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Lesson I - When in doubt, blow someone up

The short version of my role-playing experience is that I've basically done nothing but GM for all the 13 or whatever years I've played RPGs. I'm not complaining, as I'm the odd sort that likes it. But I'm really just saying that I've done enough of it to know that one big problem most GMs have (at least the ones that aren't dysfunctional) is how to kill players.

Check that... kill them in a way that makes it seem like they screwed up. The truth is, as GMs we really shouldn't care if they earned it or not - they will probably roll up a character that looks strangely like the last one anyway.

"No, Mr. GM, they are not exactly the same. Ted Striker the Solo has a medical skill of 4. Paul Assault the Solo has a Drive of 4. Do you even pay attention to the characters your players have?"

The real answer:

No. And as a side note, screw you. The brakes on Paul Assault's new car just failed. He ran head long into a brick wall, and the wall won. Shouldn't have bought that turbo package on the car."

Besides the bitterness, there is something else you can take from the above example. Notice how I put the ball squarely back in their court. The player now thinks, or at least should if you say it convincingly enough, that Paul's turbo package did him in. That is, he doesn't necessarily think you killed him. In the back of his simple player mind, he might just think he caused Paul's death. If he doesn't, and he continues to whine about you having some vendetta against him, kill his next character. Eventually he'll stop complaining or he'll leave the game. Either way, you win, right?

Alas, though, allocating blame is another lesson. For now, forget about Paul, forget about mind games, and forget about blame. In this lesson, we are going to learn about maybe the single most effective method to kill any player or player group. (Keep in mind though, the good GM mixes and matches things they learned from all lessons to make sure they kill everyone. And, lastly, please keep in mind most of this is written from Cyberpunk experience, so modify it to fit your era.)

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