Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2014

The Thief Problem: How to Deal with Someone Stealing within the Party

One of the most cliche of all GM problems is dealing with a thief PC that steals from the party.  It ranks right up there with "the Thief and the Paladin" problem.  Most GMs will come across this problem sooner or later.  In this article I give some tips for dealing with the problem from an experienced (30+ years) GM.  Our goal in finding a solution to this problem is to find a way to both make the game more interesting and to deal with the problem in game without generating a player vs player conflict that can disrupt your gaming group.

The first stage in setting up to deal with this problem is to establish your position early to your group of how you will deal with it.  My preferred position is that it will be discouraged, but always dealt with in game.  I usually also add that I will not allow player versus player combat, excepting perhaps nonlethal actions.  This gives the players some options without leading to the gaming group-killing scenario of one PC killing another…

GM Tip: Be a Nice GM

Much like religion, advice comes in two forms -- general guiding rules that help you figure things out, and very specific rules that apply to only narrow situations.  This week I want to address a key general rule for a GM:  Be a Nice GM.

We've all heard the horror stories of evil GMs just destroying characters for no reason.  We've seen the ongoing discussions of GMs figuring out how to tear down overpowered characters and punish ill-guided players.  We've probably even all played in Tomb of Horrors at least once, so we know how evil a place really can be for characters.  Unfortunately, these widespread tales really emphasize the ability of any GM to fall into the trap of being an Evil GM.

Don't do that.  Follow these few easy rules and you will be a nice GM who still can have lots of fun and kill lots of characters without generating unhappy players:

Rule 0.  Try to make sure everyone is having fun.  This may mean accommodating changes to the game to make players happ…

Paladinic Philosophy 101: Another Way to Play a Lawful Good Paladin Without Being Lawful Stupid

Quite a few years ago I found an excellent reference for explaining paladinic philosophy based on the Path of Honor.  TL; DR on this is pretty simple.  Paladins have a set of privileges that can be earned or lost based on how an individual person acts.  A number of these privileges are default privileges that everyone gets by default and can only lose:

Life -- Privilege to not die a meaningless deathWell-Being -- One should not have their health intentionally compromised by anotherProcedure -- People should be allowed to do what they want by the paladin, so long as it doesn't infringe upon others' privilegesEsteem -- One has the right to courtesy and respect Beyond these default privileges are additional ones that can be earned: Confidence -- trusted by the paladinDeference -- a person's word is trusted in a given areaCommand -- a person can direct the paladinAbsolute Command -- a person can direct the paladin without question So when playing a lawful good paladin, many of t…