RPG.NET rant #7
Kobayashi Maru With Random Violence and Supermodels
originally posted to RPG.net on 09-26-2002 10:15 PM:
WARNING THE FOLLOWING STORY MAY OFFEND STAR TREK FANS, SUPERMODELS AND ANYONE THAT BELIEVES LORENZO LAMAS IS THE EPITOME OF COOLNESS
Ab3's log: Supplemental
It had been a bad month for gaming.
Ab3's log: Supplemental
It had been a bad month for gaming.
Biff Bam had been missing since we tried to run through the Tomb of Horrors. It all started when his Barbarian fighter blundered through a portal. The portal was cursed and his character came out the other end of the portal nude and of the opposite gender. No one expected Biff Bam to burst into tears and flee El Disgusto's basement. Everyone had assumed that I would be the one to end up doing that someday.
After that I had tried to run BEYOND THE SUPERNATURAL but I dropped the campaign when I realized that El Disgusto had used the skill sets from NINJAS AND SUPERSPIES first edition to make his character. I signed on to run a horror game not to watch a character described as 'Lorenzo Lamas but cooler' kick werewolves through buses.
Well, that's kind of a horror game I suppose.
Now we were playing Star Trek, the FASA rpg. Psycho-Dave was running, his stint in the mental ward had inspired him.
That's how El Disgusto, Weasly Crusher, Ol' Yellowbelly and I found in Psycho Dave's room, playing the bridge crew of the USS Indestructible II...
Psycho Dave: "You have an incoming transmission. Ab3 you're playing the communications officer, make a Dexterity roll to make sure your character doesn't slip and smack his face into the control panel while answering it."
Me: "I made it."
El Disgusto: "Nice going 'Uhura'."
Me: "Keep it up with the Urhura jokes and I'll slap you until you think Trek V was a masterpiece."
Weasly Crusher: "It wasn't?"
Psycho Dave: "It's a distress call, coming from a Starbase near the border with Klingon Space. They are under attack and you are the only ship close enough to get there in time."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Oh my GOD! It's the Kobiashi Maru! We're screwed! We're screwed! Can't we call the Enterprise for backup?"
Psycho Dave: "No."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Can't we fly sideways around the sun and travel back in time to before the attack happened and warn the Enterprise?"
Psycho Dave: "No."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Do we have to go?"
Psycho Dave: "Yes."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "But- but-"
Psycho Dave: "Do you want me to play Leonard Nimoy's version of PROUD MARY for you again?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Get me to that Starbase! Maximum warp!"
I never really understood why Ol' Yellowbelly got into role-playing at all because he hated conflicts and confrontations. His characters had fled the field of battle in just about every gaming genre I could think of. Even playing RISK and MONOPOLY he brought an aspect of groveling to the table. The only way he would be a good role-player was if White Wolf came out with CROCHET: THE KNITTING.
So naturally Psycho Dave decided to make him Captain.
Psycho Dave: "At this speed your ship will be at the Starbase in twenty minutes."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I go to my ready room and start making plans."
Psycho Dave: "Roll to see if you trip on the step and knock yourself unconscious."
Weasly Crusher: "Can I help."
Me: "You're the helmsman you have to steer the ship."
Weasly Crusher: "I thought I was the weapons guy."
Psycho Dave: "You have both jobs."
El Disgusto: "Which sucks. I was the weapons guy last ship."
Me: "You being the weapons guy is what cost us the Indestructible One."
El Disgusto: "Those fricken' Gorns had it coming."
Weasly Crusher: "The didn't do anything."
El Disgusto: "They were hailing us. I had to show them who was boss before Captain Twitchy started talking and made us look like Picard like wussies."
Weasly Crusher: "You fired unprovoked at a dreadnought."
Me: "And then they fired back. Boy did they fire back."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I didn't think the Ardiun Grimmores had tables for explosive decompression."
Psycho Dave: "Arduin has something about everything. It's like Dianetics for men. Now did you fail your Dex roll or not?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Yes."
Psycho Dave: "All right then let's get out those damage tables."
Me: "You know this whole 'roll to see if you trip and fall down' thing is kinda mean-spirited."
Psycho Dave: "Gaming is a simulation of life. Are you saying people don't trip and fall down in real life?"
Me: "No but-"
El Disgusto: "You know if you don't like it you can just go play in that Lords of Creation Game I hear Deviant Boy and his girlfriend are setting up."
Weasly Crusher: "I didn't know that he had a copy of the rules."
El Disgusto: "I traded him the rulebooks Ab3 left here for a Whopper."
Me: "Those- You- Look can we just get back to this tripping and falling down discussion?"
Psycho Dave: "No. Realism is what I am aiming for here and realism is what you are getting. OK Yellowbelly your character hits his mouth on the deck shattering his wisdom tooth to the gumline."
Weasly Crusher: "Ow!"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Now I see why Bones was always on the bridge."
Psycho Dave: "You're knocked unconscious by the pain."
Me: "I call the ship's Doctor and-"
El Disgusto: "Belay that order! As First Officer I am now in charge! I order engineering to increase speed."
Weasly Crusher: "We are already moving at maximum warp."
El Disgusto: "Bullcrap! Too much energy is being wasted. I order life support cut by fifty percent. I also have a pair of security guards fire their phasers into the dylithium containment chamber to 'hyperhcarge' the crystals."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Will that work?"
Me: "I beg the captain to wake up."
El Disgusto: "I call security to the bridge to arrest the Communications Officer for insubordination!"
Me: "Woah wait. Hold on a minute here. What the hell is that sticking out of your notebook?"
Psycho Dave: "A sai."
Me: "No! The other thing."
Psycho Dave: "Oh you mean this?"
There are moments in everyone's life when their preconceived notions of reality are shaken to their very foundations. This was one of them for me. I had known my gaming friends were insane but what happened next would show me the depths of their madness. The magazine that Psycho Dave dropped on the table before me was thick, glossy and reeked of mingled perfumes.
Me: "Why... why are you reading Cosmo?"
Psycho Dave: "It's all part of my master plan."
Me: "Master plan to what?"
Psycho Dave: "I long ago decided that only a supermodel was worthy to carry my noble bloodline."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Is this some kind of sicko kidnapping thing you're planning because that breaks me out in hives..."
El Disgusto: "No this plan is better. It's sheer genius. If my heart wasn't already spoken for I'd be trying it too."
Weasly Crusher: "Since when do you have a girlfriend?"
El Disgusto: "Gentlemen don't brag but I've been seeing a girl pretty regularly for some time now."
Weasly Crusher: "Who is she?"
El Disgusto: "Her name is Anne McKenzie and you wouldn't know her, she lives in Canada."
Me: "You're not going to try and use the 'I'm dating a girl in Canada' line are you?"
El Disgusto: "She's real which is more than I can say for your hairline combover boy."
Me: "Look can we get back to this whole Cosmopolitan Magazine-supermodel-masterplan-thing? I'm morbidly curious."
Psycho Dave: "The idea came to me a few weeks ago. I couldn't sleep so I decided to try and roll up characters in the Marvel Super Heroes RPG Ultimate Powers Book until I got two that were exactly the same."
Weasly Crusher: "I thought I was the only one that did that."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "What does that have to do with supermodels?"
Psycho Dave: "Well I realized that all life is based on percentages... just like a role-playing game. You walk to work there's a good chance that you'll get there, a small chance that a rabid squirrel will bite you on the testicle."
Weasly Crusher: "I wish you'd all stop bringing that up."
Psycho Dave: "The more you try to do something the greater your chance of actually succeeding, once again percentages."
Me: "Once again how do anorexic women carrying your filthy seed factor into this conversation?"
Psycho Dave: "Then I realized that I could make these percentages work for me. You see if I write one letter to one supermodel asking her to marry me the chances of my getting a yes are a million to one right?"
Psycho Dave: "Therefore if I write thousands of letters to hundreds of different models my percentages increase. The more letters I write the better my chances."
El Disgusto: "The man's a genius."
Me: "The man's got more stamps than sanity."
Psycho Dave: "You won't be mocking me when Kathy Ireland is at my side massaging my dicebag. All I have to do is play the percentages."
The whole thing left me more disturbed than any Kirk and Spock in love ever could have. Somehow Captain Yellowbelly woke up before El Disgusto could do any serious damage to the ship and the USS Indestructible II approached the starbase.
Psycho Dave: "The starbase is a smoldering ruin of melted metal."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Shields."
Weasly Crusher: "I raise the shields."
Me: "I try to contact the base."
El Disgusto: "I scan the wreckage."
Psycho Dave: "Oh it's wreckage all right."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I get out of my chair and edge my way to the door to the turbolift."
El Disgusto: "I get ready to hurl myself at the captain's chair."
Psycho Dave: "A Klingon vessel decloaks directly in front of you. The Klingon captain hails your vessel. "
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I get into the turbolift and get to the escape pods!"
El Disgusto: "I fling myself into the captain's chair!
Weasly Crusher: "Do starships have escape pods?"
Me: "I put the Klingon Captain onscreen."
Psycho Dave: "He introduces himself as Klingon Captain Shickelgruber."
Weasly Crusher: "Why is that name so familiar?"
El Disgusto: "I tell him that I am Captain Jared Synn of the USS Indestructible II and that he had damn well better surrender to us lickety split!"
Me: "You want to say 'likety-split' to a Klingon?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Am I at the escape pods yet?"
Psycho Dave: "Captain Shickelgruber laughs at you. His whole bridge crew laughs at you."
El Disgusto: "THAT DOES IT! Time to show these guys I mean business. I whip out my phaser and kill the Helmsman."
(roll dice, drop jaws)
Me: "You what?"
El Disgusto: "My character says 'If I'm crazy enough to kill my own crew think of what I might do to you!'"
Weasly Crusher: "But I'm the Helmsman..."
Psycho Dave: "Actually you're smoldering atoms right now."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Look can I just put on a space suit and take my chances outside?"
Weasly Crusher: "Didn't I even get a dodge?"
El Disgusto: "Where is your sense of realism? You don't get a dodge when you get shot in the back."
Psycho Dave: "The Klingons are laughing even harder now. They dare you to kill more of your crew."
El Disgusto: "Fire phasers! And Photon torpedoes!"
Psycho Dave: "Nothing happens."
El Disgusto: "Why the hell not?"
Me: "Because you just shot the Helmsman."
Weasly Crusher: "But I didn't even get to dodge..."
El Disgusto: "Oh I see how it is. I move to the fire the weapons myself."
Psycho Dave: "Too late the Klingons fire all their weapons at you destroying your ship in a ball of science fictional type hellfire."
El Disgusto: "This is all your fault Ab3!"
A moment later Weasly ran from the room sobbing. Then Psycho Dave, frustrated at having two Star Trek campaigns destroyed by the same man grabbed the sai from his notebook and attacked El Disgusto. Ol' Yellowbelly crawled under Psycho Dave's bed and then began shrieking at what he found there. Sighing to myself I grabbed the copy of Cosmo and flipped to the article about how to get thinner thighs in 30 days.
At this point some of you might wonder why I kept gaming with these guys when every game was a nightmare. Well, I figured every game couldn't be a disaster so I just kept playing the percentages.