Page 661 - Excellence to Others

17th Oct 2015, 6:00 AM in The Last Roundup
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Excellence to Others
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 17th Oct 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
So yeah, the facade drops. This arc will not be Hurricane Fluttershy, but rather The Last Roundup. It wasn't much of a ruse, but I couldn't resist toying with you guys a little bit.

No podcasts this week either, partly for good reasons (one of our players urgently needed to visit a dentist), partly for bad reasons (I caught that kind of autumn bug where you have no energy which is depressing and frankly this has just been a rough month so far).

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: February 20th.



ANW 17th Oct 2015, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Catching us off guard like that.
Name a time when the DM caught you off guard.
Digo 17th Oct 2015, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
When the GM caught me off guard? I can't think of anything impressive to speak about.

When I was GM though...
1. I surprised a player when one of the Johnsons that hired his runner team turned out to be his missing daughter of 11 years.
2. I surprised a player with the bombshell that he was related by blood to the BBEG that he was after in a revenge oath.
3. I surprised a player when he was given the power he sought after for so ling and it turns out that power eats brains and possesses their body, continuing the cycle.
4. I surprised the entire party when they learned that THEY were the Illuminati leaders and that the world-ending problems were caused by them messing with alien tech they should not have messed with (I love this one the most. The players counter-surprised me when they sacrificed themselves to save the planet. Thus it was a world-saving TPK of THEIR doing).
Dragonflight 17th Oct 2015, 8:34 AM edit delete reply
As a GM, there's one that comes to mind.

It was a multi-generational game. A Mekton game using the Battletech universe, set 1,000 years further forward, with a smattering of alien tech thrown in (which neatly explained how a civilization trying desperately to smash themselves into the stone age suddenly had Macross-style mecha and starships.)

Anyway, one of the players wanted to play a character totally separate from their first gen character. So they played an adopted daughter of a disgraced surgeon trying to make something of herself by joining the military, expunging her family's tainted reputation.

In the first gen game, his character had become father to twin girls, one of whom died in childbirth. The Clan scientist who tried to save the girl kidnapped her body, placed it in cryogenic storage, and used their advanced genetic knowledge to revive her and stabilize her damaged genetics. Along the way, he cut some corners in his research which caused him to be ostracized from the medical community.

At a point somewhere in the first third of the game, she meets the survivng first gen daughter, and realizes they look identical. He looks at me with this "HOW?" look on his face. I explain the original event, and how it turned out.

He just stands there and blinks for a long moment before giving me the slime eye and admitting he never saw that one coming. :)
Specter 17th Oct 2015, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
As a GM, I gave a player the inciminating evidence.

Long story short, the party was in a mini-tournament like thing (it was really a training exercise, but the staff there were the kind you just love to hate), and they were fighting in the last round against opponents that shouldn't have even gotten that far (dice hate me even behind the scenes). Anyway, something went horribly wrong and a the magical field that kept everything nnon-lethal went down. On top of that, the only members of the enemeis side who were still cocious were in a berserk like state ... One player did prove somewhat blood thirsty, and killed an opponet (despite knowing the field was down).

Anyway, as they were fighting one of the last beserk enemeis, an rpg shell flew out from one of the houses and smacked straight into the skull of one of the enemeis. Thankfully it was a rubber shell, and mearly knocked him out.

This put the players on edge of who could have done this, and they set out to investigate, minutes after that happened (leaving the unkown individual plenty of time to leave). In truth, the party isn't that could at investigation (despite me giving them some rather blunt clues), and they stopped the search soon after.

During the down time I gave them, one of the players wanted an rpg, and went off to find the ONE individual he KNEW had one on this ISOLATED training platform, and buy it off of them. He was able to get it, and didn't think twice about it.

I had to tell the player after the fact of what he did, and it was only at that point he was able to put the pieces togethor. Yeah, a little late on the draw.
Delicious Taffy 17th Oct 2015, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
As a new GM, I haven't been able to surprise my players yet. Actually, one of them questions everything immediately, before I can even finish setting up the scene. Another player gives us the silent treatment over Skype every session, for no apparent reason.

Hmm... I suppose it might have surprised him when I got fed up with it and hung up on him during the last session.
Disloyal Subject 17th Oct 2015, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
It's very unnerving to spend a turn running out of the enemy's line of sight and taking cover only to find that they can shoot through walls.
I didn't understand what the team's lore-guy meant about "wallhacking" until I had to dodge a volley that came out of the walls and through the pile of rubble and corpses I was crouched behind.
Pseudonym Sam 17th Oct 2015, 11:59 AM edit delete reply
I once caught one of my players off guard as a GM. This was in a sci-fi campaign, using the Savage Worlds rule set.

The player character was an arms dealer who sold weapons to various left-wing revolutionary, guerrilla, and terrorist groups across the galaxy. On one planet governed by a corrupt kleptocracy, he got in touch with an underground, self-professed "Revolutionary Army" and sold them millions of credits worth of weapons at very low prices. The Revolutionary Army promised to strike a blow against the mega-corporations that de facto ruled their planet.

When the guerrillas struck, they didn't bomb any company headquarters like my player expected. Instead, they massacred the queens of an insectoid race the government had brought to the planet to work in slave-like conditions. The hives (and numerous government sweatshops and mines that depended on their slave labor) were thrown into total disarray and were doomed to wither without more queens to reproduce.

The Revolutionary Army claimed responsibility for the attacks, and announced they had purified the planet of the insectoid stain that impoverished native-born citizens, who could not compete against bugs who worked for nothing. Many locals who heard the news cheered, and felt they would get their jobs back.

So, because this player had not done his research, he just threw weapons at this guerrilla faction without understanding their ideology. He had supported literal FASCISTS and been complicit in genocide.

I think I caught him off guard.
recentteen14 17th Oct 2015, 12:06 PM edit delete reply
I have never gotten far in a PnP RPG, as they seem to die off fast with my groups. However, the first one probably had the most memorable moment that caught EVERYONE off guard.
Namely, a flying land shark that crushed a party member to death and almost murdered our NPC guide. We were level 1.
Raxon 17th Oct 2015, 7:05 PM edit delete reply
We were rescuing a princess once. Killed the dragon, and took the princess back to the castle. Princess proceeded to polymorph into a dragon and raze everything.
Crunch-bite the Bold 18th Oct 2015, 9:50 AM edit delete reply
We had just cleared out a goblin fortress and decided to take it as our own. We spent some time cleaning it up and the group was out spending our loot. The DM and I had the following conversation:

Me: So, all the furniture in here is pretty filthy and goblin sized, right?
DM: Correct
Me: I'm going to go shopping in the markets then. I want to buy some furniture. Desk, bed, a nice rug. Maybe even a wardrobe. Oh, and some good clothes. I can't keep meeting the high priestess dressed in my blood stained murder clothes. How much is that going to run?
DM: Um ... It will ... uh ... let me get back to you.

Apparently the idea of a PC spending their wealth on something other than magical gear totally caught him by surprise.
venseyness 18th Oct 2015, 4:26 PM A suprise edit delete reply
Well... I haven't been DMing for too long, but one thing that comes to mind is that one of the guys in the party woke up in the guild hall in the middle of the night to find a crazy guy digging a hole in the middle of the main hall.
"What are you doing!?"
"Just... trust me. Gimme a second."
If he hadn't INSISTED ON KILLING HIM, he would've found out that that guy was digging open a portal that had been hidden in an underground vault, and that the crazy guy had devoted his life to finding said portal.
Sometimes I feel I give too much freedom to my players.
Draxynnic 20th Oct 2015, 6:08 AM edit delete reply
With a different GM, killing the crazy guy digging a hole who refuses to give an explanation would have been exactly the right thing to do.
Robin Bobcat 18th Oct 2015, 4:59 PM edit delete reply
Oooh.. I have one.

I was running a 1920s gangster RPG. Players were mob thugs, trying to keep their speakeasy from having troubles.

It was played fairly straight, though there was some odd things with a rival gang, a mark dropping a large amount of money at the blackjack table (before suddenly dropping stone dead - and cold to the touch), mysterious chunks of gold ore (it was radioactive - in pulses. It also continually produced small amounts of a reddish oil).

Then I threw the zombie at them.

Their reaction was *priceless*.

At the sudden intrusion of a shrieking, battered corpse already missing half of it's head, one of the players was so shaken up he had to get up from the table and get a drink of water before continuing.
daftdeafdave 19th Oct 2015, 10:31 AM edit delete reply
So for my scum's back-story in a Dark Heresy game I had them needing to protect their little brother, Lief, who had "stolen" some likely heretical tech when it had repaired with him after an accident. Anyhoo I spent a portion of the game being all furtive while no-one came looking for him.

Then the hive wall caught fire and I ran around tying to fix everything. When most of the fires were extinguished and we were far above from our hive level being congratulated on our quick thinking, the DM turns to me and says "Where's Lief?"

Cue frantic searching.
Recapped 20th Oct 2015, 2:28 AM edit delete reply
So let's see. So it was my first long time game if DnD game ever. It was 4th edition and despite some of its problems, there was one great hook I absolutely loved. Paragon paths and epic destinies. Mechanical growth at set levels meant to expand your character and expand their role in the world in some way. So my character was looking to achieve the academy master paragon path. I discussed this with my DM, got his approval, and talked with him some about some ideas to help bring this about (I was given some agency for creating the arc since it was such a pivotal moment for my character).

Also know this, my character's backstory was she was a witch who escaped from a cult after they tried to induct her (yes she had been with them for awhile. What? They were not crazy before that day). So the party needed information and their just so happened to be a research center nearby in northern Damara. Of course my character being a responsible Wizadress suggested this be the best place to discover said information. We got permission from the lord of the land to visit there and, upon arrival, it was to my character's delight that the receptionist did not care one iota what the lord said; we could only come in if we exibited true academic credentials. My character, who had always tended to view the rest of the party as a necessary evil, was easily able to pass this and was delighted to find that the party's efforts to get in were for naught (The heavily armed guard at the secretary's beck and call also helped).

So in struts my character without a care in the world leaving her owl familiar with the party. The door closes and my character immediately notices she lost her connection to her familiar. They can no longer feel each other. But my character just assumes the room is warded. She sits down and starts talking with the academy master. He starts dropping hints and asking leading questions climaxing with "did you really think we did not know where you were"

And then My character, who always had poor perception, notices the banner on the wall. The symbol of the cult. Roll initiative O_O
ANW 17th Oct 2015, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
Catching us off guard like that.
Name a time when the DM caught you off guard.
Jennifer 17th Oct 2015, 6:41 AM edit delete reply
So far in my work game I've caught the players off guard repeatedly, mostly because they're newbies and don't know what to expect. For that matter, I don't always know what reactions to expect. This week I took a leaf from my own childhood in southern Arizona and threw a patch of (literally) jumping cacti at them, spitting spines at them from all directions. In retrospect, I should have made them magically-enhanced plant creatures, but they enjoyed it anyway. I've taken mean pleasure in trying to turn their expectations on their head -- next is the dragon who one character (a dragonborn) thinks is his father, but will probably turn out to be his father's banished brother OR sister (haven't decided yet.
Someone 17th Oct 2015, 9:40 AM edit delete reply
Your players might be reading this, ya' know?
Jennifer 17th Oct 2015, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
Doubtful. They're not Bronies and I haven't introduced them to campaign-comics yet.
Jennifer 17th Oct 2015, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
On another note, how do you folks deal with IRL hiatuses in the game? I'm going on vacation this week, and next the game is likely to be pre-empted by another library program set for the same time. The last time this happened (three weeks of people important to the group getting sick or on leave) the campaign collapsed, and I'm hoping to keep it from happening again. Step one this time was leaving them with a nasty cliff-hanger -- they thought they won the battle and then the dragon appeared.
Joe the Rat 17th Oct 2015, 7:28 AM edit delete reply
We typically go on month-long vacations, so hiatus is a thing for us. So how do we keep over 6 weeks?
-Cliffhangers. You've got a good hook there.
- Plans. Having long term character goals (or mysteries) encourages continuation. Dropping some leads and clues before yuo break gives them something to chew on.
-Communication. Drop a line during each week to remind folks. Setting an event (evite, g+, Facebook, etc., will keep the time slot flagged.
-Game B: If you have someone up to the task, have them run a 1-2 shot in the time slot. It keeps the time from getting co-opted by other non game things, and you might just get a new GM born.
Digo 17th Oct 2015, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
I agree with the Game B option. It keeps the group together doing stuff so they don't fall wayside.
The Old One 17th Oct 2015, 8:38 AM edit delete reply
I like to keep some alternate games on hand for times when certain folks can't make it. Descent or Imperial Assault are both dungeon crawler boardgames that can give up to 5 folks something to do.

It makes for a continued experience, so you have reasons to keep meeting, but doesn't mess with the main campaign.
Disloyal Subject 17th Oct 2015, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
Alternate games? There's always cards. Munchkin and Cards Against Humanity are always a hoot, but not many folks are familiar with Killer Bunnies.
Jennifer 17th Oct 2015, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
Another possibility is an artistic task to make their own miniatures. We're using stand-up figures from the Pathfinder box set, and all they have to do is trace one, twice, and then sketch their character on it. One of them has made little shields with everyone's crests.
Disloyal Subject 17th Oct 2015, 10:19 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
It's not unusual for us to take a week or two off due to scheduling conflicts, but we just pick back up where we left off when we can. Having a dedicated chat helps a lot; we use Skype, but I've heard good things about Line chat. Occasionally we have to shunt the game to a different day of the week so everyone can make it, but online play makes attendance and communication a lot easier.
My GM sends out weekly reminder emails, too; they're not really necessary in a reminder capacity now that we're using the chat, but they're a convenient place to put the briefings on upcoming missions and he can attach any documents we'll need to them.
Guest 19th Oct 2015, 7:15 PM edit delete reply
We typically meet once a month anyway. If we want to meet more often, or someone is gone for a long time, we either run some unrelated one-shot adventures, roleplay why the character in question can't make it, or just play board games instead.
Specter 17th Oct 2015, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
What a wonderful speech Rainbow, but I think you're lacking something in the finesse department, like, words. Or, maybe some white face paint, or something.
j-eagle12212012 17th Oct 2015, 11:32 AM edit delete reply
I'm impressed that the Barbarian kept it civil and short. I was expecting a William Wallace esq rally cry to be honest. Something like
Ok every pony we are gonna destroy that record, I want you to train as hard as you can for when I return we are going to battle...NO! To VICTORY and GLORY! Hazah
Tatsurou 17th Oct 2015, 12:43 PM edit delete reply
And then the DM rolls for how inspiring the speech was as far as the Pegasi's ability to train.

Rolls nat 20.

Then he rolls on the random event table. Rolls up on of the pegasi getting sick. But they're all too fired up to stay in bed when they're sick.

So Rainbow comes back to find half of Ponyville's pegasi sick in bed, with barely enough remaining wingpower to meet bare minimum.

Fluttershy manages to save the day, using druid power. Fluttershy gets her Gala Ticket.

Guest 17th Oct 2015, 11:46 PM edit delete reply
Goblin inventor + crossbow X multiple small bottles of alchemist fire =
goblin with medieval semi magic grenade launcher.

I never heard the cleric swear like that before.

bravo for the filler DM.
Robin Bobcat 18th Oct 2015, 5:00 PM edit delete reply
"Don't. Fumble. *EVER*."
Digo 19th Oct 2015, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
I imagine it would be epic... and warm. :D
Faen the monk 18th Oct 2015, 12:55 AM Broken Tropes edit delete reply
So our entire group is trope savvy. If one of us is DMing and intentionally makes an NPC we would love, we know it's gonna die by session's end.

A few weeks back however, one of our rotated DM's introduced a creepy town. In said town was a little girl; obviously, she is evil and part of the creepyness. Blah blah zombies blah blah cult blah blah, then the little girl was innocent! Even worse, the moment we found out she was actually innocent, she sacrificed herself to save the party.
Sparky 19th Oct 2015, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
This brings up bad memories for me. I had a similar situation with a private session set up for my character. Another player was shoehorned into it to "make it more fun." He didn't show up so the GM postponed the session. With how he treated that player I'm fairly certain that had I not shown up instead they would have had the GM run my character. The lesson? It is bad form to involve other players in a private session or to run an event that will force a GM to npc a player's character in their absence.
Knighthood 19th Oct 2015, 3:06 PM Fast ones edit delete reply
I Surpriced myself and the three other players. It involved a VERY big alchemist fire + a gunpowder keg.

I nearly TPK'ed us because, but luckily we hit from max range and on got 30 dmg from it... we where level 6 at that point.
we named it after my character "Vandarr's Vengence" ... i have two more fish bowles of alchemist fire and a powder keg...

Im planing of going out with a bang ^^