Page 806 - All Awesome

20th Sep 2016, 6:00 AM in Pinkie Pride
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All Awesome
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 20th Sep 2016, 6:00 AM edit delete
At the request of one of my players this past Sunday, today's Story Time is: A time when the DM trolled the entire party in some way.

Heh heh heh...

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



ANW 20th Sep 2016, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Uh oh.
I hope this one is not a bully.
Zaranthan 20th Sep 2016, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
To everybody who argued with me the other day:
DrVillainous 20th Sep 2016, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
First time DMing, I inadvertently set myself up to troll my players over the course of the entire campaign. First session, the party cleric attempted to persuade the quest-giver to pay them half up front. One natural one later, the priestess offering the quest added the stipulation that they bring back the head of the cult leader they were being sent to kill as proof. A quick look at the end of the module after that session revealed that there was a very good chance of the villain's corpse being sucked into a portal and vanishing, leaving the players unable to complete the quest. Rather than give them such a terrible ending to the module, I decided that if this occurred, the priestess would respond to their explanation with "Wait, you thought I was serious?"
Digo Dragon 20th Sep 2016, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Haha, nice save there. I think I would have... gone ahead with that Plan B. ^_~
Draxynnic 20th Sep 2016, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
Well, they did roll a natural 1 (I presume they rolled it?)

I don't know the context, but you could work it so that if the portal-sucking occurs, she's somehow aware that was what happened. If she has divinations or similar magic, this is obvious, but another possibility is that she could have dreamed it or something like that. Deities work in mysterious ways, after all.
Evilbob 20th Sep 2016, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
Nuuuuu... You totally should leave it with the villain vanishing and the priestess saying "tough luck".
Aohaku 20th Sep 2016, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
Ah, the old "Keep on the Shadowfell". Good times.
Digo Dragon 20th Sep 2016, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
In a past Shadowrun campaign, the party was hired to investigate the assassination of retired wealthy business man, Dr. Reginald J. Lucky. The team traveled out to the home of the late Dr. Lucky under a given alias by their Johnson as a group of guests to his wake. When they arrived, the party was greeted by the very much alive Dr. Lucky!

And he was hosting his wake!

The team was made acquainted to the other guests by Dr. Lucky's butler, Wadsworth. They met police Sargent Gray (Lucky's former body guard back in the day), the maid Ms. Yvette, Professor Plum (Lucky's former business partner), Mrs. White, ex-wife who had remarried twice (with both husbands dying of mysterious circumstances), and so forth.

If you see where I'm going with this session, then you picked up on it 30 minutes before the players did!

That's right, they did not have a Clue with what they had gotten into, until Colonel Mustard (Dr. Lucky's best bud back in his service days) showed up.

At that point I was pelted with dice, but it was So. Worth. It. It ended up being one of the more remembered sessions. And yes, the PCs got into it and delivered many memorable lines with perfect timing and wit.

The twist at the end was my favorite part. Who killed Dr. Lucky? The dog did it. But that is context for another time.
Grant 20th Sep 2016, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
Alright, this wins just on the movie reference alone.
Pablo360 20th Sep 2016, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
Movie reference.


Movie reference.

…one of us is missing something here, and it might just be both of us.
Amda 20th Sep 2016, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
There's actually a clue movie! It's really good and on netflix.
Pablo360 20th Sep 2016, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
I know. But 11 times out of 10 they're referencing the board game, so movie reference is not the base assumption one would normally derive.

11 times out of 10. And there are only 10 times.

And that's impossible.
Gg83 20th Sep 2016, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
Pablo360, as far as I know, Wadsworth the butler and Yvette the maid only appear in the movie, not the board game. I assume that's why Grant jumped to the movie reference rather than the game.

And I'll brag/confess that I got the reference as soon as I read "Dr. Lucky's butler, Wadsworth." That was an amazing, unforgettable performance by Tim Curry.
SRP 20th Sep 2016, 11:52 AM edit delete reply
Well, I'm still clueless, what this is about. Can you please fill me in?
IakKereshna 20th Sep 2016, 12:09 PM edit delete reply
There's a board game called "Clue" (in Britain and possibly all of Europe? it's called "Cluedo"), which is basically a murder mystery board game. The six player characters have names matching their colour - Professor Plum for Purple, Colonel Mustard for Yellow, Mrs. White, and so forth. The object of the game is to determine who did the murder (of the 6 characters), in what room did they do it, and with which weapon.

Then a movie adaptation of the game came out, with the addition of a few more characters (who die over the course of the movie), and (spoiler alert ahead!) 3 alternate endings; if you went to see it in theatres, you would see any one of the three, not knowing ahead of time which one it was going to be. The at-home release instead had all three endings played back-to-back, saying after each one something like "that's how it could have happened... but how about this?" and shows the next one.

Basically, Digo Dragon built a session pretty much entirely around that joke/premise, and his players took an unusually long amount of time to figure it out.
Digo Dragon 20th Sep 2016, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Bonus Trivia: In the Clue game, the person whose murder everyone is trying to investigate is named Mr. Boddy.

In my session, the name is Dr. Lucky. This is a reference to a board game that parodied the Clue game, called Kill Dr. Lucky, where the objective is to be the murderer, but have no witnesses to your crime.
Greenhornet 20th Sep 2016, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
Greenhornet 20th Sep 2016, 3:04 PM edit delete reply
How did that happen?
The CLUE game is in "Murphy's Rules". It says "AND I ACCUSE... ME?" and goes on to explain that "not only does the murderer NOT know that he did it, but he can win the game by successfully revealing himself as the guilty party!"
Digo Dragon 20th Sep 2016, 5:47 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I have won two games of Clue this way. :D
Norgarth 20th Sep 2016, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
On the topic of Clue, in many board game editions, the cover artwork suggests that Mrs White is the maid.

I also own a copy of Clue: Master Detective, which added 4 more characters/suspects (Sgt Gray, Missour(french Mr) Brunnet, Miss Peach and Madame Rose), 3 more locations (The Trophy Room, The Courtyard, and the Carriage House, which was lined by a third secret passage to The Courtyard), and 2 more weapons (poison and a horseshoe.

For those who've never seen the movie, it's hilarious. It was originally released with 3 separate endings. Generally if shown on TV it runs through the first ending, then shows a Silent movie 'speech screen', reading "Well, that's how it could have happened" "Or maybe like this" *shows second ending*, "But what really happened is this" *shows last ending*
Guest 21st Sep 2016, 12:56 AM edit delete reply
In the game, Mrs. White is the Maid, Mrs. Peacock is the one who's been remarried twice.
Another funny thing is that the US version has Mr. John Boddy as the victim, but in the UK version, it's Dr. Black.
Robin Bobcat 20th Sep 2016, 7:39 PM edit delete reply
Kill Doctor Lucky is an awesome game. There are of course many variants, up to and including *Save* Doctor Lucky (with the premise that you want the glory of saving him, but also to throw suspicion off yourself when you kill him later).
Seido 21st Sep 2016, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
Did you by any chance wrote down those lines of theirs? Sounds like quite a gem to read.
Guest 20th Sep 2016, 6:32 AM edit delete reply
A time the GM Trolled the entire party, eh?

Several of my players had said, both in and out of character, that kobolds are evil and should be killed at every opportunity. So I made a LG kobold cavalier who denounced their violence and bigotry and vowed to protect other kobolds from their oppression.

The trolling was that he rode a bat pony into battle. The players assumed she was being oppressed, but when they started to win, she begged them for mercy and revealed that she was the kobold's wife. I wish I could have seen their faces, but we were playing online.

Actually, in the same session, they had dealt with a seapony/siren sorceress who had no lethal powers, but used her mental magic to embarrass and confuse each member of the party in turn.

Oddly enough, the players eventually became friends with the kobold and his batpony wife as well as the siren.
albedoequals1 20th Sep 2016, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
That was me by the way. Forgot to log in.
Digo Dragon 20th Sep 2016, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Huh, a kobold-pony relationship. Well, Kobolds are kind of like miniature dragons (particularly if you ask a kobold). Nice bit of trolling to have a LG one meet the party. And it ended in friendship! Yay!
The Wise Mankey 20th Sep 2016, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
End well...this will NOT.
Jennifer 20th Sep 2016, 9:05 AM edit delete reply
My last session was run on the spur of the moment, so I threw a Deck of Many Things at them. My players are utter newbies and had NO clue what to expect.
Pablo360 20th Sep 2016, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
At least tell me nobody drew Void.
Jennifer 21st Sep 2016, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
No one drew Void, but three or four drew Death (According to the rules I found, we were supposed to shuffle the cards back into the deck after drawing, but we must not have shuffled them properly). By the end, no PCs were dead, but the room was filled with bone fragments and blood (one character had gotten a Belt of Giant Strength and crushed every skeleton that turned up); an NPC guard was dead; and the Prime Minister who had asked the party to investigate the obviously dangerous artifact was permanently traumatized.
terrycloth 20th Sep 2016, 11:00 AM edit delete reply
From past experience, you should expect one PC to get ridiculously wealthy and overpowered, and at least two permanent, irreversible deaths.
IakKereshna 20th Sep 2016, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
The one time I played in a campaign where the Deck of Many Things showed up, it was in an Alice in Wonderland-themed module, which added a few extra cards to the deck. Somehow, almost all of the party got good cards, getting money and xp enough for a couple levels... and then the last person drew the card that turned back time to the start of drawing from the deck. This time the results were... less than fortuitous. -_-
Nixitur 20th Sep 2016, 4:16 PM edit delete reply
If you're depending on player knowledge, then you're asking for metagaming which isn't fair.
If any of the characters had Knowledge (Arcana), it's frankly on YOU, the GM, to ask for a roll to determine if the characters have heard of such a thing before. Unless you're actively trying to scour your memory, knowledge of stuff is not an active thing. And "I have heard about it and it's probably powerful." is not the kind of fact you really need to actively try to remember.
Furthermore, you can't draw from a Deck of Many Things before declaring how many cards you're going to draw, so once a player tries to draw a card and is completely unable to, that's usually enough of a hint to get a player to throw in a Detect Magic and see an extremely strong aura. And frankly, if a character knows how to activate it (i.e. declare the number of cards drawn), they should also know that the effects can be incredibly severe.
Robin Bobcat 20th Sep 2016, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
Oh god, the Deck... yeah, we had one of those pop up in a Changeling game... It.. did not work well. We had seen some of it's power first-hand, and while the person holding the deck had been told just how amazing it was, we were trying to convince him not to, with all the bad things that could happen... Finally, he turned to one of the other players.
"What do you think?"
"I think I'm curious to see what will happen to you." *snap!* (using an ability to make him forget the past five minutes fo us warning him against it, so he's heard only the amazingly awesome thigns that cme out of it)

Yeah... death would have been a kindness.. He drew Ruin, but also lost the skill that defined his character... He had NOTHING.

We also had one pop up in a boffer-style LARP. I was the only one who twigged to the fact that if you tried to fight the Death elementals, another one would spawn to fight you. I dropped my sword and focused on protecting others with my shield and casting protectives on them.
Dragonflight 20th Sep 2016, 8:26 PM edit delete reply
Hmm. I'd only use the Deck in its original format if I was trying to kill a party. And I don't do that. The few times I've added that to a campaign, it was to add a few new quest arcs to the game. Nothing is truly irretrievable in that sense, the PC's just wind up on quests to deal with the fallout of what they've done.

That assumes they touch it. The one time I recall the PC's finding one on a random die roll, they insisted on burning the deck unopened, and call themselves better off.
Nixitur 21st Sep 2016, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
Well, Ruin sucks, but since you don't lose any magical items, your most powerful and most expensive stuff is usually kept intact. Unless you literally own a castle, Talons is much more devastating.

And yeah, with the Deck, the GM is very much encouraged to fudge it occasionally. Flames, Rogue or Balance are all bad, but can lead to some interesting story arcs. Even Void can be a cool hook for a party capable of planar travel (although one of your characters would still be largely out of commission). After all, "in the possession of an outsider" does not mean that it's literally impossible for you to return. Some effects, however, strike me as far too punishing for most parties.

As an aside, according to the SRD, destroying artifacts should be EXTREMELY difficult, although no examples are given. However, just burning it strikes me as far, far too simple.
What I like about Pathfinder is that it actually lists a very specific way to destroy each artifact which range from "nigh-impossible" to "how would this even work" which is a nice bit of flavor.
aylatrigger 20th Sep 2016, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm...I guess I once trolled the party by doing nothing.

At the end of one session, the party found a pile of gold...that was illusioned to look like fake chocolate coins. They decided they would seek a mage that could remove the illusion so that they could use the coins.

Next week and session. The party went to a town. They heard word of an evil mage terrorizing the town, and decided to go after the mage. They found his tower, killed all the monsters guarding it, and eventually got to the last room and killed the mage.
I then reminded them that they were trying to ask the mage for help.

Another time, I trolled the party accidentally. I was running a horror Maid RPG, and apparently I am too good at it. One of the players ended up crying...
Classic Steve 20th Sep 2016, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
Called it!
Grant 20th Sep 2016, 10:54 AM edit delete reply
Not sure if it counts or not, but there was a campaign to go through the Tomb of Horrors once. Only it turned out that it wasn't actually the infamous Tomb, but rather some random place that had been set up to look like the Tomb to lure in adventurers who could be killed and rezzed as undead servants.
Digo Dragon 20th Sep 2016, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
It would be funny if the sarcophagus where the lich is supposed to be residing instead is just an exit to the dungeon's "back lot". As if the designer didn't think of a plan should a party actually get that far and just put a door out to some random spot miles from the main entrance.
Grant 20th Sep 2016, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
The journey never got that far, instead a combination of several powerful sorcerers and wizards, a necromancer and two irate devils doing their best to turn at least two of the others into corpses resulted in the entire place coming down. When it wasn't blasted literally sky high.

On the plus side, the sheer amount of destruction added to the party's legend. And got them a sizeable bribe from the local queen to GTFO and never come back.
TipJay 20th Sep 2016, 11:04 AM edit delete reply
I may have already mentioned it on an older strip, but the 2nd edition campaign I ran ended rather hillareously.

Long story short, an epic level lich had discovered a ritual to cast a supercharged wish spell.
He whished to become the most powerful being in the universe, and immediately our gaming table appeared with him in place of me as the dm. The players defeated the lich and had some time to chat with their characters before they were sent back to their own world.
PoisonFrog 20th Sep 2016, 11:56 AM edit delete reply
There was this one campaign that included exploring a bizarrely shaped world that was in fact a rolled-up map scroll on a desk in a god's house. Some of the enemies we ran into had been explicitly created for the world in question, whereas others were things from the room outside the map that had crawled in, like microscopic mites that were basically bison-sized to the party.

In any case, the adventure in question was brutally difficult, and most of us lost more than one character to rather grisly deaths... and then, afterwards, the DM reminded us of one of the setting's rules: you CANNOT die if you are not currently on your native plane of existence, you just get sent back home if that happens. So yeah, all those characters that had 'died'? They were all fine. Good thing we hadn't erased their sheets yet...
Big Lurker 20th Sep 2016, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
A friend ran a home brewed game that borrowed some tropes from Harry Potter; hidden magic in the modern world, invited to a school for magic (started at 16, not 11), etc. One of our antagonists was a mysterious person delving into time magic who we suspected was a school councillor on sabbatical. When she showed her face, we were unsubtly suspicious of her, up to the big showdown where we kept her from rewriting history in her favor. Then she returned from sabbatical and we realized that it was her future self we faced and if we stopped her now, we'd alter the timeline ourselves (very forbidden by that world's laws)...
Robin Bobcat 20th Sep 2016, 7:36 PM edit delete reply
Our DM based all the cities and characters off of Star Trek... in a fantasy Roman setting. I didn't twig to it until we met Consul Tiberius.
Smarty 21st Sep 2016, 10:46 AM edit delete reply
Not sure if this is really considered troll-y but I guess i'll let you guys decide

So one time during my (rather shortlived) 4e campeign I had the party travel to this fairly nice looking town, it was a pleasent day, sun was out, mild breeze blowing all except for this spooky mansion up on hill, classic thunderstorm and ominious feeling.

upon inquiring about it they found it it had seemingly appeared there overnight so, being the adventurers that they were, they set off to check it out and the guy they asked about it gave them a sending stone (read: fantasy cellphone) to keep in contact with them.

after entering the mansion the party discovered it was haunted by a HELL of a lot of ghosts

after a couple of rooms the stone activated and the man on the otherside, who's name was Professor G. Scott told them he forgot to mention he had also seen a younger man go inside the mansion.

A short man dressed in Blue & Red
SRP 22nd Sep 2016, 12:11 AM edit delete reply
I don't get that reference. Who was that young man?
Guest 22nd Sep 2016, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
He was Mario since it was a reference to Luigi's Mansion.
The mansion also appeared suddenly, and one character was named Professor Gadd.
Akouma 21st Sep 2016, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
One of my favorite stories is still the totally harmless trap whose only function is to reset itself but it looks ridiculously deadly so players keep resetting it before they can find out it's harmless.

Then there's a recent one that my players still don't realize how relentlessly I trolled them because I had a tag team partner for it. So my players in Genius: The Transgression (mad science RPG) are the time police. They're investigating the Titanic putting itself back together and launching into space in 1913. Obviously, this is not what happens to the Titanic after it sinks. So they go to the shipyard where the Titanic is being built masquerading as tourists and inspectors to ply some information out of the chief engineer. Now, the chief engineer is a guy who goes by the name Sir Doctor Roth, and I ask a friend of mine who's sitting in on the session to RP him for me, giving some relatively vague directions. Now the trolling comes in because I made Sir Doctor Roth one of the leaders of the primary antagonists in Genius. He's a massive-XP party nemesis category villain trying to take apart everything the PCs know. But he sits them down, has a civil (if a bit brusque) conversation with them about how he's totally willing to pay the fees that let him wiggle out of getting in trouble for time manipulation, and he'll even make a replica of the Titanic to leave at the bottom of the ocean for future explorers to find and exhume, pick a launch day for when it resurfaces that doesn't line up with any ships crossing the Atlantic so no one sees, and is just generally cooperative. And you know how I mentioned that I had a guy RPing as him instead of myself that night? That's because he's the guy who built the villain. He was going to join the game as a player but couldn't make his schedule line up consistently, so I offered to let him build a ridiculously powerful character to be the villain and he could manipulate things behind the scenes as a sort of co-GM. My players have no idea.
Tacticslion 21st Sep 2016, 5:17 PM It wasn't on purpose... edit delete reply
EDIT: to make it look better/more readable (I hope)

Accidental troll of my players.

Two times.

- the first was with a villain they'd met very early in the campaign who'd successfully gotten away, but who'd they'd more or less accidentally tormented ever since; supposed to be a pushover with low risk, high reward, was nearly a TPK which cost huge (even unique) resources and left them scattered for a short time and confused

- the second was with ritual they flubbed; I wanted to give them information, and ended up frightening them into being (sort of) terrible people


Once I had a wizard villain the PCs had been chasing for a looooooooong time. Not really because she was super important - in fact, they'd kind of forgotten about her. She was always there, and had never really forgotten about them; technically the PCs remembered her, they just never took any of the hints, clues, trails, or anything else, and never bothered to go looking for their own, concluding, "Welp, she's probably gone forever." Meanwhile, they had badly cursed and frightened her during their earlier encounters - in a very deep and meaningful manner. Plus the wizard had made a point to inform me (the GM) that, periodically, he used a nightmare spell to "keep her from trying to seek revenge." (When I asked for clarification, the player created a surprisingly intricate and workable financial plan for how to spend his downtime; I agreed to do so, if I remembered; he found it fair - I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that remembered, later.)

It got to the point that she slowly became insane and obsessed with the PCs, absolutely convinced that they were out to get her. She was a diviner specialist red wizard (Forgotten Realms, 3.5), but was so daggum terrified of the PCs she began trying to find ways to come back from the dead. Due to shenanigans they'd caused in the local area (the consequences on her that they were entirely unaware of), she was unable to really research things in the manner she wanted. Instead, she ended up retiring (of a sorts) to a desecrated temple of a sun god, skinning and enslaving the vampires there (and killing them when her paranoia began to convince her that they were liabilities) and attempting to seek undeath on her own terms... but, uh, due to unfortunate dice rolls, her research went poorly. Nonetheless, she ended up with some continuous deathwards, a bunch of slavishly devoted undead wight servitors (this was before I'd even heard of OotS), and myriads of undead grafts; and she spent day and night hiding in this desecrated, forgotten mountain temple, horrified that the PCs would find her.

Periodically, the wizard PC (who did, in character, make a number of very specific character rituals, would "take his usual time off" and she'd get a nightmare from him; she really had a terrible time with Spellcraft checks and will saves, though, to be fair, he was good at hiding what his spells were.)

And so, at long last, working for clerics of Lathander in an entirely unrelated quest, they stumbled across this forgotten temple... and her. She began this epic speech, and it took most of the PCs a bit to recall who she was - which was deeply confusing and a crushing blow to her morale, until her paranoia asserted itself and she insisted they were just mocking her. Either way, the over-confident wizard, having checked and realized that she was, in fact, still alive, and grown very fond of his enervation magic, used super-enervation (twinned, maximized, empowered) and crit-successed both checks... only to have it do nothing because she was immune. Given his use of rods, excessive reliance on those spells and command undead and control undead spells, he was basically useless in the fight, demanding that "someone dispel her!" (which would have done no good, as it was grafts). The swashbuckler's high crit did little as she was nearly immune to crit damage due to grafts. The only ones that could have really hurt her were the barbarian that managed to flub his will verses her stark terror, the psion who couldn't get past her weirdly on-fire will saves, and the sorcerer who was better at launching fireball on his own party than the enemy. In the end, they defeated her not by any sort of reasonable combat, but by scrambling for several really old items they'd forgotten they had: the psion upgrading the swashbuckler's size who grappled her long enough for the mage to daze her; still unable to overcome her DR, they used an aggressive form of teleport (a weird item they'd found, but hadn't needed) that took one of them - the wizard - with her to a distant floating city. He used the scroll of stone to flesh (which she managed to fail against) and his exactly one use of gust of wind to shatter her on the flying city's stones, landing safely with feather fall.

But what was basically a pushover fight: an diviner with grafts but otherwise undead monsters with "free" cleric of the sun god... ended up killing all the clerics, nearly TPKing my party, and leaving the wizard stranded on a flying city with nothing but shattered rock, trying to figure out how she knew their counters so perfectly.

(She hadn't - she literally took the only things they'd left her, locally.)


Story two was when a group of PCs were a lot lower level. They were poking around an ancient set of ruins, and I was trying to indicate both that this ancient civilization was powerful, but also a bunch of fakers: there was a reason there was so little evidence of their civilization left behind (because much of it was illusory).

So they opened a thing, did a ritual, pulled some other stuff, and failed by just a little bit; as a result, they succeeded, but rolled up a random incident, which was "summon a monster" - which turned out to be the Tarrasque (or rather, an illusion thereof; 5% real, no save, simply 1/20 the damage; the PCs, of course, didn't know this). Big T more or less randomly (d8) turned south (away from their current position) and headed that way until they no longer saw it.

The PCs went, "Huh. Let us never speak of this again, because clearly, someone else did it." and never did. (Technically, eventually one of them kind of did. Several months later, he went looking and found the point to which the trail of destruction just ceased - the point at which the illusion had winked out of existence - and declared, "Huh; that's weird." and never brought it up again.)

I suspect the players kind of thought I'd either planned their destruction, or was trolling them, or both. Either way, they never learned it wasn't real until after the campaign was over and I mentioned it in casual conversation.
rmsgrey 1st Mar 2021, 5:17 AM edit delete reply
Running a Shadowrun campaign, I got one of my players to take on an NPC for the first couple of sessions so they could double-cross the rest of the party and disappear with the macguffin at the end of the first run, before I very publicly thanked the player and gave them their actual character sheet.

That campaign had increasing problems with the fourth wall - among other things, that NPC became much more of a recurring character than I'd originally planned, still played by the same player, and everyone noticed that only one of the two characters was ever active at a time - which was particularly noticeable when they were both present in the same scene and one or other of them would just sort of space out for a bit...