The Bunny Did It

June 20, 2008

I’ve never had someone request a blog post before, but Alan did so via email yesterday. I feel inclined to acquiesce.  This is the story of what can happen when three college-age gamers stay up way too fragging late having fun with what they do.

Also, I should point out that tabletop roleplaying is not *all* wanton violence and murder. It’s actually a very subtle mix of storytelling and tense action; the best moments I’ve experienced at a gaming table are locked in my head just as vividly as any movie. This … em … is not one of those moments.

So, warning: incredibly juvenile, inappropriate humor coming up. This was done at like 3 in the morning during college, and was almost certainly one of the most innocent things happening at that hour in Iowa City’s downtown. Don’t take this out of context and be horrified please (Mom).

The scene: Myself, Joe Rheaume, and Brian De Smet are bored. Now, today, I can’t remember the last time I was bored or had ‘nothing to do.’ But apparently this was something that could still happen back in college. Luckily, we were all gamers with vivid imaginations and there were RPG sourcebooks to hand. Joe and I were visiting Brian in Iowa City, where he went to college. It was a nice enough place, but not exactly a happenin’ place even on weekends.

We set out to resolve our boredom through gaming. To that end, the night sky found us ambled our way down the main street connecting one side of the Iowa City campus with t’other. It was already late, probably around midnight, and the only noise we could hear was the occasional hoot or holler from a drunken frat dude. Otherwise it was just us, the stars, and the odd-smelling river.

Across campus from Brian’s dorm room was a student lounge open 24/7. It had stocked vending machines, comfortable chairs and (important during a sweaty near-summer visit) it was cool and dark. We found a nice area with a table and set up. I hadn’t planned anything in advance and (since this was one of the very few instances I gamed during college) I was pretty rusty. So I kept it simple.

Joe and Brian were hired by a shifty Johnson (a company man paid to hire illicit employees) to hunt down and capture a wayward wageslave. They met him (if I recall) at a greasy late-night pizza joint, and the dude was fairly straightforward about the whole thing. He lives in X apartment building, we think he’s jumping ship to Y corporation, just take him alive and bring him in so we can get this sorted out.

The two of them took the hint, and boosted a delivery van from behind the pizza place for some unscheduled deliveries. Looking back on it now, I should have had them deal with some sort of sidetrek; maybe a mandatory delivery or something. As it was, they made it to the apartment building with no trouble.

The block was a midscale highrise near the water; nice enough to have a doorman but not so nice that a routine visit like a pizza guy would get the 3rd degree. They parked the van in the subterranean parking structure and then headed up. At some high-numbered floor, they got off of the elevator and headed to his place. They were just approaching his doorway (about halfway down the hallway) when he left his apartment and saw the two ‘pizza guys’. Combat ensued and he made a break for it. He makes it to the emergency staircase, and some sudden pyromania on the players’ part allowed him to make good his escape.

At his point shots have been fired and the logical thing would be to leave the building, but they were determined. The guys’ door had been (deliberately) left open, and they entered his apartment to use his connection to the building network. They determined, via illicit use of video cameras, that he was somewhere between the fifth and seventh floors. That was as far as they could track him before they lost him – and the cops (a company known as Lone Star) were on their way.

They fed a false signal to Lone Star to buy them some time, and then made their way to the lower floors to search for him. At this point … it was very late. Something inside them broke, and what had up until this point been (I think) a pretty good game turned weird. See, I was doing the rusty/rookie GM mistake of assuming that they’d do something. In this case, I assumed that they’d look in his apartment to see if maybe he had any friends or family in the building. He did, in fact – a girlfriend on the seventh floor. But they had no way of knowing that and I was too tired/inexperienced to convey that fact to them eloquently.

So they started a search. They split up, with each runner taking one floor. The runners were doing no better than I was on the tired front. On floor 6, Joe proceeded to start yelling their target’s name. To this day, I have no idea why. He went up and down the corridor yelling his head off looking for his target. At one point and old man game out asking him to keep it down, and threats were made. The old man went back inside, assuring Joe that he was “calling the Star.”

Meanwhile, down on 5, Brian was making fateful decisions that would lead to gaming history. He was playing more of an action-y kind of character, and took the position that a blunt hammer was the best way to solve this problem. So he kicked down each door as he went down the hallway, looking for his target. No avail, as he wasn’t on 5. But more and more people were frightened and upset, and more calls were made to Lone Star.

Realizing their mistake, both Joe and Brian reconvened on 7 and combined their approach. This resulted in a sort of muffled noise from one particular apartment, a noise they heard even before the door was kicked down. Brian cracked open the door, and found himself face to face with his quarry – at which point the freaked out and sort of sprayed down the apartment with bullets. It was late, we were all getting tired of playing, and the caffeine was now leaving our systems; it’s understandable that mistakes were made.

To sort of drive the point home about what he’d done, I did some rolling to check where the girlfriend was at the time and -sure enough- she was in range of the bullets. They entered the flat to find that not only was their target dead in the kitchen, but his girlfriend was deceased on the floor of their living room. To really twist the knife, I decided to have the woman’s son enter the scene at this point, sleepily rubbing his eyes as he exit’s the back bedroom.

He takes in the scene, adopts a feared expression, and asks “Is that blood?”

Brian looks me dead in the face, serious as can be, and says, “No son. That’s magic Easter juice.”



  1. Wasn’t Ben W. there too?

  2. One of my favorite gaming stories!

  3. I think he was, but I don’t remember him playing; maybe he fell asleep?

    I admit – some of the details are hazy at this point.

  4. Also the exchange with the kid went

    “Who are you”

    “I’m the easter bunny”

    “Is that blood?”

    “No son. That’s magic Easter juice.”

    We also decided to set the building on fire at one point.

  5. As the Brian in the above story I have two things to add;

    1) yes, Ben was a participant in this experience.

    2) I’m not sure I should be proud that this story has become such a legend among friends and acquaintances.

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