I would bet a lot of the people who follow Waypoint have also played their fair share of Tabletop Rpgs. Tabletop Rpgs like Fate, D&D, Dungeon World, and more are great at having some of the most memorable and personal stories we can experience. These stories can be gut-busting hilarious or stories so emotional it brought tears to all involved but a lot of the time they are never shared with others. So instead of keeping these stories to ourselves I think it would be great to use this thread to share the great adventures you have experienced as a GM or PC.
I was actually going to start a similar thread, so instead I’ll just offer a story of my own:
My tabletop group fairly recently wrapped up a mini-campaign of Shadowrun - our final mission was to retrieve a Wuxing tech or something that had gone missing. When we found her, she was cybered up to the gills, missing so much essence after some special operation she’d effectively gone insane.
Long story short, my ex-Knight Errant mystic adept, Martyr, ended up fighting off a heavily armored, chainsaw wielding cyborg with a sword and some well-placed AP rounds without taking so much as a scratch. It was a close call, but the whole team made it out alive.
The first D&D campaign I had ever run ended earlier this year after 7 years. At the end I had two group of 5-6 players both playing in the same world. We played 4th edition D&D. My favourite story is how one of those groups broke the world.
Somewhere around the middle of the campaign both the parties are heading to the Capitol of the World. A big ol’ fantasy metropolis, center of religion and politics and culture, typical stuff. I spent weeks planning this place out. All the factions, important people, adventure hooks, temples. One of the parties gets there and basically spends the whole session filling out paperwork in order to just get inside the city. They then proceed to basically go on a pub crawl for the next few sessions.
Meanwhile, the other group is in a bad way. They’re in the middle of a dungeon and they’re about to die, it’s going to be a Total Party Kill. But they have one ace in the hole: a relic that they kinda sorta stole from a god called The Codex of Infinite Planes. This massive book lets the reader travel to anywhere they can imagine on any plane of existence with a successful arcana check. If they fail, they still go to where they intended but “calamity follows in their wake.” Having no other means of escape, one of the characters, a wizard, wrestles the book out of their bag of holding and tries to get everyone to the Capitol, specifically “somewhere safe.”
And they rolled a 2.
They arrive in the center of the city, in one of the richest and safest districts, and I decided that soon after an inter-planar rift opens near them, a kind of magic black hole that sucks in and spews out everything from every possible plane of existence. Over the next few sessions both groups are now in some sort of Roland Emmerich disaster movie where the city is being torn apart by tidal waves, lava flows, and invasions by extra planar entities.
Meanwhile I take everything I wrote about this city, pages and pages of notes, and place them directly in the garbage. The whole world we had created, and the rest of the campaign, pivoted on a single die roll.
This is why I love tabletop RPGs.
For old stories, the first long campaign I was in was really something. It was an L5R campaign, where the setting and threats were played entirely straight, and the PCs were magistrates that had roughly the competence of Police Squad. There are dozens of stories from that, like the time we let a spy go because we bought his story about being framed for a murder, or the time we got so personally frustrated with an ancient Kuni Witch Hunter that we abandoned him and his detachment in a haunted forest, but the one that takes the cake was the finale. We had been tracking signs of an insurgent Spider Clan (evil samurai tainted by magic corruption, in our version of the setting they were never legitimized) and found that they were going to attempt to kill the Empress on New Year’s. We raced against the clock to figure out how they intended to do it since the Imperials blew off our vague stories of “Someone is gonna murder the Empress” since, to them, that was always the case.
After a distraction by a rampaging Oni the night of New Year’s, we figured out that they intended to use an Earthquake spell while the guards were distracted by a massive army of zombies. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 of the party went down trying to stop the spell, leaving the Hare Clan samurai who had rushed the temple the Empress was taking shelter in to try to convince them to come out. Unfortunately, due to our Akodo archer’s attempts to interrupt the spell failing, the building collapsed as he arrived. He managed to save an Imperial shugenja (the setting’s wizards) and then save the Imperial heirs, but the Empress didn’t make it. Her last request of the samurai was to be the hero Rokugan will need after her death. They managed to escape with the heirs, right as the last stone in the grand temple settled on top of the Empress, the heads of the Imperial Families, and every Great Clan Champion. Off in the distance, the last Imperial soldiers cut down the last of the zombies, and the sun rose.
I was DMing a low-level campaign, and the party had an unlucky run-in with a werewolf. One of the players got slashed up enough to contract lycanthrophy, but they all managed to escape. They went back to town and visited the local temple to get the curse/disease lifted, and the clergy agreed to cast the spells necessary for free, but only if the party would go and kill the werewolf.
The party then split up to get supplies, with the human gunslinger heading off in search of silver bullets, and the gnome alchemist heading off with him. They reached the general store and the gunslinger walked right up to the counter and asked about the bullets.
A little bit of background: the town they were in was an isolated frontier town. It bordered a forest rumoured to be haunted, and the people of the community had become insular and a little paranoid. The clergy of the temple had asked the players to keep quiet about the werewolf; rumours of lycanthrophy had been used in the past to justify exiles and murders, and they wanted to avoid a panic.
Which meant a stranger wandering into town asking for silver bullets immediately roused the suspicion of the shopkeep.
Already suspicious of the gunslinger by virture of him being an outsider, the shopkeep was evasive. He tried to talk circles around the gunslinger, confirm his suspicions of why this stranger, why anybody, would want silver bullets. When he finally just outright asked why the gunslinger answered that he was “a collector”. I asked him to roll a bluff check, and he failed it spectacularly.
“Oh, ye collect bullets, do ye?” the shopkeep scoffed.
At this point the alchemist, who had been pocketing a non-trivial amount of the inventory of the store during all of this, made his way to the counter, looked the shopkeep dead in the eyes, and asked him: “How’d you like to start ‘collecting’ bullets?”
The gunslinger’s hand went to the butt of his revolver.
I asked the alchemist to roll an intimidation check. He rolled a natural 20.
The gunslinger walked out of there with every silver bullet in the store, at a considerably reduced price.
Hmm, it would be easy to list some of my favorite setpieces from the Dungeon World campaign I’m DMing, but that feels awfully… masturbatory. We’ve had some fun character moments, though, absolutely. For instance:
The party had spent the last half dozen sessions (among juggling other fronts) deactivating the city’s ancient demonic defenses bound into the walls that the city, so long at peace, has outgrown, since the wall’s reactivating defenses automatically view the urban sprawl outside the walls as a besieging army.
They had cleared out the third and final still-active Warden (aka bound demonic construct) buried beneath the towers in the walls–in this case hundreds of skeletons stitched into a massive human-leather-bound mummified serpent–and the session, along with the adventure arc, were drawing to a close.
The party dragged their battered selves back through the catacombs to the exit, where they found a ring of 30+ guards headed by an Imperial Executor they have had an uneasy working relationship with for the past few sessions, who attempted to arrest them for their ties to a revolutionary society, various murders witnesses can corroborate, etc.
The thief immediately bolted, while the paladin was slammed to the ground by telekinetic weight from the Imperial mages. The immolator laid down a wall of (literal) covering fire as the alchemist (unofficial additional character sheet) helped drag the paladin back underground, where the party reactivated the magic wards on the catacombs to seal themselves in.
The immolator raged at the thief for abandoning everyone else, and the other party members barely managed to keep things from coming to blows–all while the door to the catacombs began to shudder under Imperial assault. The party found their way back through the catacombs to another collapsed tunnel leading away, alchemy-blasted their way through the blockage to flee into the night–and here the immolator used the Burning Brand move to attempt to implant the thief with the idea to stay behind and hold off the pursuing Imperials while the others seal the barrier behind them.
With a tense first use of the “Interfere” move (that the thief barely managed to pull off), the immolator… managed to roll 8-2, for a failure of 6, and the party moved uneasily down the tunnel and into the darkness together.
…From there, it was aftercare and interpersonal communication among the players to make sure that everyone was on the same page, because whew, the tension was palpable there. Fortunately these two players are the ones who lean hardest into their roleplaying in the group, and they were able to separate personal feelings from character motivations going forward.
My favorite was an entire campaign of ad&d where gold counted towards experience. After losing a couple of characters to a wand that could do 1 of 10,000 things when used casting fireball, we decided dungeon crawling was too dangerous and decided to open an inn/magic item shop and use the proceeds to become high level that way. We then assassinated a political enemy by sending him on a day trip to hell, got rich by turning an ogre into a pure platinum statue as he was getting ready for a boxing match, and the campaign ended with us ruining a dinner party by killing Dispater and destroying the iron city. We were the best innkeepers of all time.
I started a Dungeon World game with the intention of running something semi-serious, but some of the players clearly wanted to be playing something sillier. Case in point: Our bard declared that his musical instrument is some kind of medieval lute/bagpipe/theramin combo, an experimental work he was constantly adding to in order to recreate a divine sound of pure beauty. Any time we go to an inn or a tavern, he offers to play, and the rest of the group groans and tries to change the subject. Ha ha, classic bard, I guess.
Then we semi-accidentally turned him into a drug addict plagued by ghosts, and things started getting really dark.
We played through Ghostwood Haunts awhile back, an adventure that features a gang of drug dealers selling amber nightshade, a hallucinogen you can smoke to communicate with (real) ghosts. To infiltrate the drug ring, one of the PCs – they decided on the bard – needed to sample the goods, as it were. And then again, because they needed to talk to a ghost to find out who killed her. And then the group got into a fight in a room with a bunch of old paintings and silks and valuable documents, right next to the drug lab, and someone threw a fireball, and then the tunnels were filled with amber nightshade smoke, and, well, you get where this is going.
Ghostwood Haunts includes a compendium class, which our bard has now taken: Drug Addict. Now he can use amber nightshade whenever he wants, which prompted weird, prophetic visions of the instrument talking to him, telling him things it “needed,” like a ghost strand, or a witch king’s bones – things I kind of threw in to be cryptic, but which he decided to throw himself into. He hunted down ghosts. He plundered the remains of a witch king. He ended up taking the Fighter playbook move that said he has “spirits” in his weapon he can now talk to whenever he wants. And because he asks every single session, I make sure there is at least one ghost to talk to every single session.
We’re wrapping up the campaign soon, and he hasn’t yet completed his masterpiece, his instrument of divine beauty that constantly eggs him on toward stepping through a portal to the underworld, claiming unholy powers as his own, touching the unspeakable to make it part of himself. I have no idea what will happen when he finally finds the last piece and plays the chord he’s been seeking, or at least the chord the instrument has been directing him to find.
A really cool moment happened a few weeks ago while playing Masks.
My character was introduced, not as part of the main party but as a part of the story and as such the other players didn’t know anything about my character that I didn’t tell them. Even my character sheet was locked by the GM in Roll20.
A situation arose where the party had to decide if they would aid in the mission to stop the man who wanted to get rid of natural born supers, my character’s grandfather.
One of the players had figured out that my character was a Nova, just like her grandfather. Rather than allowing his character to acknowledge this, he engaged with a 30 minute argument with me about the ethical ramifications of heading down this path. He realized he was talking about killing my people, and in that, me and managed to have an incredible conversation that added to the depth and realism of the characters.
I’ve had some really cool moments in RPGs, but that was the first time I think I really understood how the stories could come to life.
Ahh I love sharing tabletop stories.
My favorite tabletop moment was when the party I was GM’ing for managed to avert three separate apocalypses at the climax of our game of 13th Age. The Icon system really lends itself to high fantasy and we definitely leaned into it. So they averted the Demonocalypse by killing the head demon lieutenant, cleansed the Koru Behemoth that had been corrupted by the Diabolist, and used it to fight the Tarrasque (which they had accidentally awakened) as it rampaged across the Imperial Capitol. And the Druid turned into some kind of mole creature that could pierce the underside of the Tarrasque, where they killed it from the inside. It was really cool, especially after nine months of laying the groundwork for a Multipocalypse.
I’m bringing this back from the dead cause this kinda stuff always interests me.
My group just started playing Blades In The Dark, and its been a great time. The first session has been a real stand out so far. We are a group of 4, with our DM and one of the players belonging to a different table top group that had played their own Blades In The Dark campaign. Our DM decided it’d be fun if important characters from the his other group’s campaign had little cameos here and there, no more than one a session, and never anything important.
The first cameo turned into the lynch pin for our first heist.
We had to steal a box with a ghost in it from a fancy schmancy party. So I did what any respectable Slide (if you don’t know what a slide is, it’s the smooth talking class) would do. I stole a catering outfit and pretended to be part of the wait staff walking around serving hors d’oeuvres. This is where the cameo kicked in.
Turns out my DM played a character that was, the worst butcher imaginable. He sold just the most putrid meat. He was a firm believer that no butcher should wash their knives, cause that washes off the flavor it accumulates. In a little throw away line our DM mentioned that nearby the party, like half a block was some shady looking butcher selling some really rancid looking eel.
This one little throw away cameo, meant to be an inside joke for one other player, became the centerpiece of our heist. I bought that bad eel & swapped it with the hors d’oeuvres I was serving to the guests and the security around the party, then proceeded to break the only working toilet at the party.
The heist ran pretty smoothly after that, people aren’t on the lookout for thieves when they have intense food poisoning.
I recently joined up with a group of folks playing some D&D 5th ed, and promptly rolled a lizardfolk warlock. Because I am the worst, he refers to people as “x meat,” where x is usually size (as determined by the Monster Manual description, but can also be things like “flying” or “scaled” or “extra,” with regards to the rabbit our mage keeps under his hat). He also is very quick to point out that he is wearing The Civilized Pants, because his function in his tribe was to be a diplomat of sorts. This is not super-important information, but I love my terrible lizard son and will die for him, so.
We had found a ransacked village, and, in the course of exploring it, had taken a couple of goblins captive. Our fighter, who is a dragonborn samurai of sorts, befriended them and kept making them tea. We found out the majority of the town had fled north and, mistakenly, into caves which already had a goblin band lead by one particularly clever goblin and his two ogre enforcers. We decided we would try ransoming the goblins for the villagers (or at least for some of the villagers) and after disguising myself as a hobgoblin (and our bard and lead negotiator as a goblin), we strode boldly into the cavern to begin negotiations.
Negotiations never actually got off the ground. We still have two goblin captives, but there’s nobody to trade them with. Also, the samurai refuses to consider them actual prisoners and keeps referring to them as his friends, in spite of the fact that we’ve bound and gagged them (“depending on what kind of friends they are you might do that,” was his reply which, I mean, he’s not wrong).
It’s been a lot of fun, is what I’m saying.