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Gaming Stories: The Worst Ever

By Shamus
on Friday Jan 4, 2008
Filed under:
Tabletop Games


Today I posted a bonus feature on Chainmail Bikini describing the writing process. In there, I talk about how hard it is to find good gaming stories of bad gaming. I’ve exhausted a lot of the stories relating to my own experience playing tabletop games, and now I rely on the misfortune of others to provide the fodder my our gaming comic.

I just realized that I could pull a Scott Adams and solicit anecdotes from readers. That might be fun, and if nothing else it might be therapeutic for the victims to share their experinces with everyone else. (So we can point and laugh.)

So how about it? What’s the worst single event you’ve ever endured / witnessed at the gaming table?

Comments (200)

1 2 3 4

  1. mos says:

    There we are, in the depths of the catacombs. Bodies line the walls, seemingly haphazardly placed upon reed mats within niches that are stacked four high. Our level three party creeps halfway down the hall, and we see that the hallway bends to the left with more open tombs continuing around the bend.

    Bill: “So they’re just lying there?”
    DM: “Yes.”
    Bill: “Not moving, huh?”
    Bill: “I poke one with the butt end of my halberd.”
    Party: *shocked*
    DM: “…Well, now they’re moving. All of them.”

  2. ShadoStahker says:

    The GM using his pet GMPC who is so better for us (noone was allowed to be a Jedi in our Rebellion Era Star Wars game, for obvious reasons, except for his pet who had been in stasis or something this whole time, giving him a huge advantage on us. Oh, he also had blindsight, effectively.) or his favourite NPC (we don’t want to get help from Drizzt, some witch-lady nobody but the GM has heard of, or Artemin Enwhothehellcares in a Forgotten Realms game) to save the PCs, when he puts us in a situation where we have no chance of escaping without that NPC or GMPC.

    Yes, both the same GM.

    Bitter? Me?

  3. mos says:

    Speaking of the halberd…

    Early in the campaign, we discover a fool’s chamber. Or at least, it’s clear to some of us that it’s a fool’s chamber. Others of us rush in and assume that the magic items and gold must be genuine. Bill takes a magic halberd; Andy grabs a magic shield. I take a non-magical suit of armor (and only that because my other suit was ruined in a trap).

    Everything in that room was cursed. Andy’s shield was a shield of arrow attraction (or whatever it’s called): any arrow fired at him will seek him out unerringly. Even better, Bill’s halberd is a -2 halberd. Did I mention we didn’t have any means of identifying these items? For many, many levels? Bill kept that thing until level 9, if I remember correctly.

    He would forever say things like, “I roll a 10, plus my strength, plus this ring. –Oh, and don’t forget the magic of the halberd.” The DM would always reply “Oh, don’t worry, I won’t.”

    “Plus the magic of the halberd” has become a running joke with us.

  4. mos says:

    I have many more; Bill and Andy were great foils. I think every party should have at least one, they make the game interesting for the other players who play the game with precision, never making mistakes.

  5. Thad says:

    I remember me and a friend coming up with a plan to sneak an NPC out of a castle (there were other PCs also in this party). Of course, we could have waited a few hours then walked out, but we felt it was important to sneak out now.

    So we climbed down a wall. Or rather, everyone else climbed down the wall, me and my friend fell down the wall and both died.

    Seemed rather fitting. :)

  6. Allerun says:

    I was in a game once where one of our group brought a girl he met in class in to play. The DM being the horny college freshman he was started shaping the game to better suit the newcomer. It ended up in a werewolf love story between her and an NPC we had been chasing (this was Ravenloft). We switched to Call of Cthulu shortly after to cleanse our palettes.

  7. JohnW says:

    Temple of Elemental Evil, the party battled our way into the depths and encountered the juggernaut. It took everything, everything we had to throw at it. 5 party members huddle behind a stone altar, dead or dying. All our spells cast, potions used, etc. etc. My big dumb fighter, the last who can still fight, climbs on top of the altar with his 2 handed sword, ready to give his life to defend his comrades.

    The juggernaut rolls forward to finish off the party, big dumb fighter winds up and takes the swing of his life…


    “Dammit, roll again!”

    Kind of killed the mood.

  8. Neil says:

    In one of my earlier 2nd edition gaming experiences we had a player who was just plain contrary. Whatever direction the party seemed to be leaning in, he’d sprint the other way. Let’s call him Donny, for that was his name.

    Donny Story #1.
    Dungeon crawling, we enter a room with a mysterious hole low on one wall. Pitch black, as if no light can enter or leave it. Party is naturally wary and starts discussing what, if anything, to do with it. Donny: “I walk over and stick my face in it.”
    Not his dagger, not the tip of his left pinky… his [i]face[/i]. You could almost hear the thoughts of the other players screaming “Please let it be an orb of destruction!” Sadly, it wasn’t, and he emerged unscathed.

  9. Neil says:

    Argh. Angle brackets, not square. Hey Shamus, is there any possibility of a preview feature with this software?

  10. Hm… well, my warrior got cursed with the Pleasure of Fighting curse. Every time I rolled a natural 20 to hit, he doubled his damage, but he also got, eh, an orgasm, so he missed the next turn.

    Silly college humor.

  11. Tholmir says:

    In a game, I was playing a half-orc turned into a Minotaur by a curse.
    At the end of a combat, one of the monsters decides to retreat. I get an attack of opportunity on it. “Why not!” I roll. 1, confirmed fumble! The DM rolls on his fumble table: “Hit another target”.
    With 5′ of reach, I can touch 3 persons. Another player mentions that I’m Large, so it’s 10′ of reach. I can now reach our priestess. I roll. Who do you think I hit? The priestess!
    I roll the damages. Greataxe (d12) + strength (a lot). Also, I was doing a Power Attack…

    I think I rolled one of my highest damage… I killed the priestess… And we had nobody to resurrect her… I was a bit ashamed… ;)

    We transported her corpse and paid for a True Resurrect.

  12. Hal says:

    I play a game bi-weekly at the moment. Our GM has a busy family life, so he doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to writing original material. The GM has been playing since DnD first came out, while the rest of us are either first timers or have only played for a short time. One week, during some down time, the GM is telling us about all these mods from 1st or 2nd edition that he’s run or played, how neat/goofy they are, etc. He tells us about one that is very strange, but that he probably wouldn’t run it because it doesn’t fit well with what we’ve been doing so far.

    So what happens the next time we meet? “Hey guys, we’re actually going to run that mod because I didn’t have time to prepare anything else. Hope you don’t mind.”

  13. InThane says:

    I played Synnibarr with Raven McCracken at a con once in the ’90s.

    I still haven’t recovered. *shudder*

  14. pdwalker says:

    We had a DM who was known for his talent of opposing the players.

    We found a spellbook. Immediately, we all start laughing at how this book is obviously trapped with explosive runes. We’d otherwise never get anything that valuable. The DM was otherwise involved with his bookkeeping.

    So one of the PCs describes how he carefully takes the book into another 10’x10′ room away from the other, more vunerable party members in order to examine the book – in case it was trapped.


    The DM then proceeded to roll damage for all the party members because he assumed that the entire party (we were a large party with henchman and animal companions) crowded into the 10×10 room and looked over the shoulder of the PC reading the book.

    DMs are never wrong.

  15. Stephen says:

    The party has been facing terrible shadow creatures for months, and is finally ready to make a desperate strike into the heart of their dimension. I try very hard to set the mood, to get the group back into the horror mindset we’d achieved the first time they encountered one of the creatures. The only light in the gaming room is from a single candle on the table, and I describe them approaching the dark rift and heading into unknown danger. “And then… everything goes black,” I whisper, snuffing the candle and intending to leave them in the darkness for a few moments.

    Less than a second later, there’s the distinctive click as one of the players immediately switches on a lamp.

    “What? I couldn’t see my character sheet!”

  16. Neil says:

    Donny Story #2.
    Same dungeon, different day. There is a long corridor whose walls, floor and ceiling are peppered with 4″ holes. A great many metal balls are shooting out of these holes and disappearing into holes on the opposite side, creating a serious hazard for anyone venturing down there. Naturally we need something from a side passage off of this corridor. And naturally, there is a rust monster happily bouncing up and down this corridor feasting on the metal balls, though their number never seems to diminish.

    The plan: When the rust monster roams near the other end of the corridor, our valiant (and heavily armoured) fighter will brave a charge in to the side passage and pull the lever, or whatever it was that needed to do be done down there. If the rust monster starts coming back and looks like it might endanger the fighter, the mage (Donny) will toast it with a lightning bolt or two. Otherwise, we’ll try not to antagonize it.

    The result: Fighter gets in, rust monster starts coming back. Party starts urging Donny to cast his lightning bolt. He refuses. Monster keeps approaching. He refuses. Monster starts down side passage (random rolling to determine rust monster’s direction, btw). Fighter begins to sweat (and swear) profusely. Rust monster comes out, is now between fighter and party in corridor. Donny still maintains that he doesn’t want to cast a lightning bolt at it. Eventually, the monster retreated back just far enough for the fighter to slip through and return to the party. There was a lot of grumbling and berating, but Donny just shrugged and said “he made it, didn’t he?”

    Then, as the party turns to leave, “I cast a lightning bolt at the rust monster.” Looking back, I can’t explain why we didn’t throw him out there and then, making sure he bounced on every stair on the way down.

  17. Becca says:

    My husband and a friend, N., tell a story about the worst experience they’ve had with another friend, M., as the DM. Their two characters become separated from the rest of the party during a crawl through an elaborate and minutely planned dungeon, and wake up hanging upside down in chains. They make rolls, that are seemingly wildly successful, to pull the chains loose from the crumbling wall. Eh, turns out the wall wasn’t quite so crumbly. Further, “these chains were made to hold giants,” M. says.

    Husband and N. look at each, shrug, and say, “Well, then, we just slip out of the obviously over-large manacles.” M. does a double-take, and decrees that the manacles have now magically shrunk around them. They have to sit and wait for the other players to come upon the room where they are imprisoned. For two more of their weekly sessions, they sit with nothing to do other than have their characters sing Broadway show tunes, while hanging upside down.

    Then during the third session, the other PCs, who have been diligently opening EVERY DOOR in the dungeon, finally turn down the hall where M. had put the prison room … and decide to start skipping doors.

  18. Duffy says:

    We seem to have two trends that appear in most of my friend’s DnD games:

    1. I always end up being the leading cause of party death. In my defense its usually the players that are doing things like “ok, i’m going the complete opposite direction as everyone else” for no reason but to annoy us. For once, violence does solve everything.

    2. Fire is the solution to everything. Monster? Set it on fire. Town that is not thrilled with us? Set it on fire. Not enough money to buy magic items or new weapons? Kill the shopkeep, steal the weapons and burn the evidence. We may be the only party that reliably carries oil and tinder sticks for the sole purpose of burning things down.

    We also have some amusing character combos once in awhile. The psionic parrot/cat that dominated a pirate/mage was always amusing. Personal favorite was a gnome PC in full plate dual wielding shields (armor and shield spikes of course) that was the thrown weapon of an Ogre PC. Gnome chucking turned out to be a rather viable method of attack.

  19. MintSkittle says:

    Let’s see here. Mine are from Shadowrun games. The one where our group is kicking butt and taking names, one of our guys throws a block of explosives at their getaway van, and is about to press the detonator, and we have to end the game early because we’re getting loud and obnoxious, and we never finished the session.

    The pet NPC who was the baddie and several times more powerful than us. We actually beat him unconscious and tied him up, and as soon as we turn our backs, he frees himself, jumps out a window, and escapes.

    The GM who steals my hundred sided die and makes us roll it before every action we take. A roll of 1 means you suffer a heart attack and die. So my friend rolls. Of course it’s a 1.

    Just to note, these were all different GMs.

  20. Melfina the Blue says:

    Worst game ever (DM was good, other players were good, but
    our combat went something like this…
    Warlock: I hit for (rolls dice) 18 damage.
    Rogue: What do I roll again to attack?
    Everyone in unison: the d20.
    Next round:
    Warlock: Does a 19 hit?
    Warlock: 10 damage then.
    Rogue: Is it my turn?
    Everyone else: yup.
    Rogue: What do I roll to attack again?
    Six months later
    Paladin: That’s 24 damage. Your turn, rogue.
    Rogue: What do I roll to attack again?

    Never did figure out if it was the wine and vodka, or the rogue had the worst memory on the planet. They’d been playing for at least 3 months before I came in.

  21. Xale D says:

    Alright, so this is a modern Spy Game. The PCs learns of an upcoming attempt on the life of a member of a royal family in some European country. They manage to figure out where the attack will take place and stake it out quite cleverly (for the most part). One the the Characters, Dirk, is sitting on a nearby street corner, playing his guitar for change. Another, Red, is lingering around the mouth of an alley looking like either a drug-dealer or a pedophile: Long tan trench coat tied tightly at the waist with shotgun-shaped bulges.

    The team of assassins strike, killing several bodyguards before the PCs drive them off. Several of the PCs are taken into custody for having firearms and using them on the public street. Under questioning, Dirk spins this wonderful tale about how he was just sitting on the corner, trying to raise enough money for a hot meal when he saw the beloved Prince being attacked by those hodded guys and had to act, as his civic duty, and he had the pistol for self defense.

    Questioner to Red: “And what’s your story?”
    Red, gesturing to Dirk: “I was with him.”

    Rest of party: *FACEPALM*

    Also, if you haven’t already seen them, check out the CLUE Files for Shadowrun horror stories (link esacpes me here at work)

  22. Jeysie says:

    My roleplaying group had a session a few weeks ago where things went wrong in a morbidly hilarious fashion.

    Our group was in the middle of melee with a group of zombies, except for our sorceror, who was standing off a ways.

    For starters, our fighter has a homebrewed magical weapon that morphs into a different random weapon each turn (we’re playtesting it during this campaign). In this particular turn, it was a longsword. He manages to roll a 1 for his attack roll, and the DM determined via a few rolls and tables that the sword flew out of his hand and landed in the leg of the cleric.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, the weapon also has an altered Returning ability to ensure that any ammunition it produces can become part of the weapon again before the next morph. We all decided that a thrown longsword counts for these purposes (plus it solved the dilemma of what happens if the weapon morphs while inside of somebody), so of course the longsword ended up flying *out* of the cleric’s leg back into the fighter’s hand. At this point the cleric becomes very, very ticked off at the fighter and in pain and starts going ballistic at him.

    Now, that would have been memorable enough for one session. Until the sorceror decided to use his own random ability, the Spell of Wonder, on the zombies (based loosely on the Rod of Wonder).

    He casts the spell. He rolls the dice to see what effect he gets.

    “34. Fireball.”
    “… So, does that mean you just cast a Fireball into the middle of all of us?”
    “Yep, seems so.”
    “Oh dear.”

    The fighter failed his Reflex save and lost half his hit points. My rogue also failed his save and ended up with a whopping 1 hit point left. The cleric made her save, which was insanely lucky because she had few enough hit points left that she’d have been dead otherwise. The sorceror, of course, was safely out of harm’s way.

    Well, at least the zombies were completely toast.

  23. DGM says:

    There was one particular player in my D&D group who eventually managed to drive me away from tabletop RPGs altogether, and even more than a decade later I’ve never gotten back into them. It can be less than fun being the only non-drinker at a table of heavy drinkers even at the best of times, but after a few drinks this guy would have a mind like a steel trap. By which I mean:

    1) His mind could only hold one thing at a time,

    2) It would clamp on to the first thing to cross it, right or wrong, and

    3) nothing short of taking a crowbar to it could get it to let go.

    He would get some blatently stupid idea about what to do, insist on doing it no matter how much the rest of us told him not to, and then argue endlessly that it was what he was his character was supposed to do. Every. Bloody. Session. I stopped playing because I got tired of dealing with the skull-splitting headaches he gave me every time I played.

    Some of my favorite incidents:

    1) He’s playing a thief, and decides to swipe the money pouch of an obviously wealthy man passing through a marketplace. He fails, and while the target doesn’t catch him, he is alerted that something just happened.

    Not so bad by itself, but our hero decides to swing back around and try again. He fails again, the target spots him, grabs his money pouch tightly and starts calling for the watch. My character, an illusionist, is nearby and I start frantically trying to think of a way to distract the law enforcement starting to close in on him.

    And then, the moron swings back around to try a third time. Despite the fact that his mark is holding tightly to his money pouch and the guards are almost on top of him. It’s at this point that I pointedly inform the DM that my character turns around and walks away, leaving the thief to deal with the mess himself.

    2) End of the campaign, final battle with the big bad. Said big bad has been established to be highly resistant (as in, don’t even bother trying it) to magic, and most of the party has surrounded him to engage in melee. Our genius, playing a magic user here, insists on dropping a Fireball on the enemy. Despite the DM repeatedly asking him “are you sure” and me frantically gesturing to him from across the table not to.

    Predictable result: he roasts the party and doesn’t even singe the bad guy.

    3) He was playing a soldier in a game set around 1900. After getting into a fight while investigating a motel, both of my pistols jam, but we win the fight anyway. He declares he’s going to kick in the door to the next room. I point out that after all the noise we just made, anyone in the next room will be ready for us and he needs to wait while I unjam my weapons and reload so that we can back him up.

    He completely ignores me and charges in to get cut almost in half by a shotgun blast. As the group’s doctor, I had to patch him up afterwards.

  24. Dan says:

    I’ll pitch in two.

    Dragonlance, circa 1986 – I’m playing the Kender (like a halfling, but with hyperactivity and insanity for those non-DL folks) Tasslehoff. All the players are very well aware that the DM is under instructions to not let the pcs die, at least for the larger part of the game, as they are considered “main characters” who have important roles to play later in the game, regardless of how stupidly the players play them.

    The adventure begins with an exploration of some Draconian keep, whereby the party must cross a bridge over a chasm of fog.

    I’m roleplaying the fearless spazz to the hilt, probably because of a combination of roleplaying, juvenile typecasting, and an out-of-game fearlessness due to the stupid “no dead PCs” rule. Tasslehoff tries climbing down a mysterious chain suspended in the fog. He does this easily until reaching the terminal point nearly a hundred feet down, where there is a large cauldron.

    The Kender figures that he must be near the ground.

    So he says, “It can’t be too far now.”

    And jumps.

    And dies.


    Another game, this one in Rolemaster: during a long campaign, our party of adventurers had begun to encounter strange magic (i.e. alien technology) and our drow elf somehow ended up with a atomic-powered hand. The only requirement was that it required a small amount of coolant in the form of water. After a fair amount of overuse, the hand locked up and began beeping. We were near a mountain lake and the drow started hoofing it, but not quickly enough.

    Yes, it remains my only first-hand experience of a total party kill, and it ended in a nuclear holocaust.

  25. Cactuscat says:

    Please bear with me, as this will run a little long. I’ve been carrying this tale of woe with me for a very long time and finally I’ve found the proper place to air this piece of dirty laundry.

    I was the GM of a D&D game with a group of relatively experienced players. We’d run through several adventures together and (I thought) were pretty in tune with each other’s GM styles. I was apparently wrong.

    As a lark I decided to throw in a magical trap I came up with off the top of my head. The party made it to the room that had an object they were seeking and secured said object, no sweat. However, upon exiting the room they discovered that the corridor suddenly transformed into an endless loop. No matter how far they walked in either direction they’d always come back to where they started.

    Needless to say, they were impressed (and irritated) at the deviousness of my trap. Now began the process of trying to escape. They tried various forms of walking (sending groups in opposite directions, walking backwards, etc.) to see if the tunnel was indeed endless. To no avail. The thief looked for hidden doorways. To no avail. On a whim one of the three magic-users in the group cast a phantom skull spell (it creates a magical, flying skull that the caster can direct and see through its eyes). After floating down the hallway for a bit, the skull found the exit!

    Was that the end of things? Heck no!

    Somehow, the group Munchkin (let’s call him Coons, because that’s his name and I want the whole world to know what he was responsible for) managed to assert his min-maxed butt into a position of authority in the group. He decided that they weren’t done with this whole walking thing.

    For FOUR solid hours he goaded the other players into trying every permutation of bipedal locomotion known to man. He even tried walking on his hands at one point. They laid out all the rope the party was carrying along the floor to see if the ends would meet in a loop. When the rope ran out before the floor did he had everyone strip off and start laying their clothes in a line to continue the trail.

    He tried climbing the wall and shimmying along above the floor. He cast Dimension Door on the floor and jumped in, only to come shooting out the ceiling. He even Polymorphed himself into an Umber Hulk and dug through the wall, only to come burrowing out the opposite wall shortly thereafter.

    Did I mention that flying skulls were periodically sent down the hall and that each one that was sent found the exit without fail? Did this stop the walking? Not by a long shot.

    By the end of it I, the GM, was lying on the floor, half-asleep, muttering “No, that didn’t work” over and over and over again.

    Finally, the party mage–the one who cast flying skull in the first place–got fed up and shouted “F**K THIS, I CAST FLY!” and took off down the hallway. He found the exit. I gave him extra XP.

    • Mersadeon says:

      So the solution was, that you were not allowed to touch the ground, because otherwise you would be stuck in the loop? What a clever one. I have to remember that for my players. Heh.

  26. BChoinski says:

    Years ago a friend ran a Saint Seiya game based on the Hero system. My specific character was based on the Lynx constellation, so he concentrated on stealth, scouting and some offensive ability if he could get in close. Not a Wolverine type — he was actually fairly normal in body and his armor was fairly poor (8- activate).

    Anyways, I’m out in the field being hunted by one of the enemy silver saints. I’m in the tall grasses, stealthing my ass off. Over this whole time the GM has been giving a running description of the situation, as the Silver Saint has been monologing about how she was going to destroy the other Bronzes, Saiori and all that. As he indicated me to make a stealth roll I kept making it, even with some poor modifiers, but we all just listened as the GM went on.

    It was all good.

    And then the GM is going along with the Silver’s monolog, sort of something like this.

    GM: “And after I destroy your pitiful sanctuary and the rest of you pitiful saints, do you know what I’m going to do next?”

    Me: “What?”

    GM: “Thank you!” (boom)

    Yea, the whole time this went on I just rolled in silence, then he has the villain ask a question and I actually blurted out “What”, subsequently slapping a hand over my mouth in “D’oh” fashion before my character was nuked into unconsciousness.

    Unfortunately, it fit in game because he was not the brightest bulb in the lot (average intelligence, at best).

  27. Neil says:

    Donny Story 3: The Grand Finale

    The party has just left town on a mission of some urgency. On a hilltop just outside of town we pass near a minor demon of some sort, trapped inside a summoning circle. It calls to the party, tries to get them to come over and talk (strong vibe: “Come closer so I can mind-control you into freeing me”).

    Me: “Don’t go near it, don’t look at it, don’t talk to it. Just keep moving, and for God’s sake don’t do anything to break the circle.”
    Party: “Agreed.”
    Donny: “As I pass by I toss a coin into the middle of the circle.”
    DM: “What… really?”
    Donny: “Yeah! I just flick one in there! That won’t do anything.”
    DM: “Okay… as the coin passes through the barrier, it vanishes and the demon grins wickedly and licks his lips as he leaps towards you.”

    By strange coincidence, Donny’s character was the only one who didn’t survive that battle. It almost seemed like nobody even tried to protect him. Normally there would be talk of rolling up a new character at this point, but in the heavy silence that followed Donny seemed to take a hint and said “Well… I guess I’ll be leaving then.”
    “Okay, bye.”
    He never asked when the next game was.

  28. Curaidh says:

    Well well, one story I’ll never forget from AD&D 2nd:
    I was playing a Warlock (Special Wizard from the Complete Wizard’s) with a Pseudodragon Familiar. The Others in the Party were a greedy Druid and a megalomaniac Swordsinger (Elvish Fighter/Wizard) with a Faerie Dragon Familiar. So we relied heavily on Magics to solve problems.

    After a long and stressful Dungeoncrawl we entered a room with lots of treasure lying around and some Balor-like demon sitting on his throne. We could not return since the entrance had crumbled behind us and we were searching for a way out. I had cast most of my offensive spells and was not in any mood for another tough fight, so I told the guys to let me handle this. I approached the demon, hailed him and started negotiating with him. My plan was to talk him into letting us pass his “Lair” without getting into trouble. The DM was pleased with this course of action but as we talked, the other guys were whispering to each other at the table. Then they started passing notes to the DM.
    Finally after about 20 minutes of roleplaying I had talked the demon into letting us pass, without any disadvantages for our Party. The moment I want to say goodbye, the Swordsinger rushes at the demon and initiates combat, catching me as well as the demon flatfooted.

    I was angry and asked the player what the f*** he thought he was doing there. His OOC answer was very simple:
    “You can stop talking now, you did a great job at distracting the demon. That gave us enough time to cast all necessary buff spells and now we’ll down this sucker in a few rounds and take all his treasure.”
    The DM just shrugged at me and said: “Sorry.”

  29. Dev Null says:

    Chrisofax the Cleric. Also known as Chrisofax the Danger Detector, because he failed _every single saving throw he ever rolled._ Party quote: “Lookout! There must be a monster! Chrisofax has turned to stone / burst into flames / melted into a puddle / been poisoned / died.”

    Or the alternative was a Ranger / Druid with a fairly low intelligence, roleplayed as a happy-go-lucky, friendly but oblivious sort. Almost all of his druid spells went on protection / resistance sorts of things, which were roleplayed as subconcious – him being protected by various nature spirits. And he had a cloak of displacement. So this amiable dunce wanders through the dungeon setting off EVERY trap and ambush known to man, most of which bounce off his various protections, but all of which collect any other party member foolish enough to stand anywhere near him. Several times he had to be crash-tackled by the warrior to avoid him walking up to a door in the enemy lair and knocking…

    Theres also a series of fairly funny stories involving the time that “our Josh” – for lack of a better term – offered to run a game. We were all a bit terrified, and made a collection of over-the-top ridiculous characters (I was the priest – to a berzerker death god, so I refused to take any healing spells, and went berzerk at the first sign of combat…) which we then proceeded to have a really excellent time roleplaying to the hilt because they were so silly. Of course we also jumped the rails so often with that mad crew that it wasn’t very nice to the poor DM, but we did have a blast.

  30. Cat Skyfire says:

    Four words. “You can’t do that.”

    We’ve all had DMs say it for the most inane of reasons.

  31. Phazzar says:

    Me:[You see in the distance what appears to be an injured kobold, crawling on the ground grasping a scroll.]

    Ranger: {So the kobold is injured?}

    Me: [Yeah. It’s leg appears to be broken and it has many bruises.]

    Ranger: {So the kobold is helpless?}

    Me: [Well… Yeah. But it appears to be moaning out a name as you, (party wizard), think you can make out in draconic.]

    Ranger: {Coup de grace!} with a scythe.

  32. MONKEEYYY says:

    This is the funniest D&D memory that springs to mind. It more or less goes like this:

    DM: The attackers (can't remember what they were but they were humanoid) outside throw a Molotov-like weapon at you while you peer outside the window of the inn *rolls* and hits causing you some fire damage. You are now alight. It's your turn, what do you do?
    Me: There must be some sort of bathroom in this inn, right?
    DM: Yes, it's this room here *points on map*
    Me: Okay, I run to it and use the shower.
    DM: There is no shower, as such, there is a sink basin filled with water, though.
    Me: Okay I use the water to attempt to douse the flames.
    DM: It's just a small sink basin. What are you going to do, Stick your legs in there?
    Me: Yeah, okay, if it helps.
    Dm: You manage to put out a small part of the flames that have spread to your legs but you are still on fire. You take more fire damage.
    (My friends use this time wisely by jumping, flawlessly, out of the inn, ready to fight the attackers.)
    DM: Your go. What do you do?
    Me: I move into my bedroom, cover myself in the blankets and roll around on the floor to suffocate the flames.
    DM: *rolls* You manage to put out the flames.
    (My friends use their round to engage the attackers in combat)
    Me: My go? Okay, I'm going to jump out of the window to help the rest of the party. *rolls*
    DM: *looks at my roll and shakes his head* You fall on your stomach and take damage.
    (My friends fight bravely against the attackers but can't help but laugh at my character)
    Me: Alright, My character is going to cast magic stone on this attacker. *rolls to hit and for damage*
    DM: Wow, you kill the attacker. You're character isn't a complete waste of space, afterall.

  33. Shinjin says:

    It’s a second-hand story (I wasn’t actually there), but some friends of mine like to occasionally recount their experience with a GM that believed his role in the game was to defeat the players (rather than guide the players and set up opportunities for player achievement).

    In one encounter all but two of the party members were down but the Death Knight they were fighting was almost defeated. On the Death Knight’s next turn it cast Finger of Death against both PCs by making a “V” with his fingers to direct the spell at each of them.

    I think that was the last time they gamed with him.

    Though this may have just been his attempt at revenge. In an earlier session where he was a player, the party encountered Shelob (or some other giant spider) in a cramped tunnel. His thief snuck around behind her and leapt on her back. The GM had the giant spider do what would only seem natural in this situation and that was to stand up, squishing the player against the ceiling.

    You know what? Come to think of it, I don’t think most of the people at that table liked that guy very much.

  34. RPharazon says:

    First D&D game I played with my friends. We were all Level 1, and I was a Barbarian. We started with a standard dungeon crawl. There was a small room that we needed to get through to enter. I decided to bash through the door. A trap gets me, I go unconscious.
    After healing me, a friend decides to see if there’s loot in the room. Traps get him, he dies and has to re-roll next game.
    Later on in another room, we fight some goblins. I decide to rush one, and a trap gets me mid-run. I go unconscious.

    That taught us to check traps.

    Later on, at Level 3, we finish a dungeon crawl for a quest and come out into a field. There’s this gigantic dragon (that was white, I think). We start fighting it without thinking.

    Halfway through, I decide to try to reason with it. I knew Draconic, so why not. We get into a conversation while the rest of my friends are half-mindedly attacking it.

    I’m one turn away from a nice happy ending, when a friend attacks the dragon with his +2 custom longbow. He ends up rolling two 20s, and somehow gets full damage, plus the arrow gets helped by the wind. It ends up killing the dragon.

    We did get some nice loot from it though.

  35. I’ve got two good ones for you. Actually, I could probably write down several good ones.

    DGM’s experience reminds me of my own experience with a player at the local gaming association that was SO annoying he actually earned himself the nickname “Bad Gamer Boy” or BGB for short. We kept letting him play with us because we felt sorry for him or we assumed he must have developed SOME brains since the last time he got tossed from a game. Always, we turned out to be wrong.

    By far the most annoying thing he did in a game where I was playing was to intentionally screw up the game setup. We were playing 3.0 D&D, and each person was supposed to play themselves as a character: we got transported to an alternate universe a la Joel Rosenburg The Guardians of the Flame series. Our GM made up himself as a character, also, an Elminster-like wizard who went around helping people acclimate to the new world.

    So far so good. Well, BGB decides he’s going to get pissed off at Brian (the GM and GM’s character) because Brian can only help us so much and go storming off into the forest by himself. The rest of us were like “whatever” and went off to do the first part of the quest we needed to remove a nasty curse from ourselves. BGB missed this, of course. Then, he manages to find some elves in the woods and vent his spleen on them. So they kill him. Idiot.

    The second situation occurred when we were playing through the BaneWarrens by Monte Cook. Our ostensible reason for being involved in this adventure was that a wizard had sent us to dig up old texts about an ancient menace that may be waking up again soon. The party was mostly Neutral, except for our poor benighted Cleric, Bradley, who was Lawful Good. My character was bitten by a were-rat in an earlier adventure and contracted lycanthropy, a situation that annoyed me at the time. (I ATE the belladonna, FAILED the save, took EIGHT POINTS OF CON DAMAGE and STILL got infected!)

    However, being a were-rat turned out to be pretty cool, so here’s my delightful Lawful Evil character wandering around with the party. We entered the Banewarrens and promptly encountered some nasty enemies along with a door we couldn’t open. How frustrating. We also found some information that indicated there was an insider in the town working with the bad guys. Uh oh. Specifically, an insider working with the Church of Pelos. Double uh-oh.

    So, we go back to town to investigate this. Me being the party rogue, I talk the LAWFUL GOOD cleric into getting me into the Church of Pelos so I can search this guy’s room. Of course I also steal anything that looks remotely valuable, but what do you expect? I also manage to find what seems to be one good piece of evidence.

    So, the two of us meet back up outside the main church and start heading towards the Chapel, where our buddies are supposed to be on stakeout. We get about halfway there when suddenly the entire tower lifts into the air in a column of flame. After staring openmouthed for some time, I tell Bradley “I can’t get picked up by the guards after just sneaking into this guy’s room”, and I scram.

    It turned out that the party psion had gotten bored with waiting and flown himself up to the top of the tower, where he discovered a dwarf on a table being examined by a guy in platemail. Said psion decided that this could only be a Bad Guy and summoned some astral constructs to attack him. The guy freaked out and destroyed a piece of equipment that, well, basically turned the chapel tower into a ballistic missile.

    The next day, the city guard shows up at our lodgings to take us prisoner. Being an intelligent sort, I ditched everything I stole in the sewers somewhere . . . unfortunately along with our only piece of useful evidence. So, we get to go on trial before the Church for the crime of blowing up their tower. I asked Bradley to please avoid mentioning our little side escapade . . . not lie about it, but don’t bring it up if he could avoid it.

    Somehow, between the time we chatted and the time he was privately interviewed by the Church fathers, this became “She coerced me into lying about it.” The church can’t figure out what the heck to do with us, so they decide to bind us to finish fixing the issue with the Banewarrens, then they’re going to banish us from the town. Oh, and we have to pay to have everyone that was killed in the tower explosion resurrected. They also decide to put a Mark of Justice on our psion that will remove his first-strike capability. The rest of us think this is, well, reasonably fair. The psion’s response: “No way in hell.”

    We wound up basically having to sit on the guy to agree to let us finish the adventure somewhere other than in the Church prison.

  36. Hanov3r says:

    A reader or two might recognize this… hi, guys!

    The Setting: Faerun
    The Party: CG elf paladin, gnome mage, earth genasi barbarian, human rogue, dwarf cleric, half-elf bard, human druid

    We had been fairly constantly getting our butts kicked by a pair of Bane-corrupted wargs we’d been sent to hunt – they were intelligent (capable of speaking), and had damage reduction, super-fast healing, and high move rates. They’d come, harass us, severely injure someone, then leave… lather, rinse, repeat. Finally, we concoct what appears to be a decent plan involving various methods of slowing them down (ropes, caltrops, the like) hoping to get some good hits in. We manage to kill one; the second (larger) one goes loping off into the darkness as usual.

    Day or two passes before the next attack. This time, it’s just the one, and our tactics work a second time. We get him boxed in, we’re doing serious damage, he’s badly hurt… and the paladin offers to accept his surrender.

    Party: *FACEPALM*
    Warg: Yes! Sure! I surrender!

    We tie him up as securely as a +8 Use Rope modifier can make him and start heading back to town. Within an hour, he was fully healed… and he took his first available opportunity to slip his bonds and run off.

    From that point on, every combat started with us telling the paladin “We are NOT accepting surrenders!”

  37. Ellimystic says:

    My worst was probably “Jeph”, the worst DM I’ve ever had the misfortune not to be able to avoid having to meet. This was my first session with this group. My friend “Brian” was also just joining this group, I think it was his second time.

    So here we are, trying to lockpick a door. It was something like a “sturdy oaken door, several inches thick”. So I try to pick the lock. He pulls out his notes, WRITES ON THEM IN FRONT OF US, and announces that it’s also barred on the other side. Brian tries to burn it, considering it’s made of wood. Jeph crosses out “oaken” and changes it to “obsidian”. We’re getting a bit tired of this by now, so Brian goes to melt off the hinges. Again, the writing on the paper. The door doesn’t have hinges, it opens by retracting into the floor.

    Now I’m mad, of course. “Then how the hell is it barred, hm? I. Pick. The. Lock.” There is no physical lock, it’s magically sealed. We’ve had it, we ignore the door and head somewhere else. “For some reason, you find yourselves strongly averse to leaving the door as it is”.

    At this point, Brian and I gave up in disgust and actually got up and left the house.

    Out of curiosity, I asked another player what the hell was wrong with Jeph. It turns out Jeph wanted to welcome me to the group with a bang, and had written a really humorous conversation with a group of goblins who were behind the door. We were supposed to knock on the door, which would trigger the funny dialogue. Jeph kept the remainder of the group (Brian’s and my characters had suddenly died of strokes, and their bodies had been instantly snatched up by TELEPORTING BANDITS so the group didn’t get our stuff) at that door for another forty-five minutes before some other guy decided he was going to hack at the door with a broadsword, and Jeph counted that as a knock…and started the comedy conversation.

  38. Melfina the Blue says:

    Okay, I’ll turn myself in for this one, since I know it drove the other players up the wall…(this was right after I started playing D&D)
    I was playing a CN druid who hates, hates wizards. So um, I baleful polymorphed our wizard into a rat just before we had to fight an ice dragon. (I set an ambush with another party member, and IC no one besides the three of us knew what had happened)
    Yeah, that was a really good idea. I think we lost half the party in that battle. And the wizard’s player didn’t speak to me for two months.

  39. Gahaz says:

    This is a bit depressing, and probably unusable as comic fodder but oh well…

    We were playing late into the night, say 12:30am, showing no signs of stopping, when there came a knock at the door. We had originally been waiting for the fourth party member but he never showed, so we pulled the classic “That character left for a very important reason” and when they finally get there I, as DM, would come up with a reason they were gone and why they came back. So as I went to check the door, sure it was our missing player, I was not surprised to see that it was him.

    So I gave him the best explanation as to why he was gone (The local assassin’s guild needed to talk over a possible opening in their ranks, he had wanted to take hiss rogue towards the prestige class anyway) and he sat down at the table. I noticed he was a little distant and looked a bit disheveled, but it was not my place to comment on his demeanor.

    As play continued, the brave party came to their first encounter with the rogue back. Little did we know that our friend was in the grips of a damnable drug and was not of his right mind. He had been with some friends of which our group has no affiliation and had a head full of acid. As I described the creature (A large Owlbear, a classic encounter) he seemed to get very agitated and as I rolled and stated it was attacking him, he pulled his hand up and in it he had a rather large pocket knife. He got one good stab at me and buried it in my left shoulder. I will never forget the look on his face, and the yell he was producing!

    Thank God i lived only two blocks from the hospital and all i have is a nasty scar. He came and saw me later and apologized, crying while he did it. We got the guy into rehab and he has been clean for awhile.

    I think I have missed the point of your request, Ha Ha. I will try to think of one of our more goofball experiences.

  40. Davesnot says:

    I dunno… I think back to the original D&D.. and the spells they had.. and I think back to the gaming table where they “invented” the spell.. and I think of the spell: Stinking Cloud… and I’m very glad I wasn’t at that table.

  41. 11 says:

    Second edition, if it matters:
    Okay, we’re a party of your average do-gooders, trying to stop an evil cult from resurrecting their trapped and bound demon deity. We race through some crypts and manage to beat the cult to the resting place of the Ultimate Evil (TM). The DM does a good job of setting the mood, shadows everywhere, the muffled booms of a raging storm the only sounds penetrating the suffocating silence of the dusty catacombs.

    We reach a chamber, magical runes of binding all over this sarchophogus-like stone construction. Chains are attached to loops pounded into the stone of the floor and run over the resting place of this demon, securing the lid shut. In the middle of all of this, a large waxen seal with runes of protection holds the magical portion of the bindings together.

    We start setting up to defend the chamber from the evil cultists who are sure to be not far behind us. Our most fightery character is by the door, the pair of elven multiclasses with wizard levels finding cover where possible to rain spells from protection. (Our party was three elves and a halfling. That’s 2ed for you)

    The halfling thief? Decides to search for loot in the room, takes out his dagger. And breaks the seal.

    Long story short (too late, I know), the great evil is released, the DM has to fudge things (the great evil decided in a moment of gratitude not to smite us as we had performed a great service for him), and the campaign world never fully recovered from the incident before the game ended. We were working on it, but you can be sure that a doctored version of the events was reported whenever it was found had been trying to stop that evil cult.

    To this day we don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe he thought some fine weapons were hidden in the sarchophogus? I surely don’t know.

  42. Melfina the Blue says:

    You might also try bad_rpers_suck
    over on LJ. Loads of rants about online RP, but a good tabletop story sneaks in now and again.

  43. Cadrys says:

    Inter-party conflict between the Mage and the Thief. While they role-played the tension fairly well over several sessions, one night [they were also roommates] there were…other things…going on in the background, and it boiled over.

    It ended with the mage pulling his dagger, ripping open his robe, hitting himself twice {Stoneskin/Contingency/Stoneskin being part of his normal routine) and trying to hand the thief the dagger. “HERE! STAB RIGHT HERE!”

    The DM panicked (he was smitten with the thief’s player) and he promptly dropped a Deus Ex Machina character to stop the fight. We didn’t play another session in that campaign.

    Different campaign, same players. Generic Room Full of Monsters, one of them a Green Dragon. The (semi-pacifistic) druid promptly ignores the fighting and goes over to talk to the dragon for several rounds, trying to convince it that it was playing for the wrong team. The DM believed in railroads, so of course this failed. With a sigh of regret, the druid reached out and touched the dragon.

    Blown MR check. (I *think* it was even a double-zero)
    Blown save. (I *know* this was a 1)

    Ancient Green Dragon went poof. We all–including the DM–agreed this was perfectly fitting.

  44. Devin says:

    So, in a high level party, on a flying island, the party fighter falls through a trap door that sends him sailing through the open skies above the island to the earth miles below. Figuring he’s dead, the party moves into the labyrinth.

    20d6 points of damage later, the Fighter is barely alive… but still alive. He backtracks and takes the portal back up to the island, getting healing from an NPC Cleric along the way.

    The party somehow survives the labyrinth without the fighter, manages to retrieve the artifact, defeat the guardian, et cetera.

    Meanwhile, the fighter is constructing a safety harness as to cross the trap he’d previously fallen through, and try to catch up. He fails the Reflex Save… and the subsequent Use Rope check to test the quality of his work, and once again goes falling out into open sky.

    Before he is able to scrape himself out of the crater he created last time, the party returns to the surface and speaks with the Cleric, who informs them that the Fighter did, in fact, survive… and that he went up to the island after us. Our IC conclusion: he must have gotten lost in the labyrinth. We go back up looking for him.

    God those were good times, and they also led us to the question, “What’s going through your head the 2nd time you’re falling down a 500 foot shaft into 5 miles of open sky?”

  45. JohnW says:

    C’mon, gahaz, are you sure you didn’t just see that in “Mazes and Monsters?” ;)

  46. ehlijen says:

    There were several worst moments for, all precipated by one player accusing various high ranking officers/nobles/empresses/the DM of ‘not making sense’ whenever a request by the party was denied or they wouldn’t let themselves be bossed around by the party.


    PC: We need you to send troops to here on the map, and have our horses ready, we need to move on to there.
    Leader of the army(Lota): I don’t know what arrangement you had with my predecessor, but I intend to follow to orders of my superiors, not yours.
    PC: This is a different guy? That’s why I didn’t remember the name. Anyway, screw that, send troops there and give us our horses. Your predecessor asked for our advice.
    Lota: Those horses were given to you as a loan. We need them now as we’re moving out.
    PC: No, we need them more.
    Lota: But you’re not even part of the army.
    PC: Is this guy stupid? I told him what to do? How come he doesn’t lsiten to us?

  47. Coldstone says:

    Theres a guy we play with that apparently feels obligated to sabotage a RP-ing we do so’s we will go do the wargaming instead. Downside is our group is so small that we can’t really RP without the guy.

    Best example: Our (3rd level) party has been tasked with getting rid of a white dragon of at least adult size. We have a handy tribute and a nifty cover story that should convince it to go elsewhere.
    So, the plan is for the party rogue to talk the critter into leaving, give it the stuff, and watch it wander into the sunset.
    We wander up to the cave, and have a short discussion before we decide to enter. Apparently that gets the dragon’s attention. It wanders out and demands to know what we’re doing there. While the party rogue that supposed to start negotiating stutters, the other party rogue decides to so sneaking into the cave and start jacking stuff.
    The situation stalemates, because apprently it’s a gaming requirement that anybody who plays a charismatic character be a complete goob when it comes to actual roleplaying, and stats to drag out.
    Suddenly, there’s a cry of “Death before Dishonor!!!!!” and the saboteur attacks the dragon (playing a dwarf ranger). Two rounds of combat ensue where we figure out that we’re hopelessly outmatched and we start retreating. I have the presense of mind to use my shield as a toboggan and get a really good headstart on the rest of the party.

    I think that was the last time we actually RP’d. Since then the GM has pretty much given up on trying to run anything for the group, and I can’t say I really blame him.

    Stupid part here, was that the dragon WANTED to leave. It just needed a reason to go elsewhere.

  48. Shamus says:

    Thanks so much to everyone who’s taken the time to put up their tales of woe. Some are funny, some are painful, but all of them are great.

  49. Mrs T says:

    We’re playing Traveller (far future space opera) and two of the players, John and Richard, were totally in to role playing their characters. We could go through a whole game session without actually having any combat, because they had more fun role playing what they did at the spaceport between voyages than they had during the adventure itself.

    The spaceport had plenty of casinos, so John and Richard decided they would see how much money they could make gambling. But rather than making a couple of dice rolls against their gambling skills, Richard got out a deck of cards.

    Me: Let me get this straight, you guys want to role play playing poker? In real time? With real cards? Couldn’t we just put all the books and dice away and just, I don’t know, play a game of poker?!

  50. roxysteve says:

    I’m not a “good” player. When in sit back and RPG mode I like to be realistic (I won’t go into a dungeon right after coming out of one without a couple of days in an inn for example) and when in grid-tactical mode I like the rules to be followed (otherwise what’s the point of the grid?). This makes me Mr Unpopular with the players, so they probably have more stories about what a f*ckwit I am than I do about them.


    The last campaign I was in, I suspected we were knocking about with an undead of some sort (a much-loved player was awfully chatty with the DM in another room at the start of every game session and would hide his character’s face from everyone during the game). I cast “True Seeing by note-to-the-DM”. Result? Nothing. The DM just ignored it. Boy was I pissed.

    A bit later our umptytump-level druid announced that I couldn’t tell what he looked like since one of his abilities was to change his face every day, and he was doing it and had been (unannounced) for the entire game. You might think the DM might have let slip a little thing like that. I considered asking said druid how long he thought we would have stood for finding a total stranger in camp before dispatching him to the next plane of existence, but settled for casually saying “I know exactly what you and everyone else in the party looks like, even if the DM won’t tell me. I’ve had True Seeing up several times, some of which you’ve known about, some of which you haven’t, and believe me I’ve taken a good long look at everyone. The fact that the DM is cheating is unfair, but I will expect swingeing bonuses should it ever come to me versus any of you on account of I should have seen whatever trouble you represent coming a mile off.”

    The DM was still following a policy of just ignoring inconvenient prying when it suited him when the game was disbanded. Mr Dead-and-loving-it was under no such restrictions, of course. He and the DM often went into multiple note exchanges at key points in the action.

    Horrible. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth to this day.


  51. Mrs T says:

    Story the second: The players were a group of dumb college students (I include myself in that description). One of the players, Dennis, had just had an ugly breakup with another player, Angie. Every week, Dennis would start with a new character, join the party, and immediately begin threatening Angie’s character. It didn’t matter that his character was Neutral Good and had never met Angie’s character before. He would attack her character, the rest of the party would defend her, Dennis’s character would get killed. He would spend the rest of the evening rolling up his new character while the rest of us would go off and have whatever adventure the DM had planned for the session.

    The really stupid part? That not one of us had the balls to tell Dennis that we didn’t want him in our group. Our only excuse is that we were dumb college students.

  52. Mrs T says:

    (Shamus, my first story fell in the spam trap because I mentioned p.o.k.e.r. and g.a.m.b.l.i.n.g. I don’t know how often you check for false positives, but despite the naughty words, it’s actually a role playing story.)

  53. blizzardwolf says:

    My last DM, who incidentally had earned an “Evil” in front of his name. :P

    These are the Evil Ken chronicles.

    1. After having finally slayed a banshee and entered it’s treasure trove, our heroes are given their pick of rings.

    EK: “Okay, there is a sword of +5, a Vorpal sword, and a gold ring. Who wants-”

    Tom, our ranger: “I grab the ring and put it on!”

    The rest of us: *CRINGE*

    EK: (With an evil grin) “Are you sure you want to do that?”

    (Bear in mind one of us was a mage who could identify this ring, and just hadn’t yet.)

    Ranger: “Yep!”

    EK: “Okay. The ring is now stuck and will not come off, no matter how hard you tug and pull. Your stats all drop five points, your body begins emanating a… nefarious odor, and you are now a woman. On her period.”

    The rest of us laughed for a good ten minutes at Tom over that.

    2. One member of our party, after bargaining and negotiating, was finally given access to a Ring of Wish. We tried to stop him, we really did, and you would’ve thought when the other two mages wanted ABSOLUTElY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, that it would’ve tipped him off.

    Brian: (Hoisting the ring in the air) “I wish that absolutely nothing can hurt me!”

    EK: (Grinning once again) “Okay, you are encased in lead. A solid suit of it. You cannot move, can’t see, and will be dead in 3 minutes from the lack of oxygen. But for those 3 minutes, nothing will hurt you.”

    (Rips his character sheet)

    EK: “Anyone else want to make a wish?”

    All of us: *vigorously shaking our heads*

    Yeah, our DM was not a guy who rewarded stupidity. :P

  54. Mrs T says:

    Story the third: Anyone who has ever played Champions knows that it takes forever to build a new character. We were in the middle of an adventure where our superheroes were travelling between alternate realities. At some point, a new player joined and had to set up his character. To keep everyone busy while this was going on, the GM announced that the authorities on the current world we were willing to supply us with anything we needed to fight the bad guys.

    “Really, anything?” “Sure, as long as it’s something they can get off the shelf. You don’t have time for anything custom.”

    With that minor restriction, we all went on a shopping spree. Every so often we’d wonder if we were going too far, but we’d ask, and the GM would say we could have it.

    Finally the new player was ready to join the game, and we were all ready to jump to the next alternate earth. Upon which the GM matter-of-factly announced that on the previous world, electricity was beamed down from the space station and wirelessly powered every electrical device. Since the new world did not have this technology, 90% of our newly procured equipment was useless.

    I’ve never seen a more effective method for keeping bored players busy when they weren’t needed.

  55. clem says:

    Perhaps my biggest mistake as a GM was when one of the players in a long running high level group got tired of his evil elven mage and wanted a new character. The group was quite powerful and had become so amoral that I had trouble creating menaces that weren’t better people than the PCs themselves and plausibility was suffering. So I let the player in question create a Paladin type character. Unfortunately, I didn’t take this player’s griefer tendencies into account. Soon sessions devolved into “PC tries to sneak up on foe, Paladin decides that that is not ‘honorable’, Paladin beheads PC, foes forgotten for intragroup melee.” Fixing that took far more heavyhanded GM fiat than I find comfortable and that campaign never really fully recovered.

  56. BlackJaw says:

    Last night the party Ranger (one of our major damage dealers) refused to fight. In the middle of combat her character stood still despite a rather nasty ambush.

    It’s a long story, but basically her pet Half-Dragon Cat got killed outright, and we refused to waste our only charge of Raise Dead on it. She demanded that we raise it in the middle of combat, and when we pointed out that there was nothing left to raise (37 points of acid damage to a 6 hp creature) she decided to protest the game.

    Short back story: The DM offered us gifts in exchange for hard alcohol bribes. She, as a lark, brought him a tiny travel sized bottle of good whiskey. Instead of getting the dragon companion, she got a tiny dragon-house cat. (Tiny bottle = Tiny dragon.)

  57. MikeLemmer says:

    I’ll call this player Frank. I had heard stories about Frank from the other players, but I didn’t realize just how true they were until I played with him.

    His first PC, Mort, leaves the party within 3 sessions because another PC refuses to tell him about the book he’s carrying. Mort wanted us to beat him up until he told. The rest of the party refused, of course, because we didn’t trust Mort either. He left the game, but our GM convinced him to rejoin it the next week.

    Months later, our GM regretted.

    His new character, whom I will call Snarky, harbored a deep-seated hatred of the world and everything in it.

    My PC: “Hello, I’m the dwarven fighter.”
    Snarky: “Dwarven fighter? You useless pygmy fatty, I hate you I hate you I hate you.”

    He spent the rest of the game implying my dwarf was gay, threatening to kill me, insulting me in front of NPCs, leaving him out of party activities (“He’s a DWARF, he won’t contribute anything.”) and trying to burn all my possessions.

    When I made a joke about coming into Snarky’s room to kill him first that night, he spent the entire night sleeping upright in a suit of armor with a crossbow. He ended up frightening a messenger and tried to blame it all on the “psychotic rapid dwarf, he’s a threat to this party!”

    But the dwarf never flamebolted a powerful NPC necromancer who wanted to aid us. The necromancer’s crime? Casting a Touch of Idiocy on Snarky after he insulted her intelligence AND her looks. It took some work to apologize to the necromancer after that; we debated letting her punish Snarky without retribution. “I have a few suggestions for curses you could put on him…”

    The kicker was during a plot point where our entire undercover operation was blown wide open. Our base was burnt down, all our contacts were killed, and we were huddling in the sewers while the town guard tried to find us. Snarky suggested we just go up top and die fighting our way out. We said that was a stupid idea and tossed out alternate plans. He spent the next 30 minutes refusing to do anything & shouting down anyone that suggested otherwise. Our GM threatened to end the campaign on the spot, just because he was making playing impossible.

    I know GMs often restrict the party’s actions, but that was the first (and hopefully only) time a single PC brought my party to a screeching halt through sheer belligerence.

  58. MintSkittle says:

    Here’s one I forgot to put in last time. This is still Shadowrun.

    One of our players, John is a min/max player, taking a whole bunch of flaws for the extra character creation points, one of them being “combat monster,” which is whenever he takes a moderate wound, he goes berserk.

    So we were supposed to be demolishing a radio tower, and ended up in a full scale war with the local law enforcers. John gets shot, and goes completely crazy, and casts his most devastating spell at max power, killing all the cops and half the team. He should have died too, but managed to fast talk his way out of physical damage and only take stun damage.

    The only other survivor uses this as definite proof that closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears will get you through anything. This is the same person who never creates new characters, but simply reuses the same character over and over.

  59. Kristin says:

    Our party leader promised the kenku safety if they’d help us fight through the dungeon. Our paladin went psycho and killed the kenku because the kenku had wiped out a band of paladins earlier. Not necessarily even this kenku. The DM (me) didn’t make him fall for it!

    Last night, my brother was DMing an encounter with bone claws. Now, bone claws are large undead with 20-foot reach and there were supposed to be four of them.
    Bro put out two tokens. Forgot the other two existed until we were done with the *next* encounter.
    While we were diligent about remembering the fact that them being large gave them 10-foot reach… at 15 and 20 feet we could do anything we wanted without fear of AoO because he forgot.
    He realized this when he realized he’d forgotten to put any kind of armor or something on the bee people soldiers in the next encounter. Two nerfed encounters in a row!

  60. guy says:

    I have several comic ones, though no bad ones.

    Number1: we are playing a post-apocalyptic RPG named Gamma World, and are passing through a grove of trees with mysterious fruit on them. one character, with the mutant ability to tell if food is edible, checks one. It immediately unfurled into a beetle. it also shook the tree, waking up every other beetle in the grove.
    Players: oh, crap
    gladly we survived, and my character wound up with 2000 tempory hit points on top of his 48 normal hit points. these later came in handy when he was force-fed a live tactical nuke which dealt 2005 points of damage.

    Number2: same game, latter. We have entered a nuked-out city and been captured by robots. the guy who woke the beetles was mistaken for a dangerous biological experiment by the robots who captured us, on account of being a mutant animal. while the other two players bust out of jail and start trying to open the door. meanwhile, the first player leaves the biolab, and sees a large red button surrounded by a metal cage with writing below it. MUST PUSH THE BUTTON. Once again we escape, aided by the fact that some very confused robots were trying to evacuate the building. it turns out that the alarm summoned a tank, but we won and wound up riding in style.

  61. Hal says:

    So, that goofy module from my first story? Here’s how our first encounter for it goes:

    Our party of two rogues, a cleric, and a paladin, were hired to guard a caravan and somehow ended up as the only survivors beside the caravan leader, an alcoholic priestess.

    At one point, we’re leading the wagons through the woods when a group of high level NPCs, GOOD guys at that, come charging up. One is a priest, the other a wizard. The wizard just nukes one of the wagons into oblivion, then gives us an “oops” and is on his way. We were TICKED because we were to receive a percentage of the profits if we ever reached our destination.

    I can’t blame the GM, as this is what was actually written in the module. Still, what kind of first encounter is that for a group of level 2 PCs?

  62. Retlor says:

    The only rule that comes out of our games is never utter the following phrase:

    “He can’t do X damage in one hit, and I can kill him next round.”

    (Where X is the number of hitpoints between you and death)

    Without fail, he will do (X-1) damage, and you will bleed out and die the round after.

  63. Hal says:

    I should also point out that one of the rogues in that story was played by an 11 year old girl. We practically had to chain down her character in game to keep her from trying to sneak attack the high level wizard who just vaporized our wagon. I don’t think she understood yet that sneak attacks weren’t universally effective.

  64. Telarian says:

    I just thought I should submit one of my most annoying gaming mates. This was the guy who compared absolutely everything to the movies he had seen. This was how he seemed to think everything should be determined. If he had seen it done in a movie then it could be done. Furthermore this was the best or really the only way to do the thing. On the other hand, if he had seen something fail in a movie, then it must most assuredly fail. If he hadn’t ever seen it in a movie, then it just couldn’t be done.

    You know how Mel Gibson threw his sword in front of his army of blue faced barbarians? I’m going to throw mine just like that.

    Remember how they used the shields to turn over that chariot in Gladitator?

    Switching the item out for one of equal weight won’t work. Didn’t you see Indiana Jones?

    I’m really just making all of this up because I can’t remember specifics, but you get the point.

    It can be a very useful way of helping people visualize what you’re talking about. Unfortunately when it’s the only way you seem to know how to communicate and you do it constantly, it gets a bit old. It was like a never ending stream of figuring out which part of which movie we were talking about. Then of course everyone else would want to discuss feasibility as applied to Hollywood stunts. The instigator, on the other hand, would assume he had proven his point and everything was decided as soon as you acknowledged recalling the scene in question.

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