Table Talk (Gaming Stories)

We've all got some of those stories. Whether you did something epic or something stupid, chances are that any time you get together with new gamers you have to tell that story. Table Talk is where we at Improved Initiative tell those tales and regale you with our own epic deeds and equally epic screw-ups.

August 13, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Ten: The End of The Forgotten Paharaoh
The final installment in this particular campaign, the Desert Falcons finally stand toe-to-toe with the Forgotten Pharaoh... and it is a battle to be remembered.

July 15, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Nine: The Mind of The Forgotten Pharaoh
The cult has been defeated at every turn, but they have a few tricks left up their sleeve. With a bound genie lord, and a ritual commencing, the Desert Falcons must stop them, and stop them quickly... to do that, though, they'll need allies.

June 17, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Eight: Lamias and Genie Lords
With the Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh stymied, the Desert Falcons appear to be winning... until the cult destroys half of Tephu, and kidnaps Hakar! Why would they go to all that trouble? Well... there's a reason.

May 19, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Seven: Needle in a Haystack
With the whole of the desert to search through, how will the Desert Falcons locate the Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh? Well, sometimes it's all about asking the right questions...

April 22, 2017 That One Time A Group of Imperial Regulars Made The DM Cry
And now, for a quick break from Golarion, we have a reader submission. Vincent Cross, Chicago-area author, tells us the tale of how a handful of imperial regulars practically won a war, first against orks, and then against a small army of chaos troops. Great fodder, for a great story.

March 25, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Six: No Harm Ever Came From Reading A Book...
The library at Tephu proves a more daunting challenge than we feared. With huge, horned daemons (named Matthew), medusas, and diabolical traps, the knowledge we need should be located within. Should being the key word...

February 24, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Five: Who is The Forgotten Pharaoh?
While we survived the struggle against the undead, the Desert Falcons are left with questions... the most pressing of which is who is the Forgotten Pharaoh? What does his cult want, and what should we do with his death mask? We hope to find answers in Tephu, and its famous library... but will we?

January 22, 2017 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Four: Fight Night at The Necropolis
The golden mask was clearly a valuable artifact, but who stole it? What do they plan on doing with it? We find out all too soon when the entire necropolis raises from the dead. How will the Desert Falcons save themselves, and Wati?

2016


December 24, 2016 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Three: Enemies on All Sides
The Desert Falcons find themselves in the center of a conflict over treasure, and their claim to the latest dig site. What do their enemies know that they don't? What sinister wheels are turning behind the scenes?

November 26, 2016 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part Two: Undead Children, and Resurrected Puppies
When fell magic and ancient events are sealed behind the walls in the city of the dead, unveiling them can be a burden on the soul. The curse of undeath shows no favoritism, and after a harrowing ordeal, we manage to do right by a fellow adventurer.

October 28, 2016 The Search For The Mummy's Mask Part One: The Desert Falcons, and The Littlest Pharaoh
The Mummy's Mask adventure path is one of the most commonly played campaigns Paizo has put out. But you've never seen it like this. Join the Desert Falcons as they get embroiled in the shifting sands of Osirion, and the terrors that lurk beneath the layers of the ancients.

October 1, 2016 That One Time A Sorceress, A Rogue, and A Bard Broke The Game
It's one thing to build characters who are stronger than you expect them to be. It's quite another for unusual and creative solutions to run circles around the DM running a game. This tale is one of the latter.

September 2, 2016 The Broken Mirror Part Five: Madness Comes Home to Roost
The conclusion of the tale of the Talented Mr. Ripley. In the World of Darkness, it's a bad idea to look too deeply into things. When Ripley looked, he fell, and fell hard. Not only that, but he nearly dragged everyone else into the void along with him.

July 29, 2016 The Broken Mirror Part Four: The Moon Court Madman
Mr. Ripley has stepped through into the realm of true darkness... but what lies in there? Murder, mayhem, madness, and truth. There's only so much truth you can take before your mind retreats into insanity, though. And Ripley's psyche already boasted jagged cracks. When someone he cares for murders his favorite antagonist... he doesn't take it well.

July 1, 2016 The Broken Mirror Part Three: The Dark Side of The Moon
Broken and bleeding, it looks like lights out for Mr. Ripley... but a mysterious savior comes with a message of mercy. But what is it about the darkness of the Moon Court's philosophy that makes it take hold? And where will it drive out face-stealing cop-killer?

June 3, 2016 The Broken Mirror Part Two: Through The Mirror Darkly
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a reflection of whoever is held too close to him... but there's a darkness lurking beneath that surface. A cold, serpentine efficiency that might spark a clue about who and what he used to be, if he survives to investigate it.

May 6, 2016 The Broken Mirror Part One: The Talented Mr. Ripley
I am a lover of LARP, and Changeling: The Lost holds a special place in my heart. This is the tale of the talented Mr. Ripley, and how the World of Darkness will turn a blank slate into a monster, given enough time.

April 8, 2016 That One Time a DM Tried to Run "City of The Spider Queen" For an Evil Party
Published mods are awesome things. They save a DM time, and they only require a bit of tweaking. If it isn't meant for an evil party, though, they'll tear you a new one.

March 11, 2016 That One Time I Brought Calvinball to a Changeling LARP
Changeling: The Lost is a venue where you can do almost anything. Can you play a game of Calvinball with a band of brutes determined to win at all costs? Yes, as it turns out, you can.

February 6, 2016 The Saga of Majenko Part Ten: Down With The Queen
The final installment of the Saga of Majenko, this is how the final encounter in Curse of the Crimson Throne went.

January 8, 2016 The Saga of Majenko Part Nine: The Assault on Castle Korvosa
With the rebellion in full swing, or heroes take the fight to Castle Korvosa... or at least they give it a good damn try!

2015


December 4, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Eight: Re-Taking Korvosa
We've been back in town for less than a day, and they threw an efreet at us! Not five minutes after that, out of the sky comes a black dragon, ridden by a gray maiden. Nothing good can come from this... or can it?

October 30, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Seven: The Return to Korvosa
We've been away from the city for a long time, and it's changed in our absence. When a new hero tries to take the party's place, we show the people just why we were first. Also, surprise, surprise, it turns out the new "hero" isn't what he seems.

October 2, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Six: The Raid on Castle Scarwall
Our intrepid entourage has won the trust of the Shoanti... but will they be able to face down the living dead in the haunted Castle Scarwall? Of course they will. They're heroes, aren't they?

September 5, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Five: Brother to The Shoanti
We find part of a legend, but only the Shoanti know the rest of it. Will it be possible to earn the respect of the desert-dwelling tribe without losing our patience, our minds, and our lives?

August 14, 2015 The Barbarian Samurai
The third installment in my unusual character concept series is here. Should this become its own page, or should it remain a part of Table Talk?

July 25, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Four: Blood Pig Champion!
In our continued quest to find real authority in the City of Korvosa, we have to play a deadly game. Blood Pig! A game which, after this session, pseudodragons are banned from.

July 4, 2015 The Risen Antipaladin (Or How You Can Play A Paladin In An Evil Campaign)
Sometimes you just want to go against the flow, and if your brain is being contrary why not take the challenge of playing a paladin in an evil campaign? This week's character concept is about how you can do just that, and make it compelling for everyone.

June 12, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Three: Scourge of The Red Mantis!
The plague has been stopped, but the queen was behind it! What do we do? Well, we follow an invitation from Blackjack, the city's vigilante, and see just what information he has... or that was the plan, until we get jumped by the Red Mantis!

May 22, 2015 The Android Barbarian
This week I'm trying something different; throwing a character concept at you and seeing what you, the readers, think of it. We start with The Android Barbarian, and I explain how you can mechanically and thematically make it work... if you really want to.

May 2, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part Two: How Much Damage Could One Pseudodragon Do?
The ongoing saga of Majenko (known to most players as The Curse of the Crimson Throne) is the most recent campaign I completed. Let me explain how I turned what was supposed to be the comic relief into a combat-ending cruise missile with an adorable love of deep-fried rats.

April 10, 2015 The Single Player RPG Books That Got Me Into Dungeons and Dragons
Single player RPGs are typically found on PC and console systems, but when I was just edging over into my teenage years I discovered a single player tabletop game. It would be years before I'd join a party, but those books were one hell of a primer.

March 20, 2015 The Saga of Majenko Part One: Finding The Main Character of "Curse of The Crimson Throne"
"Curse of the Crimson Throne" is one of Paizo's oldest adventure paths, made back when they were still using Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. The game, unbeknownst to most players, has a main character. His name is Majenko, and we let him loose.

February 27, 2015 I'm Not A Doctor (But I Played One In A LARP Once)
Whether it's a tabletop game or a LARP no one wants to be the resident band-aid. There is something to be said for being the only doctor in the house though... namely that people are going to drag you into plot by your lapels!

January 30, 2015 A Story About Understanding the Culture Shock of Gen Con
Being a geek often comes with isolation. If you've never been to Gen Con let me confirm for you that the rumor is true; it's like being a member of a tiny sovereign nation where gaming is the new norm. It's weird... good, but weird.

January 9, 2015 Making Your Own Fate (Or Why It's A Bad Idea For Chaotic Good Characters To Rear Black Dragons)
Another reader-submitted story of fabulous misadventures at the table. Sometimes what seems like a fine idea can really scale out of control!

2014


December 19, 2014 That One Time A Cheating Player Got His Comeuppance Via A Cyclops
We've all seen people get away with cheating at a table a time or two. If you've ever wanted to see karma kick one of these players square in the crotch, then here's a story about how a cyclops acted as an agent of universal punishment.

July 17, 2014 The Ballad of Baldric Brimstone Chapter Three: Big Gay Half-Orcs and Plot Destruction
The final chapter in the Ballad of Baldric Brimstone talks about his cohort, his attitude toward time travel, and the colossal middle finger this character chose to deliver to an ST he'd already tortured for quite some time. Don't miss the end of this three-part tale!

June 7, 2014 Unleashing Yuri: A Gaming Story About Evil Gods and Evil PCs
This story was contributed by Ron Samuel, and it details the kind of crazy shenanigans that can only take place in a campaign where the DM allows a player to be both evil, and to create his own, pet god. Madness ensues.

May 10, 2014 "Truth Is In The Eye of The Beholder" or "Why You Should Always Have a Ranged Weapon"
Every now and again a DM will run a game declaring that players have access to whatever they want to bring. Nothing is off the table, because you could not possibly defeat the dungeon of doom you're going to go through. This did not end well for one DM.

April 5, 2014 The Ballad of Baldric Brimstone Part Two: Never Give Players The One Ring
Baldric Brimstone was one of the crazier concepts I ever played, as evidenced by his taking on a dragon nearly single-handedly in his first session. If anything he got even crazier as we kept going. Here's what happened when the DM put an insanely powerful artifact in game that, for some reason, he didn't expect any of us to use.

February 28, 2014 That One Time I Had So Much Fun With a Horror Game I Published a Story About It
A friend of mine once had a terrible idea that spawned an entire gaming tradition with my group. It also led me to publish a story, but more on that later.

February 1, 2014 Don't Ever Field a One-Eyed Dragon
Being the new guy at a table isn't always easy. You want to make a good impression, but sometimes you might go a little overboard. On the other hand, there's nothing quite like looks of dumbfounded horror when a series of truly stupid ideas does work out in your favor.

January 3, 2014 How I Became a Min-Maxing, Number Crunching Point Whore
We all remember our first time the rules stopped being a confusing series of limitations, and transformed into the building blocks of an effective character. This is what mine felt like.

2013


December 13, 2013 The Great Obfuscation
Our first reader-submitted story, Kat talks about how she once bamboozled a fellow player in a live action game through sheer roleplay, rather than some cool ability she had written down on her character sheet.

November 13, 2013 That One Time When I Got a Job Offer From a Sith Lord
It's not what you know, it's who you know. Nowhere was this more true than when a mysterious benefactor offered me a job based almost purely on what he'd heard about my character doing in a Star Wars game.

October 19, 2013 That Time When My Paladin One-Shotted The Final Big Bad
Carrion Crown is a game filled with eldritch horrors and the shambling dead. However, it is also a game where Valgard Grimwald did something that the players present still talk about to this day.

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