Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Awesome


Not awesome at all.

For a change, here is a comic that is not self-contained; it is from a game I am a player in, the same as the previous comic. One of the other players is some kind of Evil warlock whose apparent goal is party conflict. The events depicted are true, including the party cleric Calm Emotions-ing everyone. I was told I should totally draw this, though it is quite possibly the most underwhelming thing that has ever happened.

Speaking of - awkward segue! - you've probably seen me link TVTropes before. It's basically Wikipedia for fiction tropes, and a lot more informal - but like Wikipedia, in the shadows of the discussion pages lurk an army of hooting monkeys with the sense of humour of a Betamax tape ready to argue for countless posts about stupid details nobody actually cares about, like whether or not you are allowed to say "I".

This post is not about those people.

You see, there is a sort of point to that - a lot of the people who say "I" are just rambling on about themselves, and if there is one thing nobody gives a crumpet about it is people who write about themselves on a tropes wiki. Unless it's awesome.

For example, there's the page for Crowning Moment of Awesome. What is that, you ask? Well if you clicked the link you'd know it was "the moment when a fictional character does something for which they will be remembered forever, winning for them the eternal loyalty of fans," idiot.

There are specific entries for "Tabletop RPGs" and "D&D", which are mostly people talking about their "awesome" characters. Unfortunately, these "awesome" characters are often... well, finger-quotes exist for this kind of shit.

I'd like to stick to D&D for now, because I am lazy, but nobody has bothered to check these pages for true awesomeness, or even format them; either a bunch of D&D tales were left in the "Other/Unspecified Game" section by mistake or some people are stupid. So let's start there, shall we?

"This troper DMed a game where a character, a rogue/cleric of a chaotic good homebrew god, was fighting in a floating house one thousand and five hundred feet off the ground, against a nigh-invulnerable construct not unlike an inevitable. The cleric, seeing that this thing was powerful, jumped out of a window, summoned a celestial hippogriff, and flew to safety. Awesome."

Awesome retreat, guys!

Can you imagine doing that and trying to explain why it was great to someone else?

"Well, we were in a floating house, and there was this nigh-invulnerable construct. It was powerful!"
"So what did you do to it?"
"I ran away."
"What?"
"I cast a simple summon monster spell, summoned something that could fly, and ran away."
"...Is that it?"
"Of course!"
"..."
"Awesome."

No.


"This troper had two different CMOAs in his first and only campaign. The first occurred during an indoor map where his ranger, after a series of unsuccessful attacks, manages to land a critical on a guard with each sword!"

The hard part is trying to read through these while keeping in mind this is a list of "moment when a fictional character does something for which they will be remembered forever". That's right, this guy's most awesome thing ever was rolling two criticals! What are the odds?!

But wait, there's more!

"The second, and even more awesome, was during a section where the party was intended to wipe, but most of them were so experienced in the game that the DM had to bring out a high-level wizard to cast Fireball."

wow, what a formidable opponent

"The attack managed to knock everyone to 0 HP or lower...except me. This gave me one turn to act, and given few options, I eventually blurt out "play dead". Even though I have no ranks in anything that should give me skill in that. And I pull it off!"

I want to laugh, but the sad little exclamation mark at the end there makes me feel guilty about doing so.

Why do people confuse "awesome" with "cowardly"? If you made a last stand and took everyone down, that would have been awesome. If you made a last stand and got killed, but heroically, it could still be considered awesome. You played dead? Yeah, good idea, but I wouldn't say "awesome". I would say "nobody gives a shit".


"We had a campaign that was so amazing that EVERY character in it had at least one of these. At LEAST."

The examples listed after that are mostly pretty decent, actually, but I really can't get over the gratuitous use of capital letters ("DESTROYS the thing in ONE ROUND") like this only just happened and the writer hasn't had time to get flaccid.

Minor point, though:

"The skald, whose exploits were so legendary I couldn't possibly come up with one example. Let me put it this way: she was a gnome with levels split between bard and barbarian. She had a constitution score so high that she had over 250 hit points by level 21, even though the majority of her hit dice were d6."

Pro Tip for young writers: Show, don't tell. One example of these legendary exploits is fine. Really. Please stop masturbating.

I won't argue the bard/barb thing (one time I half-jokingly argued that a DM can stat a tarrasque with class levels if he wants with someone who insisted my group and I weren't "mature enough to play a real roleplaying game"), but if having a high Constitution score at epic levels is legendary, then I'm a plesiosaur. And since I don't see flippers...



"In one campaign I was in we were facing a Troll that was chained up. My ranger then went behind the Troll, grabbed the chain and pulled. The Troll went down and we were able to finish him off."

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

Really. Really? This is your ranger's defining moment of awesomeness? You grabbed the chain? And pulled, even? And what happened next? Did someone make a statue of your ranger? Maybe when your PC finally dies they can put it on your tombstone: "Here lies Ranger Guy. He grabbed the chain and pulled.". Because that is a crowning moment of awesome.


Oh wait, no it isn't. Go ride a wheelbarrow of dicks.


"This troper has DMed a scene that was fairly awesome. (3.5, level 1 PCs)"

"Fairly" awesome? You come onto the Crowning Moment of Awesome page to tell a "fairly" awesome story? Fuck you!

"Well, from the PCs' point of view it might have been called "humorously pathetic."

You can almost hear the DM touching himself from here.

"There were only a few players so the party at that comprised then of a human fighter and a halfling rogue."

Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

"Thew [sic] were in, essentially, a hall of doors. About six doors in the rogue is tired of hunting for traps. In the next segment of passage is found a seven foot deep pool of clear water with a chest at the bottom. The human
[...] dived in. He [...] stayed under long enough to tie the rope around the lock in the chest. [...] He motioned to the halfling to start pulling on the rope as he lifted the chest himself. As soon as the chest was moved the water began draining downward and acid began [...] filling the 'top' of the pool. Now out of air in his lungs the fighter swam through the acid, lugging an iron chest [...] He made it out with major burns, but with the chest. The chest contained two drowned rats and a broken wand."

I decided to cut out entire chunks of that wall of text because if I made you read the entire thing for that terrible payoff I think you would have killed me.

Honestly, is that it? They nearly killed themselves for nothing? Is this supposed to be awesome? Because instead it is kind of like the trap and treasure described: a painful, retarded waste of everybody's time.

"Feeling foolish, the pair headed for the next door. The rogue searched for traps again and found nothing with a roll of 17. Feeling secure they opened the door and were struck head on by a flash trap that blinded them both. The halfling stumbled back, 'into' the acid. Now both temporarily blind the fighter had to take the rope, throw it to the halfling and pull him out."

You can kind of tell why there were only two people playing at the time, can't you?

There's more, but it's just more of the same stupid bullshit.

Hurr hurr, guys, I totally screwed two PCs over with a stupid trap that wasted everyone's time and then totally set off another trap in their faces! Crowning moment of awesome right here!

By the way, did the halfling actually fall in or did the DM just declare he did? Either way, this story is fucking stupid.


"This troper's managed to GM one of these combined with a Crowning Moment Of Funny in the first session of his Maid: the RPG campaign."

:|.



I think it's time to go to the D&D page. It will take me a while to find some bad things in there oh wait never mind here's the second one:


"This troper once played a single-classed Fighter who had a feat that gave him a free attack whenever he was hit with a critical. A shadow dragon on it's last legs proceeded to critical the fighter to negative HP, and with my last attack, I rolled a natural 20. Not a single player would refer to me killing the dragon by any other means than hitting it in the nuts. The fighter's name? "Lord Kittensquisher", due to the DM's fondness for cat-like enemies, and unfortunate tendency to walk them into melee range. This troper took down a displacer beast Packlord with one round of hits. Ah, good times."

Source on feat, please. (Is this balanced or not? I can't tell. Honestly, since he's playing a fighter, he probably needs everything he can get.

As for the rest of it:

Actually, you know what? Screw you, Lord Kittensquisher. You're not even un-awesome enough to feature prominently in this blog post.


"This troper fondly remembers an impromptu D&D campaign he got involved with, where his first task was to take out not one but two cyclopes. He did, just barely, in no small part to flicking green sparks into their eyes to blind them."

A pattern emerges.

See, whenever I read these, a little voice in the back of my mind asks: "and then what happened?" It is waiting for the crowning moment, the definitively epic conclusion to the end of this tale. Not "I blinded them cause they had eyes

Where did these green sparks come from, anyway? Is this a spell? Was it prestidigitation, or a spell that is actually intended to blind people?


"This troper was once playing a game of D&D as my signature Half-Elf rogue/bard, Tobac, and was running away from a balor, along with my band of NPC rogues and 2 lower level PC companions. My friend, who played Davror, my high level Half-Orc half brother who had been killed, was, through months of pestering of the DM, just brought back as an even higher level angel. He was my guardian angel, and if I were to die, he would be banished from the material plane..."

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

A "signature" character which the other players are lower-level "companions" of? Are you perhaps journeying through Marysutopia?

The rest of the wall of text is, well, a wall of text, but it basically runs as follows: "I was trying to survive the balor until my angel half-brother showed up! It killed most of my NPC followers. Then the other PCs who apparently enjoy this rubbish either sacrificed themselves to save me or were thrown at the balor by me. Then my high-level bodyguard showed up and killed the balor in a few rounds. Then I went to recruit some more NPCs."

What is wrong with your DM? This isn't Dungeons and Dummies. This is the roleplaying equivalent of taking a huge steaming dump in everyone's laps while they thank you for the ice-cream.


"This Troper had a half-elf ranger who, through variants and ability switching, had a base land speed of 60 ft. Combined with a Str of 18, his total Jump modifier was +40. So, because I could, my character leaped 60 ft horizontally from one tower to another. Anything less than 20 was failure. Leap of faith, indeed."

Really? And then what happened?


"D&D. Twenty-three cultists. My gnome sorcerer. One fireball. Damage roll, and...twenty-three dead cultists. How many people can say they're made their own jaw drop?"

grats on killing mooks

you are special


"Okay, I've seen a few of these. One of them was when a player was a Half-Orc Barbarian, and he was up against an army of 20 goblins, and was only about Level 1..."

I'm not targeting this one for its content so much as I am for the fact that the whole thing is a series of bullet points that fills my screen and is filled with sad little exclamation marks and liberal use of even sadder capital letters. I keep imagining someone actually trying to explain these examples to people:

"Also, don't forget that our PCs managed to succeed in breaking the will of the Big Bads of TWO Adventures."
"Really?"
"Kalarel of Keep on Shadowfell, and Palamar of Thunderspire Labyrinth. Kalarel by a CLERIC OF BAHAMUT cheating in a fight, and Palamar by 12 Success skill challenge!"
"You don't have to shout, I'm right..."
"...Involving tricking Palamar and friends to fighting amongst EACH OTHER over the possibility that the PCs had the EYE OF VECNA!"
"Oh god, my ears! My virgin ears!"

Another Pro Tip: Capitalising things to make them more dramatic does not work if you are capitalising a significant fraction of your writing output. Tone it down, please.

Unfortunately for you guys, I really can't be bothered sifting through the rest of this mix of wonder and garbage. The little thrills that may be obtained from deriding something which is bad are very nice, but like most drugs they take their toll on the body, especially if you overdose.

For now: As a sort of antidote, I want to hear your awesome stories. Anonymous posting is on and you are free to omit names, if it is required.

Tell you what - I will draw the most awesome stories posted by, oh, let's say a month from now. Don't be shy!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Campaign: Savage Tide
The BBEG: Demogorgon, Prince of Demons
The confrontation: At hand
The spell: Otto's Irresistible Dance
The Spell Resistance roll: Failed

Cooked Auto said...

Right, that's it. I'm staying as far away from TVtropes as possible now.

And awesome stories? Don't have any that qualify as really awesome. :(

Anonymous said...

The Campaign: Dungeon Magazine adventure.
The BBEG: A black dragon.
The complication: A sorcerer all out of spells. A party low on hit points.
The solution: A non-magical Dwarven War axe. Non-proficient. Thrown by the Sorcerer.
The attack roll: Two 20s.
The damage roll: Enough to kill the dragon.
The Power-gaming LE Anti-Paladin: Mortified that the Sorcerer out damaged him with a weapon.
The reward: A grateful tribe of goblins and a legacy for the War axe.

Blastcage said...

You mean *awesome* rather than [b]awesome[/b] right?

Not that I think I have any of either :(

Anonymous said...

First poster here, I suppose it would be more accurate to say that the SR roll succeeded since it was the boomstick, er, I mean arcane caster who had to make the roll

the cleric from the comic said...

I never claimed it was awesome. I just found it amusing that both of them failed when I expected both of them to succeed.

The closest thing I've done to awesome, and it's probably more like :awesome:, is my spellthief stealing a demon's summoning spell-like ability to summon a demon, then stealing that demon's summoning ability, killing him, and then summoning the same one again. Then, after using his teleport to move around a bit, killing him again.

... Yeah, I don't really do awesome <_<

Eli said...

Let’s see. I have a story that as a group we usually tell.
I played a Jester (from the Dragon Compendium) in a 3.5 DnD campaign. The DM, a friend of mine, usually railroads us into silly things, but we were going along with it anyway at the moment. The entire campaign I was just joking around with the character, and had pretty much annoyed most of the party. But the character was not weak in the least, and besides being the only one who could calm the frenzied berserker by juggling to keep him busy, he managed to do something amazing that lead to his death.
A Demon army was marching towards a city with fortified walls, our job was to warn and prepare the city for combat. A friend (the usual straight-lace paladin, but this time playing a swordsage) was mounting a counter attack or defense with the Dm. My character (the Jester) offhandedly said when they were planning "I can take em" with a smirk. The characters looked at him in silence, and then continued with their plans. The Jester, sad that they didn't believe him, started his plan. He took the 2 immovable rods and began climbing into the sky, by using them like a ladder to secure a hand hold one by one. When he was up high (and very tired). He rested and then began doing the same thing outwards until he was over the Demon Army. He took the tiny stone cubes from his belt he had been storing and dropped them. They were actually Gargantuan size, that he had used “shrink item” on to carry, and then undid the spell as they fell. These blocks crushed half the army, but did not kill all of it. The flying demons that had survived were coming at him, he had no way to escape, and even if he could, the half of the army that survived would kill his friends.
So he jumped.
As he fell, he watched the demons continue to fly towards him. And he made his last spell ever. Polymorph in mid-air, into a Pink Baleen Whale. He was taking damage as he was poked with the lances of the demons, but they eventually fell underneath him as he hit the ground and crushed the remaining soldiers. From the city a large crash was heard with the party scared that it was a preemptive assault. The Sword sage (straight-laced), was informed of the Jesters plan, and responded with "HE DID WHAT?"
There was no Demon army left, and I was warned before I did my final strike that I couldn't make a character if I died. We were never going to actually fight it, it was a plot device, but that did not stop our characters from trying. To this day the best part of the story is the Frenzied Berserker going to the site of the destruction, finding the Jester's bell hat, and picking it up. A single Tear falls from his face, "I miss funny man...."

Anonymous said...

I lurv me them TVtropes. It's a great resource for exploring all the little memes that make up stories (and I mean that in the actual sense of memes, not "lolcats").

It's also the source for so much fanwankery.

Unfortunately, I think the two things are related.


Anyways, I think the problem with anytime somebody tries to describe something "awesome" from a game, is that it tends to be a description of what happened rather than a story. I have a friend who had the annoying habit of repeating all the sorts of stuff that he did on Counter-Strike, and Half-Life: DM, and all that sort of things. "OH MAN! Then I used the gravity gun to pick up this toilet and fire it at some guy who was come by and he totally died!"

Unless your DM is the motherfucking king of storytelling, then most of the story exists only in your head. All the little gaps are filled in by the player's imagination.

So they don't feel the need to explain that stuff.

If it's really awesome, it should work as a standalone flash fic. Rules and stuff like that should only be mentioned to explain stuff. Like that story which is posted on /tg/ every so often about the paladin who quadruple critical missed against the BBEG, which resulted in both him and the BBEG dieing. Described like that, it sucks, but in it's entirety it's a masterfully executed story (especially since it never actually happened in a real gaming session).

Anonymous said...

@Jester dude:

Your story's already been drawn, man. I think I even have it saved in my /tg/ folder.

Eli said...

@guy responding to Jester dude:

I know, I'm the guy who drew it.
I just did it really bad and was just copying Ettin anyhow.
I wanted to see what his take on the story would be instead of my crappy one.

That's awesome that you saved it though! Thanks!

P.S. Do you have a link? Want to make sure its me.

Anonymous said...

I played a drow in an AD&D game (not exactly a Drizzt ripoff since they were common and non-evil in the setting). His crowning moments of awesome include sneak-attacking a kung-fu ogre mage (or Oni rather) with an oversized beartrap while dodging a bouncing lightningbolt and making a dryad into a demigod, her tree becoming animated and the canopy growing to miles in diameter. The dryad had a crush on him, so he had a massive colossal++ moving god-tree thing doing what he asked and giggling girlishly.

Anonymous said...

Played a Warlord in a 4E game a while ago. Now, we were scouts for a much larger army, and were doing our scouty thing. There were several of us, dwarf, elf thing, shifter, and a couple humans.

Now, we came across a commander of he enemy army, and succeeded in managing to kill her. Now she was considerably stronger then us, and controlled quite a few giant robot like things. This plants the seeds for later.

We left, as she was also a scout for her own army. We find out that we had been found out, so the enemy army knows that we were there. A knowledge check later tells us that they were pirates and depended on their ships to get back and forth. We began to get chased, and I have the bright idea to just going to their ship and stealing it.

We make our way there, and steal a ship. Easy enough, they didn't have much there. We find out that there's a lot of fuel for whatever things they needed. We ended up leaving a fuse on the ship and stealing another boat as the rest of the fleet went off in a chain reaction. From there, we sailed in place of the enemy's reinforcements. We ended up routing them and effectively becoming heroes of the nation for stopping what could have very well been a remake of the Poland Invasion.

We were patted on the head, then had our asses drafted into their army.

Emo DUck said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emo Duck said...

The Campaign: A small group of goblins have survived the wholesale extermination of their tribe, and they now try to eke out a living in a small cave while dealing with human mobs, dire rats (we tamed one!), ghost haunts and mischievous fey.

My Character: Smomag did in fact not grow up with in the aforementioned goblin tribe. Spending his formative years under the tender, loving parentage of the lizardman tribe that took him as a slave when he were a wee lad, he's grown up to be somewhat touched in the head. His special powers consist of vomiting smoldering bile onto things, then eating them when they're dead. He's become a rather good cook that way.

The Pitch: The group was briefly joined by an old shaman goblin, evidenced by his long, grey beard. Having never seen a beard on a goblin before, Smomag inquired as to the apparent dwarfiness of the shaman. In his infinite wisdom, the old goblin explained that beards are instrumental in warding off evil spirits. Smomag took this to heart.

The Resolution: After tragedy struck and death befell the old shaman (his player stopped showing up), Smomag figured he would no longer need protection from malevolent spirits. A beard is a terrible thing to waste, so with his trusty, rusty dagger, he rolled an impressive impromptu Craft (Leatherworking) roll and deftly removed the skin from the dead goblin's jaw and neck. Stretching it out a bit, he at first simply tied the skin in a knot behind his head, but the blood and residue kept making it slip off and dangle more like a necklace. Regardless, the beard obviously did its job, as the party managed to exorcise the ghost of a pesky human cleric that they'd driven to suicide some time earlier. It was after this that Smomag decided to affix the ward more permanently to himself, as this segment will attest:


* Smomag lets the meat simmer over a mellow flame for a while. He looks down at his chest to see the grisly flap of beard-skin, now stretched even further from having been pulled and yanked throughout the night. He plods back toward the stores for a bit.
* Gobnob starts with a snort, spitting the meat out of his mouth involuntarily. "Gobnob smells cooking meats."
* Kthyd awakens next to the worg and rises, stiff from an uncomfortable sleep
[Smomag] A series of painful sounding yelps and grunts soon starts issuing forth from the store room.
* Kthyd rushes into the storeroom, scimitar drawn
[Smomag] Kthyd only finds Smomag in the store room, back turned toward him. He's sitting cross-legged on the floor, and every so often a hand comes out to the side with a sewing needle pinched between its thumb and index finger. When it disappeares back in front of Smomag, one of those characteristic yelps accompany it.
* Kthyd sighs wearily, pats Smomag's shoulder, and sits to watch him sew
* Smomag turns to face Kthyd revealing the waterfall of blood cascading down from his chin and jaw. In the middle of it all, long, ragged strands of hair are clumped together by the blood, originating from an area of skin with a somewhat different hue than the rest of him. "... What?"
[Kthyd] "...nothing, Smomag. Come get me when you're done, okay?" He stands and walks back to find his worg.
* Smomag simply nods and turns his attention back to sewing. The yelping continues.

NorskVind said...

>One of the other players is some kind of Evil warlock whose apparent goal is party conflict.

:[ I'm not looking for party conflict in the context of LOL IMMA KILL UR DOODS AND FUCK YOUR SHIT OVER, more along the lines of conflict to make the game better. I didn't realize I was coming off that way.

Ettin said...

All is forgiven!

For now.

Ettin said...

OR IS IT?

Anonymous said...

My first experience playing a Monk was awful.

I mean, his fluff was okay, but the mechanics of it were terrible. I rolled poorly. I allocated them poorly. I selected my feats near-blindly. The DM was running a low magic campaign, and what rare magic we did get went to the fighters (who could use them), not my character . . . and the party liked having the casters give the party effects that rendered my class features redundant.

Further, the DM wasn't a fan of lowering the CR of the monsters we fought. In particular, it seemed that he was fond of oozes, undead, constructs and giants. Three of these are immune to stunning fist; the fourth has saves so high that they'd have to roll a 1 to be affected. I played through nearly half that campaign, and pulled off stunning fist successfully once, against a mook orc. Note that I declared it every time I went up against a living opponent.

And finally, the character died about every other encounter, and not without my fair share of being healed, Full Defense actions and other such measures when prudent. I hope I've illustrated just how much a failure that character's career was, besides running support for the real combatants.

One day we're traveling, and I'm called upon to roll to see if we get random encounters. d10: 10. Yep, that's an encounter. d100: 99. Huh, that's going to be beefier than usual. When I did that twice more, the other players glaaaared, as if I'd made the dice do that on purpose. So we move on to the CR+4 encounter.

So we're ambushed by a Moon Beast. Unfortunately for us, the monster's description said it went crazy for Moonstones. We had sold ours about ten minutes earlier, and it could smell it on us. Cue battle.

They're not *just* strong. Thanks in part to the fact that it can drop something like eight Mirror Images or something crazy like that, we weren't able to do much before we were being wiped out. Shortly into the battle, the Fighter dies. Next round, Cleric dies. Next round, Ranger dies. Next round, my monk and the wizard get eviscerated.

The Wizard knows things look Grim, so he does the pragmatic thing: Casts Rope Trick and ducks in, so he can pick up the bodies after it has slaughtered everybody.

My monk is standing in front of it. It has single digit hit points and so do I, but I have a poor chance of landing an attack, and a poor chance of even doing that much damage; its success, on the other hand, is guaranteed.

A roll. A hit.

A die tumbles. Max damage; one more than I needed to drop it.

The group stood up from their seats and *cheered*.

Happy epilogue: I took over position of party Fighter and do *not* regret the decision.

Ettin said...

I believe a month has passed!

If results don't start showing up in a week or two, you are all allowed to challenge me to a duel.

Anonymous said...

Okay, looks like I actually found something that is awesome from D&D. And it was even on TV tropes.

Here it is:

__Tomb of Horrors__
At one GenCon, one team actually succeeded in the adventure by using one of the no-saving-throw instant death traps against Acererak. 'I put the crown on the demilich's head while my buddy taps it with the wrong end of the scepter.' Made doubly awesome by the fact that the tournament's DM called in Gary Gygax himself for backup, and Gary admitted that it would work, and ruled that Acererak instantly died. First prize!

Scarvexx said...

The problem is also one of the game’s best features in my opinion
It instils an odd sense of accomplishment, I think it’s part of the reason video games haven’t replaced pen and paper rpg’s, that and human interaction.
You didn’t beat a videogame level, you out smarted a freethinking being with limitless resources and literal godlike powers who is restrained only by a sense of fair play and the fact that IRL these people could lynch you
I run games myself and I admit to having an emphasis on humour, it’s the style I am best at, and so I play a bit fast and loose with goings on, my players have ridden a sleigh pulled by perpetually burning pterodactyls and they have blown up a small armada of Battlejammers through mainly diplomatic means to name a few and I must point out despite my admission of comedic bias these were not the result of silly whims like “you rock out so hard the other ships blow up and you ride out of there on a sleigh driven by flaming dinosaurs” these were appropriate player driven solutions to real challenges using means that were not meant to be used as tools, for example you have the pterodactyls of flame who were a distraction called by an evil druid during a battle in a comet, the druid escaped as the comet drew to near its destination, the saurian were non hostile without the druid and easily charmed with magic and animal (or animental) empathy, but they are too small to ride unless you were the party Kender (like evil or paladin characters there is a right way to play these) so they wood shaped a dead Trent into a sleigh and flew away (guilty note If they didn’t find a way off they still would have survived).
This all seems grand but I state it only to make this final point, when we got a new player and the others told him of awesome stuff they had done it was stuff like how they had one shotted a giant or the super cool name they gave their last Spelljammer, the point is that what sticks with the players are the little things, the twenty when its most needed or taking part in a plan that saved the day, they just need to remember that out of context these things are boring as nine hells.