View Full Version : Those little moments you DM for...

2014-11-22, 04:44 AM
Those little moments when you know your group has really managed to get themselves into the story...

They entered town and looked around for a cheap inn. I informed them that there was only one inn available, and it would be 3 gold a night. I informed them that the inn came with a bed, a hot bath, and a separate private privy with each room.

Players: Wait, we get a hot bath? Ok then! *hands gold over*

Kid Jake
2014-11-22, 11:54 AM
One of my favorite moments was when my players started counting the bags full of money they'd recently stolen and realized they had enough to send an NPC friend/minion to college. He'd mentioned in passing that trouble with his dad's business coupled with his poor academic performance meant that he probably wouldn't be able to go. So naturally they robbed a mafia casino and surprised him with enough cash to buy his way into any college he wanted.

Jay R
2014-11-22, 12:18 PM
In a 2E game, I saw a lower-level female wizard with "perfume" as a cantrip. She routinely cast it when the party approached dead bodies.

2014-11-22, 03:11 PM
My player's have honestly never treated Pathfinder as anything more than a game. Makes me sad as a DM actually.

My father on the other hand, buys his character nice clothes when he goes to town, keeps track of the food he eats, and grooms his beard on many occasions. Good stuff

2014-11-22, 06:19 PM
In a Shadowrun campaign, there was a point the PCs were looking around for work and among the various usual contracts they found a tiny little ad about protecting a neighborhood. Curiosity got them to check into it and they ended up caught within the tale of a poor neighborhood of honest folk that were terrorized by a street gang. The PCs went around the neighborhood in plainclothes just to see what the folks were like. At one point, the street sams were playing hacky-sack with the neighborhood kids.


Imagine my surprise when the PCs decided to take down the gang pro bono. It was one of those adventures where the PCs showed that not all runners are merc scum only looking out for themselves. I was proud.

Not that I went easy on them, cause this wasn't a pushover gang, but still proud. :smallbiggrin:

Jay R
2014-11-22, 11:04 PM
In last weekend's session, each time they opened a new room, as soon as I described it, one player asked, "Are there any rats?" Finally I asked her why she was so focused on rats.

"My owl's hungry."

2014-11-23, 01:07 AM
I love that time when it just....clicks. You have five players extremely focused and playing the game totally immersed with no distractions. And the players are just breezing through the plot effortlessly.

Couple games ago the group was hired by High Lord Dunster to investigate a new ''alleged'' crime lord in town. After a bit, the group discovered the crime lords name was Lord High Dunster....and with out so much as or word they just ''assumed'' it was a family member or something. They kept High Lord Dunster very informed of what they were doing via magic messages....but never seemed to be able to catch up to Lord High Dunster as he was always ''one step ahead'' of the group and seemed to ''know when they were coming''.

It was not until the player sending the message spell said they were sending it too ''Lord High Dunster'' and another player corrected them to say ''no, no, High Lord Dunster is the guy that hired us''.

And then all the players just got quiet and looking at each other.....and starting laughing like crazy. And they were able to catch Dunster by feeding him misinformation....it was great.

And as DM it was even better as that was not the way the ''vague plan'' was set to go down. The ''Dunster'' thing was so obvious, that you would have thought they would have caught on to the ''they are the same guy'' in the seconds.....but they ran around for two hours!

2014-11-23, 04:52 PM
DMing my first campaign right now, and we're nine sessions in. My favourite moments so far have definitely been when the party hands me ways to make the plot thicken without meaning to. Like making a big stink in character about forcing the Evil Empire to allow them and the NPC they slightly kidnapped access to the royal library. First they went and forced the Helpful Questgiver Cleric (and secret big bad) to follow them around and give them free spells (and put a necrotic cyst in most of them) while they went around removing obstacles in his way to power, and now they decided they could make more use of the "poor cleric" if they gave him access to the best library and scholars around. So... I now have a secret bad guy with Mothercyst inside of the royal palace of the Evil Empire. Anything seemingly random and Evil that agents of the empire do will be blamed on the empire itself, while anything seemingly random and Good the cleric needs done will be done by the party while he sits around reading books and providing the occasional free Identify.

Edit: Oh yeah, and they did accidentally get the cleric killed once, and they Reincarnated him. Into a goblin. The chance of them suspecting him of being dangerous or important to the plot is... low. I suspect the final battle against a goblin cleric and his Necrotic Domination'd empire leaders and beefed up Skulking Cysts will be glorious.

2014-11-23, 06:42 PM
I just love it when my players come up with a elaborate and utterly crazy scheme.

2014-11-23, 10:01 PM
To this day this same group continues to surprise and challange me with "those little moments" and it's honestly beautiful. It made me realise a while back that while I WRITE the story, they MAKE the story.
Its been an absolute rollercoaster for nearly 3 years thanks to them and I couldn't be happier! :smallbiggrin:

Anyways, onto the (first of many) moment that got all of it rolling:

So I had essentially (unbeknownst to my players) given them a choice between 3 overarching stories depending on what they were interested in, and as it so happened they were super interested in the Necromancer family they encountered.
After swiftly dealing with the runt of the family, whom was trying to separately amass power in a dungeon, his brother showed up a few days later in the city they were staying in. It turned out that Stephano (the brother of the runt) was not there to avenge his brothers death, but rather to retrieve a staff that he had stolen from the family (a rather powerful one he didn't know how to use properly) and the party had it!
So Stephano ended up trying to pay them for it, however, the party cottoned on pretty quickly that it was very valuable, WAY more valuable than what Stephano wanted to pay them, and insisted on more.
After a brief scuffle (and a lot of natural 1's on my side of the screen, completely undermining how intimidating Stephano was meant to be xD ) They got a little more money out of him and were on their way.
Now here's where they did what I expected: They were pissed off at his rip-off and decided to follow him back to his home city where their family ruled! I next was pretty sure the standard kind of guerrilla warfare and sneaky subterfuge was to take place to get back at him. So I describe the city and how it's running. How it's incredibly clean and all the people are really very cheerful. Unusual for a Necromancer ruled city, right? And I mention how there are strange masked men cleaning and tending to citizens questions, and even a sign up booth for necromancy lessons from the Necromancers. All very picturesque. Now I had only mentioned the sign-up booth in passing as an extra detail for flavour, no thought put to it at all! Kepp that in mind.

Now here's the "moment". One of my players is a changeling, so naturally she starts changing form as not to be spotted should she happen across Stephano. Ok. Cool. Pretty standard. She then throws a curveball so huge that I'm pretty sure it danced circles around me for a while.

Me: OK. You're in the city now. From where you are you can spot the large mansion which you can safely assume is the De Payne's (necromancers) base of operations. But being that you're new in the city what would you like to do?
Fighter: I'd like to grab some rooms for us at the local Inn, then I'm gonna go out and start asking about Stephano straight away.
Rogue: I'm gonna just stay low for a while, I don't wanna be associated with the fighter when the guards show up (the fighter had stabbed Stephano in the previous city)
Me: And you?
Changeling: ... Hmm, ok. I wanna go to the recruitment booth that you talked about.
Me: Oh, ok. I suppose that'd be the best place to ask about him.
Changeling: Right, I ask to sign up for Necromancy lessons with Stephano specifically.
Me: ... wait what?

What ensued was a freakin fantastic game of infiltration wherein the changeling was both aiding the underground followers of the Raven Queen to bring down the Necromancers, while at the same time deciding whether she just wanted to be one! She even got the rogue into the necromancers good books after a while and was pivotal in finding out where they were hiding the fighter when the (inevitably) captured him!
Thanks to that, most of the game has been done while actually on the villains side!!! It was so cool! :smallbiggrin:

TL;DR: The Changeling used her powers to essentially side the party with the Villains (Necromancers no less) for most of the game. :smallbiggrin:

2014-11-25, 07:17 AM
I have two Moments stand really out to me.

I must admit I am not a fairly experienced Roleplayer, counting down the Campagnes I DMed that I would myself call "Roleplay" its only 3.

Moment Number 1 from a DnD 3.5 game, the party finds themself invited to a Political Ball, and during it the whole thing, the castle clashes with a Chaotic Evil Plane, turning the Castle into something like Sillent Hill meets Dark Souls.

The Party approaches a small Chappel where a faceless figures stumbles out and lands before there feet. The rest of the scene plays out 100% IC (which was the first time in this group ever).
The Faceless Figure was the Priest who has been consumed by the revenge spirit of his niece which he killed during an exorcism by starving her to death.
When the Party investigated the Chappel they found the confesional booth ripped open, and the backwall has the words "hunger" carved in.
The Scene ended with the Rogue leaving a loaf of bread and rations in the booth, and the cleric speaking a prayer. It was just an awesome moment and came very unexpected for me.
(The Spirit was meant to attack the party, but after this I just couldnt do it)

Moment 2 is from a different Group, which is kind of like the sequel to the session above, but on a different geographical location, and in the semi-distant future. (Idea is to have actions from Group 1 change the World of Group 2)
The Campaign focuses around High-Seas adventure and the Party sailing from 1 Island to the next.

Before this Session started I told one of my Players (Half-Orc Barbarian) that at some point her character might be kidnapped and substituted with a Changeling - that she would have the need to Roleplay. She said she was ok with this, and she would try her best.

So the party arrived at a smaller island, with a small village and farms around it. All the people seem surprised that someone visits them, and everyone except the Innkeeper seems to be avoiding the Party. (Experienced Roleplayers would now get suspicious - all the Townspeople are infact Changelings serving a Demon, with the intend to capture other beings and offer there souls to him)
The Innkeeper tells them that Orcs are raiding the Farms near the Forest, and are overall trouble.
The Party splits up immediatly sending the Half-Orc to guard the ship - I took my chance, and pulled the Half-Orc Player aside and tell him this is the moment where his character gets kidnapped by changelings, but a Group of Orcs free her (assuming she was one of there kind).
In the meantime the Changeling hatched a plan: they raided the ship, and one of them took the form of the Half-Orc. They pinned the raid on the Orcs in hopes the Party would clear out the Orcs for them.
And this was the moment were I smirked the whole time:
The Half-Orc Player, who was very shy and reluctant up to this point, roleplayed the heck out of his Changeling. He was cowardly, allways hiding from encounters, made rude remarks about Orcs (She herself was a half-orc who lived in a Orc tribe for a while, so she respects her Orcish Ancestry), and overall tried to manipulate the Party.
They got suspicious but, she allways had an excuse for her actions, so she didnt blew her cover.
Until the Party creeped up on the Orcs in the Night, only to hear a very familiar voice.
The confused looks on all the faces, and the smirk on mine and the Half-Orc was priceless.
I really enjoyed this one :D

2014-11-25, 10:47 AM
One of my most fond memories of DMing was my very first group, the first campaign I ran. It was a horror themed game that was a mashup of H.P. Lovecraft and the movie 1408. By the end of the first session I had at least 3/5 of the players too scared to roll dice on spot or listen checks, and the only combat had been a brief bout with animated stuffed animals.

But currently, I think I would just love it if my players would go for character development over straight loot and hack-slashery.

2014-11-25, 12:58 PM
I was once in a game, where we were creeping around a spooky, probably haunted village. Myself and one of the other players were whispering back and forth, at which point another player turned to us and said "Why are you actually whispering?"
We both turned to him and went "Shussh!"

2014-11-25, 02:21 PM
Me: "Alright, if you roll high enough you might be able to avoid crashing into the undead dragon with your air ship"
Party leader: "Can I use my profession sailor to put on a burst of speed?"
Me: "Sure, why not."
Party: "We hit the ships engines with lightning bolts to super charge them!" (It was previously established this worked for some reason)
Party Leader: *rolls a 20* "We ram the dragon at top speed!"
Me: ". . . "

It died.

Realms of Chaos
2014-11-25, 02:37 PM
I'd like to tell you guys a story, a story of a little horror-based E6 campaign that had gone way off of the rails. I apologize for the length of this post, though I feel that this story needs to be told.

Heavily based on the concept of Silent Hill, my players were trapped in a twisted reflection of their home kingdom, brought there by a curse that afflicted each generation of a venerated lineage, the lineage of the wizard who banished an entire army of orcs and brought the kingdom into an era of peace and unity.

What most folks didn't know was that this ancient mage, inspired by wizardly hubris and deep grief for the love he had lost, made a pact with a being from beyond all worlds (a being that turned out to the vestige named Focalor) to cage the orcish army within a nightmarish pocket dimension. Maintaining Focalor's power and the prison itself, however, required a vast quantity of grief. Each generation, four descendants of the great wizard and their loved ones into the twisted world to fight for their lives as a plague swept across the nation. Only when the ordeal was finished (a process that requires half of the survivors in the otherworld to sacrifice themselves) would the plague fade and all memory of the slain be forgotten until the next generation.

Or at least that was the main plan. There were other aspects to the plague (such as alternate versions of the players representing their own vices and ideals and the lingering suggestion that the heavily diseased bodies of the players were still wandering around the real world, actively spreading the plague) but the basics are more or less in place.

As I said, however, things didn't go exactly as planned. Half of the players dropped out early on and the remaining players were understandably scared of combat even as their characters grew jaded and snarky. A few elements were never noticed, never found, or were simply changed to make things interesting. While I was using D&D 3.5, mechanics came up so rarely that we might as well have been playing in freeform. I admit that I made a number of gigantic mistakes as well (trying to make D&D act like a video game, trying to maintain constant fear over the course of a 2 year campaign instead of using a proper tension cycle, using mysteries and puzzles to the point where things were legitimately frustrating, etc.). Even so, there were a few excellent role-playing moments and things seemed to come together every now and again to keep the game moving onwards so we could see how everything ended. This is the story of how that game finally ended; a story of the final boss battle.

The battle was against the gigantic, chained form of Focalor. Adamantine chains wound all across the room, connecting to 12 locked cages spread around the perimeter (in which ghostly silhouettes loomed) and another padlock hanging over the vestige's heart. A single warped hand hung loose from the grieving spirit, a grizzled claw ready to accept sacrifices or claim them by force.

Within moments, my players (who had a hit-and-miss history with puzzles until that point) deduced that fighting the giant vestige wouldn't work, realized that the entire room was one giant puzzle, and remembered that they just so happened to own 12 keys from earlier, when they had opened vaults belonging to each of the NPCs they had met within the campaign. I watched, jaw agape, as my players literally wrote up a spreadsheet as they figured out which silhouette corresponded to which NPC's key.

While the loved ones of the NPCs (both decent warriors) distracted Focalor, the PCs raced against the clock to open each and every cage, finally revealing the glowing, golden key that released Focalor from a century of service and ended the cycle of grief once and for all. To this day, I don't think that I have ever seen my players more actively invested in the results of an encounter than that one and it has stayed with me for years.

Alberic Strein
2014-12-02, 01:09 PM
I love when my players take a random NPC and make him into one of the most important characters around. Seriously, avoiding DMPCs is hard enough without my players creating them!

But without further adue, let me tell you of a tale. A tale of pure DM bliss. One where I am not the DM

First of all if you haven't seen "the mist" don't read further.

It was a Call of Cthullu game. A rather difficult one for my GM, since he had three new players to the game and two under 13. For a horror game this complicates things. So after a rectal invasion which ended horribly both IC and OOC with the mother of the kids entering the room, we progressed through the game. My character was the only one with a gun and with very limited ammunition. It still was enough to kill a mutated priest, who was in possession (or possessed by) a book of forbidden knowledge. Reading it corrupted us and twisted us, but he laid out some useful knowledge. One particular information was how to prevent the Elder Gods from invading our world and closing the portal.

Good for us, we're off to slaughter not-so-innocent villagers, charge their bodies in trucks and lay them in front of the portal, reciting the chant.

Being the occult lover that naturally succeeded his saving throw not to be able to read the book, my character was the only uncorrupted. And as the portal flickered, growing and receding, before growing exponentially again, the GM turned towards me and whispered the revelation occuring to my character.

"The book lies."

It's too late to do anything, the Elder Gods won. My character's last act? Shooting his party members starting from the ones he liked the most to the one he liked the least. Lo, we were six and I only had five bullets. So I apologized to the youngest kid, who had been invaded, and shot myself in the head.

Seems familiar? Without knowing (I hadn't seen the movie at the time) I had reenacted the penultimate scene from The Mist. Unluckily the army didn't come in our ending, but the Elder Gods were true to their word: The surviving member's death was swift.

So perfectly awesome I'm probably never playing Cthullu again, and the GM was just extatic at the unvoluntary reproduction of the ending of one of his favorite movies. He definitely DM'd for moments like these.

2014-12-02, 03:06 PM
One campaign I ran involved both doppelgangers and people possessed by spirits from the world of dream, with the scenario set up so that they wouldn't always be able to tell which was which.

There came a week when half of the group couldn't attend for various reasons. Rather than postponing the game I came up with a plan. The party members who were present awoke to find their companions behaving suspiciously, and soon found that they were doppelgangers who had been left behind while the real characters had been possessed by the Dreamwalkers who were using them for their own nefarious purposes. Their plan discovered the dopplegangers turned on the characters, and called back the Dreamwalkers to assist them in removing these witnesses who would now be able to warn others that people were being possessed and impersonated.

A massively tense battle ensued, during which time the PC's managed to capture one of their possessed comrades and tied her up in a boat house in the hope that the running water would drive out the evil spirit. Before they could complete an exorcism the other Possessed characters returned and the session ended with the present player characters fleeing down river in a boat, leaving their friends behind, uncertain which of the people they had killed were doppelgangers and which were not.

Before those players left I swore them to secrecy about the events of that week, and told them that when we picked up next time their friends would be waking up, unaware that they had been possessed. We'd get to the boat later, in the meantime those players would be playing their doppelgangers, left behind to convince the other half of the party that nothing was wrong, but that they should try to be a bit suspicious.

The next week rolled around and the other PC's woke up and found one of their number tied upside down over the river, those players who were in on the secret had great fun messing with their friends, trying to prevent them from finding the tied up character and figuring out what was going on. The other characters soon became suspicious and knew that *something* had happened in their absence.

They weren't sure what until half way through the session when I suddenly said " Right, lets cut back to the people on the boat" and the first half of the party seamlessly fell back into playing their characters recovering after their harrowing escape.

The look on the player's faces as they realised they were surrounded by doppelgangers was priceless.

Jeff the Green
2014-12-02, 03:45 PM
I'm DMing Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. I had one of the NPCs (who didn't even have a name in the book) make some obnoxious jokes. I expected the players to just ignore him or participate in some verbal jousting, but instead ended up summoning a dire wolf (the paladin's mount) right in his face. He shut up very quickly. :smallbiggrin:

So obviously I couldn't just throw him away. They encountered him a bit later, and he made some lewd comments about the paladin, his mount, and an NPC paladin we're trying to roleplay into a relationship with the PC paladin. The paladin threatened him and the manifester called him a hooligan and compared him (unfavorably) to the French (he's very British), but another PC unfurled her wings of shadow and made the offensive NPC's nose and ear bleed with thundrous telepathy.

Then the manifester accidentally insulted an annis hag whose help they needed. That was fun too. :smallbiggrin:

2014-12-02, 04:45 PM
I once had a player whose character challenged a higher level cleric npc to a duel for the relic weapon he needed. That was good.

But my favorite was, "The huge brown lizard power attacks for 22." There was a moment of total silence, and then, "Oh @#$%, it's a dragon."

Freelance GM
2014-12-05, 06:49 PM
The second campaign I ever DM'd- a sci-fi game in 10th grade.

Me: "Congradulations, you've stormed the bridge of the Dreadnaught and slaughtered the crew. Unfortunately, you still have to deal with everyone else on the ship."

Player: "Wait. Can't we just open the airlocks and vent everywhere except the Bridge?"

...And that's how they got the setting's equivalent of a Super Star Destroyer. After renaming it "the Pineapple Express," the player's first order of business was to have the front expanded into the shape of a unicorn's head, followed by painting an arcing double rainbow across the dorsal side. This occurrence basically summarizes that entire campaign.

2014-12-05, 08:39 PM
Ok, so we're near the climax of this one Call of Cthulhu campaign, and we've snuck into the BBEG's lair and are descending into its bowels via elevator. The DM is describing how time seems to be slowing down, how we're being lashed with telepathic projections of pain and terror, etc. I'm so creeped out that I start nervously reciting the Lord's Prayer IRL, without even noticing it. Perhaps my finest moment of character immersion.