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Old 10-06-2017, 10:28 PM   #1
Ransom
 
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Default Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

Today we had the first meeting of a new dungeon fantasy game.. I failed to realize that using a broken down wagon as a plot device to get the party to stop at a village would not work on a party with an artificer. Before they could roll right past all my plot hooks into a city I have not yet planned or plotted, I tossed a cougar attack at them which burned most of the rest of the night. I now have a week to either retool my adventure to work in the city or find another way to get them to stop in my plot-laden village.

What have been your worst/best moments of players catching you off guard, and how did you think on your feet and keep the game rolling?
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

When I was running a silly holiday-themed adventure from Polyhedron Newszine, the half-elf enchanter's player gleefully immersed himself into the role of effete, smarmy charmer (and only incidentally an actual spellcaster) "Fabio the Fair, of the Fey Folk." When they reached the final room, and burst in on the chief bad guys--who, naturally, were expecting them--Fabio immediately launched into his usual splashy self-introduction, and improvised from there. Everyone at the table was soon laughing so hard that none of us wanted to stop him. When he wound down after a couple of minutes, I said, "Well, that surprised them. You all go first. Roll initiative."
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

You know, I don't think I find this sort of thing to be a rare surprise. It's actually nearer the truth to say that's what I call "game mastering." At least, I run a lot of sessions where I confront the PCs with something, see how they react, and make something up.

If I want to make sure that the PCs deal with X, I have them assigned or hired to deal with X. That's what bosses and clients are for.
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

Phone rings: "Hey, we've decided to game tonight, can you make it?" "Short notice but sure." Great, we start in 15 minutes, and you're the GM!"
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjard View Post
Phone rings: "Hey, we've decided to game tonight, can you make it?" "Short notice but sure." Great, we start in 15 minutes, and you're the GM!"
LOL, that's most of my high school era GM'ing. I'd wake up to one of my players sitting on my bed, calling the others on my phone "Hey, get over here, we're gaming today."

That's usually how I found out I'd be spending my day GM'ing.
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:55 PM   #6
sjard
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When D&D 5e came out, there happened to be one of the sadly usually very short lived (4-6 months, almost always due to mismanagement*) LGSes nearby.

Anyhow, I bought the PHB (the rest weren't out yet), and went home. I went back to hang out later that evening because why not it was close by, and the owner asked "So, you ready to run a game in 10 minutes?" I just looked at him and snorted "Maybe next week, but I haven't done more than flip through the book yet."
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

"Two of you took Weirdness Magnet?"
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:34 AM   #8
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"Hey Jabba, Could you run a demo game for begginers tonight ? "
Sure !
I only started GMing half an year before (but had been playing for 5 years), and I had just bought WEG Star War a couple day before, so I decided it would be good for a beginner game, instead of my usual CoC or RM.
Star war is well know, I can get a tape with the movie music for background, and a simple mission scenario for rebels agents is quickly written ... I sketched down an outpost on a jungle planet, some stormtroopers, a jail, a prisoner, more stormtroopers, and a shuttle conveniently close for escape... more than enough.
I only read the rules twice but who cares... it is Star War for beginners, lets roll and shout.
Except it soon became obvious that
-none of the players were begginers, they just had never visited the place we were playing.
-in fact, 2 of them were Star War GM...
-they were used to and wanted a simulationist kind of play.
I begged for 20' to actually pen down some more notes, and deputized the players to answer any rules calls, and fun was had by all, in fact I still sometimes play with a couple of them 25 years later, but for a while I was in full GM panic mode.... (And I got lucky that the players didn't try to tear down the scenario or engage in a spacebattle but played along ...)

Last edited by Celjabba; 10-18-2017 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:17 AM   #9
Gnaskar
 
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

Superhero game: Giant world ending ritual with 666 demons in attendance going on in a city park downtown. The players' weather mage has just gotten divine powers from being infused with angel blood (the last of the players to receive a power upgrade from a "radiation accident"). Quote: "Can I make it rain holy water?" After a thirty minute break I throw away the rest of my plans, and improvise a new and different boss fight.

...

Dark Sci-Fi: The players are deep in the bowels of an arcology, on a mission to exorcise a demon in the city's main computer. The computer controls the whole city, including giving orders to the police. The police show up with a SWAT team and order the players to surrender. To my complete surprise, they do. The computer shuts down life support in their cells, and they repeatedly fail to escape. Eventually, the group's mage tries to open a tear in reality to break the cell and loses control of it, effectively ending the campaign with a TPK.

...

First game I ever ran. DnD 3.5. No limits on source books to use. One player lists half his items as being from [BoEF]. Takes me a while to find that particular book, since you generally don't expect players to browse through the Book of Erotic Fantasies for utility items. Next campaign, there were a few limits on which source books were available.
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Share Your Game Master Panic Moments

Whenever I've ruled, "Okay, you can try . . . but you'll have to roll [game system's equivalent of a difficult-to-achieve critical success] to pull it off." It should no longer surprise me that this works like, "It's a million-to-one chance, but it might just work!" on the Disc. But it does surprise me. Every. Single. Time.
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