Thursday, June 10, 2010

RPG.NET rant #10 Death By Thumbs

RPG.NET rant #10
Death By Thumbs

originally posted to on 10-19-2002 07:17 PM:


Our campaigns tended to explode right there on the launching pad, they littered our past the way that failed Gene Roddenberry pilots used to litter Saturday afternoon cable television in the 1980s.
Sometimes however a game would endure, they would never last long but as far as I was concerned any campaign that lasted longer than 2 sessions was a victory. So I'm sure you can appreciate my surprise when I found the D&D game I was running reached its second month. We waited in El Digusto's basement for the last of our group to arrive.

Me: "Deviant Boy and Asenath should have been here twenty minutes ago."
El Disgusto: "So let's start without them. What do we need a Wizard and a Cleric for? I'm a Ninja!"
Weasly Crusher: "I don't like Asenath. I don't think she respects him."
Psycho Dave: "What do you mean?"
Weasly Crusher: "Remember that one time I role played a female character and my character hooked up with Deviant Boy's character? I was a way better girlfriend to him in game then she is in real life."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Wow."
Weasly Crusher: "Tell me I'm wrong."
Me: "I couldn't even begin to tell you how wrong what you just said is."
Psycho Dave: "Well that little lady has one thing you never will Weasly."
Weasly Crusher: "What's that?"
Psycho Dave: "A vagina."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Girls can be scary. You don't know how lucky you are to be celibate Ab3."
Me (Through gritted teeth): "I am not celibate on PURPOSE."
Psycho Dave: "You're stuck in the Gygax Corollary you poor bastard."
Me: "The Gygax Corollary? What the Hell is that?"
Psycho Dave: "The Gygax Corollary states that every time a role player's character gets laid it delays the player of that character getting laid by d100 weeks."
Me: "What?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Who rolls the d100?"
El Disgusto: "Does the rule apply to Canadian women?"
Psycho Dave: "To ask questions like that is to risk madness."
Weasly Crusher: "I thought that was the Curse of Steve Jackson."

Finally Asenath and Deviant Boy showed up and we started playing. They'd spent weeks trying to find the location of the Lost Dungeon of Nasty Doom, then they'd spent another week or two trying to get the money and equipment to finance the expedition.

Me: "The entrance to the lost Dungeon of Nasty Doom is easily visible because of all the bones of dead adventurers piled outside."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I rummage through the corpses for treasure."
El Disgusto: "My ninja does eight backflips to the dungeon entrance and then blends in with the shadows."
Me: "Its the middle of the afternoon."
El Disgusto: "There are shadows in the afternoon! Don't you know anything?"
Weasly Crusher: "My fighter-illusionist-bard draws his weapon and makes his way to the dungeon entrance."
Asenath: "My cleric freshens up her make up and then goes to join him."
El Disgusto: "I still think its bogus that your cleric wears fishnet stockings, make-up and a leather mini skirt. This is supposed to be D&D not some wierd-ass bondage fantasy!"
Asenath: "Obviously you've never read WIZARD'S FIRST RULE."
Psycho Dave: "My Anti-Paladin pulls the shrunken heads of his enemies from his bad of holding and whispers to them."
Deviant Boy: "My wizard draws his Wand of Wonder. Cha-Chink!!"

Quick note about that. Two sessions earlier Deviant Boy's wizard had found a Wand of Wonder, it was now his magic item of choice. For some reason he believed that a Wand of Wonder made the exact same sound as a shotgun chambering a round.

Me: "Yellowbelly, you find that the bones have been picked clean. Sorry. The rest of you secure the entrance to the dungeon."
El Disgusto: "Right let's set up out marching order and make our way the chamber with the Gemstone of MacGuffin."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "But to do that we have to go through the Chamber of Satanic Bats."
El Disgusto: "What is it with you? Does every character you play have to be soaked in his own urine?"
Psycho Dave: "I wouldn't talk about urine Mountain Dew boy."
El Disgusto: "Three words for you Mister Man... Stick. Of. Pain."
Psycho Dave: "Two additional words for you... Anal. Insertion."
Me: "All right, can I have marching order please?"
Psycho Dave: "My character takes point."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I stay in back."
Psycho Dave: "You're a fighter, fighters don't stay in back."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "What if were attacked from behind then?"
Weasly Crusher: "I take second in marching order. My character gets out his lute and strums a hopeful tune. Do I get extra XP for not actually singing?"
Me: "God yes."
Deviant Boy: "I go next, my Wand of Wonder is primed."
Asenath: "I'll say it is."
Me: "We are not going there."
Asenath: "But can I say one thing? Why are we going to get this Gem? It has no value to any of us."
El Disgusto: "The guy that gave us the cash to finance this expedition wants it."
Asenath: "Screw him. I say we go and find the Blade of Gory Cleaving. Everyone knows it's in the dungeon here."
El Disgusto: "I say we go for the Gemstone of MacGuffin and whatever the ninja says goes."
Weasly Crusher: "Why should we let you boss us around?"
El Disgusto: "To explain why my ninja kills Weasly's character with his thumbs."

(A great rolling of dice, an even greater gnashing of teeth)

Weasly Crusher: "You killed my character..."
El Disgusto: "Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Weasly Crusher: "...with your thumbs."
El Disgusto: "Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Me: "Stop doing impressions of the Fonz. It's just mean."
El Disgusto: "Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Weasly Crusher: "Can anyone resurrect my character?"
Asenath: "Sorry, I can't quite do that yet."
El Disgusto: "Then I guess your body will decaAyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Weasly Crusher: "Quit it!"
El Disgusto: "Aaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!"
Me: "Look I mean it Disgusto."
El Disgusto: "Sorry got a little carried away there."
Me: "Damn right you did."
El Disgusto: "But I give his character's death two big thumbs up! AAYYYYYYYYY!"

His eyes brimming with tears Weasly Crusher ran from the gaming table. While there is no dignified way to run crying from the gaming table, Weasly's was particularly ignominious because on the way out he tripped over El Disgusto's dog Lamont.

Deviant Boy: "Damn is that dog still alive?"
El Disgusto: "Yeah, my parents spent what was going to be my college money and operations for it."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Owch!"
El Disgusto: "Harvard was a stupid school anyway, no gaming scene at all."
Me: "So I'll just remove Weasly's character from the marching order."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Remove me too. My character will stay behind and guard the fighter-illusionist-bard corpse."
Me: "What?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "Well someone's got to. This is good role-playing."
Me: "So you as a player are just going to sit there, while we game for a few hours so your character can sit Shiva over another character he barely spoke to."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "We said good morning."
Psycho Dave: "Technically no one spoke to Weasly's character all that much."

Somehow I managed to get four of the five characters into the Dungeon, that was a victory I suppose. But after the first few combats things started to fall apart.

El Disgusto: "I say 'Eat Ninja Death' as I kill the last Kobold."
Me: "Well congrats. Not a single Kobold baby remains alive."
Psycho Dave: "The Dark Gods will be pleased."
Asenath: "Thank God I'm Chaotic Neutral."
Deviant Boy: "We should have kept one alive so we could ask them where the Blade of Gory Cleaving is."
El Disgusto: "We aren't here for the damn blade we are here for the Gemstone of MacGuffin. Don't make me whip my thumbs out!"
Deviant Boy: "I've had enough of this. My wizard readies his Wand of Wonder- Cha-chink - and heads out on his own."
Me: "Excuse me?"
Deviant Boy: "I'm Eighth Level, I don't need them."
Asenath: "Sounds good. I follow the wizard and his big wand."
Me: "Stop going there!"
Psycho Dave: "These guys are soft. In head for the next room in the dungeon."
El Disgusto: "Fine! I make my way for the Gemstone."
Me: "Whatever happened to party loyalty?"
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I loot the fighter-illusionist-bard's body."

Like all great bands the party of adventurers had broken up. Perhaps it was the loss of Weasly, their collective loathing of his character may have been the spackle that kept the party from cracking. Perhaps it was because they were no longer first level character fighting to keep from being killed my orcs, molds and zombie cows.

Me: "OK you walk into the room and see a group of Hobgoblins sharpening their weapons."
Psycho Dave: "I flash my talisman of the Dark Gods and order them to bow down to the might of Azathoth."
Me: "They bow before you."
Psycho Dave: "Then I behead them."
Me: "Meanwhile our intrepid duo are still making their way through the dungeon. You find an oak door blocking your way."
Deviant Boy: "I tell the cleric to stand back and I give the door a full blast with the Wand of Wonder. Cha-Chink!"

(dice are rolled)

Me: "A stream of butterflies hits the door."
Asenath: "I check to see if the door is locked."
Me: "It isn't."
Deviant Boy: "We head inside."
Me: "And El Disgusto, your ninja finds the dreaded Chamber of Satanic Bats."
El Disgusto: "I'm skulking do you hear me? Skulking!"
Me: "Well the bats haven't noticed you, they appear to be sleeping."
El Disgusto: "I creep silently into the chamber."
Me: "When you do your shoe sinks about seven inches into cold bat guano."
Asenath: "Ewwwww!"
Me: "Psycho Dave, what does your character do next?"
Psycho Dave: "I head to the next room and order what ever I find there to bow down to me."
Me: "The Umber Hulk you find does not seem very impressed."
Psycho Dave: "I draw my mighty blade 'Fuckshaker' and attack!"

(dice are rolled)

Me: "A natural one, you missed."
Psycho Dave: "A fumble. Get the edged weapons fumble table."
Me: "I'm not using Crit or Fumble tables."
Psycho Dave: "Hear use mine."
Me: "You carry copies of the Arduin Grimmores around with you?"
Psycho Dave: "I always want to be prepared in case I'm someplace and a role-playing game breaks out. Lets roll that fumble."
Me: "OK roll away."

(Rolls are away)

Me: "You've beheaded yourself."
Psycho Dave: "Now the head lives for a few seconds after its removed from the body, can I call upon my god?"
Me: "No. Now turning to our wizard and cleric, make saving throws versus magic."

(fingers are unlaced so dice may be rolled)

Deviant Boy: "Failed it.
Asenath: "Same here."
Me: "The doorway to the room containing the Blade of Gory Cleaving has a teleport trap on it. Both of you find yourselves in the center of a Gelatinous Cube."
Asenath: "Oh."
Deviant Boy: "Well at least we're together."
Me: "And lastly you El Disgusto. What does your ninja do?"
El Disgusto: "No way is my ninja going through that crap."
Me: "So you're leaving?"
El Disgusto: "No! You think I'm stupid? Bat guano is highly flammable. I throw my torch into the chamber."
Me: "Uhm, you do realize that this is a sixty square foot chamber that has about half a foot of bat guano."
El Disgusto: "You can't stand that I've outwitted you can you? I throw in my torch."
Me: "Fine. The resulting explosion kills your character instantly."
El Disgusto: "But I'm a ninja!"
Me: "The explosion also causes the Dungeon of Nasty Doom to collapse like a house of cards. Killing everything within it."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "I knew it! I knew it! I'm alive. I'm alive!"
Me: "Your character only lives a few seconds longer because when the dungeon collapses it creates a giant sinkhole that swallows up everything within the surrounding half mile."
Ol' Yellowbelly: "That sucks."
Psycho Dave: "Was Azathoth pleased?"
Deviant Boy: "What a waste of our time."
Asenath: "We didn't accomplish anything."
Me: "Well, I hope you've all learned a valuable lesson here."
El Disgusto: "Yeah, never let Ab3 run the game."


  1. Don't sweat it, it was their own damn fault for separating. LET'S SPLIT UP, GANG! only works in Scooby Doo.

  2. I really doubt guano works like that.

    Bullshitting explosions to kill PCs off just isn't good style.

    1. Bat guano has a very high nitrogen content and releases ammonia and phosphate gases, so yes, it could go up in flames very fast.

  3. I admit, I've always wanted to know more about the zombie cow encounter.