I don’t know why, but I woke up remembering the worst game session evar this morning, and I’ve decided to record it for posterity.
It was at a convention. It doesn’t matter which convention it was, nor really who the other participants were. I will say that we were at least theoretically supposed to be playing Mongoose’s Conan d20 game. My character was a Bossonian archer; my memory is that the other characters were an Aquilonian soldier (P1) and a Zamoran rogue (P2). Basically, except for the Cimmerian barbarian, we were Ye Olde Hyborian Cliché Party.
That’s okay, RPGs are like that. But little did we know what were were getting into from there…
(Note: This is paraphrased from memory.)
GM: You’re in Nemedia, all headed for a tavern. It’s getting dark. Up ahead the road goes through a narrow gorge. (draws the road on the mat)
Me: Uh-oh, smells like ambush. I’ll hang back.
P2: I’ll hang back too.
P1: Well, I guess I’ll march ahead then.
GM: A bunch of bandits pop up out of the rocks and charge you! Roll for initiative. (we do: P1 gets a 12, P2 gets a 15, I get an 8)
GM: Okay, the bandits go first. These three attack you (P1), these two run towards you (P2), these two run towards you (me). (rolling dice) Two hit you, doing 15 points of damage.
P1: Holy crap! Good thing I’ve got 23 hit points.
P2: Okay, my turn. I’ll move forward and attack this one. (roll) 15?
GM: You miss.
P2: Wow, on a 15. What kind of armor are they wearing?
GM: They’ve got a real high DEX.
P2: Oh. Okay.
P1: (roll dice) 20! Let’s see if I crit. (roll) 16?
GM: Nope, not a crit.
P1: Aww, crap. Okay… (roll dice) 15 points of damage.
GM: (frowning) You kill that one.
P1: Sweet! I’ve got Cleave, so I’ll attack one of the other guys next to me. (roll dice) 18.
P1: Miss? On an 18? Seriously?
Me: (doesn’t roll anything like a 20, so I miss) I waste some arrows.
GM: These two attack you (P1) again. These two see their friend go down and break off from you (P2) to go attack the fighter.
P2: Cool! Attack of opportunity time! (starts to roll dice)
GM: Nope, they have Combat Reflexes.
P2: What does that have to do with it? Combat Reflexes just gives you extra attacks of opportunity.
GM: Not Combat Reflexes. The other one. (looks at his notes) Mobility.
P2: So they get a bonus to their AC. I still get to roll, tho.
GM: No, one of my house rules is that Combat Reflexes mean you just don’t get attacks of opportunity against them. You would have missed anyway, this is faster.
GM: (roll dice) Okay, that one hits you (P1) for only 5 points of damage that time.
P1: Cripes! I only have 3 hit points left.
GM: Suddenly this amazingly gorgeous woman comes around the corner. She’s wearing nothing but these skimpy furs, and some fur boots, and a big fur cape. She’s got this amazing flowing blonde hair and blue eyes, and she’s obviously a barbarian. But she’s like, hot. She has 18 Charisma. She’s carrying a big, blood-spattered axe.
Me: Well there’s something you don’t see every day.
GM: It’s her initiative right after the bandits, so she charges the bandit that just hit you. (roll dice) She kills him! She’s got Great Cleave, so she attacks the other two.
Me: Doesn’t Great Cleave mean you can only keep attacking as long as you kill each target?
GM: (roll dice) Well, she does.
P1, P2, Me: Ooohkay.
P1: Well, uh, I guess I’ll move to this guy and attack. (roll dice) 14.
GM: You miss.
P2: I’ll move into flanking position, with the +2 that gives me (roll dice) 18.
GM: You miss.
Me: Guess I’ll shoot! (roll dice) 17.
GM: 15. You’re -2 for shooting into a melee.
Me: You mean the -4? I’ve got Precise Shot.
GM: That’s one of my house rules. Precise Shot means you only get -2.
Me: (sigh) Doesn’t matter, I would have missed anyway.
(next round: barbarian chick easily wipes out remaining bandits)
GM: She says, “My name is Anima. You’re lucky I happened to be here, this road is dangerous. These bandits were probably searching for the cursed amulet I carry.”
P2: No doubt.
Me: I recover whatever arrows I can and say, “Well thank you, Anima. We’re headed for the tavern ahead.”
GM: “I’ll join you, in case more bandits show up and you need my help.”
P1, P2, Me: (exchange dubious glances)
GM: You go to the tavern. Anima orders a huge chunk of meat and just starts eating it right off the bone. Then she guzzles down a whole mug of ale all at once and orders another. She obviously has no idea of what to do in civilization.
Me: Uh huh. Well I’ll go find a seat somewhere and order a meal.
P1: I guess I’ll sit with Anima. I eat about the same way she does!
GM: You spend the meal staring at Anima. She’s hot.
P2: I’m looking around for pockets to pick.
GM: (roll dice) You find about 22 silver pieces from picking pockets.
(fast forward over a painful scene of attempting to do a little RP talking to the innkeeper and such that goes nowhere)
GM: Anima says, “Those bandits were sent by an evil wizard who wants the cursed amulet I’m carrying. We have to go kill him.”
Me: Like, right now? It’s night.
GM: “Yes. We’re going now.” (erases the canyon from the map, then draws almost-identical lines to indicate a road) So after paying your tavern bill, you start heading for the wizard’s tower. You’re walking on a raised road that goes through a swamp. Anima says, “There’s undead in this swamp.”
P1: Bring ‘em on! They need wiping out.
GM: Anima says, “Be careful what you wish for!” (laughs the typical “I’m an evil GM and you’re in for it!” laugh)
Me: I’m not afraid of undead. We’re protected by Mary Sue the Barbarian.
GM: These zombie-things come shambling out of the swamp at you. They all have gemstones in their chest that look like the amulet Anima is carrying. She says, “Oh no, they’re being drawn to the power of the amulet!” Roll initiative. (we do: I get 19, P1 gets 11, P2 get 15) Okay, the zombies go first.
Me: Wow. Before my 19?
GM: Yep, they’re really fast.
Me: Huh. Really fast zombies.
GM: They all shuffle towards Anima. (creepy groaning noises) She snarls and says, “I hate undead!” and attacks.
Me: Because her initiative is higher than 19, too.
GM: (roll dice) She kills that one. And with Great Cleave, she runs over and attacks the next one (rolls dice) but misses.
P1: Uh, I’m pretty sure that Great Cleave doesn’t let you move.
GM: Yes it does. That’s one of my house rules.
P1, Me: (shrug at each other)
GM: Okay, your turn.
Me: (roll dice) 20! I assume I can’t crit these guys.
GM: No, you can’t. Also, you missed.
Me: What??? I rolled a 20!
GM: Yeah, but they’re undead. You need a magic weapon to hit them. Anima can hit them because she’s carrying the amulet that gives them their power.
Shortly thereafter, the session ended due to time. Strange as it may sound, the other players and I did manage to have some fun, but for all the wrong reasons. It was a bit like a cross between a tabletop RPG and living an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.