Favorite moments as a GM

Gamer Life General Discussion

So the subject says it all but I wanted to start a post about some of your favorite moments as a Game Master. This can be anything you want it to be as long as you say what one or more of your favorite things about GMing or a favorite remembered session and why you choose those moments to share, and just to get things started, I will go first.

For some reason I play mostly with new players, a lot of them I am introducing them to the game and it is a lot of fun. One of my best moments in game was when the party was attemping to take down a monster that I had made. Think of it like a Mind Flayer mixed with a psion. Well they party had a heck of a time and after dealing the thing a lot of damage and 3 party members nearly dead they pulled it off and destroyed the monster, and to top it off it was thanks to a critical hit! The party cheered and leaped from the table and danced around the room, all but one of the players was brand new (this was their first campaign), the other had been playing for a few years and they still remember that fight and often go back to it.

I choose this moment as it was one of the first monsters I tweaked/created on my own and tried really hard to make it a hard but fun encounter. Also I really enjoy when my party has fun and if I can make them feel epic then I know I have done my job. I enjoy it the most when I see party members pull together and play as a team with one another and this was a wonderful example of this!

So how about the rest of you? Any of you care to share a favorite moment as a Game Master?

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Ruuak wrote:


So how about the rest of you? Any of you care to share a favorite moment as a Game Master?

Well, one of my favorite moments, it even makes me tear up to this day was totally unintentional.

Note: I have left out the name of the character involved due to the fact that it was my players creation that he uses to this day and is trying to write a book with as the main character.

Touching Moment:
In a long running game my player had just reached level 6 and were in an isolated valley in the middle of a blizzard capped mountain range.

This valley is where the last of the human kings had "Secured" quite a few powerful magic users just before the kings death. The valley gave eternal life to any who dwelled within it and was a summery paradise.

Due to these facts the magic users never even tried to escape.

Now over the last few centuries the population of the valley had grown due to the magic-users taking it upon themselves to "Invite" anyone of the appropriate power level for an indefinite stay.

One of those "Guests" was what appeared to be a little girl kept in abandoned tea room of the communal house the valley dwellers simply called "Home".

Living in a tea room and never seeming to sleep or leave the room,intrigued one of my players. Over the strong objections of everyone else, he entered the room and started to speak to the girl.

Now this particular player had written nobility into his background, and I had slowly been hinting of his families relationship to a cadet branch of the last of the human kings.

He was greeted cordially by the little girl in her clean and cute summer dress, and she invited him to play with her and her stuffed animals at their tea-party.

Laughing he agreed and had tea with her, the whole party watching from outside of the room. After tea the girl asked if he wanted to play a game. The player thoroughly enjoying the interaction so far agreed again.

The girl brought out a small and unremarkable wooden box, and as she slid the lid off she smiled and said "Let's play Cards!". Seeing the contents of the box the witch in the party, who was still waiting outside, asked for a Knowledge roll to see if he could get an idea of what she was holding.

I chuckled and agreed. A few exceptionally good rolls later the whole party charged the room only to be repulsed by walls of force set at the doorway. The witch had identified the cards the girl was now shuffling as a "Deck of Many Things".

Trying to warn the player inside the room the party started to shout and try to magic/tear down the walls of force.

Unfortunately for them the girl inside had a silence effect on the door along with the walls of force and an illusion of them standing there peacefully.

So, with a shrug the player inside had his magus draw 2 cards from the deck.

The lucky guy got the moon card, granting him 2 wishes, and the knight card granting him a level four loyal follower.

Now, I had been waiting to introduce an NPC for awhile, and had thought that the party would encounter him in the mountains on the way to the next part of the quest.

This NPC was named "Dutch Windguard" and was the last in the family line of the guardians of a sacred treasure entrusted to them by the line of human kings.

Deciding now was as good a time as ever, I placed Dutch as the Magus'es new follower.

This was fitting due to the fact that Dutch was wandering the mountains trying to locate the last member of the human kings bloodline, so as to offer him the services of the "Homeguard", which is the name Dutch's family had taken.

So, After fleeing from the room just ahead of the angry girls fiery wrath after refusing to trade her one of his wishes, the magus felt a strong and irresistible pull towards the snow outside the mouth of the valley.

I had slightly revised Dutch's story at this point to be that after wandering in the mountains for weeks and even eating his own loyal steed after it died from the cold, Dutch had donned his family arms and armor and wandered into the blizzard filled mountainous wasteland that the prophecy of the Homeguard said would hold the last chance for the rebirth of a free human people, rather than turn his back on the prophecy of his family.

Dutch walked for hours, days... When he could not walk, he crawled, when even crawling failed him he dragged himself onward by the edges of his gauntlets until darkness claimed him and he fell insensible in the snow, unknowingly only a few feet from the barrier that concealed the magic-users valley.

The party followed the Magus at this point as he raced towards the valley mouth and were shocked as they saw he staggering back towards them through the now fierce blizzard holding up a man in fullplate.

Dutch roused by the motion and the warmth caused by passing through the first of the valley's barriers turned his head to look in a stupor at the man supporting him and asked in a cold-addled stupor,

"Who are you, what's happening?"

The Magus'es player then said something that actually made me have to take a small break as I got teary eyed.

He said with a smile,

"I'm *****(First Name) ******(Name of the line of kings), and I'm carrying you."

Now please understand that my players at this point did not know about the line of kings really, and had no idea about the Homeguard and their secret.

Think about what this felt like to Dutch, a man who had watched his whole family die to protect a trust that he barely began to understand, yet had enough faith in to walk past the point of human endurance into a frozen hell to try and keep.

In Dutch's eyes he had literally just been brought back from death, and when he asked what was going on, his prophesied messiah had smiled gently and told him "I'm carrying you"

Dutch was loyal from that point unto death.

It did not hurt that the player played the magus as a rogue with a heart of gold, who would gladly steal from a corrupt official and then just as gladly rush into a burning building to save a trapped child.

That was my favorite D&D moment.

I hope you all enjoy.

One of my favorite moments as a GM involved a raid on a kobold stronghold. After slaughtering the kobolds, the party stumbled upon the two children of the tribe's chieftain. The players all debated on what should be done with the children, with one of the players (a druid) floating the idea of retiring her character in order to care for them. Eventually, they came to a solution in which they would be by the druid of a nearby grove.

It was quite a treat to see the players deal with this moral challenge.

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This doesn't really count as a *moment*, exactly, but..

My party had just leveled up after a rough dungeon crawl when it occurred to me that the majority of their encounters had been against vermin and other creatures with little to no loot, and that they could use a little extra treasure to help even things out a bit.

So, while they were on the long journey back to their home city, I had them stumble upon an old man who had up and died in the middle of the road. He turned out to be an old follower of the god of travel who had literally wandered his whole life until he dropped of old age. I didn't flesh him out much, since he was dead, but I described him as having some robes, a walking stick, and a few minor magic items which I wanted the party to have.

Well, for some reason, it occurred to me on the spot that he should have some sort of traveling companion, so I randomly mentioned that he had a dog with him. The party was immediately worried about this dog - his master had just died, after all, and they reasoned that this must have been a traumatic experience for the poor creature. They asked all sorts of questions about it: was it a boy or a girl? What did it look like? Was it old, too? Was it injured? Did it have a collar or something with a name tag on it? Did it look hungry? Did it look sad?

I was touched by their genuine concern and wound up really fleshing out this dog as I answered all their questions. They wound up burying the old man where he fell and took the dog with them. It soon became the party's pet and mascot, and they took *absurdly* good care of it throughout their adventures. I mean, you would not believe how important this dog that I had only invented as an afterthought had become to them.

To this day, when the players reminisce about that game, the one thing they remember most was that dog - not the epic fights or dungeons or obstacles that I had put them up against, but that shaggy old hound they adopted as a group. Who knew?

One of my favourite GM memories is from a game day for elementary school kids (age 8 or so). None of them had played an RPG before, let alone D&D, so they had no preconceived notions as to what they could or couldn't do. We went through the short adventure "Mountain Sanctuary" from Dungeon #8.

The most memorable part was when they discovered some mysterious potions. Someone had the brilliant idea of catching some rats and doing some animal testing (sorry, PETA)! That worked okay for the holy water and the potion of diminution, but when it came to the vial of acid...ouch.

hogarth wrote:

One of my favourite GM memories is from a game day for elementary school kids (age 8 or so). None of them had played an RPG before, let alone D&D, so they had no preconceived notions as to what they could or couldn't do. We went through the short adventure "Mountain Sanctuary" from Dungeon #8.

The most memorable part was when they discovered some mysterious potions. Someone had the brilliant idea of catching some rats and doing some animal testing (sorry, PETA)! That worked okay for the holy water and the potion of diminution, but when it came to the vial of acid...ouch.

Ha! I love this. That's pretty clever of them.

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Since 2004, I have been blessed to play/dm with two different and very talented troupes of gamers. This tale concerns the first. I only played with them for about 3yrs in Miami, and I ran SCAP. One of the PC's was the bastard son of a concubine. When,at the end of Test of the Smoking Eye I revealed the PC's father was actually the main antagonist of the entire path (a true luke I am you father moment)a hush fell over the table for like 5 minutes, and the player actually had to excuse herself to collect her thoughts.

I love creating emotion like that at the table. To me the game is always about the story, and immersing yourself and your players in the fun of being hero's. When can get the players away from the mechanics and builds, etc that's awesome.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What I love about GMing are those rare magical moments of serendipity when you're off-script and you and the players are unconsciously working together to spin the story into a new direction... especially when these moments organically develop into new plot lines that you, as a GM, hadn't thought of before.

One example was in a city-based game I ran years ago. We were roleplaying buying a magic item in a magic shop, and the PCs started having an in-character philosophical discussion about the nature of gods and magic with the proprietor of the shop-- a character I hadn't even named, much less written up. Old Dimitri ended up becoming a pretty major NPC in the campaign-- the party's main resource on historical and magical knowledge, and someone they trusted to buy, sell, and craft magic items-- to the point that they would take the extra weeks to travel back to Dimitri's city for his services rather than hiring someone more convenient. I ended up writing a couple of sub-plots centered around Dimitri and his shop.

Another, more recent, example is in my current Rise of the Runelords game. The PCs had just finished exploring a haunted house and defeated its extremely creepy and disturbing owner. They then followed a lead to the nearby city of Magnimar. When I mentioned that Magnimar was called the City of Monuments, the party spontaneously decided to take a couple of days to go sight-seeing. We ended up taking most of a four-hour session roleplaying an ad-libbed trip to the Magnimar Zoo, including playing some carnival games and buying street food and tchotchkes from vendors' carts. While this didn't lead to any new plotlines, to this day, whenever I run an gruesome or disturbing encounter, one of them says, "Um... hey, why don't we go back to the zoo for a while?"

Anothet great moment in GMing was completely scripted: Conspiring with one player to shock the rest of the party. With the cooperation of the player in question, I had a faceless stalker kill his PC off-camera and replace him in the party for five sessions. The shock on everyone's faces when they finally discovered their companion's body... while the same guy was STANDING RIGHT THERE... and then to have their friend morph into a hideous monster and attack them... Priceless!

I was running The Harrowing and was at the part where...

what happened:
The drunken air elemental was trying to dance with the centaur. He wasn't flying, he was trying to dance. As the centaur ran past and the air elemental tried to follow, the party monk rolled natural 20 to trip the elemental. They tripped an AIR ELEMENTAL! I kind of just sat there in shock for a while. It was just crazy.

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Lets get some more of these, I love hearing about other peoples games. :-)

Happened just now. Players are hunting an evil druid. They sneak into his viking feasthall via a secret entrance, creep up behind his chair, avoid a dire bear, kick the chair over, and then beat him to death on the floor (prone but with cover from the chair) while holding off a horde of bears, dire bears and dire wolves.

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The heroes were fighting a Rock Troll last session, and the party's Ranger aims for the final strike with her bow. Player rolls, and it's a 20. He rolls to confirm, and another 20. Rolls a third time, it's 20 again!! However, the fourth roll was a 1. Since the Troll had like 7 HP left, I declared that it got killed, an arrow shooting through the beast's head hard enough to make a crack on the cavern wall behind it while the troll fell on its back, deader than dead.

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My players were witnessing a party of goblins fighting each other for the "Goblin King" title, and one of the goblins finally won the fight. The player's party's 4th level sorceror challenged the goblin, and got criticalled twice and owned. I even had the goblin flip his short sword into the air (with a roll). Then, the player swore loyalty to the goblin.

Well... there's a little backstory...

I was running a homebrewed campaign world, and the PCs were tangling with a quest to (a) escape their various destinies and (b) save the world from being unraveled by nasty entities.

A recurring villain (a Rakshasa who went by the use-name Habib) managed to escape death at their hands repeatedly (not surprising when they were low/mid-level) and later indebted them to himself through some timely interventions.

The favorite moment part?

The players STILL shudder whenever I say "Rakshasa."


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Oh, I have a good one. It was a one-shot I ran ages ago, so I almost forgot about it.

After a lengthy dungeon crawl, the players finally arrive at the BBEG, beaten and bloody. It's a hideously powerful orc, sitting on a throne of bones, on the other side of an immense pit of lava. The orc starts cackling, and starts telling them a lengthy diabolical speech of his totally cliche plans to take over the world and such. Right when I was getting to the part where he flips a switch beside the throne, thus releasing a dozen war hounds on the party, the party monk says he's going to leap over the fire pit.
Monk wins initiative.
It's a really big pit, so he needs a 20 to make it over.
He rolls a 20.
He attempts to grapple the orc.
He rolls another 20.
The orc can't reach the switch, and can't escape the grapple.
He starts choking the orc.
By this time, the rest of the party have run around the pit, and managed to pin his arms down, so the orc still can't flip the switch.
Several rounds of terrible rolling later, versus a lot of assisted grappling, the orc is choked to death. Choked to death, in the middle of his evil genius speech, while his hounds bark and howl madly from their cages, all while never even managing to get out of his chair.

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The only thing that comes to mind right now happened in a 3.5 game:

One player was bored of playing a bard and quietly decided that he would commit suicide via brazen dungeon-crashing and make a new character - so he declares his character sprints off down the hallways ahead.

He found a door, kicked it open, a pair of storm elements surged forth and he dove into the room rapier in hand and began to battle them - the party caught up and he lived, so he ran off to the next danger.

There were 4 or 5 encounters he dove headlong into, the party struggling to keep up with him, and he survived them all and felt a new-found enjoyment for his character and decided to keep playing the bard, but to do so in this "crazy brave" manner.

Then, the party came to a broken stair case over a pit, and he decided "I'll just jump it," instead of waiting for the safe way to cross - failed the check, fell, and died.

The whole table, that player included, laughed so hard we nearly cried.

Grand Lodge

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This was back in 98’ so we were using 2nd Edition.

I was running a solo campaign for a friend, and during this long running campaign, her character encountered a powerful vampire lord that intended to make her character into his “bride”.

Well, eventually she managed to escape this vampire lord's clutches (and caused the vampire lord a lot of grief in the process). So as an act of revenge against her character, the vampire lord captured and then turned her character’s lover into a vampire...

Long story short... In a truly dramatic fashion, the former lover wound up so grief-stricken and heart-broken, he committed suicide by going out into the light of day.

We had to stop that particular session and take a short break, as my friend was crying...

I chose this moment because it was the first time that I encountered a player who was able to place herself so much into the setting, story, and the characters involved that she was literally moved to tears by a tragic event in game...

Quite frankly, I was honored (if a bit overwhelmed)... :-)


Shadow Lodge

me gm: what's your speed?
player not being asked: monk.


I was DM'ing SCAP and, after two years of playing, gnome PC had developed enough of a relationship with gnome NPC that he proposed marriage. There was a nice wedding scene the next session where vows were exchanged.

It was the most touching moment of gaming I've experienced, and it spoke to the power that comes from a table where everyone can trust enough to commit to the immersion.

Shadow Lodge

This is about two years old now but:

Adventure: Savage Tide: Tides of Dread: Temple of the Jaguar Side-quest
Characters: My entire party:

  • Lazarus Sul'Queath, NG Tiefling Bard|Cleric
  • A'Reth Guar'Dian, LG Warforged Cavalier|Crusader
  • Shariss Dal, NG Skarn Barbarian/Warblade/Hellreaver|Incarnate/Sanctified One
  • Hantei Yasumoto, NE Human Swordsage|Scout
  • Gene Syn, TN Human Psion|Wilder
    Summary: A little generosity can change EVERYTHING.

    Lazarus and Gene both wanted to do character rebuilds (they'd actually wanted to play new characters entirely, but my game has had a lot of cast switching already and I was sick of it so I managed to talk them into same characters, new classes) so I turned the weapons cache in the Temple of the Jaguar into a side-trip dungeon to accomplish that. The place was home to an artifact created by Huehueteotl, Olman god of Time, that allowed anyone who jumped into the flames to rewrite their own personal history. As I'd replaced Rakasta in my game with Duskling fey, I had the dungeon be populated by Shadar-kai and their various fey minions, looking to get to the flame so they could rid themselves of their Curse of Darkness.

    The group beat their way through the first few encounters, killing and looting Shadar-kai left and right, stopping only to negotiate with some Shimmerlings who had gotten stuck down below as well; however, after an extremely difficult encounter two Shadar-kai warblades had been badly wounded - one with a severed spine, the other with several missing fingers and a gashed hand, courtesy of Shariss's scimitars and an extremely generous Critical Hit deck - and were taken prisoner and questioned.

    The group eventually made a deal with the Shadar-kai: if they would defeat the guardian protecting the flame, the Shadar-kai could use it once Lazarus was done. The fey agreed, the party kicked some Inevitable tincan, and Lazarus and Gene got their rebuilds. The Shadar-kai, seeing that the flame did indeed work as advertised, started leaping in and tossing in their wounded, who then emerged moments later fully healed and curse-free.

    Thanks to some swift diplomacy and smart dealmaking, the group not only ended further hostilities but freed an entire race from a devastating curse, possibly turning their alignment as a racial whole away from evil in the process, AND elicited the aid of a well-known, famed warrior culture for the defense of Farshore in the upcoming pirate attack, on TOP of the Temple's weapon cache and the help of the Olmans.

  • Incredible stories all.

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    The party were in a frontier town ran by a human lord who was vassal to a dwarven king. The dwarves lived in the 'best' part of town but there was a substantial half-orc population also who lived in the poor areas (and weren't allowed in the dwarf part). There were groups in all communities (human/dwarf & half-orc) that were agitating for or trying to prevent the conflict.

    The party had both a dwarf and a half-orc in it (both rival fighters) who brilliantly reflected the tensions between the two groups (with the humans in the middle) as the plot developed - stopping a war.

    The group were looking for some half-orc berserkers and a cult leader who were seeking to infiltrate the town and were approaching a half-orc logging camp. The half-orc pc decides to go ahead so the dwarf doesn't solicit a negative reaction. Long story short it's an ambush (that completely surprised the party in real life as I often use a lot of narrative and plot hooks) and so the half-orc is isolated and in deep trouble. So much so he almost dies and would have done but for the dwarf leading the charge shouting such battle-cries as "I hate him more than you.", "If anyone kills him it's me" (meaning the half-orc pc) and "I'm not rescuing you, I'm flanking".

    To which the half-orc fighter responded "He loves me really", "If you ask nicely I'll give you a buff" and "Your always trying to show me your flanks..."

    The combat was tense and exciting as they sought to save the half-orc but interspersed with witty interaction, humour and play in character, tons of fun however...

    It was the dwarf who died (Great axe critical leaving then also in a perilous position) and the mood completely changed to genuine sadness. There was a death speech between the two-fighters as the half-orc tried to get the dwarf to accept his friendship before the end as they shared an ale...

    The final dialogue being as he handed him their war-hammer being:

    Dwarf: "When you prepare me for my burning, you must not do it..."
    Half-Orc: "Why? I wish to honour you."
    Dwarf: "I... (pause), I... (longer pause) Am a woman."

    And with that she died, her secret over 25 sessions revealed.

    The group were jaw-dropped and speechless. All in the length of one fight with great players. Thank you sers.

    Liberty's Edge

    The look of despair and hopelessness on the players faces during a TPK knowing they are broken and beaten. ;)

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    My favorite ... well, I've had so many great experiences with GM'ing that it is hard to choose, but there's one I always go back to as a go-to story.

    It's more than twenty years ago, and it was back in the heady glory days of Vampire; The Masquerade, 2nd edition. Around where I lived, you would be hard pressed to find roleplayers who did not participate in at LEAST one V;tM-campaign, perhaps more and perhaps some of the other World of Darkness-games as well.

    Somehow, I had managed to get myself entangled with a mixed group of players at the local roleplaying-club. Some were very experienced, others were comparative striplings in the hobby, and I had let myself be convinced that I should try to run that most dangerous and reckless of campaigns:

    "Make yourself as a World of Darkness mortal".

    People in the group were thrilled at the prospect of actually playing themselves in their own city, where they knew all the locations better than they ever could in some far-flung American setting (this was in a city in northern Denmark, mind you ... plenty of werewolves baying in the suburbs).

    When everyone's character was ready, I told people I needed to get something to drink but I'd be right back. I left the room, waited fifteen seconds or so, then STORMED back in, flustered and waving my arms around, declaring I was really sorry but I couldn't play anyway, because something tragic and very personal had just happened (remember, this is WAY before anyone except the top 1 percent of the 1-percenters had cellphones, but no one questioned where I got that information).

    My players sat there dumbstruck as I rushed out of the door. They had no clue whether this was for real or not but apparently, most of them thought that was the case and were starting to pack up their character sheet and dice when I reentered, arms crossed over my chest (a symbol used in LARP World of Darkness, to show "I'm not here, ignore me and continue playing"). Only a few of the players were familiar with this symbol, from having played LARPs of that nature but I took a chance that they'd catch on, and one of them fortunately did.

    Instead of packing up, he instantly declared that he thought something must be horribly wrong, and that since my Real Life apartment was only a few hundred yards away up the road, they should all go check to see if I was okay.

    To MY astonishment and surprise, he then got up and picked up his overcoat, and told everyone to come with him.

    Thus was transformed what was supposed to be a normal, tabletop version of the game into a semi-live-action campaign where we literally walked the entire city thin over the course of the next year. We'd USUALLY end up in the same café every time, once the players had visited whatever places they wanted to go to that night, and we would continue playing while there.

    Now ... no one had actually told the café-owners about us wanting to do that, and I was concerned we'd eventually get told to take a hike. This WAS the early 90's ... no one knew much about RPGs back then. But instead of being thrown out, we were welcomed every time and after we'd gone there maybe five weeks in a row, on schedule on a specific evening, a waitress came up to us with a tray full of drinks, telling us they were complimentary and that the ownership hoped we'd continue to come by with our "impressionistic theatre-troupe" for many more weeks because business picked up due to us.

    When she said that, everyone at the table got deathly quiet and we started looking around and up, and we realized that we had maybe forty people listening in from other tables on the first floor and ground floor.

    I don't think any of those players or myself for that matter, had ever been so obscenely self-conscious, but at the same time it was just unbelievably cool. There we were, a bunch of teenaged and early-twenties roleplayers, getting complimentary drinks because people thought we were actors and actresses.

    I admit ... that one still puts a smile on my face.

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    The Alkenstarian wrote:

    My favorite ... well, I've had so many great experiences with GM'ing that it is hard to choose, but there's one I always go back to as a go-to story...

    I don't think any of those players or myself for that matter, had ever been so obscenely self-conscious, but at the same time it was just unbelievably cool. There we were, a bunch of teenaged and early-twenties roleplayers, getting complimentary drinks because people thought we were actors and actresses.

    I admit ... that one still puts a smile on my face.

    Cool story bro:
    No I'm not being sarcastic, that was actually a pretty cool story and it put a smile on my face.
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