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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Greatest campaign derailments

    What are your most entertaining stories of campaign derailment? I'm not necessarily talking about the intentionally disruptive player who makes it his task to destroy the GM's universe; rather, has your party ever done anything amusing that made the GM need to rewrite page after page of campaign planning?

    I have two stories, both of which will be ranked on the Henderson Scale of Plot Derailment, so named for the greatest campaign derailer of all time. (Seriously, read that if you have an hour to kill. Worth it.)

    The first one, a solid 1.0 on the Henderson scale, contains major spoilers for the Deadlands setting, so don't read it if you're planning to play anytime soon.

    Breaking Bad in the Old West
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    Our posse had just reached Veteran status when we discovered the big secret of the setting: that the "Reckoners" were the four horsemen of the apocalypse and that they fed on the population's fear. Going around killing abominations as usual, even with Tale Teller, wasn't making much of a dent in the area's Fear Level. Rather than pick up on one of the several plot hooks our Marshal dropped, we take a little downtime and our Mad Scientist announces he's going to try researching a cheap elixir that suppresses peoples' fear response - preferably addictive, so that decent chunks of the population would actually use it.

    I'm pretty sure the player was aiming for the usual sort of fantasy-steampunk item that Deadlands is full of, but the dice had other plans. His Weird Science die, a d12, exploded one, two, three... four... five times, for a total roll of 68. Our Marshal stood there, slack-jawed, for about five seconds before announcing "Well, you just discovered meth." He regretted those words immediately.

    From that point on, the posse traveled the Weird West, cooking and distributing meth and getting into all sorts of scrapes with authorities once the drug became well-known. The funniest part is, it actually worked - if you've ever interacted with a meth-head, you know they've lost most of their fear instincts - and so tales of methed-up ranch hands and miners beating the tar out of things that go bump in the night began to spread, and the Reckoners starved to the point of making big mistakes with their human and monster pawns and suffering major defeats. The campaign basically ended up with most of the West a meth-filled hellhole... but not the supernatural kind of hellhole, and that's a victory of sorts. For our part, the posse more or less retired with fat sacks of cash.


    The second tale is from a 3.5 game. I'd rate it a .75, possibly slightly higher.

    It's just a Bag of Holding, right?
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    To make a very long story short, one of the major threats to Ye Olde Fantasy Kingdom came in the form of "Yeg-Szoldreck, the Devourer in Darkness", your friendly neighborhood psuedo-Lovecraftian horror. YS could crawl out of any shadow that hadn't been specially magically warded, and bystanders never saw anything but an amorphous membrane swallowing up its victims before disappearing. It seemed to strike at random, devouring peasants and famous adventurers alike. Eventually, it got the party when we botched a divination ritual that was supposed to predict its next attack.

    That wasn't the derailment, though - the DM had planned for us to go inside eventually. It turned out that YS was a sentient Bag of Holding with its own oxygen supply and at-will Greater Teleport, crafted by an unknown maker eons ago and instructed to harvest living things. Its capacity was almost unlimited, as evidenced by the micro-planet inside that hosted its own thriving civilization of captured humanoids. At least according to the lost documents stored inside it, it was a normal Bag of Holding in all other ways.

    Well, the party had the right magic to get back out, and on our next shopping trip I managed to slip a Portable Hole onto the purchase list. After explaining the plan to my fellow PCs between sessions, I start up the ritual and intentionally botch it to summon YS. The DM doesn't suspect anything at this point, mind you - we had a few quests we could complete inside the bag, and the right spells to get back out - but as soon as YS appears I toss the portable hole inside. As anyone who's ever abused the rules knows, placing a portable hole inside a bag of holding tears a rift to the Astral Plane, destroying both items. The DM was aghast, but quickly recovered.

    At the end of the session, we had a free-floating city in the Astral Plane (that same micro-planet that used to be inside the bag) and had successfully defended it from opportunistic githyanki raiders. Our next few adventures revolved around fortifying and defending the city while looking for a scroll of Gate so we could evacuate its denizens back to the Material Plane. By the time we returned, the Stars Were Right and YS's creators - who had hoped to use the bag as a spawning ground with a ready food source before they attacked the Material Plane itself - had already attacked and been crushed by superior mortal numbers. To his credit, the DM took the derailment well, and quickly introduced a new Big Bad to replace the wannabe star-spawn horde, but none shall ever forget the time a single Portable Hole thwarted a planar invasion.


    I'd love to hear yours. Can anyone beat a 1.0?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    I've got three, all from Mutants and Masterminds. All recent.

    Vtol for the Win!
    Henderson Scale: .5
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    The local Hero Academy was in a rough spot, and we (a Texan Juggernaut, Alex Jenson, and Girl-Deadpool) were told to deliver sensitive information to another academy across town and several warzones (rough universe!). The school was nice enough to let us borrow a VTOL Heli-Jet to get there.

    We decide to at first keep low, practically skimming buildings. The police radio us and asked us to fly higher, for safety reasons. We assumed the GM was trying to trick us, so we kept going. Until an rpg ripped past us and a high level Assassin (PL12 against our PL8 team) demanded we land on a rooftop and hand over the Package.

    I, despite being the nicest Texan Superman ever, told him that if he ever threatened us again I'd be wearing him like a ten-gallon hat. Despite a bluff score of 0, he folded and promised not to kill us if we did as we were told and hand over the package.

    We opened fire with two .50 Cal machine guns and a mounted Gatling cannon, wiping most of the enemy with some of the finest dice rolls of the night. I leapt out of the heli-jet using my lasso () as a bungie cord and kicked people off the roof as we buzzed the enemy encampment and got out of there. Our pilot even critical-succeeded on avoiding the Assassin's rocket-fire.

    With only a half-baked plan, guts, and with caution blown to the wind, we wiped a small army of Ninja and humiliated, basically, Deathstroke. And the GM had planned for several hours of BlackHawk Down-style street battles.


    Raptor-Grease
    Henderson Rating: 1.25
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    Sometime before this particular session, I was the GM for a Mutants and Masterminds game. The players had just defeated a small army of Ninja-robots who spoke Japanese with Christopher-Walken accents (Konichi-waaa~~~) and a guy named Chromedome. They immediately set-off after Chromedome's partner, who had escaped in the carnage.

    As a small aside, their target here was Dr Dinosaur. This guy was straight up the best villain I'd run in a long while. He was a time-traveling evil scientist from the Cretaceous, and he loved using stupidly-overpowered super-science ray guns and bazookas and all kinds of crap. This guy was the BOMB.

    So the party catches up to him as he takes off on a sweet motorcycle, flipping them off as he went and laughing at them and their stupid mammal faces.

    One party member, a telekinetic expert, says to me, ""I lift up his back tire."

    Me: Uh...okay. Roll.
    Player: I have Precise Telekinesis. No roll. Auto-hit.

    Dr Dinosaur failed every. Single. Reflex Save. He hits the ground at 100MPH and slides for a good couple hundred feet.

    The infamous Dr Dinosaur. The mastermind of a thousand nightmares. The guy who was to lead armies from mecha-Zeppelins, who was to level continents in his wake, who was to haunt the waking dreams of the players for years to come, the Napoleon of Crime, the Heart of Darkness Incarnate.

    A greasy stain on the highway.

    We had to end it after a half hour. Cuz the BBEG was dead. And because the characters were being sued by PETA for killing an endangered animal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Luckily I don't have page after page of campaign planning that can be derailed. There might be a plot, as in events happening around the characters but whatever they choose to do is entirely up to them thus derailment isn't really possible.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    I was a player in a game where the DM had an elaborate city campaign developed and he started us out in the city. He, however, never explained this to us and we quickly packed up left the city and never returned for about 20 levels or so. We even had a ship eventually and just kept sailing from adventure to adventure.

    Later when he revealed his original plan, we felt sorry, but what could we do? We were just looking for adventure in all the wrong places, I guess!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Can anyone find that one post from I-forget-which-other-thread about someone's Druid who blew up a continent? Pretty sure that's a 2.
    Revan avatar by kaptainkrutch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    If and when anyone ever used the Locate City Bomb, or Pun-pun.
    Jon Snow and Ghost avatar (not currently in use) by Gurgleflep 15370262 328.
    How to play a monster.

    I am currently Very Busy, and having limited D&D activity, so I am currently inactive.
    I got a long signature!
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    For the first time tonight, Hiri and Kiri will be performing for the Giant in the Playground! (applause is recommended)

    This campaign went down some years ago, when I was first getting the hang of 3.5. Both usual DMs were suffering fatigue, so a DM-dabbler took the reins for a few weeks. I put together a pretty white-bread fighter (still getting a hang of the mechanics), someone else made Tits The Sorceress, and the old DMs made Hiri and Kiri.

    Hiri and Kiri were run aways from the Orcish circus, and both were rogues. This campaign took place at such a level where both had access to Opportunist, and both used rapiers. They were of indeterminate gender (male and female), and indeterminate race. They spoke in broken common, and always had a quip ready. The fourth wall was broken on several occasions: "Scroll say Quest 'Complete.' Give XP!" "...where did you get that?"

    Now, I was given plot-centric role. I was a member of the local Adventurer's Guild, and said guild was hosting their annual obstacle course (skimmed from Dragon magazine, I believe). I hired the other PCs to be part of my team. What a mistake that was. Within the Guild itself, Hiri and Kiri insulted, flirted with, or robbed near everyone. They got involved with some illegal gambling, even.
    "Where is 'Pot?' See no Pot! See only table with gold." *sits on table* "Now is in Pot, yes? Who will bet for?" *starts pocketing the coins*

    We fail on the final trial, I believe, so the obstacle course was a bust. Fun, sure, but a bust. Then the real pain begins in earnest. While we adventured about within the city, all the following happened-
    1. Hiri and Kiri began forming "Glorious Army," conscripting anyone interesting with a brand. They were "Captains," all else "Privates," and they had a great health plan: "You die, we bury."
    2. Hiri and Kiri could twist anything I said into foolishness. I became known only as Pvt. Retard, to everyone.
    3. We complete a quest for the Adventuer's guild, but they then seduce the relevant noble woman, murderize her, and scrawl the guild's seal on the wall with her blood.
    4. When guards invariably jump the party, they abandon me to be surrounded in melee, and convince Tits McSorc to drop fireballs on me. They steal my gold, but leave my gear.
    5. A finger of mine is brought to the temple of Obadhai nearby, where I am reincarnated as a kobold. Pvt. Scaly is my new moniker. Hiri is now used as my mount for all mechanical purposes. The party becomes unbeatable.
    6. They raze the temple of Obadhai ("Kobold-Pie"), steal a Heartstone and some jewelry from its leaders (Kiri's new erotic piercings), and carry out some pretty terrible interrogations (only two questions were ever asked; no one really survived).

    Following all that, accounting for some new party members, we flee the city. That storyline never really progressed, but Hiri and Kiri had some maps drawn out from a cleric torture-victim of all nearby holdfasts of several different faiths. Shame, really, the blue bolts from heaven never came.
    .
    Using Iron Heart surge, I save against fiat. Succeeding that, I am now the DM. For my first act, I am banning the Tome of Battle. Any questions?

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    This is more a GM derailing a D&D campaign himself. Little bit of prior setup. Our guide betrays us on our mountain climb and gets away. My druid follows him as a bird and learns that the guide is planning to come back with some buddies and murder us in our sleep. After the guide falls asleep my druid summons a critter that grabs hold of him and flies off the cliff. Creature goes poof and the guide falls to his death. Laughs are had by all (including the GM) except one player who gets really upset that my character would turn to murder.

    Player convinces GM to convert my character into a pacifist. GM runs this idea by me and I say it is a really dumb idea but I'm willing to go along with it as long as things are well defined. The GM's definition is that my character cannot kill anything over int 3 regardless of alignment or allow it to be killed in his presence. My thought process is maybe kill style quests will mainly focus on undead or something but nope.

    Very next major quest we have to harvest the organs of 4 intelligent evil species to remove a non-lethal curse. My character refuses to take part in any killing or to allow the party to kill so the mission changes to try to find already dead versions of the creatures. Basically the GM mandate forces the game to not use any of the content the GM spent months on. It turns out Dungeons and Dragon Corpses isn't very interesting and the campaign unravels within a session.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    I don't know about greatest, but almost all my campaigns end with at least a 1.75. My group has a nasty habit of ignoring plot hooks, being chaotic stupid and/or riding off into the sunset to unexplored corners of the world. It kills campaigns, and probably even scores a 2, just because I am horrible at improv adventures
    Avatar by Venetian Mask. It's of an NPC from a campaign I may yet run (possibly in PbP) who became a favorite of mine while planning.

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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Sith_Happens's Avatar

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by illyrus View Post
    Player convinces GM to convert my character into a pacifist.
    Um, what? You're going to have to explain this more. Was there some actual, in-game process by which this logically occurred, or was it literally just the GM saying "[Player] wasn't fond of that murder that s/he doesn't even know in-character you committed, so you're magically a pacifist now, no save?"
    Revan avatar by kaptainkrutch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    For those unfamiliar I do believe there is an example of a campaign being derailed on a scale that outstrips even the 2.0 on the henderson scale. If you are at this site and have never read Knights of the Dinner Table...for shame!

    There is a sequence in that particular brand where the DM wants a break from Hackmaster (think D&D) and wants to play SpaceHack (Spacejammer...D&D in space). One of the characters designs a computer savant and reprograms the ship's holodeck to learn the rules for Hackmaster. The PC's then control their D&D characters via proxy of their Spacehack characters. Ineveitably things go awry and the holodeck malfunctions flooding their vessel with orcs etc. They are forced to crash land on a Class M planet with low technology where they indirectly end up fighting their own PC characters. THe DM gives them descriptions of how their Hackmaster characters must look and they decide to wipe out the primitives.

    Soon after they realize that their Spacehack characters in an attempt to derail the Spacehack campaign and play Hackmaster have just slain their actual Hackmaster characters in a weird alternate but actual reality. As they were the cause of their own TPK and it affected multiple systems, and specifically systems within systems I think this exceeds the 2.0 on the Henderson Scale.
    Campaign Logs:

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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Um, what? You're going to have to explain this more. Was there some actual, in-game process by which this logically occurred, or was it literally just the GM saying "[Player] wasn't fond of that murder that s/he doesn't even know in-character you committed, so you're magically a pacifist now, no save?"
    GM fiat, he basically contacted me about it outside of game and while I did have a choice on the matter the GM really wanted it to go through. I thought it was incredibly stupid but I tend to give the GM the benefit of the doubt hoping for cool stuff down the road. In this case it was instead enough rope for the GM to hang his own campaign with.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by illyrus View Post
    GM fiat, he basically contacted me about it outside of game and while I did have a choice on the matter the GM really wanted it to go through. I thought it was incredibly stupid but I tend to give the GM the benefit of the doubt hoping for cool stuff down the road. In this case it was instead enough rope for the GM to hang his own campaign with.
    Because in a game where the most developed mechanic is the combat system, the best response to someone using violence in self-defense is to prevent all combat from happening?

    At least my story was generally enjoyable. Pity's sake, I'm not sorry that campaign died. Ever figure out that particular player was so upset (and why they had so much influence)?
    Last edited by Malrone; 2013-03-20 at 06:09 PM.
    .
    Using Iron Heart surge, I save against fiat. Succeeding that, I am now the DM. For my first act, I am banning the Tome of Battle. Any questions?

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by Malrone View Post
    Because in a game where the most developed mechanic is the combat system, the best response to someone using violence in self-defense is to prevent all combat from happening?

    At least my story was generally enjoyable. Pity's sake, I'm not sorry that campaign died. Ever figure out that particular player was so upset (and why they had so much influence)?
    Hah yeah. I didn't get much from trying to talk it out with the player during or after the campaign. From what little we did I think he viewed druids more as hippies than anything else which while I'm sure that is a valid way to play one, I don't think it is the only valid way.

    I think he had the influence because the GM viewed his experience in RPGs as equal to his and 1 other player in our 7 man group and viewed the rest of us having lesser experience. Which was probably true but ideas should be weighed on their own merits and flaws in addition to their source.

    As a note this was all years ago and something that everyone could put down as a "learning experience".
    Last edited by illyrus; 2013-03-20 at 06:58 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    The first game was intended to be an exploration game. The party would journey on a boat, visiting exotic locales and the like. They were sent by a king who had kidnapped the party Paladin's wife, forcing him to go on the quest, and was basically manipulating the party in other ways so that they would A. work for him and B. not want to stick around in the country.
    So the party crosses the ocean seperating their continent from another continent. They arrive in a nation somewhat similar to Russia, and meet with the Tsar there. One quest later (the Tsar said he would consider alliance with their king if they went on a quest), they decided to work for the Tsar instead. Despite the fact that the Paladin's wife was still kidnapped. And so began the joy of getting rid of all my notes on these various locations and assembling new notes about the members of the Tsar's court, his country, etc. They weren't even supposed to trust this guy, and they end up being his best employees (and in the Oracle's case, his Psychologist/Life Coach).

    The second one is a game of PTA, and yet again involves the group deciding to work for a completely different side. Shortly after leaving their hometown, they encounter a gang of criminals loading Bidoof onto a truck for illegal pokemon testing. Instead of stopping them, they end up joining the criminal organization. After their training is over, they decide to go get some gym badges. While one party member gets theirs in the normal way, one of the other ones sneaks into the Gym Leader's house at night, dropping a toaster in their bathtub, and having their Audino hide their body. Unsuprisingly, they were caught.
    Today is the day to sing to people while asleep.

    Sometimes it takes me a few days to respond to comments directed to me on a thread I've posted in. Please don't think I'm ignoring you, it can just sometimes take me a while to formulate a response.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    pretty much the only time that stopped happening was when I stopped making huge campaign plans. Instead, I just run either episodic games (where my plan only extends through this session, if even that) or sandbox games. (where beyond the basic set pieces I have almost no prep beyond it)

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by Malrone View Post
    Because in a game where the most developed mechanic is the combat system, the best response to someone using violence in self-defense is to prevent all combat from happening?
    It is more doable if one is a moderate pacifist (e.g. try to end encounters without fatalities if one can). Or at least I hope so. I'm going to be playing in a PF/3.5 campaign set in Eberron soon a pacifist necromancer. She's a happy-go-lucky dread necromancer/bard. Fear effects are fun. I'm really looking forward to the first time she runs up to enemies in game and shouts "BOO!"
    My homebrew:

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    Completed:
    ToB disciplines:

    The Narrow Bridge
    The Broken Blade

    Prestige classess:
    Disciple of Karsus -PrC for Karsites.
    The Seekers of Lost Swords and the Preserver of Future Blades Two interelated Tome of Battle Prcs,
    Master of the Hidden Seal - Binder/Divine hybrid
    Knight of the Grave- Necromancy using Gish



    Worthwhile links:

    Age of Warriors

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    It is more doable if one is a moderate pacifist (e.g. try to end encounters without fatalities if one can). Or at least I hope so. I'm going to be playing in a PF/3.5 campaign set in Eberron soon a pacifist necromancer. She's a happy-go-lucky dread necromancer/bard. Fear effects are fun. I'm really looking forward to the first time she runs up to enemies in game and shouts "BOO!"
    I personally would like to think of it more as not getting into fights that are meaningless to the plot. Fights shouldn't just be stuff you do to take up time in between traps and social encounters. They should carry with them some purpose, be it narrative or pacing.

    In general, I use fights to break up the pacing and action or just to buy myself time when I need to think of something to give them to do.

    Even if I have them do a dungeon crawl, I'll limit the entire thing to at most, 4 encounters. anymore than this and the game starts to drag. Plus, at higher levels, combat takes longer and longer to resolve.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Sith_Happens's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by illyrus View Post
    GM fiat, he basically contacted me about it outside of game and while I did have a choice on the matter the GM really wanted it to go through. I thought it was incredibly stupid but I tend to give the GM the benefit of the doubt hoping for cool stuff down the road. In this case it was instead enough rope for the GM to hang his own campaign with.
    I'm not going to count the number of things wrong with that. Suffice it to say that my response to such a request would have been "Lolnope, heck are you trying to pull?"

    Quote Originally Posted by illyrus View Post
    Hah yeah. I didn't get much from trying to talk it out with the player during or after the campaign. From what little we did I think he viewed druids more as hippies than anything else which while I'm sure that is a valid way to play one, I don't think it is the only valid way.
    What, has this guy never heard of (Neutral) Evil druids before?

    Heck, have him read this, he'll throw a fit (the druid in that story is NG, by the way).

    Quote Originally Posted by tallonRook View Post
    The first game was intended to be an exploration game. The party would journey on a boat, visiting exotic locales and the like. They were sent by a king who had kidnapped the party Paladin's wife, forcing him to go on the quest, and was basically manipulating the party in other ways so that they would A. work for him and B. not want to stick around in the country.
    So the party crosses the ocean seperating their continent from another continent. They arrive in a nation somewhat similar to Russia, and meet with the Tsar there. One quest later (the Tsar said he would consider alliance with their king if they went on a quest), they decided to work for the Tsar instead. Despite the fact that the Paladin's wife was still kidnapped. And so began the joy of getting rid of all my notes on these various locations and assembling new notes about the members of the Tsar's court, his country, etc. They weren't even supposed to trust this guy, and they end up being his best employees (and in the Oracle's case, his Psychologist/Life Coach).
    This actually makes some measure of sense provided that the king they're supposed to be working for doesn't somehow find out. Much easier to get your wife un-kidnapped if you have a country backing you.
    Revan avatar by kaptainkrutch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    I was in a champions game that was a solid 2 on the scale. Going to simplify/paraphrase a bunch, but here is a quick account.

    It was typical superhero stuff, one of the characters was an alien named Singularty, he had gravity powers based around the idea of black holes, and amnesia. We ran into his parents, which also had gravity powers, and were part of an evil race intent to invade the world. Time travel occurs, we wind up in a future version of the world where an evil version of my character made a deal with the parents, and the world is his with their help, there is a large gate thing that lets the aliens come and go, evil me is making the gate allow them to go back in time to take over the world in the first place because paradox is fun. This gate is powered by a link to a black hole at the alien world. Again, typical superhero game stuff.

    So we get into a fight to stop evil me from completing this time travel device on the gate, final hour type stuff. And Singularity winds up in the room where I am trying to hold off evil me from completing the gate, while the rest of the party is desperately holding off a horde of minions in the next room, and instead of helping he was like, 'what if I just open the other side to the black hole?'. Everyone is like 'what?', the GM says 'it would be very bad'. So of course he does it, and literally destroys the world. Game over.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    I got a few.

    2 Full Hendersons
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    Happened in 1.5 sessions of D&D 3.5. The DM had been preparing a new world and we finally got to play it. The party consisted off:

    - A power-gaming Druid that thought he was the **** but really was optimized poorly and got his ass handed to him as a result.
    - A mysterious Rogue like character that could fly, kept to himself, hid in the dark all the time, completely useless really.
    - A generic Wizard I don't remember doing anything.
    - My useless Monk that I struggled (well, failed) to play as Lawful.

    We were introduced to the world. Told magic was taboo. All casting was hid and not talked about. The plotlines were really thin. The party got together in a tavern, did some stuff in the city. My Monk lied to some gaurd to get out off doing gaurd duty. I don't really remember, the campaign was not that interesting, I am just going to skip to the part where it happened.

    At some point we found some kind of intelligent artifact. A sword that could cut through anything. Unfortunately it obviously had the side-effect of driving the wearer completely insane. Nobody wanted to use it. It was obvious the sword was vital to the campaign however and the DM was railroading that we carried the sword. I bit the bullet and decided to carry it on my back. Not even going to use it, just letting it drive me crazy.

    We were supposed to bring it somewhere going across some kind of dangerous mountain. At some point the DM takes me aside, tells me I am going paranoia. I think my party members are trying to kill me, stuff like that. I try to role-play it in a way that makes me able to stay with the party, I don't really remember, but they don't play ball. I make the logical in-character decision to cut them loose and go at it alone.

    Screw me at this point, the DM is inexperienced, I am inexperienced. I carried the sword because someone had to, and its nature inevitably would lead to death within the party or a rift. That is okay sometimes, but this was not that kind of game. Still, I figured if I could deliver the sword, maybe my character can be saved.

    At some point the sword throws up some kind of illusion that kills me. No chance at avoiding it really, don't think the DM intended it. The DM describes the world of the dead: basically I see the world of the living as the world of the dead and reverse. There is a wall seperating the two. He worked it all out pretty extensively. The game is not really working out, but still, he put in a lot of effort.

    Any way, the moment he tells me there is a wall seperating the two, I say I take the sword and destroy it. Yes, he had not considered the possibility. He stops the session, discusses something with another player at length, comes back. We go on playing for 30 minutes as he says the world of the dead only spread where my character takes it. Fair enough, my character runs around for 30 minutes of game-time and corrupts the world to a point where it is unplayable. We end the session and never return to the setting.


    .75 Hendersons
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    This one requires less context. The DM is running a Pathfinder campaign and we are taking it semi-seriously. At some point however the DM is introducing the BBEG and we just break down. We are level 3, he is a level 15 Wizard. We have identified him as the BBEG and he has to leave the city we are in because of it. Being too low for him to bother with, we have to listen to a monologue about how the mighty Wizard walks to his horse with dignity before departing. One guy says he charges. The DM basically laughs it off. Another player says the same. Eventually we all look at each other and laugh, we join in certain dead and all attack the Wizard. The DM outright warns us a few times not to do it.

    Eventually he decides to flee instead of killing us. We start by killing the horse, upsetting the DM. The Wizard casts Fly, someone grapples him and keeps him down, we get a few hits in. At this point the DM is getting pissed off. Eventually the Wizard escapes flying. We switch to ranged weaponry and the DM replies with a Fireball for 10d6 damage. Everyone except for the Paladin. The Paladin buries his friends, takes tattoos memorizing them and swears revenge. In his solo quest to take down the Wizard he goes to the city ruled by the Wizard's allies. Both the authorities and the underworld of the city want him dead. At some point he knowingly walks in a hostile thieves den where the door suddenly shuts down and 15 rogue come out of hiding with the intent to kill him. He eventually walks out with six HP leaving 15 corpses behind. A few months and a lot of bodies later he kills the Wizard.
    Last edited by Zerter; 2013-03-23 at 10:50 AM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    1.0 On the Henderson scale - forgetting the plot
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    We were playing a spycraft game. I was an ex-KGB agent turncoat working with the British. I don't remember the main plot anymore, but my character's dad was killed in some shady KGB action and I wanted revenge. I find a way to force the party to capture someone critical for the plot, I wanted to capture him because he had info on how my dad died. I interrogate him because I'm the surly Russian with a morality pit - I ask him about my father's death, then get angry and shoot him in the head. At this point I had actually completely forgotten that we captured him for the main plot, and spend a minute going "what? What?" As everyone stares at me.

    Thanks to my character's manipulation, that guy was literally the only way we could progress the main plot - I intentionally destroyed the other leads. A different style of Henderson, but epic for its anticlimax

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    TheCountAlucard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    It's hardly recent, but why not share?

    There was the time one of the PCs approached a demonic entity, who'd intended on using said PC as a tool for raiding ancient tombs for artifacts. It really knocked the GM for a loop when said PC actually agreed to do so.

    Of course, when the rest of the party found out, we had our chance to have a "rescue fellow PC from Hell" plot… though I instead went to sign up for a Martial Arts tournament…

    When we finally came back around to rescue the PC from the clutches of his demonic captor, the exchange went something like this…

    BBEG: (has his minion hold PC 1 hostage) "Our pact must be fulfilled if you want to see your friend live!"
    PC 2: "Okay." (stabs PC 1)
    It is inevitable, of course, that persons of epicurean refinement will in the course of eternity engage in dealings with those of... unsavory character. Record well any transactions made, and repay all favors promptly.. (Thanks to Gnomish Wanderer for the Toreador avatar! )

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  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Ok so we are playing the evil party trying to bring Balance back by restoring Strahd Von Zarovich as the King of Evil with the Crown of Evil. Our DM knows that an evil party is going to try to take the Crown for themselves but he figures that if the little **** actually comes with us that theres no wriggle room. And even if we all manage to kill him he has a plan for a revenant version to come back and take the crown anyway.

    Suffice to say that after 2 long nights of inter party conflict in which 4 different party factions appeared we killed him and got the crown. But the first person with the crowd was a Drow so she has to take us down to menzoberanzzan and restore Lolth that had taken 3 different party quests to banish her earlier in our campaign.

    sooo i guess .5 Hendersons?
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  25. - Top - End - #25
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    In Flashing Blades, I sent some French PCs as emissaries to the Spanish Governor in the Caribbean. I had several political adventures planned, involving the governor's daughter, a slave revolt, a feud with a Spanish captain, etc.

    Within three episodes, they had captured a ship and were pirates.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    This one happened in my sisters campaign a year ago. It is a lowbie party and the paladin in the party is going on trials to recive his mount

    Trials being defined as having to demonstrate in char and often with out the player being aware of honorable and good traits Think of that code of chivalry and things like that

    Well our Brain-damaged player W Decides that after the act of mercy is started. That he is just going to slaughter the baby owl-bears after the paladin talked the cleric into using the scroll of resurrection to raise the cubs mother.

    Although that kinda ended that campaign due to player fallout come to think about it.
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  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Well I got a few

    Monsters & Other Childish Things (.25 Henderson)
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    -The party knows that the school nurse is weird and a group of 4, set out to interrogate him. He's actually a Elder God...
    -So know one of the Parties biggest allies is no longer around cause they aren't fun anymore
    -Any questions he answered he gave the answers to a NPC that is working towards a similar goal as the PC's
    -So now the Men.In.Black know how to kill this plot lines BBEG.
    -The party knows how to but has no way to accomplish it
    -They have gotten a group of powerful NPC's involved in such a way that they will get attacked by said BBEG
    -They learned how to restore one PC back to a human body and won't do it because the person that told them is a Elder God


    Wild Talents(.5 Henderson)
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    We have a Venom style character here is last session 2 Games in what happened
    -I'm going attack this hero soldiers house.
    -Even though he's guarded by what? Oh right the best anti-superhero defense agency in the world
    -End result of this?
    Car chase through the city. Ramming into a group of reporters.
    Security Firm riding in gunning at the party with super-science sub-machine guns.
    Breaking the Soldiers arm. Probably getting said soldiers girlfriend killed.
    Losing their chance at getting him as an ally. Getting the group a bad reputation in the city.
    Getting the cops interested in the party in a bad way.
    Having most going in for interrogation next session.
    And they now need to find a way to put the person in control of the alien, and need to contact the magical underground.


    First or Second Attempt at Eclipse Phase(1 Henderson)
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    The Party
    Jovian so Space Nazi
    Anarchist in a Robot-body/tank
    Criminal in a Olympic style body

    Goal
    Get into this base floating in Venus's atmosphere.
    Find out what happened. If you find anyone alive use this device to interrogate/check them for anything dangerous
    Hostiles are go to kill. Leave no evidence...

    Jovian first thing. Calls boss and has him prepare a Nuke spends near all his Reputation with the Jovian to do this... So they now know where he is. Know he shouldn't be there and all this other stuff

    They find the one non-infected and kill her cause she is using a Neotenic body(A body that looks like a kids), cause it can hide more effectively

    When they realize all the people that supposedly are not moving only move when your not looking what do they do? Close the door and turn the security cameras back online? Nope!!!

    Then when the sniper gets killed the Jovian who thinks because he works for a Hyper-corp that equals cop...
    He's a security officer for a super corporation. He calls them and asks for there help.
    He is not supposed to be there in their logs.
    He then name drops the secret. THE SECRET conspiracy he works for... I keep pointing this out and nope he's a cop so he can tell his bosses or something like that.

    The techie then goes downstairs and finds the person who is going crazy from this infection. He is the only other person they could potentially save from this, besides the now bed scientist upstairs.
    To bad he's snapped and is using his plasma cannon on what gives the place power...

    So a nuke hits a secret facility.
    Space Nazi's and a Powerful Corporation both are aware of it, and a illegal conspiracy designed to protect humanity
    They got no evidence. No nothing of what actually happened down there or how bad it all is.
    And they killed a person for using a body designed to look like a kids. Even when they agreed to help
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    You are making the assumption of rational planning. After 37 years of dungeon crawling, I still have zero evidence that the average dungeon was designed by the sane.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    One of my players had a bad day, so he decided instead of investigating the hotel that could be a Drug Den for the local gang. That he would drive his Humvee into the lobby and gun down anyone in the area.

    They were all Yakuza in disguise as the opposite gang, but it didn't really matter.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    I broke Japan once.

    A friend was doing a one-session game where the players were all military personelle, and our objective was to disarm twenty nuclear missiles that the Japenese were preparing to launch.

    Halfway through the night, my character gained the false information that the nukes were going to be launched in about ten minutes. My character was at the launch facility at the time, about two minutes away from where the nukes were held. So he got up and ran to them as fast as he could, and....

    Well I had raided the enemy's armory earlier and had some very high powered explosives. I may have accidentally armed them and jumped down into the nuke chamber.

    Twenty nuclear missiles detonated at once... I don't think my DM has EVER forgiven me for that one.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Greatest campaign derailments

    Quote Originally Posted by Paragon468 View Post
    Twenty nuclear missiles detonated at once
    I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that's not a thing that happens; if you blow up a nuclear warhead with conventional explosives, the blast isn't symmetrical enough or properly timed to actually cause a supercritical reaction, or hold the fissile material together long enough to make a nice boom. Not to mention the lack of a neutron source will slow things down still more…. Suffice it to say that the usual planned way to handle incoming warheads is to blow them up in the air so as not to let them actually detonate properly.

    But eh.
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