Tell me your favorite war story. Why is it your favorite? What does it show about your character or the game/campaign you were playing? What does it exemplify about why you like gaming?
Well, pull up a camp stool, pilgrim…
I’m not sure I’m good with anecdotes … and gaming is such fertile ground for them.
I could write about my brother and I in the back seat of the station wagon ‘gaming’ our characters while my Mom ran errands around town. He was probably twelve. I was fourteen. Neither of us had ever seen a twenty-sided die. Gary Gygax had not published Chainmail or Dungeons&Dragons. We did have drawings of our characters. We kept folders full of their inventions and ‘rogues gallery’. We drove my Mom nuts often enough. Even so, those stories wouldn’t be my favorites though they are hazed with a luminescent glow of time.
I could write about starting a gaming session on Friday night and not stopping until Sunday night way too late to really be effective at work the next morning. But I really can’t remember those particular candles burned at both ends now despite how riveting they were at the time.
A lot of my best stories would be while I was GMing someone else … so it doesn’t seem right to write that here.
Most strongly I remember tears, laughter, and falling in love so this story ought to be something of that. I’d like to use an story never told here. Here goes:
My character had a coven. Membership of that coven included two rather buff fellows, three twelve-hundred pound predatory felines, two witches, a handful of winged shaving razors, and a living rocky oasis. I mention this to illustrate that my character was odd and not without company or power.
She also had many friends in the mortal world. She was once mortal herself.
Over the course of two years I played this PC from her first steps into adventure to her final fade into twilight; from her first spell to her first run-in with the demons that would so entangle her later in a greater destiny. While this character never seemed to have enough money, time, or influence, she did collect friends. Later when she became a demon, she kept an eye out for opportunities to help friends or meet adventurers on the way up. In some ways this gal was all about friends.
She became a demon to help her friends.
One dear friend was an orc chieftain. He was a hoot and a good guy to have in a fight. He was the Errol Flynn of orcs. He believed his gruesome tribe of warriors were the best of the Orc Nation and he drilled them with enthusiasm. My character and this guy fought plenty of foes and got drunk afterwards on more than one tussle against evil and injustice.
Not your ordinary D&D campaign: an orc with a taste for fine alcohol and a silver-clawed demon gal with a taste for fine men.
Many good times were had. My enemies and causes sorta became his enemies and causes. We were both circling around the whole mortal and demon togetherness issue. My gal wanted him in her coven, of course, but that involved some “one-way” changes that he wasn’t ready to buy into. Despite this, they were still good friends, and when his part of the orc nation came under attack by lawful fanatics my gal sent a good bunch of arcane help and warriors to aid. Then later got involved personally because there were gods mucking around on the other side. Gods and demons never get along, of course.
It did not end well, however.
She last saw him in one of those great scenes we enjoyed where they got to take a break from a messy battle. Things were jumping all over the map. Both of them had much more work to do. He had to relieve pinned down forces. She had to go stop an arcane sacrifice that would add power to the opposing side. They swapped tales and spit and promised to get together soon.
He died out-numbered and fighting to the last. When she found out, she was heart-broken and insanely furious. It took a lot of enemy deaths to cool the rage. Then she went off to her arcane domain and cried a few buckets worth.
There is something strange and yet satisfying about cheering the fiction of underdogs and madmen who will not back down from evil. The campaign was long and complex, with a lot of twists as to who was ‘good’ and who was ‘evil’. Reputations were often manufactured by your foes to discredit you. Politics crept into religion at the drop of a gold piece. Corruption was often found hiding in plain sight.
And Chaos, those lovely scum who couldn’t keep a plan or alliance intact, were my PC’s buddies. We fought to keep Law from strangling the decency out of the world in their campaign to civilize every nation.
I think we lost more than we won. It only mattered that we went down fighting.
Thanks for listening.