Tell me about a time when ...

edited January 2009 in Story Games
Tell me about a time when something happened in your story that would have been totally lame, uninteresting or just plain silly in a book, movie or TV show, but was totally awesome at the gaming table.


  • Alright, so there they were, two new Sabbat vampires on the prowl in NYC, looking for guns. The first gun store they find is closed after dark, so they break into it. They set off the alarm, and have to deal with the two guard dogs before getting some guns, then having to flee the cops. They wreck their stolen cab, dupe the cops into thinking them unconscious or dead before killing them and fleeing in the squad car, ditching it later.

    One of them decides he doesn't like getting shot, and wants a bullet proof vest.. Which he could have taken off one of the cops, if he'd thought about it. So they decide to find more cops to get vests from. Before that, they knock over a string of ATM machines...
  • We were in the midst of a horrid D&D module that the DM was running that had zero plot hooks for any of the PCs. I don't even know why we went there other than the DM's excuse of "treasure, XPs". One of those games...

    The confusion and tension builds as this module hands us our asses over and over. We are not happy, we feel railroaded, and everyone is giving the eye to each other as to who is going to crack and call the GM on this first.

    The party goes into a kitchen area in the dungeon and is attacked suddenly by an animated dinner table. I start laughing so hard I start to tear up. Everyone gets quiet and wants to know why I am laughing (expecting that one of us had hit the breaking point). I finally get a grip enough to point out that that it's a "wandering, monster table!"

    The group lightens up, and then we start railing on it, making a table or furniture pun with each hit rolled. It really broke the tension and made the session less of a chore.


    On a broader note, closer to what I think you are looking for is something that Lance's story shows. It is the feel of a "sandbox" video game. There are some things that are fun when you do them, but you wouldn't want to watch someone else do them. No one would pay to see a movie where a thug goes around and does what makes up 90% of the junk that goes on in a serious play of GTA4 etc, but when you are doing it - with the freedom to do it your way, it becomes more fun.

    Games benefit and suffer from the fact that the audience and the actors are the same people.
  • Posted By: JuddGOn a broader note, closer to what I think you are looking for is something that Lance's story shows. It is the feel of a "sandbox" video game. There are some things that are fun when you do them, but you wouldn't want to watch someone else do them.
    Yeah, that's sort of what I'm looking for. I'm just interested in the difference between non-interactive stories and games. I think we story gamers often think about gameplay as creating stories, and I've heard people say that you should always aim for creating a story you'd pay to go see on the cinema screen. But gaming and stories arent' the same thing, and I'm just curious to find what the differences are.
  • Once we had a complete gaming session of about 4 hours of solo play dedicated completely to selling a crystall ball. Was a lot of fun actually, with all kinds of fun: trying to hypnotise the buyer, hitting a friendly NPC with a magic fear side effect, straight bargaining and even metagaming remarks like "Ok, now you met your match!" when I started to role-play two NPCs talking — all of that and much more, was fun with a big F. However, I'd shoot myself before being forced into seeing some movie characters do that for such a long time.
  • We were playing this "weird World War Two" game that was kind of edgy and occult-y, with spooky weird stuff going on, and we rotated GMs every few sessions. There was a certain cool, muted tone to the game.

    Then my brother's turn to GM arrived, and the first session included a Nazi dirigible covered with mechanical death-bats, the time-traveling actor and patriot Ernest Borgnine, and magical tequila worms. It was stoopid and awesome. As I recall a vampire also jumped off the Eiffel tower, so at least he was incorporating actual history.
  • The first time I was in China (Junior year of high school) I kept this notebook describing the campaign I wanted to run when I got back home. It was actually the first time I'd ever pre-planned a scenario to play (which I had previously thought was really stupid and unfun), but there was no one in China to play with, so I was getting my roleplaying fix by plotting out this long, crazy thing called "Archangels of Wormwood" for RIFTS Wormwood, the greatest setting for the crappiest rulesystem ever. By "long" I mean, like, 7 sessions that formed a tiny chunk of this huge narrative that I had in mind. Previously, we also rarely played the same characters twice or played in the same location. I mean, when you got the new RIFTS book, you just had to create a new character because the new classes were SO HOT. Mining Borg OCC, I choose you! And creating characters was a lot more fun than playing first level characters, y'know? First level characters suck, but we never considered making ones of higher levels. That would be cheating or something.

    Anyway, so I come back home with this notebook full of story plot, basically. It had no stats in it, aside from a couple of really cool magic items and powers that I had specifically designed for some Wormwood characters we'd played previously. It was all just, "This thing happens and then the players go here and etc." Railroaded out the wazoo, which I had also never really done before. But the players (my brother and two childhood friends) ate that shit up, right off my spoon. One of the characters got possessed by the Archangel Mikail (who I made up). One of them ended up with a crystal virus (stolen from the Cable's T-O virus from X-Men) that he could control, which allowed him to do really cool things with his transformed hand long before Aquaman stole that schtick. My brother's character... I think he maybe just got hosed, I don't really remember. Anyway, it was great, but it would have made a really, really terrible story.
  • edited January 2009
    We played D&D on Wednesday. There was a haunted house. We went in, killed a few goblins, took their stuff and left. We'd heard there was a vampire, but it turned out to be a goblin shaperson disguised by an illusion. It was tremendous fun, but I don't ever want to hear it as a story.

  • edited January 2009
    I was running a game of Torg once, and was halfway through a session when a couple of friends dropped by and wanted to play as well. So, I gave them pick a couple of the character templates and give them names. I pull them into another room, and let them know my plan for working them in. They agree to it.

    Then we go back to the group that's already there, who fortunately have just finished a scene. I tell them:

    "You come out of the building, and a car pulls up to the curb. As these two guys get out, you notice that it's a small Italian car, but for some reason, it has "GMC" on the front.

    One of the two new players says, "Hey, we're part of your group now."

    An existing player responds, "What? Why should we trust you?"

    New player says, "Look at the car, man. We got here by GM Fiat."

    ... and with much groaning, people threw things at me. But they loved it, and we still talk about the "GM Fiat."
  • A long time ago in a college town far far away, I decided I'd like to see what would happen if I re-created the Star Wars plot with gamers in charge of the main characters.

    How many sessions before they completely go off the tracks and we end up with a completely different plot?

    Answer: 4

    Granted, everyone made their own characters, so the skills and abilities of the individual roles broke down differently, and that contributed significantly.

    Anyway, after Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru get toasted by stormtroopers, "Luke" and Obi-Wan head to Mos Eisly Spaceport. They pick up "Han" and "Chewie", but the conversation goes a little differently. The whole "And no questions asked" made "Han" and "Chewie" More than a little suspicious, and Obi Wan got especially testy when they started asking why they had to drag along the droids, too.

    "Han", who had maxed out his computers skill and had a week to kill while they were in hyperspace, decided to see what all the fuss was about with these droids. With a restraining bolt in place on R2D2, he hacks him and discovers the plan to the Death Star. Suddenly he knew why everyone was being so cagy. He also knew he was a dead man for helping these folks, reguardless of if he was aware of what he was doing.

    He keeps quiet about it and they get to what's left of Alderaan. "What could have done this?" says Obi-Wan.

    "I Know exactly what did this, and we're getting the hell out of here." replied "Han." They get buzzed by a TIE fighter, but instead of giving chase, they immediately jump to hyperspace.

    Suddenly, they're never captured by the Imperials. Leia is not rescued. Obi-Wan is not dead. The Imperials don't know where the Rebel base is.

    We were all very amused by this turn of events. It would have been anti-climactic as all hell for a movie, but we really enjoyed the twist it put on things.
  • edited January 2009
    I have virtually endless experiences with role-playing games that would be just plain impossible in any other media.

    --> Having the players meet a mother and her son, gathering firewood in the woods, capturing them and discussing how to stop them from raising the alarm of the army the characters were part of (the discussion of the players, the horror when they see that a quick kill is the only solution, the unease of it being themselves that had to make that choice, a player giving the order to kill, and the killing itself ...).

    --> Having the players themselves arguing with me as "a smiling and mild mannered old necromancer" at the court of a foreign tyrant, and their chagrin as they realize that the necromancer has better arguments than them! Him (me, the GM) talking about respect for the dead, the practical use of zombies, the economic benefits for the farmers, etc-etc. - and them having not thought one minute about how to refute the flawless logic of the "evil" they were fighting, being totally run over by the smiling old man. And then their chagrin as the tyrant tells them that he sees no gain in it for him to side with their cause. He will invite the necromancers to his realm, to better the life of his peasant population.

    In my view the co-creative interaction of the players is the real strength of role-playing games. You are "in the shoes of the character" in a much deeper and direct sense than in any other media.
  • Many moons ago, we were playing Runequest and for very bizarre reasons which I can't quite remember, we had to deliver a wedding cake from one town to the next, across some fairly rugged country. Problem was, we were being stalked by a vampire we'd, ahem, accidentally released a few sessions before. Cut to the scene where we get ambushed by said vampire and her minions and we're forced to fight for honour and duty to protect the wedding cake.

    It would make an awful film (even though I can see it playing in my head as I type), but the endless stream of cake and bread puns that went with it made it one of the funniest gaming experiences I've ever had.

    And then there was the improvised session we did with Roderick Robertson when we all played travelling anvil salesmen. Our major sales pitch was their usefulness for making beer...
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