Page 408 - Pyrrhic Success

27th Feb 2014, 6:00 AM
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Pyrrhic Success
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 27th Feb 2014, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
You didn't think I was getting out of this arc without using that particular screencap, did you?

Anyway, story time! Tell a story about a post-climactic curveball. The session's almost done, and then the DM (or someone else, perhaps) drops an unexpected revelation.

43 Comments:

Digo 27th Feb 2014, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
Shadowrun--
It was a long campaign pitting the PCs against the CEO of a major medical corp. This corp was using using patients in terrible undead research, to the point of creating some really vile monstrosities.

The PCs blew him up, exposed his crimes against humanity to three nations, and shut down his HQ operations with enough explosives to make Mr. Welch proud. And as a bonus, they managed to hack his personal bank acount and steal two million nuyen for themselves. They were tires, injured, but victorius.

And then the Johnson (a female elf that showed up a lot in their adventures) who started this spirling adventure into insanity called them.

Mrs. Johnson: "Job well done runners. You've managed to take down a major threat to humanity on the west coast. I'm sure you're all in need of a little R&R, so I'm uploading to you an address of a nice little safehouse in Montana that you all can use for a couple months if you need to 'disappear'. You earned it. And thank you, you've also completed some unfinished business for my son. I'm sure he'll be happier in the afterlife knowing his work is done."

PC: "Okay, but... who was your son? You never mentioned his name."

Mrs. Johnson: "Dunkelzahn. But that's neither here nor there. Go get yourselves some rest. You all look tired."

And with that the PCs were looking all around the the other buildings surrounding them. And they never saw her again... XD
you know that guy 27th Feb 2014, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
I had to look that up. So, it's not so important what the PCs did for Dunkelzahn, as the implication that Mrs Johnson is the mother of an ancient dragon.
Digo 27th Feb 2014, 7:28 AM edit delete reply
Correct. Despite the hints I sprinkled around during the campaign, the PCs never suspected they worked for a dragon, let alone a very old and powerful one. :)
Specter 27th Feb 2014, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
Nice, it's the end of the (first?) Borne movie.
Digo 27th Feb 2014, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, I borrowed that little ending bit about "looking tired" from Bourne. Seemed fitting.
Razomyure 27th Feb 2014, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
I'm actually planning a campaign right now (3.5e) that's going to have a very similar thing, except the hints are that the Formian colony they're working on destroying (which will involve them clearing out an infested mountain then going through a portal to Mechanus, destroying the Queen...) will lead them to accidentally opening to way for a guy they don't realize is actually D&D-verse Asmodeus trying to expand the reign of Hell to other planes.
Digo 27th Feb 2014, 11:04 AM edit delete reply
Oooh, that is devious. :)
kriss1989 27th Feb 2014, 11:23 AM edit delete reply
kriss1989
What fake name are you using for Asmodeus? I recommend Louis Cypher, but peace call him Lou, you're all friends after all.
Razomyure 27th Feb 2014, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, I hadn't had a definite for name for him yet... but I really like that idea, hah. Thanks!
CCC 28th Feb 2014, 1:58 AM edit delete reply
Another option is to go with "Miss Furr, but call me Lucy" if the demon is using a female disguise.
kriss1989 1st Mar 2014, 2:13 AM edit delete reply
kriss1989
Yeah the trick is that Louis Cypher is a weird sounding name that would b hard to remember, but Lou is easy, so players will lock onto the easy name and won't focus so much on the harder and weirder sounding name, especially if you only use it once and always refer to him as Lou or at most Louis afterwards. Never mention Cypher again and see if any of them figure it out or remember.
Digo 27th Feb 2014, 4:38 PM edit delete reply
That is beautiful.
FanOfMostEverything 28th Feb 2014, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Only if the party can convince some formians to betray the hive. And/or summon Jack Frost.
Dundee15 27th Feb 2014, 3:45 PM edit delete reply
Had a job where we had to rescue a friend that was captured and held in the courtyard of a fort. He was to be executed at dawn, so we rush in, grab the guy in the courtyard in the stocks, and rush out... only to find that it wasn't the guy we were looking for. Turns out the thief saw somebody locked up in one of the cells but failed to tell anybody. They were ready for us the 2nd time.
Specter 27th Feb 2014, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
First things first, YES, THE MOST POWERFUL VERSION OF TWILIGHT IS COMING!!!

Next, my group was (basically) getting draged from one quest to another from their good faithful guide, Golem, the pixie. However, every quest they go through, they keep fighting these dark beings who, upon dying, keep saying if they keep going, they'll eventually fight their boss's "Pet".

After 20+ such enounters, they finally fight the boos and slay him, and saving the world they cared about, their own. While they were conversing, I uploaded a image on my laptop and slowly swiggled it around.

They didn't notice it at first, but when someone did they had to act it out. "So, when we get home we shoul- HOLY $&%#, WHAT'S THAT!?!" They had to fight the "Pet", an angelic golem, named pixie.

I suck at plot twists.
Akouma 27th Feb 2014, 8:56 AM edit delete reply
Akouma
Ran a short game where the entire goal was to track down someone who had personally wronged one of the party (and in so doing, threatened the national security of the Republic of California (it's a long story)). They get to a warehouse in Germany that he's hiding out in, and find him sitting alone at a table in a giant empty room. If any of you remember the tale of the epic party betrayal, that happened right there.

Epic party betrayal complete, the betrayer walks up to the villain and says he has interdimensional transportation waiting. They can leave and never have the slightest chance of getting caught.

The villain then just says no, because in the time it took them to reach the warehouse, he's been thinking about things, and realized "oh, I'M the bad guy here." The big climactic fight at the end ended up being the party all recovering from their various incapacitations and beating the snot out of the one who tried to betray him, while the villain himself uses non-lethal deterrents to save him from his imminent death.
Nixitur 1st Mar 2014, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
Man, I really wish that if people write "Oh, I've already told this story, just look it up.", they at least include the page number where they described it.
I am currently going through dozens of pages trying to find the story that you assumed everybody to already know.
Raxon 27th Feb 2014, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Hmmm. Insanity twilight. Could be a new meme, I think.
Digo 27th Feb 2014, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
Pretty sure that meme has come and gone... twice... :)
Specter 27th Feb 2014, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
I found about 7 or 8 different ones last month.
FanOfMostEverything 28th Feb 2014, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
Twilight Snapple has been a thing at least since "Lesson Zero." Heck, I had a bad habit of making crazy Twilight the ultimate antagonist of any story I wrote for a while.
...
Huh. Now I'm thinking about a campaign based on my fanfiction, narcissistic as that sounds. Especially the one with the harmony elementals.
Specter 28th Feb 2014, 1:47 PM edit delete reply
That sounds... like something I'm doing. I should learn sooner or later to stop using material I see used first hand, but then my stuff would be non-exsistant. Oh-well.
FanOfMostEverything 28th Feb 2014, 2:37 PM edit delete reply
Don't worry about it. The lat original idea was the one that sunk Atlantis.
redwings1340 27th Feb 2014, 11:17 AM edit delete reply
redwings1340
Pinkie Pie, comic #99: "You silly! You don't need plans to have a fun game! You just need the right people!"

I'm constantly amazed at how true this arc is showing this statement to be. From an objective standpoint, I'd have to classify Pinkie Pie as a not very good, possibly bad GM. Her plans look very random to observers, and she is willing to improvise and not come up with real explanations for things. The most recent example with the Hydra can kind of be seen as railroading too, as she's offering Twilight a lifeline for not a good reason.

Still, from a subjective standpoint, I would love playing this session! The interaction between players are great, the tone is consistent throughout, and after a little skepticism at the start, there really hasn't been any frustration whatsoever. These players are all going along with Pinkie Pie by now, and when I don't look at the specifics of what is going on, it feels like a very fun session.

I'm really impressed how you pulled this off Newbie!
kriss1989 27th Feb 2014, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
kriss1989
Having defeated the evil Calif and his army of devils and having put the legitimate Sultan on the throne the party's temporary ally, the cleric Damian Hellstrum, was elevated to the status of exarch of Bane. An exarch of Bane had been the BBEG of just the last quest arc, and now they just made a new one by helping the guy win an impossible and completely one sided war. At least he's friendly..enough...for the moment....as he's busy influencing the development of a struggling impoverished nation that just suffered major political upheaval that he's considered a hero in...oh boy.
you know that guy 27th Feb 2014, 9:47 PM edit delete reply
That sounds like the metaplot of the Dark Sun novel series, the prism pentad.
kriss1989 1st Mar 2014, 2:14 AM edit delete reply
kriss1989
Never heard of it.
Tatsurou 27th Feb 2014, 12:10 PM edit delete reply
Tatsurou
And here I thought Pinkie was going to do something crazy like, "With that tumble and escape, you've gained enough exp to gain a level...and you evolve into a Rapidash!"
Twilight: What? But...we're ponies! Not Pokémon! ...right?
AJ: Hey, you get fire affinity and boosted speed. Don't question it.
FS: Really?
AJ: Yeah. And if it really is a problem, DM'll just retcon it next session.
Specter 28th Feb 2014, 1:48 PM edit delete reply
HA! That's funny
Night Sage 27th Feb 2014, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
Post-Climactic curveball? My screw up as the Game Master, that I mentioned on another comic strip of this (can't remember which).

I threw my players into a big fight to get to their objective. One of them blind fires around their barricade, and missed his intended target. I had to check to see where the bullet went, so naturally I had to see what was in line of sight from barrel to wall on other side, and how possible each one is.

Once the fighting had finally died down, with my players victory, they were finally right there, all they had to do was grab the objective, and take it back to the one who hired them. They were looting the dead bodies for ammo, they didn't want any of the guns.

The go to where the objective was, and I described it. Oh they were not happy when I said a bullet caused the safe that the objective was stored in, to incinerate everything that was inside. They couldn't make a fake, because they didn't know what it was they were after. They couldn't return empty handed or they would be killed on the spot. If they flee, they will be hunted. Hehe, oops.
Steven 27th Feb 2014, 2:27 PM edit delete reply
I have the perfect session for this story time, and it happened just a few days ago too:
It's important to first note who is in our group; first is me, a fairly experienced and usually someone who will try to get other players to take part in non-combat, three people that are semi- to very experienced in various rpgs, and one guy, fairly new, who mostly kept to himself except for when he was describing his character (insert really creepy loli catgirl shpiel). No one really liked him because of his general creepiness, and it was generally agreed between the rest of us that if his character was killed off we wouldn't res him (though we weren't trying to kill him either).
So our group had just escaped from the lair of the session's Big Bad (more like a Medium Bad in terms of overall plot importance, but still significant) and I had managed to successfully negotiate with an NPC to get the location of the Big Bad's lair, as well as the promise of other key info once she was safely away from any repercussions. So I call in the rest of the party and some NPCs that we worked for in order to tell them what I had learned and to get our new ally to safety. So, as the guards are about to escort her away, the creepy guy says the following, verbatim "I pull out my wand and cast Insanity on the NPC." No warning, no reason, just that. So he rolls accuracy, succeeds, and, since I used the same type of magic as the spell, I was given a chance to try to stop it from working. I failed, and the targeted NPC flips out and, through a series of truly pathetic die rolls, manages to kill 3 members of the party, including the guy that caused this, before finally being killed herself by the enraged other member. Naturally, I was pissed (the phrase "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK" was said a few times, and after a few minutes of creepy guy refusing to acknowledge any wrong doing, saying that he was playing to have fun and that this kind of thing was fun for him. In response, the group ended up kicking him out of the game, and most of us promised not to play in any game with him in the future.
redwings1340 27th Feb 2014, 4:10 PM edit delete reply
redwings1340
I think there's a general sense in people's first sessions to miss the point of D+D. I also had a bad experience in my first session because I was playing around instead of taking the game a little more seriously. I'm pretty sure I pulled out my gun on a shopowner in an attempt to haggle a price down from something like 8 coins to 7 coins, but the people I was with took this in stride and I got arrested.

The rest of the game was rather not overly noteworthy for me, but I was having trouble understanding what was going on with all of the college science majors around me, and I'm pretty sure the game ended up with me getting killed in a house because another player blew it up to stop demons from being summoned in that house. If I had paid a little more attention I might have been able to get out of there, idk.

Still, despite this experience going badly (it was still somewhat fun, but not incredible either), my next campaign I played a bit more realistically, and it went a lot better. I think going insane is part of the learning process for some people though, since you don't get the chance to do that in other facets of life.
Guest 27th Feb 2014, 4:23 PM edit delete reply
That reminds me of an article I read once, titled "A Rape In Cyberspace." Don't ask me whether or not you'll be able to find it on the internet; I have no idea.

One of the take-away points was that where you draw the boundary between things that are real and/or matter and things that are fictional and has no consequences may be the only thing distinguishing a harmless bit of fun from complete sociopathy.
Digo 27th Feb 2014, 4:43 PM edit delete reply
I apparently found the Wikipedia entry for it.
Night Sage 27th Feb 2014, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
Oh god. Yes, these games are meant to be fun, but when playing with a group, the point is to have fun, without ruining the fun for others. Some people look at it as fun to take a game like this seriously, while others just tend to goof off just to goof off.

I have two Shadowrun Campaigns going on at once due to that. One we take seriously, and one where we go to war with the cops.
LoganAura 27th Feb 2014, 2:44 PM edit delete reply
LoganAura
Dan's campaign which had like 4 climaxes session after session after session.
DracoS 27th Feb 2014, 9:56 PM edit delete reply
I think the closest I've had to an epilogue plot twist was the half-human/half-demon eidolon we found that claimed to be our boss actually turning out to be our boss instead of a hellspawn decoy. All the time we tried to get it to lead in case of traps, but it turns out it was there to save us from totally failing the main objective of information gathering.
steeve 27th Feb 2014, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
Heros have slain the evil litch, rescued the princess and brought her back home.
The king praises the party, declares them heroes, and orders a feast.

to be followed by the princess's execution for stealing the royal mcgruffin and defying his wishes by running off with her boyfriend- again.
Zarhon 28th Feb 2014, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
Zarhon
Well, as far as curveballs go, got two stories:

- In a "No More Heroes" styled campaign set in a corporation-ruled Equestria, our DM had our assassins fight a medical company CEO, who was essentially an expy of every Resident Evil villain (in other words, he mutated into a monster). After we beat him up and was about to spill the beans as to who goaded him into action, he gets head-shotted.

Turns out, the shooter was none other than the current #1 rank assassin. We approached him, and he promptly shot at all of us after some gloating, before our NPC ally tackled him into a fight (and one of us, a nun with guns, joined into a suicide assault, which killed her and used up one of her 9 lives).

After we recovered back at base, we were hit by another curveball: The assassin essentially screwed the system by allowing anyone and everyone a shot at killing us to gain our assassin rank, effectively turning every wannabe assassin against us.

- In a different campaign, we, after fighting the forces of undead which were rising due to a figure known as "Grogar", we fought our way into a shadowy, 'death' realm. There, we found a simple child. Turns out, the child was Grogar, the 'villain' we were after. He was being manipulated by a different, 'evil' entity, which comprised a sort 'dark side' to the child, and wanted to bridge the gap of the world of the dead and living, effectively killing everyone at once.
Zarhon 28th Feb 2014, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
Zarhon
Comic prediction time: Rapidash edition!

Twilight Sparkle, due to being out of melee range/danger by the Hydra, thoroughly pissed off by their failure, needing a source of aggression venting, and being in a prime position for uninterrupted spell-casting, does the logical choice of any wizard: Gratuitous amounts of fireballs and/or magic missiles.

She ignites/chars/sets herself on fire, however, due to an unexpected 'spell reflection' effect, or an unlucky nat1 at the wrong time.

My Little Wizards: Fireballs are 10d6 (maximum).
Grant 28th Feb 2014, 11:48 AM edit delete reply
Basic D&D, a fairly simple plot about going to a tower to sort out an evil wizard. He threw some weird creations at us, but it wasn't anything terrible. Just a nice, simple quest to relax on.

Then after the wizard was dead one of our team turned out to be evil (the ranger), used some item to summon several opponents and ran off screaming about the Hulks of Zoretha.
Ponikon 1st Mar 2014, 2:24 PM edit delete reply
Well, I remember one end of a campaign, the next one in the same continuum was in the process of being written up, and the DM just decided to story-kill two PCs. No defense, roll up new sheets, please.
TheAngryVegan 3rd Mar 2014, 9:26 PM edit delete reply
More pre-climatic than post, but... we're playing Pathfinder, in a port town in some alternate version of Madagascar. One of the party members started talking to a retired admiral in a bar. We managed to impress him by killing everyone in the bar, and he offered us a job working security on a merchant ship in pirate-infested waters. After he accidentally burns down the tavern and we escape the guards, we make our way to his place. We ring the doorbell... and it turns out that someone booby-trapped it to blow up his house. After that, to make a long story short, we end up in the vicinity of Australia in an alternate universe where our continents are oceans and vice-versa.