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(TFT) I knew this guy
I knew this fellow, who had this thing he used to do to any Game Master he
could talk in to letting him play in their campaign. He would make a
character normally enough. He seemed very amicable and intelligent. But
then when the game master finally asked him what he did, or what he was
going to do for an action, he always had the same answer.
``I start digging, what do I find.''
Immediately everyone knew that if they let him find gold, all of the players
would start digging, and the Game Master would have completely lost control
of the adventure from the start. So they would try to deflect his action.
How they did this was more telling about what kind of a Game Master they
were than it served to dissuade him from digging.
I saw game masters who would let him find something, like a copper ring,
thinking that it would satisfy him but he would say.
``I dig faster, what do I find!''
I saw game masters who would honestly think, and try to figure out what he
could possibly uncover and say that he found a broken bottle, or a bear tab,
or some other type of useless garbage. What was his response?
``I keep digging, what do I find!''
I saw game masters who would try to curb this behavior with negative
reinforcement. ``Your fingers start bleeding as you rake the dirt and start
uncovering rocks and gravel.'' He had an answer for that.
``I keep digging, what do I find.''
I saw game masters who wouldn't even try to curb this behavior, they just
wanted it to stop. ``You find... An umber hulk and it attacks you.'' Now
this did cause him to fight, and everyone else jumped in too. But then,
when it was over...
``I keep digging, what do I find.''
And then there were the rest of the game masters who dropped all pretenses
of handling this in the context of the game and tried to deal with him as a
player. ``Why are you doing this?'' ``Do you want to play or what?''
``Nothing, O.K. You're going to find nothing, so give it up.'' But
unfortunately this was exactly the response he was looking for, and he would
get a big smile on his face and everyone would know that he got the best of
the Game Master because the actions of his character had broken the
continuity of the game.
Fortunately for me, I had a chance to witness this behavior before I was
inflicted with it. I clarified exactly where he was digging, as though the
location mattered. He insisted he didn't care and that he was just digging.
I gave everyone else a turn. I asked his action and then told him how
deep he had dug. I gave everyone else a turn and they sensed that they
could still get an adventure out of me, so they struck off out of town. I
asked his action and then told him how deep he had dug. I gave everyone
else a turn, and rolled for random encounters, none. I asked his action and
then told him how deep he had dug. Any way, the reader should get the idea
by now. As hard as it is to do, one should not ignore, or reward such
behavior, because such behavior could in fact exist.
It is up to the Game master to maintain the reality of their story by
allowing such seemingly strange actions when they arise. It means that the
Game Master now has the rare opportunity to show exactly how fair and
impartial they can be. The only other time when a Game Master has a chance
to be obviously fair and impartial is when two player character's try to
kill each other and the Game Master lets them. He checks their character
sheets to make sure that the weapons they are using are actually written
down, and they aren't trying to cheat.
Incidentally, did you know that It could justifiably be argued that
behavior like this is what allows dungeons to exist in the first place.
Someone has to do all that digging.
David Michael Grouchy II
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