What better than to have the villain reveal his plan in an evil monologue? Well, that is what the DM planned. But one of the other players and I had other plans. As soon as the villain opened his mouth, Nanoc threw a javelin and I threw a dagger. Credit to the villain, he survived and tried to continue prompting us to throw again (I had 12 daggers…). To be reasonable we suggested rolling for initiative at that point. We did and continued the attack.
It came round to the Villain’s turn and it looked like he was going to monologue again, and I asked the DM, “Can you do it in 15 seconds? Cos I’m next and I have 10 more daggers…”
The DM gave up on trying to explain what was going on, and instead decided to violence was the answer to our temerity (quite right). We bested the villain, and the DM managed to get his villain’s plan to us by other means anyway (good for him). And all was well in the world.
And that was my top 5 RPG moments of 2017. If you had some moments you’d like to share, let me know in the comments. Next up, my top 5 Books (of all kinds…)
Bye for now!