Your worst gaming experiences.

So let’s talk about some of the times when gaming was not so good. Maybe you had a vindictive GM screw you over? Maybe you had a GM fall asleep on you?

For me I had a few negative experiences. The most recent was with the group I used to play with. We took turns GMing games and things usually went well. We started to play Conan D20 and were really psyched for that low magic, brutal, blood and gore setting. One of my friends who really loved this setting ran our first few games and it was great. It had all the elements of a good Conan story (from the books). It had corruption, an evil mage, intrigue, and bloody combat.  His game was so good I started to plan out my adventure. I was slated to run 3rd but I could not wait. I had evil nobles, intrigue, double crosses, and fun plot twists. It was going to be great! I was psyched.

Next up running was, let’s call him, “Pete.” He proceeded to turn Conan into a full on D&D dungeon crawl. Wild creatures and magic everywhere. We fought weird and crazy demons at every turn. I would look across the table at other players and we would tilt our heads, confused. Didn’t we just start this game and talk about the whole “low magic” aspect? There were monsters written up in the main rules but many of the more “fantastical” ones were very high level and exceedingly rare. “Pete” had us facing them at level 3 (in a lower powered state of course) and section after section of this underground cave was filled with fantastical creatures. This affected another player so much that he just said “I don’t want to play this anymore.” I tried to tell him I would get us back on track with my game but he wouldn’t have it. We finished out “Pete’s” game then stopped to play something else. It was a huge let down. In fact many of my negative experiences invove “Pete”. I remember during a D20 Modern game he ran he thought it would be good GMing to have the characters make 7 (seven) climb checks to get down a cliff wall because we all know how climb checks and climbing are the pinnacle of role-playing excitement! Sometimes I just ask my GM for one at random even if there is nothing to climb!

There were other times too, some of them involved being railroaded to the point of ridiculousness. Powers all of a sudden having no effect on a door the GM didn’t want us to go through, NPC’s who were all of a sudden immune to mental abilities, things like that (No “Pete was not the culprit in this one).

So what are your experiences? How did you learn from them?

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2 Comments

  1. Oh god! You HAD to bring up the railroading GM memories, didn’t you?! Yeah, I definitely had my share of them (including the infamous “Seven Climb Checks Debacle”). My favorite instances involve back when we played ‘Champions’. Our GM at the time (let’s just call him ‘That Stupid Son of an Unnamed Goat and Little Known Marvel Superhero B’Wana Beast) was notorious for writing storylines he blatantly stole from known comics and/or movies and then try to railroad us into following that same tired plot even when our own characters would solve the problem long before his much-vaunted climax was set to happen.

    One thing that glared out at me most of all was that all of his villains were cut from the same mold …

    1. They were immune to being taken down by our powers in the first seven or eight confrontations even when we used superior teamwork.

    2. They were afraid of the NPC and could be defeated by him rather than the PC’s (can you say ‘Deus Ex Machina’, boys and girls?)

    3. Every single one had the same typical arrogant master villain personality. They laughed mockingly at the heros, they showed off how evil they were at all times, and never once acted surprised even when we took their trusted super-bodyguards and flung them into Hell and/or the sun. Granted, master villains tend to do this sort of thing, but we’re talking about ten different guys here! Were they mass-producing master villain personalities or what?!

    4. Even if by some miracle when we actually managed to beat the master villain in an early confrontation, there was always some even more miraculous escape for him. One example I’ll use involved when my super-strong titan-spawned Norse entity of a character scored a critical hit on him with a move-through attack (note: the damage from this maneuver, on a critical, would have broken the USS Nimitz into Cheezit-sized wedges). The damage was enough to knock the villain unconscious (and not explode, by the way). And what happened after that? Well, it just so happened that a dimensional portal suddenly opened up behind him and his unconscious body hurtled through it to safety and then just as suddenly closed in on itself before my character could rush in after him. Great fight. Real goddamn fulfilling, huh?

    And all that is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure if Mike feels like jumping in on this, he can definitely add to it. Mike? Do your worst and do it slow!

  2. Holy crap. Worst GM experiences? (Outside of my own screw-up’s of course).
    Let’s concentrate on said Douchbaggery presented by Andrew. I just LOVED having the Borg show up and be mmune to every attack my character ( empowered by a symbiote given to me by said GM in another ripoff adventure which made him balls-powerful) could throw at them. Add to the mix a legion of NPC ‘saviors” and other genre ripoffs ( That Game master anyone? Anyone remember that guy who forced us to perform on TV until we took the game away and actually gave it a plot concerning Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper?)
    I just remember a lot of plots and characters ripped off from television or Marvel ( hell I think I read one of the story archs in a series of X-Men once) but said Engineer GM ( Choo Choo Charlie I think his name was) just made me groan with every session. I countered his douchebaggery by creating totally bizarre characters designed to do nothing but stall the game and the plot. Even the White Wolf games he ran stank of a railroad with even my best characters going up against impossible odds.

    I always wanted to confront him like Truman Capote did at the end of “Murder by Death” where I pointed out all of the shortcomings of the adventure.

    But I digress. Looking back, I think I ran a buch of shitty campaigns myself. I know of 2 semi-LARPS I ran on my birthday that sucked monkey balls. SO I’m guilty as well.

    Then there’s Rob’s friend who worked at Compleat Strategist. Dude would show up once in a blue moon with a new game, get us to make characters for it, play two or three sessions, then disappear like a fart in a Hurricane. I just sold a bunch of books I bought for his games that were collecting mold.

    In Austin, I’ve come across a few vindictive LARP GM’s. I was in a werewolf Larp playing a Bone Gnawer with “Twisted Upbringing” ( His mentor was a kinfolk with Alzheimers and taught him differently like “You need an umbrella ot go into the Umbra, or You need to dance and sing to change forms, or there was no Glabro form – just a myth.
    Anyway, I was faced with clearing out a pack of Pentex lowlifes from a building where they had kidnapped a few kinfolk. They were holding them for blackmail and were not too covert that they were kidnappers or whatever. I checked with a Glasswalker who said they had no legal protection from Pentex and were supposedly on their own. So my char instead of crashing in to save the day ( he was a ragabash anyway) called the DPS ( TX state troopers) and reported a kidnapping and gave the addy of the building they were located at.
    The GM was pissed. Three weeks work and a huge battle was ruined because of a phone call. He never expected a simple solution to the problem, nor did he expect it from my char.
    The next game I was sent to Dallas and killed by BSDs.
    My next character was a Glasswalker…killed in 3 weeks by a sniper with silver bullets.
    My next char was a Get Ahroun – Killed same night in a wyrm attack.
    I never went back.


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