The GM Awakens: A Year of Laughs

This series follows the trials, tribulations, successes, and failures of a fairly inexperienced GM who has recently picked up the hobby after a long time away. It aims to assist new GM’s by examining what worked, didn’t work, and what failed miserably as he spins up new campaigns, modules, encounters, and adventures for his friends and family in Fantasy Flight Games’ Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny system.

A year ago, I began playing RPG’s again for the first time since college.  The Star Wars RPG lines sucked me in.  Let’s face it, the biggest reason we play these games is because they’re fun. Secondarily, because there are generally a lot of laughs at the table.  Since coming back to this hobby over a year ago now, I’ve had my fair share of laughs.  Everyone at my tables has.  I’m lucky that I get to play with friends and co-workers.  It helps to be familiar with each other, share private jokes, know each other’s sense of humor, etc.  The result has been an amazing amount of dramatic fun with the campaigns, but also, a lot of laughs.

So, to keep with and conclude our week of humorous writing, I present to you my favorite, funny moments from my campaigns, ranked in descending order.  Some of these things may be “had to be there” moments but I hope to write them up well enough to be amusing:

5) Surprise!

My son is a Force-sensitive who has invested in the Misdirect talent.  During one early campaign mission, the group had to infiltrate a prison and free a Rebel spy who had critical information regarding an Imperial plot.  So, halfway through the adventure, the team stood outside a guard room, but rolled a lot of Threat during a Stealth check.  So, the narrative result of that was  a squad of soldiers made their way to the guard room they had to penetrate.  So now the room was full of bad guys.  My son only had Force Rating 1 at the time, and could only fool one target at a time.  But one of his teammates (a pilot named Aden)  had an officer’s uniform and put it on.  Using Force Misdirect outside the room, my son fooled the sergeant that his teammate was a visiting admiral. He succeeded on the check, and Aden flew through the door, “Surprise inspection, bitches!”  He rolled many successes and advantage on his accompanying coercion check, so I allowed the Misdirect to work on the entire room for just a brief moment for the team to rush in and get the drop on everyone.

Since then, “Surprise inspection, bitches!” became a quote we throw around the table!

4) Weekend at Bernie’s

One of my groups had to save a group of Twi’lek slaves that had been sold to a Hutt, waiting for transport off world.  They intercepted a train full of the slaves, guarded by slavers, at a train station.  As the group ousted several slavers as they pushed towards the train, they realized the slaver’s leader was in a train car with his blaster pointed at a group of slaves.  The group became nervous about storming the car, worried that the slaves would die in the firefight or as soon as they breached the car.  The scene was almost out of the Untouchables, including the next funny moment!  So, one of my players, the drill sergeant of the group, picks up one of the dead bodies of the slavers killed outside, presses him up against the glass window of the train so the leader could see, and began using him like a puppet, telling him that’s what he was going to get if he didn’t drop his gun.  We rolled a coercion check with a lot of boost thanks to the Weekend at Bernie’s usage of the dead body, the leader dropped his gun and surrendered, scared to death of these insane liberators!

3) Demolition Derby

An early mission for Viper Squad, a Rebellion SpecForce unit, was to jump an Imperial convoy and kidnap an Imperial officer.  The plan was hatched and one of the best sessions we’ve had kicked off.  The team approached from multiple angles, stealing speeders, jumping on speeder trucks, hanging on the side of vehicles, lightsabers slicing down the length of trucks… all out fantastic chaos.  But then about 2/3 of the way through it, the Despair results start happening.  With the first Despair, I had a speeder crash.  It made narrative sense.  Then, two speeders jockeying for position, both rolled Despairs.  Two more crashes.  At that point it became comical.  Two more Despairs were rolled, and the final two vehicles in the convoy and chase crashed.  By the end, it was an old-fashioned demolition derby, with crashed vehicles (PC and NPC) everywhere.  Since then the convoy mission is referred to as “The Demolition Derby.”

2) “…a complete and total barf-o-rama!”

My main campaign has been going for over a year and the PCs have over 500 XP, so they’ve gotten pretty powerful.  Several of them have invested in a Signature Ability as well.  One such player is a mechanic who purchased the Inventive Creation Signature Ability from Special Modifications.  His first use of the talent became quite creative, and hilarious.  It took place during our recent in-person game with everyone at the table.

The group was being blocked from escape by several groups of Stormtroopers.  The group was fighting them off fairly well.  The mechanic was keeping some kids safe and decided it was time to use his astromech droid, R1-SE (Rose) and the Inventive Creation ability.  (This friend is “Keeper Jon” from d20 Radio’s Miskatonic University – Call of Cthulu RPG Podcast and is a writer for the same RPG, so let’s just say he knows how to narrate!)  So after succeeding his check and finding parts laying around, he built himself a mini-projectile of sorts attached to a wire running to his droid friend.  When fired, the projectile launches towards all the Stormtroopers as the wire unspools behind it like a TOW-missile.  When the projectile strikes the ground around the troops, that’s when the humor kicks in!

The projectile emitted a sonic pulse that caused all the Stormtroopers to immediately begin vomiting in their helmets!  They all became disoriented and immobilized and useless for a couple rounds while they dealt with what became a total barf-o-rama!  Two minion groups out of the picture, and a hilarious (and useful) use of the Signature Ability.

1) The Walking Target

This last one is less of a single moment, and more of a humorous trend.  My son is a Guardian Armorer, and has a high soak and a lightsaber, making him a natural meat shield for the group.  In fact, all other characters specialize in ranged weapons, making him the only melee fighter on the team.  So naturally, when fighting begins, my son is up-close and personal, while the others keep their distance and fire away.  So, occasionally, when a red die is included in the ranged attack checks, the threat of a Despair becomes a reality.  And with that comes, as per the rules as written, the engaged teammate being shot… namely my son!  With a year into the game, it’s become a running gag as everyone in the party has shot my son at least once, and with the amount of yellow dice they roll into the checks, they never miss!  It’s funny as it happens so often, and because he can take it because he’s an Armorer.  It’s funny when you have to use the Reflect talent against your own teammates!

So there you have it… five of the humorous things going on in my games.  How about you?  Every one of these games has humorous moments and the narrative dice system really lend themselves to describing those moments.  What are some of the best funny moments in your games?

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Scott Alden

Scott Alden

Scott is a full-time IT Manager living in Lawrence, KS. (Rock Chalk, Jayhawk! Just outside Kansas City for those who don't know.) Scott is a veteran of several role playing, table top miniatures, video, and board games, starting with the Atari 2600 when he was 6, and the classic red box Dungeons and Dragons game when he was 12. After a long hiatus away from the hobby, Scott has recently picked up gaming once again, and is running two different campaigns in Fantasy Flight Games' Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny lines. He is an avid X-Wing miniatures player, as well as Armada, Imperial Assault, Space Hulk, and Rebellion. (His family is obviously a Star Wars family, right?) Scott is married to his high school sweetheart, and has 2 children in middle school, both Black Belts in Krav Maga martial arts.
Scott Alden

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