Welcome to another exciting issue of RPG Triumph…and Defeat, the weekly feature where we tell the great stories from RPG campaigns, both the amazing and the downright humiliating.
These are the stories, our legends, that we tell all our friends, even if they don’t play.
You ain’t no Belmont! (DMS)
My Role: GM
Relevant Rules: Roll a natural 1 on an attack roll and it fails. Roll again and miss the difficulty (or roll another 1) and the failure is worse.
When a few of the Pathfinder players couldn’t play anymore, we brought in new blood and one of them made a Tiefling (demon-descendant) Paladin, a weird combination but it worked.
While traveling through Cheliax, the Lawful Evil Devil-worshiping Kingdom, the Paladin puts on a ring that hides his true appearance, as he’s warned some might not see too kindly to his true nature. Regrettably, while preparing to seal a hellgate (see MELEE MAGE, Issue 4), Inquisitors find out the truth, and both he and the Elf are imprisoned and sent to the torture chamber for interrogation.
To escape, the characters make a racket, drawing the interrogator to them and proceeding to throw insults at him, all to make him lose his temper. The plan was for one the Paladin, who was chained to a weakened wall, to draw his ire, so he could grab him and get the keys from him.
Things worked out even better for them.
When the Paladin finally pissed the guy off, he rushed the Tiefling, drawing his whip and raising it to lash him. Unfortunately for him I rolled a 1 and then another, so he lashed too high, wrapped the whip around the heavy candelabra hanging from the ceiling, slipped and in his fall pulled it off its hook and brought it down on his head, dying instantly.
The characters stayed in silence for the longest time but when no one came, they took the keys from the corpse and left…only to be recaptured soon after…completely naked.
You wouldn’t hurt a man in an apron, right? (CMA)
My Role: GM
Relevant information: I’m a dick as a GM. Also, Rogue’s have Sneak Attack, which allows them to add extra dice to damage if they catch their opponents unaware.
On the way from Andoran to Lastwall, the party decides to join a caravan, feeling safer with the numbers.
The first thing I tell them is the caravan’s comprised of 4 guards, a blacksmith and his 10-year-old daughter, an alchemist, a tailor and a jeweler and his wife. They agree to the party joining them, feeling safer with adventurers bolstering their defense.
On the first night of the journey a guard dies, murdered. The party tries to make sense of what happens and at first, they’re convinced it’s someone in the group but they don’t see that investigation through, instead favouring the plan of keeping an eye out on their surroundings, as they’re in the middle of a thick forest.
On the second night another guard dies. The characters search the caravan frantically and even search the merchants but find no evidence.
On the third night, the characters stay awake and the players are tense and stressed and actually scared. The Cleric stays inside a carriage with a scrying sphere and keeps a close watch on their surroundings. The last two guards hear a noise from the forest but as soon as they approach, something drags them away screaming. The Sorceress decides it’s a good idea to go into the forest to find them, but thankfully the rest stop her from committing suicide. They scramble and assume positions, with the Cavalier on his horse with a lamp in his hand, peering into the darkness for signs of movement. The warrior and the Ranger climb nearby trees and try to use the vantage points to find whatever was responsible. The Sorceress joins the cleric and stays out of harm’s way.
Everything is calm at first, but then the Ranger is struck with a critical strike and sneak attack, the damage almost killing him and making him fall unconscious from the tree. While the Cavalier goes to his friend’s aid, their attacker circles around the forest undetected, climbs the Warrior’s tree, ties a rope around his neck and pushes him off, leaving him hanging by the throat. The Cavalier rushes him and holds him up. The Cleric decides to do what they should have done from the start, and that is to search the other carriages and wagons to see who was missing. He discovers only the blacksmith’s daughter is gone.
After cutting the Warrior down, they grab the blacksmith and hold him hostage, demanding the girl surrender, thinking she wouldn’t hurt her father.
They were wrong and the blacksmith gets a crossbow bolt through the neck and dies choking on his blood. However, the attack brings the girl close to the light and they realize there never was a girl with them, but a Changeling, a Fey masking as the little girl; who was probably taken at childbirth.
After a grueling shootout (as the players were too scared of going into the forest to attack), they manage to kill the creature and make it out; but the only one celebrating was me.
By the end of the ordeal, the players looked traumatized. In what I count as one of my best storytelling moments, I had managed to scare the entire party, making them feel the tension of the situation, and reach accordingly. They never forgot that session, and swore off Caravans for the rest of the campaign.
I couldn’t have been happier.
MEGA TAUREN! (CMA)
My Role: GM
System: World of Warcraft RPG
Relevant Rules: Tauren have racial levels in addition to their class levels, the last one making them Large creatures. They also can use their horns as Natural Weapons. The Enlarge spell makes a creature one category taller, from Medium to Large or Large to Gargantuan, improving its stats and increasing the base damage of their weapons. Several “buff” spells exists to improve the characters’ stats.
While on a mission for Thrall (the party was Horde), they encounter a herd of centaurs. While most of the enemies are rather weak, their leader packs a massive punch and if not for their healer’s quick aid, it would’ve killed them. The Barbarian Tauren in particular is in a bad way, being their frontline fighter and tank.
Then the Druid has a stroke of genius and pulls the Tank back from the front and orders the others to hold on while he and the group’s Priest execute their plan: casting Enlarge (Gargantuan), Bulls Strength (+4 strength), Bear’s Endurance (+4 Constitution), Greater Magic Weapon (+1 to attack/damage for every 5 levels) and Greater Magic Fang (Same as Magic Weapon but for Natural Weapons) on the Barbarian, who then triggers his Enrage ability (+4 to Strength and other stuff).
With their Power Ranger Monster Tauren fully deployed, they let him loose and the Barbarian charges the Centaur with his Halberd and scores a critical hit; but he never rolls damage, as just the average would’ve killed two copies of the monster.
From then on, the Mega Tauren became their main strategy, much to my annoyance.