I have a confession to make. I try to be good, I try to do the right thing, I make the hard decisions when the going gets tough, but sometimes? You can’t avoid consequences.
My consequences? I am become DEATH, destroyer WORLDS.(1)
Sometimes a story comes from within, it’s just you and the page. Sometimes, though, it’s collaborative. You build a world and a mythos with friends.
You know what I’m talking about.
I’m a gamer. A table-toper for Role Playing Games (RPGs). I roll play and role play.
I started in college, because the High School boys didn’t want to admit to a girl that they played long enough to invite her. I started with 3rd Edition D&D and have played a full campaign in every version since (4e was a fine game, just not D&D). I’ve explored other worlds and other systems: Darksun, Pendragon, White Wolf (mostly Vampire:Dark Ages), Shadowrun, Forgotten Realms (okay, more of a setting), Ravenloft (another setting), Call of Cthulu, Conan, Exalted, Little Fears, Realm, Changeling, 13th Age, Amber, GURPs. I’ve even flirted a little with Live Action Role Playing (LARPing).
Some games are made to be played in one game session- a one-shot. Some take months, or years – a campaign.
A lot of gamers want to create characters that are orphans. No family, not ties, and a sworn duty! Some just don’t bother to do more than get their stats. I say, FORGET THAT.
I want to care.
I’m all about the characters. I know what sort of person my character is, so their decisions seem reasonable… for them. I go along for the ride, so I can discover their world, with them. My first Game Master (GM) made it his mission to create a setting, an event every gaming session that would make ME scream. I still remember sneaking through a tiny set of tunnels and my hand touching the skeleton of a rat. *shudders*
I’ve given myself cousins and a family business. In one game, I gave myself 2 brothers, 5 half-siblings, and an abundance of family drama, nieces, and nephews. I want my characters to in the world AND of it. (2) If the GM uses them as plot hooks, good! I’m greedy, I like it when the plot revolves around me. Even if I have to garrote my boyfriend/unveiled enemy agent in a burning warehouse.
With some games, the GM has a finale in mind, but other times the game just goes until it peters outs. Or, until the Morgan at your table DESTROYS not only the party, but the world the party inhabits.
The First World Ender
Back when I dreamt my characters would save the world, making any sacrifices necessary, I had an Exalted character named ‘Virtue of Still Waters’. It was a fantasy world, besieged by demons, surrounded by the chaos of the fae realms that tried to whittle away at reality. Ruled by dragons, the exalted are demigods. Virtue was a diplomat, which in combat, effectively meant that I waited until everyone else had 2 attacks and then I shot my bow. And missed 2/3 times.
We’d destroyed our main nemesis, were creating roads and helping rebuild our age, after overthrowing the oppression. Then, we traveled into the lands beyond reality- the fae realms. Out there, we found a perfectly run town, run by the now character that a friend had once played.
Until he tried to give his God form once more, a form that had been taken from his God. This was beyond the scope of mortals and heaven frowned upon him. (I think, it’s been nearly… er, let’s not say… a few years). So, our GM has us encounter this man, in a Stepford Wives(3) type of town. We investigate and find him casting a spell, immense rivers of power are flowing into a false-infant.
Wanting only to free the town from this spell apparently controlling them, things escalate to battle.
For once, I only had to wait 2 turns to attack. The others missed, but I burn my turn by targeting.
Next round: I let loose my quarrel. It strikes, with a critical hit! Bonus damage from targeting. The baby-form is destroyed!
Which, apparently was the actual embodiment of the concept of Occult.
So, all spells to hold the demons in check in all known worlds? Broken.
All spells to hold back the chaos of the fae realms? Devastated.
Spells that the world ran on, in lieu of technology? Kicked back to a stone age.
Magic still exists, but spells need to be re-crafted. Everyone starts magic over again at level 0.
The Second World Ender (well, impending)
This time, I knew the world was more harsh, and I had to deal with the complexities of it.
The game was 13th Age, another fantasy realm. In this world, those who rise to the level of adventurer all have 1 unique attribute. Mine? When I sang, the demons would stop to listen.
I was morally opposed to The Diabolist, but when creatures that threaten your very sanity just to view threatened the world, I made a bargain. A little training from her to use my natural talents and we would help her close the rift before more than just the scouts made it through.
She lied. We should have expected it. But, we thought that surely she would rather stop the forces than destroy the world.
We destroyed her. And in that moment, she possessed me. Then made her/our way to the mystic city, neutral ground. They held The Diabolist’s original body in stasis. She bargained for it back. And disappeared.
We rallied our allies and went for her gathering armies. We fought long, we fought hard, and we defeated them. And now we don’t know from where she will strike, nor what she looks like. And did we mention the the prophecy, delivered to us in person, that casts us as the enders of the 13th age…
What worlds have you shared? What worlds have you destroyed?
1 – Thank you, Robert Oppenheimer
2 – The Bible: John 17:14-16, Also, Buffy.
3 – If your wife misbehaves, have you considered a robot?, 1950’s style wives.
Of relevance: you personally know every player referenced in the following tales.
I don’t think I’ve ever destroyed the world, but I run waaaaaay more than I play. (And when the apocalypse loomed as a player, we managed to stop it. Or at least keep it chilled for a while until someone else has to deal with it.)
My PCs, though. I ran a Technocracy game where every session, roughly halfway through, turned into the rest of the group cleaning up the mess they’d made. (And every Vampire: the Masquerade game I’ve run with Sabbat packs ends in spectacular self-destruction. It’s a running joke that the player character packs are probably the big, obvious targets sent to pull attention away from the covert infiltrators.) I ran a Hunter: the Vigil game wherein one of the characters found a way to summon the True Fae, so he did in the hopes of fighting and killing them. They cleaned up the mess of summoning the Wild Hunt, but everybody ended up in the hospital with radiation poisoning.
I’m currently running a Dungeon World game wherein one of the PCs is planning to raise a Warforged army (from a creepy old Creation Forge built by an empire of diabolists) to fight slavery. But everyone else is wondering if the cure is worse than the disease.
Of course, the apocalyptic golem army is on hold because they’ve all found themselves in the lands of the dead. A temporary setback, to be certain.
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