ROLE-PLAYING VS RULE PLAYING
Dennis played the classic belligerent dwarf all too well. Much like the etiquette skill, any rule in a gamebook simply MUST be used by someone eventually, if only to say they used it, as was the case with the new nobility rules the GM designed. Laying out clear rules for how to address the hereto confusing-to-teenagers titles of nobility, Dennis the Dwarf addressed the queen with the lowest line, "My Lady", rather than the appropriate "Your majesty." Perhaps he was being hasty as always, and simply stumbled over his tongue. Perhaps the queen felt so too, as she gave him a chance to try again. But when his words were the same, save that they were much more forceful, Dennis found himself cast into the dungeons. From there, he actually did change his words, as he began to scream about how the queen needed to repent. The battle of wills between supposed-role-player and GM-with-armies-and-a-brain ended with Dennis being sold into slavery as an orc love slave (or lady as they called them) as part of a border peace-treaty.
Newfound Piety, Newfound Sobriety
Weve all been there. A new player comes in or a new group forms, and all everyone can talk about is how their last few groups just couldnt role-play seriously. Kind of makes one wonder just how serious one is himself if hes gone through several groups so recently. We were soon to find out. For after endless preaching of the gospel of serious role-playing, as soon as a party member died, the preaching players cleric characterof lawful good alignment mind youtook his combat round to plunder the newly dead hero. And he didnt just take anything, but he took the dead guys holy symbol. His rationale? "Its worth 25 gold in town, but I can get 50 for it! All his other equipment is too heavy to be worth carrying, given its gold value" And he was surprised when a lightning bolt struck him down a moment later. The confused player argued that the orcs they were fighting didnt have any spells. The bemused GM replied "Right you are, but righteous you are not. The orcs may not have spells, but your god sure does!"
Matt had been a GM for a while, and forgot the finer points of play. From out of the night came a pack of wild warg-wolves. Trying overmuch to role-play, he felt that giving scraps of crusty bread and jerky would satisfy the hungry hellhounds. The rest of the party had already scrambled up the trees. Matt seemed to have forgotten that they were in a forest and that wolves cant climb. They CAN fight however, as Matt soon learned, ending up being torn into 23 different table scraps.
Courage VS Cannonball
Port Royal had many ships in her harbor, and during the day there were countless longboats going between their hulls and the wharf. But one of the galleons had crewmen that had robbed the party. So, Bosun Still decided to steal a rowboat and make for their ship. He made sure to try his caper at night, so nobody would see his approach. However, forgetting that in Pirates there is no demi-human infravision like hes used to, he hung a large lantern off the bow of his longboat. The crew he sought to settle his score with had plenty of time, watching the bobbing ball of light approaching, to load a cannon. When he came close enough, they hailed him: "Hold! Still!" Trapped in a medieval mentality (and perhaps these pirates knew it, judging from Stills insistence on wardrobe, speech and other anachronisms), Hold!" meant just that, to stop and consider a parley. His stationary position gave the crew a large bonus to their roll for firing the cannon, and scored a critical hit.
"Im Not Dead Yet": Dragons Make Bad Dates
Matt was exploring the indoor forest of a magical castle along with his newfound adventuring companions, armed with every piece of equipment in the books, when at a crossroads they came upon a fair maiden sleeping in the flowers, one arm draped over a chest, and a unicorn sleeping next to her.
Matt: "Im gonna move her and groove her!"
The maiden turned out to be a gold dragon in human form, which quickly resumed its true size and shape (and breath weapon), and left our intrepid adventurer of the innermost secrets of dragonkind with a decided lack of equipment of another kind.
Jessica is still learning the ropes (and to bring rope) for adventuring. Always playing in character, she never took back anything she said. But one time she said "Im not going into another room until its proven safe by the fighters." Soon enough, one room the fighters went stomping into had a very thin floor, and they fell thirty feet to a very painful landing. Jessica asked why she didnt take damage, and the GM informed her that she hadnt entered the room yet. Jessica claimed that she said she was following them. Confusion reigned. Finally, Jessica, ever in character, insisted she would indeed have entered, and all that anybody could picture was a woman with a low health score standing above a deep pit, filled with rubble and bodies, and then doing a swan dive onto the rocks.
My Lord . . .
The curtains were closed. The game table was lit with cheap supermarket candles. Haunting music squawked through the speakers of a boom-box in the corner. The mood was set for adventuring in the gothic horror tradition. Much role-playing was to follow, as several hours of gaming were never disturbed by the clattering roll of a single dice. Perhaps it was this over-indulgence on drama, or the characters over-indulgence on wine laced with vampire-blood, that caused them to forget their wit and survival instinct when the caped clone of Lugosi made his grand entrance just after nightfall, and was addressed as "My Lord" by all the players. Many realized their mistake alas too late, their souls already sold to the vampire count. Some tried to reconcile this by saying something like "Um, Mister GM, I meant to say Lord only, not MY Lord. But this GM was enjoying this situation too much. Somewhat irked at role-players seeming need to waste hundreds of dollars on gamebooks that were never used because dice, rules and adventure seemed secondary to drama, he decided to let the curse stand. The party was already defeated. Not that they could have made it far into the vampires castle anyway, not with mere words and half-witted explanations of how murdur holes, complex traps and the psychology of werewolves REALLY work. I mean, why roll dice to let fantasy alter-egos who have trained all their lives to overcome such obstacles and still only have a CHANCE try it when the players know-it-all and can just role-play through it? And role-play they will, to the end. For one player, apparently so drunk with vampire blood that he didnt understand why other players were trying to correct "My Lord" to just "Lord", argued over and over that he said "MY Lord", to make sure the GM heard him.