Welcome to the second in a series of articles called Wolverine's Brain Spasm's. These articles are general advice and ranting on how you can be a better player or gamemaster or whatever.
Following are three conversation's that I've actually had with my players in the past.
Player:I hit him with a full salvo.
(Lots of rolling of dice, and game statistic chanting.)
Me:Okay, he's almost dead, all he's got left is a Gauss Rifle. (Roll dice a couple of times) Ah shit! I'm sorry man, your 'Mech gets hit in the head with the Gauss rifle, you're dead.
Me:The Alien grabs you holding you captive.
Player 2:I turn my flamethrower on the Alien.
Me:Unfortunately there's no way the flame can discriminate between the Alien, and your fellow soldier. They both die screaming.
Players 1 & 2 (simultaneously):YOU ASSHOLE!!!
Player:I sneak up the catwalk on the side of the building.
Me:You're about halfway up when an alarm goes off. An armored helicopter rises, it's dual Vigilant rotary autocannons centering on you with the barrels turning. A voice comes over a loudspeaker and says "Throw down your weapons and put your hands in the air!" What do you do.
Player:I pull my Colt Manhunter and start shooting.
Me:(With stupified look on my face) Okay... your rounds bounce harmlessly off the armored helicopter, the rotary autocannons start firing, you're vaporized almost immediately, as well as the building behind you and the building behind it...
The question: What do both players and gamemasters hate? The answer:Killing player characters. Players hate the death of their characters because, well, it's their character. They've put a lot of effort into their character and have become rather attached to their character. Because of this they tend to get really mad when, oh say, a stray round ends the characters life. Gamemasters hate killing characters because the players are generally their friends, and don't relish the idea of one of their friends not speaking to them(If their lucky.) for six month's because their character got whacked. So lets face it, everybody hates it when a PC gets whacked. But it's got to be done to keep any semblance of reality in your game. Now I'm not saying whack a PC every game, and I'm definetly not saying whack your whole group. Just make sure that every once in a while, a rotten throw of the dice ends in a mortality.(like my first example) Throw a funeral for the character, and have all his friends go get drunk for about a week. Now the other big point about characters getting killed is stupidity. A word to all you players out there, if another pc gets you're character killed through their stupidity(like in the second example) blame the player not the GM! Stupidity is intolerable. Normally in my games I will never kill a PC or a major NPC without a die roll. Extreme cases of stupidity(like the third, which remains the stupidest death I've ever had the misfortune to experience.) are pretty much the only instance in a game where I will kill a PC without a die roll. If your that stupid you deserve to die.
Now before you start this article I'd just like to say I'm writing this one for revenge. Craig I told you if you did something stupid I'd write about it, you did something stupid so I'm writing about it. This article is more of a plea to all you players out there to please put some thought into your characters. Let me use one of my players as an example. I told all of my players that I wanted a page and a half handwritten, though they could type or wordprocess it if they wanted, of who their character was. Their past, personality, goals and so on. I gave them my list of 77 questions to use as a guide. Now I generally don't care if a few of the quetions don't get answered, like I said it's a guide, unless it's something important like, well, name. But this guy completly and tottally missed the point. He filled out the questions like they were questions on a test. And he didn't even write down good answers. Now with me, if you do something like this, and don't even provide good answers, I write down your characters story and take certain liberties with your answers. Now this guy screwed his up so bad I'm having him do it over, but I kinda wish his character was salvageable, I had real fun with his answers. For example, one of the questions was , "What do your parents do for a living?" his answer, "Their farmers." so my reply was "Okay Maijuana Farmers it is." For the question, "Do you have any benefactors?" he wrote, "Yes, my parents." so I wrote out "Every once in a while his parents send him a package, in the package is a couple of nuyen, and about 200 pounds of marijuana, that his parole officer would be very interested in findingout about." I think I've made a point. Players please put some thought into your characters. And Gamemasters, if you're having problems with your players on this, here's what I do.
1)Simply tell all characters that you want a page and a half hand-written(but they can type if they want) of basically who their character is.
2)If what they give you is crap, completly or almost completly unsalvagable, then make them do it again.
3)If what they give you is still crap make 'em do three pages typed. Chances are they'll never give you a crap character again.
Well that's all the material I can think of to rant and rave about for the moment, don't forget to tell me what you think about it.*
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