Today, I turn 36. I’m old enough to smoke my adult years, or my adult years are aged to a respectable drinking age. (I’m having a cigar and scotch tonight, hence the metaphor.) If you know my story, you know that I didn’t expect to be alive today.

For my birthday, here’s what I’d like to ask of the gaming community: share positive stories about how gaming has made your life better. It could be a life-changing story, a small moment that you cherish, or somewhere in between. Hashtag them #36GamingMoments on whatever social media you use.

I say 36 because I’m hoping to get at least 36 positive stories over the next week for my 36th.

– Ryan



6 Responses to #36GamingMoments

  1. Rich Crotty says:

    For me, it was the first PAX that Paizo had a presence, maybe 4 years ago. I GM’d the first table on that first day. One couple came into the room, and they were seated at my table. And no one showed up for another 20 minutes. So I was sitting there, ready to go, with no players, telling the couple how Pathfinder works and how their character’s abilities work, up until finally, some other players wandered in. And it was fun.
    Pretty soon, all the tables were full and it was standing room only.

    A few memories from that weekend:

    I had a guy from the midwest show up and tell me how much he’d loved 3.0 and 3.5, and how he’d returned all of his 4.0 books the same day he bought them. As a martial artist, he decided he wanted to play a ninja. He looked me in the eye and said, “Wow me.” When the scenario was done, he stood up, shook my hand, and said, “You, sir, just sold a lot of books.” Then he asked if he could autograph my core rulebook. I still have it. It says, “As a cancer survivor, I would rather go through chemo again rather than play 4th Edition.”

    A large group of players showed up, joking and riffing off of each other like a comedy troupe. They asked me if I’d be willing to GM an all gunslinger party. I said, “Not a problem.” They had all apparently gone to gunslinger camp together, even the cleric, who had washed out and become a dumb ol’ cleric. We played a short Mwangi adventure, with the group fighting Charu-ka and packs of baboons until they were laughing, and screaming, “Fucking MONKEYS, man!” The adventure embed with the entire group firing off pistols and stabbing baboons in the library of the Grand Lodge in Absalom due to a poorly timed teleport.
    I saw them several times later that weekend, and that’s how they’d greet me every time.
    The next morning, Saturday, I was sitting in the lobby, and Liz Courts was getting players together with GM’s. It was almost like the lobby of a restaurant. She was taking orders for scenarios and matching groups. The all gunslinger party walked in and saw me, “Fucking MONKEYS, man!”
    And Liz asked them what scenario they were waiting for.

    And this is my gaming moment. Right here. I’ve played and GM’d since 1981 when I was in seventh grade, and never, in all of those years, have I received such a compliment.

    Liz asks them what scenario they’re waiting for, and they all look over at me and one of them says, “Whatever he’s running.”

    And I realized right then that I was going to step it up, and I actually did, and it involved two players killing off the big bad evil guy and all of his minions in the first second of combat, and me sweating it because I didn’t want to disappoint all the other players at the table who suddenly had no enemies to fight except for a fucking skeletal monkey familiar that I’d added at the last second as a joke.
    Oh, and also, Erik Mona was standing right behind me, watching every second when the players suddenly didn’t have any opponents. So yeah, I was kinda terrified

    But that’s a story for another time.

    – Rich “Rebis Ouroboros” Crotty

  2. Chuck Cooley says:

    My favorite moment came near the end of a multi-year campaign strung together from adventures out of the early years of Dragon magazine (but played in GURPS, as if that matters). The players finally had enough pieces of the puzzle to figure out What Was Really Going On. My wife – who usually sees through me like I’m water – was as stunned as the rest of the group. She said, “Wait, you mean Baron von Strahd is the GOOD GUY!?!”

  3. Martin says:

    One of my fondest gaming memories dates back to a 1920s larp a couple of years ago. I was hiding in a wall closet and eavesdropping on the secret schemings of some other players – while sipping on a perfect martini cocktail. Although nobody witnessed that moment, there have been few moments in my live where I felt that competent, stylish and awesome.

  4. Wayne Zombie says:

    For me, my most memorable gaming moment would have to be the 1984 Origins in Los Angeles. I drove with a bud over from Phoenix. It was my first really big gaming con, I’d attended a lot of smaller ones while working for Flying Buffalo. One thing that I was looking forward to immensely was the Champions game, but when I went to sign up, I found out that it wasn’t happening. Not only did the scenario designer not send down the scenarios, he was a no-show at the convention. They had oodles of people wanting to play and no GM’s.

    So I ran.

    I had all of my materials with me and since there was absolutely no way that I was going to let people ‘run what you brung’, I spent the afternoon making up character sheets for villains out of the Enemies books who were at the 250 point level. I gave them all 25 points in experience with which the players could customize their characters, and went to the game room.

    The background was that the players were all former villains who had been caught, convicted, served their time, and were now on probation and doing good. They could do anything with their points except alter their speed or dex as I’d already made up the watch list. I had probably 50% more character sheets than players, so there was a good selection and people didn’t feel cheated at being stuck playing a type they didn’t like. The specific scenario started with a bank robbery which was a distraction for the kidnapping of the mayor’s daughter, or something like that. It culminated in an island assault to rescue the girl, and the villains in the scenario were my personal player characters who were far above 250 points in earned experience. Fairly basic scenario, I winged most of it.

    The players won. I didn’t pull any punches, they had to use teamwork to take down their opponents, it was a legitimate win. The culmination was s martial artist taking down a warlock with ego killing attacks (not technically allowed without GM permission). They were killing each other, but neither could stun the other, so it came down to who dropped first.

    But that isn’t the story.

    A few years later, I was at a WesterCon or something back in Phoenix, a bunch of my friends were talking to J. Michael Strazinski, and this guy whom I did not know was staring at me. The guy finally comes over and asks me if I ever gamed in LA. I’d totally forgotten about the 1984 Origins and said no. He started spouting details about the game, and eventually I remembered running it. He capped it all by saying: “That was the BEST Champions game that I ever played in!” I think he might have been the martial artist taking the ego killing attacks, I don’t remember.

    It was definitely the most positive gaming moment that I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot, I’ve been gaming pretty much as long as you’ve been alive, Ryan. I sometimes consider running a similar scenario, but I haven’t attended a game con since the Tucson people stopped, and those Tucson cons are the two occasions where I met Ryan. I might get back to the Phoenix game cons one of these days, we’ll see.

    So a belated happy birthday, Ryan, I’m sorry I missed your natal anniversary but I’ve had some browser issues of late and on Tuesday had some medical tests to spend the day at a hundred miles away. I became radioactive for that and even set off the Border Patrol’s detectors, but my superpowers don’t seem to have manifested yet. I hope the cigar and scotch were everything that you were hoping for.

  5. Greg Sanders says:

    I’d actually posted mine recently on a similar thread, albeit for a more somber reason, over at board games site Shut up and sit down ( http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/v/favourite-moment/ )

    I’ll repost the relevant bit here:
    That said, favorite game moment has probably got to be an RPG. D&D 4e although it was a system-lite session. My character’s realm was under threat by a villain, Loki, who held her responsible for the death of his daughter and for causing the apocalypse, both charges had some merit. She invited him to actually try to prove his case in court rather than via war. He accepted, although doing so of course in such a way that threw the rest of the party in a vicious fight at the edge of space and time, as one does. Regardless, playing with actual accountability for my character(s) often pragmatic choices and the sometimes disastrous consequences left me with a night I’ll never forget.

    Happy trip around the sun!