Great Moments in Role Playing


Every RP campaign has great moments. Whether it's when the party finally defeats the Big Bad Evil Person who escaped the past 17 encounters, or when an annoying character finally gets what has been coming to him, or even when a player does something silly and unexpected that does exactly what they intended through sheer luck, cool stuff happens all the time. And, people like a good story. So, tell of your great moments in adventuring here, whether they be climactic, touching or just plain silly.

I'll start with one. Early on in an Urban Arcana campaign I run sporadically, I was running the players through one of the in-book adventures, the one with the spiders in the bookshop basement. The party had decided to split up, and the Fast hero and Smart hero (both level 2) ended up finding the giant spider mother. The Fast hero hurled some knives, and managed to injure it fairly heavily, but the PCs where webbed to the ground by the smaller spiders in hiding. This next part cracks me up.
The Smart hero finally got to go. She didn't have a gun, as she was not proficient, so she decided to improvise. She took out the flare gun the party had found upstairs, and announced she was going to shoot the spider with it. I told her she would get a huge penalty, both from her lack of proficiency and the fact that the gun was not designed to be shot AT things. She shrugged and rolled anyway. So of course she got a 20. And then confirmed the crit with a 19. She did 10 damage. With a FLARE GUN! The spider died, and on top of that, the webbing in the general area was very dense and CAUGHT FIRE.
But that wasn't the end of it. The Fast hero, who was a fire fighter, decided to try to put the flames out with the fire extinguisher he always carried with him. He couldn't, but did manage to contain it so the whole cave didn't ignite, which would have sent the bookshop up in flames. THEN they killed the formally hidden spiders, which had run from the flames.

One of the (inadvertently) silliest sessions I've ever run.

Hmm...strange that mine also involves explosives...

I was in a midlevel D&D campaign playing an Alchemist. We were sent out to clean out a den of vampires. We go through the catacombs and finally find the place. Paladin uses Detect Evil...AND ALMOST DIES FROM BACKLASH. I'm like "hoookay. I'm NOT going in there". So I whip up my Vampire Slayer Special - a 40lb keg of gunpowder and a 500' fuse. BOOM...I had just levelled to 8 before that...I was the customary 1 point shy of 10. :p

What was in there? Several epic-level vampire lords, and then some. DM Error? Yes. Problem solved so the campaign wasn't wrecked? Also yes. :)

One of my adventures also involved an explosion.

One of my early groups favorite cursed item I created was "the sword of explosion". It explodes on a fumble and has the same effeect a fireball spell cast by a level 7 wizard (this was 2nd ed D+D) with no saving throw.
They didn't like it too much when it when a goblin encounter turned suddenly into KABOOM!! half the pary is down for the count and wouln't be getting up very soon.

In the first session I ever Game Mastered, the party was sent down into a cavern to save a kidnapee from a goblin horde. Using a Final Fantasy system, one player was a Dragoon. For some reason or another, he decided it would be a good idea to Jump. After the bump on his head and a fair bit of damage from the stalactite, he changed his mind and kept his feet on the ground. In retrospect, I guess that's one of those "you-had-to-be-there" moments.

The funny thing is, in the console games, Jump does work underground...

In the campaign I was DMing, two of the weaker PCs - a somewhat scholarly wizard, and a somewhat cowardly rogue - were wandering part of the dungeon on their own, for various reasons. They came across a large fissure in the floor, 10 feet across. There was no way around it, so they decided to have the wizard jump, but as a precaution they tied the wizard to a rope that the rogue was holding.
The pit was 10 feet across. The rogue held the rope so that there was 30 feet of it between him and the wizard, and stood 10 feet back from the pit. That meant that the wizard had 20 feet of slack after he jumped.

The wizard took a running start and magnificently rolled a 1, causing him to trip at the edge of the pit and fall in.

Of course, I had very specifically stated in my notes that the pit was EXACTLY 20 feet deep. The rope caught the wizard at the instant he hit. Being a level 1 wizard, he then proceded to roll enough damage to drop him down to a single HP.

It gets better.

The PCs soon discovered that the pit the wizard had fallen into was part of a lower level of the dungeon, which led back to their camp. They set off down the corridor and soon came to another, smaller pit, this time with a ledge around the edge. Ledge or no, they still opted to tie some of the rest of the rope around the wizard as he crossed. This time, not wanting to make the same mistake twice, they only gave hin 10 feet of slack.

He rolled a total of 5 on his balance check, not enough to beat whatever DC I had decided on. He fell in.
Of course, this pit was only half as deep as the last one.

In my infinite wisdom and mercy, I ruled that although the rogue hadn't specified his distance from the pit this time, it was unlikely that he would stand at the very edge of the pit and hold the rope at ground level, so the wizard was caught by the rope with a bit of room to spare. If they don't bother to check the depth of the next pit they attempt to cross, however...

I think my favourite great moment in role-play came at the start of our second Firefly campaign, when we finally got to kill the man who had been the main villain for our first campaign, and his bit on the side.

To give a bit of perspective on how much we hated this particular villain, Chris Brannon, here's a bit of history. He was originally our employer, who hired all the group as individuals and brought us together. Though we didn't know it, he was actually working against us, deliberately screwing up our lives. The firefly class ship we managed to get and had started growing attached to was destroyed by a bomb he planted and that was just the start of things going wrong. He persuaded us he was part of a rebel group working against the Alliance, and he had two old flames from my character, Devlin's and my friend's character, CJ's pasts, comrades from the war, and they trusted him, so we did to a degree.

Anyway, over the course of the campaign we were double-crossed, captured, used and generally abused until we didn't know which way was up. The man responsible was Christopher Brannon. At the end of it all, he revealed himself as the traitor and that he was actually working for a group who were pretty much running all of colonised space, keeping the Alliance in check. Brannon killed CJ's girl and Devlin's girl, Carla Ramirez, turned on us with Brannon. We didn't die, but he escaped.

Our characters were arrested and sent to a prison planet for the rest of their lives, apart from CJ, who escaped conviction somehow and joined the bounty-hunters association. The next campaign began with CJ arriving in his new ship to tell us he'd found Brannon. He took us off the prison planet and we went to take out the man who had made our lives miserable for a campaign.

He was in a Blue Sun controlled building and our GM had made it hellishly well defended, even though we entered from a little used landing pad, so there was less to fight through to get to Brannon. Somehow that day all our rolls were spot on, and instead of the slightly farcical way things usually went because of the occasional poor dice roll or bad decision, this one went like it was scripted. We took down elite troops, and marched our way into Brannon's office. He tried to save himself with a desperate last ploy, claiming that the female gunslinger's sister, who'd been taken by slavers run by Brannon, was still alive. She didn't believe him and we got to gun that piece of dirt down.

It was great because I think even as players we had grown to hate Chris Brannon. That first campaign had been so confusing and complicated that being able to kill the person who had been responsible (well, I suppose technically that would be Dan, our GM!) was immensely satisfying. Definitely a great RP moment.

I think I can beat you guys on that. At least for shear briliance of ineptitude and retardation. My brother was GM and his friend kyle always needs a cool mount like a dragon, hippogrif you know stuff like that so the GM just got so tired of his whinning for a mount that he said "fine you know what? you get a giant Gelatinous cube that you have to ride into combat have to ride into combat. They all thought this was pritty cool because they were all low level charecters to begin with, so they started going for higher level enemies ( they were like level 4 going for like level 6-8) not the smartest move but should be okay the cube will help right. wrong they go into battle there is five of them against four level 3 orcs and a few level 6 orcs not to hard except the first guy to get knocked out is there wizard the only one who can heal them and then down the line what they had forgoten was that not only did the cube only move like 5' a round, abssolutly no help in a fight. they also decided to store all there stuff in it as well, so when they tryed to get stuff out before the battle it hurt them as well as there equipment. Once they got into battle the cube ate kyle because he "had" to ride it into battle and then the cube proceeded to eat all of them, and by some sheer chance not one of them could get a appropriat saving roll to get away from it. So in the end they all died really stupid deaths and only took down one orc in the process. they still talk about it after like 3 years but its always funny to rant on about in the middle of a game.

The Pcs were tracking down the person who had murdered their friend and stolen their master's magical staff. They followed a lead to an old inn.

Inside the inn they found a locked room with a bone golem standing guard over a large crate.

After long viscious battle, they finally defeated the golem and opened the crate and found... fresh dirt.

They couldn't believe it, They had all been injured fighting this large magically crafted beasty and all it was guarding was a crate of dirt?!

Somehow, they didn't realize that they were running up against a vampire until they were face to face with him.

They did manage to get out alive somehow, but it was a very near thing...

Ah... good times!

A crate of dirt. That's awesome.

Man, it was funny as hell! They tore that room up looking for stuff and dumped out all the dirt and sifted through it, all the while muttering "f**king dirt" under their breath and shooting evil glares my way. It was awesome!

I love messing with my players, they're so cute when they're angry...

well, a couple of weeks ago, in our new campaign, we encountered a genie raging through a trading post, laughing and swatting guards like flies. One Calm Emotions spell later, it turned out the Genie was frustrated with his wife and having relationship problems. some smooth talking, wining and dining got everyone to settle down and relax and stopped the violence. The thing is, during the entire encounter, our pyromaniac combat mage was whining stuff like "why can't I burn him?" and "I can't BELIEVE we're TALKING to the MONSTER". laughter ensued.

At the end of an adventure a few years back, the party had thwarted a pack of roving clerics who claimed to be the first worshipers of a new god (a mortal PC who through great perils and many many adventures finally got into the God-tower and blessed himself as a true God).
The party didn't like this new-breed of church walking around in their tame lands preaching about this new god named Eyhat. After some questioning they decided the clerics to be of evil allignment, since they were clearly preaching about a new dawn of man where the only god to be worshiped would soon be the Uni-god; Eyhat.

The party, complete with a Palidine and cleric of good gods, confronted the messangers of this new faith in battle after the head cleric of the new god began to cast. The fight was quick and easy for the party (they were all above 5th level) since the wandering clerics were hardly a danger (The head cleric was 1st level and the rest were non-casting clerics of 0-level).

Now in the defence of the party, the head cleric of Eyhat did verbally tell them before the battle the "she was the mighty first priest of the new way of god" and that "she was more powerful then any of them could ever hope to become".

But as the swords began swinging, and the Eyhatiens fell one by one in under one round of combat, they decided that these dark clerics were of no real threat to a weathered party of true heros like themselvs.

So the good players ordered the evil head priest to surrender (her name was Gransenia by the way), and she did of course, seeing that her fellow worshipers had been slain in under 30 seconds. So the party ties her up, to a tree, and begins the interogation.

The PCs allow their cleric and Paladin to do the talking, seeing as they are blessed worshipers of the true old gods, and they start by asking the priest about the new god's view on balence and order. The priest spits blood on the white robes of the Paladin...He didn't like that, but he continued his interaction with this obveiously half-crude preistest of this new corrupt god named Eyhat.

The PC's cleric then asks "Where do you church? Where is this god's main building of worship? In what land?" The evil priestest replies by saying "Eyhat needs no church, nor a building to preach in. The new god, the Uni-god preaches that all gods are below him, and that the future shall bring new times of worship. New times where there is only one god. My god."

So the group gets all offended since they are all devote to a good god or another and they begin to say things like "We need to kill her." and "shes evil, lets just fire-ball her"

So the priestest begins to chant in some unknown tongue and the party gets scared. There has never been a mortal who achieved godhood in my realm, and her weird way of communicating through faces of dazed pleasure and soothing pain seemed to frieghten the players themselvs, nevermind the PCs. So in a fit of desperation, the good Paladin flips out and smashes her face with his mighty war-hammer, leaving the symbol that was engraved in the weapons head imprinted in the forhead of Grahsenia...She died instantly (3 hitpoints don't emount to crap when faced with a +2 holy hammer of the good god of rightious war; Thain)

So the party, shocked by the savage action of a Paladin murdering a bound and helpless hostage, freek out and start yelling at him. The paladin was instantly reduced to a simple warrior, loosing his god's blessing for his cowardly deed. And the group was angered that they didn't have a chance to really get the big-info from this cleric.

Alls they got to learn was that Grahsenia was the first casting cleric of the new god, and that she was seen as the head of this new church.

Lastr game (now about three years later - real time) that religeion has grown and is becoming quite the problem. Like a unholy virus many people turn towards Eyhat (who grants clerical power to almost anyone who simply speaks his name, or begs for power), and the religeion is slowly becoming a force to recon with. Since the new god delivers power to almost anyone who speaks of him with respect or grovels for his enlightment, the people of the world are slowly turning towards him for clerical power...since the other gods are more demanding of followers.

The party finally meets a wagon travling across wild country, preeching Ehyat's way, and they all decide to confront them. The party was completly new PCs, but they all had an out-of-game desire to meet up with these types again, since the last time the party had any contact with Eyhatien worshipers was that time meeting the first preistest.
When they found the wagon, it was guarded by 6 well armored warriors (5th level each)and a head cleric preaching ontop of a stage built into the wagon., The party was a lowly first-to-second levels, and they were simply here to listen and watch the preaching of these wandering unholy-men and woman. When the fires lit and the pyrotechnics exploded to reveal the speaker in all her glory, terror graced the faces of my players.

Speaking to the crowd of dirty villagers was a half crude woman with a Thain symbol burned into her forhead, x'ed out by a thick scar. The preistest was Grahsenia, who boasted about her death and her ressurection. teaching- those who serve Eyhat are unable to ever truly die, that his will is what will be.

This time the party was not ready for the fight, nor were they strong enough to ever hope surviving one with the cleric and her guard.
The evil cleric spoke in a huge booming voice of pride when she discribed how she was MURDERED by a worshiper of the "good gods" and that as Eyhat's first cleric she had also become the religeions first Martyr...and the party felt horrible...knowing fully well that murdering the head cleric had given her the ability to escape death and that she was not mortal anymore, her god had rewarded her everlasting life for her sacrifice at the hands of the murderous Paladin...

After the end of the clkerics speach she scanned the party and her glance fell upon the player who had killed her before. At the time he was a Paladin of mighty Thain, but now he was simply a thief of questionable alignment...His thief didnt know a damn thing about that past life...but somehow the preistest who was once murdered by his past PC, KNEW he was the one...she never said anything to him but her eyes spoke loud enough. The wagon packed up and moved on to other towns to spread the Eyhatien philosophie. and the party sulked away into the night in a somber mood.

It was finally nice to have my PCs morn an evil NPC who they did wrong. I know they will fear her the next time she returns to battle the party that murdered her. I have ploted her into the grande ending of the campaign we are playing now...and boy are they in for some rought times. Including a vision from Ehyat himself showing them the murder of his head preistest at the hands of their old PCs, a past life vision if you will.

Its gunna be great. Its gunna be creepy. Its gunna be the powerful preistest marytr of a new god-kicking ass for both evil and warrented sweet.

I spell horrid, and type fast...mix that with backwood schooling and a lack of "care", and you got this post...Don't dig it? who gives a $hit...Go read the other guys.

Thanks for sharing that, Sifolis. Was the resemblance between this new god and Jesus Christ deliberate? Its interesting to see that the PCs acted in the same hysterical way when faced with a God who denounced the other Gods as the Romans did for Christianity, assuming the followers were evil (well in the Romans' case they thought they were impious). If it wasn't a deliberate similarity the idea is clever, if it is then it was genius.

The session I last played had some 'interesting' moments and a pretty disturbed one.

The party had seen posters offering a bounty for anyone who could find an old couple's missing grand-daughter, 500gp if she was alive and 200gp for proof of her death.

The investigation side of things went smoothly...

Apart from when my character was sent to speak to the old couple, because he was the most charismatic, and after meticulously working through where she went to school (a prestigious music conservatory), who saw her last all the usual, he returned to the tavern feeling quite pleased with himself. The first question the other PCs asked was what she looked like... I'd forgot to ask the couple that question.

Next our Rogue decided to disguise himself and sneak into the music school as one of the older students. After his disguise check and a spot check, he was pretty sure, in real life he was 22 years old, he now looked around 14. In actuality he looked like an old 17. He turns up to the school as a new student and starts speaking to a teacher, who asks him how old he is... he says 14, she looks at him with disbelief. Next, and this was the charm, she asks him what instrument he plays. Somehow the Rogue's player had overlooked the fact that the school was a music conservatory. After some ummming and errring, he claims that he plays lots of things, and the teacher asks him what his instrument he has brought to perform with, of course he hasn't got any. He says he is going to sing. Unfortunately growing up as a sort of street urchin has limited his knowledge of songs, and he only knows rude ones. He decides to sing one of the rude ones he knows, but in another language, so the words are unclear. For some reason, the player thinks that Draconic will sound beautiful, and the Rogue begins to sing in the language. Understandably the children freak out, and he flees from the school.

The second moment is one that is more disturbing than great, but worth sharing, I feel.

Eventually the part find the girl, she's fallen in a well and is several days dead. We want to retrieve the body to return to her grandparents, and after we try and work out the mechanics of using rope and the well pulley to raise the body, our Psionic Kineticist suggests that as he has the ability to animate inanimate objects for a short while, he animate her corpse and make it climb out. We were all understandably horrified.

For reference this was the same player who wanted to raise the dead as a distraction, and thought we could get information from a ten year old who was being a brat by cutting on him and having the cleric heal his wounds and then cutting on him again.

The party had seen posters offering a bounty for anyone who could find an old couple's missing grand-daughter.

Something similar happened to me at Origins many years ago. My berserker had a low charisma, and instead of playing that as only "ugly", I decided that his low charisma was more due to his ill-manners and lack of bathing (ugh).

Anywho, we were asked to find the missing husband of some wealthy lady. During the information gathering phase, my ill-mannered PC asked her if we still got the reward if we found him shacked up with some bar wench.

She cried.

Then, I asked if we found him dead, would we still get the reward if we only brought a part of his body back or did we need to lug the whole corpse.

She went into hysterics, and my PC was asked to leave the room.

How uncooth! But my low wisdom, low charisma PC didn't see the harm in asking what he thought were pertinent questions.

Christ n Ehyat are very simular, and i have warned the players for years about this simularity. Its funny how the entire party fears this god's growth and influence over the old gods. its like they got somthing agaisnt Christ...

dun dun duuuun! evil in dungeons n dragons! just like they warned all these years!

LOL...this gets me thinking about a setting I was working on a long time ago. The main religion was based around the Catholic church, and they ended up becoming the arch-villains in the campaign. I never intended that to happen...the party just took offence to almost all the decisions that the church made, and made it their personal mission to discredit them as a bunch of charlatans that just wanted their tithe.

At every turn I tried to show that they were just trying to do the best for the most people that they could...but the group wouldn't even hear it. I won't go into my own personal beliefs, but it was pretty humorous at any rate. Apologies to all the Catholics out there that may take issue with the outcome.

An example of life mimicing art? Or the other way 'round?

I think it was art mimicing life...but that would open a whole can of worms with the religious types so let's just say that perhaps, unintentionally and despite my attempts to portray them as otherwise, my own personal thoughts influenced the tone of that particular religion in my game.

Not likely...but let's leave it at that lest I suffer the wrath of anybody out their that would take offence at my views on Catholicism.

My greatest moment? I had just created a new character, my current Druid and the rest of the party was dying. I decided that, since there were a lot of very weak monsters (this was early in the campaign, about 500 Kobolds), I would cast Flaming Sphere and Call Lightning. They all died and I got all the experience, as the rest were running off. I was at 3, and they were at 7-10. I got (I believe) 3 levels from that encounter. Might've been more.

How that killed 500 kobolds is beyound me, and any understanding of the game. good show for you, but bad call for your DM...



Perhaps the were all standing in a row on an incline with the druid at the top of a hill and he just rolled the sphere down on 'em. Kobolds, not known for their intelligence, just stood there and waited for the shiney ball of fire to roll over them.

I guess the Call Lightning was for the 500th kobold who, smarter than the other 499, decided to step to the side to see what was happening some 100 or so kobolds ahead?

Kinda like that Canada Dry commercial with all of the penguins standing like dominoes, and the soda machine shooting a can into the first one, causing the rest to ... well ... fall like dominoes.

Yeah, Sif, bad call on the DM-- I agree ;)

On a side thread, how many DMs allow their players to jump levels if they are awarded sufficient EXPs to do so? We don't. If the PC has enough to jump, then they advance 1 level and have to wait for the end of the next session to advance another, and so on...

unbalenced and no reguard to realism or rules. How fun...

"Then I used magic missle and killed 4 black dragons...I was only 5th level!!!!"


In all honesty, I don't see a problem with that killing all the kobolds (other than the subtext of YAY GENOCIDE IS GOODNESS) but I do feel that the player should not have been given 500 kobolds' XP worth. Definately a bonus for inventive and original action, but not that much.

There is heroism and brute warfare on the ocean floor, unnoticed by land-dwellers. There are gods and catastrophes.
-"The Scar", China Mieville