The worst session I’ve ever played (or Gaming with Strangers)!

The first time I ever played an RPG with a total stranger was a disaster, and it turned me off from gaming with strangers for years. Let me give you some context.

By this time I had been gaming for some years, but mostly with my friends, neighbors and classmates, people I knew outside of the game. There had been many players, by then MOST of my neighbors and many classmates had at least sat down and tried this “odd” game Roberto was running. But I was yet to play with strangers, and this was well outside my comfort zone.

Then one day after school my friends and I were at a local book store that carried gaming materials and this guy, about our age, approached us and struck up a conversation. He told us he was an experienced Dungeon Master, had created his own world and had been published in Dragon Magazine (something I’ve been unable to confirm to this day) all things that impressed us and we exchanged phone numbers.

On our way back we discussed the possibility of inviting this guy to run a game for us. We eventually agreed and arranged for him to come over to a friend’s house in a few days and run a game. He informed us he had a Forgotten Realms adventure he wanted to run and that we should make new characters. This was back in the days of AD&D 1st edition and the Forgotten Realms gray boxed set which I loved so I was really excited. I can’t recall what my two fellow players rolled up but I had a 1st cleric ready to go.

The day of the game he showed up and revised our characters. His only concern was that he needed one of the characters to be a female. We all looked at each other a little confused but I decided to do it, erased the word male in the character sheet, penciled in female and played my first female character. He proceeded to set up the adventure. It would be set in Waterdeep and the other two players were already in the city. However my character was in the Dales and had been summoned by her deity. Mind you this was YEARS before the whole Avatar debacle (sorry if you liked that story!), so when I was confronted by my deity made flesh I was impressed by this turn of events. What did this DM have in mind?

He then proceeded to play the god, literally, through the adventure. He narrated the trip from the Dales to Waterdeep in excruciating detail. Every stop, every conflict, the converts following us as the deity obliterated every single challenge, all my cleric did was follow him around. Oh and to add insult to injury, she became his sexual slave, he described how he raped her, and she liked it…

By this time I was done with the adventure, this wasn’t just a bad game, it was tasteless and rude and I knew I would not play with this guy again. But we were not gaming in my house so I kept my opinions to myself and pretty much disconnected from the game. We eventually made it to Waterdeep and the other two players, anxious to at least get to play began their part of the adventure. I don’t remember all the details but they had to rescue a Halfling from some criminal so they got around to it only to be faced by the criminal’s enforcers. Burly barbarians that attacked them with “two handed bastard swords”, when we exchanged puzzled looks and asked him about this he explained these were like regular bastard swords only larger, his creation. He proceeded to hit the other player characters and roll 1d20 for damage. The players were almost dead when suddenly my character along with her god arrived and saved them.

When he said, “Well let’s end the session here, we can pick it up later,” we all knew this was one adventure we would never play again. He said his goodbyes and when he called to see when we would play the next session we told him we were not interested and that was that. I wish I could say the traumatic experience did not influence me but for YEARS after that I was reluctant to invite another stranger to play with us. It wasn’t until college when I worked in a comic/hobby shop that I finally decided to invite others to play and the majority of those experiences have been positive.

I wonder what became of that guy? So, what’s the worst session you’ve ever played?

This post is dedicated to my friend Luis Alvarado, who had NOTHING to do with this story, but suggested the topic to me. Thanks Luis!

(And I promise NO MORE ellipsis… Too many post titles with them!)