Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Great Moments

I haven't had much time to work on much of anything other than, well, work lately, so I don't have much new to share. So I figured I take this opportunity to finally write up a post that has been creeping around in the back of my mind for a while, but just hasn't made it to fruition yet.

Gaming is largely a social hobby, we get together with friends or with like-minded people that many times become friends. Through this interaction we all develop moments that stick out in our minds. This post is dedicated to some of my fondest gaming moments.

My brother and I play Strat-O-Matic Baseball. I bought a copy on a whim several years ago and introduced him to the game. I instantly created a monster. My brother is a baseball encyclopedia. He's written two books on subject, has watched Ken Burns baseball too many times to count, and pretty much just has an internet connection so he can read baseball coverage. It wasn't long after I introduced him to the game that he bought his own set. He then set about creating his own basic play cards for nearly every player that has played the game. Seriously. He has a chest-high tupperware drawer set full of index cards with player die matrixes. Even more amazing is that he's played at least one game with every single card. I have no idea how many he's made, but it's easily into the thousands. Anyway, when we first got into the game, we thought it would be fun to re-draft the leagues and add in the Hall of Fame set that I bought at the same time that I bought the base game with the 2004 season. We started around 10 am and wrapped up drafting the teams around 2 AM all the while talking about the players, how the teams were stacking up, and just baseball in general. We did the same thing just last year when I got the Negro Leagues set and an update to the HoF set. The afternoons and night spent rolling games has been some of the best times I've spent with my brother and memories that I'll carry with me forever no matter how pissed we might get with each other.

One game that lives in infamy for my group is the old Mutant Chronicles: Siege on the Citadel boardgame. For those of you that aren't familiar, this game is similar to a cross between Heroquest and Warhammer 40K. The players play pairs of heroes from various factions and the GM plays the undead Legion. In the first scenario in the book, the players are tasked with escaping a Legion installation. Right in the middle is an Ezoghoul, a centaur-like creature whose defense is such that only one of the factions has any hope of wounding it. Well, the player who was playing that faction ran for it when she realized that she'd have to roll perfectly just to scratch the creature. The other player got bogged down by Legion forces and was bringing up the rear. Player 1 got out, she was safe. Player 2 was within sight of the exit, only being one tile away when I played a Legion card that let me switch the position of two tiles...I switched the start and exit tiles, forcing Player 2 to try and survive the gauntlet of pursuing foes all over again. When I did that (which I admit was the jerkiest of moves), he just stared at the board, back at me, and back at the board. He mumbled some choice words for me and dove headlong into the crossfire. I believe he only made it a couple more round before his characters were decimated. To this day we joke about that round of Mutant Chronicles. I still have the game waiting and ready, but I haven't played it again with those two since.

Many years ago, I played in a one-on-one D&D (2nd edition) campaign using Night Below. The player was a friend's dad and I was the DM. He was making quite a ways into the adventure: closing in on the source of the disappearances on the surface, and I believe his characters were around level 12 at this point. They get into a fight with quite a few Derro and their Illithid masters. One of the player's fighters succumbed to mind control and attacked another of the party's fighters, beheading him. None of the spellcasters had any magic to counter the mind control, so they had to not only fight the creatures, but one of their own as well. The fight was going so poorly for him, that at one point he threw his d20 down the hall. To this day, even though that hallway has been recarpeted and painted, that die has never reappeared. Anyway, the were only a few of the party left standing and the magic-user decides to drop a fireball on top of the fracas, figuring that even if they all died, so would their killers. That plan worked. Only two of the party were left standing, and just barely, and all but a couple of the monsters were slain (who were quickly dispatched afterward). In the end the encounter ended up being the closest to a TPK in that campaign (though there were some other near misses, but nothing like that). It's gone down as the bloodiest battle of my time behind the screen.

There are other tales, like the Masque of the Red Death campaign where the party tried to kill Dracula by blowing up a dock and nearly killed themselves in the process. The earlier adventure where one player went insane and charged into a room filled with flying shards of glass, getting cut to ribbons and the looks on the players' faces when their sense of security in the game was shattered. There are the stories of Prickly Bill, a mutant cactus gunslinger, of his travels with a motley crew across the wastelands, but those will have to wait for another day. I think I've waxed nostalgic enough for one day.

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