Today’s #ifthiswereaTTRPG comes from one of the most famous crawls in movie history: Andy Dufrense’s tunnel crawl in The Shawshank Redemption. As always, this #ifthiswereaTTRPG post contains spoilers.
The Shawshank Redemption is a legendary film which, as of this writing, still holds the spot on IMDB’s Top 100 movies of all time. It tells the story of Andy Dufrense as he’s survives the brutality of prison life along side his friend, Red. Andy’s escape from Shawshank prison is legendary both for its patient and brilliant planning as well as for its pristine execution.
The latter piece is the subject of today’s #ifthiswereaTTRPG.
#ifthiswereaTTRPG, and there was a player playing the character Andy during his escape from Shawshank prison, the player would look to the GM and simply say: “It’s time.”
“I gather the extra clothes and evidence which incriminates the Warden and seal them in a water-proof bag.” says the player. “I then make my way down the tunnel I’ve been carving these many years.”
“I’ll give all of that to you without having.” responds the GM “Nothing is in your way. The only sounds are the claps of thunder outside as you make it to the vertical network of pipes which lead to the main sewer.”
“I tie the bag to my legs and climb down the pipes.” says the player playing Andy to the GM.
“Okay, roll for Athletics for the climb down.” replies the GM.
The player rolls: a 6 (two 3s). “It’s a steep drop down, so you make your way down slowly and carefully, just the way you were planning all along.” says the GM “Eventually, as the storm above reaches its crescendo, you reach the main sewer pipe which leads to freedom.”
“I take a nearby chunk of stone and, along with the loud claps of thunder, hammer away at the pipe until I’ve created an entrance large enough for me to get inside.” says the player playing Andy.
The other players at the table are sitting, enraptured, for this interchange between the player at the GM.
“The timing you can get for free as you can hear just fine. Roll for Combat though to see if you can break through into the pipe.” replies the GM.
The player rolls: a 10 (a 6 and a 4 respectively). “Nice.” says the GM “With every boom of thunder, you strike hard at the stone pipe. You lose track of how many times you strike – 20, 30, 50, a 100 times but eventually, the stone gives way, spraying a great volume of liquid feces up in the air. You never thought that would be a sight you’d like to see but here you are.”
“Based on my studies of the diagrams of the prison, how long a crawl is it to freedom?” asks the player.
“About 500 yards – the length of 5 football fields.” replies the GM.
The player takes a deep breath and looks around the table at their fellow players. “I crawl through the tunnel for as long as it takes to make it to freedom.” says the player.
“Okay.” replies the GM “Roll straight-up for your ability to not pass out from how vile and disgusting crawling through 500 yards of some of the most rank and putrid stuff on Earth is.”
The player rolls: an 11 (a 6 and a 5 respectively). The table erupts in cheers and the player sits back in their chair: they know they’ve done it.
As the cheers die down, the GM continues: “It’s worse than you can imagine and I’ve described. The world’s most iron stomach would have troubles here and you vomit several times during your crawl. But your focus and conviction carry the day and you crawl, inch by inch, foot by foot until you burst out of the end of the sewer pipe and into the river. Congratulations: welcome to freedom, Andy Dufrense!”
The players mob the player playing Andy – this incredible plan, many, many years in the making, has finally come to fruition. Incredible!