Friday, August 11, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 7: What Was Your Most Impactful RPG Session

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 7: What Was Your Most Impactful RPG Session?

This is from my old Mazeworks Play-By-Email Game. One of the characters, Nigel Taylor-Smythe, had been brought it to supervise the PCs. He was kind of an internal affairs officer from the magical organization to which Trent Capricornus, one of the PCs belonged. Think Ed Exley meets Wesley from Buffy.

Nigel was a bright, enthusiastic uncompromising go-getter who could never live up to his father's deeds. However, the senior  Taylor-Smythe was secretly a villain, involved in the blackest arts imaginable. After his death, his cohorts had his skull rendered down into a magical artifact, and this allowed him to influence the world through his old magical, and they saw to it that Nigel the younger come into possession of this cane. The skull would offer the uncertain young mage aid and guidance during a difficult mission and would eventually lead him down the path to damnation.

This scene is from the end of the campaign. Nigel's father has been discovered and is ready to destroy the heroes. Nigel doesn't know what to do..
Trent becomes slightly shaken at the mention of Tanelorn. He wants to question the
creature, but knows he can not.
"I've walked the fine line of life and death for a long time, foul one. I've met Death. Not a bad guy. Definitely not someone to be afraid of." He takes a quick moment to see how  Nigel the younger is holding up. "We are going to have to cooperate now, you know."
Nigel does not answer. He is reevaluating everything he has ever believed.
 [Trent] will call forth elemental fire and direct it at the cane, the hottest, purest flame he can muster.
Ibis, not paralyzed by the skull, joins in too, blasting rainbow fire from his staff towards the cane. The resulting counterstroke of red lightning almost consumes both men. In an instant, the temperature in the room rises ten degrees. Nigel doesn't stir.

Nigel Taylor-Smythe IV is a man who aspired to the ideal of his father. He studied harder, pushed himself further than any other mage of his generation. He was ruthless in his climb to the top, rationalizing that once he achieved this impossible goal, anything he had done in its pursuit of would be justified.. And now, Trent wants him to turn his powers on his father's cane and his father's skull, destroying everything he had worked for.

Nigel must realize that it is not too late. Throw in with his father. Return to the Council as if nothing had happened. Destroy the traitor, who resisted too strenuously when being detained. Devise pretty lies to cover the trail. Or waver and be destroyed.

What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!

Even with combined efforts of Mister Ibis and Trent, the cane is destroying them, beating them, rending their flesh, tearing their minds. Trent is faced with the absurd realization that he's about to be killed by a fashion accessory.

Nigel sees none of this. As an educated man he is familiar with The Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn. There is a passage in the book that never made sense to him. Huck was contemplating a letter he had just written, to turn in his friend Jim, the escaped slave, as was his duty. Huck had been taught, and he sincerely believed, that doing so was his duty as a good Christian (and as a good, law-abiding American). He had been taught, and he sincerely believed, that failing to do so would damn his soul to Hell.

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
"All right, then, I'll go to Hell" -- and tore it up.
It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. ... And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.
Study that a minute. Turning in Jim would condemn his friend to years of misery in this world, but his own immortal soul would be damned for eternity -- and what are a few mortal years compared with that? The choice never made any sense to Nigel, up until this moment.
"Of course," he breathes, as a massive weight falls from his shoulders. He raises his arm and joins his strength to Trent's.

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