BATTLE HYMNS AND HUMILITY
Granny Gun VS Goody Goody
If youre going to ditch your goody-goody superhero attitude, knock on the dumpster-secret-weapons-dealer-of-the-psycho-player, buy an Uzi, charge into the shopping mall and then open fire, at least learn a bit about guns first, such as ammunition limits, so that old-bag lady-with-shotgun doesnt just hear click click, stare down an empty barrel, whip a Spaz-12 out of her groceries and leave a large, smoldering hole where your man of steel symbol was once emblazoned on your spandex.
The Great Broadside Battle
The Purple Pirate Peterson had a plan! Win! Well, yes, thats was everyones plan, but Triple-P missed the boat. Literally.
The doomed brigantine of which Triple-P was aboard ran across a Spanish galleon in the open sea, a ship which easily outgunned them 3-to-1, and outmanned them even more. In Pirates, mass combat is simplified for pacing reasons, so one player rolls for all the cannons aboard the ship he is on, whether he commands them or not. Why the rest of the players elected Triple-P to roll their cannons was a strange beginning to the battle, for he was known for having horribly unlucky dice. But never fear! Triple-P had a plan!
Triple-P leapt overboardor tried to. Rolling a 1 on his agility check, his feet hooked the railing and he slammed face-first into the hull, and proceeded to slide down the side of the ship into the water. He recovered and swam between the two vessels, cannonballs and chain-shot creating a storm of metal and misery above his head. His plan was to abandon the doomed-to-lose side and join the Spaniards. However, as he was still rolling for the brigantine, his bad luck held true. He now rolled a critical hit, and the galleons powder hold went up in a grand explosion, leaving the traitor alone in the ocean, with nowhere to go but back to the pirate crew he just abandoned.
Triple-P was undaunted. He STILL had a plan! Hed just climb back aboard and they wouldnt notice. Of course, notice they did, but now, the tide had turned! One man against a hundred and twenty? Triple-P fought to the last manhis dice were on fire, and he managed to fight until only he and the NPC captain remained! Were his dice cleansed by swimming in the sea? Had they used up all their bad luck? Ghostly voices would later tell the tale in many seaside tavernes how accursed dice NEVER lose their supernatural power. Triple-P, an authority on losing characters, should have known this. The dices bad luck were simply saving the best for last. The NPC captain fell. He was victorious! Yet, he wanted one more shot for good measure, and needing a 1 to miss, indeed he rolled one, a critical miss, thus he reared back with his cutlass too fast, hit himself, and fell to the blood-stained deck, dead. Very dead.
I honestly couldnt think of a better title for this one. After all, how do you describe something like this? A super-hero is in his apartmentlet me back up and say I use the term hero lightly, this guys apartment being full of guns and trophy cases filled with various dead villains trademarks. Anyway, for some reason (perhaps an ineffective, i.e. boring GM) finds his hero-partner trying to sneak in through the window. A shotgun blast to both kneecaps had the hero-partner-burglar now trying to steal the only thing he could, the other guys thunder, by flipping him off, then diving back out the window, where he proceeded to crawl along with his super-speed power at the same rate his former-partner could run after him, taking wildly aimed shotgun blasts at him all the way to the Hudson River. The chase ended when a super-villain blindsided them both. Hmmm, perhaps the GM wasnt so ineffective, if boredom is a new villainous tactic to get bored heroes to weaken themselves BEFORE hatching his nefarious plan . . . or perhaps the heroes could have waited for the GM to FINISH the introductory text before they needed to get to the action.
We Go AROUND The Bush
The party has assembled, all new characters, all new campaign. Theyre ready to assault the legendary Hill. Player Characters and NPCs compose a group 15 strong. After successfully navigating the treacherous river (so treacherous it is summarized in the introductory text), they set foot on The Hill, the first brave adventurers to do so in . . . days. It is a maze of paths and caves, dells and dens of vicious, hungry monsters (remember that, it will become importantthe innkeeper remembered to remind them, after all). Making their way a path, they come to their first encounter.
GM: "The paths runs alongside a large bush, like a hedge. The bush is shaking, and terrible snarling sounds come from within."
The party leader, seeking to do justice to the bad-ass movie character he modeled his fighter after, stomps into the bush, two-handed sword drawn (one-handed, of course). The snarling sounds quickly become growling sounds. A moment later, the party leader tries to flee, but all the party sees is his going straight like a board, slamming hard on the path, and then being quickly dragged into the bush by his legs. Several more sounds and shakes come from the bush, followed by the party leaders freshly cleaned skull being spit back out, landing at the partys feet.
Second in command: "Um, we go AROUND the bush."
Former party leader: "What?! You can do that?"
You Were Warned
Darron likes to have big bad fighters, and likes to have all the experience points to himself. He warned everyone else to stay away from him in battle. But Chris wanted to be part of the action, and he got to be! The first round into battle, Darron rolled a natural 1, a critical miss, and decapitated Chris.
Sometimes life imitates art, and visa-versa, almost as if the real and fantasy worlds are locked in a passionate embrace.
Our good friend Anthony was a little repressed and somewhat homophobic, but so are most young men in their teens (I was myself). Attending his first game convention, his culture shock became comparable to 12000 volts when he met the Freaky Fat Faggot Frenchman, a short guy with greasy black hair, a pudgy tummy, a red satin cape and an obsession for talking about his new game, always ending with "Youz want to play wiz my (dice) zack?" Anthony must have felt like the cat always being chased by Peppy La Pu, for no matter where he went, this guy was always around the next corner, in the elevator, etc. So, naturally, Anthonys kind and understanding GM made the newly dubbed Quad-F into an NPC antagonist back home.
In a pirate game, Anthonys suicidal captain's tendencies to ram a few too many ships left him floating naked in the ocean, trying to swim between Jamaica and Cuba. He was rescued by a French pinnace with red sails, and a familiar captain. Taken to the captains quarters by his rather manhandling crew, Anthony finally went berserk. First, the Quad-F was reduced to a fabulous pile on the floor courtesy of le-chair. Afterwards, le-rapier proceeded to reduce said pile to a gay block of Swiss Cheese. After being hurled through the window to feed the sharks, Quad-F's crew, not wholly amused by the fantastic slaughter of their captain, I'm sure would have taken action had Anthony's former crew not at that moment found a new prize ship and proceeded to attack.
Anthony, not wishing to endure the certain doom of two ships colliding together, ended up back in the sea, where the blood of the Quad-F had already attracted the sharks. He accepted his fate this time. Was this truly the best choice? Sometimes there is no right answer. Welcome to the Caribbean.
Brads Barrett .50
Weve all seen it. Every player has a preferred weapon of choice. Some dont realize what theirs is until they find not so much the right weapon, but the right GAME. In Brads case, once he put down the sword and switched to a space RPG where he could pick up guns, he found the real-life Barrett .50 (caliber).
Why aliens aboard a derelict ship that drifts into the star port always like the warm and very radioactive reactor room for a nest few can say, but Brad didnt care about that. He just wanted to SHOOT SOMETHING! He found his way to the engine room all right, and fired right into the core with his 50-cal sniper rifle. When the ensuing crack and reactor meltdown beganwith Brad deep inside the ship listening to the annoying electrical pseudo-female voices ". . . minimum safe distance" every 60 secondsinstead of dropping the gun and other cumbersome gear and running as fast as he could, he ARGUED as much as he could, and not with the GM about whether a 50 caliber sniper rifle could actually pierce an engine (although that would have been funny in itself), he called up a nearby control console and tried to ascertain the structural integrity of the reactors metal plating, learning much to his chagrin that if the annoying-computer-voice is already warning you of imminent meltdown you probably caused irreparable damage.
Realizing too late that the time spent activating the console made it impossible for him to reach minimum safe distance in time, he tried to commit suicide, saying that neither aliens nor the ship would kill him. Yet the lengthy barrel of his Barrett .50 made it impossible for his diminutive alien character to shoot himself, and he blew up with the ship.
Vampires Beware Of Children
The rash of vampire RPGs in the 90s led to a lot of mixed systems, and thus a lot of unbalanced games. Some vampires managed to get beat up by old ladies with their telephones. But this time, for once, both the rules and rolls were in harmony with the role . . . of a rather stupid vampire.
While other characters were busy concealing their coffins in abandoned London subway tunnels and burning down old folks homes for easy Evil Points, Ben thought it would be even easier to haunt the playground for children. Easy prey! Problem was, children only play during daylight hours. Perhaps mothers worry about vampires as well as muggers and rapists. They neednt worry. Weakened by the sunlight, the children managed to thoroughly thrash our cunning vampire-lord.
Adding insult to injury, the police hauled the vampire away in a paddy wagon, but the children could not be charged for their crimes due to their being minors.
"Im Not Dead Yet": The Comic Avenger
The Cosmic Avenger was supposedly Manhattans most popular superhero. This do-gooder was busy this fine day, giving an over-the-top speech to the kiddies about being virtuous. Little did he know his greatest villain was in townGawa Gathac (GM Arrives With A Grudge Against The Heros Amazing Costume). Three thugs start causing havoc on the playground, so Avenger goes to "Show the kiddies what he means by all this heroism." Perhaps the thugs had Kryptonite dice. Or maybe they were incredibly lucky. Or maybe, just maybe, Gawa Gathac gave them superpowers even they didnt know about. But they managed to use their seemingly very earthly and very drunk ability scores to snap Avengers goggles, bind his boots together with stolen shoelace, and give those funky superhero underoos a wedgie with a natural 100 on the percentile dice! Thus bound and gagged, they proceeded to spraypaint our heros goggles and stuff him in a dumpster. Perhaps next time, the Comic Avenger will heed the GMs warning when he says to not have every character wear the same costume accessories.
Flag smasher VS gate crasher
In yet another super hero story, a very anti-patriotic super villain was making his getaway from the Statue Of Liberty. Youd think that, as often as that place gets used for secret bases, that villains must have some sort of time-share deal worked out. Anyway, our hero had a sealed suit of nigh-indestructible metal, but was himself one rank stronger than the metal so he could bend it to force movement, and with super speed power got his movement rate to normal. He also carried a 9 baseball bat made of the same material.
Our hero chased the villain up to the Statues crown, bashing the many tourists that got in his way and smashing turnstiles just for fun. At the top, the villains helicopter was waiting. A second (or first) superhero tethered the villains foot to the Crown in a move he must have seen in a movie or two, but with a bungee cord, which must have been his own idea. So tethered, the now aptly dubbed Gate Crasher swung and struck, but our villain was not quite dead yet, even after the great snapping back and forth, high then low, from the Statues Torch, until finally coming to rest somewhere near her armpit. Gate Crasher leapt off the Torch, and took a swing on the way down, but missed. Crushing a few reporters and regaining something of his hero status thereby, he subsequently lost it again as he charged back up the stairs. Time and time again he leapt off the Torch, swinging and missing our villain, who was literally just hanging around, a stationary target if there ever was one.
Finally, Gate Crasher realized why he kept missingthe armor slowed him down too much, creating a large penalty to his mid-air (and rapidly-falling) attack rolls. So, he tore his suit open and left it behind, then ran up and leapt off again. He missed again, but as always, he never missed the ground. And this time without armor.
The scraps of the armor were given to charity to pay the families of many mangled tourists, mostly from Japan, who just happened to have the technical know-how to melt and reform the metal, which was used to build a super-hero (but not super-villain) proof gate to the Statue Of Liberty, preventing future massacres.