Having played roleplaying games for decades has left me with many stories. A friend of mine suggested watching Counter Monkey. In the first episode, Noah Antwiler explains that he set up the youtube series to tell various stories, in the same manner that people came up to the counter of the shop where he worked and started telling their stories. I have my own stories, and thought that I would make a similar youtube series as well. To start with, however, I decided to gather 10 of my best stories and create an overview here on my blog.
My first story refers back to one of my previous posts where I tell about my first RPG experience. In this experience, and in this story, my friend uses the concept of gnomes as being more on the technological side to his advantage. Combine it with his knowledge of engineering and electronics, he tricked me into letting his character create a submarine. This small act of defiance led to the invention of many futuristic contraptions in a fantasy setting, and eventually to why gnomes don't exist in my campaign.
Another of my previous posts tell the tale of William Pi, a character in possession of a staff that enables him to cast teleportation at will. At one point he fought a demon in the air using the staff. When the demon tried to escape using his high speed, a chase ensued. A red streak (the demon) could be seen in the sky followed by blue dots (William) and the fight eventually led to William gaining the favour of an army of orcs and a dragon as an ally.
Sneeze till you Bleed
Not all my stories will cover Dungeons and Dragons. There will be other roleplaying games, LARPs, and even real life stories. During one session, where the players ended up fighting a god, we were playing in the loft of my parents' house. We had a huge table, and a small box for dice. The box was usually emptied during the game, yet it was always present. This box was used to defeat the god, but also to defeat my brother, who accidentally sneezed, hit his face on the box sitting on the table, and then started to bleed.
The Party that Never Died
The most common threat you encounter in a good RPG is the threat of death. If your character dies, the game ends. This threat is sometimes removed through resurrection and other means, but this also removes the thrill of the fight and the possibility of losing. Good gamemasters create games where players can still lose without dying, but in the end, the game is about the story and not whether or not you lose. Some of my players believed in this philosophy as much as I did and therefore challenged me to create a game where their characters couldn't die, where they didn't care about the outcome, but where there was still a chance of loss. I succeeded and in the end the players decided to do one last heroic deed that would end their characters' lives since they felt that they had lost the game.
Not all my groups were good parties. Some people enjoy playing evil parties. Some of the best stories are about how good guys become the bad guys. The best story I have is about a good guy, who makes a mistake, and is forced to do a horrible thing to get what he wants. He successfully deceives the rest of the party, both out-game and in-game, and kills everyone. The plot, however, isn't about death, but about turning the party from being good to being evil, and through deception and death, the player creates a party of undead characters.
Some of the evil parties I've had to create games for have been more malicious and vile than I could ever be. I've heard other similar tales from other gamemasters who have players with a twisted mind. Still, some of the things my players have come up with is truly horrifying. There are horrible things in this world, but everything evil is usually constrained by the laws of physics. Even if you believe in the supernatural, there's usually a limit to evil. The things that you can do when you combine logic, supernatural, and magic from a roleplaying game is truly horrendous.
The Car Chase
Not all my stories are about games where I'm the gamemaster. Not all my stories about Dungeons and Dragons games. Some of my stories are about me being a player in other games, such as Spycraft. I had a thing for cars and airplanes when I was younger, and whenever I played modern or futuristic games I'd usually go for being the driver/pilot. After the first few games of Spycraft and Warhammer 40k, the other players started to convince me to playing the tech guy instead, cause with me behind the wheel, the game usually ended up in a car chase where I'd crash the car and everybody died. Happened more than once.
Talking about cars and airplanes, I also like science fiction and spacecrafts. I even played a game of Dragonstar where I played a half-dragon pilot. Eventually I even got my own spacecraft, and using my degree in engineering, I designed it. I had many plans for it, and using CAD programs I slowly designed every single little detail of the spacecraft. My plans were never finished, though, cause the gamemaster scared the shit out of me, so I fled from a space battle, trying to save my ship, which eventually led to its destruction.
Just before the release of D&D 4th edition, I was running a very interesting 3.5 game where I had drawn inspiration from the brainstorming that Blizzard did for Burning Crusade. The game involved many aspects of my world, but it was also too long for the players to finish it. When we stopped, my brother decided to use this to his advantage and created a story that followed the campaign, involved his own character and the end of the world, and combined it with temporal mechanics. Groups of players have attempted to play out the story that me and my brother created, and I'm currently playing a fifth campaign about a decade after the game's creation. This has turned out to be the hardest campaign I've ever created, and it is not because of death or its scope. The game is difficult because of temporal mechanics.
In some of my recent games, most notably my last 4th edition D&D games, I've had a player who has gone complete yolo. Playing with such a player is usually always a challenge, but I've found a way to harness the way the player goes yolo to create convoluted and interesting stories that my other players enjoy. This simply proves that even though the players and the gamemaster needs to be able to work together and play together without spoiling each other's fun, it is possible for the gamemaster to take some of the weird things some players do and turn it into entire stories that the other players enjoy.
I have many more stories, such as a story about banshees in a LARP game where I ended up hurting my butt, or the story about my brother striking an altar in real life with a dagger just as a lightning struck down. I have stories about how I nearly pissed my pants in a horror game, or one where one of my players actually had nightmares from a game that I hosted. I even have a story where I accepted a challenge by a group of players, which eventually gave up because I demoralized them, thus winning the challenge. There are also stories where as a player I get tricked both in-game and out-game to do things that I would usually never do. One of my stories even involves how I met my wife over an online computer RPG. All of these stories should end up in my own version of Counter Monkey, which already has 17 stories.
Let us know, which story you want to hear about first, and we would love to share your stories too.
Next week I'll write about Chris Perkins and Monte Cook, the world's best gamemasters. Chris Perkins is considered the best DM in the world and he explains certain aspects of gamemastering in a very simple way. Monte Cook is my own personal favourite, and the way he gamemasters is quite unique. If
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