20 September 2015


I was locally famous for being a deadly GM.

Unmerciful is more apt.

I also discovered a regional reputation as a killer player!

It was fun to go to GenCon (when it was still in GENeva) and introduce myself and have someone go "THE McThag?"

Standing Bear (an Ames gaming legend) was the GM for the incidents that had legs.

The first instance was my eradication of what became known as "The Force Sword Cult".  Three players found a loop-hole in the character creation limitations and they made what they called TL11 soldiers.  Armored with DR 30 reflex armor they were effectively immune to the weapons of a TL 3 fantasy world.  Armed with 8d(5) cut force swords, TL3 fantasy opponents were effectively unarmored against them.

I was exploiting a similar loophole and had re-treaded a TL8 Twilight 2000 character.

I don't remember exactly what set me off, but it included my losing my Barrett M82.

Remember my earlier post about research?  Yeah, that includes reading the equipment listings.  I realized something they'd missed.  Reflex armor doesn't include face protection.  A series of great rolls means a 3d-1 pi MP5 can kill your ass dead long before that sword is anywhere near in range.

Bear changed his limits, but I found another loophole to make a point he was making mistakes we could exploit in defining those limits.

The second time it was a Traveller Imperial Marine, Aulin Ramvinkilin, complete with battlesuit and FGMP-15.

In one sitting I'd killed a fellow player's character (a dragon) for eating the bodies of obviously sapient beings then killed another for being psionic and taking action against my psi-shield.

I'd also like to point out that I tried really hard for my character to not notice the dragon eating the orc corpses and the flagrant display of vile Zhodani mind witchery.  Bear had had enough of Vint's dragon and Angela's psi and I was the instrument of his divine retribution.

Those two stories are what actually happened.

The story that emerged and got spread was I'd total party killed my fellow players so hard that their next two characters died from it as well.

The saddest part of the story is the angst generated from my creating character who had codes of conduct and role-playing where that code would take me rather than ignoring it when convenient for the party.

And none of this touches on my time in Carl's dungeon setting with Thag The Evil Magic User or Earlbrand bok Blackmane.


  1. When I was stationed at NAS Lemoore, my buddy Scholly and I used to go to a nearby town where a gaming group rented space to open for games a couple times a month.

    We regularly played Shadowrun games run by this dude Brian. His games were very intense.

    One time there was a new guy that was going to be playing in Brian's Shadowrun game, and before we started he was telling us stories about our characters.

    I said "yeah, that's us."

    He says "no, these are a couple of Shadowrun characters my friend was telling me about." and continues telling stories.

    Scholly says "yeah, that's us."

    He says "no, they're a couple of Shadowrun characters."

    Brian looks over his GM screen and says "yeah, that's them."

    Guy looks like he's figuring if he still wants to play Shadowrun...

    First time I got a hint of that notoriety. It was cool.

  2. I've had exactly two kinds of notoriety, at least within the realm of my university gaming club.

    The first is with potential players: Whether I wanted to be or not, I was the Kiddy Gloves GM (so long as I was rolling, which I do openly). I have the uncanny ability to fail or critically fail with worrying reliability whenever I want a roll to succeed as a GM, and crit or similar only when I don't. I occasionally will inflict big spectacular setpieces on my parties at times, which I endeavor to balance so as to be a threat that must be managed, and SEEM like an enormous danger, without undue chance of obliterating the party. However, what usually happens is an immediate crit by the biggest, scariest guy, and every single enemy succeeds every attack or dodge roll no matter the odds. And yet, when the party is trying to "stealth" in someplace by wandering across the open with in-game earbuds in and reading their smartphones, every patrolling guard will crit fail no matter how many I send; if they stand gormlessly around in the middle of the open without cover, every enemy that takes a shot/swing at them will at LEAST miss, if not crit fail, or very rarely succeed JUST BARELY and they handily dodge it. I've had bosses, on the first turn of combat, jam their extra reliable LMG, then crit fail their roll to clear it, permanently breaking it.

    The OTHER bit of notoriety I have is among the GMs. I'm the guy to get it done. Anything not demanding a standard fighter/cleric/rogue/wizard (or setting equivalent. Soldier/medic/catburgler/scholar?) I can solo, and I'll do it in character. Killer GM? A combination of explosives and automatic weapons will save the day. Plot mandatory capture? Pardon me, I have a campaign to derail. Specific orders to rescue someone, disable but not kill, etc? Don't mind me, I'll just get the job done while the rest of my party gets busy doing stupid things and getting themselves killed or killing the people they were told not to.

    I've had GMs who HAVEN'T run into my minor reputation express considerable surprise at my capable fighters being perfectly happy to talk their way out of something, rather than channeling their inner Quest Elementals and viewing all of creation as something from which the EXP is to be wrung at knifepoint, and similarly at my ability to turn the tide of a battle through careful charactergen. practical planning, and willingness to expend tools at my disposal. Faced Chaotic Stupid characters, my neutral good clerics will grapple with their morals and lead the party to safety through Dwarven Dadliness. I'm told that almost every ongoing campaign I was in devolved into TPKs and being impossible to get anything done when I graduated and left.


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