Sometimes things don’t go well in an RPG, and all the player characters die. This sad event is often known as a Total party Kill, or TPK.
But what ELSE could you call it, if someone asks you what your game was like the day after a wipeout?
TOP TEN ALTERNATIVES TO CALL THE GAME IF IT WAS A TPK
10. The ultimate validation of our sense that our characters faced real risks during gametime.
9. Teambuilding exercise to all travel beyond the pale.
8. Once-in-a-lifetime investment prospect involving buying a farm together.
7. Impressive group effort to push up ALL the daisies.
6. Six-way tie of the world “playing opossum” championships.
5. Story-driven opportunity for everyone to make new characters.
4. Achievement of biological function zero.
3. The “Last Stand of the Swiss Guard” memorial game session.
2. An involuntary change of the campaign to an all-outer-planes petitioners game.
1. Unscheduled playtest of the we are all dead and dying and not coming back rules.
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The idea you might wake up and find yourself living in a MMORPG for no conceivable reason, generally as a powerful hero, seems increasingly common these days. (Especially in anime.) For those of you worried you might not immediately grasp what has happened to you if this should occur, we present:
Top Ten Signs You’ve Woken Up in a MMORPG
10. Smashing random people’s wardrobes, chests, flower-pots, and vases is a reliable and reasonable way to make money. Also, no one ever complains about it. Even if they’re standing right there when you smash their stuff.
9. You have one job. It’s healing people, drawing the attention of the enemy, or killing things. That’s it. As a hobby, you may make multidimensional bags and sell them in the only auction house in the universe to have perfect security.
8. You can picture the most important lore of the world as clearly as if you had watched it on a screen, but rarely know the names of the townspeople you meet or have any idea why they are paying you to kill 60 wolves.
7. There’s no refrigeration that you can see, but your food never spoils. Or goes stale. Or leaves stains on your gloves, even when you are eating Hero Quest Stew without benefit of a bowl or spoon.
6. It takes you hours or even days to gather the materials needed to make something (no matter how simple it is), but only 7 seconds to actually make it (no matter how complex it is).
5. While the exact range varies by foe, as long as you stand far enough away from someone they don’t react at all when you kill their friends and countrymen. You can see them, so they can see you, but it’s like the Batlovian guards don’t care how many Batlovian wolf-trainers you slaughter.
4. When you check the body of the wolf you killed, you find a rusty dagger, some magic pants, and a well-worn book.
You have NO idea where the wolf was keeping these things, or what use it had for them.
3. The absolute limit of what you can carry is not based on total weight or size of your gear, but just how many individual things you have. Fifty greatswords? Fine. Fifty horses? Sure. Fifty-one pebbles? Impossible.
2. Aside from a few close friends, everyone else in the world seems to either only say the same three things, or constantly cuss, insult each other, and talk about stupid political ideas.
1. After 10 months of quests and battles you finally grasp the Artifact of Unlimited Power, which is the most effective magic augmentation you can even conceive of. Then, 12 months later, you begin picking up random loot that is far more powerful. But NOW you are on a mission to acquire the Relic of Incomparable Potency. … Which will also turn out to be eclipsed by random things you find in wolf pelts a year or so later.
I has it.
I decided to get a jar of old-fashioned hard candies, like grandmas everywhere kept in candy dishes in the old days, to enjoy for the holidays. There were a huge variety of shapes and colors among the candies, which were really fun to look at. The packaging didn’t include any information on what flavor any of them were, but I think I’ve worked most of them out.
The Bad Spot on the Apple
The Tears of Children
Plaque Control Toothpaste
Leftover pancakes soaked in too much syrup
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Sometimes, you need something out of the ordinary for a fantasy RPG dinner scene.
Sometimes, you just need a laugh.
Top Ten Iffy RPG Dinners
“No, it’s not seafood. But it is peeled, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and deep-fried!”
“It’s a one-ingredent fusion food! Also popular with chimera crisps, griffon au grautin, and manticore fries.
“It provides both the hare meat and the veggies, all in one butchering.”
8. Owlbear Mole Poblano
“No not owl-bear-mole. Mole poblano. The sauce. It really brings out the, ah… the gamy flavor of the wild mammal-and-fowl meat.”
5. Mimic Meat.
First, bless your weirdness!
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In preparation for seeing Blade Runner 2049, Lj and I opted to watch a version of the original.
I’d like to claim it inspired me to write a post about how the only innocent character isn’t the protagonist or antagonist, or thoughts on what we owe our inheritors, an essay on the value of a life lived for a single moment, or my analysis on why the universe itself cries throughout the entire film, or something classy like that.
But that just wouldn’t be me.
Instead you get:
Ten Mash-Ups I’d Watch But Have Never Heard Anyone Suggest
(and their advertising tag lines).
Blade Runner vs. Predator
Who hunts the hunter?
Robocop V – Chucky Cop
When the police are demonic dolls, who do you turn to for help?
Evil is changing.
Dungeons and Dagon
You are not high enough level.
Men in Black Mirror
Whatever’s going on, it’s weird and depressing.
Master Mustard, in the 11th century, with the lead pipe.
G.I Joe vs the Volcano
Amercia’s Best can Get the Job, but can they Do the Job?
Who You Gonna Feed After Midnight?
The Last Star Writer
A fanfiction forum is a test from an alien alliance to pick the one geek who can think of ideas awesome enough to save the galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy Quest
They’re going to need Guy’s leg.
The Fhtagn Four
Mr. Fhtagn. His mind can bend into any shape!
Invisible and Insane Woman. Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
Eldritch Thing. It’s Cthulhuing Time!
Human Torch. We set a guy on fire. He… doesn’t do much.
If you liked this:
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I should add writing this to my previous list.
10. Friendly Neighborhood Eviscerator
Does whatever viscera can?
9. Terror Bull
It almost works, and then your rescuer leaps toward you yelling “I’m Terror Bull!”
Yes, it SOUNDS awesome. But it’s proof you didn’t research the meaning of your hero name.
7. Battle Flying Spaghetti Monster
It almost worked for the pope, but in this context it just doesn’t make sense. I mean who is your sidekick, word salad?
6. Puce Lantern
Can be an awesome color. The name does not lend itself to striking fear in the hearts of men.
5. The Amazing Pink Fairy Armadillo
It’d be easier to call yourself “Iron Unicorn”
4. Captain Doctor
Sure, you have superhuman abilities to heal others. And the name’s format is a classic. But this one didn’t work out for you. Try Blue Cross or Caregiver or something.
Yes, a shark-themed hero seems cool. And yes, a lot of the cool shark names are already in use with other costumed character. But this is still a mistake.
2. Soviet Dodo
He’ll extinct YOU.
Actually I’d be okay with this one – fair’s fair. Also acceptable; Palkyrie, Himazon, and Bat-Himbo.
Patreon Exclusive: DisHonorable Mentions
I put a short selection of rejected ideas for the list over on my Patreon page, for patrons.
Check it out!
Why no, I DON’T normally post at 7am PST…
10. You have gained a much strong understanding of what Friar’s Club Roasts, Best of the Tonight Show, and I Love Lucy Classics are available on DVD for 4 low, easy payments.
9. Also, those all sound like worthwhile uses of your time and money.
8. You really DO spend time wondering how the script for Gremlins 2 got approved.
7. You can hear time.
6. You realize you are becoming short-tempered, especially in arguments with your bowl of M&Ms.
5. You receive an Eviction Notice from the Land of Nod.
4. You keep remembering the Death of Bing Bong from inside Out, and bursting into tears.
3. You realize just how passive-aggressive it is to constantly ask who’s a good boy. The dog doesn’t need to validate your canine valuation system. Just TELL him he’s a good boy. Stand by your decision.
2. You daydream about being focused and alert enough to not daydream all the time.
1. You finally manage to have some lovely conversations and real-time chats with old friends. Who live on different continents. In time zones offset from yours by 8 to 16 hours.
Be on the lookout for these common signs of impending disaster.
10. There’s a creepy doll that always follows you. It’s got a ruined eye that’s always open.
9. You live in a neighborhood that is described as sleepy, untouched by time, or Castle Rock, Maine.
8. Someone went outside to take care of what should have been a minor issue, and has been gone for longer than you’d expect, but it seems perfectly reasonable for another single, solitary person to go outside to see what happened to the first person.
7. There is a persistent stain you can’t get rid of, no matter how you try. This is less about the stain than with the fact you are obsessing over it. Look, things get stained. We’re all adults. Deal with it. Bonus warning points if the stain is the color of dried blood and seems to spell something in ancient Sumerian.
6. You were mean to an old woman who tells fortunes.
5. Children are singing indistinctly in the background. Bonus warning if the sound seems to be coming from an abandoned child’s sanatorium from the 1930s.
4. Somehow, someone convinced you to stay one or more nights in an otherwise abandoned structure they inherited from a distant relative. I know housing prices are out of control, but that just means if Cousin Ida’s Quaint Cabin is empty, it’s because there’s a copy of the Splatternomicon in the basement.
3. You realize you and your four companion each represent one discrete, different archetype of annoying person audiences would enjoy seeing get killed.
2. The cat just sits in the corner, staring at you with might be pity, or might be disdain. Note that you do not have a cat.
1. There’s a local legend of a madman in the woods with unusual headgear (Halloween mask, hockey mask, welder’s mask, and a brown fedora are popular but not mandatory choices) who killed with a bladed melee weapon (axe and machete most common — bladed glove is overdone, and why can’t maniac killers ever go for a glaive-guisarme?). Bonus warning if you are part of a group researching said legend.
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When you mix high tech and high fantasy, all sorts of new options open up! BUT… not all those options turn out to be good ideas!
10. Atomic Grenades. A classic, and easier when you can use magical extradimensional spaces to neatly cut atoms. BUT – atomic explosions have a minimum amount of force possible: less than that and you didn’t create it through fission or fusion (magically enhanced or not). That minimum is still WAY more than you want for anything you need to throw. Minimum safe distances in miles do not go well with grenades.
.9 Underslung Spell Launchers. Oh sure, the idea of a wand or rod bolted to the bottom of a fully automatic laser rifle sounds cool at first… but who the heck ahs the skills to both lay down suppressing fire and know when to petrify the enemy? How much does it cost to reload that thing? And isn’t Gandalf dangerous enough without heavy ordinance?
8. Holy Weapons. I mean, they aren’t a bad idea for a few, specific users. But in general, you want your sci-fi weapons to be mass produced, and you don’t want that to change just because you’re adding magic to them. And does anyone *really* think there are enough holy soldier in the armies of the world to justify mass-producing these? Plus, eventually someone makes a holy hand grenade, and then the Monty Python jokes begin…
7. Earththrowers. No, not a sling, a genuine earth-thrower, that sprays a huge cone of earth, the way a flamethrower sprays a huge cone of fire. Neat huh? Well…. Not really. First, the reload tanks would make you sink like lead, and secondly once fire burns up everything, it’s gone. Earth just sits there, in huge mounds, making post-battle clean-up MUCH more expensive. And that’s not even considering the impact of creating hills around your primary target – WHY are you creating cover for the enemy? Best avoided.
6. Sonic Disruptor Axes. No sonic versions of axes. Because inevitably, someone will turn them up to “11.” Shrieking hammers are fine, however… as long as you are not prone to migraines.
5. Dancing Machine Guns. Having a sword that fights on its own is cool, so why not add that magic ability to heavy ranged weapons? Well, because machine guns already have “runaway” as an issue, and with no wielder to help take the recoil, the dance of the machine gun is too likely to involve 360-degree spins… and then everyone is a target.
4. Singularity Cannons. Yes, with enough science and magic you can create a singularity slug. But if it’s got enough gravitational pull to harm your enemies, you probably don’t want it anywhere near you, even in unfired-shell form.
3. Ghoulpikes. Oh sure, it SOUNDS like a good idea. Get an energized force pike, and mount a paralyzing ghoul hand on the end. But you know what happens when you energize a severed ghoul hand? You get charred-dead-cannibal smell, and NO ONE wants to be carrying that smell around. Also, it turns out most everyone is in armor anyway, so it’s hard to get the hand in to touch their flesh unless you shove it in a feeding port or something. Too difficult, and too disturbing if you succeed. Hard pass.
2. Vorpal Laser Pistols. So if I shoot him in the hand… his head falls off?
1. Plasma-Chuks. Look, we’re not saying laser swords make sense, exactly, but they sure seem safer than two glowing rods of death connected by a flexible joint, especially if you are expected to be able to hold those plasma-rods as part of wielding the weapon. Even if you have plasma-proof gloves (and if you do, why don’t you make ALL your clothes out of that material), it’s not a great idea to swing burning hot severing lines around your body.
Honorable Mentions: Monomolecular whip (a “finger-severing-device’), grenade of wonder, bazooka of the magi, and baleful transformation rounds (or “bunny bullets”).
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Continuing the theme for the week!
10. One of the orcs has the “glaive” from Krull, another the “caber” from beastmaster, and a third has the bladed boomerang from The Road Warrior. And they all glow like the discs from TRON.
9. There’s a maze, which you have to map out every t-intersection, dead-end, and L-junction to escape. For bonus points, David Bowie is in it.
8. While there are shadows, there’s nothing else to hide in. And no real use for any other skills, of which you have 2.
7. When you’re not killing them, the monsters just hang around and talk shop or discuss the most recent episode of The Great Mordor Bake-Off.
6. If you score a critical hit, there’s a chance you remove your foe’s spleen. Even if you’re using a staff.
5. Treasure troves include an elfin mindstone, a clockwork owl, the 3-bladed sword from The Sword and the Sorcerer, a stringless bow that shoots energy arrows, the wishstones of Shannara, a sliver of the Dark Crystal, a lightsaber, an acorn of petrification, the Loc-Nar, and a map of the holes in creation that let you travel through time.
4. The entire dungeon is painted in non-photocopy blue.
3. There’s nothing for you, or anything else living here, to eat. And that seems perfectly normal and reasonable, and unlikely to cause an ecological disaster.
1. The most dangerous monster is the Dragon… from Dragonslayer. Riding an AT-AT.
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