Life is Like a Role-Playing Game — with a Sadistic GM


In my experience, a lot of life can be understood or expressed in role-playing game (tabletop) terms. Unless you are expressing yourself to people who don’t know what that is. If you are one of those, read this summary from wikipedia. It’s not weird or a cult or anything. It’s basically playing make-believe with complicated rules, formulas and polyhedral dice, preferably with a good group of friends, some junk food and lots of beer or soda. I have made a few references to rpg terminology in previous posts, so presumably most of my readers are in the loop or at least pretending to be (style points for that, I’ll give you some dice to roll against your Bluff or Perform Skill and see if I believe you)

This particular blog entry was inspired by an incident last night. I was just getting a drink of water after dinner and yelped as I managed to pour it down my front instead of into my mouth. Sadly, this isn’t that uncommon for me — I refer to it as “my drinking problem” and it’s the reason I usually request a straw or stick to water; saves on dry cleaning you know. Naturally, Garian laughed at me and then exclaimed, “Who makes you roll for that?!” He was implying that the GM running the game of my life had required me to roll dice against my Character’s Dexterity rating to determine if I (a coordinated, unimpaired human adult with full use of my appendages) could in fact drink some water and that I had somehow managed to roll a Critical Fail. No one should make you roll for that. So, today I regale you with real things that have happened to me and my friends because we failed a metaphorical roll we shouldn’t have even had to make. I may make this into a two-part post because so many occasions are springing to mind…

Roll Perception… to walk into your own backyard.

My backyard kind of looks like this:

not to scale

And on a fine summer day last year I was going to go check on my garden, maybe pull some weeds, pick some snow peas, that sort of thing. NOT epic quest material. The GM must have been bored because evidently, I needed to make a perception check to walk into my backyard. And I failed it. So I’m walking to the garden when:

Yes. That is the rose bush grabbing me BY THE HEAD and flinging me backwards. I never saw it coming, didn’t have a clue that I was so much as in danger of brushing against the roses. No, it was not even windy or anything. I had a decent cut on my forehead for a couple weeks that my hair fortunately hid pretty well so I didn’t have to explain that I apparently can’t stroll through my yard without walking into pointy foliage with Non-Lethal Damage (1D6).

Roll Dexterity… for Routine Tasks.

Now, I only wear mascara for special occasions — it’s messy to put on and aggravating to get off and my eyelashes are really dark enough anyway. My friends “Ruby” and “Elle”, however, are pretty justified in avoiding the stuff for the rest of their lives. They have both failed some Dexterity Roll in an epic way while applying it and scratched their eyes so badly, they had to go to the doctor and get special medicine and eyepatches and everything. Ruby has done this multiple times and then reopened the scratch in her sleep. You want to laugh about it but it sucks so much to have eye damage that you feel sort of bad being amused by it…

Elle has also thrown her back out while brushing her teeth. She didn’t slip and fall or anything. Brushing teeth one minute, agonizing back spasms the next. I did laugh at her, but also drove her to the doctor. I mean, seriously — who makes you roll for that?!

Which brings us to one of my favorite Elle stories so far. She was coming over to visit one afternoon when I get a call from her: “Hey, Bek… I’m going to be a little late I think…”

Me: “Sure, that’s fine. Whenever… are you ok?”

Elle: “Um, I think so. I stopped to get gas and when I was getting back in the car… I … slammed my head in the car door… so… I’m just going to go ask the gas attendant to look at my pupils. I think I have a concussion… and I may sit here until I can drive again.”

Whatever else she said was drowned by my howls of laughter. Sorry. It’s true. When I got a grip, I asked if she needed a ride or something, but she was ok after a few minutes and if she had a concussion, it was a very light one. I mean, how do you even do that? Elle’s retort to this is “If I knew how I did it, don’t you think I would’ve been paying enough attention to not do it?” Sometimes I just wake up in the night laughing about it. When Garian is having a rough day, I will text message him: “Elle. car door. lol.” Cheers him right up.

Speaking of Garian… well, I shall have to get to his critical fails next week, as he has quite enough to merit his own whole post. When have you critically failed something you shouldn’t have even had to roll for (in game or in real life)? Tell me about it in the comments! And be careful getting in your car this weekend…


9 Responses to “Life is Like a Role-Playing Game — with a Sadistic GM”

  1. “Elle has also thrown her back out while brushing her teeth.”

    No joke – I’ve done this too. Not *completely* out like it sounds like she did – but it sure hurt, and continues to be a problem. All of my back problems today can all be traced to a toothbrush a couple of years ago.

    Elle and I have the same GM.

    • Evil Bekka Says:

      Sorry to giggle at your pain, but I am. That GM is just mean… at least you have presumably not failed a “get in car” roll… yet.

  2. I think things jumping out at you, stepping in front of you so that you bump into them, etc. is something you inherited from me. The GM has always been sadistic in that way toward me. LOL!!! Why just in the last few months I know some evil force has grabbed my straightening iron and curling iron out of my hand and burned me deliberately with them. Also, door frames and coffee tables seem to move over just as I pass and cause me many a bruised shin, wrist and elbow. LOL! I could go on but maybe I shouldn’t. Don’t want to give the GM any reason to remember how amused he is at this…..

    • Evil Bekka Says:

      I also sometimes walk into door frames… One of my friends however, dropped her curling iron a couple weeks ago and now has a second degree burn on her upper arm. That is so sucky, it’s not even funny. To be fair, ongoing back injuries and concussions are also not funny, but someone failing that catastrophically at such simple tasks are undeniably amusing on some level…

  3. Heh heh. And who might that be?? 🙂

  4. You forgot “dislocating a knee while playing with the cat” 😛 I really need a new GM…

    • I know you have a trick knee; I didn’t know (or forgot) that you injured it playing with a cat! hee hee… Since you are unlikely to get a new GM, maybe you should work on increasing your Dexterity rating so you have a better chance on those rolls…. or Strength, so you can withstand more damage…

  5. Critical fail in holding two glass ornaments today in Pier One. They jumped out of my hands, forcing me to juggle between them for about 5 seconds, in which the juggling save failed and they came crashing onto the ground. Luckily my kids were with me, so I threw a “redirect” spell and everyone thought the kids did it. Even the kids thought they did it and actually admitted to it. Then everyone was sympathetic and protective of the kids with all the broken glass around. I’m a powerful illusionist but I have poor dexterity.

    • Evil Bekka Says:

      Awesome save on the redirect spell! Although if you used Jedi mind powers on your kids, you may have gotten a Dark Side Point…

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