I expect anyone who has spent any time on either side of the GMs screen has a story or two they could share, those around the table moments that brought everyone to a stunned silence, or collapsed them in howls of laughter. So, pull up a chair around the table, and break out your best, funniest, or simply most outrageous stories.
The title I chose for this thread is perhaps my own favourite moment .. its one of the top ones at any rate. My tabletop group was playing the City of Lies campaign, for Legend of the Five Rings. For those who don't know it, it's a fantasy version of Samurai Japan, with a handfull of other influences tossed in here and there. The players have been chosen to become Emerald Magistrates, sent to the second city of the Scorpion clan with a twofold mission ... find out who killed the last Magistrate, and shut down the illegal opium trade. The city in question, Ryoko Owari, is home to both the legal (medicinal) and illegal (recreational) opium trade. It's run by three different families of the Scorpion clan.
So, things have been getting tense. Relations between the three families are deteriorating. A mysterious bandit is ravaging the countryside. Oni (demons) have popped up a time or three, and the PCs have been run ragged trying to fight all these various fires, before the city goes up in flames.
Because of their run ins with Oni, they've taken to protecting their headquarters with an Evil Ward spell. This causes any Shadowlands tainted creature (Oni, goblins, undead, and tainted humans alike) to burst into flames when they cross the boundary of the spell.
Now, in an effort to defuse the tensions in the city, they've invited the heads of the three families to visit them for a little conference. They turn up, escorted by about 50 samurai retainers, who are ordered to wait outside the walls of the Magistrates compound.
The three nobles walk towards the Magistrates home, the least important one a few yards ahead of the other two. One of the PCs is at the door to greet them. As they get to polite range, he bows in greeting. What the PCs don't know is that this particular noble is Tainted, which means when she bows, she crosses the Evil Ward, which triggers.
Now L5R uses an exploding dice mechanic. You roll the d10, and if you get a 10, you roll again, adding it to the total. Theoretically, if you kept rolling 10s, you could get insanely high results. Guess what happens here? I think I roll enough damage to overkill her 3 or 4 times.
She bows politely (in return) and explodes.
My PCs kinda look like this
The two other family heads have just seen their peer explode a few feet in front of them.
So have the 50 heavily armed and extremely tense samurai just outside the gate.
"What the hell?"
"Shit! The Evil Ward!"
"She was tainted?"
PC on the door has about 5 seconds to act before all hell breaks lose in the courtyard.
"Governor!" (The head of the most powerful family was also Governor of the city"
"Governor! Due to the sightings of Oni, we established wards that would destroy any Tainted creatures. You are not Tainted. Please come inside where it's safe"
In L5R, face is VERY important. The Governor has now been put on the spot. If she doesn't go ahead, she opens up the possibility that she's Tainted, and the PCs declaration was loud enough that all those samurai at the gate heard it.
The Governor, being a typical Scorpion, points out her duty to protect all members of the city, and 'invites' her remaining rival to enter first. Both safely go inside, averting the crisis (for the moment).
The look on my players faces in that scene is one I treasure to this day
Who's up next?