DM vs PC's, and keeping them in check.


I was reading an artical on here by "arkelias" about driving your players mad. Though I could waste time picking at samatical points that I didn't agree with, I rather flatter the writer and say that I agree with the majority of the artical and have been doing just that for many years (driving my players mad)

Last night I didn't sleep. I had work at 9 in the morn, but we couldn't stop playing our D&D game till around 5 in the morn. This ment we were all really wacked-out, tired and afriad of the day's work ahead, but we still went forward to battle the beasts of the land of Qwom, in search of elven antiquities (cant spell..screw you).

The players raided coffen after coffen, digging up fallen soilder's belongings, lost spells, rare objects of art and culture. The party had loaded up every sack they had with things that once belonged to living elvs, but now remianed buried in soft soils under acient tomb stones, awaiting the day a bunch of jerk-headed warriors decided to risk the elven people's anger when they dug it all up.

So they dug. They collected and counted treasures that would be considered priceless to the human's homelands (seeing as no elf has ever appeared to a single human in over 700 years). They packed up, calling themselvs pirates all the way, and left for the boat that was ancored on the beach.

Now at this time they had already communicated with a few elvs who decided to appear out of thin-forest to warn them that they are tresspassing in sacred lands. The humans then asked if the elvs were going to kill them for tresspassing, and the woodland people of good-alignment replied with

"we are elves. we do not 'kill' over treasures like your filthy breed. We do not need to risk our lives protecting our buables and trinkets, we will be alive long after the kingdoms you travel from crumble into dusts"

or somthing close to that...

So the humans decide this means that the elves are 'pussies' and nothing the humans do will result in death at the hands of the immortal hippies of these woods. As a DM this always makes me laugh, how when you remove the fear of "death" the parties relax and begin to be bold bastards with no care for what happens next. Each PC spoke openly about spending the treasure's worth at the closest human-port city all the while laughing about the weakness of elven philosophy and lack of 'balls' to protect what is rightfully theirs.

So on the beach, the elves return> This time an elven warrior (Say'tar) was with them. This NPC is old enough to remember watching his family die at the hands of humans bnack during the war-years. One PC, who has a natrual 17 strenght, and enough stupidity/balls to use it on anyone who even snickers at his giant hoard-o-swords and flashy full-plate figures 'nows the time to make jokes about elven rape'.

After graphically detailing the crimes of his ancestors agaisnt the elven people, in their face, while holding elven antiguities with grave soil fresh on the boot, the human PC says...

"and since you can't kill me, your lucky I don't kill you all and sell your stuff too, so run along"

Thats when sleep is cast and everyone rolls innitive, the elves end up going first (what great fate), the spell is cast 6 times from the woods around them all, while the warrior-elves draw swords. The spell puts almost everyone to sleep cept for two human PCs who did'nt think pushing elven-buttons was the smartest idea. The elf known as Say'tar slices the neck of the guy who talked all that rape-crap and all the elves were shocked. The majority of elves present screamed protest in thier home tongue, warning of the good god's hatered for such acts as slicing the necks of sleeping people. The PC woke up the second the sword connected with his throat, just long enough to witness his own death at the hands of a tree-hugging-hippy pushed too far. The remaining 'awake' PCs bug out and finally feel fear, but they still assume they can talk thier way out of any more bloodshed.

Then the elf (Say'tar) begins to recount the crimes of the party at hand.
"You shot your pistol at an elf in the woods by dumb luck you hit him, thats an offence that YOUR people punish by removing hands"

Then he lopped off the dead human's hand at the wrist...

"you dug up my ancestor's graves, I assume you used two hands on that crude shovel to do it"

Then he hacked off his other hand with one quick swipe of his sword.

"You have tresspassed in our lands with the intent and desire to steal from our dead. I assume you did this on those clumbsy flippers you call feet"

Both feet were removed same as the hands...

Now the party that is left awake to witness this are horrified, but they have no idea why anyone would waste the time butchering a dead human. Thats when the elf removed his rod-o-resurection (any elf can use one in my realm since the god's see all good elves to be as trustworthy as any casting cleric), and raised the dead human, with no hands, no feet, and now- no more additude.

The elves then all left, one by one before the rest of the party woke. The humans, still rich with treasure (the elves are above using violence to force humans to return material wealth of any kind)looked at the freekish man left handless, footless, hobbled and humbled, and screeeeeeewed.

The human lands have no clerical power, they lack a god or church that has the power to regenerate limbs etc (low magic realms rule...)and the poor slob started considering what AC a man with two peg legs and hooks for hands would recieve upon returning home.

When the party returned they took all the stolen tyreasures back to the crime lord who hired them in the first place. The contract asked for elven antiquities, and thats what they returned with. Good job, well done, yadda yadda. Then the crime boss (who at this time is backed up by 12 armed men, with half-muskets 'large clumbsy pistols of shoddy condition) looks at the human with no feet or hands, and in disgust says

"what in the hell is that!?"

The freak returns with

"those fricken elves cut me up, what can you do for me?"

with a quick motion of his hand, the crime lord secretly gestures to his guards to kill this sad shape of a man. Innitive is rolled, surprise is accomplished, two guards pop him and he dies. The two guards drag him out the room while the DM (me) starts singing

"oompa loompa, doopity doo, I got another PC death for you"

The group laughs, but know the facts. The crime lord has no place for a cripple, nor access to any form of regeneration. To allow this poor slob to live would be both crule and stupid (seeing as a cripple may sell information about the guild's criminal activities for anything as mundane as food or housing...cus he is usless now, and may try to hold the guild hostage out of desperation)

So the party gets paid, and the boss leaves with his guards (feeding the dead man to his pigs alah 'Snatch' style...good flick for NPC guild ideas by the way).

The party then had the chance to learn from the moment. Did they? doubt it. But at lest they know now, that talking crap about a people's misfortune at your race's hands, less then 800 years ago, is not too bright.

The end.

That was funny as hell. Sounds like you're saddled with stupid and immature players though. Maybe a couple of more "lessons" will straighten them out, eh?

Snatch... I loved that movie...

stupid players? At times, yes...Immature? Grown men role-playing a bunch of evil pirates, hell-bent on stealing from a magical island filled with elf treasure, mystical clerics and visious war-bred whemics (called 'Whem' in my realm- says nothing about "being mature"

I will say, that the handless-footless-fool who met a tragic (if not comedic) end IS a tad bit munchkin-ey when bord or too stoned, but In his defence this was his first evil aligned PC in over 4 years of playing with us, and the humans of the area are very antsy about starting a war-for-wealth with the weaker nation of Elves that is less then two weeks sail away. They were all sent to rob, steal and show no mercy to the "fancey pansy woodland wussies" by the guild leader, who also pointed out that he senced weakness among the hired party (prior games have cuased half these evil people to actually sympthize with the elven plight. Making even these evil pirates as a whole to have heart for the kind people of this magical island).

The guy who lost hands, feets and his life was very angry cus he lost much valued treasure to wandering kenku who over powered and forced the party to hand over everything made of metal (they value metal since no one on the island but the elves have access to mines, and even the elves rarly use such materials)

But yeah..your right...the party has been known to nuke itself from time to time. we have our mature players who dive head-first into the deep plot of the on-going story. we have our addicted players who spend months writing and re-writing back-ground story that fits all aspects of the game's ecology, economy, geography, history etc...

But...when your playing the "side realm" to the main game we play once a week (cus this game were are discussing is played during the week whenever we get together for shits n giggles) people tend to snap into a munchkin faster. Its obveious to all at the table that this side game is not the huge 20 year long game thats been on our table all these years. So they sometimes like to go nuts and have fun with this false idea that there will be less consiquence for there actions...

Either way you look at it, it was fun had by all...and as right as you are about this guy's maturity still gotta give him a hand when it comes to $ucking up.

Get it?

A hand!?


Who's mature now!?

I've found that a GM vs. PC mentality only antagonizes the players into making stupid errors like this guy did. When it becomes players vs. gamemaster, rather than players vs. world, a lot of bad things can happen in the campaign. At least, that's been my experience.

Much of the time, bad staff in a business can be traced to bad management that don't engender the respect of their subordinates. As a result, the staff start making critical errors in judgement. The same could be said of bad players being traced back to a bad GM. Not all the time...but enough that it's worth considering.

At least you show them the consequences of their choices.

Well, I dunno if you are trying to hint that this kid is a bad player, that I am a bad GM becuase he's a bad player, that I'm saying any of my players are bad, or a whole mixure of the three...but dude , sorry, I aint said nothing like that.

our game has been on going through 3000 years in-game time, and 21 years of my life. I have about 2 dozen players who have all been added to its detail and epic history. I would never say any player in my group was anything less then a GREAT player and FRIEND, and I never "play against my PCs", my NPCs react and act in a reasonable way for that NPC.

We love our game, and I have to say that; I am upset that no game in my area offers to realisms of my realm and DM ability. No group that I have ever met or played with shows the enthusiasim and dedication to their DM's creation-like my group.

As a triple-oh-gee-since-1st-E, I have played in dozens of groups with dozens of GMs. I have seen everything from "worst GM in the world-to-pretty damn good. But I have never seen a game that exsists as grand-scale and real as the ones we been running for longer then most of you have been alive. So dont agree with your post. and every game should have a small taste of good-ol-fashion-honest-and-even GM vs PC.
and since you find that sort of thing makes players do stupid things, I will tell you what think of a game that lacks it.

A game that dosnt have a GM who is out to defeat the heros (or in one way or another vs the PCs) is not only amature, but also a big softy pillow-biter. My players fear me at times and they hate me at times. They hunger for in installment to our fantasy epic, and when they are not deep in a life-or-death battle they can be found luaghing with the DM and yes...even playing with-and-on-the-side-of the DM.

Thats true gaming. Friendly and fun.

I wasn't saying anything about your game in particular...I was speaking in generalities only. The characters in campaignsI have run have always had a healthy amount of fear for the NPCs or creatures they come up against during play. But the players themselves have never feared me, cause we're out to tell a good story as a group...not kill things or play against each other.

If that style of play works for you, then keep at it man!

Ok. Your absolutly right, yknow. There is so many levels of GM-vs-PC in games. I think back to many of the realms I have adventured in, watching each GM's personal style and see very clearly your point.

I will admit, there is (at times) a player-vs-player or gamemaster-vs-player mentality behind certain scenes, acts, and moments in plot arch. But, in no way is this a dominating factor in our play-style, it simply happens time to time.
I never restrict a player from hateing another player, eventually becoming bitter rivals or enemies of each other. At times I even play the devil's advocate, allowing players to tangle into an evil PC's plans-directing the good aligned players to possibly have to deal with the PC in ways usually reserved for NPCs.

I am, at times, really out to get my players. I warn them before each session, while I wave my hands and arms in grand gestures-
"TODAY you all DIE!"
And they all laugh, sip coffee, take out dice and say
"You say that every game..."
And I do, cus I play the GM as a NPC in itself. I use a booming voice, I tuant them like a ghoulish jerk while they suffer, I tell the story with a hope for the dramatic...the party eats it up. But when I start a game, with that certain look that I have created to represent the GM's "worried side" (a mixure of an innocent child and the joker from the old batman show with Adam West), they know what is going on.

The DM is out to kill us for real today.

I warn them with a fake boo-hoo cry, tracing a tear down my face with a finger, that today one or more are without a doubt GOING TO DIE. I tell them that this adventure has reached a point where the story will consume one of your friends, or perhaps even all of you. I continue exsplaining that in "me telling them this" they will come to grips with it. It horrifies them, cus I only get like this on days where a huge danger is to be faced. Then I tell them what great "good" or "progress" can be made if they succeed.

When I get into this doom-talk they know, I laced the dungeon with somthing that can and possibly will really really kill them. A foe thats able to outsmart them more then the normal NPCs, or perhaps a creature that deals way more damage then they usually take. They know that I put somthing in this game that even I, as the GM, see to be a "major danger" in one way or another.

I put that danger in to cripple, kill or do serious harm to one or more players. This is no band of orks, no ogers raiding party-and if it is, its larger and more dangerous then normal. These moments ,used sparingly, cuase the players to strive harder in effort to BEAT ME. In my head I am not really "vs my players" I'm just using the role of the DM to make my party think

"He said its impossible for us to survive, or said we couldnt do it? Then lets prove this monkey wrong guys!"

And many times they do succeed in making me wrong, but if the monsters slughters them, if the major danger DOES kill half the party- I am a better GM for it...why? Becuase the scene was built well, and the doomish conclusion was fun, even for those who died or lost. Thats playing vs your players. Not cheating vs stats, fudging rolls so I myself can win. Its all about playing VS your player's minds. And thats what I mean by agreeing with the guy who wrote the artical about making your players mad...hence the reason I started this forum.