[Bite-Sized AP] Your Favourite Gaming Experiences of All Time

edited April 2012 in Actual Play
Your post:
  • Under 120 words.
  • About one of your favourite (say: top 5) gaming experiences ever.
  • You can post to this thread multiple times, but only one story per post.
  • If you wanna give props to someone, do so via whisper.
  • Feel free to focus on the social dynamic, or the fiction, or an awesome die roll, or whatever.


  • Last GPNW, we decide to steal away to a friend’s house and play Bacchanal. Several bottles of wine assembled, along with the six(?) of us. As the rules are explained, I’m feeling anxious. I’m in the presence of some really cute folks and talented storytellers, and I am already neurotic about sex talk.

    But I manage to tap this new creative wellspring that I didn’t know about. I’m baffled by the tender, erotic, uncomfortable story that emerges. Simultaneously, I’m hearing these friends of mine move through new narrative territory. The game is confessional in structure and personal in nature, so each juicy bit of narration is telling me new things about these friends, even if these stories aren’t theirs.
  • We're sitting out on the porch in the sun. Homebrew Heroquest. There's such a good vibe. We're an old group of friends, it's summer. We're having fun with the setting - no plan, the characters are just hanging out in a new town, meeting strange characters, doing whatever. We get silly, we get half-serious. Someone has sex, someone goes shopping, someone almost gets caught by Lunar soldiers.

    Nothing big, just all very good. A great day.
  • At Gencon 2006, my first ever convention. I'm playing The Princes' Kingdom with a bunch of designers who I'm overwhelmingly inspired by: Clinton Nixon, Ben Lehman, Meguey Baker, Emily Care-Boss.

    Six years later, the details start to fade away. I know that I said something awesome to a wolf-hunter, but can't recall what. I know Emily's character was adorable, but I can't remember why.

    What I do remember, though, was a sense of mystery and potency in every single moment. Everyone there was so generous and warm. Everyone there was excited about building on and engaging each other’s ideas. It felt magical.
  • edited April 2012
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010. D&D4E Session 32, "Loose Ends Noose."

    We're at the end of a huge ten-session arc. An Asmodean conspiracy has targeted a Rain of Colorless Fire WMD on the holy city of Treyune, where all the armies of the old Empire have gathered to sack/defend the Platinum Temple. If the Infernal Archduke's plan succeeds, every man-at-arms within a month's ride will be burned alive, and the old Nerathi Empire will be reborn ... as Hell on Earth.

    Everyone stays until 1:00AM on a work night to find out how it all turns out.
  • I was very young around 7 years old.

    As part of a community festival some of the local university games group and the LGS held a simple adventure a warrior in an Indiana Jones style D&D adventure, and then a game set in a hotel with 16 players each with their own quests.

    It changed my life.

    \o/ Snake_Eyes
  • I'm 12 years old and at my first convention. I sign up for a playtest of FASA Star Trek. We're playing the tactical ship combat simulator, and when we arrive the GM hands out characters randomly.

    I get Captain Kirk. My bridge crew of adult gamer grognards sorts itself out and waits for my orders.
  • Last year's LuccaCon, 1001 Nights with Meguey and two more people. It's a con game and we don't even finish properly, but there's something sublime in how the character's threads gently weave one over another and how the minimal dice mechanic makes the game flow. I'm an astrologer playing a horse thief in the story, the prince is a stolen horse and I'm leading him astray, literally and metaphorically. Layers of fiction cross. Lessons are learned, wisdom is imparted, punishment is doled out, I achieve my ambition. I felt exhilarated for weeks afterwards, because I had not experienced really functional play in this vein as a player before.
  • I'm playing a Daimah trickster in an Anima Campaign. I've just located and teleported right behind an evil necromancer, hidden into an strange subterranean cave... which turns out to be the mouth of his mighty undead beast. I escape by burning both all mana and life to attack the beast from inside and the GM declares that the hit obliterates the beast, but it leaves me with a single HP, facing a 100 feet fall. GM tells me I have a single action available, so I call for a desperate last teleport using wild magic and dissapear in mid air. The gm states I end up in the evil overlord castle, up on his dinner table.
  • Playing "Top Secret" in high school. We are assigned to stop a supposed Columbian gun runner. Our group sneaks into his Florida mansion, get into the basement, and start opening up some very large shipping crates as we hear his goons approaching upstairs. It turns out the crates contain coffins, with recently deceased still contained in said coffins. As a gun fight break out, I start cutting open the dead bodies in the hopes of maybe finding some of the rumored heavy weaponry we were supposed to find, to no avail.

    We still manage to escape.

    It eventually is revealed that our supposed gun runner is a drug runner and a meat supplier to many fine eateries/hotels/restaurants in Central America. And he uses the "honest" cadaver-to-meat-processing business as a money laundering device.
  • edited April 2012
    November 15, 2008. After the Emerald City Game Feast, Ogre, Jackson, Leslie, Lukas, and me play 1001 Nights in Ogre's basement. My guy was an astrologer too!

    Ogre brought the fury on that day. I will never forget the voice of doom he channeled to perform the hero-eating monster Chudo-Udo. A side benefit of gaming with him: the smoke breaks allow everyone to retreat from the table, process a bit, and come back strong. I think that more games should program for smoke breaks.

    It's also the first game I ever play with Jackson, Leslie, and Lukas. Those guys are good people to know.
  • edited April 2012
    It's 1990, and Vincent is wrapping up the Cyberpunk game he's been running for me and three of our friends. There's Cris&Cozy or Shriekback or The Legendary Pink Dots playing in the background in the little lounge in our dorm. The table is covered with papers, dice, and a broken wine glass filled with burnt matches and flower petals. I'm playing Jack, a serious badass who gives a damn about the people in the city, out to catch a serial killer.
    I'm standing on the bridge in the rain, face to face with Serioff, who it turns out is a for-real vampire. He's got a spaced-out red-head on his arm, and he's explaining to me why I'm going to let him go. I've been hunting Serioff for a year, and my weapon is in my hand. As one hunter to another, it's clear: we both balance the herd, and without each other, the whole deal is pointless. I watch him walk away slowly, the doomed woman on his arm. He's right.
  • edited April 2012
    Delve, 2009. The player characters have entered a forest possessed by a bodiless demon that eats knowledge and has already stolen the world's memory of who the characters are. Armed with a lot of runes they don't quite understand, they are just barely keeping the demon at bay, but it’s getting closer, and they’re not finding the bottle that contains their memory.

    Then Jan surprises me, pulling out his paper inscribed with the True Name of another demon, a demon made of whirling blades. All my secret GM metaphysics of magic and demonology tell me that here, in this place, this is uniquely significant!

    Jan calls the name! Once! Twice! Three times! The knowledge eater is destroyed, the surreal world dispelled, and the precious bottle of memories revealed. And now the forest begins to fill with whirling blades...
  • The Mountain Witch done as Apocalypse Now, GPNW 2008.

    I just tried to really push the mistrust from The Mountain Witch, added a favorite mechanic from The Shab-al-Hiri Roach, and set it on the Vietnam/Cambodia border in 1969.

    And wow, the players blew it wide open. They didn't hold back and push their characters' agenda hard.

    It was a great example of a military-themed game done right, without fistfuls of dice.

    Read the AP, it's worth it.
  • I am loving this thread. Thanks to all! ^__^
  • Posted By: Caesar_XThe Mountain Witch done as Apocalypse Now,GPNW 2008.
    Quoted for absolute truth. That game came up in conversation at Gamestorm last week and John and I secretly held hands under the table. Well, in my head we did.
  • Wow, just read that Apocalypse Now AP thread, and that was BOSS. I've never played The Mountain Witch, but now I sure as shit want to.
  • edited April 2012
    A number of years ago, at UCon in Michigan, which I go to for the Tekumel Track. One of the GMs there invites me to a game based on the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force from Europe before the Nazis. The GM is a former British serviceman, and has interviewed those who fought there. The regiment is the 42nd highlanders. I am a piper, a Cameron, from the far far north. I have a sheaf of letters from my wife and young child, and a bible, and a generations long history of service in my family. And my pipes.

    We fight. I pipe. We fight some more, and I am wounded, kill a man, and keep piping. We march and march, and I bleed. We make it to the beaches, and I'm half out of my mind with stress, grief, sorrow and bravery. I nearly can't swim out to the boats.

    By the end of the game, I the player am a wreck, near tears. But a happy one, and shaken, and amazed.
  • edited April 2012
    That Heart of Darkness game (Saturday, May 31, 2008) was so boss we had to steal endings from three different movies in order to bring it home.

    Top and the CIA man went down in a hail of gunfire like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Choirboy and Swede started a beautiful Casablanca friendship and the turncoats Jughead and Moon Dog choppered away untouched like Keyser Soze.

    This was another game that was powered by smoke breaks. We took one with maybe half an hour to go and no real ending in site. After that pause, our final act just kind of ... fell together.
  • I once ran a game of Space Opera where a lone engineer was playing a game of cat and mouse with a slime creature inside a ship. The game got so tense that when the beastie final jumped on him, he actually shot himself in the head with a laser carbine to get it off his helmet.
  • About ten years ago. Some Frankenstein-ed spy game. My character's had a bad night so far - he's been kicked in the head and shot in the back by his own team members (oh, fumble rules, how I love thee!), and when the team finally makes it back to the hotel, battered and at least a little bit bowed, he does his usual paranoid search of his room. The GM, sensing his moment like a cat stalking a mouse, says: "You don't find anything. Well, your bed hasn't been made." For weeks after that, player and character both were convinced that there was some nefarious reason that the maids hadn't put clean sheets on the bed. Convinced.

  • Quite a few years ago. We're all teenagers high on the first couple of the ASoIaF books. We take D&D 3E because that's all we know and I ask them to make characters using the NPC classes from the DMG (Noble, Peasant, Warrior...). A couple of hours later an evil fake-princess is trying to poison another player's knight's lord father, because she's married to his older brother and wants the throne, an alchemist is kidnapping the same character's sister for sacrifice to dark gods, a jester is lying in bed with a broken head because he was pushed down the stairs for knowing a secret and the King's Tournament is in a couple of days! HOLY JEBUS.

    (I spend many of the following years hopelessly trying to recreate the experience, until I find the right games and tools to do so.)
  • In southern Norway, a couple of years ago, I set up a game of the classical frpg Fabula with two old-timers. We set up two shifty thieves living in a buzzing city. They started the game with a badly planned break-in, and from there on the interaction rolled sedately into a small tragedy on two fellows struggling to stay afloat in a brutal world. No one would ever miss these two guys, and nothing they did ever amounted to much ...
    - but the game was beautiful. The three of us found the urban groove, and made the night into a rare gem of interaction!
  • Vampire Game
    After months of good RP in a Vampire game an NPC kills the last mortal progeny of one of the PC's, and one of the players actually broke into tears and rage.

    Dread (kinda larp'ish)
    In a dread game I ran at a local convention I bribed several people with food and beer to act as NPC's.
    During scene we had someone walk up and point a gun at a character, as the player made a pull a actor actually came up and pointed a cap gun at the player and quickly pulled the trigger.
    A character was going insane and with voices and another actor came up and sat behind the player heckling them.
    I passed tons of blank notes between players and made it appears as though the other players were actually causing them the trouble.
    I had the lights turn out and people come running into the room shouting and running around the table.
    There was also a point of the game where I handed a player an "Evil Scepter" prop. It was actually a vibrating back massager that I had decorated up with a Blood Line (power cord) that lead over to my side of the table. When the player when to make a pull I turned it on.

    Everyone was a twitching mess by the end of that game.
  • Tales of the Floating Vagabond. The characters were Bat-Dwarf (like Batman but a D&D dwarf. When backlit his axe projected the Bat-symbol), Spot (the other Warner sister that got pushed out of the act and was really bitter), Flopsy D Wizard (a Care Bear Bunny), and Dr, Hans VanDerMeer (a nebbishy scientist with ability to store anything in his labcoat).

    We had to save the universe from the Evil Space Nazis and their laser that turned people into Barney. I don't know what is was but we were all on that night and several times the game stopped because we couldn't breathe from the laughter.
  • Lacuna, first session with the group, first time that group had played a non-D&D game. The mission took the group to a hospital, and ended with them being chased onto the roof by spidermen where the girl was waiting. A little boy would follow them around and show up in places he shouldn't have been. The soundtrack was killer, the lighting was perfect and everyone was legitimately freaked out.

    The best moment was when they were walking through this one floor of the hospital, hearing all these cries of patients in pain they couldn't actually see. When they found the hostile personality the table just burst out all at once with everyone basically shouting something to the effect of "I FIRE ALL MY AMMO!!!" It was genuinely tense, and the start to an excellent campaign.
  • edited April 2012
    We played a one shot with a simple system my friend invented, where our characters woke up in a sort of ruined mental institution/lab complex, without memories of our past. We find the reason for this was the outbreak of an experimental virus and later manage to find enough meds to keep it under control (we are infected). We mostly went and play the totally paranoid good guys the whole game, helping each other. We escape in a helicopter and land on a carrier, where we get surrounded by soldiers, still not knowing which side are they on. We finally take a chance and surrender.

    In the epilogue, we found out each one of us was the leader of a different huge evil faction... and started to laugh like megalomaniacs.
  • Wow, sounds a lot like a session of Psi*Run... :)
  • edited April 2012
    The best roleplaying session of my life was this weekend at Gothcon.

    My character stood by her every ideal and lost the love of her life. It was probably unavoidable. Another character lost everything about herself (faith, ethics, community) except the madness induced by her time in the xenomold zone and the love of another character. She ended up in a closed psyche ward occationally visited by her love. This was a happy ending us four other players had struggled to see happen. All dialogue spoken came from our hearts, it was both painful, emotional and sometimes so subtle those who weren't spoken to didn't catch the true meaning of gestures and words uttered.

    Afterwards the mutual feeling was thankfulness.
  • The time I accidentally horror.

    I was 10 and freeforming with two friends. They were adventurers going to raid a tower full of vampires. They enter at dawn when the vampires are sleeing and check the basement first. It's a pitch black dungeon (they didn't bring torches). I make a decrepid voice of a prisoner and they ask probing questions while simultaneously probing the dungeon and when they are just outside the prisoners cage:

    Prisoner: "They have been doing... things to me."
    Players holding their breaths: "What sort of things?"
    Prisoner: "They have been drinking... MY BLOOD!"

    They gasp in surprise and all our hairs stood on end hearing this shocking truth. I had to walk one of them all the way home in the dark because he was so scared.
  • LOL! 10 year olds are supreme players indeed! They are so open to everything! Started to play with children that age back in -95, when I was a bit tired of running games, and their total immersion and enthusiasm reawakened my rpg-spirit.

    Another goodie, way back (-89), in my game Muu:
    - a group of friends playing the first campaign ever in the game. One muu going through pains and planning during several sessions, to find out how to build something, and slowly it is all coming together ...
    - but then here is this throw of the die, to see if muu succeed in a crucial task, and he fails. It was all about muu putting his finger down into the ground! Alas; at that particular spot the ground was too hard and dry for this to happen, so it was painful to ram the finger into the hard earth ...
    - and that made muu, without a second thought, turn his attention towards cuddling (to alleviate the pain), and then he was hungry, and he trundled on, never looking back on the lost ambition of engineering ...

    It was a great game-session, and then my friends, all fired up on the potential of the plan the muu had laid, sat in the sofa and discussed what may have happened, and that discussion is one of the silliest and most enthusiastic post-game discussions I've ever witnessed. Amongst other things they dicussed what would happen if muu succeeded in placing a rock on top of another rock, and a third rock besides the first one, and then a rock on top of that one, etc-etc. I listened to them, and laughed, and they continued, and I laughed, and so on and so on into the night. And we all felt we had a good groove with the universe, while in harmony with each other, and at peace. A nice game of Muu.
  • edited June 2012
    First time I ever completed a full series in Prime Time Adventures. We'd had a player drop out, I'd completely misunderstood the rules at first and my wife had just left me, but I was on top of the world that one evening when we wrapped up the session... I'd never had so much control over my own character's development before and it was probably the first game I played where my character and play style got any respect - where I wasn't a buffoon everyone could ignore.
  • I'm in college, and we've just started up a new AD&D game. I'm a gullible farm kid who thinks he's a Zen monk, but he's really just a fighter. Still, he won't wear armor, and all he'll carry is a quarterstaff. Also, he never strikes first. He hooks up with a Paladin of Brigit, a young flame worshipping hot-head. That guy burns everything. There's another guy I forget (MU with 1 HP, maybe?). The paladin and I argue theology at every turn. But we're broke. So we follow a treasure map to this cave complex & go tromping down inside. We get jumped by some giant cave ostrich, and in a lucky hit, the paladin goes down. So does the other guy. The torch hits the ground. I'm fighting blind. I'm down to one hit point as a giant cave chicken tries to kill me. The GM and I each roll miss after miss. There is panting and flailing in the dark. And after countless rounds, needing something crazy like a 18 or 19, I hit. The chicken goes down. I drag my companions to safety, feeling the way, watching the wandering monster die with a fixed stare. Ultimately, we all live. Later, we torture a goblin as a test of preordination vs free-will.
  • High school, playing a mostly-homebrew, mostly free-form version of AD&D 2E with two friends who have never played before. They're loving it. While fighting a man-scorpion or something in a cave, one of the players asks if he can break off a stalagmite and use it as a crude weapon. I say yes, his STR roll is high enough, and we all sit there grinning about how fucking awesome this game is. In many ways it took me until discovering Story-Games, and Dungeon World in particular, to recapture that sense of anything-can-happen.
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