This story was submitted by our viewer, Dan! Thank you!
In my campaign multiverse, there is a being that oversees the cosmos. He is creator and curator, carefully plotting the movement of the stars and the streams of time. He works tirelessly
for eons behind the material veil, on the incomprehensible cosmic math behind the clockwork of
His name is Richtoros (pronounced Rick-tore-row-s), god above all gods, and the multiverse is his machine. He is not some product of my imagination built for the setting, but the product of an ill-fated game run by a DM who had little to no respect for the system, and the free will of the players.
This is the story of a veteran DM dismantling a charlatan. This is the story that is closest to my heart. This is the story of my greatest D&D achievement.
This is the story of the time I played a psion.
I began running 3.5e in my senior year of high school, and continued my journey through college and beyond. In college, I would set up in the game room, purposefully putting a gap in my schedule long enough to run a pick-up session. Since it was a great way to reduce stress, this was a daily occurrence. There were some repeat visitors to the game room I ran in, one of which was a Rubik’s cube obsessed individual. Appropriately, we called him “Rubix”.
Instead of joining the session, Rubix observed me and my players, making comments about how their ideas were lifted from an anime no one had ever heard of before, and insisting on using its Japanese name. If that was not annoying enough, he repeatedly butchered any Japanese words he would offer to the group, deeming his opinions on any matter of ours irrelevant.
Near the start of my spring sophomore semester, he came in asking anyone if they want to play a campaign he is running in 3.5e. He walked in with no books, no campaign notes, no character sheets or even dice. All he had was his ratty bag, and a Rubik’s cube.
I am sitting between two of my friends - we will call them Bard and Barbarian, because that is what they ended up playing - when Rubix picks up a new player who has had an interest in D&D. We will call him Cleric. They sit not far from us, since there are few comfortable chairs in the room, and Rubix hands Cleric a loose sheet of notebook paper and tells him to start making a character.
Poor Cleric did not know the first thing about making a character, but instead of helping him, Rubix goes off to try and recruit more players. Bard, Barbarian and I start talking over facebook messenger, poking fun at what kind of game Rubix would run, and feeling bad for Cleric and the weebanese infested nightmare of katanas and schoolgirls that awaited him. Barbarian wondered if Rubix even knew how to run a game, saying in chat, “You should go over there and show him a thing or two.”
Now, I knew Rubix had no resources, and Cleric looked like a fish out of water. With all of 3.5e available online, I thought I would give Cleric a helping hand against the nightmare to come. I got up, walked over, and introduced myself to Cleric. Bard and Barbarian soon joined me. As Rubix returned, Bard, Barbarian and I expressed an interest in this game, simply to see what would happen, and to show solidarity with Cleric. Bard and Barbarian created… a bard and barbarian. I needed to know more about the world before choosing my class. Rubix told us it was a “science fictiony fantasy world” that he made up. I decided to branch out from my favored sorcerer class and elected to play a Human Psion, using a redeemed sith concept from a Star Wars game that never got off the ground. The level one character was already planned out, allowing me to focus on helping Cleric create his addition to the party.
My fears about the game were realized in a way worse than I imagined the moment it started. We started off as high school students (interesting, seeing as most of our characters were 25+ years old, mine being in my early 30s) who were working for the nationʼs king as his “security club”. We were an organization that acted as spies and guards, that somehow also held more political power than the king at times. There were other absurdly powerful DM PCs within the club, most of which were schoolgirls in the 14 to 17 age range, and were somehow more capable at their jobs than the adult members of the club.
Furthermore, the few male DMPCs, that… oddly resembled Rubix, seemed to be a hit with every lady in the organization. Every time we talked to a DMPC, they were implied to have just gotten done doing the unspeakable with one or multiple underaged girls.
As for the DMPCs that were women, their strategy, invariably, was to seduce our target, or screw their way through every obstacle. Again, these were school children using their bodies as a frequent tactic to great success.
Mechanically speaking, Rubix did not know how to build encounters. Each battle was always a single opponent whose abilities were heavily homebrewed, rendering us unable to effectively strategize and actually fight them. We had to rely on throwing our DMPC companions at the problem until they either killed it or boned it. Each encounter was woefully balanced against us with enemies usually being 6 or more CR above what would count as a boss. Our first boss was a Marlith, a CR 19 demon. We were level 2.
When confronted about how his characters seemed to be our level, but able to do whatever they wanted, Rubix replied, “If everyone is overpowered, then no one is.”
We found out later that Rubix always had some kind of hidden solution other than combat. We would get one-shotted by the big bad evil guy of the session, and he would shrug and smugly tell us “Well, you should have researched him a bit more.” Unfortunately, “more research” was not really an option. Rubix did not have a firm grasp on the concept of “player agency”. We, as low ranking members of the club, did not have access to the resources needed to investigate any of our enemies. We were handed a target, and a waifu, and told to “take care of it now”.
We held fast, and survived for six levels before I finally had it with Rubix’s garbage. It was time to make some changes.
We had returned from a mission, and found the castle in disarray. The other members of the security club were not answering their coms due to god knows what, leaving us to take care of whatever the problem was. Turns out, our king was possessed, and attacking security club members. For the first time, our god-like companions were incapable of attacking the king, not wanting their excessive power to accidentally kill him.
Thinking quickly, I used my pistol, the only weapon I was proficient with, to shoot the King in the legs, which worked after a few quick psychic buffs. I then physically pulled his sword out of his reach when he dropped it. The other club members, after the king was subdued, were dispatched by our adolescent higher up to clean up the rest of the castle… Rubix, once again, left the rest of the party floundering to figure out the next move.
That is when an idea came to me. This idea was the beginning of the end.
While the group was distracted, I leveled my pistol to the kingʼs head. A gunshot rang out. I executed him without fanfare or hesitation. His throne now empty, I took his crown, and his kingdom, for myself.
Rubix was surprisingly okay with this, accepting my rule without even a modicum of resistance. I suppose it was because the security club, and the pubescent students within, held more real power than the actual king, so not much would have changed with my taking the Throne.
What that afforded me, however, were almost limitless resources that I was free to use as I saw fit. Tapping into my love of Halo and Warhammer 40k, I spent ludicrous amounts of time and resources constructing a suit of power armor to enhance my lack-luster physical capabilities. I also decided to invest in augments to adjust my mental stats - primarily intelligence - and commissioned mind flayers and other psions to amplify my psychic prowess and imbue my armor with other psychic nonsense. Having already gone so far, I thought… why not plate my armor gold and go full God Emperor of Mankind on Rubix, flaming greatsword and all.
In conjunction, I had made a point to start replacing the security club with a real army. This army was made up of psychic constructs whose purpose was to fight and die, linked to my now overwhelming psychic presence. I will admit, Rubix impressed me with how he rolled with the punches after I totally derailed the campaign.
Assuming I would separate myself from the party to go with the whole “running the country and building a psychic army” thing, our handler in the security club gave Bard, Barbarian and Cleric another mission. I dropped in on the conversation, said “screw that”, and spirited away my party with promises of riches if they aided in my global conquest.
I canʼt be The Emprah without taking over all of mankind, after all.
They did not object, because by this point, the party had defaulted to me as party leader, being the most experienced player and a weathered GM, and would much rather take over the world with me than play the senseless story that Rubix had. Utilizing a few more augments on my party, I played a covert campaign, having Bardʼs enhanced Charisma and heavy investment into Bluff and Diplomacy infiltrate the courts of each nation. Cleric and Barbarian served as a two man strike team, dismantling key infrastructures and taking whatever opportunity Bardʼs intel granted us. Once a nation was significantly weakened, I would swoop in with my unmatched psychic might and army Psycho-bots.
While we had some close calls, it took us four levels to conquer all but one empire. On top of that, we were nearing the end of the semester, so the story was supposed to be coming to a conclusion soon.
During his infiltration of the last kingdom, Bard met a being named Derabo. That name sickens me to this day. Of all the overpowered DMPCs in Rubixʼs game, Derabo was the most broken. He was a level 30 warblade/monk gestalt with a scythe and black angel wings, overloaded with dummy powerful homebrew feats, more than any I had seen in any of his characters before. On top of that, Derabo had the power to, basically, cast Wish at will without paying the XP cost. Mind you, we were only level 10, and we were crossing paths with an epic level Gestalt character akin to a PC god in 3.5e.
Now, Rubix liked to monologue. It was sometimes impossible to tell if we were playing D&D or listening to a parody of DBZ. So when Bard questioned Derabo about how he was so absurdly powerful, he explained in great, agonizing detail.
I blocked most of it out, but what it boiled down to was that the universe we were playing in was the “dream world” of the real world, and our real world was the dream world of the game. If a being who lived in one world, managed to cross over into the other, they had powers to bend reality to their will, kind of like how you can control a lucid dream.
It would have been a cool concept if it did not come from absolutely nowhere, hitting us with an “all your trials were meaningless” implication. Bard relayed the information to me, concerned that we might not be able to defeat Derabo and overtake the last empire.
I was more optimistic. If I could cross the veil and come back, I would be able to simply will the empire under my control. At the very least, that would force Derabo into a stalemate. Barbarian, Cleric, and I retreated back to the palace and started to research our way to my passage into the real world. I invested all of my resources into research, even halting the production of new soldiers enough to defend my strongholds and quell rebellions as I needed.
Derabo, strangely, was only concerned with defending the last empire, so he did not interrupt me. It took several sessions of experimentation, but with enough high roles and research, I was able to cross the veil between worlds and back.
A few more sessions passed. Rubix granted me mastery of these reality controlling powers, and gave me Reality Revision, the psychic version of Wish, at will, for free. The session ended on that note, since most of us had been playing for several hours at that point, and we had to either go home or to our night exams.
What that granted me was time to plan. I went home that night and poured over D&D documents and forums. I knew you had to lawyer the crap out of wishes so they do not go horribly awry, so I started to draft a document. The document, unfortunately, does not exist anymore, since it was on a computer that has since died and been replaced, so I can’t reference specifics, but I still remember the broad details.
I decided to take the angle of adding a new psionic effect to the armor, seeing as how it is a listed effect of Reality Revision, and thus one of those things not included in the part where it says a GM can screw with it. It, however, did not say exactly what constituted as “additional psionic effects”, so I ran with that, saying that the armor permanently granted me things like: 30 levels in all classes, all spells, arcane and divine, as psychic powers, infinite power points, 20+ divine ranks, basically anything that turned me into something more broken than Derabo could ever hope to be, and I guess that thing was God.
But I was not satisfied with “God”.
To ensure that he couldnʼt just “rocks fall” me, or obliterate me with my own awesome, which he should have, I ensured that the armor granted me an immortality that specifically said I could not be killed, destroyed, erased, unmade or otherwise removed from existence by any force, being, power or event that has, does or ever will exist. Just to be safe, I listed that one first, so the following effects did not blow me up before that one kicked in.
When I finished my document, it was 8 pages long, front and back. It was perfect, easily the single most airtight wish I had ever seen. I added a nice little cover page, printed it off, stapled it together and tucked it away in my bag. I fell asleep that night with a devious smile on my face, waiting to see what would happen.
I was the first one there the next morning. I exchanged my pleasantries with Bard, Barbarian and Cleric when they arrived. The party felt my excitement, but they were not sure what for.
Rubix arrived, started the session, and asked me what I wanted to do with my new power. It was here that I opened my bag and placed the packet on the table. I am not sure if I slammed it down, or slid it over to him menacingly. All I remember was saying, “I do this.” I had a suspicion Rubix would let me do it. “If everyone is overpowered, no one is”, after all. Rubix, in response, declared that my sudden and overwhelming presence did a number to the fabric of both realities, and thus it all came collapsing down, with a smug look on his face. Everything was destroyed, no one survived. Reality was erased from existence and the game was over.
This was, I believe, his attempt at trying to punish me for taking so much power. Derabo was his bait; I took it, and paid the ultimate price, taking my players down with me in my hubris.
I will give him credit, it was a smart play. Or… so he thought.
His biggest mistake was only skimming my packet, having assumed his way would be had in the end.
When he told me I was destroyed, I pointed out to him the first line of my Revision, you know, the one that kept me from accidentally deleting myself? The thing that made me immune to every kind of “you stop existing” by anything that has existed and ever will exist? “Yeah, so what?”
“That includes me. I, technically, cannot delete myself.”
I do not think anyone was prepared for my surviving a total collapse of reality in an empty
void of absolute nothingness, where not even time existed. Yet, I did. I did with all of my powers
still in tact. I was in a blank canvas, ready to establish the machinations of my will on a grand, cosmic scale. And I did just that.
Using my infinite power, I built a new multiverse. I made new gods, NPCs, planets, stars, histories: I even reconstituted my old party so they could experience this new world where they
were powerful and prosperous kings, as a thank you for helping me in my ascension. I was in the middle of describing how I planted a tree from which the multiverse would grow and whatnot, when Bard piped up, “Hold on… Did you just become the DM?”
Everyoneʼs jaw dropped, even mine. I guess I had not noticed it, but since I created the
multiverse, it was technically my campaign now.
Rubix was not happy, to say the least. “It is still my campaign guys! I am the one that created this game!”
“You deleted your game,” Bard added, “You did it when he made his Wish thing. That
you did not make the Universe we are in right now. Psion did.”
“You canʼt just overthrow a DM! Thatʼs not how D&D works!”
“You do not even know how D&D works!” Barbarian added. “You canʼt run a game for crap!”
The back and forth went for a while, Cleric and me staying out of it, but it boiled down to the party having more fun when I was taking them along than when we were playing Rubixʼs story, so they would rather I run this group.
Rubix declared that we just did not understand his story, like we were not smart enough or
something, and stormed off in a huff. The other players were still hyped to play some D&D, and
Cleric was super excited to play a game I ran. We spent the rest of the day in that room, playing
a one off, and having a good time screwing around in a randomly generated dungeon.
That group lasted until I graduated the next summer. I have since moved away, built a Pathfinder group and made a fledgling GM out of my girlfriend. I still keep in contact with Cleric, Bard and Barbarian, and every now and again they ask when I will be back in town, so we can play a game like old times.
I do have to pay some tribute to Rubix, though. For all his faults, he did create a memorable campaign, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. And in the end, if it were not for him, Richtoros would have never ascended to his rightful place as the progenitor of the multiverse.