Waypoint Weeklies: Favorite Moment in a TTRPG

Tabletop role-playing games have been a staple at the table for decades. One could even argue that the practice of sitting around a table and collaboratively telling a story is something that’s been happening for generations. For some, there’s nothing better than sitting around a table or settling into a group voice call and having fun playing a character with friends, acquaintances or even strangers.

One of the most important tenets of TTRPG is that everyone gets a turn in the spotlight, that the Game Master give everyone a chance to show what their character is good at. So what was your shining moment in a TTRPG? Give us a story about a time your character had the spotlight, a time your group did something cool, a time that you looked up at your GM with the biggest smile as the realization dawned on their face that you were about to succeed at doing something they’d absolutely not planned for.

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I spent several combat rounds turning and prepping a cannon that the GM wanted us to use to finish off a giant monster fight. I even had a good one liner lined up, only to then roll a critical failure and completely whiff it.

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A couple weeks ago in my friend group’s d&d campaign, our characters accused each other of murder and made the DM cry from laughing.

It was a simple murder investigation where each character got different information. Due to each of our characters being unreliable, we didn’t give all the information to each other. One of the party members ended up with the murder weapon and another one matched the (not well described) description of the murderer. After a short standoff, the one reliable one of the group eventually put everything together and we could continue the investigation.
But that was a good half an hour of misunderstandings. It was great

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A hard (ish) sci fi campaign I GMed some years ago had a whole bunch of incredibly memorable moments for me! Here are the ones that stick most in my mind.

The group had to go to a place on a quarantined continent. It was devastated in a grey goo scenario, but that is only relevant because it means that the planetary government (which has the most advanced tech in the sector) has put it on the strictest military lockdown. The opportunity I put in front of them was a high society cruise ship that anchors just off its coast to have a shitty disaster tourism party; the challenges being getting on the ship in the first place, then leaving unnoticed, trekking to the place and getting back safely. Folks, they did not bite on that hook. They instead ended up asking me smart questions about the nature of the security measures and probing them out with their spaceship. I told them that they’re almost guaranteed to immediately detect any energy signature bigger than a smartphone, and that this security grid extends about as far as low orbit. So they… jumped. Out of their spaceship. From low orbit. Using a precisely calculated entry vector. With parachutes to land and inflatable balloons to get back up. And the only thing that went wrong was that one of them landed slightly off, had to walk a bit more and evade some security drones (which she did handily).

Another time the group was on a giant city ship floating in the upper layers of a gas giant. Much of this city is closed down, being full of incredibly powerful and/or valuable “pretech” as well as dangerous security measures. The government reclaims these areas district by district and sometimes gives out salvage contracts to third parties, but of course illegal scavenging is rampant. This is also what my group was doing. They managed to get hold of an alien stealth shuttle in a previous mission and parked it below the city, near where they knew of a service hatch into an unexplored area. They timed it with a storm the city was flying through so that no patrol craft would be out, making for a pretty harrowing trip across badly maintained external catwalks. They made it in, disabled the security and found what they were looking for. I flavored the area they discovered as an arcade, including some ancient museum pieces. Because I had played and liked it recently I described one of the machines as an Indiana Jones pinball table where the shooter is shaped like a pistol. They instantly wanted it and started to carry it back to their shuttle. Disaster struck when a gale hit just when they were trying to get it across a gap in the catwalk, yanking the table away and sending it tumbling into the gas giant. The players wasted no time, ran to the shuttle and dove after it hard. The pilot gave it all he had, and it was so close, but not quite enough. So, while the atmospheric pressure kept rising, the other player exited the shuttle, tethered herself to it and - again - jumped. She managed to grab it, the cable held, and the pilot was able to stop the descent before the shuttle crumpled under the pressure. This pinball table is now their most prized possession.

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At a TRPG con a long time ago, I played in a dual-group game with two teams that were competing in a 80 Days Around the World style adventure. Sneaking into the other room to spy on their conversations for our plans (and them naturally doing the same to us) was an absolute blast.

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My last game the party fought a wizard who was using an enchanted theater to manifest magical constructs in the form of characters in the plays that had been performed there over the years. My bard ended up being a better storyteller than he was so with a good performance roll she hijacked the magical energy and took control of enough of the constructs to give us an even fight against him.

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We were doing the final session of our DnD campaign that had been going for a year or two. In the final battle, one of the characters got exploded by the villain in the first or second round and that player was so mad that he wouldn’t be able to participate in the fight, he immediately ripped up his character sheet. The DM said “Uh, I was going to have an NPC revive you next round. I figured someone would for quickly, so I planned to have them arrive dramatically next round.”

The player frantically started trying to piece together his character sheet, but he couldn’t do it because he had shredded it too well, so the DM let him play a blue dragon since he happened to have those stats on hand.

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I wanted to comment on what Austin said about Switch Axe on the pod, since that’s the main weapon I have been using. The first skill for the Switch Axe (Invincible Gambit) makes you invincible for the whole duration, so you can use it to escape or punish attacks or roars from the monster. The second skill (Soaring Wyvern Blade, or something like that) is a more powerful attack that builds your meter quickly, but doesn’t give you any invincibility at all.

I agree that the second skill is way better in the Low Rank hunts because the monsters are pretty predictable, but I think Invincible Gambit is going to be really good in harder fights with more aggressive monsters.

Edit: I should also mention that both of these skills look and feel incredibly cool. However, there’s nothing better than doing a Final Fantasy Dragoon High Jump with your giant sword, which plants a bomb on the monster’s head, exploding for big damage numbers. That’s the other reason I have been using the second skill.

I’m very fond of a moment in an Eidolon: Become Your Best Self game (Jojo’s/Persona-esque game where you manifest your soul as a magical being). Our characters were being introduced one-by-one, strapped to chairs in cells by the international crime organisation we worked for. During another character’s introduction, a faceless technician is called into the room. I haven’t been introduced yet, so I roll the Reveal My Master Plan move to reveal that my master of disguise character has not only escaped her cell, but is in fact the technician who just walked in - leading to a guard discovering my empty cell and freaking the heck out as they attempt to raise an alarm.

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Not really a moment, but I once named a character “Osha Guideline” and I’m pretty sure I peaked on that day

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This sounds incredibly good! Definitely going to be keeping an eye on it for the full release.

This was in my group’s second session of Masks, which is a TTRPG based on stuff like Teen Titans or Young Avengers where the characters are all teenage superheros. It’s a pretty lighthearted system and it really leans into the interpersonal drama of the genre. Most of the group couldn’t make it, so it was me, another player, and the GM.

My character was a reformed villain who used to be in a hydra-esque karate cult and still had ties to parts of the criminal underworld, and the other player was basically one of 7 clone children created by this settings doctor doom who got really into dr phil and self-help to the point where he decided to become a hero.

The two of us end up busting an Iran/Contra-style trade in weapons and drugs between the local mob and a political splinter group of subterranean mole-people trying to overthrow their king (side note, our GM is fucking great) and escaping with the weapons. I decide that I’m going to lean into the villain thing and pawn them off to one of my contacts to pay off a debt I have instead of just handing them over to the authorities or melting them down or something.

The other character was obviously not jazzed about it, but we’d been leaning into this dynamic of him being the youngest and most naive in the team and my character being more worldly and morally flexible, so I kind of rode over him on that. But then the next day he shows up at my character’s apartment asking to be trained in martial arts.

My character’s training him but he keeps pushing the issue about last night in little ways until we start doing some sparring, and then it turns into one of those scenes where we’re both kind of pretending we’re not actually fighting, but there’s just so much subtext from the start and it turns into a straight up superhero fight that ends with my character momentarily reverting to cult assassin mode, pulling out a razorblade hidden under a fingernail and holding it to his teammate’s throat.

I loved that session because it was such a good introduction to what actually makes that system so interesting and dynamic, because it mechanises the emotional undercurrent of scenes like that and the differing needs and attachments for each different character. Our characters doing what they did was a natural progression stemming from the way that the rolls played out, and not just some out-of-pocket table behavior trying to assert dominance or whatever. It was all good vibes and smart characterization.

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