Bartoneus and joshx0rfz have started talking about some of their favorite RPG moments, and I was asked to share mine. I tend to GM much more than play, so mine are more about what my players have done than what I’ve done as a player. This story is always the first one that comes to mind when asked, and I present it here for your enjoyment.
Call of Cthulhu d20, which would become the first “Conspiracy University” game I ran. The setting was the college we attended, with everyone playing college students. Despite it being a CoC game, the party had been through a number of adventures together and no one had been killed or driven permanently insane.
I remember throwing together the adventure somewhat haphazardly- usually there was a lot more going on in each adventure, but this one was straightforward. The party discovered the ruins of an old Native American city beneath the steam tunnels of the university. Paintings and writings told the story of how the Miami tribe sealed away servants of “The Lord of Nightmares” who happened to be green, large, and have tentacles on his face. The images depicted these artifacts, which the party uncovered in the ruins.
Then in a cave, they found a Mind Flayer, one of the servants who had been driven underground and was trying to find the artifacts for himself. My thought in planning the adventure was that they’d figure out the artifacts were magic and use it against him. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and they were up against a Mind Flayer, which lemme tell you is brutal to a Call of Cthulhu party. Mind blast took down most of them. Some tentacle attacks dropped a party member to bleeding. Only two were left standing. And that’s when Jason LaRue, “World’s Greatest Lover”, took a stand and declared he was going to hold off the beast while everyone else escaped. The other person left standing grabbed the other party members’ stunned forms and hauled them away. They looked back in horror as I made the Mind Flayer’s tentacle attack routine, hit with all four tentacles, and crushed in Jason’s skull.
A major league sanity check later, the party escaped to rest and recover, and finally figured out what the artifacts were for. They returned to the scene to find poor Jason’s corpse (sans brain), and no sign of the creature.
However, Jason’s heroic sacrifice isn’t what makes this my favorite. It’s what happened next.
Tabitha “Cole” Coleman wasn’t exactly the sanest character to start with, using wisdom as her dump stat, and doing all kinds of crazy things. She wasn’t sure that the Mayan knife she had picked up actually talked to her or if she was just a little nuts.
And waaaaay back in the first adventure, she had been the one to take a Lovecraftian Book full of spells. (This first adventure was The End of Paradise, the awesome adventure included in the book.) One of those spells, long forgotten by me, was Summon Yog-Sothoth. Her plan was quite simple: she was going to Summon Yog-Sothoth and get him to resurrect Jason.
What followed was an adventure, run pretty much with just her, but with everyone else in the group (especially Jason’s player) enthralled. Cole proceeded to seduce a frat boy in a bar, and use him as a sacrifice to Yog-Sothoth (as requirement for the spell.) She hauled both the frat boy and Jason’s corpse up to one of the Bell Towers at the University, having decided that it made the most sense as a place to summon.
And so she cast the spell. It cost her a significant chunk of her already low sanity (and sending her into a torpor for a bit) but it worked. (After all that awesome work, how could I have it fail?)
Of course, there was a price to be paid, and Jason came back a bit… wrong, and the Elder God kept the Bell Tower, causing some issues down the road. But that single session, starting from a game gone awry, is one of my favorite RPG moments of all time.
So what’s your favorite RPG moment?