The Head Of Vecna
Breaking 'Traveller: The New Error'.
One Referee's Maze
The Semi-Automatic Elephant Gun
"Just Trying To Help..."
Chiropractice In Traveller
The Thirty Second Bomb
A Klingon Quote
Bonsai & the Aquarium
Three Fast Wishes
The Death of Captain Cancer.
Me Beam Up!
Black Market Powered Armour
Natural Selection, 'Battletech'-style.
"I Don't Wanna Talk About It."
Intelligence in D&D
Say What ?!?
Uh, Oh !
250 Things Mr Welch Is Not Allowed To Do In Any RPG.
One Superhero's Problems
The GM's Ambush
The Head Of Vecna is one of Role-Playing's all-time funniest true stories. I first read of it on the Letters page of 'KODT', and subsequently got extra details from an eyewitness. Multiple versions of the story unquestionably exist, because anecdotes this good are always messed with. But anyone who dismisses it as an urban legend clearly does not know role-players.
It began in an AD&D tournament, in which the Hand Of Vecna and the Eye Of Vecna were rumoured to exist. For the uninformed, both the latter are tremendously powerful magic artifacts in the 'Advanced Dungeons & Dragons' game. The catch is that using these artifacts requires them to be grafted onto the Character's body in the appropriate location. So, to use either, a Character has to lose the corresponding body part first.
By the way, it should also be noted that any Character using Vecna artifacts quickly becomes an 'Agent of Evil' (the title for that great KODT strip which deals with The Hand). Not really something to bother a Munchkin (who could tell the differance?), but a worry for anybody else.
Anyhow, in this particular tournament, two groups of players were deadly rivals. With a diabolical cunning that still awes me, Group A created a "fake" artifact for their opponents to "find". They placed a decomposed humanoid head in an appropriate locale, with a number of clever boobytraps around it, then started spreading rumours about this fearsome artifact - the (flash of lightning, roll of thunder) Head Of Vecna. They even bribed a Bard to compose stories and songs about it. Similarly to the other Vecna artifacts, the Head was purported to only work if the user's head was cut off and the Head placed on the user's body instead.
It so happened that one member of Group A had not been informed of his team's project. So, upon hearing stories about the HOV, he immediately set out to find it solo - presumably to prove himself to his teammates. He succeeded, and carried off his prize. Using magic to examine it, he found that NO magic of any kind was detectable (AH-HAAH! A well-known trait of Major Artifacts!). Up to this point, the Referee had felt very confident, since there was just no way somebody could cut his own head off. Alas, he underestimated this individual, who used his Druidic powers to summon and control a Giant Ape, to which he gave his scimitar and some basic instructions...
Group A soon began looking for their missing teammate. They found his body and both heads, figured out what happened, and had a good laugh about it (well, except for the victim). The HOV was placed back in its "rightful location", and the traps reset.
Along came Group B, who had by now heard of the HOV. They were greatly impressed by the clever traps around the 'Artifact' (one Character almost blew his saving roll against what was, in truth, the weakest poison known) and soon carried away the Head in triumph.
That was when the trouble began. All members of Group B had heard about the awesome powers of the HOV, and they all wanted it. Badly. Arguments ensued. Characters actually started fighting with each other (several rounds of combat) because they ALL wanted their heads cut off! Eventually, an agreement was reached. The "lucky" Character stepped forward and was beheaded. In the process of placing the HOV onto his body, a fresh argument broke out, which delayed matters for several minutes. They then went ahead and placed the HOV on the body.
Nothing happened, other than the HOV falling off. This provoked further argument and much outrage (especially from the Player whose Character was now noticeably shorter). On their own, it was decided that there had to be a time factor - the HOV needed a body that was still "fresh". So, after further debate, ANOTHER CHARACTER VOLUNTEERED!
The same thing happened.
By this time, Group B was VERY upset, the Referee was close to bursting, and an audience had developed. Group B then decided (once again, unassisted) that "obviously" the HOV would only "work" in conjunction with both the other 'Vecna' artifacts. So they went out, found the Eye and the Hand (or, my personal guess, what they THOUGHT was the Eye and the Hand) and brought them back. The Eye was placed in the HOV, and the Hand attached to yet another volunteer, then the obligatory beheading went ahead....
Okay, two Characters left at this point. They then decided that the order in which the Vecna artifacts were ...er... placed had to be the key, so they prepared to do it AGAIN!
At this stage, the Referee halted proceedings. By his own admission, he had to (his sides were hurting too much). I don't know if Group B got any prizes in that tournament, but some sort of Darwin Award would have seemed appropriate.
As the Referee put it in his letter to KODT: "...The moral of this story is, do not cut your own head off unless you really really know what you are doing..."
Amen to that.
Friend of mine. Nice fellow, great referee. However, in other people's campaigns he doesn't merely "push" the envelope - it shoots off the table, ricochets around the sorting room, and finally smashes out through the back wall of the Post Office!
In any case, he was once playing in a 'Traveller: The New Era' campaign. This campaign was, to put it nicely, "high entropy" - the party had rapidly amassed a collection of artifacts, hardware, weapons, and psionics (including the ability to time-travel up to a day or so into the past or future).
In any case, the party's wanderings ultimately took them to the now-abandoned Imperial Palace. They did the obligatory looting, then found the Throne Room. That was when the trouble began - best summarized by the following dialogue.
Players: We group together in front of the Iridium Throne and ready weapons.
Referee (Bored): OK.
Players: We're using our psionics to time-jump to the past.
Referee (Intrigued): Fine. How far back do you want to go? A couple of days?
Players: Nooooo. Exact same location. 1515 hours local time. Day 132 of Imperial year 1116.
(For those unfamiliar with the Traveller Universe, this is the exact date, time and location of the assassination of Emperor Strephon. This event led to the break-up of the Third Imperium in 'MegaTraveller' and culminated in the utterly moronic background of 'Traveller: The New Era'.)
Referee (REALIZATION!): Huh? WHAT?!?! Y-You can't! I-It's impossible! You don't have that sort of power!!!!
Players (Smug): Oh, yes we do.
The Group then provided a detailed list of all the hardware, artifacts and psi-abilities that had been accumulated up to that point, and (based on numerous low-key experiments) just what could be achieved with all these things IN COMBINATION!
At this point, the Referee totally lost it, as the party materialized in front of Emperor Strephon and his family just as Dulinor drew his pistol. They then made extremely short work of the Archduke and all of his flunkies. The Emperor showed admirably fast thinking by informing everyone else present that the party was part of his bodyguard. He quickly had a private word with his saviours and got the full story. Needless to say, His Imperial Majesty was most appreciative.
Unsurprisngly, the campaign finished with that session. It is untrue that the ex-Referee was so traumatized that he quit gaming (though I heard that he still twitches whenever psionics or time travel is mentioned). But the Players were very very happy about how they had resolved matters. It is definitely the best possible use of a TNE game that I have ever heard of.
Superhero campaign, refereed by another friend of mine. The usual array of eccentrics labelled a superhero team, with my character being Backlash, a high-powered Energy Absorber and Projector. That adventure called for us to bust into a supervillain's underground lair and fight him. The Referee had thoroughly scripted out the adventure beforehand, including days of work on an elaborate maze of booby-traps for us to fight our way through. He had bragged about this repeatedly, so we all knew it was going to be tough.
Having watched Star Trek II just before the session, I was imbued with the idea of "...if you don't like the game, then change the rules...". So, when facing the entrance to the Ref's funhouse maze, I opted for a surprise move. My Character utilized his powers to soak up a huge amount of electrical energy from the base (stuck his finger in a convenient power outlet - kiddies, don't try this at home).
He then unleashed the absorbed power in one humungus Energy Blast that blew a twenty foot wide tunnel right THROUGH the maze and into the guts of the base!
Good ol' Backlash didn't have enough amps left to zap a ladybug, but it didn't matter. Instead of spending several hours battling through the maze, we strolled inside the base within ten minutes. Given that the bad guys suddenly had a lot less time to prepare their interior defenses, and that we had arrived in good condition, it did not go well for that villain.
A 'Traveller' campaign I ran a long time ago. The party had been hired on as crew and bodyguards for a noble who was "into" Big Game Hunting. He preferred Gauss weapons due to their accuracy, and because they didn't chew up the pelt. However, due to an immense respect for his own skin, he always had back-up troops equipped with custom-built firearms - optimized for "stopping power". Imagine a .600 Nitro Express (colloquially known as an 'Elephant Gun'), only with a 20 round clip. The party was uncertain of these weapons, but were greatly reassured by the fact that they had been made by a VERY prestigious gunsmith.
Funnily enough, issues like reading the manual or testing these weapons before taking them into the field never really came up.
Anyhow, the Characters were hunting what local NPCs called a "Direwolf" (vaguely wolflike, but Bengal Tiger-sized, with three rows of teeth and the social graces of a Wolverine on amphetamines). No luck, so they found a suitable spot, placed some bait, and "staked out" the area for the night. One Character perched high in a tree. Several others constructed foxholes. Others settled in an Air/Raft hovering high above the treetops.
Very late that night, the guy in the tree heard something. So he switched on his torch - and spotlit a big Direwolf right under his tree. Thinking quickly, he unlimbered his gun, aimed, and fired.
The rest of the party heard / saw the weapon go off (it was LOUD!!!), and immediately started mobilizing. The Air/Raft bunch descended. The guy in the tree barely stayed up as the horrific recoil slammed him back against the treetrunk. When the stars cleared from his vision, he looked for his target.
What he saw was a smoking crater about a yard across, and the Direwolf sprawled on its back several feet away from it. The beast started getting to its feet, looking dazed and very annoyed. The guy in the tree knew that trouble was coming, so he decided to take another shot. Mindful of the weapon's recoil, he braced himself against the tree trunk before pulling the trigger.
FWA -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM -KOOM!!!!!!!
It is worth knowing that some firearms have been known to go semi-automatic (ie. one trigger pull = lots and lots of bullets). Without warning. When not intended to. When not even necessarily designed for that capability. That is what happened here.
In the time that it took for the clip to empty, the guy in the tree was literally jack-hammered against the trunk (severe bruising, whiplash, and a mild concussion), broke every bone in his right arm from fingertip to collar-bone, blasted the Direwolf into confetti, blew away several trees, forced into flight or cover every other living thing in the general area ... and shot down the party's Air/Raft (one second, they were flying; the next second, there was a dinner-plate sized hole in the control console...).
By a sheer miracle, the guy in the tree neither fell or lost consciousness. He sort of sat there on his perch, listening to the sounds of the night - trees falling down, panicked lifeforms stampeding out of the area, cries of "Medic!" and "What the #### was THAT?!?", and a Grav Vehicle 'augering in' a hundred yards away. At this point, the Player actually did ask what else could happen. The fool.
Referee call. The tree that the guy perched in seemed stable at the time. But a combination of the sudden cratering around its base and the jack-hammering in its upper reaches had a negative effect. The tree slowly began to tilt. Jumping off or riding down both lacked appeal. But the Character had the psionic ability of 'Teleport', and opted to use that - despite his injuries, and not having a suitable place memorized. I cackled evilly and rolled dice.
He reappeared on the ground, and had just enough time to sigh with relief - before the tree fell over on top of him. The rest of the party sort of scraped him out from under the tree, and poured him into the nearest Autodoc. Since then, people have been extremely wary of large calibre weapons when I'm involved. The 'Semi-Automatic Elephant Gun' has become something of a catch-phrase amongst my friends.
Typical AD&D dungeon crawl. Two players of note - 'A' was an experienced powergamer with a suitably maxed-out, multi-classed character, 'B' was a mildly experienced regular guy whose character was just starting out. In any case, 'A' very generously loaned 'B' a spare Wand Of Lightning and a satchel holding a dozen or so weapons of his own manufacture (best described as magic-powered "concussion grenades").
Down we all went into the dungeon. Things were uneventful until the underground river. Crossing via raft, we were suddenly attacked by a Water Hydra. In keeping with his usual style, 'A' leapt into the fray without back-up, standing in hip-deep water as he swung his plus-several sword. Being the next closest Character, and anxious to be of assistance, 'B' fired off the Wand Of Lightning...
Note that 'A' was more or less in front of the monster, clad in metal armour, and standing in hip-deep water. Yep, the Referee ruled that both 'A' and the Water Hydra copped damage. To cap things off, it was also ruled that goodies in A's backpack (including more concussion grenades, various potions, and a vial of Greek Fire) were also set off. Big explosion(s), loads of additional damage. 'B' was horrified and genuinely apologetic. The rest of the party (and the Ref) were greatly amused. 'A' was calm, but undoubtedly considering whether to laugh, flip the table, or kill somebody.
Both the monster and 'A' survived - barely. Next round of combat. Anxious to make amends for his error, 'B' opted for the other major weapon at hand. He found the concussion bombs that 'A' had given him previously, and threw THE ENTIRE SATCHEL at the monster.
Very big explosion. Monster blown into sushi. 'A' knocked down to maybe a couple of hit points, if that. Referee in hysterics. Rest of party congratulating 'B', and speculating as to XP for offing the monster and a high-level party member. 'B' almost tearfully denying any malice and apologizing repeatedly. 'A' still very calm, as (what was left of) his character was hauled back onto the raft.
He finally told 'B': "PLEASE do not do that again."
'Traveller' campaign I was refereeing. The group (Stephen, Margaret, and Andrew) had a Scout ship, and I thought the 'Annic Nova' adventure would work well for an opening session. For those not in the know, 'Annic Nova' was one of the better canned adventures by GDW, featuring a derelict alien starship for players to explore and (if they played their cards right) salvage. A very nice ship with some novel capabilities - but NOT a campaign-buster.
OK, the group was transiting a very unremarkable star system, when the local Scout base (four Scouts in a small orbital facility) made contact and asked them to investigate an unidentified vessel. They did so, and found the AN. After the usual preliminaries of sensor scans, communications attempts, etc., they prepared to go over and investigate. With paranoia working overtime (two veterans of the 'Semi-Automatic Elephant Gun' Incident), they decided that Andrew would stay in their own ship, and that they would maintain an open channel for both him and the Scouts.
Into the Annic Nova went Stephen and Margaret.
First problem. In keeping with the parameters of the adventure, there was a chance of tearing one's spacesuit every time an interior hatch or iris valve was passed through. Stephen and Margaret were experienced players with competent characters, but they scored at least one tear for every doorway they passed through. Since the interior had air, there was no problems on that front, but they were truly paranoid, and would stop to repair and patch the damage every time it happened. Needless to say, progress was very slow, especially when you consider that both were basically walking masses of repair patches towards the end. The poor lighting and lack of gravity didn't help either.
Eventually, they got to one of the turrets. The adventure specified that picking the lock to gain entry was only moderately difficult, but carried a very real risk of activating a security program that opened all other hatches on that level - explosively decompressing that deck. Of course, the players did not know this.
Margaret tried to pick the lock. Unfortunately, she failed. Badly. DECOMPRESSION! The hurricane of air blew her down the corridor. Stephen saw her coming, and tried to brace and catch her. He failed too - Margaret went SLAM into his midriff, they got tangled up and went bouncing and tumbling down the corridor together. The lack of gravity was a real problem about now. They smashed into the wall where the corridor did a right angle bend, hung there for a second or two, then did some more bouncing and tumbling.
The screaming, yelling and other sounds gave Andrew and the Scouts a clue that things had taken a strange turn, but it happened too quickly for anyone to do more than listen. Our intrepid adventurers arrived at a cargo hatch opening directly to outside. Stephen grabbed the edge of the door as it went past, and hung on. Margaret grabbed his ankles, and also hung on, dangling into space as the air howled past and they were buffeted by various bits and pieces.
The hurricane faded. Stephen sighed with relief, and began hauling himself and his teammate back inside. He looked up, and saw the cargo hatch coming down on top of them. Being a fairly nice fellow, he opted to save Margaret first, and himself second.
Margaret landed inside, and heard a distince THUMPF! AWWWRRRK!!! Fearing the worst, she looked around, and found Stephen pinned facedown under the door, half in and half out. Being a nice-ish fellow myself, I decided that the door's safety interlocks stopped Stephen from getting cut in half. But it was a big door, and it was pressing down on him. Plus, they were both a little worried about the state of their suits.
Margaret tried to lift the door off Stephen so he could crawl out. Didn't work. She lacked the strength, and did little more than bounce the door on Stephen's back. He was unimpressed. They decided to coordinate, and this worked better. Stephen got to his elbows, then to his knees, and finally to his feet, with the door pressing down across his shoulders. The plan was for them both to jump aside and let the door slam shut.
At this point, I rolled a critical fumble for their efforts...
As I said, I am a nice-ish fellow. Gave it some thought, then I told Margaret, "...You hear this ominous CRUNCH, then he seems to go sort of cross-eyed and make a noise that is a cross between a groan and a scream. His knees both turn inwards...".
Down came the door. Again. Just missing Margaret. Again. Stephen was trapped under the door. Again. The big differance was that Stephen had thrown his back out. Severely. The guy was totally incapacitated. His teammates managed to jack the door off him, and took him back to the ship. Needless to say, he was not comfortable.
Major Problem. NOBODY there had Medical skill! After discussion, Andrew and Margaret opted for Do-It-Yourself chiropractice (or is that chiro-MALpractice?), courtesy of their Jack-Of-Trades skills. In simple terms, they laid their teammate out on a table, one grabbed his wrists and the other his ankles, then they both just PULLED.
Lots more screaming and profanities. A couple more tries, and Stephen's character claimed to be feeling MUCH better, thank you. Still incapacitated, though. It was about this time that the group realized that the channel to the local scout base was STILL open. By about this time, the Scouts were all lying on the floor of their control room, worn out from laughing.
Cut a long story short. They salvaged the Annic Nova, and sold her for a reasonable price. Stephen's character fully recovered, but was noticeably careful about his back thereafter. The audio recording of their exploits became popular entertainment within the Scout Service.
SF campaign that a power-gamer buddy of mine joined. The rest of the party comprised high-level psionics of various flavours. In a radical departure from his usual mode of play, he chose to go for a Character that was totally psi-null. To compensate for this, the Referee gave him a pretty free hand when it came to personal equipment.
So, whilst the rest of the party wandered around in natty chrome armour (with psi-shielding) and brandished light-sabres, this guy sported camo fatigues, was armed for bear, and had a grav platform loaded with hardware accompanying him at all times. The others regarded all this with amusement, referring to him as the 'Official Door-Opener', and so forth. In general, they were quite tolerant, especially since he was the one with all the good camping / survival equipment (with skills to match).
The relationship kind of changed after one incident. The group were on a planet, wandering across an open valley, when literally thousands of enraged low-tech NPCs unexpectedly charged at them. Most party members went into Hudson Mode (From 'ALIENS' : "...What the **** are we gonna do now, man? We're *****ed!...").
Not my friend. His character calmly scrutinized the approaching wave of destruction, then turned to his grav platform. He politely requested 'Package B', which the platform's automated systems duly gave him in the form of a fairly typical man-portable missile launcher. He aimed and fired. A single missile arced towards the oncoming army. He watched for a couple of seconds, then sat down behind a large boulder, took off his helmet, unpacked some rations, and proceeded to have lunch.
The rest of the party were surprised enough by this behaviour that they exited Mutual Recrimination Mode and asked what sort of missile he had fired.
He considered the question, finished his mouthful, then nonchalantly replied (in his best 'Arnie' voice): "Two kilotons".
The rest of the party had just enough time to do a double-take and hit the deck, before the flash and shockwave arrived. Nobody knew he was packing nukes (well, they didn't ask!!!) and, needless to say, all were exceptionally polite and deferential to him after that.
In the first SF RPG campaign I was ever in, I had fallen in love with the 'Thirty Second Bomb" from Heinlein's novel 'Starship Troopers'. For those who don't know, this was a high-tech variant on the standard hand grenade. When activated, it would loudly announce "I am a thirty - second (or whatever) bomb ... 29 ... 28 ... 27 ...". Just the thing for scaring the bejabbers out of people - guaranteed to clear a crowded room in record time.
My best friend and I took this a few steps further, coming up with a whole family of deviant hand grenade designs, which the Referee allowed. For instance, one bomb would do the 30 second countdown as usual but, if disturbed in any way, would yell "SUCKER!" and detonate before the countdown was completed. Another would, when activated, leap around in a semi-random pattern before exploding (just the thing for disrupting orderly troop formations). Others would latch onto armoured suits and use sonic vibrations to make life extremely unpleasant for whomever was inside, or play very very very loud music.
Ah, those were the days...
A quote from a Star Trek 'Klingons' campaign:
"...You know you've been in major trouble when you are HAPPY to see Imperial Security...!"
One very very short-lived Champions campaign. My best friend created a Character called 'Bonsai'. His specialty was shrinking things with a quite mondo Transformation Attack (autofire advantage included).
Referee threw a super-sized Megalodon (a HUGE shark) at the party. First round of combat, Bonsai reduced it to goldfish size. The group then installed the beast in a small decorative aquarium at their base.
Referee went back to AD&D. Hasn't ran a Champions game since.
Fastest known use of a Ring Of Three Wishes.
The party was in a dungeon corridor when a massive stone ball began rolling towards them. Exactly like that scene in 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'.
The guy with the Ring said, "I wish all balls within fifty feet would disappear."
The ball vanished, and the (male) group all realized that they were all (painfully) missing something as well.
In a voice that was noticeably higher, the guy with the Ring stammered, "I wish all balls back again!" Wish granted. "Eeek! I wish THAT ball would disappear...!"
This story perhaps falls as much in the 'Believe It Or Not Category' as humour.
Role-playing session years ago, using the GURPS Superhero rules (1st edition). In summary, the Player-Group battled an NPC super-group out in a forest someplace. The bane of contention was a vault full of gold.
Amongst the NPCs was Captain Cancer. You read that right. Please blame the Referee, not me. CC's 'schtick' was that he had constantly-growing tumours all over him that, when detached or seriously disturbed, would explode with tremendous force.
So, there were these two rather mercenary groups going head to head, when events took a nasty turn. One Character had a very high Strength stat, and chose to exercise this by hurling a solid gold ingot at Captain Cancer. He rolled a critical success (for non-RPGers, he NAILED that sucker!).
The Referee rolled to see how many of CC's tumours detonated as a consequence. You guessed it - he maxed out. Large explosion that looked like putting a respectable hole in the landscape and doing nasty things to both sides.
Then somebody asked the Referee, "Hey, wait a minute. Is Captain Cancer immune to the effects of his own explosions?"
Ever had one of those moments - when someone asks what seems like a very reasonable question, and the guy asked suddenly freezes and takes on an absolutely horrorstruck expression? This was one of those times. The answer was NO. Captain Cancer was dead.
The end result was a runaway cascade effect as ALL of CC's tumours detonated. Several more critical successes in the process, meaning that CC's demise was marked by an explosion ranking in the high kilotons. Pretty much finished both sides, except for one Player who maintained that his Character was flying Nap Of Earth several klicks away when it happened and was therefore alive...
Actually, there was another Character that survived as well - he was inside the vault (next to Ground Zero) when CC went critical. This is where things got interesting.
The Referee played it all out 'by the book', calculating just how much damage everybody / everything took. Even for the guy protected by the vault (and the gold!), it came to a horrific amount. It did not look good.
"Wait", says the Player whose Character was 'In The Hole'. "My guy has Regeneration. Could that help?"
Careful study of the rules indicated that the Character had a chance. A lousy one to be sure. Given all the factors, the Player would have to roll a 20-sided die and get no higher than 13 for a total of SIXTY-THREE times in order to survive. This would get his Character up to Zero Hit Points(!), whereupon his Regeneration would start healing him normally.
No, I am not exaggerating at all.
The Player was unhappy, but resigned to his Character's fate. He started rolling, jokingly saying he'd like to see just how far the Character would get. After the first half-dozen successful rolls, he was actually smiling. By his twentieth roll, his smile was getting a little fixed, and his eyes were starting to bulge. At thirty, his hands began trembling, and other games at the club were stopping as people came to watch.
By the time his rolls got into the fifties, his hands were trembling so much he didn't have to consciously shake the dice before rolling. He'd just pick up the dice and drop it from several inches up. The rest of us (Referee included) were wondering if an ambulance would be necessary.
He made it. Both Player and Character survived. The latter was honourably retired immediately. After an experience like that, what else could a Player do?
'Star Trek: Klingons' Campaign I ran, using FASA's mostly excellent rules. The Characters were crew of a Klingon 'Bird Of Prey'. A mission required them to use a Cloaking Device to sneak into Federation space and snoop around a starbase. Relatively simple espionage job, really.
Early stages of the mission went well. The ship remained cloaked in orbit, while the captain and several others beamed down to a quiet section of the starbase's main complex. The captain got separated from the others and, eventually, found a Transporter Room. Out of the blue, he decided to beam himself back up to his ship.
Unfortunately, while he was planetside, the Exec had chosen to relocate the ship in order to remain undiscovered (Hey, they were orbiting a STARBASE - ships and shuttles coming and going continuously).
Since all hands were observing strict communications silence, the captain was unaware of this change. The Transporter's scanners indicated only empty space at the coordinates he left the ship at, so he was unconcerned. He beamed himself into space.
Well, despite that, he nearly survived. The Cadet Character was manning the ship's Transporter, and attempted recovery. But he didn't try too hard - flubbed the job (which was difficult, anyhow), and earned a very mild rebuke for his failure from the Exec (now unexpectedly the new Captain).
The funniest thing about this entire 'Darwin Award'-style "accident" was the lost oppurtunity. The deceased Captain was unpopular with his crew, and there were at least four separate plots underway to assassinate him. I was looking forward to manipulating things so that the attempts on his life all overlapped. Imagine explaining to some humourless investigator-type the full circumstances of your CO's death.
"...OK, let me get this straight. He tied himself to a chair, took poison, and shot himself twice through the back of the head whilst cleaning his pistol. Then, while still tied to his chair, he fell on his knife. Fourteen times. Finally, while still tied to the chair, he sneaked out of his quarters without anybody else noticing, and jumped out the airlock without a suit. Yeah, right!..." [Or the Klingon equivalent thereof].
Got to be a moral here. Probably more than one. Maybe something about not underestimating the ingenuity of Player-Characters? Especially when it comes to self-inflicted damage?
Same 'Klingons' Campaign as above. When the ship visited the Orion system, the Marine Character utilized his Streetwise skill to tap into the Black Market and acquire a Powered Armour Suit.
To his credit, he was cautious, and had his new toy checked out by the more technically qualified crewmembers. When they failed to find anything amiss, he assumed that his problems were mostly over. He had a few tentative practice sessions with the suit in low-power mode. Curiously enough, nobody else wanted to try the suit.
First full power run in the field brought out a major software glitch. The Marine's suit froze in a contortion that would make even a top-level Yogi's eyes water. With a seriously uncomfortable (and highly vocal) Marine trapped inside.
After the victim was returned to the ship (still trapped in the suit - devil of a time maneuvering him through doorways!), the usually quiet Engineer Character had his moment - he grinned evilly and lit up a large blowtorch, saying, "Don't worry. I'LL get him out..."
A group was playing a fairly major game of 'Battletech'. Two sides, both with Mechs, fighting through the remnants of a large city.
One player had "his" Mech (a 'Firestarter') unexpectedly break cover and jump up onto the top of a tall building. Not satisfied with his ultra-visibility, he then triggered all of his Mech's Flamers (shooting at nothing in particular) and broadcasted a truly macho challenge.
Without any exchange of communications, both sides immediately stopped whatever they were doing - and EVERYBODY started shooting at this twerp. The 'Firestarter' (and pilot) was vapourized on the spot.
The battle was then resumed.
I Don't Wanna Talk About It.
In a bout of AD&D, one participant was a snobby Elvish Fighter / Whatever. Whilst checking out the dungeon, he got suspicious of the mass of old cobwebs on the ceiling. His solution was to grab a flaming torch and thrust it into the cobwebs directly above him.
Think on that for a second.
The Referee ruled that the cobwebs (a) caught fire, and (b) fell down on top of the guilty party. The result was not good - the character was both on fire and thoroughly entangled. His response was to fall prone and try to roll around in order to extinguish the flames. Sensible move but, unfortunately, he became so ensnared in the cobwebs that any sort of movement was difficult.
Only the chaotically-inclined Dwarvish partymember was close enough to help. To the Dwarf's credit, his first impulse was to douse the Elf with water. Problem was that the party had been rationing water, he had only a smallish canteen on him, and no greater supply was immediately available.
A little thought, and he took an action that certainly no ELF would have ever considered. The Dwarf extinguished the fire by urinating upon it. Others commented that peeing on an Elf without risk of retaliation was the sort of thing that any Dwarf would happily sacrifice a couple of levels to do...
The Elvish P-C was suitably grateful, but curiously reluctant to discuss the event thereafter (Could have been much worse - there was also an Orc in the party). His response to certain questions was very consistent.
"Hey, what happened?"
"I don't wanna talk about it."
"Looks like you got burned. Did you?"
"I Don't Wanna Talk About It."
"What is that terrible smell?"
"No. Really. I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!"
From one of my first D&D bouts:
Referee (NPC referring to something the party did): That wasn't very intelligent.
Player (OK, OK. IT WAS ME!): Hey, we're Lawful Good. We don't have to be intelligent!
Cyberpunk 2020 campaign. One of our party successfully head-shot a sniper, who went straight to Night City's morgue. Unfortunately, we had no idea who he was, who he worked for, or who his target was to be.
Since we had access to a high-quality lab (courtesy of our current employer), we had the idea of getting the body from the morgue and subjecting it to careful analysis. Problem: The body would only be released after 72 hours - assuming next of kin or such did not claim it first.
The party-member making enquiries undoubtedly made an impression. Don't get me wrong, he was polite and articulate. However, he began by telling the morgue staff that he "...visited there quite a lot...".
Finally, with the morgue people sticking to the 72 hour wait, our party-representative asked very very hopefully, "...Could we borrow the body for 72 hours?...".
No, we did not get the body.
Another Cyberpunk game. The two (surviving) Player-Characters are on a covert mission gone bad. After a series of running gun battles and various other delights through a BIG office building, they emerge from the fire stairs onto the rooftop level. As luck would have it, waiting on the pad is an AV ('Vectored-thrust flying vehicle', for you non-punkers).
With escape being a priority, the Characters quickly check the AV for occupants and boobytraps. When the presence of both prove negative, and with their pursuers only minutes behind them, they hot-wire the controls and take off.
The AV is soon hovering just clear of the building, several hundred metres above the street. The Referee (who has been chortling and rolling dice behind his screen all the while) informs the party that the AV is beginning to shake and be generally unsteady.
Player-Character #1 turns to his accomplice and casually asks, "Just what is your skill level for piloting AVs?"
Player Character #2 utters the chilling words "I thought YOU knew how to fly this thing."
Mutual horrified expressions. With impeccable timing, the Referee announces that their AV goes inverted (ie. upside-down).
[Quick background note. In Cyberpunk 2020, AVs have taken over a lot of the jobs previously done by helicopters. They have a lot in common with hovercraft - both direct thrust downwards to keep them away from the ground. It is just that AVs do it better, and thus fly a lot higher than hovercraft. AVs also lack wings so, without any thrust working against gravity, they fly even worse than bricks. An AV going inverted is as bad as it can get.]
The AV crewed by our intrepid 'punks PLUNGES toward the street below. Some screaming (figuratively speaking), much fumbling at the controls in search of anything that will save their necks. They manage a truly impressive Intelligence roll, and somehow engage the autopilot. The AV rights itself at the last possible instant - and gently lands on the street. A major traffic snarl develops.
The Characters quickly exit the AV, and make their escape.
It is worth noting that, after more immediate problems have been dealt with, both Player-Characters make acquisition of the 'Pilot, AV' skill a high priority.
By 'The Glen'
1. I cannot base characters off Keith Moon of The Who.
2. A one man band is not an appropriate bard instrument.
3. There is no Gnomish god of heavy artillery.
4. My 7th Sea character Boudreaux is not 'Southern' Montaigne.
5. I am not allowed to blow all 100 of my skill points on 1pt professional skills.
6. Synchronized panicking is not a proper battle plan.
7. I am not allowed to use psychic powers to do the dishes.
8. 'How To Serve Dragons' is not a cookbook.
9. My Monk's lips must be in sync.
10. Just because my character and I can both speak German, it does not mean that the GM can.
11. I am not allowed to berserk for the hell of it. Especially during royal masquerades.
12. If I'm the Sorceror, I must learn at least one offensive or defensive spell.
13. I must not murder canon NPCs in their sleep, no matter how cliche they are.
14. Ogres are not kosher.
15. Plan B is not automatically twice as much explosives as Plan A.
16. I will not beat 'Tomb of Horrors' in less than 10 minutes from memory.
17. 'Collateral Damage Man' is NOT an appropriate name for a superhero.
18. When surrendering, I am to hand the sword over HILT first.
19. Drow are not good eating.
20. Polka is not appropriate marching music.
21. I am no longer allowed to recreate the Death Star Trench Run out of genre.
22. There is no such thing as a 'Gnomish Pygmy War Rhino'.
23. Any character who has a sensitivity training center named after him will be taken away.
24. Even if the rules allow it, I am not allowed to summon 50,000 Blue Whales.
25. The green elf does not need food badly.
26. Valley speak has no place in a fantasy setting. Especially if you are the Paladin.
27. In 'Twilight: 2000', I am not to shoot every corpse in the head, just to make sure they are not zombies.
28. The Goddess of Marriage's preferred weapon is not the whip.
29. I cannot have any gun that requires me to continue the damage code on the back of the sheet.
30. I am not to kill off all the vampires in the LARP. Even if they are terminally stupid.
31. The backup trap handler is not whomever has the most HP at the time.
32. I cannot buy any animal in groups of 100 or over.
33. There is no such skill as 'Improvised Cooking'.
34. I am not allowed to base any Droid off any character played by Joe Pesci.
35. I am not allowed to convince the entire party to play R2 units.
36. I am not allowed to convice the entire party to sit on the same side of the table.
37. They do not make black market cyberweapons for rodents.
38. When investigating evil cultists, I am not allowed to simply torch the decrepit mansion from the outside.
39. Gnomes do not have the racial ability 'Can Lick Their Own Eyebrows'.
40. Gnomes do not have the racial ability to hold their breath for 10 minutes.
41. Gnomes do not have the racial ability 'Impromptu Kickstand'.
42. Having a big nose adds nothing to my seduction check.
43. I am no longer allowed to set nazi propaganda music to a snappy disco beat.
45. My character names cannot be double entendres.
46. 'Sliver' rhymes with 'silver' because the computer frelling says so.
47. They do not make 'Nair' in wookie sizes.
48. The Elf is restricted to decaf for the rest of the adventure.
49. I am not allowed to blow up the Death Star before that snotty farm kid gets his shot.
50. I am not allowed to use thermodynamic science to asphyxiate the entire orc lair instead of exploring it first.
51. I am no longer allowed to use the time machine for booty calls.
52. My Bard does not know how to play 'Inna Godda Davida' on the maraccas.
53. I am not allowed to start a Drow character weighing more than a quarter ton.
54. I cannot pimp out other party members.
55. Before facing the Dragon, I am not allowed to glaze the Elf.
56. No matter how well I roll, a squirrel cannot carry a horse and rider at full sprint.
57. In the middle of a black op, I cannot ask a guard to validate parking.
58. Expended ammunition is not a business expense.
59. I am not allowed to pose the Netrunner in embarrassing positions while he's on a run.
60. I am not allowed to short sheet the beds of important dieties.
61. I can only taunt the Ranger about his lack of swimming skill after I rescue him.
62. I am not allowed to do anything I saw Han Solo do once.
63. No, I cannot buy 10,000 marbles. Even if I say "Please".
64. My Paladin's battle cry is not "Good for the Good God"
65. There is no 'Summon Bimbo' spell.
66. I am not allowed to start a character that speaks every language except any the party speaks.
67. There is no Kung Fu manuever 'McGuire Swings For Bleachers'.
68. "Bring him back intact" includes redundant organs.
69. There is more to wizardry than 'Magic Missile'. Even if I can do 200 damage automatic with no save.
70. I am not allowed to cook up nerve gas in the sink. Even if the target number is only 5.
71. There is no 'Annoy' setting on a Phaser.
72. I am not allowed to start a character who is over 100 years old, unless he is an elf or dwarf. Humans are right out.
73. I am not allowed to name my cudgel 'Ceremonial Whoopass Stick'.
74. My thief's battle cry is not "Run And Live".
75. Nor is it "You take care of the orcs, I take care of the traps".
76. I am not allowed any artistic license while translating.
77. I did not get my super powers from James T. Kirk.
78. I am not allowed to commission a handgun that costs more than a sedan.
79. I am not liquid metal.
80. When accepting a challenge for a duel, I must allow the other guy time to find a weapon.
81. A picture of my ex-wife is not an acceptable backup weapon.
82. Victory laps, after killing the dragon with my 1d2 bow, are considered in poor taste.
83. My gnome does not " ... like big butts and he cannot lie ... ".
84. I am not allowed to talk my fellow inquisitors into buying a 220lb pull crossbow.
85. I am not allowed to talk my fellow inquisitors into buying an industrial strength flamethrower.
86. I am not allowed to create a superhero with a 99% chance of dodging, even after the -10 penalty for a successful called shot.
87. There is no such thing as a 'Dwarven Katana'.
88. Obviously wearing nothing under her tabard does NOT give my Bard a bonus to perform.
89. The elf's name is not Legolam.
90. My swashbuckling Fop cannot take the flaw 'Dark Secret: Not Gay'.
91. A wet towel does not constitute an improvised weapon.
92. The name of the weapon shop is not 'Bloodbath & Beyond'.
93. I am to remind my DM that he must never, ever give my Paladin a dire boar for a mount again.
94. I cannot base my ancient kung fu Master on Gene Simmons or Bluto Blutarski.
95. I must not put the Thunder God on the spot again.
96. No making up polearms.
97. My one wish cannot be "I wish that everything on this piece of paper was true".
98. There is no such thing as Speed Polka.
99. I am not allowed to see if Jedi can parry shotgun blasts with their lightsabers.
100. When the Referee says that any character from a d20 sourcebook is allowed, that does not include Ga'ould System Lords.
101. I am not allowed to pave ANYTHING.
102. I am not authorized to start any civil engineering project on the taxpayer's dime.
103. There is no such thing as a 'Club +3 of Cup Checks'.
104. Nor is there a '+1 Longsword, +5 against party members'.
105. I am not allowed to polymorph anyone into Abe Vigoda.
106. I do not have weapon profiency in 'Cat'.
107. There is no such game as 'Wereshark: The Buffet'.
108. No, I do not get XP for every single crewman on that Star Destroyer.
109. I am not allowed to kill a vampire with any part from a DC-10 larger than my car.
110. I am not allowed to serenade the party, even if my character has an internal tape deck.
111. I did not learn the 'Garrote' skill last week from my grandmother.
112. If it cannot fit through the x-ray machine, it does not go on the plane.
113. My Droid is not allowed to paraphrase any Jack Nicholson soliloquy.
114. The Demilich will only fall for getting stuffed in the 'Bag of Holding' once.
115. My musical instrument cannot double as a personal flotation device.
116. I am not allowed to take a coffee break during the final supervillain showdown.
117. I am restricted to memorizing the 'Floating Disc' spell only once per day.
118. The sledgehammer is not a traditional Paladin weapon.
119. Character names cannot be anagrams of Playboy playmates.
120. I am not allowed to kill another party member with a boomerang again.
121. I am not a contractor for 'Dragon Cave Cleaning Services Inc.'.
122. The Paladin's alignment is not 'Lawful Anal'.
123. I cannot forget to mention traps when the powergamer has point.
124. I cannot insert the words "Kill Phil. Sorry, Phil" into any list of instructions.
125. Lingerie can only snap coincidentally so many times per day.
126. Dwarves do not count as burrowing animals.
127. I am not allowed to download AOL 6.0 onto the Arasaka mainframe.
128. Polka Gnomes exist only in my mind.
129. I am not allowed to name my ship 'The Antidisestablishmentarianism'.
130. I am not authorized to form the head.
131. I am not allowed to bet how many times the Lich bounces.
132. There is no such feat as 'Death Blossom'.
133. My Acrobat cannot balance on the Warlord's head for more than one round.
134. The King's Guards' official name is not 'The Royal Order of the Red Shirt'.
135. I cannot demand payment in electrum, backrubs or bubblewrap.
136. I cannot start a '7th Sea' campaign with three confirmed Drachen kills.
137. I do not have a scorching case of lycanthropy.
138. If the mere thought of it costs the others sanity, I am forbidden from doing it.
139. My bard is required to take levels in the Perform skill and cannot 'just play by ear'.
140. The Dutch language does not exist in the 'Forgotten Realms'.
141. My maid does not know kung fu.
142. I am not allowed to give a 4 year old a sugar rush just to jack up the CR later.
143. I am not allowed to buy a holy symbol for every god, just in case one of them is right.
144. There is no such thing as pleather armor.
145. I cannot go back in time to queue-jump at the Declaration of Independence - just so everybody now will be asked for their 'Terrence E. Woczinski' when signing documents.
146. I am not allowed to play an Australian in any game set before 1600.
147. Hobbits are not allowed to have Norse ancestry.
148. There is no 'Gnomish Deathgrip'. Even if there was, it wouldn't involve tongs.
149. Looting the unguarded baggage train is not considered a glorious victory.
150. I am not allowed to create recreational drugs in suppository format.
151. Halflings do not have a racial proficiency with the flamethrower.
152. When the guy is at -9 Hit Points, this is not the best time for my cleric to convert him.
153. I will not propose to every noblewoman at the royal ball until I crit my charisma check.
154. I am not allowed to rub the Monk's head for luck.
155. I am not allowed to rub any part of the Elf Chick for any reason.
156. When partymembers forget to buy rations, eating the Half-elf is not our first option.
157. Any capital scale weapon is not 'My Little Friend'.
158. I will not declare myself a god just so I can grant myself spells.
159. Airlocks do not double as trash disposals.
160. Loading nothing but paintball rounds into any gatling weapon is not allowed.
161. I will not nail every single female party member, except for the Elf Chick played by the creepy guy.
162. Whatever monster we just killed is not to be tonight's dinner.
163. I am not allowed to make dire versions of any dog of the toy or miniature breeds.
164. I will not tattle to the Halfling Assassin's mom about his career choice.
165. I will not substitute 'Folger's Crystals' for anything, to see if anybody notices.
166. Bribing the enemy commander into withdrawing, with a stolen Elvis LP collection, is not allowed.
167. I was not recruited by the Star League for any reason.
168. I was also not recruited by 12 dwarves and a wizard, to rob a dragon.
169. I am neither the pagan god nor goddess of fertility.
170. I cannot name my character 'Xagyg' or any anagram thereof.
171. My character's dying words are not allowed to be "Hastur! Hastur! Hastur!".
172. At no point can I justify spending force points on a Seduction check.
173. I am not allowed to recreate Veers' March of the AT-ATs on Zhentil Keep.
174. There is no use of William Shatner's spoken word album that does not require a humanity check.
175. I am not directly descended from either Huey Lewis or any member of the News.
176. I cannot make called shots to the plectrum, anvil, stirrup, hammer or Isle of Langerhans.
177. 'Stinking cloud' is a privilege, not a right.
178. There are no profanities in Celestial.
179. 'Chummer' means that he is my friend, not that sharks find him tasty.
180. I have neither The Touch nor The Power.
181. I cannot quote Shakespeare in Crinos.
182. I cannot figure out the plot and kill the actual villain five minutes into the adventure.
183. There are no rules for cooking corn dogs in any d20 supplement.
184. A starting character has no need for 100gp worth of hemp rope.
185. My Bard does not need roadies for a dungeon crawl.
186. No cutting in line to be a god.
187. I cannot gain more than three drama dice per session for making the GM pee.
188. I cannot play an Elf with a Scottish accent, nor a Cajun Dwarf.
189. 'Tourettes' is not a flaw, it is a reason to kill the character at creation.
190. Dual-wielding small animals is strictly forbidden.
191. My character is not related in anyway to Boba Fett. This goes double for 'Star Wars' characters.
192. If the gun is best fired using the Artillery skill, my character is not allowed to have it.
193. I am not allowed to kill vampires with seismic charges.
194. When the other guy picks swords for the choice of weapons, that does not leave me pistols.
195. I cannot use a silent feat enabled 'Power Word Stun', and blame it on the dog.
196. I cannot name a character anything that I cannot say politely in another country.
197. My epic level character cannot take on the minor goblin menace to his country just to stay sharp.
198. I am not allowed to steal my own soul.
199. My third wish cannot be "I wish you would not grant this wish".
200. I cannot name my character after cliche canon characters from other systems.
201. My thief is prohibited from speaking solely in Cant.
202. Character descriptions cannot contain any two or more of the following words: Slavic, Disco, Tonedeaf, Ululate, Karaoke, Musician, Yodel.
203. My superhero's strength is not classified as 'Snazzy', 'Neato' or 'Bodacious'.
204. I am not " ... too sexy for the elf, too sexy for the elf, so sexy myself ... ".
205. My D&D (3rd edition) Red Wizard is not allowed to start a business named 'Thay Co.'.
206. I cannot forge a '+1 sword of Brad's Min/Maxed Paladin/Monk Slaying'.
207. The following weapons are not legal choices in a duel: Steamroller, Nerve Gas, Landmine, Midget.
208. I cannot whine about the crappy selection of magical bec de corbins.
209. My Paladin's heraldry is not a smiley face.
210. My Antipaladin's heraldry is not Mr. Yuk.
211. If my Dwarf takes on the mannerisms of 'Macho Man Randy Savage' at any point, he dies.
212. If the party always starts the adventure in a tavern, I cannot opt to start in a brothel.
213. I am not the patron saint of common sense.
214. There is no prestige class 'Drizzt Slayer'.
215. They do not make heavy weapons in pump action.
216. There is an upper limit to the number of Bozo boostergangers I can fit into a Volkswagon.
217. If the weapon is capable of staking vampires hiding behind engine blocks, I cannot have it.
218. No matter what my alignment is, organizing halfling pit fights is a violation.
219. In formal introductions to royalty, I must not introduce my companions as "Just The Other Guys".
220. I am not the master of the low blow or the gang up.
221. If I get that Yugo up to 120 mph again, that is gonna get some paradox.
222. Druids are not against my religion.
223. I cannot convince the Solo he has a cortex bomb when he really does not.
224. I cannot insinuate elf chicks are all easy. Even though you never hear of half gnomes, do you?
225. I am forbidden from monologuing.
226. Troll bubblegum...bad idea.
227. My last wish cannot be "I wish we were playing another game".
228. I cannot use my time machine to hire Hitler a hooker in 1920, thus avoiding WW2.
229. I am not allowed to spontaneously check if the Elf can take a punch.
230. There is no such thing as monofilament tooth floss.
231. I am not allowed to do anything that would make a Sith Lord cry.
232. It is not possible to recreate any scene from 'Dr. Who' in Crinos.
233. If I am the Medtech, it is generally assumed I am going to have skill in Medicine.
234. My character does not get d34 HP a level.
235. My Samedi is required to have dots in 'Obfuscate'.
236. My character has no need for 24,000 cartons of cigarettes, especially in his neighbor's garage.
237. I am not allowed to use more than 3 words per game that the GM has to look up definitions for.
238. My Bard cannot play or has ever heard of the theremin, didgeridoo or glass harmonica.
239. Ditto for the Rockerboy.
240. Any character with more than three skills specializing in 'Chainsaw' is vetoed.
241. I cannot use the 'Jedi Mind Trick' to get out of a speeding ticket.
242. I am not allowed to give Mountain Dew to quicklings.
243. I cannot cast 'Haste' on the king, during a long-winded speech, to get him to hurry the hell up.
244. I am not allowed to taunt the rest of the party in 8 different languages, just because they forgot to take any.
245. I am not allowed to attend any opera whose name the GM confuses with a strip joint.
246. I cannot keep selling that creepy guy's always-naked Elf Chick to nomads every chance I get.
247. If the king rewards me with a forest, I am to assume he intends for me to keep it a forest.
248. There is no Halfling god of groin shots.
249. If a black op requires me to impersonate an employee, I cannot bill the target for overtime.
250. 'Superfluous Man' is not a viable superhero concept.
This is a repost from the 'City of Heroes' Forums.
. Basically, imagine your typical iron-jawed, cape-waving, spandex-clad superhero using a public phone, and conducting the following conversation:
Hello, is this the offices of 'Saul Rubenstien, Agent to Paragon's Elite'?
Great. May I speak to him, please? I'm a client.
No, with an 'A'. D-A-N-T.
OK, I'll hold.
Hello, Saul. It's Ascendant.
No, the one with an 'A'.
I'm glad you asked. I've been going over these products you've sent me---
Right, for the merchandizing campaign.
Well, no, they aren't. That's why I'm calling, actually. I'm not really happy with them.
Well, for starters, there's the breakfast cereal.
OK, it says on the box 'Includes Xenonite, the Secret Source of Ascendant's Power'.
Well, for one thing, Xenonite is NOT the secret source of my powers.
No, Saul, it isn't. Trust me on this.
Saul. Xenonite TAKES AWAY my powers.
Yeah, it does. In fact, if I'm exposed to it for too long, it could kill me.
I dunno. It's got something to do with radioactivity, I think. Anyway, I poured a bowl of Ascendant-O's yesterday, to see what they taste like, and nearly died before I could finish adding the milk.
Well, if the cat hadn't come along and eaten it all, I would have, Saul.
My point is that we aren't going to be selling Ascendant-O's...
Because, Saul, I'm not putting on a lead suit every time I have to go to the cereal aisle in the grocery store.
I don't care if you have already have a lot of pre-orders for it.
Really? How much?
Uh-huh. Him, too? Really?
Yeah, well, the problem here is that all of those people you just mentioned are supervillains, Saul.
Yes, even him. I just beat him up like an hour ago for trying to poison the city's water supply.
I don't care if his check cleared, Saul. That's not the point...
Well, of course they're going to use it to try and kill me, Saul. Why else would a bunch of supervillains want a kid's cereal laced with the one rare radioactive element I'm vulnerable to?
No, I don't think they just want a well balanced breakfast.
OK, as far as I'm concerned, this is a dead issue, Saul. Big NO on Ascendant-O's. Moving on: The Ascendant action figure.
No, I'm very disappointed, actually.
Well, for starters, it comes with a laser sword and a talking dinosaur that I supposedly ride into battle. I don't have either one of those things, Saul.
I don't care if the focus groups thought it would be cool.
That's utterly ridiculous, Saul.
Yes, it is. For one thing, where am I going to get a laser sword? Or a talking dinosaur, for that matter?
Fine, whatever. Anyway, I'm also a little concerned about the fact that it features 'Burning Halo Action'.
Right, but aside from the fact that I don't actually have that power ---
No, Saul. I don't.
Saul, I'd know it if I did. Trust me on this.
Aside from the fact that I don't have anything like a Burning Halo power, do you really think it's a good idea to sell kids an action figure that can spontaneously burst into flame?
I see. Well, we're going to hold on that until I approve a redesign. Moving on. The 'Ascendant Cave Action Playset'.
Yeah, I actually like this thing. Looks nothing like my apartment, but it's pretty cool, I guess.
Eh? They changed the name so it could fit on the box?
Well, sure, I guess 'Ascendant Cave Action Playset' is a little long, but couldn't they just use a smaller font?
Fine, so what do they call it now? The Action Cave? Ascendant's Lair?
Why on Earth would they call it the A-Hole, Saul?
Yes, I understand the 'A' is short for Ascendant, but why not call it the A-Cave? Or the A-Lair?
Uh-huh. I see. Well, we're NOT calling my secret headquarters the A-Hole, Saul, and that's final.
Because I don't want people to hear the word 'Ascendant' and immediately think 'A-Hole'.
OK, moving on. The 'Ascendant Action Hour TV Show'.
Right. I actually like the opening animation of me that you've put together.
Right, the one where I'm sheathed in a burning halo of flame, riding around the city on a talking dinosaur, hitting bad guys with my laser sword and eating chunks of raw Xenonite. I mean, that's not remotely close to real life; but I guess it looks cool and the theme song is catchy, so I'll let it pass for now. It's the rest of the show that I have problems with, Saul.
Well, for one thing, outside of the opening theme part, the show itself is apparently just old episodes of 'Nightline', except every time someone says "Ted Koppel", you dub over it with "Ascendant".
I don't care if each episode only costs $22.50 plus shipping to make, Saul. In fact, I don't think you can even legally broadcast it.
What offshore Pirate transmitter?
Saul, that's a federal offence.
Yes. Yes, it is.
Yes, someone WILL care. They're called the FCC, Saul.
Look, Saul. I've got to fire you.
I don't see where you've left me much choice, Saul.
You're selling cereal that can kill me to my archenemies; you've made my action figure not only ludicrous, but potentially lethal to kids; and you're committing felonies with illegal offshore broadcasts of 'Nightline'. Oh, and I almost forgot, you're selling an action playset which proudly proclaims on the box that 'Ascendant Stores All Of His Most Precious Items Inside His Incredible A-Hole'. And, worst of all, my name is stamped all over all of this.
I'm the one who's going to be sued, or killed, or arrested. Maybe in that order, too.
Stop crying, Saul.
Look. I know you tried your best.
(Sigh) OK. Fine.
OK, but this is your last chance, Saul. Do not do anything more until we can have a meeting.
No. For the last time, NO Broadway musical! Don't even MENTION that idea again.
OK. Bye. (CLICK!)
Traveller variant campaign. The Characters were in a convoy of vehicles travelling on a road through a heavily-forested area. They come to a fork in the road and, after brief discussion, choose to go to the left.
A short while later, the Referee gleefully informs everybody that they have been ambushed, pointing out in detail various locations on the map where people are shooting from.
"Now, wait a minute," the Players tell him. " We took the left fork, not the right. Your ambush is on the wrong road!"
Discussion ensues, and it becomes clear that the Referee has goofed. He gets annoyed, points to where the Players 'really' are and snarls, "OK. OK. The ambush is HERE, then."
Inevitably, this leads to numerous snide remarks about 'Teleporting Ambushes'.
Technically not a gaming anecdote, but it happened to a fellow gamer, and he definitely used a gamer's approach. It also happens to be true.
This particular fellow was in the Australian Army Reserve, in the Artillery, and was chosen for officer training.
A lot of the course was fairly routine stuff, as one would expect. However, things took a very interesting turn when the powers that be decided to give him a practical lesson in 'Leadership & Organizational Ability' or some such thing.
They gave him a squad of soldiers to lead, then marched them into a large warehouse, filled with a vast quantity of construction materials of various kinds.
He was then told, "You have three days. Have your men build something."
The gamer / officer-to-be was surprised. "Er. What should we build?"
Response: "We don't care. Anything."
He thought for a couple of minutes, then set to work. Being an artileryman with an interest in Medieval siege engines and the like, he began constructing ... a Trebuchet (a giant catapult for those of you who don't know the word). Of sufficient size and power to hurl a car engine block or comparable object a few hundred yards.
It definitely was an education for all participants. Unfortunately, three days was not long enough to complete the job, though they came close. Got a good grade for the attempt, happily.
One of his examiners mused afterwards, "You know. Most people just build houses or boats."
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