Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks
Illustration for article titled Your Greatest RPG Disasters.

Everyone who's ever played a round of D&D or any of their favorite tabletop RPGs has had a moment. A moment where all careful planning and tactics have failed utterly, and all that's left is a roll of the dice. The odds are insurmountable—the math does not even remotely favor you, but if you succeed, oh, if you succeed—the legends that will be told. Your group will forever retell the tale of the incredible hero. Maybe they will share it with their gamer friends. They'll regale other groups with your RPG prowess and your name will enter the hollowed place of your local game store history.

And then you roll the dice. And then it goes horribly, horribly wrong. Instead of that 20 you needed, you roll a 1. Or maybe you threw a fireball and completely forgot that your warrior buddy was heroically fighting the monster next to it.

Or maybe it wasn't the dice's fault at all. Maybe it was 'that guy'. The guy in your group who, with great energy and authority declares an action that causes a stunned silence, save a steady GM who replies "Are you sure?" And even as every player waves their hands and screams frantically he forges ahead because he just knows. And you all know how bad it's going to be, because for the fist time all session the DM is smiling.

I'm bored tonight and I want to share maybe the greatest part of doing TT RPGs; the stories of everyone acting like idiots and losing the game. So whether you had it in the bag and the dice suddenly decided that they were going to fill out the 1s and 2s for the year, or one of your friends decided that, in the absence of all smart moves, the only way forward was something mind-blowingly dumb, share the here.

To start us off, I present my own. The name of the game is Shadowrun, and the story is:

Elevators 1, Shadowrunners 0.

A daring datasteal! A running firefight against highly trained Red Samurai! A group of Shadowrunners on the ropes! The party was forced to flee with the data intact down an elevator shaft to gain access to the lower levels in a massive spire of a major Renraku complex. But with the fire team hot on their heels, the Decker manages to penetrate a few security systems, open the maintenance shaft, and then lock them all down, buying them time while the Samurai either force their way through the security doors or get them back online. It's a race against time, and they're not even sure how low they want to go: They figure security is waiting on the bottom floor, but they're in a rush—they can hear them working on the door above!

When the GM describes that they can see sparks start to eminate from the door above they decide enough is enough and they need to get out, now. Trouble is, they don't feel they've gotten far enough. There's some back and forth arguing until one player who by now had something of a reputation decided to take matters into his own hands. His character is at the bottom of the chain and has the data! Screw those guys, he's getting payday. He cuts through the bickering and announces that he is sliding down the Elevator like 'Jackie Chan'.

Calmly, the GM informs him that he is about 40 stories up, to which he replies "Okay!" The following exchange occurs:

GM: Okay, you're sliding down at quite a rate.
Player: Cool!


(Pause, dice rolling, everyone else scrambles down screaming and debating shooting at him. They stay their hands because they already know how this ends.)

GM: (Marks a note): You're going really fast now, dude.
Player: Awesome!

GM: (More marking, more die rolling. Three exchanges pass. Two other players shoot each other a 'Is this happening?' look). Okay, you're starting to fall really fast. Way too fast. It's starting to feel like you're falling.
Player: I stop!
GM: (Pause) Just... stop?
Player: Yep!

The GM does the trademark Shadowrun Move: He rolls an insane amount of six sided dice:

Illustration for article titled Your Greatest RPG Disasters.

And declares he had taken enough damage to 'irrepairably damage' both his Cyberarms, which squeal and twitch before he freefalls the remaining distance on top of the elevator. As it turns out, dermal armor isn't all that helpful against fall damage and manages to break both legs, but he's not quite dead.

To his credit, he roleplays himself quite dramatically calling out for help, sputtering blood. The Decker, without missing a beat says


'I open the door to the closest level, let the team out and set a 30 second timer that blows the brakes on the elevator, and blow the magnetics so that it shoots up like a rocket at the fire team. '

The player, incredulous, points out that he has the data so the run is scrapped. Remember how I said the dude had a reputation? The Decker knew that.


So the GM shows a note that says 'Give him a blank datachip.'

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