Rules-light sessions of D&D and Dungeon World have led to the funniest games ever.
There’s something about those systems that provokes goofiness in both players and in the GM.
Note: these may not be funny at all to you, but to my players, with everything else going on, these were legendary moments.
Let these be on record for myself and my friends.
Trigger Warning: violence, profanity, stupidity and sleep-deprived “comedy”.
Chimney-Sweep Boy (or the Human Flail)
While playing Prince Valiant, our group of sociopathic knights went to a tavern. Inside, we met a group of typical NPCs found in such a place, including a passing mention of a small servant boy covered in soot from cleaning the chimney. Somehow the joke came up that he was actually used as a cleaning broom, and that he was missing his arms and legs (so the innkeeper tied him to a stick).
When the inevitable tavern brawl broke out against some Huns (Prince Valiant was published during or near war time and so the Germans were a grotesque, orc-like race of barbarians), Our friend Jonny picked up the chimney sweep boy, put him in a sack, tied a rope to it and used him as a flail. It became his signature weapon and NPC ally.
Get your hands of my dandy elf friend!
During a D&D one-shot, the beautiful, vain and androgynous elven bard was charming/swindling a hamlet with his/her songs. A local high elf sheriff took offence and apprehended him/her.
While arrogantly parading the criminal down the street at sword point, my imbecilic orc barbarian saw this from a window in a local tavern. He wanted to run out immediately, but the tavern floor plan showed no door nor a window large enough for him to jump through. So he made a strength check and smashed through the wall itself.
As he sprinted to save his friend, bellowing out “Let go of my elf friend!” while his eyes looked in two different directions, I realized that he had left his weapons behind. So instead he did an unarmed bite attack against the sheriff. It was enough to bring him to 1 HP, so I described how he peeled off the elf’s face with his teeth.
The sheriff, his face now resembling Red Skull, ran away weeping a the loss of his beauty and simmering with rage, vowing to come back and take revenge. The orc burped.
The Madness of Zanzer’s Dungeon
Later on in the same session, it was my turn to GM thanks to the rotation rule. We were using the floorplan of Zanzer’s Dungeon.
The players arrived at a section with two huge conveyor belts. Giddy from continuous hysterics, I improvised and described what the heroes saw: a scene from some bizarro hell in which ogre torturers whipped already dead cats tied to the belts. For some reason, we all laughed for about 20 minutes (maybe it was because it was late at night).
Once the heroes dispatched these horrible fiends, they found the Hag Sorceress and the source of the unending beggars harassing the party: a giant queen worm bug giving birth to old beggar men (fresh with begging bowls and walking staves). The cacophony of “spare some chaaaange?” was overwhelming. As they charged in to defeat this foe once and for all, the Hag made a quick getaway: she cackled, farted and rolled backwards into a secret door in the floor. Uncontrollable laughter ensued again.
The old man and the balcony
While playing Dungeon World, the characters were doing battle with a giant Serpent in a vast domed room. Most of the heroes were entangled within the beast’s coils in the center, while my friend Eric’s PC was running up the spiraling balcony around the room to get a higher vantage point.
That’s when he met an old, wise man who appeared to be wounded. He beckoned Eric’s PC to him, saying that he had sage words of advice that would help him in the current battle.
Even though the hero was in a desperate hurry, he took a moment to listen. The problem was that the old man spoke in a very slow, stilted way: “This… advice… that… I… have… for…. you… is… very… important… Listen… to… my… words…” and so on. This was particularly aggravating to him, because, as a GM, I described the calls for help from his allies in the background. The old man would just not hurry with his tedious tone, so Eric’s character dragged the old man to the edge of the balcony and through him over, at the monster, hoping to distract it.
As the old man plummeted to his death, his last words (and his urgent message) was: “don’t… throw…. me… off… the balcony!”
The Perils of the Giant Squid
The same heroes in the Dungeon World campaign were travelling along a rocky coastline. As I passively described the shore (sandy beach, seagulls etc…) I mentioned some pretty mermaids playing with a beachball.
Eric’s Dwarf Cleric worshipped the “God of Tits and Honey” so he said that his companions suddenly noticed that the dwarf was already running towards the beach, completely naked (he had a special ability to remove all clothing and armor in seconds).
As he cuddled up to one of the lovely sea-maidens, his companions back on the shore saw through the illusion: that the mermaids were actually huge tentacles. Behind the dwarf rose the rest of the giant squid: mostly its giant, angry red eyes.
The heroes eventually fight off the Giant Squid who flees and vows revenge (out-loud, with dialogue).
Later on, another character (Dave’s) was climbing along a cliff-side toward a secret door that they’d spotted. He failed his climb check and so my GM move was that the Squid would suddenly try to enact its revenge.
It’s battle-cry, as it lunged its tentacles around the hero’s feet was: “No Dice, fuckos!”. I don’t really know where that came from, but we all laughed for about 10 minutes straight. We still giggle at that quote.
18th – Favourite Game System
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20th – Will still play in 20 years time…
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