Monday, June 14, 2010

RPG.NET rant #14 Reservoir Torgs


RPG.NET rant #14
Reservoir Torgs

originally posted to RPG.net on 12-28-2002 at 08:31 PM

WARNING THE FOLLOWING MAY OFFEND FANS OF TORG, PEOPLE UPSET BY PENIS INJURIES, PRO AND ANTI WAR ACTIVISTS AND SOME MEMBERS OF THE SCA.
The loss of Psycho Dave was a blow to our gaming group, in the sense that the chances of us ever finding another bedwetting, racist, pyromaniac of his caliber were slim.
Somehow we soldiered on. It was the first week of January 1991. El Disgusto was back from the hospital, nursing a grudge and a penis graft. His parents had taken the dog on vacation so we were back gaming in his basement. He was angry, scary angry. He sat there at one corner of the gaming table with the stick of pain clenched in his fist, looking for all the world like King Conan (If King Conan had died of a bladder infection and been brought back to life as a lich). Deviant Boy and Asenath were at there, but they were so crazy in love that he insisted on having her sit on his lap. Johnny Tangent was back, he'd been fired from his telemarketing job and now had a lot of free time to game. Weasly Crusher was never one to miss a game so he was there, he'd had to take two buses and walk half a mile but he was there. Lastly we had Blobert Smith, wearing a peace T-shirt and a headband that read "No Blood for Oil!".
It was my turn to run and I had chosen a game I dearly loved but never had a chance to run... Torg.

El Disgusto: "First thing off let me say that if anyone and I mean anyone makes any jokes about my injury they will get a taste of the stick of pain."
Weasly Crusher: "It probably tastes like Lamont."
Johnny Tangent: "I love Sanford and Son."
Blobert Smith: "Ah yes I also enjoyed the nihilistic subtext of that program. After all was not Red Fox's character living in a junkyard and constantly faking heart attacks and promising to join his dead wife? A bold, subtle statement on the failings of Christianity if ever I saw one."
Deviant Boy: "Look, El Disgusto, we don't even really know what happened. I mean sure you're father gave us a general idea what happened to you but he was laughing so hard I couldn't make everything out."
Asenath: "You poor thing."
El Disgusto: "I don't need your pity freak!"
Me: "Hey that's not very nice."
El Disgusto: "Neither is your pitiful excuse for a hairline! Let's game damnit!"

I gave them a brief overview of the world of Torg, a world like our own but invaded by conquerors from other realities. Even El Disgusto was intrigued, once he found out there were ninjas.

El Disgusto: "This ninja rocks! I'll call him Shinobi Killfist."
Johnny Tangent: "I'm playing a special forces soldier named Roddy Plisken."
Blobert Smith: "I playing an ex-Cyberpapcy priest named Joan."
Weasly Crusher: "I play a Storm Knight named Gary."
Deviant Boy: "I've got an exile Edenois named Enik."
Asenath: "Oh Baby. Alliteration makes me moisten."
Me: "Oh God."
Asenath: "And I'm playing an Elven warrior maiden named Sheena."
Me: "Well this looks like a varied group and for once I have a game system that encourages this so let's go over the rules and then we can play."

So I gave them a brief overview of the system, how combat and magic worked, the way that rolling a natural 20 meant you could re-roll. There was only one stumbling block...

Blobert Smith: "Drama deck? I don't understand."
Me: "OK what the Drama Deck does is it gives random effects to the game and allows the PCs to effect events in the game."
Blobert Smith: "But don't the dice have that effect?"
Me: "Yes the dice do have a randomizing effect but the cards allow the GM or players to effect the story in other interesting ways."
Blobert Smith: "Then why utilize dice at all?"
Me: "Because the dice are what you roll for skill and stat checks."
Blobert Smith: "Again, why can't the cards perform that function?"
Me: "The game is supposed to use dice and cards."
Blobert Smith: "I don't understand."
El Disgusto: "How stupid are you you dumb fat shit?"
Blobert Smith: "Excuse me kind sir, but my inability to comprehend a murky game concept is no reason for you to go off all ... halfcocked."
El Disgusto: "STICK OF PAIN!"

It took a few moments more for Weasly, Johnny and myself to break up the pitiful flailings of Blobert and El Disgusto. Deviant Boy stayed in his seat, maybe because Asenath stayed on his lap, rocking gently.

Me: "OK let's get to the actual game. The six of you are brought together by an elderly Storm Knight code named Vagabond..."
Johnny Tangent: "Let it be said now my character isn't going to take crap from anyone. This is a war damnit!"
Blobert Smith: "This is not a WAR-game you philistine this is a ROLE-PLAYING game. Perhaps reason will succeed."
Johnny Tangent: "Reason? With interndimensional invaders?"
Blobert Smith: "Perhaps we could learn from them, perhaps we could learn from each other."
Weasly Crusher: "Here we go again. Remember what happened when you tried to hug that shoggoth?"
El Disgusto: "My ninja revs his motorcycle's engine with subtle menace."
Asenath: "You brought your motorcycle into the briefing room?"
El Disgusto: "A ninja is always prepared!"
Deviant Boy: "My character examines the motorcycle with intense curiosity."
Me: "Vagabond asks Shinobi to take the motorcycle outside and-"
Johnny Tangent: "You know it's people like you that are ruining this country with your hippie peace protests."
Blobert Smith: "Well maybe I don't want American soldiers and Iraqi children's lives destroyed because of a corrupt immoral president!"
Johnny Tangent: "OK it has registered in that whack-a-mole game that you use for a brain that Iraq invaded the nation of Kuwait and has brutalized its people."
Blobert Smith: "Can't you see that's out fault? We armed Iraq, we made them what they are. We all but killed those Kuwaiti people."
Johnny Tangent: "Exactly. Iraq is like a dog that has gone mad from licking it's empty nadsack too much and has to be put down."
Weasly: "Sniff! Poor Peaches."
Johnny Tangent: "That's why God made America the toughest nation in the world. We're like the Shaft of nations."
Blobert Smith: "No! We armed Iraq so it would invade Kuwait so we could go in and steal both countries' oil! It's a Republican conspiracy! The only thing we can do now is nothing, this country is too immoral and blood soaked to make a decision untainted by racism and capitalism."
Johnny Tangent: "But what about Kuwait's people?"
Blobert Smith: "No blood for oil!"
Johnny Tangent: "America- love it or leave it!"
Blobert Smith: "No blood for oil!"
Johnny Tangent: "America- love it or leave it!"
Blobert Smith: "No blood for oil!"
Johnny Tangent: "America- love it or leave it!"
Me: "Somebody get me the Stick of Pain."

Somehow the mission got underway. The players investigated a group of 'Ambassadors' from the Nile Empire but when they were discovered. Everything went well until...

Weasly Crusher: "I missed again! My character sucks!"
El Disgusto: "Once the security guard is unconscious, I slip on my chainmail glove and show everyone why my character is called 'Shinobi Killfist'."
Me: "I don't have a table for that."
Deviant Boy: "Is there a sanity stat in this game?"
Asenath: "Could have been worse. He could have been called Yamada Cornhole."
El Disgusto: "Watch it! I'm not afraid to use the stick of pain on a woman!"
Me: "Focus people. Focus."
Johnny Tangent: "Do you suppose they tried other fruits and vegetables before deciding upon the term 'cornhole'?"
El Disgusto: "I dunno let's ask your Mom."
Johnny Tangent: "Very funny Frankencock!"
El Disgusto: "Stick of-"
Me: "Hey! Can we just-"
Blobert Smith: "I still don't understand this Drama Deck thing. Don't they by their very nature render the randomizing effect of the dice moot?"
Me: "Oh God..."
Weasly Crusher: "Are you OK Ab3? You usually don't start hyperventilating this early in the game."

Somehow we got through the combat although Blobert didn't do much more than puzzle over his drama cards and Deviant Boy kept borrowing my dice. The players split up for the investigation phase of the scenario and each worked with their own unique style.

El Disgusto: "I drive the ninjacycle through the front doors of the hotel across the street from the villain's house and start beheading! Someone there has to know something!"
Weasly Crusher: "Come on someone must know I'm in a Turkish Prison."
Asenath: "My character and the Edinos get a motel room and have sex."
El Disgusto: "Your character's boiking a lizard man?"
Deviant Boy: "I prefer the term Iguanate-American."
El Disgusto: "She even role-plays as a skank!"
Johnny Tangent: "My character finds a bar where the security guards go after work and bears the answers out of some people there. All the while he says 'Now we see the violence inherent in the system!'"
Me: "Is that a Python quote? You damn well know the game table is a Python free zone! Blobert what does your character do?"
Blobert Smith: "I am afraid that I am still lost in my considerations of these damnable drama cards. Please explain it to me again."
Me: "Look. It works like this. The cards let you do things that give a little extra 'oomph' to the game. They help your character to do things they might not be able to do ordinarily. Remember that scene in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE where Indy shoots through like 8 nazi's? If that had been a role-playing game he might have done that by playing a Coup De Grace card... or rolling a heck of a lot of twenties."
Blobert Smith: "So what your saying is- the Indiana Jones Movies had no scripts? That Steven Speilberg and George Lucas utilized drama dice and d20's to make story decisions?"
Me: "That's not what I said! I said that if the movie had been a role-playing game those events might have happened because of Drama cards."
Blobert Smith: "But it wasn't a role playing game. It was a movie."

Fully exasperated I turned my attention back to the other players; to El Disgusto's random beheadings, to Deviant Boy's and Asenath's hot dry reptile sex, to Weasly Crusher's blundering from a Turkish prison to the clutches of an inbred cannibal cult, to Johnny Tangent...

Me: "Suddenly it is revealed to you that the man behind the madness is that mad scientist from the Nile Empire known only as 'the Electrician'! He laughs maniacally-"
Asenath: "Great Cobra Commander impression Ab3."
Johnny Tangent: "My Paladin draws his sword and says 'None shall pass.'"
Me: "With a wave of his hand the Electrician summons a dozen henchmen and gleefully tells you his master plan."
Johnny Tangent: "Before he can speak my character shouts 'I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!'"
Me: "As I said, the Electrician gleefully tells you his master plan."
Johnny Tangent: "You don't frighten me, Nile Empire pig dog! Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called Elec-Trician, you and all your silly English K-nig-hts."
Me: "Sighing with disgust the Electrician orders his men to shoot you."

(Dice are rolled)

Me: "There you have one hit point left. Feel like listening now?"
Johnny Tangent: "It's only a flesh wound!"

(More dice are rolled, more quotes are spoken, a character dies)

Me: "There! There! You happy now? Your paladin is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! His metabolic processes are now history! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PALADIN!!"
Johnny Tangent: "Why did you go and kill my character off? That was kind of harsh!"
Me: "Which part of Python-free zone confused you Johnny? Which-"
El Disgusto: "Maybe he thought you were talking about your pants."
Weasly Crusher: "Why do you keep interrupting? Most people don't like to get cut off."
El Disgusto: "Cut off? CUT OFF?"
Weasly Crusher: "mother."
El Disgusto: "Stick of Pain!!!"
Weasly Crusher: "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"
Somehow we got past that scene and got the surviving members of the party back together again. Unfortunately they were on the run from the police thanks to their acts of wanton violence and public lewdness. At this point the scenario was in tatters and I could only watch as The Possibility Wars became an incoherent clone of a Tarantino Movie.

El Disgusto: "Keep killing! They've got to run out of cops sometime!"
Deviant Boy: "This is like that movie THE GETAWAY."
Asenath: "I'm be Kim Bassinger."
Deviant Boy: "I am so Alec Baldwin."
Asenath: "Wouldn't it be better if you were Kim Bassinger and I was Alec Baldwin?"
Deviant Boy: "I dunno, I still have an impaction from last time..."
El Disgusto: "Oh for God's sake..."
Me: "Can you warn us before you start revealing these little tidbits? I'd like to at least have a chance to stuff dice in my ears."
Weasly Crusher: "How could I invoke the Everlaw of One on myself?"
Blobert Smith: "So, at what point in the film INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE would they have used the cards? Before or after he fired his gun through the Nazis?"

Of course Weasly Crusher's character was the next to die, he'd tried to hide from the police in a bowling alley. He might have made it if he hadn't paused to rent shoes. Then Blobert's character died but since he hadn't actually done anything yet so no one noticed. Deviant Boy and Asenath went down together, I guess that's what they would have wanted. That left El Disgusto...

Me: "The police helicopter lands directly in front of you, blocking your path."
El Disgusto: "Oh really? I rev my motorcycle's engine and jump over it."
Me: "What?"
El Disgusto: "I leap over the helicopter with my motorcycle."
Me: "How? How are you going to get airborne?"
El Disgusto: "Well duh! I use one of the crashed cop cars as a makeshift ramp."
Me: "You sure you want to do this? You'd have to roll astronomically well to succeed."
El Disgusto: "That's fine the dice love me tonight!"

(Dice are rolled, a game master tries not to laugh)

El Disgusto: "This can't happen! I demand a reroll!"
Me: "Sorry no do-overs."
El Disgusto: "But my character's a ninja!"
Me: "Correction. Your character was a ninja. Now he's confetti, wet red confetti."
El Disgusto: "God-DAMNIT! This is all your fault Deviant Boy!"
Deviant Boy: "What? Are you nuts."
El Disgusto: "I wouldn't have FUBARed my rolls if I wasn't injured. I wouldn't be injured if you hadn't loaned me those damn Eric Van Lustbader books!"
Blobert Smith: "Who is Eric Van Lustbader?"
Weasly Crusher: "Ninja porn."
Blobert Smith: "Ah."
Me: "Look El Disgusto, even for you, you're not making sense. How did reading a ninja porn novel get you injured?"
El Disgusto: "I was reading in bed, and I'd come to one of the more... intense moments. I had a reaction to it and when I tried to... well the activity startled Lamont and he attacked."
Weasly Crusher: "Ow!"
Me: "But why-"
El Disgusto: "He knew that would happen! He set me up! He can't stand that I had a taste of his little cookie before he did!"
Asenath: "Actually Deviant Boy didn't know we'd slept together until just now."

There was a long silence after that, a silence punctuated only by the sound of what I was sure was the baby Jesus screaming in absolute horror. Deviant Boy's face turned ashen, then red, then ashen again. When he spoke his voice was quaking.

Deviant Boy: "Do you mean to tell me that you're... Canadian?"
Asenath: "Yes, yes I am. I told you I was from Shadowed Innsmouth because I was afraid there would be a stigma."
Deviant Boy: "And you and El Disgusto... you were lovers?"
El Disgusto: "It was an SCA thing."
Johnny tangent: "Wow. Do you know Deviant Boy that technically you've slept with El Disgusto?"
Blobert Smith: "OK I have one last question about these cards..."

I'm not really sure who threw the first punch and I was too unconscious to see who threw the last punch. All I know is that when the dust settled, I never did recover all of my drama cards.

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