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(TFT) I knew this guy

I knew this guy

He would get real frustrated with me as a GM, but he stuck it out. This is more a cautionary tale about the bad GMing I have done, but the best way to tell this story is through his actions. His name is Paul Roberts. He and I still have some very different ideas about TFT. The first time he played he made some kind of ninja-hobbit with a whip, sha-ken, and bola. Probably could have been a good character but he went overboard with the IQ, giving the hobbit ST 8, and IQ 10 so he could learn a lot of languages. The trouble started when I looked at his character sheet. The hand writing was atrocious. I couldn't even read the stats, let alone the talent names. I told him the character sheet was important and I needed him to re-write it a little clearer. He fumed, but to his credit, he did it. The second draft was almost legible so I let it pass. But I did try to convince him to lower the IQ a little so he could increase ST to 9 and get nunchucks. That way he could do some decent damage in a stand up fight. The way I saw it the sha-ken, and bola-to-the-neck wasn't gonna cut it. The whip could work, but not as a solo character, it's better when used with friends standing in front of you. But he was having none of that. The hobbit got killed in his first fight by charging a polearm. After that I told him, 'maybe if you had gotten Theif' and played a more background character the design would have worked. Or if he really wanted a front line fighter a ST 9 and nunchuck, with DX 13, and IQ all the way down to 8 so he could wear a bit of cloth armor. His response was that I couldn't tell him how to make his character.

The next character he made was an elven version of Robin Hood with quarterstaff and long bow. This sheet was almost impossible to read. But I tried real hard and could kind of figure out what the talents were. I didn't make him re-write it this time. I kinda felt he was having a hard enough time already. But I did make him re-write the 'quisiqubr' talent so it actually looked like physiker. (I mean I have never seen hand writing like that before. Mixed print and cursive characters. Just incredible.) Which he did. I could see this character wasn't going to work either. With the ST 11 needed for long bow and quarterstaff, and the IQ for physicker he just didn't have enough DX. When he put leather armor on top of the DX 10 bringing it down to 8, I just shook my head. This character didn't last long either. Even spending the first three fights out of harms way and providing arrow support, he didn't hit much. Thus he didn't get much exp. When he got in a quarterstaff fight, he missed constantly until his opponent whittled him down.

The next character is not worth mentioning in detail. Imagine a wizard with almost no combat spells. Who then charges in to attack with his staff. I did have to make him re-write this sheet though. I finally said, 'look! I've got to be able to read your sheet without an interpreter.' And he did his best to make a new sheet in large clear print. I've got to admit he was a real sport.

He never did give up. He kept trying, and kept making new characters. Each one very imaginative, even if it was a poor design by TFT standards. He finally did hit on a character that workd. That, and I started rolling attacks against him in secret so I could fudge the damage a little to keep him alive. I mean I have seen people give up over a lot less, and the kid really did have heart. The strangest thing out of this whole tale was years later when he was in college. He told me 'You know, no one ever cared about my hand writing. If you hadn't made me improve it I don't think I would have made it into college." As a GM you just never know what kind of affect your gonna have on people.

  David Michael Grouchy II

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