The best game I've ever run was back in 2007. I was running a 3.5 game for a few friends once a week or so for two or three months, and everyone except me was brand new to the game. I ran through the Scourge of the Howling Horde module to start off. It was a pretty basic “go kill a goblin bandit group because they're raiding our town” scenario, but the whole twist (SPOILERS) is that the goblin tribe is led by a young black dragon (though I changed it to a blue dragon, because a black dragon felt out of place due to a lack of swamps in the area).
|Another great first adventure for new gamers, incidentally.|
The whole time I was running the module, every time the goblins talked about their leader (the party took a few goblins prisoner and interrogated them), the goblins only ever said “Noak is the leader,” never mentioning that Noak was a dragon. I never claimed Noak was a goblin or hobgoblin; I just conveniently never revealed that it was a dragon. I even threw in a clue or two that there was a dragon somewhere in the goblin lair (cast-off scales, for example). Eventually, they finally made it to the boss encounter, the dragon's lair, and their goblin friend (who defected to the PCs when he realized the tribe was getting stomped by these guys) dropped to his knees and yelled, “Almighty Noak!”
It was the first, and so far only, time I've had jaws literally drop at my table. There was a solid three seconds of silence where my players were just absorbing it, and then one of them (I think he was playing a paladin) just said, “You glorious bastard. None of us saw that coming!”
Best. Game. Ever.
Note: As with yesterday's post, I changed today's topic. The original topic, "the number you always seem to roll on a d20," didn't really fit as, for the most part, my d20s are all acceptably random. The only time I ever had a d20 roll a particular number more often than any other is the story I wrote about in this post.