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Beware the DM’s Cousin Part 2; Vengeance is Mine Sayeth the Rogue

Again, a cross-post from AllThingsDND.
Welcome back. In the last part, you read about how I was emotionally brutalized by my friend’s cousin during our D&D days but that he promised to do something to make it up to me. Well, a few days after making his initial promise... he delivered. He showed me his initial draft at school, and I must admit I felt my passion for the game begin to rekindle. His home-brew was basically the best of the 2e Foxwoman entry and used the 3e’s Werewolf for flavoring and masculinity and good lord, he was willing to give all three of my character’s forms, ‘Can Pass Without Trace’ which would make my Rogue 90% undetectable in undergrowth and heavily forested areas as a PASSIVE! Without bonuses, one would literally need to roll a 19 and higher on the dice at base to find me if I was hanging out in nature! Not to mention the regular stat boosts were seemingly made for a Rogue... along with claw and bite attacks, giving me multi-melee options for a single turn!
And then he once again promised that Next Arc would be focused on seeing this happened to my character. And you know what? He kept his word. While Corbin, Marhsa, and my character Thanagar were still relegated to ‘sit and wait’ when it came to the tavern we were using as a home base due to still being seen as Criminals from our lack of prestige, (thanks DM’s cousin for screwing up the previous two story arcs) the DM didn’t give his cousin the freedom and world building he usually did. Oh no, this was the first time I saw true railroading; none of the ‘dancers’ were there for Kravaz to spend our gold on, the bulletin board was damn near plucked dry except for one quest in the neighboring county, and even the rumor mill going about in the tavern was all about this young Heir who was set to become to the new Viscount of...
...Vulpesylvania!! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.)
...
...As I mentioned earlier, the DM was terrific at descriptions and pulling you into the world... but couldn’t come up with names if his life depended on it. Still, we had the hook for a new adventure and territory to explore! I was certain where we were going and I would get me my just reward for putting up with this asshat player when there were no other options to be had!
Doesn’t mean the bully didn’t try anyway.
DM’s Cousin: “Dude! What the f*ck!?”
DM: “Language.”
DM’s Cousin: “Cut the crap! Why is everyone in town so focused on this one specific place!?”
DM: “Because in real life, sometimes things are slow. I mean, do you think all those available quests you didn’t choose or simply ignored are going to remain forever? Time passes and people’s problems get fixed one way or another or said problems come to pass and nothing more can be done to help.”
DM’s Cousin: “...I *suppose* you have a point. Bah! Whatever! My character’s gotta earn his coin somehow–but you BETTER make sure there’s something cool for me to get since you’re taking away my options!”
Anyway, we made our way towards Vulpesylvania! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.) And we were able to transverse the distance quite easily, which sadly was something else the Barbarian whined and complained about as he wanted combat situations along the way. It was quite obvious he was looking for any excuse to derail this plot-hook into something else entirely before we even got the actual Quest because it wasn’t HIS choice.
Fortunately, the Egoist’s tune changed once we arrived. The grounds castle estate described to us in a most intricate fashion, as the DM often did, giving us the sensation were at a place akin to the Palace of Versailles if it were somehow more opulent and barricaded. This was a family that had both the wealth and manpower to where the head of the family was obviously bordering on becoming a Count or even a Marquis outright. And if there was one thing that the DM’s cousin was good at it was role-playing the often greedy nature Dwarves were known for and it was obvious even to him that a large payout was possible this time around. Although the guy was probably so good at keeping in character because he himself was a narcissistic son of a b*tch but hey, credit where credit is due.
We had to do a bit of conversing with security first but when we were allowed to meet with Viscount-to-be, lord Ruppel Vulpes, he was in a rough shape. Although he was a young man in his early twenties, he had obviously been through recent harrowing circumstances, what with the missing right arm and the visible bandages that were around his neck that went down underneath the open collar of his fine silk shirt. Such damages drilled home something big was going on.
Indeed it was. The young lord explained that the trouble began with his father passing away the week previous and there was a bit of a family ritual that had to be honored for the next in line to take their place as the heir. Three family treasures had to be recovered from the family dungeon and adorn by the heir apparent during the coronation ceremony. He had already tried with a contingent of the family’s security and... well, he found out the hard way he wasn’t up to snuff and neither were his guards. However, he hoped a group of seasoned adventurers would be more than capable.
And so, we hired but the Vulpes family heir to retrieve a crown, a medallion, and sword so that the man could go through the ceremony to rise as the new Viscount. We were all allowed to hash out the details with Ruppel, much to the annoyance of the DM’s cousin who wanted to make certain he got the lion’s share of the reward. Instead, it was agreed that we would all to receive 500 Gold pieces each for our efforts as well as able to keep anything in the dungeon we thought of value that we could carry that wasn’t one of the core items needed.
Of course, the DM’s cousin saw fit to bend the rules to that last part of the exchange when we came across the first of the treasures. It happened to be a beautiful long-sword made from silver with a Mythril handle and guard that were decorated with intricate silver filigree done in a similar style to the engravings in the lower have of the sword’s blade.
DM’s Cousin: “Woah... how much damage does this baby do?”
DM: “This weapon of blessed silver deals 3xd6 damage +1 against Undead and Lycanthropes.”
DM’s Cousin: “MINE!”
DM: “...Excuse you?”
DM’s Cousin: “Why not!? This thing does better damage than my 2xd8 damage battle-axe! And over three dice, the numbers are likely to be on the higher side!”
DM: “I’m sorry but you can’t keep it. This is one of the three items you’re supposed to retrieve for Ruppel.”
DM’s Cousin: “WHAT!? Dude! Come on! What the f*ck!? This is too good to waste on an NPC!”
DM: “Language! Sigh... look, you can use it but think of it this way. It’s on loan. You can use it until you have to return it at the end of this adventure, all right?”
DM’s Cousin: “…FINE! I guess...”
This would prove to be the biggest mistake.
Still, the weeks that followed were great and I had actual hope that despite the dead-weight we had been saddled with that we were all coming into our own as D&D players. Sure, we had combat encounters where the Dwarven Barbarian got to try out the silver sword but this was a Dungeon meant for all the team. The DM had balanced it out nicely to where all of us got a chance to shine, whether I had to disarm traps manually or Marsha by magic, Marsha’s intelligence helped a lot with puzzles, and even Corbin had to solve a couple of puzzles that had to deal with the religious Lore and got to truly battle as a lot of those enemies we encountered were unholy and this, his status as a paladin made him an effective combatant. My friends and I were finally having *FUN* playing D&D campaign!
Well... that is, everyone EXCEPT the DM’s cousin. He was starting to get rather antsy that Kravaz wasn’t the full center of attention. Sure, he was being allowed to search through everything and take whatever of worth wasn’t nailed down but it didn’t matter to him since that WAS part of the bargain made with Ruppel. Anything he found he was allowed to keep and thus, wasn’t taking anything from of our findings. But still, even with all the goods he was getting from this adventure, his ego wasn’t being sated. He continued to attempt to oppress me in-game and real life, calling me names and had his Dwarf set off traps my Rogue was working on, but I didn’t give a crap. I knew at the end of this campaign arc I was getting what I wanted and I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of upsetting me any longer.
...However, you can bet the DM’s cousin was going to make sure he got his satisfaction.
It all came to a head nearly two months later... we were maybe a week short of having been a group for six months with only a two weeks where there were no D&D sessions. Both instances, I might add, happened only during this third story-arc of tthe campaign as the DM’s cousin found other things more important to do than play with us and the DM’s mom and aunt wouldn’t let us play without him. But I digress. We had the Sword, we had the Medallion, and now all we needed was the Crown. But as we got to the final floor of the Dungeon–an arena-like area–we found a bunch of well-dressed men waiting for us, as well as a woman whose very presence bespoke of nobility, what with her beauty, her refined garments, and very ornate and expensive jewelry... which included the crown we were told we had to retrieve.
We were introduced to Lady Velox Vulpes, a woman who claimed herself to be the true Heiress of Vulpesylvania! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.) When we demanded to know what the heck she was talking about, Miss Vulpes explained that she was the older sister to Ruppel and the rightful successor to the previous Viscount’s title and lands. The only problem she ran into was that her sneakier younger brother had plotted a coup d’état while she was attending to their ailing father. Ruppel had gone to the local order of the god Heironeous and exposed her as a one of the beast folk, feeding them lies that she had sold her soul to evil and would do great harm to the lands once she took over. She had to go into hiding for her own safety.
Since she was the most diplomatic of our group, Marsha asked about what the woman meant bu, ‘beastfolk’. In response, Velox transformed into her hybrid state of werefox and went on to explain that no, this power had nothing to do with demonic worship, that she had merely inherited the family’s secret heritage, as did her brother. He merely weaponized their bloodline against her so that he could take over as Viscount and likely implement all the crimes he accused her of committing/planned to do.
As her men soon began to turn into werefoxes one-by-one, we were told that whether we believed her or not, there was no way we could hope to fight Lady Velox and her entourage. However, if we gave her the sword and the medallion we collected, she could go to the church herself, explain things, and have the priest perform the coronation to prove that she wasn’t a member of evil as well as lock her brother out of the inheritance. Her true status might be exposed to the world at large but at least she wouldn’t lose anything important. And that if we played our cards right, she would be more than willing to reward us for simply aiding her. We did the hard part after all, gathering the other two Heirlooms; she merely came in the secret passage the family used to enter the ground floor quickly to return said family treasures once the succession ceremony was finished.
This was it. I had my hook. With the way the DM looked towards me, I knew this was how my character was to become a werefox. However, before I could open my mouth to parlay, there was a might shout that rang throughout the room as I was rudely interrupted.
DM’s Cousin: “I throw the silver sword at her head!”
Everyone Else: *Stunned silence.*
Me: “Wait! You realize this is actually a peaceful confrontation, ri—”
DM’s Cousin: “Since this is an ambush, I get +1!”
And he threw the d20, the guy managing to roll... a Nat 20.
DM’s Cousin: “All right! And it was with a silver weapon too!”
Everyone: *Stunned silence.*
DM’s Cousin: “Okay, damage is 3xd6... and since it crit it doubles my rolls...”
The man’s hand tumbled and rolled the three six-sided dice in his hand before letting them loose. They skidded and bounced along the table top before coming to a stop at the Mark of the Beast: a trio of 6's.
Everyone: *Stunned silence continues.”
DM’s Cousin: “ALL RIGHT! That’s 36 Damage!!”
I had actually stopped breathing at this point as my heart sank into my chest. And then, as if to rub salt in the wound?
DM’s Cousin: “No, wait! 38 Damage! With a plus-one to the ambush and the Crit from the d20 doubles that too!”
It was a solid minute before we continued, everyone just looking back and forth at each other while the DM’s cousin sat there, looking damn smug... giving us that same smile he always had whenever he got when he bloody knew he derailed the campaign plot beyond salvage.
DM: “...The lost Heiress' head explodes in a ballast of fire, skull bits, and brain matter; the heirloom crown on her head splitting in two straight down the middle and its central gem shattering into a collection of minuscule shards. As her body falls dead to the ground, her body-guards draw their weapons and immediately rush at you all with unbridled fury if not purest rage. Roll initiative.”
The fight that followed was definitely unplanned but the DM had stats for those characters and thus, were using them on the fly. We had a quintet of Level Five characters of carious classes and races that were up against two dozen separate Level Eight Ranger Werefoxes; the majority of which were dual-wielding. It was completely one-sided and I think we all expected a TPK. Yet, surprise-SURPRISE! Two grueling hours of dice tossing and praying later, we somehow managed to defeat them all by the skin of our teeth...but then to add insult to injury, the dumbass Dwarf damaged the relic sword as well during said battle, leaving us with only the Medallion in pristine condition! At the end of the battle, I turned to the DM’s cousin, not afraid to speak my mind; I demanded to know what the hell he was thinking!
DM’s Cousin: “What? You saw how well they were all dressed! Think of the loot we’re going to be able to get off of them! Even second-hand, some of these clothes will sell incredibly well!”
Me: “Look here, *Buddy*! I’m the Rogue here. I’m the one who should be thinking loot. And I promise you, if money was what you were after then you screwed us all out of a much larger payday!”
DM’s Cousin: “Whatever! I’ll have you know that it’s what my character would do! His coin is getting awfully low and this Dwarf is going to need to pay for beer somehow!”
Me: “So basically you murdered this group of nobles for beer money? You destroyed two of our quest items for beer!? Even though you’ve looted what has to be well over five-thousand gold in gear and other knick-knacks from this dungeon already!?”
DM’s Cousin: “What’s your problem! They were monsters anyway! No anyone’s going to blame us for killing them or those beasts damaging the goods!”
I had to twitch. Monsters? Beasts? These were damned NPCs the DM had created and he turned them into a combat encounter. Good lord, the b*st*rd railroaded US into becoming the clichéd, ‘Murder-Hobos’. And boy, that was a cliché that would come back to bite us in the butts when we returned to the young male Vulpes family heir with the Heirlooms in tow. And wouldn’t you know it? He was fully healed! No more bandages and he even had his arm back! However, whether that was from magic, medicine, or natural lycanthropic healing we wouldn’t know as his focus was on our mission. While he was initially pleased we returned with the family treasures as we had promised... he was far less thrilled about the condition they were returned to him in. A bent sword with chipping along the edge from battle damage, and a diadem split in the center and missing its literal, ‘crown jewel’. Very little that was worthy of proclaiming someone the new Lord of Vulpesylvania!! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.)
Ruppel: “I’m afraid I'm going to need to dock your reward to have both the family sword and crown fixed. You had all agreed to keep these items safe and secure along your journey before you returned them.”
Thanagar (Me): “I understand... how badly docked is our reward going to be?”
Ruppel: “Oh... this will take about... two-thousand and five-hundred gold pieces to fix all the damages. These were quite precious, after all. Repairing the meticulous details and finding replacement pieces will be quite expensive.”
Once more, the entire party was stunned to silence, including the DM’s cousin this time. We had all the upfront financial reward denied us because of how chaotically stupid the DM’s relative would play his Barbarian Dwarf. Realizing that some of us were about to lose it as this would be the third story-arc in a row his cousin screwed up and left our characters to receive a major punishment, he decided to throw us a bone.
Ruppel: “You can at least keep whatever you gathered along the way. You still performed a service for me and I am not completely ungrateful. I am thankful that at least the Medallion is secured; this will be proof enough as to the validity for the other items when I bring them in for repairs.”
DM’s Cousin: “See that, lads? It’s because of cheapskates like this you should always loot when possible! Now let’s go back to Port Town; hopefully we can get a PROPER adventure going this time around with me leading the charge as before!”
It was that moment something inside me snapped. I’m pretty sure it was audible enough to be heard and/or visible on my face as the guy sitting next to me, (Marsha’s player) quickly turned to look at me with immense worry. I couldn’t take it anymore. All time and effort I invested into this game; nearly six months of my LIFE spent trying to be a good sport while putting up with abuse and BS in-game and real life among a group of people that were supposed to be my friends but not one would stand up for me when I needed it! And now, the one lifeline I’d been holding onto to get me through it had been snatched away–my best friend being forced to renege on his promise to me?
I. WAS. DONE.
At that moment, an oddly placed sense of peace came over me. Slowly, I turned my gaze and looked directly towards my friend who’s cousin abused me time and time again. Our eyes met and I began to talk in a calm voice.
Me: “DM... where am I the room in correlation to Kravaz?”
DM: “Kravaz is on the top set of steps that lead to the raised floor of the lord’s private office while you are the bottom step to the left of him.”
Me: “I rush up the stairs and backstab the Dwarf.”
The DM and my party members, (including my long-time harasser) stared at me as if I’d grown a second head. I then calmly explained to them... my response so smooth and on point that I think I was possessed by a stick of melted butter.
Me: “He cannot take it anymore. Thanagar has held his tongue since he had come to this land, but this is the third time that this Dwarf has screwed him out of his pay and so much more after so much hard work, blood had been invested. With a promise made deep in his heart and soul, this was going to be the last time the abusive, slave-driving, gold digging midget took advantage of him, one way or the other. As a Rogue, I get a +2 to my Ambush, another +2 to Flanking, and another +1 as this is an Assassination Strike with proper weapon.”
DM: “Now, now! Think about this. He may be at a disadvantage but he has heavy armor. Even with the bonuses, the only way that’s getting through is—”
Before he could finish speaking, I rolled a natural f*ckin’20.
The DM and the party–including me–were stunned to see the die come to a stop on the sweet spot. I was not expecting this. I was initially going for a suicide that would badly damage the Dwarf and give me reason to quit but this... this gave me a new sense of hope. The DM’s cousin on the other hand, the man who harassed me for so long, was now sneering openly, baring teeth like an animal and looking ready to pounce me for real.
DM’s Cousin: “You son of a f*cking bi—”
The DM was quick to lean himself over the board and force his body between us. It allowed him to interrupt and reason with his cousin.
DM: “You can still counter this. He’s going to get through but with your amount of health and armor—”
I wasn’t having it. Not this time. Not ever again. Especially since he broke his promise to me.
Me: “DM, you never gave us a rest. Our health is still based on our last combat session. For the record, I only have three health left.”
DM: “...Cousin?”
The man behind the Dwarf chose to grumble incoherently.
DM: “...Cousin?”
DM’s Cousin: “I still got twelve health!”
He had practically screamed his reply before narrowing his eyes and glaring at me with pure unbridled hatred.
DM’s Cousin “And trust me when I say I’m gonna make your character suffer for this insubordination! All I need is a friggin’ FIVE to survive this and then your ass is grass you f*ckin’ dickless Rogue!”
I believe it was his anger that helped me that evening or perhaps an angel smiled over me. Whatever the reason, the man who seemed to always be on a winning streak when it came to making the dice explode... rolled up a Nat 1.
The silence was so deafeningly still, one could have heard a pin drop... the air nearly palpable from the heat and the frayed emotions that filled the air.
I believe that this was the moment the DM had the same epiphany I had. Where he at first was terrified beyond belief... soon broke into the most serene expression ever. This was fate. The dice didn’t lie and we always went with what the dice rolled, no matter how much we didn’t like it as it was the very thing that always seemed to be used to keep us screwed over and covered in sh*t while the DM’s Cousin came out smelling like roses. Now, the tables had turned. Someone stood up to his relative and he intended to make it stick. It was likely going to be the end of so much in his life but Goddamn, he was going to give it his all.
I might not have gotten my werefox Rogue but what followed was the most beautiful and intricate epitaph to the campaign. I probably cannot give it as masterfully crafted as he did but so much of it stuck with me, practically burned itself into my brain to the point that now, even twenty years later, I can recite a reasonable facsimile of how arc three and the campaign itself ended.
DM: “...As Kravaz is simultaneously boasting about his financial prowess as an adventurer and insulting the employer to his face, a roar echoes throughout the room, causing the stained glass windows to rattle. It is one born of pain, or rage, of frustration, of that last thread of sanity snapping. The Dwarf turns just in time to see the Rogue coming upon him with inhuman speed, unseeing teary eyes filled with unbridled sorrow and fury. Kravaz sees Thanagar’s hand extended, holding forth that, ‘butter knife’ he always saw fit to mock him for carrying. His hand is on the pommel of his axe, ready to behead this blowhard or at the very least, cut off his thieving hands once the attack skidded off from his Plate-mail...”
Pause for dramatic effect.
DM: “...Only... it didn’t! Whether chance or divine providence, everything had lead up to this moment... a thoroughly loved and used Plate-mail chest-piece going up against a meticulously cared for and oiled dagger. The point of the weapon hit into divot... a chink... and with inhuman strength born from the fury that had the fire of a thousand suns, Thanagar drove his assassin’s dagger into the armor. Further and further; the plate-mail began splitting open horizontally across the thickest folds of pounded steel. Inch after inch of blade just sliced on into the tender flesh and sturdy bone beneath like a hot knife through butter as, within mere moments, Thangar’s entire hand was buried into Kravaz’s chest up to his forearm.”
Another pause from the DM, allowing us to digest what was said. As that nugget of truth began to sink in, I could feel the corners of my cheek pulling so hard that they actually hurt! Then before anyone could speak up, he continued.
DM: “...As the other end of the blade stabbed out the back of the chest-piece and a hand wiggled in place of where the Dwarf's heart should be, blood and viscera splattered out all over the Heir Apparent in a hose of arterial spray; the Barbarian's life-blood flooding from him en masse in a shower of deepest crimson. With his axe dropping from nerveless fingertips, all Kravaz Thrillcorl could think as his bowels released and he soiled his pantaloons and boots was, ‘I guess those things CAN cut more than butter’... what do you do, Thanagar?”
Me: “I stare Kravaz in his eyes, watching as the light fades from them as I bring my left thumb and index finger to his mouth, both to help hold his gaze as well as firmly pinch down on his two gold teeth. I give him a smirk as last words to the assh*le are, ‘Thanks for the loot’. I then knee his corpse as hard as hard as I can in the gut, pulling my hands free and allowing the waste to fall to Lord Vulpes’ feet; my right hand holding my bloodied weapon and my left holding two nuggets of gold.”
There had been many long moments here the table went dead silent, but this was the first time the group had gone stock-still. After a few seconds that felt like eternity, three sets of eyes began to dart back and forth between the DM’s cousin and I. For my part, I just merely smirked and leaned over the table, taking hold of the corner of the Dwarf’s character sheet and pulling it to me, looking over the obscene amount of items that were listed. I then made sure to make my point clear as I met the bully’s glare with one of my own, a hardened stare born from a man that didn’t give a sh*t anymore.
Me: “What? Don’t give me that look! It’s as you always tell us: it’s what my character would’ve done.”
The shrill, shrieking squeal akin akin to that of a pregnant-sow being slaughtered from the hind legs up resounded from the DM’s cousin; a cry that was completely inhuman. He literally flipped the table over into the DM and the Corbin’s player before standing up so hard he caused the chair to fall back into the dresser. He began running around my friend’s bedroom around, smashing his hands against the wall and random things he might have been able to break before heading off screaming that shrill, ‘Reeeeee’ shriek throughout the house as he went. The guy who had harassed me for so long was throwing a temper-tantrum like a Godd*mn mentally-challenged five-year-old.
Needless to say. I was never bullied, harassed, or oppressed by that jerk again... mostly because that did indeed become our last D&D Session. My friend, who had his parents forbade him from ever seeing me again, basically told me I could not come over anymore after, ‘bullying’ his cousin. However, without me, the others didn’t want to play either. Neither of them wanted to become his new target and so got out while they could.
I haven’t seen any of these players in years... and that’s why I use the actual character names. If any of you guys see it, hit me up. Would be nice to see you again now that we’re all well into adulthood.
tl;dr Never let family into your game if you’re DMing unless EVERYONE playing is family. Favoritism rears its head way too easily. Also, use the ‘Everyone Sees Everyone’s Dice Rolls’ Rule at your own darn risk!
submitted by MaveriKat to CritCrab [link] [comments]

Beware the DM’s Cousin Part 2; Vengeance is Mine Sayeth the Rogue

Welcome back. In the last part, you read about how I was emotionally brutalized by my friend’s cousin during our D&D days but that he promised to do something to make it up to me. Well, a few days after making his initial promise... he delivered. He showed me his initial draft at school, and I must admit I felt my passion for the game begin to rekindle. His home-brew was basically the best of the 2e Foxwoman entry and used the 3e’s Werewolf for flavoring and masculinity and good lord, he was willing to give all three of my character’s forms, ‘Can Pass Without Trace’ which would make my Rogue 90% undetectable in undergrowth and heavily forested areas as a PASSIVE! Without bonuses, one would literally need to roll a 19 and higher on the dice at base to find me if I was hanging out in nature! Not to mention the regular stat boosts were seemingly made for a Rogue... along with claw and bite attacks, giving me multi-melee options for a single turn!
And then he once again promised that Next Arc would be focused on seeing this happened to my character. And you know what? He kept his word. While Corbin, Marhsa, and my character Thanagar were still relegated to ‘sit and wait’ when it came to the tavern we were using as a home base due to still being seen as Criminals from our lack of prestige, (thanks DM’s cousin for screwing up the previous two story arcs) the DM didn’t give his cousin the freedom and world building he usually did. Oh no, this was the first time I saw true railroading; none of the ‘dancers’ were there for Kravaz to spend our gold on, the bulletin board was damn near plucked dry except for one quest in the neighboring county, and even the rumor mill going about in the tavern was all about this young Heir who was set to become to the new Viscount of...
...Vulpesylvania!! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.)
...
...As I mentioned earlier, the DM was terrific at descriptions and pulling you into the world... but couldn’t come up with names if his life depended on it. Still, we had the hook for a new adventure and territory to explore! I was certain where we were going and I would get me my just reward for putting up with this asshat player when there were no other options to be had!
Doesn’t mean the bully didn’t try anyway.
DM’s Cousin: “Dude! What the f*ck!?”
DM: “Language.”
DM’s Cousin: “Cut the crap! Why is everyone in town so focused on this one specific place!?”
DM: “Because in real life, sometimes things are slow. I mean, do you think all those available quests you didn’t choose or simply ignored are going to remain forever? Time passes and people’s problems get fixed one way or another or said problems come to pass and nothing more can be done to help.”
DM’s Cousin: “...I *suppose* you have a point. Bah! Whatever! My character’s gotta earn his coin somehow–but you BETTER make sure there’s something cool for me to get since you’re taking away my options!”
Anyway, we made our way towards Vulpesylvania! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.) And we were able to transverse the distance quite easily, which sadly was something else the Barbarian whined and complained about as he wanted combat situations along the way. It was quite obvious he was looking for any excuse to derail this plot-hook into something else entirely before we even got the actual Quest because it wasn’t HIS choice.
Fortunately, the Egoist’s tune changed once we arrived. The grounds castle estate described to us in a most intricate fashion, as the DM often did, giving us the sensation were at a place akin to the Palace of Versailles if it were somehow more opulent and barricaded. This was a family that had both the wealth and manpower to where the head of the family was obviously bordering on becoming a Count or even a Marquis outright. And if there was one thing that the DM’s cousin was good at it was role-playing the often greedy nature Dwarves were known for and it was obvious even to him that a large payout was possible this time around. Although the guy was probably so good at keeping in character because he himself was a narcissistic son of a b*tch but hey, credit where credit is due.
We had to do a bit of conversing with security first but when we were allowed to meet with Viscount-to-be, lord Ruppel Vulpes, he was in a rough shape. Although he was a young man in his early twenties, he had obviously been through recent harrowing circumstances, what with the missing right arm and the visible bandages that were around his neck that went down underneath the open collar of his fine silk shirt. Such damages drilled home something big was going on.
Indeed it was. The young lord explained that the trouble began with his father passing away the week previous and there was a bit of a family ritual that had to be honored for the next in line to take their place as the heir. Three family treasures had to be recovered from the family dungeon and adorn by the heir apparent during the coronation ceremony. He had already tried with a contingent of the family’s security and... well, he found out the hard way he wasn’t up to snuff and neither were his guards. However, he hoped a group of seasoned adventurers would be more than capable.
And so, we hired but the Vulpes family heir to retrieve a crown, a medallion, and sword so that the man could go through the ceremony to rise as the new Viscount. We were all allowed to hash out the details with Ruppel, much to the annoyance of the DM’s cousin who wanted to make certain he got the lion’s share of the reward. Instead, it was agreed that we would all to receive 500 Gold pieces each for our efforts as well as able to keep anything in the dungeon we thought of value that we could carry that wasn’t one of the core items needed.
Of course, the DM’s cousin saw fit to bend the rules to that last part of the exchange when we came across the first of the treasures. It happened to be a beautiful long-sword made from silver with a Mythril handle and guard that were decorated with intricate silver filigree done in a similar style to the engravings in the lower have of the sword’s blade.
DM’s Cousin: “Woah... how much damage does this baby do?”
DM: “This weapon of blessed silver deals 3xd6 damage +1 against Undead and Lycanthropes.”
DM’s Cousin: “MINE!”
DM: “...Excuse you?”
DM’s Cousin: “Why not!? This thing does better damage than my 2xd8 damage battle-axe! And over three dice, the numbers are likely to be on the higher side!”
DM: “I’m sorry but you can’t keep it. This is one of the three items you’re supposed to retrieve for Ruppel.”
DM’s Cousin: “WHAT!? Dude! Come on! What the f*ck!? This is too good to waste on an NPC!”
DM: “Language! Sigh... look, you can use it but think of it this way. It’s on loan. You can use it until you have to return it at the end of this adventure, all right?”
DM’s Cousin: “…FINE! I guess...”
This would prove to be the biggest mistake.
Still, the weeks that followed were great and I had actual hope that despite the dead-weight we had been saddled with that we were all coming into our own as D&D players. Sure, we had combat encounters where the Dwarven Barbarian got to try out the silver sword but this was a Dungeon meant for all the team. The DM had balanced it out nicely to where all of us got a chance to shine, whether I had to disarm traps manually or Marsha by magic, Marsha’s intelligence helped a lot with puzzles, and even Corbin had to solve a couple of puzzles that had to deal with the religious Lore and got to truly battle as a lot of those enemies we encountered were unholy and this, his status as a paladin made him an effective combatant. My friends and I were finally having *FUN* playing D&D campaign!
Well... that is, everyone EXCEPT the DM’s cousin. He was starting to get rather antsy that Kravaz wasn’t the full center of attention. Sure, he was being allowed to search through everything and take whatever of worth wasn’t nailed down but it didn’t matter to him since that WAS part of the bargain made with Ruppel. Anything he found he was allowed to keep and thus, wasn’t taking anything from of our findings. But still, even with all the goods he was getting from this adventure, his ego wasn’t being sated. He continued to attempt to oppress me in-game and real life, calling me names and had his Dwarf set off traps my Rogue was working on, but I didn’t give a crap. I knew at the end of this campaign arc I was getting what I wanted and I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of upsetting me any longer.
...However, you can bet the DM’s cousin was going to make sure he got his satisfaction.
It all came to a head nearly two months later... we were maybe a week short of having been a group for six months with only a two weeks where there were no D&D sessions. Both instances, I might add, happened only during this third story-arc of tthe campaign as the DM’s cousin found other things more important to do than play with us and the DM’s mom and aunt wouldn’t let us play without him. But I digress. We had the Sword, we had the Medallion, and now all we needed was the Crown. But as we got to the final floor of the Dungeon–an arena-like area–we found a bunch of well-dressed men waiting for us, as well as a woman whose very presence bespoke of nobility, what with her beauty, her refined garments, and very ornate and expensive jewelry... which included the crown we were told we had to retrieve.
We were introduced to Lady Velox Vulpes, a woman who claimed herself to be the true Heiress of Vulpesylvania! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.) When we demanded to know what the heck she was talking about, Miss Vulpes explained that she was the older sister to Ruppel and the rightful successor to the previous Viscount’s title and lands. The only problem she ran into was that her sneakier younger brother had plotted a coup d’état while she was attending to their ailing father. Ruppel had gone to the local order of the god Heironeous and exposed her as a one of the beast folk, feeding them lies that she had sold her soul to evil and would do great harm to the lands once she took over. She had to go into hiding for her own safety.
Since she was the most diplomatic of our group, Marsha asked about what the woman meant bu, ‘beastfolk’. In response, Velox transformed into her hybrid state of werefox and went on to explain that no, this power had nothing to do with demonic worship, that she had merely inherited the family’s secret heritage, as did her brother. He merely weaponized their bloodline against her so that he could take over as Viscount and likely implement all the crimes he accused her of committing/planned to do.
As her men soon began to turn into werefoxes one-by-one, we were told that whether we believed her or not, there was no way we could hope to fight Lady Velox and her entourage. However, if we gave her the sword and the medallion we collected, she could go to the church herself, explain things, and have the priest perform the coronation to prove that she wasn’t a member of evil as well as lock her brother out of the inheritance. Her true status might be exposed to the world at large but at least she wouldn’t lose anything important. And that if we played our cards right, she would be more than willing to reward us for simply aiding her. We did the hard part after all, gathering the other two Heirlooms; she merely came in the secret passage the family used to enter the ground floor quickly to return said family treasures once the succession ceremony was finished.
This was it. I had my hook. With the way the DM looked towards me, I knew this was how my character was to become a werefox. However, before I could open my mouth to parlay, there was a might shout that rang throughout the room as I was rudely interrupted.
DM’s Cousin: “I throw the silver sword at her head!”
Everyone Else: *Stunned silence.*
Me: “Wait! You realize this is actually a peaceful confrontation, ri—”
DM’s Cousin: “Since this is an ambush, I get +1!”
And he threw the d20, the guy managing to roll... a Nat 20.
DM’s Cousin: “All right! And it was with a silver weapon too!”
Everyone: *Stunned silence.*
DM’s Cousin: “Okay, damage is 3xd6... and since it crit it doubles my rolls...”
The man’s hand tumbled and rolled the three six-sided dice in his hand before letting them loose. They skidded and bounced along the table top before coming to a stop at the Mark of the Beast: a trio of 6's.
Everyone: *Stunned silence continues.”
DM’s Cousin: “ALL RIGHT! That’s 36 Damage!!”
I had actually stopped breathing at this point as my heart sank into my chest. And then, as if to rub salt in the wound?
DM’s Cousin: “No, wait! 38 Damage! With a plus-one to the ambush and the Crit from the d20 doubles that too!”
It was a solid minute before we continued, everyone just looking back and forth at each other while the DM’s cousin sat there, looking damn smug... giving us that same smile he always had whenever he got when he bloody knew he derailed the campaign plot beyond salvage.
DM: “...The lost Heiress' head explodes in a ballast of fire, skull bits, and brain matter; the heirloom crown on her head splitting in two straight down the middle and its central gem shattering into a collection of minuscule shards. As her body falls dead to the ground, her body-guards draw their weapons and immediately rush at you all with unbridled fury if not purest rage. Roll initiative.”
The fight that followed was definitely unplanned but the DM had stats for those characters and thus, were using them on the fly. We had a quintet of Level Five characters of carious classes and races that were up against two dozen separate Level Eight Ranger Werefoxes; the majority of which were dual-wielding. It was completely one-sided and I think we all expected a TPK. Yet, surprise-SURPRISE! Two grueling hours of dice tossing and praying later, we somehow managed to defeat them all by the skin of our teeth...but then to add insult to injury, the dumbass Dwarf damaged the relic sword as well during said battle, leaving us with only the Medallion in pristine condition! At the end of the battle, I turned to the DM’s cousin, not afraid to speak my mind; I demanded to know what the hell he was thinking!
DM’s Cousin: “What? You saw how well they were all dressed! Think of the loot we’re going to be able to get off of them! Even second-hand, some of these clothes will sell incredibly well!”
Me: “Look here, *Buddy*! I’m the Rogue here. I’m the one who should be thinking loot. And I promise you, if money was what you were after then you screwed us all out of a much larger payday!”
DM’s Cousin: “Whatever! I’ll have you know that it’s what my character would do! His coin is getting awfully low and this Dwarf is going to need to pay for beer somehow!”
Me: “So basically you murdered this group of nobles for beer money? You destroyed two of our quest items for beer!? Even though you’ve looted what has to be well over five-thousand gold in gear and other knick-knacks from this dungeon already!?”
DM’s Cousin: “What’s your problem! They were monsters anyway! No anyone’s going to blame us for killing them or those beasts damaging the goods!”
I had to twitch. Monsters? Beasts? These were damned NPCs the DM had created and he turned them into a combat encounter. Good lord, the b*st*rd railroaded US into becoming the clichéd, ‘Murder-Hobos’. And boy, that was a cliché that would come back to bite us in the butts when we returned to the young male Vulpes family heir with the Heirlooms in tow. And wouldn’t you know it? He was fully healed! No more bandages and he even had his arm back! However, whether that was from magic, medicine, or natural lycanthropic healing we wouldn’t know as his focus was on our mission. While he was initially pleased we returned with the family treasures as we had promised... he was far less thrilled about the condition they were returned to him in. A bent sword with chipping along the edge from battle damage, and a diadem split in the center and missing its literal, ‘crown jewel’. Very little that was worthy of proclaiming someone the new Lord of Vulpesylvania!! (Insert Lightning Sound-Effect Here.)
Ruppel: “I’m afraid I'm going to need to dock your reward to have both the family sword and crown fixed. You had all agreed to keep these items safe and secure along your journey before you returned them.”
Thanagar (Me): “I understand... how badly docked is our reward going to be?”
Ruppel: “Oh... this will take about... two-thousand and five-hundred gold pieces to fix all the damages. These were quite precious, after all. Repairing the meticulous details and finding replacement pieces will be quite expensive.”
Once more, the entire party was stunned to silence, including the DM’s cousin this time. We had all the upfront financial reward denied us because of how chaotically stupid the DM’s relative would play his Barbarian Dwarf. Realizing that some of us were about to lose it as this would be the third story-arc in a row his cousin screwed up and left our characters to receive a major punishment, he decided to throw us a bone.
Ruppel: “You can at least keep whatever you gathered along the way. You still performed a service for me and I am not completely ungrateful. I am thankful that at least the Medallion is secured; this will be proof enough as to the validity for the other items when I bring them in for repairs.”
DM’s Cousin: “See that, lads? It’s because of cheapskates like this you should always loot when possible! Now let’s go back to Port Town; hopefully we can get a PROPER adventure going this time around with me leading the charge as before!”
It was that moment something inside me snapped. I’m pretty sure it was audible enough to be heard and/or visible on my face as the guy sitting next to me, (Marsha’s player) quickly turned to look at me with immense worry. I couldn’t take it anymore. All time and effort I invested into this game; nearly six months of my LIFE spent trying to be a good sport while putting up with abuse and BS in-game and real life among a group of people that were supposed to be my friends but not one would stand up for me when I needed it! And now, the one lifeline I’d been holding onto to get me through it had been snatched away–my best friend being forced to renege on his promise to me?
I. WAS. DONE.
At that moment, an oddly placed sense of peace came over me. Slowly, I turned my gaze and looked directly towards my friend who’s cousin abused me time and time again. Our eyes met and I began to talk in a calm voice.
Me: “DM... where am I the room in correlation to Kravaz?”
DM: “Kravaz is on the top set of steps that lead to the raised floor of the lord’s private office while you are the bottom step to the left of him.”
Me: “I rush up the stairs and backstab the Dwarf.”
The DM and my party members, (including my long-time harasser) stared at me as if I’d grown a second head. I then calmly explained to them... my response so smooth and on point that I think I was possessed by a stick of melted butter.
Me: “He cannot take it anymore. Thanagar has held his tongue since he had come to this land, but this is the third time that this Dwarf has screwed him out of his pay and so much more after so much hard work, blood had been invested. With a promise made deep in his heart and soul, this was going to be the last time the abusive, slave-driving, gold digging midget took advantage of him, one way or the other. As a Rogue, I get a +2 to my Ambush, another +2 to Flanking, and another +1 as this is an Assassination Strike with proper weapon.”
DM: “Now, now! Think about this. He may be at a disadvantage but he has heavy armor. Even with the bonuses, the only way that’s getting through is—”
Before he could finish speaking, I rolled a natural f*ckin’20.
The DM and the party–including me–were stunned to see the die come to a stop on the sweet spot. I was not expecting this. I was initially going for a suicide that would badly damage the Dwarf and give me reason to quit but this... this gave me a new sense of hope. The DM’s cousin on the other hand, the man who harassed me for so long, was now sneering openly, baring teeth like an animal and looking ready to pounce me for real.
DM’s Cousin: “You son of a f*cking bi—”
The DM was quick to lean himself over the board and force his body between us. It allowed him to interrupt and reason with his cousin.
DM: “You can still counter this. He’s going to get through but with your amount of health and armor—”
I wasn’t having it. Not this time. Not ever again. Especially since he broke his promise to me.
Me: “DM, you never gave us a rest. Our health is still based on our last combat session. For the record, I only have three health left.”
DM: “...Cousin?”
The man behind the Dwarf chose to grumble incoherently.
DM: “...Cousin?”
DM’s Cousin: “I still got twelve health!”
He had practically screamed his reply before narrowing his eyes and glaring at me with pure unbridled hatred.
DM’s Cousin “And trust me when I say I’m gonna make your character suffer for this insubordination! All I need is a friggin’ FIVE to survive this and then your ass is grass you f*ckin’ dickless Rogue!”
I believe it was his anger that helped me that evening or perhaps an angel smiled over me. Whatever the reason, the man who seemed to always be on a winning streak when it came to making the dice explode... rolled up a Nat 1.
The silence was so deafeningly still, one could have heard a pin drop... the air nearly palpable from the heat and the frayed emotions that filled the air.
I believe that this was the moment the DM had the same epiphany I had. Where he at first was terrified beyond belief... soon broke into the most serene expression ever. This was fate. The dice didn’t lie and we always went with what the dice rolled, no matter how much we didn’t like it as it was the very thing that always seemed to be used to keep us screwed over and covered in sh*t while the DM’s Cousin came out smelling like roses. Now, the tables had turned. Someone stood up to his relative and he intended to make it stick. It was likely going to be the end of so much in his life but Goddamn, he was going to give it his all.
I might not have gotten my werefox Rogue but what followed was the most beautiful and intricate epitaph to the campaign. I probably cannot give it as masterfully crafted as he did but so much of it stuck with me, practically burned itself into my brain to the point that now, even twenty years later, I can recite a reasonable facsimile of how arc three and the campaign itself ended.
DM: “...As Kravaz is simultaneously boasting about his financial prowess as an adventurer and insulting the employer to his face, a roar echoes throughout the room, causing the stained glass windows to rattle. It is one born of pain, or rage, of frustration, of that last thread of sanity snapping. The Dwarf turns just in time to see the Rogue coming upon him with inhuman speed, unseeing teary eyes filled with unbridled sorrow and fury. Kravaz sees Thanagar’s hand extended, holding forth that, ‘butter knife’ he always saw fit to mock him for carrying. His hand is on the pommel of his axe, ready to behead this blowhard or at the very least, cut off his thieving hands once the attack skidded off from his Plate-mail...”
Pause for dramatic effect.
DM: “...Only... it didn’t! Whether chance or divine providence, everything had lead up to this moment... a thoroughly loved and used Plate-mail chest-piece going up against a meticulously cared for and oiled dagger. The point of the weapon hit into divot... a chink... and with inhuman strength born from the fury that had the fire of a thousand suns, Thanagar drove his assassin’s dagger into the armor. Further and further; the plate-mail began splitting open horizontally across the thickest folds of pounded steel. Inch after inch of blade just sliced on into the tender flesh and sturdy bone beneath like a hot knife through butter as, within mere moments, Thangar’s entire hand was buried into Kravaz’s chest up to his forearm.”
Another pause from the DM, allowing us to digest what was said. As that nugget of truth began to sink in, I could feel the corners of my cheek pulling so hard that they actually hurt! Then before anyone could speak up, he continued.
DM: “...As the other end of the blade stabbed out the back of the chest-piece and a hand wiggled in place of where the Dwarf's heart should be, blood and viscera splattered out all over the Heir Apparent in a hose of arterial spray; the Barbarian's life-blood flooding from him en masse in a shower of deepest crimson. With his axe dropping from nerveless fingertips, all Kravaz Thrillcorl could think as his bowels released and he soiled his pantaloons and boots was, ‘I guess those things CAN cut more than butter’... what do you do, Thanagar?”
Me: “I stare Kravaz in his eyes, watching as the light fades from them as I bring my left thumb and index finger to his mouth, both to help hold his gaze as well as firmly pinch down on his two gold teeth. I give him a smirk as last words to the assh*le are, ‘Thanks for the loot’. I then knee his corpse as hard as hard as I can in the gut, pulling my hands free and allowing the waste to fall to Lord Vulpes’ feet; my right hand holding my bloodied weapon and my left holding two nuggets of gold.”
There had been many long moments here the table went dead silent, but this was the first time the group had gone stock-still. After a few seconds that felt like eternity, three sets of eyes began to dart back and forth between the DM’s cousin and I. For my part, I just merely smirked and leaned over the table, taking hold of the corner of the Dwarf’s character sheet and pulling it to me, looking over the obscene amount of items that were listed. I then made sure to make my point clear as I met the bully’s glare with one of my own, a hardened stare born from a man that didn’t give a sh*t anymore.
Me: “What? Don’t give me that look! It’s as you always tell us: it’s what my character would’ve done.”
The shrill, shrieking squeal akin akin to that of a pregnant-sow being slaughtered from the hind legs up resounded from the DM’s cousin; a cry that was completely inhuman. He literally flipped the table over into the DM and the Corbin’s player before standing up so hard he caused the chair to fall back into the dresser. He began running around my friend’s bedroom around, smashing his hands against the wall and random things he might have been able to break before heading off screaming that shrill, ‘Reeeeee’ shriek throughout the house as he went. The guy who had harassed me for so long was throwing a temper-tantrum like a Godd*mn mentally-challenged five-year-old.
Needless to say. I was never bullied, harassed, or oppressed by that jerk again... mostly because that did indeed become our last D&D Session. My friend, who had his parents forbade him from ever seeing me again, basically told me I could not come over anymore after, ‘bullying’ his cousin. However, without me, the others didn’t want to play either. Neither of them wanted to become his new target and so got out while they could.
I haven’t seen any of these players in years... and that’s why I use the actual character names. If any of you guys see it, hit me up. Would be nice to see you again now that we’re all well into adulthood.
tl;dr Never let family into your game if you’re DMing unless EVERYONE playing is family. Favoritism rears its head way too easily. Also, use the ‘Everyone Sees Everyone’s Dice Rolls’ Rule at your own darn risk!
submitted by MaveriKat to AllThingsDND [link] [comments]

[Lore] Dance of Death: Togarion and Benedict in the Red Rout

After sharing drinks between the battle commanders, Togarion rode back to his troops. His heart was still wrecked from the loss of Aegor, but the Rebellion and his King lived on. He had to remember that. Immediately following the parlay he looked to the other commanders, including Ed, “Alright everyone, I put all my expertise into getting the lads here, ha. Now, I have something I must do.” He looked across the field to the retreating form of his brother, “I am going to find my brother out there and I am going to slay him.” He felt anger rising up into his chest, “in over two decades that bastard did not once try to find me. Try to see why I left Sharp Point. Bastard.” With that he mounted his horse and rode down the line of soldiers, eyes towards the Loyalists forces trying to find the Bar Emmon forces, and, he assumed, his brother.
After a moment he saw the blue swordfish of Bar Emmon fluttering above a contingent of soldiers across the field. Togarion pulled up his reins behind the Blackfyre men squared off against them. “Well fellas, today is your lucky day, ha. You have Togarion Bar Emmon coming with you into battle today. To make things better, those are my brother’s men across from us. I can promise you they are green as spring grass and not ready for a real fucking fight.” A half-hearted chuckle issued from the men around him. “I tell it true. You men are hardened veterans compared to those cowardly boys of Massey’s Hook, you have fought at least fought one entire battle, ha.” His second jest got genuine laughs from the soldiers as their anxiety subsided slightly.
Suddenly, all around them horns sounded. It was time to begin the battle. The Blackfyre soldiers began their march across to the loyalists. Togaroin kept his eyes out for his brother, Benedict was mounted barking commands to his blue clad soldiers. As the lines approached archers from both sides began unleashing their onslaught. “Shields up!” came the order down the line as the men continue to march, men falling around them. Finally, horns sounded again, it was time to charge. “For Blackfyre!” “For the North!” “Down with the Crown!” A chorus of battle cries filled the air, amidst the screams of dying men and horses, as the Blackfyre army closed the gap and the battle had truly began.
Togarion charged his warhorse through the back of his men’s line and into the defending forces, swinging his sword wildly into the Sharp Point soldiers as he did. Ahead of him he caught a glimpse of his brother, a look of encroaching fear on Benedict’s face. “There you are,” Togarion pointed his sword towards his brother as he wheeled his horse and began wading the beast through the smallfolk trying to impede his progress and protect their lord. Togarion used the mass of his warhorse to crush the poor fools bones and force them aside; the ones who resisted his horse found the edge of his sword.
In the heat of the battle Togarion managed to find his way to his brother Benedict. "Well, this is mighty unfortunate for you, ha." The younger Bar Emmon brother laughed as he crossed the distance and clashed with the Lord of Sharp Point. The two came together and broke rhythmically a few times. "Well, good to know our father cared enough to train you a bit. I had to learn my skills in the heat of actual battle," Togarion goaded his elder. "You will not speak of him! You abandoned us all," Benedict howled as he charged. Togarion's incitement had worked. Benedict swung a vicious overhand strike that the Traitor side stepped. Quickly, Togarion brought his own sword back and into the side of his brothers helm. A sickening crunch echoed with the ring of the steel. Benedict went to his knees and dropped his sword. Blood seeped out the bottom of his helm and down his gorget. His made eye contact with his brother. "Mercy," Benedict pleaded through his shattered jaw. "Not a chance." Togarion plunged his blade at a downward angle past his brothers armor and into this throat. "I would say you fought well, but that would be a lie, ha. You know, if you had just come for me at any point we could have been real brothers, but you fed off father's lies that I abandoned you all. Fucking fool."
As his brother fell before him Togarion stood triumphantly and looked at the battlefield around him. His heart leapt into his throat when he realized how bad of a spot he was actually in. The mad charge to kill his brother had left him well ahead of the Blackfyre lines, he was alone among angry soldiers who had just watched him murder his own brother. “Well, I guess I am your Lord now. Please stop pointing your weapons at me and get ready to join Emperor Blackfyre.” The soldiers did not listen. One charged Togarion with a hammer raised over his head. A quick side step, a slash, and a spray of red was the end of the foolish attack. “That was rude, ha. That traitor just tried to kill the Lord of Sharp Point,” Togarion jested. The men around him did not laugh.
Togarion looked over his shoulder and saw just how far back the battle lines were. His men were quickly overtaking the Bar Emmon soldiers. He needed to stall for time, but before he could do come up with a sound plan four of the men who had seen him duel Benedict charged him, swords in hand. “Fuck,” he muttered as he began to fend them off. Luckily, his skill in arms was much greater than these peasants, but four on one was still no easy task. Togarion danced, weaved, deflected, and countered with his sword and shield. Suddenly, one of the assaulters launched themselves and gripped his shield with both hands; Togarion had no choice but to let it fall from his grasp, slicing the man across the neck as he did.
After losing his shield, Togarion gathered himself with both hands on his sword. He had successfully defended himself from the men’s first onslaught, but the fight had carried him further away from his own soldiers. Suddenly, a sharp pain split his concentration as he felt blood run down his armor and into his boots. Togarion whirled around to see a lowly Bar Emmon soldier wielding a bloody spear. “You bastard,” he slapped the spear tip out of the way, marched forward, and buried his sword in the man’s belly. “Why would you do that, it really hurt, ha. No time to jest though, I bet your friends are charging me right now.” Quickly, Togarion began wrenching his sword free and as he turned back. As he had assumed, his three adversaries had advanced when he turned his back. Unfortunately for him, they were faster than he had expected; he could not get his sword free in time.
Togarion let the pommel of his sword slide from his grasp while he moved past the corpse of the spearman as he retreated from the advancing swordsmen of Bar Emmon. He wrestled the dagger from his belt and squared up on the three. “Well boys, here we go.” With that Togarion charged in a flurry of swiping dagger, fists, knees, and headbutts. For every blow he landed the others reciprocated. He managed to open up one’s throat with a well placed swipe, but took wounds of his own. After the melee, the two survivors separated from Togarion. He felt blood running from nearly a dozen wounds. “Well guys, I do not think I have much more in me,” his breaths began coming more rapidly and became more shallow. “Seems like I am going to leak out here.” The two charged him, but Togarion slipped backwards and fell on his back; he had no more fight in him.
A visage of a Lion and a Dragon filled Togarion’s eyes as the Stranger came calling for him. “Oh Gods, no. No,” he felt blood fill his mouth and realized how hard it was to breath. “I was supposed to die in a courageous assault or in the arms of a lover, not pricked to death my fucking levies. Bastards.” He coughed and looked at his two killers, “Well if I am dying in front of you lot, better listen to me here. Do not bury me in the ground. You hear me!” he was yelling at no one and everyone, he had fought back far enough to be in earshot of nobles now. “Listen to me! Burn me and scatter my ashes. Or let the carrion eat me, pull me apart, and scatter me. But do not put me in the fucking ground. I did not spend my whole life running to let you bastards keep me in one place, ha.” He drew another haggard breath and another. The light went out in his eyes. Togarion the Traveler, the Traitor, of the Golden Company was dead.
submitted by Marty_McFrat to SevenKingdoms [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA: IAM Casey Lynch, Editor-in-Chief of IGN.com. AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2012-08-09
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Whenever new reviews of games/movies/game peripherals come out a bunch of people always complain that if you give a certain product high reviews they usually say you guys do it because "youre getting $$ for it" is this true? Having a healthy skepticism about how any product is reviewed is good.
I don't slight people for questioning how things are done, and if there is ever foul play. That's your right, and you should demand accountability of your critics. You should also trust that if a critic works for a trusted media outlet, they are a professional with the wherewithal to handle themselves in a sea of potential temptation. That is to I can say, having done this in different roles for the better part of two decades, I've never personally been explicitly offered money in exchange for a positive review of a product.
I will say that marketing and public relations folks, god bless them, have tried some squirrelly things over the years. But that's their job, to sell their wares. But it's my job to say no to inappropriate suggestions or offers that, while not involving money, may involve implications of some ilk of mutual back scratching.
In short, we do not work in a culture where media outlets are paid off for preferential review scores. We do need to continual fight the good fight to keep everyone on both sides of the media and publishing fence honest, but even these types of things aren't frequent occurrences. Again, good questions, and we absolutely should not be above answering them.
while not involving money, may involve implications of some ilk of mutual back scratching. Well Casey, the funny thing about my back is that it's located on my cock. Oh, you. Link to www.youtube.com
I've never personally been *explicitly offered money in exchange for a positive review of a product.* Careful with your words I see. I'm definitely not accusing you of caving but I would be absolutely shocked if there weren't implicit pressures/incentives in this kind of industry. Look, people make half-funny/half-hail Mary "jokes", people make vague untoward suggestions, people say stupid things, but I've never been offered cash for a review. And I've never had someone come outright and say they'd pay for fixed score.
Yes or no? No.
You should also trust that if a critic works for a trusted media outlet. You are owned by news corp right? Yous be getting paid. There is more to that sentence!
With this being said, did it raise any flags when Jessica Chobot was given a role in ME3? Absolutely. We actually didn't even know that was happening.The first my editorial team heard about Jessica appearing in ME3 was when the news broke. I hear it was coordinated through she and BioWare and her talent people. Jessica hosts shows on IGN, but is not an editor and has no say in our editorial content.
Review scores are too subjective and they're now being used negatively (IMHO) as motivational tools for developers. Is there a way to review games in an easily digestible manner without resorting to scoring? If so, how? Would you consider moving IGN to this type of system? Gosh, that's the million dollar question, isn't it?
Scores serve a necessary function of offering an immediate, quantifiable and debatable measure of a products quality. But it is merely a slice, a fragment, a single expression of criticism. On it's own, a score is one-dimensional, one note and unable to truly capture all that a game, film, book or any other product is successful or unsuccessful at. It's like the bacon. And you know, people LOVE BACON. I do, let me tell you. But it's what you put on the burger, what you enjoy with your eggs, what some even crumble over their pizza or jam into their ice cream (eww). It is one crucial, integral part of the criticism process, but it is not the meal.
That's where the written and video review comes in. A review should consider the aim of any product, and its success and failures in achieving that goal. How good is this game at doing and being what it tried to do and be? In our culture, scores offer myriad ways to enhance that criticism process. Removing scores, in my opinion, simply serves to flatten the criticism process, for the reader and the reviewer. If you prefer your food with no bacon, fair enough. But we've asked our readers and editors alike, and most of them want pork! Proverbial pork.
Since you bring it up though, it is something we're constantly thinking about and wrestling with. In fact, we're currently looking at our scoring matrix and considering changing it. And yes, some have suggested removing scores. Check out the whole process, and weigh in, right here: Link to www.ign.com
Mr. Lynch, I just want to say that bacon in ice cream (especially when chocolate and caramel is also present) is delicious and you are missing out on a whole new section of taste experience. I haven't tried it, but I imagine if it tastes anything like bacon, I will be more than satisfied.
Don't quite agree. A 10 point system is dumb and it's made it hell for developers (not getting bonuses etc due to sub 9 scores or what not). Why not a four point selection. I hear you, and we've looked into a scale like this, perhaps not quite as gruff.
Must play - well worth it - meh - fuck off. Like I said earlier, developers need to press for better deals that aren't solely tied to scores, will make all the difference in the world.
Hey Casey, love IGN, but I've always wondered do you guys ever get any serious backlash from video game companies when you give less than stellar reviews on their products that have yet to be released? Great question. Here's a little secret about the video game industry. It's tiny. I mean, when it comes to the writers and editors in the major media, and the forward-facing publisher personalities, public relations mavens and marketing pros, you're talking about a pool of a few hundred people, tops. Another secret, everyone knows each other. Lastly, the video game industry, or these sides of it, are a neverending, always shifting dance of musical chairs. The people that handle EA games, some of them used to be at 2K, used to be at Activision, used to be at Bender Help public relations, used to be at... you get the picture.
That is all to say, knowing that the industry is small and you'll likley be working with the same people in twenty years that you are now, most folks are above resorting to serious backlash. Sure, companies express either their dissatisfaction with a writer's appraisal of a product, or rail against the impressions of an editor in a preview (you know, because we 'played it wrong ;) but serious backlash is a strong expression. And the few that have risk the loss of coverage for their products, so burning bridges doesn't benefit anyone.
I will say I have seen it happen, a few times, but it doesn't happen often, and typically the people who engage on these levels aren't long for this business.
It's also important to note that most publishers aren't dumb, they do run multi-m(b)illion dollar companies. Meaning, they know when a game isn't a Game of the Year contender. Usually the few gripes that do surface center upon whether or not a writer was fair, thorough, or if there is some factual inaccuracy.
Whoa... they CEOs know the game sucks? I actually have a hard time believing that. Ive seen the designers not know: (regards to PS3 Lair) "I suppose gamers just cant get use to new control schemes." (paraphrased, im lazy) Thank god every game (or system) has the exact same controls. That's a bit reductionist, but a good CEO has either a good appraisal of the quality of any game set to launch, or there's a team feeding reliable information that calls the quality into question. Or at least, that's how it works. Things break down when the decision-makers are out of the loop with the progress of a game, don't understand the qualifiers for quality, or their staff doesn't have either the wherewithal or the gumption to tell it like it is. That's when things like Jar Jar Binks happen. A good creative director, a good studio head, a good CEO, knows - with a keen level of accuracy - how good their game is.
Who's in charge of IGN's Facebook page? It seems they just post random images that have nothing to do with gaming at all. 50% of the time, there is no article or anything attached. Just the stupid image. What does IGN have to gain from this? We have a social team that works with our editorial staff to keep your twitter and facebook feeds well-seasoned with our top stories, pics and videos from daily happenings around the office, and all sorts of other tidbits, cat memes notwithstanding. What does IGN get for it? It's fun, it's informative and its cats. CATS.
Do you believe that the Ouya can be successful and compete with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo? I think Ouya can be successful, but the model is very different from the Big 3's first-party approach, at least for now. Ouya is more forward thinking; the urban sprawl that is freemium will only continue to build momentum in the industry, and will affect Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo in multiple ways. Once gamers get comfortable with the model as it relates to the games they previously spent $60 a pop to play, it will be hard to go back (ie people will like free). The lynch pin will be developer and publisher support. Meaning, half the battle will be the catalog of games available for the system. The real question, and hurdle, will be when it ships. With the new Xbox and PlayStations incoming, gamers will have to decide between a brand new, untested platform, and the next iteration of the system they already know and love. With OnLive support, a giant swathe of third-party games will presumably be available on Ouya at launch, which is great. But gamers will have to decide. Frankly, if Ouya is actually available before the fall season next year, and can earn a head start on the next new systems, it will have a fighting chance. But even then, the big questions are: will gamers flock to a system without the big exclusives they're used to? What exclusives will Ouya attract? And with the next-generation only a yeamonths away from the Ouya launch, will they even care? Time will tell, but one things for sure, you can bet the Big 3 are asking themselves all of these questions and more.
Which games are you most looking forward to? I am most looking forward to Halo 4, Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Guild Wars 2 and Journey 2. That's a thing, right? Tell me it is, please.
What's the best thing a Pgame company has sent to the office? This question is a trap, but the correct answer is Tim Schafer. Always bet on Tim.
They sent you Tim Schafer? That's hard to top. Well, they sent him here to demo a game. That's always better than a statue or toy. GIVE ME TIM SCHAFER ANYDAY OF THE WEEK. That or burritos.
What's the hardest decision you've had to make for IGN's best interests? Oh lord, everything? Believe it or not, I labor over every thing we do, and how we do. That goes for the entire staff. My chief goal is to get things right, from news and features, to OpEds and reviews, and everything in between - if that's actually possible to do. It's hardly an exact science, and involves so many bits and bobs, but every decision counts, everything we do matters. Deciding how IGN scores games is a giant decision, with no real correct answer. I will not be able to please everyone, and knowing that makes the process incredibly challenging. To help, I reached out to the community to see what the readers really want. The answers and subsequent discussion have been incredible. Our readers are great, filled with insight, opinions and passionate views regarding where we go from here. You can read all about it on my blog: Link to www.ign.com
Also, pineapple on pizza or no? Oh, and sorry. Pineapple doesn't belong on pizza, but I'd still eat it. Never say no to pizza.
That's quite a lot to be resposible for, but you sound like you enjoy it! I do, I love my job and I love that what we do matters to so many people. In the end, it's all a bit superfluous of course. I mean, we are talking about video games.
Why are you having this thread on Reddit instead of your own site's message boards? Are you aware that the boards on IGN have been rotting from neglect? And that it's been a half decade since any editor has frequented the boards? 1) Sometimes IGN can get a bad wrap on Reddit, so I figured it'd be helpful to talk with people and see what they're thinking.
2) Reddit has a great community and I think we should be a bigger part of it.
That's a great idea to do an AMA on the IGN boards. I can't speak to editorial over the past half decade, but we do have editors on the boards. Sounds like we could do it more often. Thanks for the feedback.
Do you think you could beat Greg Miller at a Portillo's hot dog eating contest? Or would you have a better chance with wings? Greg would beat me at both, then he would devour me whole. Nothing left but beard.
I assume Anthony Gallegos would beat/eat you both? Oh god, yes.
I thought so. Just checking! Thanks for answering all these questions! Both serious and bizarre! I prefer the bizarre, at least when it comes to Greg Miller.
Greetings, Beard-In-Chief! Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. I'm curious about your career history; what led you to getting to where you are today? 1: I hold a BA in English from Arizona State University (go Sun Devils!), and I started my writing career typing on my Brother Word Processor for fanzines, covering music in LA in the 90's (Bad Religion! Jane's Addiction! Slayer!). I parlayed that into games, later got a job at the Los Angeles times, and the rest is sort of history, as they say.
2:I'm not a giant fan of motion games, but I gotta tell you, my kids LOVE THEM. I'm also not a fan of poorly implemented f2p models, ie getting me hooked on a game, then dropping the microtransaction hammer on me. And I know, publishers would call that a "well implemented f2p model".
As an ASU alum myself, I'd like to know what you think of the Todd Graham hire? I like that he's big on offensive, specifically with QB drive. Shouldn't be a dull season. I just hope he lives up to all the hype he's already laid down.
I'm hoping ASU loses 4 of their last 6 games again this season. :(
What kind of an obligation do you guys feel to promote popular games? I know people throw around COD-bias and the likes a lot, but how do you define the line between giving people what they want and exposing us to new content? We're ultimately obligated to write about readers want to read about, meaning, we're here to serve the interests and passions of the readers. That said, if people are really excited about Guild Wars 2, we aim to offer enough content to satiate those appetites. IGN and our extension brands on YouTube and Xbox Live, is a giant site, with multiple tens of millions of viewers every month. And those people like an array of different games. It's no surprise that there's giant audiences for Halo, Call of Duty, Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls, etc. We really strive to give people what they want, and experiment with new ways of doing that. One new thing we started doing is a videocast called Command Prompt (it's actually a reboot of our old podcast Link to feeds.ign.com) It's PC gaming-centric and Charles Onyett and Anthony Gallegos, our intrepid PC editors, cover three games a week. And by cover, I mean they play three games, usually one more well known title, then two smaller titles. So its part traditional coverage, part discovery of new games, and all podcast-like chitter chatter, all over gameplay. Check it out here and on YouTube Link to www.ign.com
Also, what character would you most like to see in the new Smash games? In regards to Smash Bros, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see someone pillage the mines of old '80's cartoon characters. Can you imagine He-Man, the Herculoids, Silverhawks or Robotech characters? You know, I can. Just no Kidd Video, please.
What do you think when you hear about bonuses(and sometimes the entire existence of a developer) is hinged on a number that come from average scores on Metacritic and such? Frankly? I say developers need to strike better deals with publishers, contracts that don't over-extend a developer's to the point where they can't cover its monthly burn if they don't hit that mark. This is true in any other business, if you make a deal that hinges on performance, you 'd better either be sure your product will perform, or have a solid plan b.
That said, metacritic is a particularly fusty to use for this sort of thing. It's not entirely scientific and its really easy to get inadvertently gamed. Smaller blogs that have little to no oversight and scoring accountability can inflate/deflate scores for more exposure, and said sites are ranked besides larger media outlets who have 10-20 years of experience. It's very complicated, but ultimately if a developer signs a deal that's heavily weighted towards metacritic success, that's largely on them and probably not the smartest/safest move.
Have you ever had to delete a part of a review because the company requested it (or demanded it)? Compared to the number of reviews we run, the number of times a company gives us critical feedback on a review isn't high. That said, we're always open to changing something if we've made a factual error or made some factual mistake in our copy. Otherwise, no, we do not delete or edit content simply because a company complains.
What are some tips you can give me about going into gaming journalism? As far as going to college, that's the best thing you can to other than simply writing. You need to write, and write and write some more. You should also find your voice and have something to say. These days, anyone can start a blog and do what everyone else doing. Find a way to make yourself different, to stand out. I'm not saying be obnoxious or come up with a shtick, but find a way to make yourself memorable. As far as other things you should know, read this: Link to colincampbellx.tumblr.com
Anything you wished you knew? Its a quick list of tips for young would-be journalists, written by IGN's own Colin Campbell. Read it, be it, live it.
I've always kind of wondered when, on a scale of 10, "7" became the "average". As someone who deals with this scale on such a regular basis, do you feel that this is a better point on the 1-10 scale for average, rather than "5"? Well, yes, calling a 7 "average" on a 10 point scale is a misnomer. On our scale, a 7 is "Good". Technically, you are correct, a 5 should be average (our 5 is "Mediocre").
We're actually rethinking our reviews, jump into the conversation right here: Link to www.ign.com
Oh, and here's our review scale, for your interests. Link to www.ign.com
I understand the scale, but in many situations it seems like the scale is somewhat thrown to the wayside in favor of the high school "anything under an 8 kinda sucks." Have you seen this or do you just disagree? This is just wrong, as I'm assuming you know, but many very vocal readers favor this sentiment. Clearly the idea that "anything under an 8 kinda sucks" is asinine.
Hi Casey, I was wondering your opinion on video games as a teaching tool for logic and puzzle solving. Could you see this as a viable integration into the educational system? I also would like to know your opinions on females as presented in video games. How many staff members at IGN are female and, if possible, what are there opinions on the frequent sexualization of women (Even in strong roles?) I think games are an extraordinary means for teaching, and most games do exactly that without even trying. My kids have learned so much eye/hand coordination playing Mario Kart, problem solving playing Zelda, strategy playing Pokemon, and so on. They're also fun, so anytime you can make the teaching process entertaining, you're doing something right. My opinion of women as presented in video games is mixed. The industry has grown leaps and bounds in the way of not simply representing women as a collection of disembodied body parts or princesses needing saving. That said, it is still a predominately male-centirc business, run largely by men and serving a largely male audience. That of course is changing, and will continue to change, but its a process. For every rebooting of a previously sexualized character like Lara Croft, there's bikini pre-order bonuses for Dead or Alive 5 or some such thing.
I think its worth pointing out that the sexualization of females is not isolated to video games. Hollywood, television, comic books, the music industry, all have and do use images of sexualized bodies to drive entertainment interests. It's really everywhere. If someone wants to enjoy sexual content, regardless of how overt, they can and will. It's out there and people will always create it. I think remembering that its a larger issue is helpful in understanding how to improve the culture in video games.
Casey Lynch is my favourite character in Guitar Hero. How did such a beardly man inspire such a sultry rock goddess? It's a long story that involves Dead Rising, Slayer, copious amounts of Johnny Walker Black Label and a good kick to the balls. But yes, that character was named after me during a bizarre trip to Harmonix in Cambridge in the spring of 2006 that I can't seem to remember, but can't quite manage to forget.
Whats your favorite game/franchise of all time? Favorite game: The short answer: Advanced Dungeon and Dragons.
I know, it’s not a video game, but if it weren’t for D&D, there’d be no video game obsession for me.
Still, this is a horribly cruel question, isn’t it? Much like asking someone to pick a favorite meal. Only one? And don’t just say pizza (cop-out… err, easy pick?)
Publically singling out one video game, for me, means giving no honor to so many deserving games. No praise for Planescape: Torment, Impossible Mission, Earthbound and Mass Effect 2. No love for Phantasy Star II, Voodoo Vince, or Halo 2.
So let’s do something instead. I more readily recall moments – and what was happening in my life - than I do games on their own. It’s the memories of those moments – and the people I shared them with – that come rushing back to me, that I cherish, like the instant recall of summer anytime I smell chlorine.
My favorite memories revolve around playing the first few Ultima games with my friends on my C64 - yes, my D&D friends. It was like someone took D&D and put it into a computer game. By extension, the same is true for Baldur's Gate. That's definitely up there high on my list.
I have incredibly fond memories of playing my Intellivision with my father. Partly because, well, it was fun to play with my Dad. Partly though because no one else had an Intellivision in my neighborhood, and I loved that. All my friends had Atari 2600's and Colecovision, but i had Microsurgeon! And a ton of other terrible games, hence my original points. Great memories, not the greatest games, but guilty pleasures can be some of the best pleasures of all.
When in doubt, I'd also say Earthbound, Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mama. SNES RPG's were the shit.
It seems to me that video games these days are rated on a scale of 5-10, with anything less being absolute trash. Hell, even a low 7.- seems almost terrible. Why do you think an "average" game isn't given a 5, but a 7.5? Like I said a few posts up, average should be 5. The 7 being seen as average is undoubtedly a result of the US scholastic grading system, in which a 7 is average, or satisfactory, or passable.
We do our best to liberally use the entire 20 point scale, but again, we are in talks regarding improving our scoring system. It's an ongoing conversation that will last until the ground opens up and swallows us all whole.
Hey Casey, Hey Dancing Dynamo, really good questions.
, I just wanted to say that I'm a huge fan of yours, I've been following you for years and loved that IGN brought you on board. Link to www.ign.com Link to games.ign.com
[1: Awhile back there was some hugely negative response on here about Greg Miller's (who I also love) Dead Space 2 review. Personally I see it as a low point for IGN's written reviews, and I know many on this website share my opinion. I know you're obviously not going to throw Greg under the bus or anything, but as Editor in Chief is there anything in particular that you're trying to focus on in the future to avoid incidents like that? ](http://www.reddit.com/IAmA/comments/xy3sx/iam_casey_lynch_editorinchief_of_igncom_ama/c5qmak6?context=5) 2: I'd say people should read IGN more if that's how someone feels. We love to make lists and categorize things, sort things, and attempt to put things in their place in history. Our readers love it too. But we love playing unreleased games and telling you about them, writing about big topics in our business and OpEds about major issues just as much.
3: Any albums you've been really digging lately? I'm loving the new Baroness stuff and judging solely by your beard I'd say you'd be pretty into it #beardism #sorryimnotsorry. 3: I've really gotten into Cormorant's "Dwellings" lately. Also check out Cloudkicker "The Map Is Not The Territory" and "Let Yourself Be Huge" for very different but equally awesome progressive goodness (the first is Meshuggah-esque djent rock, the second is laid back math jingles). As always, check out Periphery and Protest the Hero for awesome all around metal.
PS: As Editor in Chief you have the power to force Daemon to make another Knockin Boots, right? Because it's been offline since January and I need my fix. PS: We shuttered Knockin Boots a while back. It may resurface at some point in the future.
Hey Casey- We all know what the awesome things about working for an outlet like IGN are (playing games for a living, awesome workplace, etc.), but what is the WORST part about working for IGN? Dealing with commenters and trolls? Losing the suprise of announcements? Actually having to work during E3? Thanks, and keep up the good work. My job can be incredibly stressful, time-consuming, and emotionally intensive. Make no mistake, I love it, but there's a lot to it. Having to make decisions that affect peoples lives, who to hire, how to build the staff, what direction to take the site in, it is both an incredible privilege and a heavy burden. So I suppose those are the most awesome and the worst things, simultaneously? Does that make sense? Let's make liek it does. The other things, sure, those are tough. It's always maddening to know about a game that hasn't been announced yet, and not be able to talk about it. I actually love working at E3, so there's nothing bad about that.
Why did you guys nuke the VN boards? Merging them with the IGN boards destroyed thousands of pages of user generated material that still comes up in Google searches but cannot be accessed. Really makes finding information on Dark Age of Camelot brutal. I'm just encouraged someone is still interested in Dark Age of Camelot. But really, ask @sngign on twitter, he's your man for this sort of thing.
Love IGNs podcasts. I always get a feeling of passion coming from the people working there. I can't really speak to how it affected things at IGN as I only joined the team in July of 2011 (just over a year!), but it definitely had ripple effect throughout the business. I was writing for a number of outlets when that happened and I heard many a story of a re-establishing of boundaries, if only to re-establish the clear line between edit and ads.
Quick couple of questions - I know this is before your time at IGN - but did the Jeff Gerstmann Incident at GameSpot have an effect on how the advertising teams and review teams worked? Did it reinforce a wall of separation? Did it bring the management's attention to the necessity of reviews untainted by the publishers/developers? Link to www.youtube.com
Are you ever asked to give favourable coverage to games/movies that are part of fox/other murdoch owned businesses, what with you being owned by news corporation? We've been asked to cover products owned and created by other companies owned by News Corp. We do out best to explain from the outset when that is the case for full disclosure.
IGN is one of the most influential voices in the gaming industry, whether it be good or bad. For instance, given favorable and prominent coverage, mods like DayZ or indie games like Minecraft originally was can grow exponentially. How do you feel knowing that a review coming from your editorial staff has the potential to make or break a game? In other words, what is your opinion, as the editor-in-chief, of having so much power over the industry? The editorial power, put that way, is humbling. I honestly try not to think about it like that, at least not in a bad way. If anything, I know we have that more a responsibility to be fair, honest and to strive to get things right knowing how what we say can affect things. I work hard to impart that upon the staff and remind everyone that everything we say and do matters. But really the same is true for everyone in this business, from your homespun blog to Andy Mac and his fine staff over at Game Informer.
What is the oldest console you own and still play? I played Arkanoid on my NES last week, complete with my Vaus controller. I still own working NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, Saturn, two Dreamcasts, a GameCube (played Metroid Prime with my son a few weeks ago) and a bunch of PS, PS2, PS3, Xboxs and Xbox 360s in various states of operation and disrepair.
How do you feel about your competitors like Gamespot and other forums? Do you all communicate about news, or is it pretty cut-throat? We're friends with most editors from other prominent outlets, especially writers in areas near our offices. We don't typically work together on news per se, but we do communicate about content from time to time as applicable. I'd hardly call it cut-throat. More like nerf warfare, though that sounds lame. Sorry for that.
What is the most significant thing you think your leading has introduced to IGN? I would say a strong focus on editor identity and video. Since starting at IGN last year in July, we've increased our video output, in particular creating news videos in order to move headlines from IGN and onto other platforms, including YouTube and Xbox LIVE.
I've also worked hard to get the editors' identity front and center, so you know who our writers are, what games they like, and which critics you can align with. It's always great to know someone likes Resident Evil games, and can speak to the whole franchise, and then tune in to see what they think of the new Resident Evil game.
There's tons of little things, many that are behind the scenes. I wrote the first style guide for IGN editorial content in more than 5 years, I've championed live streaming content and worked for us to specialize more; rather than cover every single game out there, we aim to cover the games our readers tell us they want to read.
Last updated: 2012-08-14 04:59 UTC
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Having started out working for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, Rufus Peabody worked his way up through the ranks of sports betting. Now, thanks to a team he has built, Rufus is able to beat the markets enough to make a living from it. In this episode, Ben Cronin asks what it's like to be a professional sports bettor. Read and listen now. The Money Line in American Football betting is essentially betting on who will win, or lose, the game just as we do in when betting on other sports. Parlays. This type of American Football betting type is basically American for accumulator. Pick upwards of two winning selections for a larger payout. Totals The only helpful information I can give you is this: (You might not like the information, but it's the truth.) Only 1% of people who bet on sports actually make a long-term profit. These folks do NOT make their money by betting Parlays or Round Robins. NCAAF Picks and Parlays. Odds to provided by BetOnline. Welcome back to LazyBets NCAAF picks and parlays. During a week where a large number of Power Five schools have scheduled cupcake opponents from lower levels of competition, the Clemson Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies will square off in a game that has the potential to be anything but sweet. This is the top game on the ACC schedule and one of 100 days. 100 long days. That is how long we have waited for the Premier League to return, but it is back!. Granted, it's a little different. There won't be any supporters in the stadiums and crowd noise is now courtesy of the FIFA video game (seriously, Sky is using a system called Atmospheric Audio, with EA supplying 13 hours of sounds) but the Premier League is bloody well back and we

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