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 three stories, from my Scion and Pathfinder campaigns, which you’ve already read of in the previous issues. Every day, more stories from these games keep popping up.
If you want to share your own stories, send them using our Contact page or mail us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
MELEE MAGE (DMS)
My Role: GM
Relevant Rules: Sorcerers have low base attack bonuses. Spellcasters have a number of slots per day to cast spells, once they are spent, a caster is only left with minor, non-threatening spells.
Bearded Devils are called this way because of claw-like tentacles hanging from their chins. If the devil hits with both claws, he gets a free attack with the ‘beard’.
Once a character’s health is below 0, they are dying. If they reach their Constitution score in negative numbers, they die.
Clerics can cast healing spells. Paladins have Lay on Hands, an ability that lets them heal others or themselves. Paladins have an archetype that allows them to give an adjacent ally +4 to their defence.
The party was in a fort overlooking a hell-gate from which devils had started to pour out of, and they’d been tasked with helping the forces there repel the invasion, if not push it back.
Charging into battle, they came face to face with a Bearded Devil. The Paladin and the Warrior took point, being their frontline warriors, with the Paladin giving the Fighter a +4 to defence, making him the party’s tank. But they’d never faced a Bearded Devil before, and a couple of turns in, the until-then almost unbeatable Paladin-Fighter combo were down on their knees, having taken more than a few hits from the creature. The Cleric was having enough problems keeping them alive and even the Paladin was using his own powers to help.
‘What about the sorcerer?’ You ask. Well, the player had a thing for fairies and made his sorcerer charm oriented, with little to no offensive magic…and Devils have very good numbers against those spells, and are sometimes even immune to those effects, meaning the sorcerer was almost useless.
Without knowing what to do, the sorcerer decided it was time for him to join the melee with a dagger!
The Devil, frustrated at his opponents healing again thanks to the cleric, quickly singled out the sorcerer and took him out, sending him to the ground dying. On his next turn he had a choice, either go for the other three, cleric included, or get rid of the sorcerer to avoid the others raising him.
It took the Bearded Devil (or the bearded GM) maybe 5 seconds to decide before turning the downed sorcerer into mincemeat.
One down, three to go…but before he could take them out, the Paladin managed to score a few consecutive critical hits and downed it.
But the sorcerer died for his stupidity.
THE ETERNAL CONFLICT (DMS)
My Role: GM
Relevant Rules: Characters roll ten sided dice (d10) for their actions, with numbers 7-9 counting as “successes”. A 0 counts as two successes. Difficulty is overcome by getting more successes than is required to complete an action.
Stamina gives players Soak values for Bashing Damage (punching and kicking and bludgeoning weapons), Lethal (slashing, piercing, cutting) and Aggravated (soul searing…literally). Epic Stamina further improves those values. Soak values subtract from damage, completely negating it if the damage is lower or equal to the Soak value.
Character defense is calculated as (Dexterity + Athletics + Legend)/2. Epic Dexterity adds to that total. Characters must overcome the defense to hit characters. Characters must get more successes than defense to hit, and any successes over that number carry over as dice to use with the damage pool with the appropriate attribute and weapon damage. Actions in combat lower character defense until their next turn.
Aiming is an action that adds dice to an attack.
In one of the earlier sessions in the campaign, and the first for the Egyptian Scion, I sent her to Egypt, where enemies of the Gods were planning to desecrate a secret tomb in the Great Pyramid of Giza, containing priceless artifacts, just not the historical kind, but instead carrying actual power. It was the first test set to the character by her mother Bastet.
Never having been in Egypt, the character made her way to the Pyramid with a tourist group and once inside the pyramid she made her way to the secret tomb, ditching the group. Inside she found two humans trying to pry open a chest, with a Jackal Man in charge.
While stealth was always an option, this character was a frontline fighter, and opted out of subtlety, opening fire on the nearest human mook, literally blowing him in two (rolling enough damage to kill him twice). The other two reacted, the other mook bringing out an UZI, while the jackal jumped the character, using his wicked claws to tear at her.
They both missed their attacks, the character was too nimble for them, and decided to take care of the mook first, just in case he became an issue. Taking careful aim, just for overkill, the player destroyed the poor goon and focused her complete attention on the jackal.
Now, at this point you might be wondering, “why is this labeled as Dethroning Moment of Suck?” when everything up to this point has been awesome. Well, it’s what happened next that really makes this story what it is.
Once they were alone, the character proceeded to shoot the living hell out of the jackal, while it tried to slash her to ribbons…without success, Either of them.
For the next hour, in real time, we rolled dice, to see if we dealt even a single point of damage, but my rolls never were high enough to overcome the character’s defense, while the character never attained enough damage successes to overcome the creature’s stamina.
By the end, the player was begging me to end it, and so I did, with authorities (and tourists, of course) finding their way to the secret alcove, following the noise from the gunfight, and chaos ensuing at the sight of the wrecked bodies and monster. In the confusion, the player took the chance to grab the chest and leave, finding a set of magical claws in them, a new Relic for him to use.
We never spoke of that fight ever again…
WHY FIGHT? (CMA)
My Role: GM
Relevant Rules: Each Pantheon as a Specific Purview, a set of powers unique to them. The Greek Pantheon has Arete, which needs to be purchased individually for each skill, each level adding extra dice on rolls with that skill.
Explosives deal a crapton of damage…especially those crafted by Scions with Arete.
Characters who reach Legend 9 become Gods, and they vanish from the Mortal realm, appearing in their pantheon’s overworld.
Magic in Scion deals with Fate, and how people are bound by it.
It was the end of the first story arc. They knew where the bad guy was hiding, and it was time to get the fight to him. The characters recruited allies, the loyal, the unsavory and the downright bat-shit crazy. They infiltrated his manor and made their way to his vault, where they learned the truth behind his actions, as well as his story, the experiences of a centuries old Scion who’d lost a lot of friends because their godly parents didn’t properly prepare them for the perils they’d face as Scions, instead sending them off to battle with promises of glory and godhood.
After looting his journals, they reached an underground atrium where the bad guy, Samuel, was waiting for them, intent on trying to convince them to join them one last time, but when that proved futile, the battle started.
They knew they were severely outmatched, as through secret means Samuel had found the way of attaining near-godly power without actually becoming a god, trapping his own Legend, so he wouldn’t ascend. In this state of unbalance, he learnt and used all purviews available; his own relic, The Tablet of Destinies, giving him access to all of them.
While their allies fought Samuel (since they could at least take a hit or two) the characters made their way further underground, below the atrium, as they had, through the use of a spell, seen a thread of fate that connected Samuel to something below them.
In the room below, they found a sphere suspended in midair, and inside were several Samuel clones, completely made of living energy. They had found his trapped Legend, four energy beings for the four dots of legend he’d trapped.
They attacked the sphere and one clone came out. Expecting the energy being to dissipate, they attacked the sphere again, releasing a second clone, which joined its sibling in attacking the party.
At first, they started to fight them, but realized very quickly that they were on the losing end with the clones having a vast array of powers to use against them.
At that moment, the Scion of Hephaestus player had enough and told his party members to push the two clones together. When they did, he threw a pack of explosives at them and detonated them, killing them instantly.
After that, he lined the area around the sphere in remote controlled plastic epic-level high-yield explosives. Every time a clone came out, he detonated the bombs below him, killing them instantly, the damage so high it really wasn’t worth rolling.