Evil GM campaign workshop


Some of you know me, although I've been pretty scarce around here over the last couple of years. I publish a column here called Evil GM Tricks, and this post is aimed at anyone who enjoys that column. It's also inspired by the DM Tricks of the Trade post, which I think is a great idea.

If you're running a campaign, and are short on ideas I'm hoping this thread will help. What I'm proposing is that any GM who feels they need help can come here to ask questions. Do you feel like your storyline is a bit dull and want help? Maybe you need some fiendish ideas to screw over your players? I can provide both.

So, anyone out there care to tell us about their game? I'm not the only GM who trolls these boards, and I'm guessing you'll get as much creative feedback as you can handle!

-Chris aka Arkelias

How do I get my players to, you know, PLAY!? lol that's all I've got right now but when I actually start having players I'll get back to you...

I find sabotaging their internet connection helps. Then they get bored and desperate, and have no choice but to turn to you. Remember, you're an -evil- GM. There are no limits!

We should make a club!

Well I am also a very evil DM, and my players know it, they respect it, and try to survive it, its funny to watch.....but there is a trap that I encountered atleast 6-10 years ago while I was a player and hadnt even stepped into DMing, it was a Infinity Trap, the basic principle was that you get ported into this infinit loop figure eight with very few ways to escape, being a nefarious and evil DM aswell I was wondering if you had heard of or ever encountered such a thing and if so would you have any more specific details on it. I love throwing intricate, riddling, and often times living/changing traps at my players, love learning about new ones.

Dude, aeon, you should do this in the play by post we're doing right now. That'd be pretty sweet lol


I've not heard of that specific trap, but I do have a -lot- of experience planning and using them for my players. When I was about sixteen I went through my killer traps phase. That phase only lasted about a year, because most of my players hated elaborate traps. If you are going to use them it is absolutely vital that you provide clues to the players that will allow them to escape. Otherwise, they'll feel cheated and will get frustrated with the game.

The best trap I've ever seen or used took place in a Rolemaster game over a decade ago. The party had spent several sessions gearing up for a caravan that they were leading into the desert. The desert itself was created when the Stewards (gods) rained ash on the heart of the continent for a year and a day. As a result whole cities were buried, which meant virtually infinite treasure.

The PCs headed to the palace of the mad prince of Jhordil. When they entered a specific part of the vault there was a bright flash. When their vision cleared they were in a different part of the palace. After some investigation the party realized they were in Jhordil before the fall. Were they in the past? Or some sort of vision? They weren't sure.

What they didn't know was that they'd been trapped in a magical trap of incredible power. It showed them visions of the past while slowly draining away their life force until they died. The only way to escape the trap was to find the spirit who ran it. The spirit was present in the vision, and after a great deal of investigation the players did eventually find him.

They made a deal with the spirit and were able to escape, but it took several sessions and is still the best trap I've ever seen. Keeping it suspsenful was a ton of fun!


I am a fan of introducing just a touch of real life into the game...though my science is probably off.

Give the old "caravan guard" shtick a try. The caravan carries metal ore; no big deal, right? The ore, though, is for some ridiculously toxic metal--say, uranium.

Whether bandits hit the caravan and win or not, hilarity will ensue.

This is a good one to riff on, Folgha.

Let's fill the caravan with a shipment of cursed, evil artifacts being shipped off to be destroyed by the Temple of Good God X. Bandits steal the 'treasure' and hilarity ensues.

An unknown, but ridiculously huge, quantity of gold coins. The stingy man who hires you (for an insultingly low price) gets super drunk and reveals (loudly) that there's roughly seven tons of gold in the caravan, and he has no idea how much of it there actually is.

A thousand coins made of a mysterious metal. Each one contains the spiritual essence of a demon. The caravan was meant to be overrun, and was a cult's method of dispersing these coins tracelessly into the world. Did you save it? Great. Now the cult's mad at you and you've got a thousand evil coins on you. No? Hello demon world.

The Faerie Court's tithe to Hell. Bandits came looking for the treasure, not knowing that the 'tithe' is just a young girl.

Chest of gems that grant necromantic powers to their bearers, animate corpses if placed inside the body, and corrupt the souls of anyone who uses them. And you've been hired to protect them.

Modern Horror:

Haunted guns with Ghostmaker ammo

Seven hundred and forty three bound books, ranging from modern to extremely old, all handwritten in the same handwriting. Each is one year from the diary of the vampire prince of the city.

Vials of blood sealed with wax that's imprinted with a mysterious sign

A collection of creepy porcelain dolls, all of which look just like someone you know. There's a broken one there that looks like a friend who died very recently. One of the dolls looks like you.

A dossier full of photos of you going about your day, all of them from improbable angles, all of them taken when you were completely alone. Some of them are from places you haven't been, but already have plans to go to, and some of them are... disturbing.

Uranium nodes


Explodium nodes. Don't sneeze.

A hyperadvanced cargo pod containing all the parts for one of that mysterious advanced alien race's starfighters like the one that took out three of your race's capital ships all by itself a couple of years ago. Instructions are not present. One of that race's big scary warships floats in scorched pieces in a decaying orbit around a mysterious moon near where you find the cargo.

Ampules of super-soldier drugs

The bodies of 100 aliens whose race yours is at war with.

A large number of unarmed prisoners of war from an alien race yours is in a vicious war with.

Okay, here's my big one: What happens when your evil overlord gets killed out due to poor planning?

Have him replaced by a kind and just ruler -- a ruler who sees his kingdom threatened by civil war and rising factions; a ruler who is threatened from other kingdoms and places. A kind and just ruler, who absolutely, because of his weakness, must be deposed....

Or have him resurrected by his followers as an undead. Or he didn't really die it was a dupe that the overlord had mind controlled to take his place. Or he was the lesser of two evils, and the only thing keeping a MORE powerful overlord in check...

lol I like Gil's. Good moral conflict in there. And then you force the PCs to take his place. hehe so many horrible possibilities and they choose what all governments must choose - who dies and when. Make sure to hit them hard with the consequences of their choices. The true essence of an evil GM is knowing how to make great consequences. That way, they can't say you're evil - after all, it's all their fault

I would really like to see an elaboration of Gil's and Tzuriel's ideas....

I'll give you my elaboration, but I can't say anything about Gil's. Basically, you make sure the characters are in a position to do something about the new ruler - probably court positions. Then put in the new ruler. He's a good man. He judges always with his people in mind. But he can't bring himself to make his people go to war, because that would bring great suffering to them. He's determined to find a peaceful way, but your character's know, as well as most everyone else, that there is no peaceful way. The neighboring lands see him as week and are absolutely determined to crush him. Make it plain that he will NOT fight. If the PCs depose him (and that's a big if, but make it plain that they can't put one of themselves in his place, unless it wouldn't create problems with the players), let all hell break out. All coup's are bloody, especially with a whole kingdom involved. He is deposed. The neighboring kingdoms will almost certainly attack, hoping to seize advantage of a power vacuum. The people might revolt - after all, you deposed a ruler they loved. And every member of the court will start moving in for power. It'll be international war, civil war, and revolution all at once. In order the stabilize the situation, the PCs will have to make promises, kill enemies, go to war, and be very harsh to all who oppose them or their chosen ruler. Make sure they pay up on this. Make sure those they promised things to, especially impossible things, come quickly to collect; make sure their enemies have family, friends, and others seeking vengeance; make sure the war develops naturally, with alliances, battles, blood and glory; and make sure the opposition gets nasty, in the vein of all the worst revolutions, seeking after victory at all costs, even making alliances with invading forces. Now that sounds like a damn good time. Be sure to fill it with court intrigue, sex and swordplay. I must say, Gil, as almost all credit goes to you, you're a freaking genius. Everything gets worse and worse and they were trying to do right the first time. hehe I love it.

I need a way to get the players used to the fact that I play kobolds somewhat smart. (Read: surprise round, flank the sorcerer, drop him, CdG.) Help? [This is 3.5, as you might guess.]
Also, how can I access the rest of the Evil GM series? I can only see #s 1, 17, 23, 28, 43, 52, 76, and 79.

He's only made those ones as far as I know.

Really, the best way to get your players used to it is to keep hitting them with it. They'll smarten up real fast