2008 April 22
by Dante

Our good buddy Phil over at posted this great story about how a joke essentially helped shape the story, with the players essentially driving the whole production. This whole tale reminds me of so many memorable moments from our campaigns… I believe that it speaks to what makes roleplaying fundamentally great.

What’s funny to you is often funny to everyone else.

People like participating in events that other people value, and funny events are no exception to this rule. If the initial notion of (in this case) a Microwave Ogre gets a laugh around the table, there is usually one or two people within the group that naturally want to carry on that shared experience by perpetuating the joke or heightening it in some way.

In my experience, it usually takes a “plot focused” person at the table in order for that gag to make the leap into campaign material. It usually manifests by the straight man (or woman) saying something to the effect of: “Hey… will any of the townspeople listen if I start telling the story of the Microwave Ogre?” then the bard of the group offers to make a supporting Perform check to influence the crowd.

Behold, shaping of the plot has begun, and that is awesome.

Support this stuff, people!!

Too often, a serious DM will attempt to squash this irreverent behavior. I am usually thrilled when things like this happen because a.) fun stuff rules and b.) I don’t have to write stuff the players come up with on their own!

Maybe I should change my handle to Dante, The Lazy DM…

6 Responses leave one →
  1. TMan permalink
    April 23, 2008

    Recently, my group encountered some Minotaurs enslaved by Illithids. After they were defeated and the party returns to the Dwarven settlement nearby, the Druid remarks how eating raw Minotaur heart increases your strength. The Sorcerer failed his Sense Motive roll and believed it. He cuts one out and eats it. The next morning, when the Sorcerer is sleeping, the Druid casts Bull Strength on him before waking him for the day. Voila – super strength.
    The next day, the party returns to the Minotaur caves and battle some more. The Sorcerer charms two Minotaurs and they both survive the battle. He has the 2 minotaurs carry him on his shoulders back to the Dwarven settlement as proof of what good Minotaur heart can do for you. The Dwarven commander of the settlement failed his Sense Motive too. A legend was born!

  2. ChattyDM permalink
    April 23, 2008

    Hey Dante! Thanks for the Kudos.

    What really surprised me was that this story spontaneously became a group project. One player made a joke about Melting, another added one about boiling, the third went on about the sparks and poof, someone shouted ‘Microwave Ogre!’

  3. The_Gun_Nut permalink
    April 23, 2008

    Heh, I had something similar occur in a game of Exalted. It was late at night and there was a demon in town that was killing people at random. The group was wondering how to track down something that could pop in and out of material existence, or possibly set up a trap for it. The group wondered what would attract the demon the most, then what would repulse said demon. Someone then said, “the Blood Ape probably has a terrible fear of something cute, like puppies and flowers”. So then the plan devolved into chasing the thing around with a baby dachsund and posies or just having children strategically positioned around the city with an armload of flowers and puppies. It took quite a while for the hilarity to wear off, but ever since then whenever the group has to confront something terrible someone will suggest getting some puppies and flowers to defeat the Dreaded Evil (TM).

  4. Vanir permalink
    April 24, 2008

    We had a recent storyline in our current campaign where my character was carrying around a very plot-important staff that the Bad Guys wanted. We had to hide it, so I disguised it as a giant lollipop with a little bardic magic and starting talking to the border guards who wanted to search us as if we were traveling candy merchants from the Kingdom of Sweeto and that the Sugar King was going to be “berry” unhappy if his emissaries were detained.

    Of course, I neglected to tell anybody I was going to do this beforehand but most of the party played along with odd confectionery-speak so as to maintain the illusion. I was relatively certain Stupid Ranger was going to club me to death with her PHB at several key points, but fun was had by all. 🙂

  5. ChattyDM permalink
    April 24, 2008

    By judging from your group dynamics I’ve gleaned in the last year I’ve been reading here, isn’t your head now about 45% PHB paper fiber anyway?

    If she wacks you one more time, you’ll need your own ISBN number and will be able to squat at the Library of Congress for free.

    Great story!

  6. Stupid Ranger permalink
    April 24, 2008

    I wish his head would just turn into a PHB, then mine would stop sustaining serious damage!

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