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RPG Horror Stories
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Glammo



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 452
Location: Finding paths and breakin' hearts

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: Re: The Sunless Citadel Reply with quote

izzat wrote:
Oh, yeah, hide all her Ayn Rand books.

Dammit, I don't get that reference! And after looking through the "references in popular culture" parts of wikipedia, it seems I should!
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Glammo



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 452
Location: Finding paths and breakin' hearts

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: RPG Horror Stories Reply with quote

Glammo wrote:
There was another case with Art - Drawing. If you wanted to chalk a simple X or other mark on a cave wall, you had to first draw what you wanted your character to draw. If you failed your Drawing roll, the GM would scribble down a bastardization of what you drew. So the lines of an X wouldn't cross perfectly. It was just ridiculous.

I updated the first post a bit. Also, I added the above few lines, which I think is very important to relay.
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Glammo



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
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Location: Finding paths and breakin' hearts

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:24 pm    Post subject: Mazes and Random Encounters Make for Good Dungeons! Reply with quote

The Quest for the Air Artifact!

Player key:
(M) = GM’s younger brother
(A) = GM’s older brother and co-creator of AASP.
(E) = GM’s friend from high school


The Introduction

To read the really bad parts, skip to the next big header section. Though it contains some BS as well, this section mostly just makes sense out of what we were trying to accomplish storywise.

The Party's Beginnings

Let me tell you of a story of a motley party of hapless adventures.

It was on the isle of Kislev when Clark Cortel (me), Minerva August (Brigid), Boise Cascade (M), Jim Blastem (A) and Aiko (E) first departed alongside each other to take a message from their hometown of Haven to another person just outside of Lypton. On the way, they met a pale elf on horseback named Raven. Raven was the apparent super powerful plot NPC who knew what was going on but refused to be anything more than cryptic about it. She invited us back to her tower in the woods after our quest (that she somehow knew about) was over. Afterwards, she would send her raven familiar to stalk the heroes and keep an eye on them. (I think way, way later it turned out that she was the raven, but whatever.)

We arrived at the meeting point only to find the intended recipient dead. There was lots of hesitant uncertainty and investigation. We then headed back to Haven only to find it razed.

So, we went to Raven's tower. Raven said more cryptic things and started us on some quest to find the Elemental Artifacts. I guess they’re not supposed to fall into the wrong hands or something. Also, there were rumors of a bunch of Necromancers and Demonologists banding together and razing towns. I guess we were supposed to get to the artifacts before they did.

Onward to Adventure!

So we left the island of Kislev to find a contact on another island. The contact was a necromancer named Samturin... seemed like a decent guy. Idunno, he was a necromancer and he was the one giving us directions to the general location of the first artifact. Could it be a trap? So fast-forward through a lot of travel and dicking around and one dead PC and one disabled PC later, the party has a change-up but they're on their way! I'm now Rook Twinstomp and Brigid was Medalia.

We departed from Pectate, a town filled with fully statted NPCs complete with familial and platonic relationships with every other in-town NPC (that, to the GM's chagrin, no one was interested in), leaving Clark behind with a broken arm and Minerva dead somewhere in some troll's cave. Following a shady map bought from a shady character named Merl from a shady part of a previous town, we got lost. There was a spire in the distance that we climbed and a tunnel and a bunch of foreshadowing and then we woke up and it was all a dream. I'm not going into the dream quest today.

The Adventure Begins!

The Phorest of Phantasms

We arrived at a strip of land between a large lake and a dark forest. We were warned about the forest. It turned out there were psychic phantasms in it... the forest would "create" illusionary lures based on our needs and desires. Rook saw the man who charged him with his quest, Medalia saw a friend from her town and Boise saw a big ol' pile of treasure. Every illusion really badly wanted us to touch it or step into the forest. We "tested" what would happen by throwing rocks and such. Seems anything that touched them disappeared to the person who was paying attention but remained there to everyone else. Also seems that if you spoke to the illusions they would persist rather than fade away. So after 6 or 8 passes of illusions (we found the solution already, "We ignore it!"), we're finally out and find our way to an abbey.

The Flip-Flop Priest

Okay, one of those "Huh?!" moments coming up. We were told we could get directions to some cave from someone in the abbey. So we go to see the Elven abbot. Jim tells Aiko to tries to bluff in Elven, saying that they're following directions on his way to some other town but he says the cave is on the way there. So the abbot gets pissy and tells him to they aren't allowed to stay. Aiko keeps trying to save face and the abbot keeps saying "No." For a moment I thought we had traveled all that way only to be told "No." Suddenly, for no reason we could discern, the abbot tells him to come back. The abbot looks through Jim's belongings and says, "OK," and gives directions. Huh?!

So we're out and on our way to the cavern. At this point we fight a random encounter of goblins. One clubs Rook in the head and gives him a concussion. So, rewind, waste time, go back to the abbey, get healed, and waste more time going back to the fray! Only the pad of paper I was using for notes now has less in it.

The Labyrinth

So we eventually get to where we need to be. There's a ladder under a boulder that moves when a lever is pulled. We go down. It's a cavern complex with lots of curving tunnels and maybe three rooms that were of any significance. Aside from these three rooms and the area the beginning and ending ladders are in (and we don't find the ending ladder for at least a month or so of game time), there is nothing but twisting tunnels. Seriously. It was a maze and it was huge. The DM has 6 or 7 notepad-sized sheets of paper with the layout of general intersections drawn on them. She was use them as "flash cards" of sorts, in that they would show what our current intersection looked like. That's right, the tunnels all look the same and we have to map the area if we want to find anything at all. On top of that, it's three-dimensional! She'd describe some tunnels going up and down as well as left and right! Also, each time we made a choice and went a certain direction, it gave the GM the chance to roll a few random encounters...

Oh ho, does this get better! There were random encounters down there as well! And also three nonrandom encounters, which are all of large troglodytes who were found near those three distinct rooms. Once dead, we don't encounter anymore. Sadly, these were the only interesting fights. For some reason we were allowed to roll "flee." They weren't that hard, though. The random monsters included small troglodytes that remained perfectly still, as if frozen in fear, when we encountered them. We would just walk past them. And the last monster creature was the slime. Oh, yes. In fact, let me quote from one of the recaps to show just exactly how awesome the slime was.

Quote:
Figuring they encountered all there was to be encountered; they marched on into the darkness. That is until a gelatin like creature dropped onto Aiko's arm. No one wants to grab it, but Aiko tries to remove the armor it fell on only to find it's fused to her and the armor! Just then, Aiko feels an abstract pain in her arm. Now a little panicky, Jim decides to cast fireball on it. Nothing noticeable happened, but Aiko experienced a good deal of pain. Then again, Aiko feels that abstract pain. Now everyone begins "experimenting" on Aiko and her new friend. They use weapons to discover they slide right through the slime and it hurts Aiko (even though the blade never touches her). Jim puts a few magic points into Lightning, with the same result as the fire. Rook begins beating the slime with a lit torch, despite Aiko's pain. Boise gives up and takes a seat. Medalia has no clue what to do either, so she mixes health potions to keep Aiko conscious. Rook looks through his bag desperately for an item to help. They dump sand on it, sprinkle pebbles on it, Rook casts protection from earth on Aiko, Medalia considers dumping acid on it, and still it continued to grow. Now Aiko's arm feels numb, even though she's been consuming all the health potions the party can make. Jim suggests possibly amputating the child's arm, and Aiko bursts into tears. As a last ditch effort, Jim dumps a bunch of magic points into a lightning blast (after Aiko drinks enough health potions to take the hit). It's still there, but now... it's smaller. Jim thinks he knows and they once again give Aiko some health potions as Jim blasts her again. This time the slime shrinks and finally just disappears. Everyone throws both arms up in the air... everyone but Aiko. She tries, but the arm that the slime was on, is completely immobile. It hangs limp at her side. They construct a sling, and head out of the cave.


............this took like two hours of real time. And these were random encounters that only magic could hurt. There was only one mage, Jim. So the lot of us really couldn't do anything when one of these things stick to us. Plus, the slime sometimes leapt down from the ceiling, so half the party had to fail spot checks against the floor while the other half failed spot checks against the ceiling. Everyone who wasn't the mage was a mere meat shield to take the damage. Rook later started studying elementalism to cast offensive spells, just to get us through this (and I cheated at the end-session "level-up" to make sure I got nothing but 5's and 6's each increase).

There was one other creature found in this cavern. It was a mushroom spider that blended in with other mushrooms. When you picked it up, it bit you. The bite caused you to hallucinate, as if you ate 'shrooms. I'll have to admit, this was somewhat clever, but it seems like a 1st edition D&D "trap" monster like the gas spore or the piercer. That is, these spiders didn't really make sense ecologically and function only as a trap. I mean, so, what? They happened to evolve and take on not only the appearance of a mushroom (plausible) but also the affect of the consumption of other mushrooms upon injury (implausible)? I mean, the cave mushrooms weren't even hallucinogens. Eh.

The Gentle Savages

So, after the slime encounter, we followed our maps and our chalk drawings that a 'tard could've drawn better and went back up the ladder. When we awoke... Lizardmen had stumbled onto our camp! It was flat-out stated that it was a good thing that we parlayed instead of attacked, because they were just so über and probably would've killed us. So, we talk to these NPCs who are way out of our league and tell them about what we're doing here. We mention the spider mushrooms and they get excited. So, we bring them down with us and they show us how it's done. One bops the heads of the mushrooms as the other readies an action to cast blast of air. That knocks them out, but unfortunately the lizardman criticaled on his Magic – Elementalist and it got a few party members. As if that wasn't enough, somehow one of the spiders managed to bite a lizardman. Rook was easily manhandled and beaten because the lizard guy thought Rook was on fire. So, I got to experience just how über these NPCs were! Afterwards, you get to eat the mushroom spider and MMMM they taste so good. Bah. As if that wasn't enough, they invite us to their town in which we have to learn how to pay respects to each and every NPC lizardman we meet by kowtowing to them… if we were even allowed to speak with them. Yep, she practically made us grovel to her. Seriously, there was even a general script we had to follow when greeting a lizardman.

I got the bad idea of trying to raise my tolerance skill. That is, Rook drank some alcohol and got a bit drunk. Why... why did I do that? That just allowed the GM to dictate my PC's actions:

Quote:
Medalia and Rook decide to have a few drinks together. Medalia feels buzzed after only one or two, but Rook feels fine and keeps going. It soon becomes apparent that he's had too much, when he approaches the master of the tailors and tries to seduce him. It doesn't go over well, and the lizardman starts to chase him. Rook, in a drunken stupor, decides it's a good idea to escape by jumping through the bonfire. Some nearby lizardmen pull him out and extinguish him. The party attempts to reason with Rook to go to sleep, but Rook says that he'll tell them when he's had enough and throws a punch. He missed and passes out. Many of the lizardmen are greatly amused by the whole thing, and are enjoying a good laugh. Slathor says he'll take Rook to his bunk, and let him sleep it off.


Okay, at least we got to restock on supplies. Back to the cave. We eventually get through all the slime and twisty passages and find the end latter, which leads to a tower on an island. On the top floor is... the boss.

The Guardian of Air

The worst part about this was that it was basically a redux of a boss monster we fought in that damn dream adventure. This part was foreshadowed and it sucked even more than before.

The guardian of the artifact of air was an empty suit of armor with wings. It flew around with such style and grace, literally kicking itself off walls to make 180-degree turns. It would swoop around and do double-katana fly-by attacks that did a lot of damage. We could only hit it in melee if it was near the ground, which was not enough of the time. It's like because we didn't select Ranged Weapon attacks as our weapon suckialaztion, we were punished. Then again, I don't think the arrows did too much damage.

I accidentally saw the GM's laptop. It was kinda facing in a way where I could see it. The monster started with 200 hit points. Afterwards, I started to purposefully peek at the laptop. When we would successfully damage it, it looked like she was assigning less damage to it than our rolls would indicate. So it had some kind of DR. Probably DR 5, which is a lot considering our weapon did 1d10 damage or below.

...but worst of all was the... FINAL FANTASY INSPIRED LIMIT BREAK DESPERATION ATTACK! This is like a "Bloodied" state that seems to be coming out in 4e... which I can only grow to hate because of this battle right here. Maybe at least PCs get something like this in 4e, but we'll see. In AASP, only bosses got these, apparently. When it was down to 30 or 50 HP, the guardian went into the center of the room and did a huge whirlwind attack against our Dex checks (no saving throws in your game, eh, miss GM?). Barely anyone could have possibly succeeded (again, our scores were like 12-15, and we had to use them as d%!!!!). Guess what this attack did? It knocked everyone down for several rounds, paralyzing us! In fact, she had mentioned beforehand that this encounter was designed to kill someone. I thought this was just supposed to be a stimulus to proving her wrong, you know, a pep talk or something... but it wasn't. It was actually designed... DESIGNED... to kill a PC. No chance of escape. So it was actually pure GM fiat who would die as they lay struggling to get up. And this isn't like D&D either, where resurrection wasn't all that costly. I'll get to that later.

And so, lo and behold, the air elemental armor thing doth coup-de-graced Medalia. But, we eventually finished the guardian off and got the prize! The artifact was some Air element rune or sigil. Plus we got the twin swords... but none of us were swordfighters.

Reaping the Rewards

The best part ever! The most wonderful Gamemastering ever is in this part! We went back through the cave, now with it mostly mapped out. I think maybe she actually felt some tinge of compassion and didn't let any random slide attack us... but I don't remember. Our party split, Rook was to carry Medalia and hurry to the abbey before the body decayed too far while the others held onto the air artifact. Knowing Rook may get there first, he told the rest of the party that he'd meet them a ways outside at 8pm.

In fact, he gets to the abbey first. So Rook drops off Medalia who is taken in for a resurrection. Rook then takes time and studies Elven books 'til 8:00pm. The books foreshadow that these clerics have an interest in that artifact. He leaves promptly at 8pm. For some reason, Jim has already entered the abbey, talked to the abbot and had the artifact taken from him. Rook saw Jim being hauled out of the compound. Hmm... yep, 8pm, on the spot! Was this the plan... nope!

So, that was a 4 month long adventure into that shitty dream adventure, through that shitty forest, into the shitty abbey, though the shitty cave and beating the shitty Final Fantasy boss and getting the shitty artifact only to have it taken from us with no reward, not even a shitty one, at all.



Comments? Questions?

Question


Last edited by Glammo on Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:30 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Brigid



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

During this entire time, I was "asleep."
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Glammo



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
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Location: Finding paths and breakin' hearts

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got maybe one more story before all that's left is petty griping. The above story was just the middle of the "campaign." I haven't gone into the brilliant "rocks fall, everyone dies"-ish ending yet.

Interested? Questions? Comments? Razz
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izzat



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
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Location: Will's living room

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does Brigid really fall asleep during games, or does she just pretend when the game is boring?

If the latter, then screw you, B.
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Brigid



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, there is a difference. When I pretended to be asleep, I went into another room to "sleep" and goofed around. When I actually fall asleep I'm usually at the table and sort of droop off, but I still play and I'm still there. Most of what Mike is talking about (especially the lizardfolk), I was in another room while everyone else was in the game room.
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izzat



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Understood. Belay that screw!

Code:

Awwww...
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     /  ` \
    '------'
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On topic, exactly how did you hook up with this game in the first place? Is it just because you're friends with the husband? Also, how long, in real time, did this game last?
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Glammo



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
On topic, exactly how did you hook up with this game in the first place? Is it just because you're friends with the husband? Also, how long, in real time, did this game last?

I forgot the details, but... yeah, basically. She was in the same room as us when we were talking to the guy or something. She knew I had played Heroes of Might & Magic and Neverwinter Nights, so I guess she figured from there it was all right to ask me to join. In fact, I was pretty excited to play an actual tabletop game for the first time. So, in that effect, I was kinda new to the whole pen-and-paper-and-dice RPG as well... so a lot of this can also be blamed on naivety. I mean, system-wise, at least. I still blame the pills for not reacting to the GM being overbearing. It was during this campaign, that I would game with D&D and CoC at a local gaming store, but it was only for a few consecutive sessions each adventure at most. I also ran Sunless Citadel around this time.

As for the total time it took... not sure. We played weekly... I'll have to look at the dates of the recaps, and those are at home, I think. But I'll be leaving work soon, so... yippee-yi-yo-ki-ay.
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Glammo



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OH! A lighter note!

At one point, the GM's older brother invited 3 new guys to play. It was a session in which there were 7 or 8 PCs versus 7 or 8 wolves. LONG combat session short: we got our asses kicked by frickin' wolves. But anyway, after that session, two of the three guys couldn't play anymore because they had to go to "work." The last guy came for just one more session with a similar excuse.

Mind you, I believe we played on Saturdays.
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Glammo



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, looking at the recaps, it started around January 2005 and the slime cavern thing began sometime around May of 2005. So I imagine the whole thing lasted 6 to 7 months.
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Brigid



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike's right, but I thought we played for a year and a half because it seemed that way.
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Will



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Mazes and Random Encounters Make for Good Dungeons! Reply with quote

Glammo wrote:
Comments? Questions?

Question


Um...I like Final Fantasy? Smile

And also...hugz? Smile I'm surprised you even bothered giving RPGs another chance. I shudder to think how many potential gamers are lost every year due to shitty experiences like those.

-Will
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Glammo



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Mazes and Random Encounters Make for Good Dungeons! Reply with quote

Will wrote:
Um...I like Final Fantasy? Smile

I do too, but while Final Fantasy does things right for single player RPG gaming, some of its aspects just don't translate over to the table because there's more than one person playing and each wants to contribute somehow.

Brigid didn't want to navigate the maze and couldn't kill any slime so she just went to "sleep." The high chance of a random encounter with, say, a Flan every "step" on tabletop just becomes tedious and aggravating if there's only one Black Mage that can stop it... but a character in a video game doesn't care if he's never used. "Okay, Lulu, you take care of all of these pudding slime enemies, we'll just watch!" Very Happy

Also, the limit break/desparation attack* mechanic doesn't always make sense... at least in the verisimultude of tabletop RPGs. I mean, seriously, Cloud, you couldn't omnislash BEFORE you took so much damage? Ooh, Terra's low on HP and getting desparate now, better use that attack that's ridiculously awesome and powerful! Wink And as for YOU, AASP Air Guardian, just do your whirlwind thing at the beginning of combat! Why reserve that until you're almost dead? So you get to kill one PC... that stops the others from killing you how?

Will wrote:
I'm surprised you even bothered giving RPGs another chance. I shudder to think how many potential gamers are lost every year due to shitty experiences like those.

After reading some "Worst GM Ever" threads on various RPG boards, I realized that this GM was just a sadistic fool.

It took me a long time to convince Brigid to join the Age of Worms game. I "resurrected" her seductress barmaid Minerva character and put her in the D&D world, running a solo adventure for her. Minerva was part barbarian, too, which was the class she played in Sunless Citadel, so that helped. Smile


*http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Desperation_Attack
*http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Limit_Break


Last edited by Glammo on Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Will



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:05 am    Post subject: Re: Mazes and Random Encounters Make for Good Dungeons! Reply with quote

Glammo wrote:
I do too, but...


I know. I was just being goofy. Couldn't think of much to say. "I'm sorry" seems...insufficient. Wink Anyway...I'm glad you guys bailed when you did, and didn't get scared away from gaming forever!

-Will
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