Computer Crash

Dateline: 05/28/97

The good news: I upgraded my computer. The bad news: conflicts up the wazoo. Can't print. Can't save to floppies. Can't read the CD drive. Won't recognize the mouse. Which is odd, seeing as how the computer did this before I spent the money on the new board, chip, and memory. All I want to do is play Marathon 2: Durandal! Geez.

But with the downed computer, this means that my folder with the ideas for future Shadowrants and even near-completed columns are on that hard drive. And there's no way to get that off of there. So this week's column is going to be a short one.

I was going to write a bit about GMing a large group, or a screed on how important foreshadowing is, or how the Sixth World would go on with or without the runner's involvement. But what do I have saved here on my hard drive?

Signs you are an Evil GM [too many listed to fit into a top ten list]:

  • You keep bringing a copy of Bug City to the gaming table, even though the runners aren't anywhere near Chicago.
  • It seems as if APDS ammo is hard to come by, unless you're an NPC.
  • You have one of your runner's closest contacts/buddys join the Universal Brotherhood.
  • The character with a legal SIN is declared dead by a computer glitch.
  • You start to use phrases like "It appears to be..."
  • You bring an ample supply of fudge for the dice to the gaming table.
  • And a liberal amount of salt for the wounds.
  • This phrase sounds familiar: "Roll a perception test, target number really high." [glance at results] "You don't notice anything."
  • As does this one: "Which hand WERE you using to open that door?"
  • And this one: "Whose (name vehicle or piece of equipment) is that again?"
  • And this: "I need to know exactly were everyone is standing."
  • And: "They had held actions."
  • Or: "Roll initiative -- Anyone go before fifty-seven?"
  • Not to forget: "What's your willpower again?"
  • You listen in to the player's planning to get ideas to throw against them.
  • Oftentimes, you roll 36d6 behind GM screen for no reason. Chuckle.
  • Your players must be revived with smelling salts every time you say "Aha!"
  • You grab Awakenings. Grin. Put it away. Grab VR2. Grin wider. Put that one away. Sit back down and roll some dice. Repeat process with a few books.
  • Your adventures consist of just a crumpled piece of paper from work, with only three words, and a name on it. No dice. No books.
  • You find out what means most to the PC's and corrupt, screw over, or otherwise take it away.
  • The adventure sends them through a portal to Earthdawn -- naked.
  • To complete the mission, they have to work WITH the bugs for a "greater good."
  • Your favorite NPCs are Kyle Morgan and Perianwyr, and they like to stalk the PCs.
  • You have their government contacts offer them some "free" cyberware.
  • A fun time is lopping off the ork deckers arm ... [at least] three times.
  • NPCs kidnap the PC's kids.
  • Their relatives get hooked on BTL's.
  • The adventure sends the mage into orbit.
  • They get attacked by a Force 30 Wasp Queen.
  • For some reason, the pizza guy, or baby sitter is the toughest runner they ever met.
  • Two words -- Ritual Sending.
  • Or give them a glimpse of the big picture and let them see their itty-bitty corner of it.

(These pearls come from Loki, Shaun Sides, Tinner, Dvixen, Bull, myself, and many other Evil GMs and Evil GM Apprentices.)

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