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Game Master Sadism

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In a thread I posted on the RuneQuest subforum today, there has been a discussion about the sadism/bastardy of Pete Nash as a GM. I would like to extend this discussion to find out about other sadist GMs. Are you one or have you encountered some in your roleplaying? Tell us more, preferebly with graphic and detailed examples of how this sadism manifested.

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As a GM I have occasionally been accused of having a sadistic streak, but

this is of course completely wrong. I only have the habit to refuse to help

player characters which got themselves into serious trouble through stupid

decisions, and the internal logic of the setting then sometimes leads to the

sudden death of such characters ...

O:)

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A couple of years ago, I was running a Call of Cthulhu game, and since not all the players could be available every session, we made an agreement that PCs whose players could not show up would be sent to do "behind-the-scenes" stuff like long researches in libraries, watching the car outside while the others explored a mansion, etc.

An unfortunate side-effect of this is that most of the time, bad stuff only happened to whoever showed up to the game, while the abstentees were basically immune to it. In other words, while they were missing out on the fun, missing a game meant their character was safe for one more session. Players started joking that nothing could happen to their characters as long as they missed the right sessions. Until I decided to get rid of their comfort zone.

I decided to wait until the next time someone would miss a game. That night, the other players decided that the absentee's PC would watch over the car while they were exploring some cave below Dunwich. I let them joke that nothing could happen to their car without ever cracking a smile. Then, when they came back to the surface, I told them that their car was in the same place they left it, but their friend had disappeared. Nobody could figure out what had happened. Cue panic and pleas of "but she wasn't playing!"

During an email exchange between games, the player was informed that she had disappeared without a trace. Cue some more pleas of "but I wasn't there!" I didn't explain anything for a whole week, despite all the frantic "BUT WHAT HAPPENED?!?" emails I received. The next game, I started the session by explaining to her that she had been kidnapped, tied up and thrown into a car trunk, that she didn't know who attacked her, and simply asked the usual "so what do you do?". She managed to get out of that situation, but from that point on, missing on a game wasn't such a safety net anymore... >:>

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A science fiction campaign, the setting is a water world. The player characters are

the crew of a research submarine, their current mission is to explore some strange

underwater caves in a depth of about 300 meters. One of them left the submarine

in an armoured diving suit to explore the caves, got lost and returns to the cave

entrance with almost no oxygen left.

Player A (in the submarine): "I take an oxygen tank, run to the wetlock, open it and

give the oxygen tank to [Player B] while I hold my breath."

Player B (the one outside): "I am deeply moved by your unnecessary sacrifice."

Player A (confused): "???"

GM: "You are 300 meters down without a hardsuit - deep sea burial time for you."

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Some random Pete reminiscences...

The Galley Slave incident (which we will NOT speak of).

Taking our lovingly crafted Elric! characters and ageing the lot of us into dotage.

Making said OAP adventurers undertake the bloody hardest assassination, like, ever.

Fooling us into thinking that our Indian Mutiny historical game was an Indian Mutiny game. It started out that way, but ended up something else.

Sending us off in a spaceship to board another spaceship that was rotating on a contra-wise axis - and making us work out the sodding physics to get aboard.

Doing such horrible stuff to my character following the above that he crouched in a corner of his stateroom clutching an assault rifle, gibbering, and afraid of corners

Allowing my character to survive the above and reach Earth only to find... God, it hurts to even remember this stuff.

Taking my Sergeant Major from the earlier Indian Mutiny game and turning him into a raving nutbar multiple personality that fucked-up the Charge of the Light Brigade (this was the infamous home-made movie incident where I was segregated from everyone else and had to digest a 15 minute film that made SAW look like a PG-rated film)

Letting us play Culture Rapid Offensive Units. Then throwing a kemplar bottle world at us with infinite enemies. This was swiftly followed by the 'here's-how-to-simulate-radiation-poisoning-in-a-sauna incident'...

There are others, but I'm aware that I'm making him cackle and that he's running a game for me this week.

To my credit, things I've done to Pete's characters...

Infected him with a Living Spell

Tortured him for several years with tantalizing hints about how to get rid of it

Made him the Eternal Champion (more of a curse than a blessing)

Cut his hand off (when he'd prided himself on playing the harp)

Made Arthur-ap-Uther, Mordred's protector, both his best pal and perfect enemy. The screaming matches between the two of them have been real highlights of my roleplaying career. Especially when Arthur realised Guinevere had betrayed him for Lancelot, and Pete's character had to comfort him.

I realise this is all incredibly self indulgent, but it does show that..

a) its not all one-way

B) Pete IS the Iain M Banks of GMing...

:-)

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The Galley Slave incident (which we will NOT speak of).

Yet you keep mentioning it... :)

Sending us off in a spaceship to board another spaceship that was rotating on a contra-wise axis - and making us work out the sodding physics to get aboard.

XDLOL. This is absolutely great! :D

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There was a GM, to be known as "Curly Andrew", who ran a series of RQ adventures in the "Acid Pits". As we were all Rune Lords wearing iron, the name immediately causes suspicion. Features of the scenarios included:

1. The only way in was being carried by an illuminated Griffin who riddled us on the way up

2. The random encounters on the way in invariably caused fatalities requiring Divine Intervention resurrection

3. They were called the Acid Pits for a reason

4. Whenever we called it off and dragged our broken bodies away, or more likely bugged out using DI, he sighed and said "The Treasure was just around the corner"

5. He used his PC (In 1986ish) to print out 20 sheets of "Chaotic Demons", which we looked at and then banned him from ever GMing again

Obviously, I am such a nice GM that nobody has ever had complaints about the way that I run things. Honest.

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Does this count?

Having resisted the urge to chuckle when half of the party decided to 'escape' from the Old Imperial Hunting Lodge, I let them discover that there horses picketed 'safely' outside had been attacked by wild animals and driven off forcing them to carry all of the party gear. Since they were in the Karbath Mtns and it was just after mid-winter they began to get tired quickly (there had been a fight or two inside the lodge) Thy decided to look for shelter and encountered two dwarves. An insight roll (successful) gave them some hint that all was not well but not as much of a clue as would have been given had the party's dwarf been present. If you want to read what happened next here is the blog post:

Tales from the Realm of St.Kosz of Astergow: In Hospitable Territory

The result was two clerics and a barbarian left bound and without any belongings in a hole in a cave in the mountains in winter. After they freed themselves from the pit they found that ALL of their weapons and equipment had been stolen. No fire-making equipment, no bows or snares, and two days walk from the nearest town. How they complained when I asked the barbarian how he was going to light a campfire without their normal flint&steel. It seems that they had forgotten to teach him that knowledge in 'tribesman school' I must admit I was more than a little amused.

In my defence I did let them encounter a very inquisitive goat which they killed with a rock. And I didn't roll for wolves drawn to the goat carcass in the night. Quite friendly GMing really!

I guess I could provide a few more examples like this. Well a GM needs to provide a little 'character forming' adversity for his/her PCs. It's not sadism. It's an opportunity for character development!

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I certainly can't compete with Pete or Loz on the sadism front, but I did once coax the players into receiving a 'blessing' from a local religious fanatic upon entering a new city. They soon discovered that other foreigners had also been 'blessed' and they all seemed to wear unnaturally tall hats. The next day they felt knobs growing on top of their heads. When investigating this, they met another 'blessed' foreigner who took off his tall hat to reveal a third arm growing out of the top of his head. When they saw one of these arms beat its host to death in the street by repeated punching in the face, they finally understood the nature of their 'blessing', and had to find a way to lift it before their new arms were fully grown.

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