Seven Worst (?) Ideas in GM History

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RPGs

Recently I saw this post over at TreasureTables.org discussing “Seven of the Worst Ideas in GMing History.” Martin’s choices seemed kind of lukewarm to me — I guess he can take a pass for the phrasing of “Seven of the Worst” instead of “The Seven Worst,” but I don’t even know if I’d put most of these in my category of “GMing History.” The d100, THAC0, and Attacks of Opportunity are all system or object design related. Mixed typefaces, sealed books, and books without indexes are issues dealing with production and marketing of books.

Chris of Bankuei chimes in with his own list in the comments, which I thought was worth preserving.

1. GM is God (and responsible to FORCE everyone to have fun)

2. Punish the character to teach the player (instead of talking like adults)

3. Tell players, “you can do anything”, while railroading them

4. Lying about GM Fiat. Well, lying to your players at all.

5. “Gotcha!” play- “Oops, you went left, everyone gets hit with a thermonuclear pit trap! Ha-Ha!”

6. Holding back information because players can’t “just have it” (and get the damn game on the road)

7. GM’s Pet NPC to rescue the PCs/Force them into inconvenient and boring prewritten plots.

I feel kind of guilty looking over #2 and #6, the first because of situations I could’ve handled better and #6 because I realize that sometimes my insistence on only revealing things to the players that their characters would know can be somewhat of an impediment. At least I can take some comfort that I only ever had one moment of, “Do you go left or do you go right?” an issue that seems to be fairly common in my current D&D campaign to my chagrin.

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