Of emptiness (and some food)

I just played another game. On friday, our normal gaming evening, people had things to do and I had shift, so we met on Sunday. There was no room in the Girls apartment, so we went to a local restaurant and I’d like to say it’s pretty great.

I’m not sure if it’s them or Europe in general, but nobody cared about us rolling dice and being nerds, we literally had no contact with guests around us and the waitress worked our table just like any other.

It’s pretty great when people can tolerate this sort of thing. Playing in public is kind of hard, and pubs tend to be loud and possibly filled with idiots, so a restaurant is an interesting and, maybe, often overlooked possibility. Jes’ sayin’. (Also, it’s worth mentioning that it was middle class at it’s best, since the food was simple, good and cheap. I think it lived on this great middle ground between proletarian prices and service, and upper-class prices and service.)

A quick recap, of last session, which was essentially blamestorming; the clerics player left. his char turned out to be a cleric/rogue and a heretic himself. The scroll we got from the church was only obtained so he could write his name off of it. (In an interesting twist, the adventurers guild had only given us our assignments on shitty little notes, because the DM couldn’t be arsed, and the second one literally said “KILL BANDITS”. No joke. The cleric got the party to do his thing, by forging a guild document, and it was described as “nice”. I should have known.)

It turned out, he was about as disgusted from this terrible DMing as I was, but he decided to leave. Clever man. Sadly we were stuck in his character-plot specific encounter, so last time we invested about 3 hours into settling things with the folks we just robbed, manhandled and making up wild in-character deductions that led to us going and the cleric getting imprisoned. Guess he’s rotting in jail now. Fuck ‘im.
In any case, for some reason or another the characters got to some village, where a maiden ran up to them, requesting help in killing some blood-crazed murderer. He turned out to be a disgusting anime faggot, with two swords,blood dripping from them, moonlight shining on his long, black, cloak and black hat, corpses around him like you had just watched Hellsing. I was about to cry. That is where things left off.

Today we went on to meet the anime faggot, who was never refered by anyone else to as “the guy”.

Having watched masses of CSI, I felt obliged to have some sort of one-liner before slaughtering him, so I wanted to see what the DM comes up with for him first, (why did I do that? It must’ve been the rum talking,) big mistake:

“Leave”
Sure, it’s just 3-on-1, he should try to intimidate them. Good god, I fucking hate anime for causing this.
After dying inside a bit, I tried to pry some info out of “the guy”.
“So we heard you were into killing church-going folk”
“This is none of your business, leave while you still can”


Great, don’t give me any data, or any serious attempt to intimidate us, or appease us, or explain yourself, or interact with us, or anything. Just keep your perfectly chiseled face smug. That ‘s what NPC’s are for.
At this point I lost my will to talk to anyone in this session, so I just went for the fucker with a weak attempt at turning the one-liner against him; “But we can’t, you’re still alive”. A very, very weak voice somewhere in my head tried to give off a The Who-style scream, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

The fight was short and mostly painless for players, characters took and dealt some crits. Already during the social part, we kept slowly encircling the guy, the ranger being the first one to tank. He dealt a pretty good critical early, but got struck down by anime-fag far too soon, but because all of his NPCs seem to deal double digits every time they attack, he let the ranger stabilize at -10, mercifully, without commenting on his own benevolence.

The rogue only dealt some punitive 1d4 damage, and anime-fag had some sort of magic anime attack where he rolled against each of us, (gggnnnhhhh, fucking anime rrrrrrghhhh,) and dealt damage. In essence, he had six attacks per round. Welcome to level 3, here’s your WHY DON’T I JUST FUCKING LEAVE THIS IS HORRIBLE
Um. Right. So, at some point, I dealt a critical for 40 damage or so, (I just didn’t question the DM on this one,) and before I got told what happens with the fag, I started pushing “I don’t care if he doesn’t die, I want narrative control over this”.

See, I learned from /tg/. Every time a weeaboo fantasy gets turned into dust by fellow fa/tg/entlemen, I applaud. It was my turn. I knew, if there was one way to fucking end a weeaboo DMPC, it was permanent disfigurement. I told the GM I slash his eyes open, making him hideous. I didn’t even care about anything else at this point, might’ve died as well. I made this gay fantasy of his ugly.

Turns out, also dead. So I allowed myself to deepen the wound through his whole skull, (took 2 of his teeth, had a heartwarming moment of broness giving one to the downed ranger and getting told by the Rogue that she wouldn’t try to pick my pockets anymore,) and the DM went on to tell us his last words, (I have no idea how you tell last words when your brain is split horizontally in half, but hey, that’s great GMing for you. Also, it was probably important plot hints,) something like “You fools, what have you done”. (So, no.) Nobody gave a fuck. I just dealt 40 damage. Killed a weeaboo fantasy. Hell yeah.

The rogue had a mind of her own, so she went on to inspect the church in front of which we fought, heard some wacky monster voices or something under the altar, I kind of stopped caring about her renegade movements. With her skillset, it’s basically impossible to stop her at anything, so I just don’t bother. The ranger got taken to some shelter where people were hiding from the apparent maniac, and we go rest. We get asked whether we sleep, and although I’m not wounded, for the sake of speed I just say yes.

Biiiiiiig mistake. (Never sleeping again, ever. This is the single plot device the GM uses to move the party.)

So, we wake up in a dungeon (You know what, just stop reading here. I won’t hold it against you. This must’ve been hard on you already. Really, you did your best, no-one can blame you.) unarmed, without our things, just clothes on, (insert “haha, could’ve stripped you too, haha” speech here,) and get told there is a single wooden door, and a skeleton propped against a wall. Searching reveals nothing, we take a bone from the skeleton, (it helped the Girl was a med student and got told to shut up about actual anatomy and just pick the goddamn lock,) and exit. Now, before I realized how intensively retarded it is to stick us into a completely blank, run-of-the-mill room from which there is only one escape, one that is not even challenging to use, (the rogue can roll whatever she wants, she seems to have about a million ranks in everything,) just to stall the party for 5 minutes while I desperately attempt to squeeze something interesting, or at the very least some flavour, for gods sake out of it, let me tell you how I hoped we would get some interesting improvisation challenges;
Being basically naked from a crunch point of view, is incredibly fun. I had players in a zombie game just roleplay for 30 minutes how their hungry characters fight over a can of beans. Existentialism at it’s best. I love the prison genre for this, since everything is brutal “one stab and you’re dead” and you have to watch everything, and even then, you have no chance of survival without allies and a working social net and whatnot.
So, in the next room there is a rack with all our equipment and weapons and money pouches (Just leave. You can just go and cry it all out, you’ll feel better and no-one will mind you crying. Even the toughest men cry sometimes.)

After this moment of disappointment, we got treated to the DM’s very own random dungeon generator. He admitted he didn’t prepare anything, so I guess one could cut him some slack if he designed it as we went, as long as it’d be good. Or at least mediocre. Ar at least not terrible.
The generator was a doodle of 12 ways a dungeon could go, of special note being no. 1, the “straight” and no. 9, the “dead-end”. Immediately after I saw the paper, I knew no. 9 would fuck up everything, all the time.

The first room we entered, the one with the equipment, was already a dead-end. No exits. OK, let’s just add a door, next room, 9, reroll, 9. From now on we got treated to exactly identical swirly corridors that looked like Dwarf Fortress on LSD, with exactly three kinds of props; the first were imp statues, which were all identical (GM brotip; you’re not making a PC game, adding variations is as easy as saying it.) and the one’s we got high search scores also had magical camera eyes. Or maybe I’m just being cynical about this, I called out the GM on his lack of poker face earlier, (hey, he started it,) so maybe he tried to better up now. In any case I just kept turning them around so they faced the wall.

The second thing were imps. See a theme here? They were all sound asleep in their stacks of hay, that someone possibly brought down here for them, somehow, with the help of some staircase we were not meant to find. We let most sleep, 2 felt like dying, so one died, one ran away, (there was an intelligence check for that; it’s the first NPC yet to do that in this campaign,) and did nothing interesting.
On an interesting note though, FattyDM seems to have exactly 3 kinds of NPCs in his repertoire; the homoerotic weeaboo fantasy, the questgiver, and the infantile mook. The first is permanently smug, even when facing certain death, the second comes in two flavours; the hysterical model, as in “maiden running away from maniac”, and the bored model, who bores the group as much as everything does him. The third was, up until now, little more than caltrops hurting the party on their way but not stopping them.  Stalling the party with combat might be fun if the combat wasn’t just shitty repetitive rolling of dice in sterile environments.

The last thing we encountered were counters with chairs, next to a door. There were two of them, identical, the first with keys. They were also interestingly placed on the inside of the doors, so we probably were not in a prison or something, maybe?
During this whole time, most of the fun was thinking what the dungeon might be; obviously the villagers turn out to be the bad guys, (surely hypnotized, since we had that in this campaing only about twice,) and the homoerotic fantasy the good guy, but it was fun thinking up what it could be;

  • A dream, possibly caused by drugs? Maybe just a nightmare? (It would be a good DMing choice, so I doubt it)
  • A look into the future? Will we soon meet “camera technicians”, coming to check up on the imps? Will the technicians greet us with “Sirs, where are your royal robes? We are about to hold the ceremony”?
  • Will we find hidden compartments, with milk cartons, cans of beans and psychotic scribblings? Cables and grit all around?
  • Are we on a space prison, IN SPACE? Hell? The plane of eternal torment? (well possible)

During this funtime, we noticed that the Bro kept scribbling his version of the map on his “notes” sheet. Man, that guy. Under other circumstances I would have applauded his enthusiasm and initiative, but in this case it was tragically lost. I also went on to make the rough sketches of some three-layer dungeon, just to prove a point. (The point was you can create a dungeon from nothing, on a moment’s whim, if you aren’t completely hellbent on using a terrible substitute.) The dungeon went on forever, the GM stopped making 1-square spaces between corridors, the map looked shit, we found some two caches or something, 2 altars, the first depicting two imps around an urn, the second the same, with the addition of and imp under the urn, clawing at it. The altars frankly didn’t do anything of interest, (also, is it just me or did you too just imagine altars as something you can put something else on? I did, I was then told that the altar is only something on a wall, no place for anything to put on, and it was, by the maps scale, about 3 feet thick,) and we got to a big, 5×5 room. Insta-search had by now become a good habit on the Rogues side and we got told that the rightmost 2×5 squares were behind a force field, covering an altar, depicting two imps around an urn, this time as statues.

“Haha, you know what would be hilarious? If computer game designers would just add a tiny shaft under a progress-hindering force-field instead of having the hero run to a switch or something, and just make the whole thing anticlimactic and solvable with common sense”
“Why do you keep spoiling the discoveries? Now I’ll have to think up something else.”
I had no idea what to say. What did he expect us to do except search for a switch or a way around it? I was baffled. Also, why would you change something when the players find out how it works? This kind of logic wouldn’t work too well for GMs running detective stories. We then found a hidden compartment, put some jewel we found earlier into the hands of an imp statue, (starting to get bothered by imps now,) and the force field went out, “sparkling”. I know it was counterproductive, but I insisted on telling him that the word “sparkling” had terrible connotations. Not a word you want to use around gamers.

After this, attempted to open the urn, turns out no-one is strong enough, except the ork, obviously, and that there is no way of levering it open from a safe distance. At this point we felt a bit like double-checking our procedure, and remembering the statues, we decided to keep eyes covered, only one person looking with a mirror. So we lift the urn, which, as it turns out, can’t be opened and get greeted by a BIG imp.

So much for that.

I can’t even summarize the lessons GMs could learn from this. Everything you just read was terrible. For instance; Don’t do random dungeons. Maybe in an “ironic” sense it could be funny, but for gods sake, don’t let it dictate the outcome of everything. Always substitute random things whatever creative stuff you think up. Also, make sure to think up creative stuff.
Don’t ever do flavourless things. Why would you make a generic dungeon when you can make it unique? Make this a mantra; “one-liner descriptions are enough” You can create awesome flavour with a single word. Don’t repeat yourself ad nauseam, nothing ever became better by getting repeated.

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~ by fatrpgdongs on 22/12/2009.

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