Saturday, June 5, 2010

RPG.NET rant #5 Achy Breaky Mythos

RPG.NET rant #5
Achy Breaky Mythos

originally posted to on 09-07-2002 03:36 AM:


The poster of Billy Ray Cyrus on his wall should have been a warning sign to all of us.

But we were desperate for a game of CALL OF CTHULHU that didn't have Dimensional Shamblers driving ice cream trucks. This new game master was Biff Bam, an old friend of Cheating Bastard, apparently they had met in military school together. It was a Sunday afternoon at Biff's house and we were five pasty-skinned gamers crammed into the laundry room that was furnished with a washer, dryer, cardtable, mismatched chairs and a heat blistered photo of Mr. Achy-Breaky Heart himself. From where I sat Billy Ray stared out at me in bland judgment.

El Disgusto: "Look all I'm saying is that you owe me four bucks."

Me: "I don't owe you anything, I told you not to eat that damn salad in my car."

Weasly Crusher: "I can't believe that Deviant Boy would rather be with his girlfriend than game."

Biff Bam: "Who's he with now anyway?"

Weasly Crusher: "The girl that works at the comic shop.... Asenath."

Cheating Bastard: "She seems nice..."

El Disgusto: "Whoah! Wait! Hold the phone! Asenath? The one with the deformed baby arm thing going on?"

Weasly Crusher: "That would be her."

El Disgusto: "That's the ultimate lover he was bragging about?"

Me: "Well I for one am glad that he found someone to bond with."

El Disgusto: "She has a baby arm! How can he stand to even be near her? She's deformed! What can they possibly be doing together?"

Weasly Crusher: "He says it's like getting a handjob from a Pterodactyl."

Me: "Oh sweet Jesus you did not have to go there..."

Biff Bam: "Asenath? Is that name a Greek name? It sounds like something out of Vampire the MasqueradEIE."

That last bit was not a typo, that was how Biff pronounced 'Masquerade'. Biff had this habit of randomly mispronouncing things in ways that made little or no sense at all. To show this I will caps lock the creative pronunciations so we can all enjoy them.

Biff Bam: "I looked over your character sheets and everything is OK except for one thing. I asked everyone to make acaMAdemians and one of you made a nIMja."

El Disgusto: "He is a professor of ninja studies."

Me: "Did they have ninja studies in the 1930s?"

El Disgusto: "You better watch yourself, you're already on thin ice with me."

Me: "Ooooo I'm scared."

El Disgusto: "Better be. I will drop you like a wet taco."

Cheating Bastard: "What?"

Biff Bam: "Keep it down guys. My Mom is trying to watch Madam's Place."

Weasly Crusher: "Sorry."

Biff Bam: "Well let's just say you are a professor of occidental mytholoGINITY who studies kung-fu and stuff."

El Disgusto: "Whatever."

As he was talking he closed the laundry room door, sealing us off from the outside world. The fluorescent light made my gaming companions look like cadavers-not like the healthy wholesome kind of cadavers you find under the earth, more like the kind you would find washed up off the shores of New Jersey. Biff set the stage for us with very broad strokes, we were all respected professors of mythology, theology and archeology.

Biff Bam: "Now all your characters know each other on a POURfesional level. For some of you there may be an academic rivalry. your character may have called another character's ideas into question."

Cheating Bastard: "With near perfect scores like mine you'd have to crazy to mess with my character."

Biff Bam: "All of your characters have a mutual friend, an adventurer named Dick Marvil."

El Disgusto: "I have to be a professor and this Dick Marvil gets to be an adventurer?"

Biff Bam: "Each of you receive a telegram from Dick asking you to visit him at the house he inherited in Arkham, Massachusetts ."

Me: "I pack immediately!"

Cheating Bastard: "I have my servants pack for me."

Weasly Crusher: "I take my pet komodo dragon and go."

Biff Bam: "Komodo?"

Weasly Crusher: "You agreed to it. It's on my character sheet."

Biff Bam: "Let me see. Where?"

Weasly Crusher: "On the back."

Biff Bam: "Where?"

Weasly Crusher: "Near the bottom."

Biff Bam: "This thing here? I thought it was a watermark."

It took a few moments to resolve the whole komodo situation, mostly because Biff enforced his rulings by wrestling you to the ground and pinning you until you blacked out. All the while the laundry room grew hotter and hotter. I tried to distract myself from Weasly's muffled cries by glancing up at the poster but I had to look away.
Was it my imagination or had his expression changed?

Biff Bam: "So you all reach Dick Marvil's great uncle's mAInor on the same dark and stormy night."

El Disgusto: "Not me. I keep away from everyone else. I get a motel room in town and barricade myself in."

Cheating Bastard: "Why?"

El Disgusto: "Because they're my rivals, how do I know this isn't all some setup to get rid of me?"

Me: "Our characters are academic rivals. Stress on academic."

El Disgusto: "I'm role playing! My character is a very stressed person, no one respects the field of Applied Ninja Studies."

Weasly Crusher: "Is his character losing Sanity points already?"

Me: "He's loosing them in real life."

Biff Bam: "I'll be running the whole Sanity Points thing a little dYEfferently, just so you know."

Me: "Differently how?"

Biff Bam: "Well the whole SanANity rules thing doesn't make a lot of sense to me."

Weasly Crusher: "It seems easy enough, you see something scary you roll your sanity."

Cheating Bastard: "I rarely fail my sanity rolls."

Biff Bam: "See that's the problAM, the whole Sanity thing is based on fear more than anything else and real men have no fear."

Me: "Everyone is scared of something."

Biff Bam: "That's what they tell the wussies."

El Disgusto: "He means you ya wuss."

Biff Bam: "So in my game you Sanity stat measures your manliness. The less Sanity pINts you have the more gay you are."

Me: "You're kidding right?"

There was a muffled shouting and screeching from the other room. Biff paled a bit and excused himself from the laundry room. He made sure to close the door behind him.
We stared at each other across the peeling card table and tried to make out what was being said behind the warped plywood door.

Cheating Bastard: "Wouldn't it be cool if just for once one El Disgusto's characters actually tried to join the party?"

El Disgusto: "Wouldn't it be cool if you rolled your dice where everyone could see them?"

Me: "Am I the only person uncomfortable with this guys homebrewed Sanity rules?"

El Disgusto: "Wuss!"

Me: "You know once I start slapping you I'm not going to be able to stop."

El Disgusto: "Yeah try and slap me. I'm a six-month black belt. A white ninja. I walk between the raindrops!"

Me: "And here I was just thinking you didn't shower."

Weasly Crusher: "Am I the only person uncomfortable with the fact I was just wrestled to the ground?"

Cheating Bastard: "Hey give the guy a chance here, he runs a cool game. And Dick Marvil is an awesome NPC."

Weasly Crusher: "He was strangling me."

Me: "Sorry this whole thing is a tad weird."

El Disgusto: "Like I'm sure the opinion if some failed writer matters."

Weasly Crusher: "I still can't feel my fingertips."

Me: "What? Where the Hell do you get off talking to me like that?"

El Disgusto: "You've had three novels rejected by publishers here and in England. That sounds like failure to me."

Me: "The only failure is in not trying."

El Disgusto: "Oh please. Think about this Ab3, think about the worst novel ever published. By default that novel is better than anything you ever wrote. William Shatner's writing has more meaning than yours."

When those words left his lips I could swear I heard the poster of Billy Ray Cyrus urging me to kill. Perhaps I might have. It wouldn't have been the first gaming related fatality in our town, but before I could act Biff returned and the game got back underway.
While El Disgusto's character stayed in town and sharpened his katanas we were given a tour of the house that Dick Marvil had inherited. It was very creepy and very gothic... or goTHICKE as Biff would say.

Biff Bam: "Then Dick tells you about his adventures in the Orient and how he made a fortune smuggling jadEIE."

Me: "Another fortune? How about that."

Cheating Bastard: "Yeah my character helped with that."

Biff Bam: "That was the time that Dick Marvil killed 11 men with a bent spoon."

Cheating Bastard: "Saved my character's life I remember that."

Weasly Crusher: "Who was game mastering this?"

Biff Bam: "I was."

El Disgusto: "I drag the whetstone across my katana. Scraaaape. Scraaaape. Scraaaaape."

By now the laundry room was roughly the temperature of Cthuga's blasphemous armpit. I sat there sweat pouring off me, as the Biff continued to feed us the 'Legend of Dick Marvil'.
Dick Marvil was a man among men, a millionaire playboy and inventor. His hobbies were archeology and fighting crime. He was a master of the martial arts, boxing, fencing and a crack shot with any kind of gun. He could also drive racecars, navigate ships and fly aircraft. As he led us from room to room of the strange manor he puffed away on a pipe that had been given to him by 'Sherlock HolmSES'.

Weasly Crusher: "But why are we here?"

El Disgusto: "I'm not there. Scraaaaaape. Scraaaaaaape."

Cheating Bastard: "Yes what can we do for the great man?"

Biff Bam: "He has found in the basement a strange old library full of HOccult books. Only you four-"

El Disgusto: "I'm not there! Scraaape. Scraaaaaape."

Biff Bam: "Only you characters have the skills necessary to catalogue and investigate these books."

Me: "Is he paying us?"

Biff Bam: "Sure, but it's late he escorts you to your rooms so you can rest for the night. You can all start work in the morning."

Me: "Fine. Fine I get ready for bed."

Cheating Bastard: "My character works on his latest book."

El Disgusto: "I wait until midnight. Then I go to stately Marvil manor."

Weasly Crusher: "I get ready for bed too."

Biff Bam: "Do you change into your kimono? The one you have on the back of your character sheet?"

Weasly Crusher: "No."

Biff Bam: "Because that's what it says right?"

Weasly Crusher: "Yes."

Me: "Is there a window or something you can crack open here? It's stifling."

Biff Bam: "Sorry, the only window's paiHAInted shut. If you're hot just take your shirt off."

And with that Biff took his shirt off. I must admit I had never considered what I might do if a fellow role player started stripping in front of me. I had hoped that if it did happen I would be gaming with either Phoebe Cates or Christine McGlade.
But I never have that kind of luck. Instead I found myself starting at Biff's doughy man-teats.
When I looked away I found myself staring back at Billy Ray. The haze of gamer's funk made his mullet shift disturbingly. Our characters turned in for the night.

El Disgusto: "I park my car a mile from the house. I'm all dressed in black. I walk- NO! Leap from tree to tree with just my katana and my Thompson submachine gun."

Cheating Bastard: "Why?"

El Disgusto: "Let's just say you bitches picked the wrong academic rival!"

Biff Bam: "As you draw closer to the house you see strange gargURLE like shapes moving about on the roof."

El Disgusto: "Can I see what room Ab3's character is in?"

Biff Bam: "Please make a Sanity roll."

El Disgusto: "Why? For freaking shadows? I am a shadow! I'm a Ninja Ph.D.!"

Biff Bam: "The shadows are unearTHEDly, please roll."

El Disgusto: "Screw that my character wouldn't be scared of NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

El Disgusto tried to run but Biff had the home field advantage and before anyone else could react the 'white ninja' was in a figure four leglock. Cheating Bastard seemed to be enjoying the show, but Weasly was flinching. I stared at the poster, why would anyone have a poster like that on their laundry room wall? Why?
Once Biff had reestablished himself as the alpha geek the game continued. El Disgusto was oddly subdued, even in the murky light I could see on his face the impression of the d4 he had landed on.

Biff Bam: "You guys sure you don't want to take your shirts off?"

Weasly Crusher: "I'm comfortable."

El Disgusto: "I doff my Boba Fett T-shirt for no man."

Me: "I'm enjoying the whole heatstroke thing thanks anyway."

Biff Bam: "What wrong with you? We're all guys here. Take off your shirt."

Cheating Bastard: "What?"

Biff Bam: "C.B. take off your shirt."

It was like that scene at the end of FAME but worse because instead of Irene Cara you had a man with the physique and skin tones of a naked mole rat. From my vantage point Billy Ray seemed to be sizing up Cheating Bastard for reasons I couldn't fathom. If a poster could have seethed with inhuman urges this poster did.
There was a fresh chorus of grumbles and roars. A shadow passed across Biff's features and he excused himself again.

Me: "We have got to get out of here."

Cheating Bastard: "What for? We just got here."

El Disguto: "ohshinobiohshibiohshinobi...."

Weasly Crusher: "Maybe if our characters kill themselves."

Me: "Let's just leave."

Cheating Bastard: "You do that and he might get upset."

El Disguto: "ohshinobiohshibiohshinobi...."

Weasly Crusher: "We're doomed! I can't take my shirt off I just can't! I have this whole third nipple thing..."

Cheating Bastard: "Just enjoy the game guys. He's a great GM."

Me: "News flash! On the planet I'm from role-playing is not a blood sport!"

El Disguto: "ohshinobiohshibiohshinobi...."

Me: "What the HELL are you doing?"

El Disgusto: "Trying to contact the ninja I was in a previous life. With his power and mine we beat this guy's ass."

Me: "You know every time I think I've met someone more screwed up than you- you just set the bar a little higher."

The terror and the heat made the minutes pass like hours. Could I make it past Biff to the door? The poster of Billy Ray Cyrus mocked my hopes. Was he some dark redneck god that we were all doomed to be sacrificed to?

Me: "Where did he go?"

Cheating Bastard: "His mother has some foot condition. Has to give her like foot rubs every couple of hours or so."

Weasly Crusher: "Oh my god."

El Disgusto: "I thought I smelled Ben Gay!"

Biff Bam: "Sorry to keep you waiting. Why does everyone still have their shirts on?"

I would like to be able to tell you that this was the moment I chose to make my stand against the madness going on around me but that's not exactly what happened. We role played shirtless for the next hour or so. Our characters were woken by the sound of Nightgaunts throwing a certain fully accredited ninja through the front window.
Dick Marvil disappeared and we found ourselves under siege, none of the weapons we had- ninja or otherwise were at all effective. Our characters barricaded themselves in the
library and began desperately reading spellbooks in the hopes of some way they might save themselves.

Biff Bam: "You failed your sanity roll again."

Weasly Crusher: "Oh no."

Biff Bam: "Ok now your character not only has a limp wrist which gEYEVEs him a dextEROSITY modifier but he now speaks with a lisp."

Weasly Crusher: "Ok."

Biff Bam: "You better be lisping when you talk. Got it?"

Weasly Crusher: "YeTH."

Cheating Bastard: "Do any of these booKTH help?"

Biff Bam: "Nothing has hALPed yet. Suddenly the door crashes in and there are NiCEgaunts ever streaming down the stairs."

El Disgusto: "I try to commit seppuku with a copy of the King In Yellow."

Me: "Isn't there anything we can do?"

Biff Bam: "No."

Cheating Bastard: "I keep reading the booKTH. JusTH in CaseTH."

Me: "I wait for the inevitable."

Biff Bam: "The nightGRUNTS close in... closer... closer... when suddenly-"

Weasly Crusher: "We all die... please?"

Biff Bam: "When suddenly Dick Marvil hurls himself down the stairs and wrestLEZ the closest nightgaunt to the ground."

El Disgusto: "I'm still killing myself!"

Biff Bam: "The nightgaunt's neck breaks with a sickening snap and then Dick Marvil throws himself at the next one and repEEPats the prUCEss!"

Cheating Bastard: "DoeTH he kill all of them?"

Biff Bam: "Yes. He breaks all their necks! You're saved!"

Weasly Crusher: "Hooray."

Me: "Wait a minute. Guns and katanas can't scratch these things but their necks snap like twigs?"

Biff Bam: "Not my fault none of you thought to do that."

That was it. I was on my feet.

Me: "This is a load of bullshit. You don't know the first thing about Call of Cthulhu and you sure as Hell have no idea how to run a role-playing game if you think our idea of a good time is being your pet character's FUCKING ENTOURAGE!"

Cheating Bastard gasped with horror. Weasly crawled under the desk. El Disgusto soiled himself for reasons that could only be his own. I was already running for the door to the laundry room when I felt meaty hands grabbing hold of me and dragging me down. My vision began to go black. The last thing I saw was the poster of Billy Ray Cyrus and in that last moment I realized that when it came to horror gaming I didn't know Dick.

Friday, June 4, 2010

(Recommended Reads) "Agent Orange" by Anthony Venutolo

By 1967, I was buried deep in the bowels of the Bureau at Quantico -- with shitty clearance to boot.

I was a clerk in the Records Management Division. Oh sure, I was an agent for what it was worth. Basically, it came in handy at bars. Every chick within a 10 mile radius wanted to fuck a bonafide FBI agent and I helped them with that...

click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "The Crisp Man" by J. Dane Tyler

...The tall man looked like a magazine ad. One for clothes maybe; those fine, fancy clothes from one of those shops where soft violin or piano music drips from the ceiling and walls. He wore crisp, dark, neat clothes. His tie had no flawed edges, no stray wrinkles. His hair was gray around the ears and jet black on top, and every strand, every piece, sat in its place, perfect, a plastic statue, movie star hair. The rugged lines in his face drew Joe’s eyes...

click here to continue

Thursday, June 3, 2010

RPG.NET rant #4 The God Trip

RPG.NET rant #4
The God Trip

originally posted to on 08-30-2002 11:08 PM:

I had sworn off role-playing but found myself back at the table nonetheless. My only other group of friends only wanted to spend their nights at Strip Clubs. After a few evenings of that activity I realized that no matter which group of friends I was with I was going to go home frustrated and full of self-loathing.
At least gaming was cheaper.

We were at the apartment of a fellow by the name of Nolan Void, he was a computer programmer/performance artist. He was famous for creating brilliant RPG campaigns that were rich in detail and populated with interesting characters. Sadly most of these games lasted for 2 sessions if you were lucky. Nolan was a tad mercurial.

So there we were at Nolan Void's apartment, it was El Disgusto, Deviant Boy, Weasly Crusher and Johnny Tangent. Psycho Dave was unavailable, due in part to that whole stalking William Shatner phase he was going through. Cheating Bastard was off playing in a Warhammer tournament-not because he liked it but because he lived to make wargamers cry.

El Disgusto: "I still don't see why we had to come over here when we could have used my basement."

Me: "We will never use your basement again, at least not until a HAZMAT team gets in there."

El Disgusto: "What are you my Mom?"

Me: "Were you smothered in your sleep?"

El Disgusto: "No."

Me: "Then I'm not your Mom."

Johnny Tangent: "You know I still think they should never have canceled Manimal."

Weasly Crusher: "It was a national tragedy."

Deviant Boy: "Ursula Andress was in the pilot. What a hottie."

El Disgusto: "Manimal sucked. Just like Ab3's car."

Weasly Crusher: "Yeah that show was highly overrated."

Nolan Void: "OK now, let's everyone get ready for the game. I am sure you will find it very-"

Me: "Hold on a second here? You're dissing my car?"

El Disgusto: "Your car is a rusted hunk of crap. You got a problem with that?"

Me: "I drove you here in that car because you don't have a car."

El Disgusto: "So?"

Me: "So how can you criticize my car when you don't even have one of your own?"

El Disgusto: "Because when my Grandma does buy me a car it will be a lot better than your
piece of crap."

Johnny Tangent: "Actually if we converted Ab3's car to Car Wars stats you might find it very impressive."

Nolan Void: "OK then on to the game. You will all be playing yourselves..."

Deviant Boy: "Can you repeat that?"

My God he had guts. Not only were we playing ourselves but the system was essentially diceless. The very thought panicked some of the guys at the table but Nolan was a convincing guy. Pretty soon everyone's enthusiasm level was back up and play began...

Nolan Void: "OK then, it's just another day for you guys. What are your characters, which are you, doing?"

Me: "Uhhhh... what day is it in the game?"

Nolan Void: "A Sunday."

Me: "I guess I'm at work."

Deviant Boy: "I'm sure I'm waking up in the bed of some lovely lady."

Weasly Crusher: "I'm in church."

El Disgusto: "I'm buying comics."

Johnny Tangent: "Perhaps I'm finally learning how to play the bassoon."

Nolan Void: "OK then. Each of you at exactly the same time are approached by a dark figure in a silver trenchcoat. He addresses you by name and says that he has a message for you."

El Disgusto: "What's the message that David Bowie is having a garage sale?

Me: "I ask what the message is."

Weasly Crusher: "I yell loudly to Jesus? What's the percentage for God call in this game?"

Deviant Boy: "I get dressed quickly but make sure to let this strange visitor get a look at my huge dong so that he might know despair."

Johnny Tangent: "I look around for TARDISes."

Nolan Void then went on to tell us that this mysterious figure told each of us that we had a special destiny and that we need to be awakened. This being nearly a decade before THE MATRIX we were confused and dubious. Still though when he reached into his pocket and withdrew a strange glowing cube we all went along with it, with one exception...

El Disgusto: "I attack!"

Nolan Void: "OK then... you fail."

El Disgusto: "What? What?"

Nolan Void: "The guy is too fast for you."

El Disgusto: "No he's not!"

Me: "What's the big deal?"

El Disgusto: "6 months of Tae Kwon Do! Do you hear me? 6 months of Tae Kwon Do to make black belt! I'm a white ninja do you hear me? A LIVING WEAPON!"

Later investigations proved that this was technically true El Disgusto had been discharged from Harvey Whitstien's Martial Arts Emporium with a black belt. Of course the rest of El Disgusto's karate gi was equally black. He just let it fester in his locker between classes. Sensei Harvey discharged El Disgusto because no one could stand the stench any more. This may have solved all the Emporium's problems but this 'early graduation' had twisted El Disgusto's mind even further and now he insisted the reason he had a black belt was because he was the reincarnation of a long dead ninja named 'Shinobi'.

Still though no one, not even Nintendo's lawyers, called him on it because he would then challenge you to a fight. His fighting style was a combination of slaps and groin kicks punctuated by Bruce Lee-like yells and no one wanted any part of that.

Nolan Void: Though you battle the stranger valiantly he still manages to draw the strange cube from his jacket and he-"

El Disgusto: "I smash it! I smash it!"

Nolan Void: "Just touching it makes your mind explode at a million miles an hour."

El Disgusto: "I don't scream! Not matter how bad it is I don't scream!"

Nolan Void: "The same thing happens to all of you. The very universe seems to melt around you. Your screams are swallowed up by the roaring chaos that consumes you."

Johnny Tangent: "I curl into a ball and try to avoid being noticed by the Hounds of Tinados."

Me: "I scream."

El Disgusto: "Wussy!"

Deviant Boy: "I close my eyes and use what could be my last moments to fantasize about Christine McGlade."

Weasly Crusher: "Who?"

Deviant Boy: "Christine McGlade from You Can't Do That On Television."

Johnny Tangent: "Moose?"

Deviant Boy: "God yes."

Weasly Crusher: "That's your ultimate babe?"

Deviant Boy: "And my first sexual experience."

Me: "You can stop now."

Deviant Boy: "I was fifteen years old and in one of the episodes she was lost her clothes and had to hide her nakedness behind a cue card."

Me: "I said you can stop now."

Deviant Boy: "It was amazing, it wasn't even like you could see anything but I still had this amazing spontaneous ejaculation..."

Me: "Oh for God's sake!"

I probably wouldn't have been as upset if he hadn't had the exact same first sexual experience as I had...

Once we got past all that Nolan described the strange place our characters found ourselves in.

Nolan Void: "OK then, you each wake up to find yourselves wearing white robes and-"

Johnny Tangent: "To-ga! To-ga!"

Nolan Void: "-in the center of the room is a giant dome-"

Johnny Tangent: "Filled with colored brains! 50 Quatloos on the newcomer!"

Nolan Void: "- and you can see entire galaxies swirling with in it. The-"

Johnny Tangent: "My God's it's full of stars!"

Nolan Void: "-they look to be human and they are dressed in black and sliver. The leader, the one that approached you first steps forward to say-"

Johnny Tangent: "You will bow down before me Jor-El! You wi- IIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Nolan's savage attack surprised all of us, we didn't think he had it in him, but then again no Game Master likes to be heckled. When Nolan began speaking again Johnny was lolling dazed in his chair, a dice bag stuffed in his mouth.

Nolan Void: "OK then the man informs you that they are the last of the Lords of Reality and that the very universe is dying."

Me: "Intriguing."

El Disgusto: "Cut to the chase. Who do we have to whack?"

Nolan Void: "The Lord of Reality informs you that your quest is not one of destruction but of preservation. He needs you to save all of creation by finding a way restore the energy stores at its heart."

Weasly Crusher: "We have to change the batteries of the universe?"

Deviant Boy: "Why do we have to save the universe? What's in it for us?"

Johnny Tangent: "Mmmph! Mmmph!"

Me: "He has a point. I ask the Lords of Reality why they can't do this for themselves?"

Nolan Void: "They explain that if they left their posts reality would break down in a matter of minutes."

Weasly Crusher: "How are we supposed to change the batteries of the universe? We have no powers, we don't even have a spaceship."

Nolan Void: "The Lords of Reality say they will give you the power to do what needs to be done. They will make you gods."

There was an audible hush. It was one of those moments that I know well as a GM it is the moment before a game becomes really great or goes terribly wrong.

Johnny Tangent: "Mphl?"

Nolan Void: "Yes gods."

El Disgusto: "Gods gods?"

Nolan Void: "They tell you 'You will have the power to create and control matter but with that power comes a terrible responsibility.'"

Weasly Crusher: "Yeah but we'll be gods right?"

Nolan Void: "'Yes.' They say, "But the use of those godlike powers actually drains the life-force of the universe so wield it with caution."

Deviant Boy: "But we'll be gods right?"

Nolan Void:

El Disgusto: "We'll take it."

And so the Lords of Reality made us into gods using something they called 'the Apotheosis Device'. During the process our bodies were picked apart molecule by molecule and put back together again. Nolan even provided laminated illustrations of the experience and played Emerson, Lake and Palmer in the background to enhance the experience.

Nolan Void: "OK then, when you emerge from the glowing red crystal you feel enhanced. Your physical form shimmers. If you pause you can sense the passage of atoms, the secrets of the universe bubble unbidden to the surface of your mind."

Weasly Crusher: "Are we gods yet?"

Nolan Void: "Yes."

Me: "I ask the-"

Johnny Tangent: "I fly faster than the speed of light."

Weasly Crusher: "I travel to the surface of the sun and walk around!"

El Disgusto: "I teleport to Stonehenge!"

Deviant Boy: "I turn Mars into a perfect duplicate of Gor and begin enslaving supermodels."

Me: "Guys I don't think-"

Nolan Void: "This isn't-"

Deviant Boy: "I make myself into a perfect duplicate of Ron Jeremy sculpted in molten silver!"

Weasly Crusher: "Oh yeah? Well I make myself look like an angel if Axyl Rose were an angel... with purple eyes."

Johnny Tangent: "Shape of.... Donny Osmond!"

El Disgusto: "I shrink Stonehenge down and consume it. Then I find every holy place in the world and consume it."

Nolan Void: "OK then your power may-"

El Disgusto: "Then I raise Ryleh from beneath the sea and drain Cthulhu's life force."

Deviant Boy: "I bring all the Disney Cartoon hotties to life and take them one by one! All of them- Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Bambi..."

Me: "Bambi was male."

Deviant Boy: "Yeah right who is gonna name a stripper after a male deer?"

Weasly Crusher: "I bring all my D&D characters to life and take them to Denny's to apologize for the terrible rolls I make."

Johnny Tangent: "I make them put a new Manimal series on the air and have Josh Wheaton write it. I star in it."

El Disgusto: "Now I create a Stick of Pain out of Strange Matter. Then I force the elves to make me a mithral ninja suit."

Nolan Void: "There... there are no elves in this game...."

El Disgusto: "Then I create some elves and make them do what I say!"

Deviant Boy: "Now I take Christine McGlade and make her my queen! Together will rule the New Gor."

El Disgusto: "With my new and improved Stick of Pain and my mithral ninja suit I teleport back to where we started and give Ab3 a COSMIC NINJA SMACKDOWN!"

Me: "What?"

El Disgusto: "You heard me! There can be only one- BITCH! What do I roll to attack? Hey Nolan I... where did he go?"

But Nolan had locked himself in the bathroom and he refused to come out. He never ran a role-playing game again but some of the other guys say they've seen a character bearing his name on Everquest wandering the edges of the game world grumbling to anyone who might listen about strange conspiracies involving ninjas and the Osmonds.

I left an enraged El Disgusto at the bus stop with Deviant Boy and Weasly Crusher. Johnny Tangent and I headed to the Booby Hatch, a local strip club, after all the night was still young.

(Recommended Reads) "Ruth" by Carrie Clevenger

I remember my very first best friend. Her name was Ruth Smudrick. She was a lady ensconced behind her son's house in a pale burgundy trailer home. I discovered her one day at the same time I discovered her roses. We hit it off and after my parents approved of my visits, I would go see her almost every day. These were quiet times, when kids were pushed outdoors in the morning and didn't come home til it was very nearly dark. In time, I felt a love for this woman like my own grandmother, and learned how many different kinds of roses there really were in the world...


click here to read the rest

(Recommended Article) THE VAULT OF HORROR bids farewell to Dennis Hopper


He was one of the most revered actors of our times, known to moviegoers for his iconic turns in such films as Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, True Romance and Hoosiers. And yet horror fans can also take pride that this respected figure in Hollywood, one of the most "legit" performers of the past 40 years, was also a part of two of the most beloved horror franchises of the past 40 years: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and George Romero's Living Dead series. Last Saturday, Hopper passed away after a quiet eight-year battle with prostate cancer, just 12 days past his 74th birthday...


click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "The Lesson" by Michael Solender

I am a member of a dying breed. I am a child of the soil. I am a farmer’s daughter.

My grandfather’s father was a sharecropper and took the 180 acres given to him by the state of New Jersey after the First World War on the promise of farming the land and operating under a 100 year lease for $1.00 per year...


click here to read the rest

(Recommended Reads) "On The Town" by Heather Lloyd

There came a point in my late twenties when staying out until the small hours of the morning in some sticky floored dive lost its appeal. Who, after all, would subject themselves to that once they’d discovered the joys of imbibing a nice pint of ale in an establishment where the barman knows you by name, where you can hear yourself speak and where you can stay until closing time yet still be tucked up in bed by 11.30? Not me. Yet there I was, pushing forty and queuing outside Aladdin’s, the best and only club in town, surrounded by teenage girls who could legitimately have been my daughter. With the young guys dressed casually in trainers, jeans and t-shirts, we, in pressed shirts and shiny shoes, felt hopelessly out of place...


click here to continue

RPG.NET rant #3 A Night At The Inn, A Day At The Racists

RPG.NET rant #3
A Night At The Inn, A Day At The Racists

originally posted to on 08-22-2002 10:31 PM:


Somehow I found myself back in El Disgusto's basement, Psycho Dave had decided it was his turn to try and run D&D. El Disgusto, Weasly Crusher, Cheating Bastard, Deviant Boy, Short Attention Span Larry and yours truly were the players. I was curious to see how Psycho Dave ran a game. I was sure it couldn't be as bad as Deviant Boy's dungeon where the treasure horde was a room filled with bound naked halflings and staves with Permanency and Grease spells cast on them.
How wrong I was. How wrong I was.

Psycho Dave: "Still shaking from your encounter with the Giant Shrunken Apple Head Woman and make your way to the in. The rain is cold, cold like cold rain."

El Disgusto: "I continue to ride underneath the wagon... ninja style!"

Psycho Dave: "You realize that no one even knows you're there yet."

El Disgusto: "Good."

Psycho Dave: "You do realize this is the third session of the campaign."

El Disgusto: "The ways of the ninja are hard to understand and inscrutable."

Psycho Dave: "Fine. Roll to see if you hang on."

Me: "We need to be on guard, we still don't know who brought us here and why."

Weasly Crusher: "My fighter is ready for anything, except for creatures that drain life levels. I refuse to enter into any dungeons or tombs."

Me: "Uh, you know this game is DUNGEONS and dragons."

Weasly Crusher: "I worked too damn hard to be second level to loose it over some damn wraith."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Hey cool! Cinemax!"

Deviant Boy: "Hey cool! Shannon Whirry!"

Me: "Are you here to game or what?"

Short Attention Span Larry: "I can do both. Just let me know when its my turn to fight the Shrunken Apple head Woman."

Psycho Dave: "After a few more hours of travel you finally find yourselves at the Inn. This is the place where you will finally meet with your employer the mysterious wizard Shickelgruber in the morning."

Cheating Bastard: "Why is that name so familiar?"

Me: "I stop the wagon in front of the Inn."

Psycho Dave: "Roll for it."

Me: "This is getting a little out of hand now."

Psycho Dave: "Roll for it."

Me: "I need to roll to stop the damn wagon?"

Psycho Dave: "You're the one that said that you were just all of a sudden stopping the wagon. Ever heard of slowing down before you stop."

Me: "I didn't think I had to be that specific. Ok I slow the wagon down and-"

Psycho Dave: "Too late. You said it. Roll to see if you can stop the wagon without crashing, or do you want to bitch and whine some more."


Me: "Crap."

Psycho Dave: "OK the cart flips over. Everyone else make a save versus death. Yes you too Larry."

As you can see I soon realized that Psycho Dave ran a game in roughly the same way that Warwick Davis in the film Leprechaun granted wishes. Everything you said your character did was scrutinized for some way to screw you over and the dice ruled all. He was the only guy I know who used a random monster encounter chart for Call of Cthulhu. You haven't lived until you've had a character go mad because he saw a nightgaunt sitting in a restroom stall reading a copy of the Necrnomicon.

(Roll)(Roll)(Wander over to the table and Roll)(Roll)(Roll and a nudge)

Cheating Bastard: "A perfect 20!"

Weasly Crusher: "I can't believe the wagon fell on my head."

Cheating Bastard: "I can't believe your eyeball popped out, what kind of crit tables are these?"

Psycho Dave: "The manly kind. I've been coddling you with those Arduin critical hit tables for too damn long."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Am I bleeding to death?"

Psycho Dave: "No."

El Disgusto: "Since my ninja was under the wagon I sprint into the shadows and observe the party.

Psycho Dave: "Roll for it."


Short Attention Span Larry: "Am I bleeding to death?"

Me: "Uh... where is Lamont?"

El Disgusto: "My parents took him camping. Get this, the damn vet says the dog is suffering from stress. Stress! What the frig does a damn dog have to be stressed out about?"

Deviant Boy: "Well if I could lick myself I sure wouldn't-"

Me: "Why didn't you go?"

El Disgusto: "Camping? Why would I want to go camping? Nature kills! Haven't you learned anything the wilderness encounters tables?"

Deviant Boy: "I walk into the Inn for a drink."

Me: "What about the wagon?"

Deviant Boy: "Leave it it's not like we paid for it or anything."

Psycho Dave: "So you all walk to the Inn? Make a dexterity check to see if you slip in the mud."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Am I bleeding to death?"

(Roll)(Roll)(Wander over to the table and Roll)(Roll)(Roll and a Nudge)

The Inn was a kind of medieval strip club with all the wenches wearing thongs and dog collars and that's about it. We found a table and got drinks and waited for the wizard to arrive. Some of the girls tried to offer us lap dances, those who got them had to Save versus Petrifaction.

Me: "I survey the room and take a drink."

Psycho Dave: "Save versus poison to see if you get drunk."

Me: "No! This is bullshit!"

Psycho Dave: "Just roll the damn dice for God's sake."

Me: "I'm a dwarf! A dwarf! There is no way that a Dwarf would get drunk on some pissant human ale."

Psycho Dave: "Hmmmm. I see your point."

Short Attention Span Larry: "What have you got to drink here?"

El Disgusto: "Nothing."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Didn't your parents leave you any food?"

El Disgusto: "They left me some cash for groceries but I decided it was better spent on Warhammer minis."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Ok I'll get a glass of water."

El Disgusto: "The HELL you will. If you dirty any of those glasses I will have to wash them and I am not going there. Drink from the tap or not at all."

Weasly Crusher: "I look for someone to pick on."

Cheating Bastard: "I help him."

Psycho Dave: "Make detect traps roll."

Deviant Boy: "I buy one of the wenches for the night."

Psycho Dave: "Make a Charisma check.... oh and Ab3 roll a d20."


Psycho Dave: "Ok you find a companion for the night and Ab3, you failed your Save versus poison and get stinking drunk."

Being drunk in a game like this is not a good thing, the GM 'simulated' drunken behavior by letting each of the other players dictate what your character did for five minutes. So as my dwarf sang show tunes while dangling from a chandelier with a half-full spittoon on his head. The night at the Inn rolled on.

Me: "You know it's like midnight now, maybe we should just fast forward ahead to the morning so we can meet the wizard."

El Disgusto: "Oooo! Oooo! His dwarf is all drunk and now he's whining!"

Me: "I am not whining and hey at least my character is involved with the party."

El Disgusto: "You're just pissed because you're not a ninja. How are things looking on the roof anyway?"

Psycho Dave: "It's still raining."

Deviant Boy: "Hey I'm taking that saloon whore John Norman style."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Who?"

Deviant Boy: "John Norman... wrote the Gor novels... they taught me everything I needed to know about women."

Me: "So how is that whole restraining order thing working out anyway?"

Deviant Boy: "I'm done with her. I think this girl from the movie theater is hot for me though. There's something about the way she says to me 'Want Butter Flavoring'?"

Weasly Crusher: "What about me? When do I get my barfight?"

Psycho Dave: "Well you do see this scrawny nervous looking kid at the bar."

Weasly Crusher: "I walk up to the kid and give him a shove."

Cheating Bastard: "I follow him."

Psycho Dave: "The kid is at the bar nursing a Shirley Temple."

Me: "I don't think that a medieval tavern would serve Shirley Temples."

Psycho Dave: "Fine. He is drinking an Ye Ole Shirley Temple."

Weasly Crusher: "I shove him."

Psycho Dave: "Roll to hit."


Cheating Bastard: "I tell the kid- 'He doesn't like you.'."

Psycho Dave: "The kid cringes and says 'I'm sorry.'."

Weasly Crusher: "I shove him again!"

Cheating Bastard: "I say 'I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence in twelve kingdoms...'"

I knew where this was going, I think Weasly Crusher was the only one who didn't realize. The only thing really surprising about the whole thing was that thanks to Psycho Dave's homebrewed Crits and Fumbles tables his Samurai somehow managed to behead himself. Eventually my character regained some degree of sobriety and retreated to his room to wait for the morning and the dread wizard Shickelgruber but the night at the Inn had no end in sight.

Psycho Dave: "You fail your roll and slip in a puddle of blood. Roll a d6 to see how many teeth are knocked out."

Cheating Bastard: "I challenge the damn Viking to an arm wrestling match!"

Weasly Crusher: "They say your head can live a little while detached from your body, I try to call on my god."

Deviant Boy: "I'm still doing the saloon whore!"

Me: "I would think you'd be sleeping by now."

Deviant Boy: "My character is like me, he can do it for two three hours before he finishes. Women love that."

Me: "Really?"

Deviant Boy: "Especially Canadian women."

Short Attention Span Larry: "Is it ok if I look through your comics?"

El Disgusto: "Is it Ok if I beat you with the Stick of Pain? My ninja breaks into their rooms and snoops around."

Psycho Dave: "Roll for it."


Me: "Why can't you just meet up with the damn party and not do all this weird stuff?"

El Disgusto: "He's a ninja! I'm ROLE-PLAYING!"

Cheating Bastard: "I head up to my room. I want to get that Resurrection Scroll out of my Bag of Holding."

Weasly Crusher: "Geez how many magic items does your character have?"

Cheating Bastard: "Ninety-six."

How did he end up with 96 magic items? Allow me to explain. The way they set up high level D&D games in my neck of the woods was to have you roll up your character and then roll once on the treasure tables for each level they needed your character to start at. Psycho Dave had planned his campaign for 12th level characters and above, so Cheating Bastard's character was a 12th level Wizard-Cleric-Fighter-Thief-Illusionist-Druid-Ranger-Bard with limited Psionic abilities. His explanation, really lucky die rolls had allowed his magic user to get ahold of a Wish Ring with the maximum wishes. The Wishes had prolonged his life and allowed him to pursue multiple career paths so that now he had a small magic arsenal stored in a Spelljammer craft that he had held in a bag of holding.
A good thirty minutes of game time was eaten up by this long drawn out explanation of the origin of the 12th Level Everything man. I suggested that we all have our characters go to sleep so we can meet with our employer the morning but no one else seemed to be interested. Deviant Boy kept going into lurid detail about his escapades with his girl for the night. Weasly Crusher kept whining about his head. Short Attention Span Larry kept quiet, no surprise since he was busy trying to play the game, watch Star Trek and read a Gor novel. El Disgusto continued to break into our character's rooms and pilfer our things, until he crossed paths with Cheating Bastard's bag of holding. Cheating Bastard kept his familiar in the bag as a kind of guard dog. So the stealthy ninja ended up having his ass handed to him by a Quasit permanently polymorphed into Rush Limbaugh.
I didn't understand that last bit either but I couldn't bring myself to ask.

El Disgusto: "Untie me! The other ninjas know I'm here!"

Cheating Bastard: "Once he's tied down face first on the bed I check and see how the fireplace pokers are heating up."

Psycho Dave: "Roll a d20."

(roll nudge)

Cheating Bastard: "I'm so awesome, another natural twenty!"

Psycho Dave: "The pokers are white hot."

El Disgusto: "You can't do this to me! I'm a ninja!"

Cheating Bastard: "I get the hottest, sharpest looking poker and approach the bed."

Me: "Why are we doing this?"

Cheating Bastard: "I'm teaching him a valuable lesson."

El Disgusto: "My character flexes every muscle in my body at once!"

Psycho Dave: "Why?"

El Disgusto: "To weaken the ropes! What are you stupid?"

Cheating Bastard: "My character presses the end of the hot poker against the ninja's buttcheeks."

El Disgusto: "You'll pay for this! You'll all pay for this! Hastur! Hastur! Hastur! Hastur! Hastur! Hastur!"

I for one never thought I would be glad to see the arrival of a member of the Cthulhu Mythos. Hastur showed up and stomped on the Inn killing everyone. I don't ever recall being so happy but sadly in a game like this death is fleeting, only trauma and humiliation endure.
The party found themselves resurrected in the crater where the Inn had been. A figure in brown and black robes stared at us. After some preliminary insults he led us through a strange looking portal.

Psycho Dave: "The Wizard Shickelgruber leads you through a portal and you find yourself on a wasted landscape. Tall dark chimneys belch ashes into the sky. The air is filled with the stench of burning flesh."

Cheating Bastard: "You sure we're not smelling the ninja's ass?"

El Disgusto (Waving the Stick of Pain): "Don't make me use this!"

Psycho Dave: "All around you strange devices and men in dark uniforms are walking around doing stuff. The wizard explains that he needs your help to get the Wand of Orcus."

Weasly Crusher: "Why?"

Psycho Dave: "To explain the wizard leads you through a metal gate with the words WORK LIBERATES engraved into it. He takes you to this huge pit filled with emaciated bodies. he explains to you that he needs to use the Wand to turn these bodies into undead so he can beat back the armies invading his land."

Me (My high school education kicked in right about then): "Wait just a goddamn minute here-"

Psycho Dave: "The wizard pulls back his cloak revealing his piercing blue eyes and small dark moustache."

Me: "We're in a concentration camp? So we can help Hitler win the war?"

Deviant Boy: "What's he paying us?"

Psycho Dave: "Gold teeth."

Me: "You're kidding right? You can't be serious."

Cheating Bastard: "This is cool, kind of a 'Shindler's Lich'"

Me: "This is unbelievable! I wasted six hours of my life for this?"

Psycho Dave: "Yes it is unbelievable but we're here to play a game not debate the so-called Holocaust."

Weasly Crusher: "How many gold teeth does it take to make a gold piece anyway?"

Very calmly and quietly I began to pack up my papers and dice. I promised myself I was just going to leave, not make another scene. I didn't know if I'd ever game again, I was pretty sure I had hit rock bottom. It didn't feel like I had expected.

Short Attention Span Larry: "Hey you big liar! I thought you didn't have anything but water. Look at all these bottles of Mountain Dew you have stowed under the stairs."

El Disgusto: "Stay away from those!"

Short Attention Span Larry: "What's the big deal, I just want a glass or two. Heck I'm so thirsty I'll give you a buck for the whole damn bottle."

El Disgusto: "No! You don't understand! That's not Mountain Dew."

Short Attention Span Larry (Pausing in unscrewing the cap on one of the bottles): "Huh?"

El Disgusto: "It's- it's urine."

Me: "That's funny I thought you said urine."

El Disgusto: "It is urine, I don't like to go upstairs to the bathroom when I'm watching TV so I go in the bottles and throw them away later."

Being a wannabe horror writer I often describe people having skin-crawling sensations, I had never truly experienced it until that very moment. I looked around the room, realizing now that there half-full bottles stashed everywhere. Some were crusted with age and other substances.

This I realized was rock bottom.

Me: "When do you throw these bottles away?"

El Disgusto: "I'll get around to it sometime."

Me: "I need to go home now. I need to go take a shower."

Psycho Dave: "What about the game?"

Me: "I trip and fall on my sword-"
Psycho Dave: "Roll for it."

Me: "I fall on my sword again and again- UNTIL THE HURTING

And then I went home and never, ever played D&D again and I certainly never drank another bottle of Mountain Dew.

Offsite Al Awesomeness

Here are some stories you might not have seen from the days when I was helping with Eden Studios survival horror role playing game ALL FLESH MUST BE EATEN.

The living dead shambled aimlessly down the street, their clothes and flesh in tatters. My heart in my throat, I angled the van around them as best I could, but they flail at the vehicle as it passes, their slimy fingers streaking the body. I had hoped to find settlements here on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. All I found was abandoned cars and shattered storefronts. The Pancake House was in flames, the grocery stores had all been looted, zombies milled around inside the showroom windows of a department store, gnawing confusedly on half-clothed mannequins. Every few miles I tried the CB radio, hoping to find someone, anyone out there that could help...

Something stirred beneath four and a half feet of mud and snow. A rage so profound that even the February cold couldn't dim it. Instinctively, she began to claw her way to the light. It was almost like being born again...

I fought my way to awareness, taking in distorted gasps of the waking world before the dream pulled me back down like a savage undertow...

It's the golden rule of Hollywood. The writer always gets the shaft. The producers make all the money, the actors get all the fame, the director gets to put his vision on the screen, the rest of the crew get paid and get to go home; but the writer? The writer pours his guts out onto the page and if he's lucky he sees 20% of what he wrote make it through the grinder. If he's really lucky, he gets paid what he's worth...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

RPG.NET rant #2 The day I killed the entire party before the first combat encounter


RPG.NET rant #2
The day I killed the entire party before the first combat encounter

originally posted to on 08-09-2002 12:02 AM:


It was the end of the 1980's, for some reason the group of players in my area had established a strange attraction to Avalon Hill's catch all RPG LORDS OF CREATION. The players had coaxed me into playing it once before but the session had been disturbing. The players had played characters based on themselves. When that game began one of the players, we will call him 'Psycho Dave', started out the campaign by having his character kill his parents.

Things went downhill from there.

So months later we are all there in the basement of another of our players, whom I will refer to as El Disgusto, and I have been talked into trying to run Lords of Creation again. There are five players- Psycho Dave, El Disgusto, Deviant Boy, The Amazing Boozehound and Weasly Crusher.

I already have a great idea for a campaign, about our reality being attacked by another alien reality. You may think I am ripping off TORG but this was years before TORG. I was ripping off the Dr. Who episode HORNS OF NIMON.

I explained to the players that they were to make ordinary modern people and they campaign would detail their attempts to survive in this strange new world. Kind of a RED DAWN meets GAMMA WORLD.

So character creation begins and it goes something like this-

El Disgusto: "I want to make a ninja!"

Me: "Well you could be a master martial artist but I'm not sure if a ninja is exactly..."

El Disgusto: "A ninja! I want to play a ninja! What kind of a game is this where you can't pick what you want?"

Me: "Ok you can play a ninja."

Deviant Boy: "I'm going to play a stripper."

Me: "Ok then."

Weasly Crusher: "And I'm his character's cousin. She's a stripper too."

Me: "Great... just roll up those stats then."

Psycho Dave: "I'm going to play a former Navy Seal. He has medals of honor and no one knows that in his spare time he kills hippies and midgets."

Me: "That's very interesting, and he has the same name as you too. Great."

The Amazing Boozehound: "I'm playing a dwarf fighter... hic!"

Me: "No. No, see this is set in the modern era. There are no Dwarven fighters."

The Amazing Boozehound: "Oh."

Me: "So what was your second choice?"

The Amazing Boozehound: "What?"

Me: "For a character?"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Oh... lemmie think."

Deviant Boy: "My character and her cousin are having an affair."

Me: "Wh-what?"

Deviant Boy: "We're lesbian strippers."

Weasly Crusher: "We're in love."

Me: "I- I-"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Can I play a midget?"

Psycho Dave: "Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"

Me: "Maybe you could play a ninja?"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Eh... I'll just play a guy who's like a cop or somethin'."

Me: "Ok roll it up."

Psycho Dave: "You know human blood looks black in the moonlight..."

Weasly Crusher: "My character and her cousin have matching toe rings."


Eventually they created their characters, so I began to set the scene. Well I tried to set the scene but see El Disgusto's parents had left town and he had one responsibility... to feed and walk his parent's decrepit dog Lamont. Of course El Disgusto had done neither in days so the dog would frequently pad up to the top of basement steps and howl mournfully.

Anyway, once El Disgusto had gotten done beating his parent's dog into silence we began to play. I set the scene describing a world where strange spider like creatures had enslaved humanity and how the players had all just escaped from one of the slave labor camps.

The first problem erupted-

Psycho Dave: "What? What?' We don't have our stuff?"

Me: "We never went over equipment lists because I thought-"

El Disgusto: "Dude, my ninja has to have a motorcycle."

Me: "I explained the alien spiders-"

Deviant Boy: "Our toe rings? They took our toe rings?"

Me: "-they have reduced the human race to a state of slavery. All our technology."

Psycho Dave: "No way would they take my guns knives and explosives!"

El Disgusto: "And my motorcycle... who could steal a ninja's motorcycle? My guy would fight to the death for his motorcycle. Nice going dickweed."

Weasly Crusher: "Couldn't we have hidden our toe rings inside ourselves?"

Deviant Boy: "Good role-playing!"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz."

Me: "I don't really think you are giving this a chance."

El Disgusto: "Shut up Lamont! I said SHUT UP!"

The arguments and dog beatings took up another hour or so of my life but finally I said that I would 'retool' my ideas.

Me: "Ok remake your characters as naval officers. You will be playing the crew of a nuclear submarine ordered to hide at the bottom of the sea when the invasion began. You will be the team sent to investigate the surface, you will be fully equipped with weapons and other stuff. "

Psycho Dave: "Much better. Is there a chance that I killed the submarine captain and took over?"

Me: "No."

El Disgusto: "Ok I am a naval officer but I am also secretly a spy for the ninjas."

Me: "Seeing as how all of the civilized world has fallen to the alien spiders I don't think that matters much."

El Disgusto: "On no those aliens only THINK they got the ninjas."

Me: "Fine whatever."

Deviant Boy: "My character is a tough as nails commando... but she's really hot."

Weasly Crusher: "I'm her cousin and we're lesbians."

Deviant Boy: "We're in love."

Weasly Crusher: "We share a bunk."

Me: "Please... save it for the game."

El Disgusto: "Shut up Lamont! Don't make me get the stick of pain!"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Wh- why is my cop on a submarine?"

Me: "You're playing a navy MP... don't you remember?"

The Amazing Boozehound: "Oh ok."

Me: "Anyway. The captain of the submarine is worried because he hasn't heard from Washington in six months. He calls you in the middle of the night to his office-"

Deviant Boy: "Since it's the middle of the night my character shows up wearing a flimsy teddy."

Weasly Crusher: "Ohhh me too."

Me: "The captain says-"

El Disgusto: "Shouldn't the captain roll to see if he notices me? I am a ninja after all. I-- Stick of Pain Lamont! Stick of Pain!"

Me: "The captain orders you to the go ashore and find out what has been happening."

The Amazing Boozehound: "I say- Dammnit Captain! I'm a good cop!"

Me: "He wants you to go ashore immediately."

Psycho Dave: "I say we fire our nukes."

Me: "Immediately!"

The next hour of the game was taken up with the crew listing the many types of guns, knives, rocket launchers and butt plugs their characters would bring. Sometime during the discussion Lamont, desperate for food and suffering for what would turn out to be terminal dysentery tried to walk down the basement steps only to collapse into a quivering furry heap atop an orange crate of freshly painted minis. El Disgusto howled with rage and went to town with the stick of pain until Lamont hid behind the furnace.

Finally we got back to the game:

Me: "Ok you've got your raft as full of equipment as it can be and you're-"

El Disgusto: "Wait... what about my motorcycle?"

Me: "What?"

El Disgusto: "My character wants to bring his motorcycle."

Me: "Look your character spent the last six months on a submarine."

El Disgusto: "Then so did his motorcycle."

Me: "How in the name of all that is holy could you get anyone to agree to bring a motorcycle onto a submarine?"

El Disgusto: "What are you asking me for? You're the one running this crappy game!"

Me: "Ok then. As you all are standing there an Ensign Bruno says 'Don't forget this!' And rolls a motorcycle off the deck onto the rubber raft. The weight collapses the raft and you are all tangled up in it and the motorcycle. You are dragged down beneath the surface of the ocean and drown. End of game."

To punctuate this I took the Lords of Creation rulebook and threw it against the wall. Harsh words were exchanged on all sides. Who knows we might have even come to blows if not for Lamont staggering out from behind the furnace and spraying stream of doggie diarrhea over couch that had everyone's coats draped across it.

In the pandemonium that followed I made my way home. I can always get another coat.