Saturday, June 19, 2010

RPG.NET rant#18 The D&D Session That Mostly Wasn't


RPG.NET rant#18
The D&D Session That Mostly Wasn't

originally posted to RPG.net on 12-07-2005, 06:36 AM

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MAY OFFEND PEOPLE THAT LIKE TO STAY ON TOPIC, PEOPLE THAT HATE TYPOS, BEARS AND DESTRO.

Another gaming group beckoned but I was reluctant to pull up stakes and start again. I had been to too many new games that turned out to be nothing more than bait and switch events trying to sell me Amway or religion or both.

So that was how I found myself at the apartment Deviant Boy and Collateral Darren shared. The walls of their cramped one bedroom apartment were decorated with artwork from the early years of metal and the latter days of porno.

Me: "So wait. If there is only one bedroom where does Darren sleep?"

Collateral Darren: "The storage room."

Me: "You mean the dark little room where the water heater is?"

Collateral Darren: "My cot fits in there perfectly."

Me: "Jail cells are less cramped and dank than that room is."

Collateral Darren: "It works for me."

Me: "You're living like a prisoner."

Deviant Boy: "Hey man we are all prisoners of our glands."


I hadn't run D&D in a while and I decided to see if I could get my old campaign up and running again. In short order Blobert Smith, El Disgusto, Old Yellowbelly and Weasly Crusher arrived. Deviant Boy and Collateral Darren had plenty of soda, chips and dip on hand.


Blobert Smith: "Ah D&D, are you a balm against the cold sting of loneliness or did you in fact create the very isolation we endure?"

El Disgusto: "We play the game because its fun, end of story."

Me: "Since when have you ever had fun at a role playing game? You're always pissed off about something."

El Disgusto: "I take my pleasures in the little things in life. Like that twitch you developed."

Me: "I don't have a twitch."

Old Yellowbelly: "You do."

Weasly Crusher: "Yeah, it happens whenever you hear the word 'ninja'."

Me: "Grk!"

Deviant Boy: "Weasly, why are you wearing your Burger Clown uniform?"

Weasly Crusher: "I just came from work."

Deviant Boy: "What's with the gold fringe on your name tag?"

Weasly Crusher: "I have been promoted to Fry Vat supervisor."

Me: "Cool, must be more money for you. Maybe you can finally get your own dice."

Weasly Crusher: "Actually Fry Vat Supervisor means I just work more hours but don't get any overtime."

Me: "You work at a fast food joint and you're salaried?"

El Disgusto: "See that's why I don't have a job. It’s my way of sticking it to the man."

Me: "I never realized being under house arrest was a way of doing that."

Collateral Darren: "Hey we've all been under house arrest once or twice."

Me: "No we haven't."

Blobert Smith: "I was in a diabetic coma once. It was glorious. I dreamed I was the ghost of Veronica Lake trapped in a toaster oven."

El Disgusto: "You're like a bad acid trip in a paisley vest I swear to God."

Collateral Darren: "Speaking of acid..."

Me: "Look I already said that I will not run D&D for people on drugs. My game notes are disorganized enough."

Deviant Boy: "Ab3 is SOOOOOO conservative."

Me: "Ok... let’s try to get this show on the road. What kind of characters are you making?"

Weasly Crusher: "I am going to make a human fighter named Grog Bradi."

El Disgusto: "I have a pad of pre-rolled ninjas."

Me: "Grk!"

Old Yellowbelly: "I want to be a gnome illusionist who specializes in invisibility spells and mime."

Deviant Boy: "I will be playing a female character and like all women she is a chaotic evil thief."

Me: "It's so good to see you moving on and letting go."

Collateral Darren: "I want to be an Anti-Paladin with negative five Charisma."

Me: "That means you character is so physically hideous and social maladjusted that civilized society rejects them utterly."

Collateral Darren: "That's ok because the guy is totally like Tarzan except that he was raised by a tribe of Black Puddings. He carries his adopted family around with him in a specially created bandolier."

Me: "Could this party be even less cohesive?"

Blobert Smith: "I think you shall find that my character concept will be the glue that helps this party hang together like the heady musk of womanhood clings to the spandex lining of a lady wrestlers costume."

Me: "And your character is..."

Blobert Smith: "My character shall be Lord Gustave Courbet, a fighter-magic user of sorts, he is the third son of a noble house. A social disgrace sent an incredible magnitude has caused him to leave his homeland to seek adventure in a world his pampered life at his parents’ manor barely prepared him for. Perhaps he will find redemption, perhaps death. He would have used his considerable fortune to gather a retinue of adventurers to his side. Perhaps this might be the genesis of our group."

Me: "That... that could work. That could really work."

Blobert Smith: "And of course one of the player characters will take the place of my manservant. It will be their duty to aid and protect my character - to guard his life and fortune, to make sure his myriad weapons and armor are at the ready, to make certain his precious spellbooks when not in use are sealed in their Mylar snugs, to lovingly powder his bottom before securing him in his leather diaper and +1 bonnet of arrow deflection, to make ready the oversized bottles full of milk with a dash of rum and make sure they are served at breast temperature and to make sure that every inch of Gustave's body is depilated and lotioned."

Me: "..."

Old Yellowbelly: "..."

El Disgusto: "I roll to disbelieve."

It took some time form them to roll up their characters and pick equipment and gods. We were just about ready to start playing when Blobert noticed something...

Blobert Smith: "We are out of nacho cheese yet chips remain."

Collateral Darren: "I can go get more."

Collateral Darren grabbed the Tupperware container that held the last dregs of nacho cheese and then got up from the table and got on his coat.

Me: "I don't think this is important, we are about to start playing anyway."

Collateral Darren: "It isn't a problem at all. I'll be right back from the gas station."

Me: "Gas station?"

But Darren and his orange Tupperware container were already gone. We all sat there staring at each other for a moment.

Me: "So, maybe we can start without him."

El Disgusto: "No. You can't just start a campaign without a member of the party and then have to just bring everyone back up to speed when Darren gets back. That's like Babylon 5 switching commanders in season 2. Utterly bogus."

Old Yellowbelly: "Babylon 5 is a great show."

El Disgusto: "Babylon 5 is lame, it rips off the best of Star Trek and the Worst of Robotech."

Weasly Crusher: "There is no worst of Robotech, its all great."

Me: "Come on, let’s just get started."

Blobert Smith: "Star Trek is far too Republican for my tastes in its current incarnation. The old series was about exploring the boundaries of space and fornication. The new show is merely the regurgitation of Elitist Imperialist groupthink."

Weasly Crusher: "I'm sick of Sci Fi, I wish they made a D&D TV series."

Old Yellowbelly: "They tried already... remember a failed little series called 'Wizard's and Warriors'?"

El Disgusto: "That show had more of a Runequest vibe if you ask me."

Deviant Boy: "Mmmmm Witch Bethel was extreme spankfodder."

El Disgusto: "You said the same thing about DRIVING MISS DAISY."

Deviant Boy: "And....?"

Me: "How long is Darren going to be gone for anyway?"

Deviant Boy: "Chill out he's just going down to the gas station around the corner."

Weasly Crusher: "The gas station?"

Deviant Boy: "It’s a gas station and a convenience store."

Old Yellowbelly: "Remember the old days when you just got gas at gas stations. Now it seems like you can get almost anything."

Blobert Smith: "I lost my virginity in a Belgian Gas station. Even now I become flush with desire at the merest whiff of diesel fuel."

El Disgusto: "I bet the tire pump never worked right after that."

Me: "Like I said, we could start the game anytime now. Who wants to kill some Kobold babies for practice?"

Collateral Darren returned shortly after with some nacho cheese and a furtive look in his eyes. At this point in my life I was beyond asking, I was just glad that we could get started.

Me: "A plague has ravaged the kingdom..."

El Disgusto: "Hey, did anyone tape this week's episode of SPACE RANGERS?"

Old Yellowbelly: "Isn't that show canceled?"

Me: "Hello people, focus."

El Disgusto: "I can hear you fine. Backstory blah blah blah. Premise blah blah blah."

Me: "A plague has ravaged the kingdom, fast acting and always fatal it has..."

Weasly Crusher: "I don't understand how any kind of plague could get a foothold in a D&D world. I mean there are all kinds of clerics and heal spells and stuff."

Blobert Smith: "A close study of the wilderness and city encounters tables reveals that the average denizen of a D&D-esque world has a 40% chance of being attacked by a wandering monster sometime in his lifetime. Mostly likely while they are trying to access the privy."

Old Yellowbelly: "Is it too late for my character to have a Chamberpot of Holding?"

Me: "Each of you has lost someone you've known to the ravages of the plague, yet each of you remains strangely immune to the disease."

Blobert Smith: "Oh the heartbreak..."

Weasly Crusher: "How cathartic."

Old Yellowbelly: "My character fled the moment someone sneezed."

El Disgusto: "My character killed his family to save them."

Deviant Boy: "Since my character is immune he starts telling peasant girls that his smegma has curative properties. It coats soothes and relieves.”

Collateral Darren: “Since my family are all slimes and jellies does this really apply to me?”

Me: “Moving forward…”

Things moved forward slowly, side conversations dominated moved back and forth along the table. Even during combats I found things utterly derailed…

Deviant Boy: “So the you know who called me yesterday.”

Weasly Crusher: “Did American Gladiators accept your application?”

Deviant Boy: “No! Asenath left a message on my answering machine.”

Weasly Crusher: “What did she want?”

Deviant Boy: “Something about want to go out to lunch or something. I erased it.”

El Disgusto: “I hope you burned the answering machine just to be safe.”

Me: “The dragon lands in the Doctor Who style quarry before you. It rears up to its full height…”

Deviant Boy: “Don’t even get me started. She thinks we can still be friends after what she did.”

Weasly Crusher: “But all she did was sleep with El Disgusto before she ever met you.”

Deviant Boy: “EXACTLY! And she never said anything about it.”

Old Yellowbelly: “Maybe she thought you might freak out and like break up with her.”

Collateral Darren: “Hey he showed me all the love letters she wrote him, all the gifts and stuff she gave him. A guy doesn’t need a girl that’s all needy like that.”

Me: “Did I say dragon? I meant dragons.”

Deviant Boy: “Look all I know is now she’s trying to come crawling back to me.”

Blobert Smith: “Perhaps she merely wanted to make amends. Perhaps she has moved on.”

Deviant Boy: “Get real goth-boy. She’s aching for her fix of vitamin D. I bet without me when she parts her legs the thermostat goes off.”

Old Yellowbelly: “Girls sure are different.”

Blobert Smith: “I do wish you would not speak in such a crude an misogynistic manner.”

Deviant Boy: “What do you care?”

Me: “… so the five dragons run at the sight of the rampaging tarrasque.”

Blobert Smith: “It may surprise you to hear this but I am currently dating the lady Asenath and have been for some three weeks.”

Deviant Boy: “…”

Collateral Darren: “You?”

Blobert Smith: “I.”

Collateral Darren: “You know she doesn’t have a penis right?”

El Disgusto: “That makes two of them.”

Me: “Did I mention the tarresque has rabies?”

Weasly Crusher: “We’re out of nacho cheese again.”

Collateral Darren: “Hang on I’ll get some more. Where’s my sombrero?”

Me: “Oh Lord.”


I suppose I could have made more of the fact that Darren headed out for the gas station in a raincoat and a sombrero but by this point I was too demoralized.


Me: “I suppose you guys want to wait for him to get back?”

El Disgusto: “It’s only fair. We’re playing at his house for God’s sake.”

Blobert Smith: “Deviant Boy, my old chum. Why are you just sitting there with a quivering lip and –”

Deviant Boy: “No more words. Say no more words or I’ll kill all of you.”

Old Yellowbelly: “Can we talk about stuff out of character?”

Deviant Boy: “Why ever be out of character? It’s so much nicer in there. Player characters don’t have problems with girlfriends and jobs and a rash that just won’t go away…”

Weasly Crusher: “It’s ok man we’ve all been there.”

El Disgusto: “It’s certainly starting to look that way.”


Whenever a fight breaks out I always make sure to protect my first edition copy of ‘Deities and Demigods’ first, this day was no exception. Deviant Boy tried to slap both El Disgusto and Blobert Smith at once but somehow only managed to hit Weasly. Eventually Collateral Darren found his way back with fresh nacho cheese.


Collateral Darren: “Woah, a fight. And I missed it.”

Deviant Boy: “I’m sorry about that. I kind of lost myself there.”

Me: “No? Really?”

Weasly Crusher: “Where is Old Yellowbelly?”

Blobert Smith: “He ran when the fighting started. He is most likely halfway to Utica by now.”

Me: “Well it wasn’t like his character did anything more than hide tonight. Let’s move on without him. The wizard that brought the plague on the land was ironically enough its first victim. He…”

Collateral Darren: “Old Yellowbelly wouldn’t last five minutes in the marines.”

El Disgusto: “And you would know this how?”

Me: “The Wizard lived in a manor at the top of the hill. A vast sprawling estate that some said was full of treasures from all across the world.”

Collateral Darren: “I almost joined.”

Weasly Crusher: “Almost?”

Collateral Darren: “I think I was too intense for them.”

El Disgusto: “Yeah, all those arrests had nothing to do with it.”

Blobert Smith: “I must say that I have noticed that you El Disgusto are in a most acerbic frame of mind today.”

El Disgusto: “I’ve just about had it with this stupid town. One of these days I’m going to get that job as a professional video game tester.”

Blobert Smith: “Albany is sow that eats its young.”

Deviant Boy: “I hate all of you.”

Me: “You draw closer to the Wizard’s manor, you see strange shapes moving past the windows. Are they monsters or ghosts of…”

Weasly Crusher: “Do we have a marching order?”

Collateral Darren: “When I get the scratch I want to move to Alaska to live among the grizzly bears, occasionally I will strap on chainmail armor and cull their numbers with a katana.”

Deviant Boy: “You’re going to hunt bears with a sword.”

Collateral Darren: “It seems a lot more sporting that way.”

El Disgusto: “In a world of stupid things that has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Deviant Boy: “Those bears will eat you like Felecia in the final scene of ‘Cheerleader strippers’.”

Collateral Darren: “Oh give me a break, bears are like six hit die creatures.”

Me: “Is anyone paying attention to a damn thing I have to say today?”

El Disgusto: “Look. Are we at this wizard’s manor?”

Me: “You’re a few yards from the main entrance, if you had been paying attention…”

El Disgusto: “Ok. I pull out that wand of fireball casting we found a while back and lob a few fireballs at the manor.”

Me: “What?”

El Disgusto: “It’s a manor right? A big old mansion with a stone foundation at wooden doors and wooden walls and curtains and paintings right?”

Me: “Right…”

El Disgusto: “And as the manor burns to the ground we’ll pick off the monsters and servants as they come running out.”

Me: “What about finding a cure for the plague.”

El Disgusto: “Who cares about the plague, it didn’t get us and that means more treasure for everyone.”

Me: “You… you ruined everything.”

El Disgusto: “That’s why real adventures take place in a dungeon bitch.”


Before I could start weeping in earnest there was a knock at the door. Deviant Boy answered it.


Deviant Boy: “Oh hello officers. Nice to see you again.”

Police Officer #1: “What did I tell you would happen if I had to come out here again.”

Deviant Boy: “But we weren’t playing loud music or LARPing.”

Police Officer #2: “We received a complaint from the Gas and Go on the corner. Apparently your little friend has been stealing cheese.”

Me: “Oh I knew it.”

Collateral Darren: “I think you’re mistaken officer. That cheese is complimentary.”

Police Officer #1: “That cheese is for the nacho bar, you’ve been going there with a bowl and filling up without buying a damn thing.”

Me: “You what?”

Collateral Darren: “Again officer you should check before coming over here and trying to slander me in front of my friends. There is no price on the nacho cheese, there for it is complimentary, there for I can take as much as I want. Just like sugar packets and napkins at a restaurant.”

Police Officer #2: “The cheese is for customers who have bought nachos not for people that just wander in off the street.”

Police Officer #1: “In a variety of really poor disguises.”

Collateral Darren: “Look if you pigs think you can arrest me just try. I am sure – HEY LEGGO! Put me down!”

Police Officer #1: “You have the right to remain silent … ”

Collateral Darren: “That goddamn cheese is complimentary I tell you! Complimentary!”


There wasn’t really much of a game after that. Mainly because I didn’t want to run a fight scene with every monster just streaming out of the burning manor, besides I remembered that there were plenty of magic items stored there so we all realized that the surrounding countryside probably ended up being consumed in an explosion of mystical hellfire. El Disgusto wanted to know how many experience points that would be but I just gave him the finger.

After that we all just kind of sat around until four in the morning talking about what cartoon characters we’d most like to go out with.

And for the record, I chose the Baroness.

Friday, June 18, 2010

After a few bumps in the road MY SUPA LIFE is back!


(Recommended Reads) "Max" by J. Dane Tyler

I get chills when I think about Max.

He wasn’t long on brains, but was always good for a laugh, y’know? Four of us used to hang out at this bar called Wee Willy’s on 23rd street. Just a hole in the wall, but beer’s cheap, the company’s good and the barkeep knew us. Psycho Willy, we called him. Never found out his last name...

(Recommended Reads) " Midnight Train" by Laura Eno

Stella woke to the sound of a train blowing its whistle. The lonely sound bled away as metal ground against steel to slow for a turn in the tracks, leaving her disoriented. There weren’t any trains that ran near her house.

Wondering if it was just a vivid dream, she looked at the clock. Midnight. Flopping back down on her pillow, Stella fell back asleep within moments...


(Recommended Reads) " Junket" by Karen Schindler

Time travel is possible. I know because it happened to me. The odd thing is I didn't climb into some fanciful contraption painstakingly sculpted from some hard to obtain metal, or stand on a fiendishly clever continuum slicing platform wringing my hands and laughing maniacally while my misshapen assistant pulled the lever to raise the lighting rod to the sky. I didn't do anything that a mad genius normally does to travel forward or backward in time...

(Recommended Reads) "PEEPING TOM'S PARADISE" by Anthony Venutolo

It was the night of my bachelor party, and my dad Nick reminded me that fate has a way of fucking with you when you least expect it.

"Take it easy," he said. "You remember what happened to me. My stag party was a disaster."

I smirked in that way of letting him know that bachelor parties were different now. Plus we didn't call them stag parties any more...


(Recommended Reads) "A Forest Full Of Lies" by Leila

I still believe in love at first sight, because I experienced it when I was too young to be a cynic. Most people would call it puppy love, or infatuation. But no; at age 11, I saw a glimpse of the future I was meant to have. Could have had. Maybe in a different life time we'll meet again and things will be different...

A CAR THONG? Really? Is that what the world has come to?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

THE SCRAPYARD DIARIES: Moonlight Lullaby

THE SCRAPYARD DIARIES

Moonlight Lullaby


by


Al Bruno III



Before you reach the scrapyard you smell it; motor oil, rotting rubber and damp earth mixed together into a mechanical odor, the stink of the modern era. When the wind is strong and comes from the east the whole Town smells like the scrapyard but it is something you learn to get used to.


The scrapyard is a sprawling maze of junked cars stacked one on top of the other; the most in demand parts have already been pulled and are stacked in in piles next to the office along. Deeper within the scrapyard are metal crushers and recycling equipment as well as forklifts and cranes. Equipment for big rigs and diesel engines are located near the center of the maze. Further back, beyond the stacked cars are storage huts crammed with odds and ends that have been abandoned here over the years. A swamp stretches beyond that. It has long ago been poisoned by the oil and other chemicals that the scrapyard’s management had dumped in the water rather than pay for the standard disposal procedures.


I am the youngest of the six men that work in the scrapyard and there is always work to keep us busy. We move through the organized wreckage occasionally crossing paths with each other or the mange-infested dogs that made their homes in the refuse. Sometimes we pull parts for customers that come from miles around to repair their own vehicles, other times we move stripped and decrepit cars to the crushers so they can be sold to recycling plants. The woman in the office gives orders via the speakers that are hung on weathered wooden posts here and there.


It was not a perfect life and not the life I expected but I had found a kind of peace. I was grateful to no longer be running from my past and to have avoided oblivion.


At least I had until tonight.


It was during dusk last night that I saw something that has prompted me to scribble down the hasty diary that you are reading now. I will never know you, I will never see you, you are most likely someone that has been sent to clear out my abandoned trailer. Will you even read this or simply throw these papers away with a disinterested expression?


The end began for me on a dreary weekday, I was hard at work pulling radios and batteries from recently acquired cars. The work had been hard going, my hands had become greasy with oil and sweat, bits of plastic had cut my palms in a half dozen places. The air had clammy with the anticipation for most of the day but there had not been a single drop.


While removing a tape deck I accidentally hit the button that released the trunk. I thought nothing of it, after all I would mostly likely be sent out later in the day to retrieve the spare tires or abandoned items from these cars anyway. Once the radio had been retrieved I went to the rear of the car to close the trunk and saw a figure.


I cried out at the sight of it but I could not turn away. It was a feral shape, long dead and mummified with time, the snout was drawn away from the blackened teeth, the fur was red and covered everything but the face and fingertips, the breasts were swollen and weeping milk that had long gone rancid. The horror I felt was not of the unfamiliar, the horror I felt was one of recognition. This was the creature that had driven me screaming from sleep every night until I had given up dreams forever and lost myself in a world that was only half-alive.


Even more terrible was the realization that this creature, this Mother-Thing, had pursued me not out of malice but out of love. The most terrible kind of love.


A kind of relief washed over me at the sight of its still body, however it had come to be it was dead now. The sight of the empty shell was a pleasure. I closed the trunk and turned away.


Then the crooning sound began, the lullaby of the Mother-Thing, it was muffled but insistent. It scratched at its prison with growing ferocity.


I fled the scrapyard and locked myself in this apartment feeling a panic so profound it felt as though my heart might burst. The instinct to flee again was as strong as ever. I even began to pack for a while but I soon lost all interest in it.


Where can I flee to? How can I escape a creature born of my own inner torments and memories?


A few hours later I began to write these pages you hold in your hand, the words came easier than I imagined as I captured each terrible and ridiculous incident. Now I am done and I am resigned to what I must do next.


The Mother-Thing is waiting for me in the scrapyard, I know this. I will go there tonight.


Running will come easy and I know it will give chase, as it always has in my nightmares. Fear and purpose will give me the speed necessary to lead it into the dark swamp that stretches beyond the ruins of the scrapyard. The mire will swallow us both and if there is any mercy in this world I will know nothing but oblivion.


Please let me know oblivion.


RPG.NET rant #17 The Bad Rifts Project


RPG.NET rant #17
The Bad Rifts Project



originally posted to RPG.net on 05-22-2005, 04:15 AM


WARNING! THE FOLLOWING MAY OFFEND BUG POWDER ADDICTS, WAITRESSES AND LARPERS. THE FOLLOWING RPG.NET RANT SHOULD NOT BE READ WHILE OPERATING HEAVY MACHINERY. SOME OF THESE JOKES ARE JUST FOR ME.

When I got to Denny’s Blobert Smith was there waiting for me in a family sized booth. A pile of RIFTS books and notepapers were at his side. I was more than a little surprised to find myself gaming again. It was the winter of 1991 and while my love life was still a spectacular disaster I was confident that Bill Clinton was going to win the election this year and that I would never have to hear the term 'President Bush' again.


Blobert Smith: "Much like the end of the disco era, you're early."

Me: "Well I know how long it can take to set up a Palladium character so I thought I would get here early."

Blobert Smith: "Please help yourself to paper and pencils."

Me: "Thanks. So where will we be playing?"

Blobert Smith: "Here."

Me: "I thought this was just some kind of a pre-game get together."

Blobert Smith: "I am afraid not. My parents have banned all gaming related activities since I tried to have a Vampire LARP in the basement."

Me: "I don't think - You tried to run a LARP in your basement?"

Blobert Smith: "What better place to evoke the dark mystery of the Mind's Eye Theater than a dark underground room reeking of mothballs and an ill-kept furnace. My only sin was allowing the event to become too intense. I said time and time again that the players in my dark psychodrama could bring katanas and hatchets but they were only for ornamental purposes."

Me: "Oh no..."

Blobert Smith: "Indeed. A swordfight at the mouth of my parents basement. How sublime."

Me: "Blobert you should have known something like that would happen. LARPers are the crazy ex-girlfriends of gaming.... and are you sure that having a game at a Denny's is a good idea?"

Blobert Smith: "Why not? After all are not most of the most important events of our lives accompanied by food?"

Me: "I suppose."

Blobert Smith: "Life is a single serving buffet Ab3, pile your dish high."


Blobert could be pretty deep for a guy wearing a frilled shirt, leather pants and a paisley vest. I put together a character, I decided to play a mostly regular joe who got swept into the crazy RIFTS multiverse. Deviant Boy was the next to show up, he brought with him a longhaired kid with a sleepy disposition.


Me: "Hey long time no see."

Deviant Boy: "I thought you were done with gaming."

Me: "Well after my adventures I think I can kick back and enjoy a game now."

Deviant Boy: "You've been having adventures?"

Me: "Oh, I've had adventures. I'd tell you about them but I wouldn't want to blow your tiny little mind."

Blobert Smith: "Wow."


Actually I'd spent most of my summer playing STARFLIGHT on my Sega Genesis but I damned if I'd tell them that.


Deviant Boy: "And this is my new roommate Collateral Darren."

Collateral Darren: "Yo."

Blobert Smith: "Surely not THE Collateral Darren?"

Collateral Darren: "Yo."


Collateral Darren was another local legend. His specialty was destroying role playing games with point based character generation systems. In don't think he did it on purpose but he was one of those people with a genius that bordered on madness. His nickname was based on his famous CHAMPIONS character 'Collateral Damage' - a super hero whose special power was the ability to make hostages explode.


Me: "Is this everyone?"

Blobert Smith: "Weasly has yet to arrive."

Deviant Boy: "You invited Weasly? How could you?"

Blobert Smith: "But you never had objections to Weasly's presence before."

Deviant Boy: "But Wesley is letting El Disgusto crash with him!"

Me: "And the most dangerous place in the world is between El Disgusto and a game."

Collateral Darren: "Isn't he that kid that smells like breaded fish?"


A few minutes later Weasly and El Disgusto showed up, it suddenly became very crowded in that family sized booth.


Weasly: "Hey all."

El Disgusto: "Hey its Ab3, I thought my failure sense was tingling."

Me: "What's with the attitude? I haven't seen you in months."

El Disgusto: "Attitude? You try getting fired from your job and then having to spend the last few months on the run, a fugitive from a dozen credit card companies and a jury duty summons and see how sunny your disposition is!"

Blobert Smith: "Why did you get fired?"

Deviant Boy: "Because his bosses found out he was going commando under his Chuck E Cheese costume."

Me: "What?"

Collateral Darren: "I was shocked to find out the Chuckster was a guy in a costume too."

Blobert Smith: "Could I please have everyone's character sheets?"

Weasly: "I decided to make a Techno Wizard. I call him Merle Owen."

Blobert Smith: "I have always felt that every time a pun like that is made somewhere in the world a nerd dies."

Collateral Darren: "I was born to play a Juicer, this one happens to be named Karl."

Deviant Boy: "My character is a former Coalition Borg named Monte Markham."

Me: "Wow and people say I make obscure references. That's like a 9 on the Dennis Miller scale."

Deviant Boy: "It can't be you every time."

El Disgusto: "I am playing a Crazy called Fuckyouupforlife-san. He's so crazy he thinks he's a ninja."

Me: "You playing him as yourself?"

El Disgusto: "You're cruising for a helping of chicken fried whoopass."

Blobert Smith: "And your character Ab3?."

Me: "I made a mildly psychic Rogue Scholar. His name is Rex Connor."

El Disgusto: "Oh man that has sucks written all over it. Is sucks like the watermark on you paper or something because damn if it always doesn't come through."

Me: "Will you back off?"

Collateral Darren: "If you two guys hate each other so much why do you game together?"

Me: "It's a funny story Darren. You see when I was a young boy walking along the beach in Lake George I came upon something shiny half buried in the sand. I dug it up and it was a lamp like from Aladdin."

Weasly: "Uhhhh...?"

Me: "So I rubbed the lamp and out pops this cut rate genie! He said to me 'Since I am a cut rate genie I can only grant you one wish. Tell me Ab3 would you like a million dollars or a giant dick?'"

Deviant Boy: "He's finally snapped."

Me: "I thought for a long time and since I've never been a monetary kind of guy I said. 'I'd like a giant dick.' The genie and his lamp disappeared in a puff of smoke. The very next day I met El Disgusto."

El Disgusto: "Hey if I wanted a pointless humorless story that drags on forever I'd read a White Wolf novel!"

Blobert Smith: "Perhaps now we should begin the game. Our story begins on the borders of Coalition territory and a desert wasteland in a- "


The waitress approached, she was very good looking, dark hair, dark eyes and a name tag that read 'SAM'. She obviously disliked us immediately, that somehow made her all the more alluring.


Sam: "You guys ready to order? Our soups for the day are-"

Collateral Darren: "Hey lady, if we want soup we will ask for it. Just because your company owns stock in a soup concern doesn't mean they can shove it down our throats."

Weasly Crusher: "Hey. Soup is good food."

Collateral Darren: "No man, soup is gravy with shrapnel in it."

Deviant Boy: "But ironically enough you love chili."

Collateral Darren: "Chili is WARHAMMER FANTASY ROLE PLAY, soup is D&D."

Blobert Smith: "I don't think I have ever had my ringpiece blown out by a game of D&D."

Me: "Well you are fairly new to the Albany gaming scene. Give it time."

Sam: "Would somebody please order something?"

Blobert Smith: "My pallet desires pie but what kind of pie? The patriotic fervor of apple? The esoteric revelations of blueberry? Perhaps the October dream that is pumpkin? Or perhaps the culinary dichotomy known as rhubarb? Or even-"

Me: "For Christ's sake just order some cheesecake!"

Blobert Smith: "Capital idea! capital!"

Sam: "One cheesecake. What would you like to drink?"

Blobert Smith: "Milk."

Sam: "Next."

El Disgusto: "Patty melt with an extra side order of fries. Got any Mountain Dew?"

Sam: "We have 7UP."

El Disgusto: "Sheesh, well I guess you don't then. I'll have an orange soda."

Sam: "Ok and you?"

Weasly Crusher: "Just a water please."

Sam: "Great. Next?"

Deviant Boy: "A salad for me. I'm watching my physique... if you wanna help just let me know."

Sam: "Not a chance. To drink?"

Deviant Boy: "A chocolate shake."

Sam: "Whatever. Are you read to order?"

Collateral Darren: "What are your soups today?"

Sam: "Sigh. Minestrone and cream of mushroom."

Collateral Darren: "Do you have any Italian Wedding soup?"

Sam: "We have minestrone and cream of mushroom."

Collateral Darren: "Are you sure? Can you check?"

Sam: "All we have is minestrone and cream of mushroom soup."

Collateral Darren: "Then I'll have the turkey club and some iced tea but no ice in the iced tea."

Sam: "Fine. And you?"

Me: "Well I would like a burger, fries and a large coke."

Sam: "Done."

Me: "Thank you Samantha."

Sam: "What? What did you call me?"

Me: "Samantha?"

Sam: "My name is Sam you little freak. Can't you read?"

Me: "Well Sam is short for Samantha.. isn't it?"

Sam: "Who are you the fucking nickname police?"

Me: "I didn't mean to offend. What is it short for?"

Sam: "My name is Sam, just Sam to you!"

Me: "Sorry..."


The waitress stormed off. I sat there blushing madly, staring at the table listening to the guys sitting around me choking back giggles. I knew that the first one of them to crack a joke would be destined to become my enemy for life and that someday we would have to fight to the death in a sinking ship with flaming shovels.


El Disgusto: "Man you're like not going to get laid ever are you?"


Well that came as no surprise to anyone did it? Once everyone else had stopped laughing we got started.


Blobert Smith: "Our story begins on the borders of Coalition territory and a desert wasteland in a- "

Weasly Crusher: "Can you back up? I mean I skimmed the RIFTS book but I don't really have a good grasp of what the world is like."

El Disgusto: It's got ninjas and robots what more do you need to know?"

Collateral Darren: "If Ronnie James Dio and Piers Anthony wrote a role playing game it would be RIFTS."

Blobert Smith: "It is all that and none of it. RIFTS is a world beset by strange magic and mad science, an apocalypse and a rebirth, a reality where cliches from a dozen different genres make war and love beneath against a backdrop of metatexual fan fiction."

Weasly Crusher: "Oh..."

El Disgusto: "If Kevin Siembieda were here he'd slap your fat face."

Blobert Smith: "Be that as it may our story begins on the border of Coalition territory-"

Weasly Crusher: "Coalition?"

Deviant Boy: "Republicans with power armor, just roll with it."

Blobert Smith: "-on the border of Coalition territory and a desert wasteland in a strange city known only as The Interzone. Clusters of minarets and skyscrapers cast the narrow streets into shadow. At the heart of the city, in a disused park is the bazaar, where anything can be bought. This is where each of your player characters find themselves. Why do they find themselves in this exotic and inviting place? The reasons are contained in these envelopes drawn at random."

Me: "Random plot hook generation? Well I'll try anything once..."


As we were opening our envelopes our food arrived.


Sam: "Water for you."

Weasly Crusher: "Thanks. This is a clean glass isn't it?"

Sam: "Yes. Here's your cheesecake."

Blobert Smith: "How sublime. Please allow me to place an order for my second piece now."

Sam: "Your turkey club and ice tea without ice."

Collateral Darren: "Was this turkey fresh?"

Sam: "Denny's is dedicated to bringing you fine quality foods at great prices. Your patty melt, fries and orange drink."

El Disgusto: "I didn't order an orange drink I ordered an orange soda."

Sam: "Is there a difference?"

El Disgusto: "Is there a difference between a magic user and an illusionist?"

Sam: "Is there a difference?"

El Disgusto: "Well I guess when you see your tip you'll know won't you?"

Sam: "One salad and one chocolate shake."

Deviant Boy: "Thanks. You know you should smile more. I mean you've got the body of a 20 year old but when you frown its like you've got the face of a 30 year old."

Sam: "Good thing you sat in my section, I might never have known."

Deviant Boy: "Hey I'm a full service kind of guy."

Sam: "And lastly we have the open face meat loaf sandwich with extra cole slaw and a diet Fresca."

Me: "Uhm... didn't I order the hamburger platter?"

Sam: "Did I bring you the hamburger platter?"

Me: "No... but I did order it."

Sam: "No you didn't. You asked for the open face meatloaf sandwich."

Me: "But..."

Sam: "I remember because I thought you were a meat head and you asked for a meat loaf sandwich. It stuck me as kind of funny."

El Disgusto: "I love observational humor..."


With that the waitress left. The open faced meatloaf sandwich was fine but to this day the taste of humiliation reminds me of the taste of diet Fresca.


Collateral Darren: "So the piece of paper in the envelope says that I came here because my character is jaded and wants new experiences. Cool."

Me: "And I'm here looking for Dr. Benway. I want revenge for the illegal operations he performed on me as a child?"

Blobert Smith: "As you can see I have drawn a picture to show where the questionable orifice was installed."

Deviant Boy: "And my character is here because he is trying to deal with his addiction to... bug powder?"

Blobert Smith: "Bug powder is a most potent opiate in this world."

Weasly Crusher: "And my techno-wizard is here to hire his services to the highest bidder or the most appropriate NPC."

El Disgusto: "Ok this is bullshit. My character is here because he killed his wife trying to shoot a glass off he head? No. Not happening."

Blobert Smith: "It is just a simple background story to allow you easier integration into the campaign."

El Disgusto: "Hello? Stupid! I'm a ninja and ninjas don't miss."

Me: "Tell that to Weasly's toilet seat..."

El Disgusto: "What?"

Weasly: "Please! I said nothing!"


Blobert pressed on, managing to get the party together and on their way to their first mission by the time he was on his third piece of cheesecake. We were contracted by hirsute and transgendered Dr. Benway.

Weasly Crusher: “So this is a cabaret with an outpatient surgery center?”

Blobert Smith: “Yes. It is called Cafe Flesh. Dr. Benway calls you all over to a table and straddles a chair while speaking to you. You cannot help but notice the sinewy legs barely contained by silk stockings. ‘What pleasure it is to make all of your acquaintances.’ Dr. Benway says. ‘And at such an opportune time.”

Collateral Darren: “I ask Dr. Benway if there is anyway I can get unaddicted to bug powder.”

Blobert Smith: “Dr. Benway’s ruby lips purse beneath a bark goatee.”

Collateral Darren: “Uh is that like a yes or a no or a...”

El Disgusto: “Anyone here touches my character and they die.”

Deviant Boy: “Hell with it, my cyborg gets into the mood of the whole thing. I’ll see if any of Dr. Benway’s singing nurses wants to ratchet my nuts.”

Blobert Smith: “All of Dr. Benway’s singing nurses are castratos.”

Deviant Boy: “Hey I love Italian girls.”

El Disgusto: “Can we please cut out this nonsense and get on with whatever mission there is?”

Blobert Smith: “Dr. Benway explains that the Cafe is in dire need of the mutant centipedes that lurk in the wastelands. From their poison sacks Dr. Benway is able to create the panacea needed to cure both bug powder addiction and trenchmouth- it is also the special ingredient for their chicken wings. If you will journey into the wastelands and harvest a few of these centipedes Dr. Benway will reward you richly. Dr. Benway asks if you have any questions.”

Me: “Now, about this orifice...”


We all agreed to the mission and as a reward Dr. Benway allowed us to have the run of Cafe Flesh for the night. After some debauchery described in Blobert's florid style we were off.


Blobert Smith: "While your memories of the evening's events may be faded and uncertain the truth of what happens lingers on as a tingle in your hypothalamus glands."

Weasly Crusher: "That Interzone is one weird town."

Deviant Boy: "This is a lot more interesting than some weird old dungeon crawl."

El Disgusto: "Figures you'd like it 'Dances With Mugwumps'."

Blobert Smith: "Suddenly you are attacked by -"

Sam: "Hey. Is there anything else you guys need?"

Blobert Smith: "No, six pieces of cheesecake is more than enough."

Sam: "Well are you guys ready for the check?"

Blobert Smith: "Oh not for a few hours yet I think."


We watched the waitress storm off.


Me: "She looked pissed."

Collateral Darren: "Who cares?"

Blobert Smith: "As I said, you are all attack by mutant brigands."

Weasly Crusher: "The very worst kind!"


(One long brutal combat later)


Me: "Wow. We did great. Not a scratch on us."

Weasly Crusher: "Our characters' love of combat is only equaled by their love of swimming, bodybuilding and martial arts."

El Disgusto: "I hang one of the mutant brigands from a cactus and scrawl on his chest with his own blood 'THEY DIDN'T LISTEN'"

Collateral Darren: "Hardcore!"


We traveled further into the wastelands.


Deviant Boy: “We park our motorcycles by the run down building.”

Blobert Smith: “Inside, among the cobwebs and inches of dusk you old arcade games and episodes of Battlestar Galactica on laserdisk.”

Collateral Darren: “There is still enough juice to run these things?”

Blobert Smith: “Somehow yes.”

El Disgusto: “You got lucky.”

Weasly Crusher: “Instead of Battlestar Galactica do they have any old episodes of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon?”


After another day on the road day we encountered another group of strangers.


Deviant Boy: "Who are you people?"

Blobert Smith: "One of them explains - 'This is a Ley Line mon so we be Ley Line Walkers mon.'"

Me: "Rastafarian Ley Line Walkers?"

Blobert Smith: "'Yeah mon.'"

Me: "Suddenly those lisping Glitter Boys make all the more sense."

Weasly Crusher: "What are they doing out here?"

Blobert Smith: "' Don ya be knowin' dat all the best ganja grow along da ley lines mon.'"

Collateral Darren: "I kill them and take their stash."

El Disgusto: "Hardcore!"

Sam: “Can I get anything else for you guys?”

Collateral Darren: “No we’re fine.”

Me: “Guys maybe she needs to booth for someone else. We should probably wrap this up.”

Deviant Boy: “The suns not even up yet.”

Sam: “Hey baldy. I don’t need you to speak up for me ok?”

El Disgusto: “Baldy! She called him baldy!”

Me: “Uh, Sam it looks like we got off on the wrong foot here and I – ”

Sam: “Wrong foot? What the Hell is that supposed to mean?”

Me: “I... I...”

Sam: “These are orthopedic shoes, they may look funny to you but I wear them because I am on my feet all night dealing with drunks and weirdoes like you. They’re different colors because that was all I could afford. I am here to wait on you not amuse you.”

Me: “What the Hell is this? What are you talking about? When did I end up in a scene from GOODFELLAS?”


The waitress stormed off, she wasn’t cursing under her breath that was for damn sure.

El Disgusto: “You should totally ask her for her number.”

Me: “Oh you’re reveling in this.”

El Disgusto: “Reveling in it? I haven’t been this happy since the Knight Rider marathon!”

Deviant Boy: “You know what your problem is Ab3? You don’t use enough hard consonants when talking to girls. Girls get turned on if you do that.”


Eventually we got back to the adventure. The deeper we got into the wasteland the stranger the encounters we got were. I am sure Blobert saw them as role playing opportunities, some of the team saw them differently.


Blobert Smith: “The woman wears a ruined wedding gown and carries a bloodstained parasol, the doll she carries smells vaguely of meat.”

El Disgusto: “I attack!”


Finally, after another hour our characters found themselves at the centipede nesting grounds.

Things did not go as well as we hoped.


Me: “You would think Dr. Benway would have warned us these were giant centipedes.”

Weasly Crusher: “Well we aren’t dead. We might still be able to escape.”

El Disgusto: “They beat us down, tied us up and laid hundreds of eggs in our backs.”

Deviant Boy: “And now they’re singing show tunes.”

Me: “This game has exterminated all rational thought.”

Collateral Darren: “There has to be something that can save us.”

Me: “The police?”

Blobert Smith: “There are no police in RIFTS.”

Me: “Yeah but there is a policeman in Denny’s and he’s this way.”

El Disgusto: “If anyone asks my name is I’m Ol’Yellowbelly.”

The Nice Officer: “Evening gentlemen.”

Blobert Smith: “Good evening.”

The Nice Officer: “If I might ask, who is the owner of the blue Gremlin with the yellow and red racing stripes?”

Collateral Darren: “Heh. Actually those are Corellian Blood Stripes. Don’t they teach you guys anything at the police academy?”

The Nice Officer: “Well would you mind telling me why there is a LAW rocket in the back seat?”

Collateral Darren: “I don’t think that’s any of your business.”


We managed to get clear as the policeman wrestled Collateral Darren to the ground, cuffed him and led him away.


Collateral Darren: “It’s diffused! It really is! I’m holding it for a friend! It’s totally a bong...”

Deviant Boy: “I lose more roommates that way.”

Me: “Well on that note I think we should call it a night.”

Weasly Crusher: “Yeah. I’ve got to start my paper route in an hour or so.”

El Disgusto: “Well all we have to do now is divide the check up five ways.”

Weasly Crusher: “That doesn’t make sense.”

El Disgusto: “I don’t think we’re going to get any cash out of Collateral Darren do you?”

Weasly Crusher: “Yeah but I didn’t order anything.”

El Disgusto: “Oh yeah? And what’s this?”

Weasly Crusher: “A water.”

El Disgusto: “That you ordered. I rest my case.”

Weasly Crusher: “But – ”

El Disgusto: “I. Rest. My. Case.”

Weasly Crusher: “Ok.”

Me: “You know there are prison bitches with relationships that are more life affirming then the one you two have. You guys divvy up the check, I need to use the rest room.”


I excused myself to the rest room but what I really did was wait for a moment to catch Sam’s attention. I spoke to her by a moment over by the payphones.


Sam: “What do you want now?”

Me: “I’m sorry.”

Sam: “What?”

Me: “For whatever it is I somehow did or didn’t do to so drive you crazy tonight... I’m sorry. I know having us sitting there for five hours must have been a drag.”

Sam: “Well you did frighten off that screaming homeless guy.”

Me: “Apology accepted?”

Sam: “Yeah I guess.”

Me: “I think they’re ready for the check.”

Sam: “Finally?”

Me: “Yeah finally.”

Sam: “You know you aren’t such a bad guy really... your friends don’t make you look very good though. I’ll go get your check.”


I waited until Sam was out of sight before I punched the air once or twice. All I needed to do now was eat here once a week or so for the next few months and then I might finally get the nerve up to ask her out!

Imagine my surprise when she came back with a phone number on a slip of paper.


Sam: “By the way, here.”

Me: “Oh. This is...”

Sam: “My brother’s number, he’s into that Dragons and Dungeons stuff you guys were playing. His name is Guido, you might be able to get into one of his games sometime.”

Me: “Well, thanks. That’s very kind of you.”

Sam: “And here’s your check.”

Me: “Ok I’ll bring it back to the guys.”

Sam: “Don’t you know? They all left.”

Me: “What?”

Sam: “I guess they all got to arguing over something and they all stormed out.”

Me: “Well, isn’t that... hmmm... now that we’ve bonded here Sam, do you think you might be able to give me a running start?”

Sam: “Sorry no.”


So that’s it, I came to play RIFTS but I ended up doing dishes. I suppose there is some kind of poetic metaphor I could make about that, but lets be honest, that’s more of Blobert’s kind of thing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My story 'A VISION FOR THE FUTURE' exclusively at THE DREAMIN' DEMON!

A Vision For The Future
By
Al Bruno III





“There are CREATURES that come from beyond reality
From beyond the realms of TIME and SPACE
Beware THEM for THEIR purposes are unfathomable”

The Kriely Fragments
Sixth canto
Translator unknown


* * *



Sheku Banjah tried to keep the class busy but the children were tense and distracted. He stood at the front of the one room schoolhouse, framed by the maps of the African continent and Sierra Leone on the walls. He kept the questions easy and gave away pieces of candy for each correct answer. The schoolhouse had been a farewell gift from the Peace Corps workers that had visited almost a decade a go. The people of the village of Kono did their best to keep it in repair, doting on it with the same amount of care and reverence they had for their place of worship.

Usually the classroom was loud and busy but today Sheku’s students were all nervous glances and halting replies. The adults of the village had tried to shield the children from the chaos erupting in Freetown but they knew; they heard whispers of the wholesale slaughter committed in the name of the Revolutionary United Front. They snuck radios to their beds and listened to the news from under the covers. They had all seen that man stagger into their village a week ago, his dark skin pallid with blood loss, his arms and lips hacked away...

RPG.NET rant #16 The Great Gamma World Death March




RPG.NET rant #16
The Great Gamma World Death March


originally posted to RPG.net on 03-09-2004, 01:50 PM

WARNING: THIS MAY NOT BE AS FUNNY AS MY OLDER POSTS AND I MAY HAVE BECOME A BLOATED INTERNET PSEUDO-CELEBRITY. BUT IN HONOR OF THE COMIC 'IN THE PIT' LOOMING PREMERE I SHARE WITH YOU THIS LITTLE TALE CHOCK FULL OF MUTANTS AND BAD LANGUAGE.
I thought it would be prefect. My five least incident-prone players were with me; Weasly Crusher, Deviant Boy, Ol' Yellowbelly, Blobert Smith and Rehab Boy (Formerly the Amazing Boozehound). We were gathered together at Deviant Boy's apartment.
For a time Deviant Boy and El Disgusto had been roommates but El Disgusto had found cheaper digs by moving in with a commune of Star Trek Live Action Role Players. We didn't know what went on at that strangely painted farm house but it was very immersive - in the worst sense of the word.
With El Disgusto gone (save for the slight odor of unwashed men's underwear that seemed to still hover in the air at times) it gave me a chance to try my hand at some 'ninja-free' campaigns.
And the game we were running tonight was one I had a wanted to run for a long time.

Blobert Smith: "Gamma World, how delightful!"
Me: "First edition too."
Weasly Crusher: "I remember I used to have a copy of that. I was going to run it but I loaned the rules to Psycho Dave and he sold them to the used book store..."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "You mean MILDEW'S USED BOOKS?"
Weasly Crusher: "Yeah. I always meant to buy them back but by the time I'd gotten caught up with the Columbia Book and Record club someone had snatched it up."
Me: "I bought this at MILDEW'S."
Rehab Boy: "Psycho Dave did that to you a lot didn't he?"
Weasly Crusher: "Yeah."
Me: "Sorry Weasly."
Weasly Crusher: "That's Ok, at least I still have my copy of CYBORG COMMANDO."
Blobert Smith: "You can take comfort in that at least."
Rehab Boy: "Well its like they say Re-Possession is nine tenths of the law! Ha-ha!"
Me: "Ok then... lets roll up those characters."

A short while later I had five new player characters waiting for me.

Weasly Crusher: "My character is a mutated human with heightened intelligence and hemophilia."
Blobert Smith: "My Character is a normal human that worships the writings of Roland Dahl."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I'm playing a mutated cactus. His one possession is the little red wagon he sits in. He moves it with telekinesis."
Me: "Why.....?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Because no one attacks the cactus! Its brilliant!"
Deviant Boy: "I rolled up a humanoid mutant. He has size reduction, multiple appendages and enlarged appendages. I drew this picture of him? See?"

(Brief Horrified Pause)

Me: "His name is 'Doc Cock'?"

Deviant Boy: "Yeah he's like Doctor Octopus but he walks around on-"
Me: "I get it."
Deviant Boy: "They're really big and he's really small and there are eight of them and if he needs a jet boost or distance weapon all he has to do is-"
Me: "NEXT!"
Rehab Boy: "I am playing an average looking normal human with average stats and no mutations. His name is John Eric: Adventurer."
Me: "That's-"
Rehab Boy: "Ha-Ha! Get it? John-Eric Adventurer! Get it! Generic Adventurer! Ha-Ha!"
Me: "Let's get started shall we?"

The scenario I had planned was to be a simple quest that would introduce the players to the campaign world with little or no real risk. I explained that the player characters were all living on a small village called Crapsville on the outskirts of a forest. Things were peaceful but that village was woefully short on medical supplies so they sent the player characters out to the Big City at the mouth of the river to barter for the needed supplies. Everything was going great until we wrapped up the first combat encounter.

Ol' Yellowbelly: "Oh My God! We all almost died!"
Blobert Smith: "Fighting for our lives against 6 foot tall rabbits with assault rifles. How could the apocalypse bring so much irony?"
Deviant Boy: "So much for no one attacks the cactus."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "They didn't, you bastards were using me for cover!"
Rehab Boy: "My character cleans and dresses the bodies all the while singing 'My Bunny Valentine'! Ha-Ha!"
Me: "I thought you said humor was an important step in your Recovery."
Rehab Boy: "It is."
Me: "Well let me know when it starts."
Rehab Boy: "Ha-Ha! And they said you were a balding failure with no sense of humor!"
Me: "What?"
Weasly Crusher: "My character tries to stop hemorrhaging."
Deviant Boy: "My character tries to help."
Weasly Crusher: "If any of your character's appendages touches me I'll scream"
Me: "Do you guys make camp for the night?"
Deviant Boy: "Yeah, I think we should. And I think we should reevaluate what we are going to do. Who has the map?"
Weasly Crusher: "I think my character is using it for a tourniquet."

The player characters made camp in the shadows of some ruins, after wringing out the map and drying it they began to make plans.

Ol' Yellowbelly: "I think we should turn back. It's not safe here."
Rehab Boy: "You say that every game."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "No I don't!"
Weasly Crusher: "You said that the time we played the ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE game."
Ol'Yellowbelly: "I was well within my rights that Mr. Peabody has crazy eyes."
Deviant Boy: "We are on a mission of mercy here. We can't be worried about herds of killer rabbits."
Blobert Smith: "Look at the map. It appears that we are taking the long route to the Big City."
Weasly Crusher: "But I thought this was the only road."
Deviant Boy: "Let me see that map. Hey he's right, we're taking the long way around. The journey that's taking us over a week could be done in three days if we just cut through here and make a beeline for the Big City."
Me: "So you want to take a shortcut through the Desert of Certain Doom?"

The players briefly talked amongst themselves. In their whispers I could hear the sound of a campaign falling apart.

Deviant Boy: "Yes."
Me: "Let me say this again, you want to take a shortcut through the Desert of Certain Doom? You know the part of the map here with all the radiation and biohazard symbols on it?"

Once again the players briefly talked amongst themselves. Subtlety was failing me so as they talked I pointed to the map and made spooky noises.

Deviant Boy: "Yes."
Me: "All right then is there anything else you would like to do before your characters turn in for the night? After all you want to wake up bright an early to make your way across the Desert of Certain Doom. That's the Desert of Certain Doom."
Weasly Crusher: "I try not to bleed so much."
Deviant Boy:" My character has some pretty involved grooming rituals he has to go through."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "My character hides behind a rock."
Rehab Boy: "I lie down next to him so he's between a ROCK AND A HARD CASE! Ha-Ha!"
Blobert Smith: "Yes, my character preaches about the sacred mystery of the Everlasting Gobstopper."

In the morning the player characters broke camp and made their way into the Desert of Certain Doom. Suddenly their chance of combat encounters more then doubled in regularity and ferocity. I thought of all the planned role-playing encounters I had set up for this scenario. I imagined them standing by the side if the road twiddling their thumbs like actors that had never gotten their cues. It was after a particularly rough fight with some giant tics we took our first casualty.

Weasly Crusher: "Well that's it, I bled to death."
Deviant Boy: "Through the ragged stump at the end of your neck."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I didn't think it was possible for a cactus to wet itself."
Rehab Boy: "The dice are with me tonight!"
Blobert Smith: "I take out some pieces of chocolate and start giving the last rites to Weasly's character..."
Me: "How do you-"
Blobert Smith: "...Body of Wonka. Amen."

I always knew playing Role Playing Games would get me sent to Hell, I had just never been sure how and why until that very moment.

Weasly Crusher: "Can I make a new character?"
Me: "How will you meet the rest of the party?"
Blobert Smith: "Perhaps he lives here."
Me: "In the Desert of Certain Doom?"
Rehab Boy: "Maybe he likes beachfront property! Ha-Ha!"
Me: "I'm sorry it just doesn't make any sense."
Weasly Crusher: "No that's ok. I should head home then."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Uh- I'm your ride home."
Weasly Crusher: "I'll walk."
Rehab Boy: "It's snowing- and you know what they say... There's no business like snow business. Ha-Ha!"
Weasly Crusher: "I'll take the bus."
Blobert Smith: "But it is a Sunday night and the last bus has already come and gone like a midseason replacement TV series starring Charo and Emmanuel Lewis."
Weasly Crusher: "Then I'll hitchhike."
Deviant Boy: "You know what could happen to a tender morsel like you?"

(Brief Horrified Pause)

Deviant Boy: "What?"
Me: "Ok. I will let Weasly make a new character if we never speak of that last moment again."

Weasly rolled up a new character with practiced ease while the rest of the part blundered around in the Desert of Certain Doom like a rant in search of a punchline. His character was a normal human with minimal hit points living alone in the middle of a deadly wasteland. It didn't make a lick of sense but then what did I know? I was only the Gamemaster.

Weasly Crusher: "My character decides to abandoned his diseased sod farm and join the party."
Rehab Boy: "Why would anyone want to farm diseased sod? Sod that! Ha- Ha!"
Blobert Smith: "The joy of finding a new companion has caused me to sing. Oppmpa Loompa Doopaty Doo, I've got another hymnal for you. What do you do when you're farming up sod. As an occupation its certainly odd. What if you think-"
Deviant Boy: "I kill him."

Well I suppose that was inevitable. There was another pause while Blobert Smith rolled up another character, a boneless mutant goth prostitute named Vespa. She and Doc Cock became fast friends. The rest of the party just shuddered, even the cactus. Their treck across the Desert of Certain doom continued.

Me: "Ok what are you doing?"
Deviant Boy: "I scout ahead and search for encounters."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Are you insane?"
Deviant Boy: "What?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "You're LOOKING for combat encounters."
Deviant Boy: "No my character is scouting ahead to make sure we don't get ambushed."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "But by doing that you're making sure we do get ambushed. You're changing a GM decision into a player made dice roll."
Deviant Boy: "How would my character know that? And are you saying that the less you know the safer you are?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "That's the creed I live my life by."
Me: "So what do you want to do?"
Deviant Boy: "I go scout ahead."
Ol'Yellowbelly: "I run."
Weasly Crusher: "Actually you roll."
Rehab Boy: "And I rule! Ha-Ha!"
Me: "So you're really breaking off from the party?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Yes! I want to live!"
Me: "Ok, and Deviant Boy I need you to make some rolls."
Rehab Boy: "He's rolling and he's rolling... rollin' rollin' rollin' keep those doggies rollin Rawhide! Ha-Ha!"

So Ol' Yellowbelly character tried to get back home and the rest of the party soldiered on. Another combat broke out and a critical hit took out another player character.

Deviant Boy: "Noooooooooooooo!"
Me: "Sorry. Bad luck there."
Weasly Crusher: "For any other character a groin shot wouldn't be so fatal."
Blobert Smith: "Vespa sobs wildly and cradles the grisly remains to her bosom."
Rehab Boy: "That's not like her to go off all half-cocked like that! Ha-Ha!"
Weasly Crusher: "Dude we did that same joke 2 rants ago."
Me: "Hey! No breaking character while breaking character."
Deviant Boy: "Well since everyone else got to make a new character can I?"
Me: "Sure, but no more of this penis monster stuff."
Deviant Boy: "Hey, mark my words someday there will be an entire genre of films dealing with tentacle penis monsters."
Me: "Give me a break. The day that happens is the day I get porno for free through my phone lines."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Am I home yet?"
Me: "Look I told you already, your wagon's wheel broke running from those ground hogs. you're stuck."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "But I'm stuck out in the middle of the woods! How will I survive?"
Weasly Crusher: "You're a cactus..."
Rehab Boy: "No reason to be a prick about it! Ha-Ha!"
Me: "Let me ask you a question."
Rehab Boy: "As they say in Alaska, 'Eskimo questions and I tell you no lies.' Ha-Ha!"
Me: "Do you feel that unlicensed pilots should be allowed to fly airplanes?"
Rehab Boy: "What?"
Me: "I said, do you feel that unlicensed pilots should be allowed to fly airplanes?"
Rehab Boy: "Of course not."
Me: "Should unlicensed doctors be allowed to perform surgery."
Rehab Boy: "No."
Me: "Then using that logic maybe you should let people that are FUNNY TELL THE FUCKING JOKES!!! How about that? Ha-Ha!"

No one was surprised when Rehab Boy stormed out, we tried to get the game going again but suddenly we realized something.

Weasly Crusher: "Hey I suddenly realized something."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "That you need to go back for the cactus?"
Weasly Crusher: "No. I just realized that no one in the party is from the little village of Crapsville. We have no reason to be on this quest."
Blobert Smith: "I think Rehab Boy's character had the map."
Deviant Boy: "Yeah why is my six-fingered hermaphrodite here?"
Me: "And for that matter why am I here?"

There wasn't much of a game left after that but we were pretty much snowed in so we sat up for a little while discussing what went wrong. All the players agreed that there should have been some kind of warning that the Desert of Certain Doom might be dangerous.
The next day I cashed in the Gamma World books for store credit at MILDEW'S and picked up a copy of CHAMPIONS. It was the same CHAMPIONS book I had loaned to Psycho Dave years ago.