1/23/2009

Published on 1/23/2009 Written by 9 comments

Gamemastering WTF Situations

Every gamemaster has had a WTF situation while playing a game. A WTF situation happens when players do something so absurd, ridiculous or unexpected that you have to sit back and go, "WTF... really you wanna do that... really." Sometimes a WTF situation is funny, sometimes its stupid, sometimes disastrous, but it is always guaranteed to be good story afterward.


I've had several WTF situations while GMing, but one WTF moment always sticks out in my mind.

The players had all just been captured and imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit and were facing possible execution in the morning. They knew they had to escape. They were each locked in single cells, the mage was bound and gaged so spells were out of the question, it was up to the thief and the fighter to come up with ideas. Now I had prepared several possible avenues for their escape, but I never expected in any way the route they, and by they, I mean the thief would go down.

They discussed several ways to escape. It was exciting, they were brainstorming a lot of cool ideas, when suddenly the thief asks "is there a chamber pot in here?". I was somewhat taken aback by the question but thought maybe he had a new idea, so I said "yeah, its in the corner." He said "great, I'm gonna go over and have a big dump right now."

Now I'm used to having my players do weird things with their characters from time to time, but I never expected one of them to have their PC have a big dump in the middle of a tense planning session. At this point all eyes were on the thief, not literally, we're not into that kinda thing, but we were all curious to know what the hell he was thinking. I really didn't know what to say, so I waited.

"Is my character done shitting now?" He said.

Trying to play the part of the impartial gamemaster, I said "sure... I guess that counts... as an action for this round."

"Awesome, is that guard still patroling the cells down here?." He asked.

"He is, but he isn't here right now." I said

"Good", said the player "my character is gonna pick up his dump from the chamber pot and wait for the guard to return."

It was at this point that I asked my player, "So... whatcha doin'?... just curious is all."

"When the guard gets back I'm gonna chuck this shit in his face." He said, quite confidently.

I looked at him, and said "Oh... I see... why?"

With a very serious tone, that suggested a great deal of thought, he said "Because, I figure if someone threw a big shit in my face while I was doin' guard duty, I would bust in his cell and smash that fuckers head. Now you see, when he gets pissed and comes to kick my ass, I can take him down, get the keys, and we're all out of here."

"you do know you're a thief right, and that he's a fully armed and armoured warrior." I said.

"Yeah but if the fighter did it he probably wouldn't go into his cell and kick his ass, he's too strong looking. But me, I look like a weak ass girl."He said.

"If this happens that way, you may very well get killed." I said.

"that's a risk I'm willing to take." He said.

Now faced with some strange rules improvising, like what skill does shit hurling fall under, I tried to figure out what might happen. I could see that there was some logic to what the thief was doing, so I figured I would give him a 25% chance to accurately throw his dump. I then figured that the guard, if hit, would have a 15% chance of freaking out and laying the beats on the thief.

It was dead quiet at the table, when the thief readied his "weapon" for hurling.

"The guard is back, what do you want to do?" I said.

The thief's player looked around the table, paused a second, and said "Its on, I didn't have this dump for nothing."

... and he rolled, and I'll be a son of a balrog he freakin' succeeded.
... and I rolled, and no word of a lie it was 5%, the guard freaked and burst in to kick his ass in his cell.

The combat that followed was brutal, and yes the thief did use the chamber pot as a weapon. After several rounds the thief finally managed to get the upper hand, and after nearly dying himself, finally won the battle. The thief quickly gathered the keys, released the others and they escaped. This was one of the only combats I've witnessed where the players who weren't involved enjoyed it as much as the one involved.

And the moral of the story, when those WTF situations happen in a game, let them. Let them happen, even if they are absurd or ridiculous, because they do make for great stories later.

What are some of the WTF situations you've had while gamemastering?

9 comments:

  1. that was pretty funny. I've had a few moments like that but nothing that extreme.

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  2. Heh, love it. In fact, I'm actively tyring to "say yes" and only roll dice when there's an interesting alternative to failing. So I would have the hit be automatic, and the guarding going in a sure thing. After all, this fight is the most awesome thing that could have happened, right then and there! I support that!

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  3. See, I view the low chance of succeeding as part of what MADE this story so great, if it was a guaranteed action it wouldn't have been nearly as good.

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  4. Hahaha!

    Thank you for the laughs. This was great and I enjoyed this to no end. I saw faces of my friends in between taking hits and a room filled with a dark green haze of what they've, I mean, we've been doing!

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  5. That. Sounds. Brilliant. And it's great how it played out, too.

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  6. How funny! It's amazing how often those one shot in a million (okay, 15%) strange ass things actually happen.

    - Ark

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  7. How funny! It's amazing how often those one shot in a million (okay, 15%) strange ass things actually happen.

    - Ark

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  8. See, I view the low chance of succeeding as part of what MADE this story so great, if it was a guaranteed action it wouldn't have been nearly as good.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hahaha!

    Thank you for the laughs. This was great and I enjoyed this to no end. I saw faces of my friends in between taking hits and a room filled with a dark green haze of what they've, I mean, we've been doing!

    ReplyDelete

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