Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The SUE System: Reprimand

This one’s short, and it’s not a fitting conclusion to the prequel campaign, but there you go. AF1 and 2 are hopefully going to continue the story, since they played through it. I didn’t past this point, and here’s why.
Shortly after the session in which last post’s mission came to a generally successful conclusion, our GM taps me on the shoulder and asks if I can hang around.
Now, I’ve done this as a GM, and I never like doing it, because I can never make it about anything good, but at least I try to make it fast – and if at all possible I do it in a private addendum to the post-session IM, since at least then they can get to it at their convenience. The GM, on the other hand, has never said anything of any consequence by IM (or at all), but he usually finds them insufficiently personal. He sits down behind his formidable DM screen, steeples his fingers, and looks at me in what he’s always thought of as an intimidating way.  The neckbeard rather spoils the effect, though.
I start, actually, with “Okay, clearly something’s happened here to piss you off. What do I need to change to make the game fun for you to GM again?”
After about a full minute of staring at me, he opens with “[your character] is dragged out of his room in the middle of the night and thrown into psychiatric prison.” Insert self-satisfied smirk.
Well. That escalated quickly. I ask if I get, say, a trial or something similar, and this is met with derisive laughter. Yeah, sure I get a trial. I’m dragged in chains before a “military court-martial”( as opposed to the vastly more common civilian types), and they’re very efficient: they open by finding me guilty. Apparently I’m guilty of high treason as well as criminal insanity and “countless lesser crimes”.
Me: “Oh, okay, so I’m overqualified. Jeez, guys, if you want me to take over just say so.”
This gets his blood up with impressive speed, and causes him, in the guise of whatever official is heading this thing, to launch into a tirade that took several minutes. Apparently I went badly off-mission, I have no respect for proper operating procedures, and I “made excessive use of excessive force”. My brain hurts. Now, quite which part is the treason and which part is the insanity, I was not at all sure, and the DM was happy to clarify.
Apparently, doing more than your mission brief is going off mission, and it shows a lack of respect for the M.I.C. hierarchy not to make use of your backup. I didn’t even know we had Blackhawk for backup, but apparently wasting that much of a senior agent’s time is bad; he was supposed to come in once we’d engaged all of our adversaries at once in a fair fight. The GM hadn’t even thought of the shield generators, but apparently he was going to take care of them too. “Moreover, it has a detrimental effect on morale to have such junior agents subvert the organizational hierarchy.” I love the logic here: how dare we do things! Our rank isn’t cleared for anything but massively sucking!
He goes on and on about this, with this weird mix of sanctimony and rage; the phrase “how dare you” shows up a lot. This was around the point where I lost the capacity to do anything but listen and be amused.
In the end, he wound down, and I asked what he intended to have happen now, exactly, since he’s gone to so much effort to educate me on what, exactly, I did wrong by inventively succeeding beyond our mission parameters and making everyone have fun.
Apparently my character is gone permanently; he’s in “crazy jail” for the rest of his life. “And you aren’t making another one like him. I can tell you that right now.” If I’m to come back into the campaign, I had to promise to quit the shenanigans and apologize for messing up his plot.
His face as I walked out was priceless. 
It would be a year until I’d join another campaign of his, and only after I’d heard great things about it – mostly from people with rather different standards than mine. In the intervening time, I leave you in the capable storytelling hands of AF1 and AF2, whenever they may see fit to post ; I’ve got a short backlog of things to get out before we get to the CT-like campaign that spawned this site.
And that’s the end of the Prologue.


  1. I know it's way too late to ask this git what he's raving about, but I do have to ask, what is he raving about? You managed to finish that mission WITHOUT 'excessive force'!

    Of course, what he's really mad about is that you denied his "N"PC his big scene. Can't have any of you filthy peasants being competent without Big Brother around to bail them out, after all...

    1. Obviously the "excessive force" was shooting that one guy. Because that was totally ZeRoller's idea. -_-

    2. Wasn't his plan to have the players go in guns blazing and call in Blackhawk to kill EVERYONE though? Of the two I think what he did was pretty damn gentle.

  2. Why am I instantly reminded of the scene in Terry Gilliam's 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' where the officer who just single handedly captured enemy canon is ordered to be executed by his obnoxious, petty superior. In fact that's how I now imagine the GM as that petty, self satisifed tyrant as ably portrayed by Jonathan Pryce

  3. Wasn't your Briefing pretty much just, "These guys are selling shield generators for gold, go out and try to put a stop to it, but if you fail, it really doesn't matter"? I don't remember reading anything about "saving some bad guys for Blackhawk to kill." Although I suppose "If you fail, it doesn't really matter" *could* be code for "don't kill everyone so my awesome-but-broody NPC can jump in and show you how it's done."

  4. Ahhh, I get it now. The treason wasn't being criminally insane.

    It was being criminally sane.

  5. The really disturbing thing here, is that the only thing it looks like he could have avoided multiple repetitions of "how dare you" in and out of character by doing differently...

    ...is not rolling two 20s.

    "How dare you be competent" is a major problem if the GM bothers to hide it from himself. This one apparently doesn't.

  6. Apparently my character is gone permanently; he’s in “crazy jail” for the rest of his life. “And you aren’t making another one like him. I can tell you that right now.”

    Wait. I thought your character was just a psyker who couldn't manage to actually use his psychic powers without stunning himself into next week. You couldn't use your equipment, you couldn't track worth a darn. What aspects of your character did he feel you'd abused?

    1. The ability to roll 20s while not doing exactly what the GM had planned on the characters doing.

    2. Clearly his character used his psionic powers to rig the dice rolls.

  7. The GM has a point. How DARE you approach the problem logically, not need the backup you didn't know you had, kill only a single guy (and that due to someone far smarter than you handing you a fully loaded weapon that you didn't have the faintest clue on how to use, because gun safety is not cool enough for this campaign), and in general act like you were supposed to do things?!?

    HOW DARE YOU!!! [/sarcasm]

  8. What I really want to know is the answer to ZeRoller's question. What did the GM intend? Seriously, what? I'm baffled at how this could have gone "right".

    1. Best guess: the players were supposed to go in, guns blazing, but get their butts kicked (even if the GM needed to fudge a few rules to make that happen) so that Blackhawk could show up and kill all the enemies, showing off how "cool" he is.

  9. I´m really confused as to why someone would want to play a game with this manchild other than masochistic challenge or morbid curiosity, I´m guessing the people who said "amazing" thing about him were just as puerile as him and easily amused

  10. Honestly, I myself am guilty of rockfalling my players a few times, but at least those rocks were totally justified (well, in the sense of plot consistency).
    But this... this is just shit.

  11. Ancient history now, but I gotta say something, after coming to this from giant. I've read most of the first thread, and I know this guy is batshit insane, but damn. You critically succeeded in a system if I remember right is not one where you can critically succeed, meaning you just rolled two 30s plus mod. But they believe random bullshit from people in an unknown uniform and can't not believe it? Has he never played DnD or read the skills section? A massive lie can either instantly fail, or get a plus 20 mod to the check. Now, he could have rolled ass for his NPCs, so even with the modifier they failed, but if he is that upset because of dice rolls why is is playing a game? Remove all random elements, and just write a story where you toss a bit a dialogue in he can edit to his content. I know that seems to be his plan regardless but damn.

    Barring the totally divorced from reality stuff like actually having and/or moving the gold that many times in a random cart, I can get behind details like that as unimportant crunch. Fluff it out cause reasons and its a minor thing in a story how you move goods, be it by hand, camel, horse, car, ship, uber portal of instant awesome or magical magicalness. I can forgive that. I can't forgive killing you off for doing exactly what yer told to do in a efficient manner.

    I get it why he screwed you, from what I know of Chief Circle, but still...fuck man.

  12. Alternate ending because why not.

    '"So... Wait." Ferre, MIC junior and retired Altean soldier, furrowed his eyebrows. "You mean to say that, if we do BETTER than usual, these bloviating mongrels throw us in a madhouse?"

    "Yep." Halfling Scout Ina 'Neogi-robber' Byne replied, a look of indignation plastered on her face. "Pretty much."

    Ferre's whole team started grumbling, feeling betrayed by the knowledge that excellence was punished. Excellence was what got them their jobs at the MIC! Ferre held a village against twenty of Medeus's Mage-dragons! Ina singlehandedly downed a Neogi Spelljammer over Palanthas! Sherwood dismantled at least four separate cults of Nyarlathotep with nothing but a pistol and his wits! And the MIC would punish this? Ferre fumed at the injustice of it all.

    "Right, then," Sherwood said. "It's clear they don't deserve one sodding moment of our time. Should we just head on home?"

    Ferre was about to agree, the thought of his home in Altea fresh on his mind, when their healer- one Asuna, from Gensokyo, whatever that was, showed up looking a bit, nervous.

    "Guys, our next mission was to make some humans go back to their world to get captured by Dark Eldar." Asuna asked, "Was it wrong to kill our boss with danmaku?"

    Ina grinned and knocked an arrow. "Hell no. It was the best idea I've heard all day."

    Ferre picked up his Brave Lance. "Well said. These dastards only ever cared about their precious 'Canon'- they're no better than our old nemeses. And they'll die, just the same!"'