Reverb Gamers Prompt #20

Atlas Games is doing this thing called “Reverb Gamers 2012″, with 31 question prompts to kick off 2012. I’m going to post one up each day, including weekends, throughout January. I invite you to do the same! And check out @ReverbGamers on Twitter or Facebook.

REVERB GAMERS 2012, #20: What was the most memorable character death you’ve ever experienced? What makes it stick with you?

I cannot remember the name of the character, but I remember most of the other details. This was a GURPS Fantasy game several years ago, with a heavy Inquisition theme. My Christian knight character was essentially fucked politically, captured, and given to the Head Inquisitor in the region to extract truths & confession. He was a very devout knight, loyal to the idea of the crown more than to the actual forces at work that had true power. That was..a problem.

That he travelled with a Muslim of note was also an issue, in the form of “another reason we’re going to torture you, as an example.” It was a very hardcore, religious war-themed game. Brutal. And an entire session was a smash-cut back and forth to the rest of the party trying to figure out how to break him out of the fortress and my torture.

I made some will rolls, but was never told that my character completely submitted. The GM took a novel-for-the-time twist of letting me decide that. I didn’t want to go out like that, so I didn’t. And we kept talking & playing scenes of torture.

I learned a lot about medieval torture devices & methods in that session.

In the end, he was sentenced to be burned at the stake in the square. The party, in disguise, watched him die.

That was the session, and turned out to be the high point of the campaign, as after that it flopped and a couple sessions later went on permanent hiatus. Still, hell of a character death.

– Ryan


One Response to Reverb Gamers Prompt #20

  1. Evan Franke says:

    I am a little behind the curve here, but I have to share.

    I was in a Call of Cthulhu game with my closest friend out of high school running the show (he now runs the show on a string of great novels, comic books, and other stuff, and his gaming just foreshadowed his brilliance). He managed to run a periodic game that included at various times my wife, his (future) wife, my cousin, and several other friends. The game began shortly after Silence of the Lambs came out, about mid to late 1991 and predating Delta Green and the X-files. The cutting edge (from our perspective) premise was that we all played FBI agents. We all lived in different places and were in various graduate schools, working, etc., but holidays we managed to get together to play through several investigations over a couple of years.

    I played a character named Rajiv Jayachandra, a forensic specialist (and I wish I had a lock on the idea because damn if Chris Carter didn’t steal my character and turn him into a hot redhead). In any case, he was a crack investigator, though not the shooter for the team by a long shot. I walked a fine line, on the one hand having him the academic in a group of gun toting G-men, on the other hand he spoke like the character of Apu on the Simpsons, and on the third hand (Indian-American character humor there) having him emphasize his ethnic identity as an important part of his background. I think he holds up in retrospect, though clearly I had few “credentials” to be a South Asian “script writer” being pretty much “a white male aged 18 to 49” (“everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are.” [thank you Home Simpson]).

    We had a good run on a mix of home brew and published scenarios, and then our Keeper, my friend, pulled out a tough scenario from the Cthulhu Now! book (“The Evil Stars”). The investigation went well enough, but it became clear that our likely Federal Agent response to the threat was likely to get us all killed, because we were just not that magically inclined (in a previous adventure, our explanation to the internal investigation on why subduing a bunch of drug dealers (okay, they were cultists with an evil Cthulhoid golem)) required nearly 1000 rounds of ammunition based on the spent casings at the scene, and the best we could come up with was “They were on Crack, sir.”).

    So, as often presents itself in a C of C investigation, there was a way to foil the plot, if you didn’t mind selling your soul and losing your sanity. I decided that my investigator would do it. He was extremely protective of the other characters, and arogant enough to believe that he had the right to make the decision on his own to save them, even if it meant a pre-meditated doom for him. I basically entered into a devil’s bargain with an Elder God (or its avatar, or hyperintelligence, or whatever; Hastur, I think). In return, I got a magical artefact that could blast what the bad guys were summoning, and an additional psychic power of some sort, which actually did not come into play.

    In the future, for this, I would always be in danger of turning and becoming the being’s vessel.

    So, with a large amount of the details omitted, I let the team know that we could take on the baddies. We strapped on the kevlar, got our big guns, and stopped the ritual, which was at a rock concert, just in time. The artefact worked as advertised, and what could have been a messy death for us, instead worked out to be a reverse TPK for the cultists.

    Happy ending.

    Except, now I was the liability for my fellow agents. Only one thing to do. I made sure they were all evacuated from the scene. We let the Bureau investigators and local law enforcement take over, and then I drove off by myself. I did not write a note that I recall. I just decided that Rajiv would have thought it was time to lay down the burden since he was now a ticking time bomb. He had not failed his SAN roll, he was not temporarily insane. This was as a sane a decision as a Call of Cthulhu investigator makes.

    He jacked a shell into the chamber of his service weapon and then ate the bullet.

    The silence, followed by the shocked “no!” from my fellow players was pretty priceless. It was, in fact, unforgettable.

    And, with the fine twist of Call of Cthulhu fate, I found out from my friend the Keeper that the curse I thought I had ended with that bullet was just transferred. Though it would have been even more ironic if it transferred to another player, the write-up suggested that it was passed via blood relationship, so somewhere, one of Rajiv’s cousins had a real “oh crap!” moment. My friend hinted that he might weave that back in down the line.

    I rolled up a new character, but I never got to play in that campaign again. The logistics as we all went our different ways became far to impossible. Those games were some of the most fun, and best run, I have ever played. And I went out with a bang, on my own terms.

    Hard to beat.

    Thanks for providing space to share.