Friday, February 26, 2010

Live by the Random Table...Die by the Random Table

Before the last Planet Algol session I had come up with majority of my Random NPC and Random Plot tables (much of which was written while waiting for some of the tardier players to show up...).

Being a lover of Random Tables, of course I had to utilize them in that session. So I roll on the random plot table to see what new adventure hook would be dangled in the party's face when they roll into the big sword & sorcery city of Kharhem.

The result?
"A terrible howling storm of acid and radiation lashes the land driving all into shelters where they must contend with cannibalistic madness."
Yikes! Well, I couldn't sleep at night if I fudged. So yeah, the party had to take shelter in an inn while the entire city was lashed by acid rain and radioactivity...and than the cannibalistic madness set in.

I used generous saving throws. Some PCs (and NPCs) resisted the madness, others had to struggle with it, and some PCs tried to kill other PCs....and one of them did kill another PC and passed out after feasting on his flesh on the last day of the 5-day storm.

Oh, and before the cannibalistic madness started, one of the PCs died due to a unfortunate interaction with one of the random NPCs that was present in the inn.

Fortunately the party acquired on of those total-munchkin-cheese Empire of the Petal throne Eyes ("The Eye of Restoring Life") while fighting Tekumel monsters in the underworld, so the two deceased characters were brought back (after making their resurrection survival rolls of course!) when the madness ceased, but they lost two charges of the potent artifact as well as five days of harrowing terror and cannibalistic madness.

Meanwhile the city there were in, the city that I have probably spend hundreds of hours writing, mapping, revising and editing, has been seriously nuked by hard radiation, acidic precipitation and widespread cannibalistic madness. "I'm a bastard! I blew it all up!"

And you know what? No regrets. No remorse. Let the dice fall where they may.

And despite the character deaths, despite having to deal with their characters going mad with cannibalistic lust, despite being cooped up in an inn for five days. The players enjoyed it...those magnificent masochistic bastards, I love these guys!

The moral? I made a stupid-awesome gonzo random table. Rolled on it and followed through on the results, thereby putting the players and their characters through the fucking wringer. Even taking away (temporarily) their control over some of their characters.

And it all worked out in the end. Be true to your DM bad-assery. Follow through on your madness. Don't fudge the dice. Put the players through hell. If they're true, if they're tough, if they're the leather and iron that adventurers are made of, they'll eat it up and than say "That's all you got?"

EDIT: In the same spirit, when I rolled for treasure and the uber-useful character lifespan-extending Eye of Restoring Life came up ("Tekumel monsters have Tekumel treasure" logic), I didn't fudge the dice and let the players have it. It'll run out of charges...and than the reaper will feast, muhahahaha!

EDITx2: It was also very gratifying that when characters were contending with cannibalistic madness I used the old cartoon cliche of saying that the other party members looked like a roast chicken to them...

11 comments:

  1. Bitchen. That adventure was a Gwar song through and through. :)

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  2. class - it's good to have players who'll run with your ideas. umm... chicken

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  3. Normally, I'd imagine that having eaten one of your comrades then seeing him resurrected would make for an odd social situation, but the amoral blaggards in your group probably don't give a jot! :)

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  4. Awesome story is awesome.

    @kelvingreen; I would think it would make your next trip to the bathroom feel like a time paradox.

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  5. Meanwhile the city there were in, the city that I have probably spend hundreds of hours writing, mapping, revising and editing, has been seriously nuked by hard radiation, acidic precipitation and widespread cannibalistic madness. "I'm a bastard! I blew it all up!"

    And you know what? No regrets. No remorse. Let the dice fall where they may.


    So speaketh a true DM.

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  6. Wow, just discovered your blog. Am I glad I did indeed! You rock. Let the dice fall where they may.

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  7. This is exactly what I would call a prime example of "Troubling in all the right ways," which this really is--you just did something that a lot of DMs would never have the cojones to do and that is mess with their oh-so-perfect world. Kick the F-ing table leg and make the map jump once in a while, especially when the players are intent on getting it just right. This is sheer genius and a real inspiration to go farther, faster...etc., etc.

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