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The Complete Smeghead's Guide to Campaign Destruction

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By Darrin Bright

Before I get into the actual nuts and bolts of this article, I hope the reader will forgive me if I ramble on a bit about how it came into existence. The following is the result of some horrible soul- scarring experiences with a particularly bad GM after my wife dragged me out to live in Cleveland, Ohio (think Sheffield, only with more volatile waterways). For me, writing this article is an attempt to cleanse my soul, to exercise some personal demons, and hopefully get over it some day.

My wife, by the way, calls this process "masturbation". I don't really see it that way, because I guess I'm used to equating masturbation with pleasant experiences, but, well, really, no need to go into that here. More likely, she's calling it that because I'm not getting paid for it.

So, this isn't really the proper place to really go into what happened (otherwise this article would be 300 pages long), but if I suddenly break into a meaningless rant, try and be patient and hopefully I'll settle down. Part of the blame for my experiences does indeed lie with me, but my belief is still that the brunt of the blame rests firmly on Tom. I haven't changed his name, on the off chance that the bastard may actually read some of this some day.

(Get some help, Tom. You have some serious issues that should be sorted out before you should be allowed to interact with the general public.)

If you want all the sordid details of what happened, e-mail me, and maybe I'll try to explain. Or maybe I should send in a really long, weepy "Dear Doctor Bubba" letter.

Anyway, my first attempt to sort out what happened was some angrily scribbled notes titled, "10 Habits of Highly Ineffective GMs". But that sounded too negative, so I tried to rework it as a much more positive article retitled, "7 Habits of Highly Effective GMs."

Yes, I know. I can see your eyes glazing over already. The problem with that one was, of course, that there's WAY too many of those syruppy feel-good "GM Advice" articles out there, and they're all completely useless pieces of crap. For one thing, who the hell is the target audience of these things? Bad GMs never read advice articles, and good GMs - well, they already know what makes a good GM, so a lot of damned good it's going to do telling them what they already know.

Then I discovered John Wick's "Play Dirty" column on Pyramid I'm not sure if you're familiar with his work (non-d20 L5R, Seven Seas), but the one thing that's always guaranteed when Wick opens his mouth on any forum is a month-long flame war (a little like GMS but without the clones). Me, I have a kind of curious indifference when it comes to Wick's Play Dirty articles. Having been on the receiving end of one too many egomaniacal bastards, I can understand where Wick is coming from and admire some of the pain and suffering - but he could use a few lessons on tactful prose and making himself better understood.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the Wick Flame Wars. One day Wick mentioned that next month's Play Dirty would be written from the Player's standpoint. This was sort of a turning point for me, as everything started to fall into place. It was obvious what I'd done wrong with Tom - I hadn't fought back! Why not use all those egomaniacal tactics against him? And who better to tell you how to do it than John Wick?

Unfortunately, when Wick finally wrote the article I thought it was pretty lame. All it really amounted to was, "Hey, you can be a munchkin if it helps the GM reach his goals!", and it wasn't really about destroying the GM's game. So I'm sort of picking up the torch here where Wick dropped it and seeing if anything will burn.

GMs Gone Bad

"When someone asks if you're a god, you say YES!" - W. Zedmore

Rat-bastard egomaniacal munchkin GMs are easy to recognize. They are the fuckheads who insist, sometimes in quite literal terms, that they are God Incarnate, with the PCs only existing so they can use them as Astroglide for their ego. If you've got one of the really clever varieties of these assholes, who's good with rules, then your best option is always, of course, to find another GM.

End of article. You can stop reading now. Brilliant, eh?

What?

Still reading? Okay.

Let's just say, hypothetically or whatever, that this GM went way too far and crossed the line. He made it personal - or somehow you got on this weird delusional kick that it's your mission handed down from on high to take this puss-filled pimple of a GM down a few notches and put him in his place. Or maybe you want to be a puss-filled pimple of a GM and he's just in your way.

Let's start with the basics: five simple rules designed mostly to annoy and irritate. (Then again, they may work wonders with new or inexperienced GMs).

The Basics

The first problem you're going to run into when taking on the GM is that he's got "unlimited resources". He can throw goblins, ogres, stone giants, red dragons, or undead mutant cyborg goblin/ogre/giant/ dragon crossbreeds at you; and if the party manages to kill them, then he can always throw in something else. His NPCs have access to unlimited funds, unique artefacts, and anything else he can possibly dream up.

You've got a limited number of hit points, gold pieces, dots in melee, blood points, whatever - so what's the fucking point? There's no way you can win, right? Well, not exactly; if the campaign has gone on far enough, then it's no longer about winning and losing. There's no hope of winning anything at this point, but you can make sure the GM doesn't have any fun.

Rule #1 - Split Up, AKA The Venkman Maneuver

"We can do more damage that way." - P. Venkman

The first one is so simple in its elegance that you've probably done it a dozen times without really thinking about it. At every possible opportunity, split up the party. The GM may have unlimited resources, but he only has a limited amount of attention. Split it between two or more groups of players, and at least one group will be sitting around completely bored with nothing to do until he gets back to them. If these players are as pissed off as you are about the whole campaign then this is the perfect opportunity to foment rebellion. Or just toss out couple Magic decks at the bored players like blood in a shark tank and watch the entire night of roleplaying disintegrate.

If you wind up in the group the GM is paying attention to, do whatever you can to keep things going so he never has a chance to get back to the other group. As soon as it looks like he's ready to switch back, attack an NPC or another player. He'll have to deal with the combat first. If the combat goes badly, run off before you get killed to split the party up even further.

If the other players just won't split up for whatever reason, declare that you're ditching them and going off on your own. You'll probably spend the rest of the night ignored and bored out of your skull, but that was going to happen anyway, right? If anyone asks where the hell you're going, just tell them you're...

Rule #2 - Shop 'Til You Drop

"How much for the little girl? How much for the women?" - J. Blues

...going shopping!

This might require a bit more effort than the first rule, but if done correctly it can bring any campaign to a complete standstill. Simply put: at any and every opportunity, insist on going shopping for weapons and equipment. You can destroy an entire night of adventuring just by haggling over a studded leather jerkin or a basket-hilted rapier. Keep in mind the first rule, and encourage the party to split up to hit different shops.

Tell the GM you're looking for the strangest, most bizarre equipment you can think of. Sunglasses for beholders, music boxes that squirt blood, left-handed prophylactics, or dried oyster jerky, whatever you can think of so long as its hard to get and will require an entire night's worth of searching, haggling, and arguing with the GM over prices and availability. Keep a few Gary Gygax books around like his World Builder, 1st Edition AD&D, Dangerous Journeys, Cyborg Commando, or other reference books with equipment prices (Gygax always loved those long tables full of numbers pulled out of his ass). Thus, when the GM gives you a price you can tell him he's full of shit and the economy in his gameworld is completely unbelievable, based on actual historical evidence (i.e., Gygax's ass).

Whatever encounters the GM had planned, whatever pathetic party- killer dungeon he was going to drag you through, whatever metaplot he was going to railroad you with, should be at least seriously delayed. Drag it out until the rest of the party is threatening to leave without you, and then...

Rule #3 - The Only Good NPC Is A Dead NPC

"I waste 'em with my crossbow!" - B. Herzog

...kill the shopkeeper. Give the poor bastard just enough time to call the guards, then slit his throat and empty the cash register.

Whatever the GM was planning to do, he can't do it if the party gets killed by city guards or gets thrown in jail.

And that goes for all the GM's NPCs. If the GM is trying to take the party through any kind of scenario, plot, or ego-stroking psychodrama, then he has to use NPCs.

Kill them.

Absolutely nothing will derail the metaplot faster than killing the right NPC. It may not be apparent at first which NPCs are important or not, so kill them all.

Of course, keep in mind that if the NPC is important enough, the GM will pull something out of his ass or give them plot immunity to keep them alive. Also keep in mind that while the GM and his NPCs have unlimited resources and may indeed be unkillable, he can't advance the plot or lead the party to the next encounter while you're attacking. If you can't kill the important NPCs, then kill the ones that aren't, like the innkeepers, stable boys, street mimes, homeless orphans, or whatever.

If the GM gets angry enough, you'll see all sorts of weird shit, like beggars with over 50 hit points, monks that really are bulletproof, and barmaids with 100% dodge. Of course, at this point, your character is probably dead. That means it's time to...

Rule #4 - Character Regeneration, AKA "Attack of the Clones"

"I would probably move on, get another clone but there would be a 15 minute period there where I would just be inconsolable." - Dr. Evil

...make a new character (making sure he's related to the dead one, so you can "avenge his murder!")

The point here is that while the GM has unlimited resources, you sort of do, too: because you can always make a new character. No matter how easily the GM can kill your PC, you can just bring in a new one. Of course, at this point, all of your characters are actually going to be the same character, over and over again. You know the type. He always wears a black trenchcoat, regardless of the genre. He keeps to himself, hardly ever talking except for Schwarzenegger-ish one- liners. He always takes the Loner/Survivor demeanours. He always demands to sit in the back of the bar and refuses to share a room. He has nothing but combat skills except (and this next part is very important, as I'll explain in a little bit) for demolitions. Make sure he picks up the Demolitions skill, or the nearest equivalent in the system you're playing.

Basically, he's your standard psychotic serial killer pretending to be a player character.

Will he live very long? Not fucking likely. But while you're pumping out replacements faster than the GM can kill them, each replacement is another chance to completely derail the plot, or maybe roll for psionic or mutant powers, or perhaps even roll obscenely high for starting money or skill points, depending on the game system.

You also get a fresh set of starting equipment - or hell, just keep the cash and invest it in your "brother's" savings account for the next character. Actually, there's something better you can do with your starting equipment. Remember when I mentioned Demolitions? Well whatever game system you're playing, make sure you buy or get hold of...

Rule #5 - The Ultimate Equalizer

"One of these days... milkshake... BOOM!" - E.M.B.W.B.A. Midnight

...explosives. Get as much as your feeble starting funds can buy. If killing NPCs won't derail the GMs plot, then the #1 alternative that's guaranteed to fuck up metaplots, NPCs, player characters, grudge monsters, orphanages, or whatever, is having way too much explosives at exactly the wrong time.

In most modern game systems, explosives tend to be relatively inexpensive and available to starting characters, but you can even find them in fantasy games like D&D (DMG 3.5, p. 145). It'll cost you about 16-18 GP per pound of gunpowder, but hey, a bomb only weighs a pound, and that's 2d6 damage, a lot cheaper than a Flaming Sphere or Fireball scroll.

A starting fighter could conceivably have enough gold to buy 10 pounds of gunpowder, so max out your Craft: Explosives skill and with some good rolls, you could be looking at 20d6 damage for a 1st-level character. Alchemists Fire is a little more expensive at 20 GP for 1d6, but your GM is more likely to let you have it since it's listed in the equipment chapter of the PHB. Max out your Craft: Alchemy skill and you can make it for half the cost and the price comes down to 10 GP for 1d6, which is almost on par with gunpowder. Alternatively, if it's D20 Modern or Spycraft then go to town!

If you're playing Storyteller, then by all means put five points in Resources (or whatever the maximum is now). The rules are intentionally vague about how much explosives this will buy, but it is at least clear that it should be a lot. If five points can buy you a million-dollar mansion then why not assume it can buy you a million dollars worth of white phosphorus grenades and napalm?

In other systems, it gets even worse, with Deadlands perhaps taking the cake. A stick of dynamite is only $3 and does 3d20 damage. A starting character with 5 points in Dinero could begin the game walking around with 5250d20 damage in explosives - and you're not limited to just five points in Dinero. Bottles of nitro are even cheaper: $5250 in cash will buy 12600d20 in damage, although if your character sneezes there's a 50/50 chance it'll go off. Then again, why put off the inevitable? Anything that survives the initial blast can get mopped up when your character's clo- er... brother shows up with another wagon-load of explosives.

In Tom's game, it was actually five wagon-loads of explosives that went up, with most of the party at ground zero; and it was actually Tom that introduced them, so I can't really take credit for it. If only it had been enough to destroy the campaign, but sadly, it wouldn't die!

(I think I did learn something important here, though: watch very carefully for whatever loophole or hand-waving the GM uses to save his "pet" NPCs, and then make sure you demand that the players get the same loophole. It doesn't really help destroy the campaign, but it'll buy you some time and resources to try something else.)

Bad Habits

The five basic rules should be enough to rip apart any standard campaign, but they don't always work. Each GM is going to be a little different, and the more experienced psychos will shrug off the basic techniques. To take down these GMs, you'll need to examine which bad habits they like to indulge in, and adapt your tactics accordingly. Here's a quick list of some of the worst habits:

GM Plays His Own "PC"

This was one of Tom's biggest indulgences, as it may be for any GM that's so emotionally insecure that he's unable to give up control to another GM, but still wants to enjoy "playing a character". Tom had about five of 'em that he rotated in or out, and he insisted on using them to lead the party around, without really realising what he was doing. Of course, they always got the lion's share of money, treasure, and custom artefacts.

The solution here of course is Rule #3 - Kill Them. If you do it quickly, and without warning, you can sometimes catch the GM flat- footed (geez, I can't believe I used that term... I hate that term! Who the fuck would ever go into a dungeon full of bloodthirsty monsters and spend any time at all flat-footed?) and get as far as rolling damage before he realises what's going on. You've got slightly better odds taking down the GM's PC rather than his NPCs because there's usually an understanding that the same rules that apply to your character should also apply to his - operative word being should, but we know better, so be prepared to see a wide variety of ass-pulling manoeuvres from the GM to keep the poor bastard alive.

The goal here, besides killing the pet PC, is to catch the GM blatantly lying or cheating. He's got every right to do this of course, being the GM, but if you catch him doing it often enough,he'll lose credibility with the players (if he has any left). Make sure to pay attention to any loopholes he uses to save his character, as they might come in handy later for your own use.

Anyway, at this point it's more than likely that your character is dead - because the GM's character whipped out some never-before- mentioned spell, weapon, or magic item, and killed you. This gives you all the justification you need to invoke Rule #4 and create a "grudge PC" specifically min/maxed to take out the GM's character. If this doesn't work, then go to Rule #5 and make sure that the GM's PC is at ground zero when your orgy of explosives goes off.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Eventually, you'll get a lucky roll that not even the GM can fudge his way out of. He'll probably bring in another PC. Kill that one, too. Keep going until he finally understands that GMs running player characters is a conflict of interest and an invitation to abuse GM power.

Roll For Everything

Arguably one of Tom's most annoying problems was his insistence that the players roll for everything - even the most basic tasks like buying a newspaper, holstering a gun, noticing that the sun was out, etc. The low point was when my Cheyenne shaman almost maimed himself trying to get on his horse. An American Indian trying to get on his own horse, for crissakes! Insisting on rolls for the simplest, most mundane tasks has got to be the last refuge of bloody-minded stupidity.

The best tactic to combat this with is that what's good for the goose should be good for the gander. Insist that the GM roll for everything the NPCs do. For example, the NPC bought a drink at the bar: did the GM roll to see if the item requested was available? Why didn't the NPC have to make a haggle/negotiation/diplomacy roll over the price or the bar tab policy? Was the drink really up to the quality that the NPC expected? How many drinks has he had, anyway - and shouldn't he be headed for the outhouse by now?

You get the idea. Make a list of every stupid little mundane task the GM asks you to roll for, and force him to make the same rolls.

No Plot

The GM has no concept of plot. Or maybe he had a bad LARP/Storyteller experience once and knows exactly what it is, and has henceforth declared a holy war against it ever showing up in his game. Many bad GMs actually believe that slogging from one meaningless encounter to another is supposed to be a plot. A rare few might actually try to justify it, saying something like "the plot should be driven by the players, the GM is just there as a neutral observer". Or maybe the GM has changed tactics in response to you invoking one of the rules mentioned earlier: if there's no plot, then there's no way to derail it, right?

Well, in this case most people would say it's the job of the players to come up with an interesting plot. Yeah, sure, just as soon as you pry those random encounter tables out of the GM's cold, dead fingers. Don't try this; it'll just lead to more pain and suffering.

There's no easy way to deal with this problem, but if the campaign has devolved into nothing but meaningless fighting, then try making it meaningful with a variant of Rule #3 - attack the players. Inter- party fighting will create metric butt-loads of resentment and bad feelings. If all the players get pissed off and leave, then the GM has no game.

Same Plot, Different Day

You may also run into a variation where the GM actually does have a plot, but he recycles it over, and over, and over again. This is particularly common in Cyberpunk or Shadowrun games that follow a pattern or formula: client hires PCs to steal from or do something for Corporation X, PCs do the job, client betrays PCs to Corporation X, PCs spend rest of adventure getting back at client/Corporation X.

This variation is at least easier to deal with than no plot at all: as soon as you recognise the formula, loudly tell anyone who'll listen what's going to happen, and then break the formula. For example:

GM: "The Client says he needs you to do a jo-"

PC: "He's going to betray us. I blow his head off with a .44 Magnum hollow-point heat-seeking missile."

Everything Turns Into A Dungeon Crawl

Okay, this one may be particular only to Tom, and is more of a rehash of the previous habit, but it bugged the hell out of me. We'd been playing Deadlands for months before I realised that sure, we had all the orange books on the table, but we hadn't been playing Deadlands at all. Tom was a die-hard AD&D 1st Edition fanatic, and that's pretty much what we were playing. No matter where we went, our party ran into bunches of creatures and humanoids that just wanted to kill us.

Shooting them with bullets became indistinguishable from shooting them with arrows. The monsters carried gold. The towns were indistinguishable from your standard D&D towns. Tom kept referring to hexes, miracles, and favors as spells, and Hucksters, Blessed, and Shamans as wizards or mages. Well, okay, that may not be entirely Tom's fault; Deadlands is Western Fantasy with maybe a little too much emphasis on Fantasy. But when Tom ran it, he ran it as a really bad, pointless, meandering dungeon crawl.

As I heard from other players later, it got even worse. Tom was apparently unable to run any campaign that didn't involve some kind of time warp or dimensional shift back to his original 1st Edition AD&D game, a campaign that he claimed he'd been running for the last 20 years or so. In this case, Tom did indeed have a plot, but it was 100% ego-stroking masturbation that the players had absolutely no control or input in.

Anyway, there's not much of a solution to this one, and I can't really say all dungeon crawls are bad. But in this particular case I think what I should have done was abandoned all pretence that Tom was trying to run a Deadlands game and just created a standard D&D character, referring to everything by the standard D&D terms. I'm not sure he would have appreciated this, but then again it wouldn't really be for his benefit anyway.

GM's Girlfriend

Here's a touchy subject that could fill up more than a few articles. At first glance you could say invoke Rule #3 here and just indiscriminately kill all of her characters. Actually, in this case, I'd suggest this only if she's not hot or you're not interested, in which case just kill away. (Odds are she's already bored out of her mind and would rather be watching Buffy reruns, so you might be doing her a favour).

More than likely, though, you'll make two permanent enemies that want you DEAD DEAD DEAD in one fell swoop: the GM and, more importantly, his girlfriend - meaning you can pretty much write off any chance to score with her later.

So, if you're interested, leave her alone and go after the GM. Expose him as the selfish, weak, insecure, insensitive, psychotic little turd that he is, and if you're lucky (and not a gamer, of course), you may catch her on the rebound.

Heading off on a tangent here...

In Tom's case, it wasn't his wife/girlfriend I had issues with, but his children. He was living in a motel with his wife and three kids because it was the only place he could rent that didn't involve a credit check or questions about his criminal history (short people... violent temper... ugh). Now, I'm sure most of you know what those motels charge just by going to conventions, and they usually give breaks to large conventions or if you want to pay for the week/month. I can't imagine trying to pay those prices on a part-time salary.

Anyway, with his wife working full-time and weekends and no money for a baby-sitter, guess where his three kids were? Right there at the gaming table if we were lucky, and if we weren't then they were tearing around the game store, getting bored and raising hell.

Now I'd initially told Tom that we were fine with his kids playing. BIG MISTAKE. The oldest understood enough of what roleplaying was. But the two younger ones had a much looser grasp and a much shorter attention span. The middle kid knew just enough to know that rolling very high was good - and kept rolling and kept drawing cards, usually while we weren't paying attention.

I later pointed out to Tom that his daughter was cheating, and somehow he managed to get it in his mind that I'd accused everyone of cheating - at least, that's what I heard later. (Not that I've got anything against cheating, per se, if done with the proper tact, but if its blatant enough to piss off the other players, then it should be at least addressed).

The youngest, Tommy Jr., was never at the table long enough to get any other players killed/maimed, but I'm sure he'll catch on in time.

And I'm still not against teaching kids how to roleplay (actually, between tea parties, post office, house, cops & robbers, and the occasional doctor's exam, they can do it better than we can), but if you're going to do it, then take the time to make sure they understand the rules and don't get bored.

Anyway, where was I?

Unkillable NPCs

Or rather, what happens when Rule #5 doesn't work? Technically, at this point, there's not a lot you can do: if the GM declares, "All my NPCs are immune to death, and all players instantly take 100d6 lightning damage just because I said so," then you're pretty much sheeyit-outta-luck. He's the GM, he can do that. You can pick up your dice and go home, or... well, okay we're going to move on to some advanced tactics here, but most of them actually do involve picking up your dice and going home.

Advanced Tactics

Step 1: First things first, confront the GM and tell him what a complete pile of human excrement he is, hopefully in front of the other players. Let him have it, everything that's bugging you. Get it all out into the air with a low parabolic trajectory. Then declare to anyone who'll listen that you're going home, you're not coming back, and you'll never play so much as an MP3 so long as this pathetic excuse of a GM is present.

Let things cool down for a week, then call up the other players and let them know you're starting your own game, and ask them if they'd like to join in. Go ahead and tell them a little bit about the campaign. What do you tell them? That's easy: just describe the GM's gameworld with a few changes here and there to fix things that really pissed you off (changing things slightly, but keeping it similar enough that it's blatantly obvious who you're ripping off).

Tell them they can bring their favourite PCs over, or get them resurrected in the new campaign. You may get one or two people to join in, but it's more likely there will be enough bad blood floating around that no-one will be interested. (Fair enough, if done correctly you may not even need to actually play the "new" campaign).

Step 2: Put up a web site for "your" new campaign. It doesn't have to look good. In fact a half-assed job will probably suit your purposes better than a decent one.

Describe the game world in your own words, but make sure you lampoon, deride, and ridicule anything that the previous GM held dear. List all his important PCs and NPCs, and describe how their lives have changed now that you've "taken over" (coming out of the closet, getting a sex change, exploring bestiality, or becoming a Democrat - whatever you think will make the GM's blood boil).

Post weekly adventure logs (make them up if need be, or run a few sessions with some friends as a joke). Play it up as completely serious or bad farce, but continue to use the same names and places as the previous campaign. Email the website address to a few of the players who are sticking it out in the old group and ask them what they think.

If all goes well, the GM should go absolutely thermonuclear apeshit. If he's even capable of coherent thought at that point, he will threaten you with anal-fisting lawyers, cease-and-desist full-body enemas, and... well you get the idea.

Step 3: The next step should be to provide the irate little ignoramus with a few lessons about copyrights and such.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I AM NOT A LAWYER, or barrister, or whatever... DO NOT USE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS LEGAL ADVICE. I'm only vaguely aware of the American legal system via watching the occasional episode of "Law & Order" or "The Practice". My only knowledge of the British legal system is from A Fish Called Wanda, and the only thing I really got from that was that those wigs are MESSED UP - how can you take anyone seriously when they're wearing a curly wig like that? Anyway, if your frothing little baboon of a GM isn't nearly as blind with rage as you'd like him to be, here's a few tips you can point out:

1. Copyright does NOT apply to names or titles.

2. Copyright does NOT apply to ideas. If your GM has come up with a new dice mechanic, set of house rules, or even an original campaign world, the text that describes them can be copyrighted but the actual idea or system mechanics they use can't be.

3. A group of people sitting around a table creating an interactive story would be considered a "collaborative work", and all participants are generally considered co-authors of the work.

(One other quick note, which will be useless to you Brits because there is no British copyright registration office - if you're living in the United States, you can't sue for copyright damages unless the work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.)

Some other things you should keep in mind: other than names and titles, don't use any of his exact text. The "I changed over 90% so it's mine" argument is complete bullshit so don't use that. If you're both describing the same thing but you're using entirely your own wording, then it's very tough to prove infringement...

...unless the GM tries to claim your work is a "derivative" of his. The actual definition of what constitutes "derivative work" is extremely murky no matter what country you're in, so he may be right. There's two things you should point out, the first being the "collaborative work" thing I mentioned above, and the second being that if the GM's campaign is using source material from a published RPG, then his work is just as derivative as yours.

I had several huge torrents of paragraphs on NDAs, trademarks, patents and such as it might apply to RPGs but this article was already rambling enough as it was, so no reason to subject you to that kind of torture. (Maybe another article).

Step 4: Post the website, and any particularly juvenile campaign material to an online gaming forum, such as RPG.Net and start a game of Troll: the Provoking. Make sure you mention that you were inspired by F.A.T.A.L., Synnibar, or SenZar to get things started. Ask the former GM to help "defend" the game once the flames start.

Step 5: Take all your material from the website, print it out, and put it in an envelope with a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE). Throw in anything else that helps describe the campaign world, and maybe even a few things that don't, like junk mail or unpaid parking tickets. Create a wankish pseudonym (like, oh... I dunno... V'lad Bludkurdyle or LORD 3V3RBL33D) and write a cover letter (with glaring typos) explaining that you'd like the receiver to publish this campaign as either a new RPG, or a sourcebook. Mail this unsolicited packet of unpublishable crap to someone that's either particularly grumpy or isn't likely to publish anything, such as:

1. Gareth Michael-Skarka
2. John Wick
3. James Wallis
4. Gary Gygax
5. Patricia Pulling

Don't hold your breath for a response. But if you do get one...

If it's negative: add your former GM's name to the cover letter. Add a few insulting editorial comments that might be easily confused with comments from whoever you sent it to. Send everything to your former GM, and add one final note, something like "See, I told you it was shit!" It helps twist the knife a bit if the rejection came from someone the GM admired. Wash your hands of the whole thing, and you're DONE.

If it's positive: burn it, admit total defeat, and seriously consider getting out of this hobby for good. Or, hell, a check's a check, right? Cash it and look around for another psychotic GM so you can get material for the "Revised Edition", due 18 months later.


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