This is the blog of the Sunday gaming group, dubbed “The Rambling Bumblers”, whose battle-cry is “We suck!”

During their long and checkered career our players (thankfully not all the same party) have

  • opened Pandora’s box in an idyllic pocket dimension, and then fled
  • accidentally poisoned some village children with poisoned apples the party intended to feed to a local monster
  • destroyed an abandoned castle, and the not-abandoned town beneath, under a mile-high spire of ice
  • voluntarily (at least on the part of one of the party members) provided a gateway for a malevolent entity into a new unconquered dimension…and fled
  • cut a swathe of destruction through a seaport town with the careless use of a transport spell that involved summoning a tornado
  • destroyed an entire universe by shooting the clock that regulated all of time before the villain could actually give her speech explaining that it was the clock that regulated all of time (and upon eventually many months later managing to set things right, almost destroyed it again out of curiosity)
  • other crimes, too numerous to mention…

And yet the odd thing is, they don’t set out to deliberately wreck things, nor are they the sorts who play Good characters as if the only difference between that and Evil was which races were on their list of “these are ok to kill no questions asked.” They’re not the Knights of the Dinner Table. And I’m not even a particularly cruel GM… at least, I don’t think I am. After all, they mostly survive these events, even if the innocent bystanders don’t. It takes work, or heaps of bad luck, for a PC to die in most of my campaigns, even the horror ones. And it happens, though perhaps not always as spectacularly, even in the campaigns where I’m not the GM. I think that it’s mostly that we generally play without strongly scripted campaigns; even if there is an overarching plot to the campaign, and it’s deliberately set up so that if the PCs follow the plot and go on the quest, they’ll vanquish the Big Evil at the end (as in the “Pandora’s Box” campaign)… if they chicken out, they chicken out, and don’t get railroaded back into the plot groove. This style of play can make for great feelings of triumph when they persevere and thing work out for them, as in the Rose Tower campaign, or the Rescue the Sun one-shot, but it can make for some dismal failures and anticlimaxes as well.

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