Welcome to another exciting issue of RPG Triumph…and Defeat, where we tell the great stories from RPG campaigns, both the amazing and the downright humiliating. These are the stories, our legends, we tell our RPG friends, and even those that don’t play. On this issue you’ll find four stories from two campaigns I ran, World of Warcraft RPG and Pathfinder, both working under the d20 rule system. Pathfinder is currently available and published by Paizo, while the WoWRPG line has been discontinued for years now, and can’t even be found on DrivethruRPG.
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My Role: GM
System: World of Warcraft The Roleplaying Game.
Relevant Rules: In WOWRPG, Divine casters get access to two Domain Powers (Domains being special lists of spells tied to their faith), one minor and a greater one. For the Destruction domain, one of the powers is NUKE, which states the caster charges a weapon with dark energies and if he hits someone while the weapon is charged, it’ll cause a 30ft radius blast, the massive damage even ignoring item hardness/toughness (the resistance items have, and which lower all incoming damage). There is a saving throw to take half damage, but I’d house ruled, very early on, that those at the epicentre, the caster and his target, didn’t get the saving throw, and took the full brunt of the ability, as did all their items, effectively leaving them buck-naked and gearless.
My players were in the middle of a massive battle, only fighting a couple of enemies as the mayhem occurred around them. Then one of the generals came out, an enemy they’d fought before, not exactly him, but most generals in the enemy army were clones (much more complicated than that and involving magical artefacts, but in essence, clones) of the final boss from the first campaign arc. It was a divine caster with the ability Nuke. The party consisted of a Paladin and two ranged fighters who stayed as far back as possible and fired arrows and shot rifles at the damn thing, while the Paladin took the brunt of the attack…then the epic fail and the collective face palming around the room came, even from those who weren’t playing.
The bad guy then charged his dagger with NUKE, and everyone inhaled sharply when the Paladin failed to disarm him, because the Paladin was decked in magic item, and I mean from head to toe. If magic were radioactive, then he’d have been sterile and mutating and glowing in the dark from all the magic gear on him; so If the Paladin was hit it was bye bye gear and possible bye bye Paladin.
One of the ranged fighters, the one with the rifle, pulled off an almost impossible ranged disarm maneuver and the clone dropped the charged knife, and even I thought the danger was gone…but then the Paladin picked it up and hit the clone with it, triggering the exact same thing they’d been trying to avoid…
The Paladin survived…but we never looked at the player in the same way again…
YEAH, YEAH, JUST SHUT UP AND DIE… (CMA)
My Role: GM
System: World of Warcraft The Roleplaying Game.
Relevant Rules: In D20, critical hits work on a Threat system, meaning first the character needs to hit rolling a number on their die within the critical range (example, 18-20), then if the attack hits, the character needs to roll again to confirm the critical. If he hits, then it’s a critical hit and critical damage is applied, but if he misses the confirmation, the damage is normal damage. A Natural 20 is always a critical threat. Now, there’s an optional rule that states that if the character rolls double 20s, on the attack and confirmation, then he gets a new roll, and if he hits, the enemy dies, no damage needed.
As I said in the previous story, the party fought those General clones more than once, but this time was the shortest.
The party were on the high seas, dealing with Pirates and Privateers, trying to recruit them against their enemies, who had allied themselves with the Naga. When they realised what the party was up to, they sent the first clone to face them, hoping the sight of him would scare the group.
Sadly for them, and for me, the group’s archer, the same player from the “A SERIES OF (EFFORTLESS) UNLIKELY NARROW ESCAPES” story from last issue, took the first turn and action in the fight, not only that, but he’d scored the highest in the Saving Throw to resist fear, meaning the reappearance of their old enemy didn’t even faze him, so he had no penalties on attacks, not that it mattered…because at the moment combat started, the player rolled THREE straight 20s, killing the guy in one hit!
It left me shocked to say the least, but it wouldn’t be the last time he pulled that stunt. And I know what you’re thinking, Loaded Dice, but no…we actually tested them. We were friends, but that didn’t stop us from being cynical mistrustful bastards.
And while we tested…he just smirked.
YOU START THIS FIGHT…I’LL END IT! (DMS)
My Role: GM
Relevant Rules: N/A
In 2013, I started a game of Pathfinder, and the original party were, S slutty Sorceress (the player was a man, so his rendition of “sensual” or “sexy” sorceress was just plain slutty…and rather brainless and vain and shallow), a Cavalier (a mounted warrior), a Ranger, a Cleric and a Fighter.
The party tracked down an evil cleric to a pub and realised he was being guarded by some very dangerous people, some of which they’d already met and had a confrontation with, not a fight, just a bad moment. They were a Wizard that oozed bad attitude (he disapproved of the Sorceress because of her slutty attitude, being a very proper, old-school kind of guy), and a warrior clad in black full plate armor and carrying a massive sword on his back. The keenest among the party saw there was another man, hiding in a corner, one strapped with knives.
The Sorceress and the Cavalier went to them, pretending to be a couple, the Sorceress brining her boyfriend to fight the Wizard for insulting her, which he actually did. The plan was for them to draw the “evil party” out of the pub where the rest were waiting for an ambush.
The Sorceress and the Cavalier did their best to get a rise out of the Wizard, to anger him, but he controlled his emotions perfectly (they didn’t know he was a Noble, which meant he was very adept at doing that).
That’s when they screwed up.
The Sorceress’ player lost his temper and he attacked the Wizard with a spell, and the moment it hit, the Warrior, who’d taken a bodyguard stance throughout the whole altercation, stepped forward, drew the greatsword and brought it down on the Sorceress, nearly killing her. The Cavalier took up his arms and attacked and even scored a critical hit against the Warrior, but he too dropped after one hit.
If the Cleric hadn’t rushed in and asked for mercy, promising to leave if they spared their two companions, they’d have died right then.
From then on, all ideas the Sorceress’ player had were quickly and mercilessly discarded.
STRIKE OUT! (DMS)
My Role: GM
Relevant Rules: During the first round of combat, anyone who hasn’t had their turn is considered flat-footed, meaning their defense is at its lowest possible value. Characters can make attacks with two weapons with some very large penalties, unless he has the Two Weapon Fighting feats. An enemy unaware of you is considered flat-footed. A natural roll of 1 is considered an automatic failure, and in some cases, like attacks, a second roll is made and if the action is a failure, it’s considered a critical failure.
In the last story, they were looking for a Cleric. They’d met this Cleric a few minutes before when he and other two had attacked the party’s Cleric (long story to tell, let’s just say it involves two splinter groups of the same faith) in a Library.
The battle quickly went sideways for the Cleric who as in a 3 against 1 fight. It didn’t help that everything the Cleric did, came out very badly. It was a series of bad rolls that became increasingly funny (for me). The Cleric attacked with one of his powers, a Telekinetic Staff Throw that’s supposed to work as a boomerang, hitting and coming back. But he rolled a 1, and confirmed the critical failure, so the staff not only missed the target, but also flew off into the distance. He pulled out a dagger and attacked, rolling a 1 and confirming once more, so the dagger flew out of his hand and clattered along the floor. He cast spells and managed to affect one target, but the others pummelled him.
Then came in the Warrior, and the reason for the story’s name (if the Cleric’s constant misses weren’t enough). A two-weapon Warrior, he walked up to the Clerics and went all out on them for FOUR turns, for a total of EIGHT attacks…and he didn’t hit even once!
By the end, they were forced to retreat, in pain and in shame…
And the Warrior…his losing streak continued all the way to the last session we ever played.