Musings Of The Bard: Confessions Of A Game Master

A lot of people look at me and say, “Hey Ed The Bard, you're a pretty nice guy.”

Unsure of how to handle compliments, I often just smile and reply, “Thanks, that's really awesome, but you're not one of my players.”

I may appear like a nice fella, I may act like a nice fella, but beneath the facade off politeness and good intentions lays a twisted monster that delights in torturing others. I am sustained on anguish and paranoia. I am a Game Master, and not of the nicest short. This will stand as my testament, my confession.

What have I done that was so bad?

  • While the players are taking a rest, I like to roll dice behind my screen. I will roll three or four before looking at a random player and asking them what there passive perception is (Or just a straight perception or listen check, depending on the system). When they answer, I simply say “I see”, before looking back down at the table and rolling a few more dice. If they ask me what the check was for, I respond with “You're not sure.”
  • I have killed an entire party with a crab. Form that moment on, whenever a crab was mentioned, it was considered a bad omen. Players in that game that went on to run their own games refused to include crabs, for fear of inviting disaster.
  • I once introduced a powerful, cosmic being (also a crab) that granted my players a single, unlimited wish, which they promptly used to inadvertently screw themselves over... cosmically.
  • A player once gave me an incredibly vague backstory and asked me to work it into the campaign. With little to work with, I made her a devout worshiper of a tree that eats people for the sake of keeping the world green (or so it said).
  • I included a room in a dungeon that was essentially hatchery for kobolds, being watched over and guarded by a pair of clutch mothers. The players decided to engage them in combat. While they were busy murder hobo-ing, I painted a soul-wrenching scene about two mothers, fighting tooth and claw to defend their children from intruders. As they slew the last one, I said the following “As your blade pierces her heart, she falls to the floor, here eyes heavy with tears. Slowly, she drags herself upon the stone, leaving a crimson trail in her wake. With her last ounce of strength, she reaches out and places a bloody, clawed hand upon an egg. A thin shell separates her from the offspring she will never know. It is in that last moment that the futility of her actions truly sets in, and she breathes her last, knowing that no matter how hard she fought, she could not defend her children”. I said this while this song played in the background. There wasn't a dry eye at the table.
  • Once upon a time, I played in a Pathfinder game that we swore we would see run from level 1 to level 20. Over the course of the game we grew powerful, and then we added mythic rules, making us even more ridiculous. Sadly, our GM received an incredibly lucrative job offer and had to move away. To continue, we decided to take up the mantle and finish what he had started (Yeah, I Kylo'd). The Game Mastering duties fell to myself and another player. We would alternate, rotating each month. This went on for about a year, and then I left the area. Before I did, I decided to go out with a bang. I introduced the campaign's big bad, The First Lich (A dracolich with a breath weapon that can kill Gods), and set the players up against an unending army of the undead. The climax was when the players stood before a council of all the assembled Gods to warn them of the First Lich's return. Then suddenly you-know-who bursts in, indiscriminately killing Gods. I rolled randomly for each God slain. When a God was slain, the duty they preformed became inert. In that session I killed the head of the dwarven pantheon (no more new dwarves would be born), the God of magic (arcane magic almost completely dies or goes ape-shit), and the Goddess of death (no one can die, ala that season of Torchwood we don't talk about). I left the other Game Master that mess, and went upon my way whistling a jaunty tune.

What exercises in pure evil have you subjected your players to? What unforgivable atrocities have you committed at your table? Confess it in the comments blow.

I regret nothing,
+Ed The Bard 

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