Many GMs attempt to get their games to run smoothly. They minimize distractions, set the mood, and try to maximize the gaming experience for their players. As a player, it’s probably in your best interest to sabotage all the GM’s best laid plans, including the set-up of his gaming atmosphere.
GMs may be able to use this article to their advantage by not doing anything outlined below and giving -1 billion experience point (awards?) to the players who try to use them.
1. Bring Food: While having snack foods handy can enhance a game, you can detract the attention to a game at warp speed by mentioning ‘pizza’, bringing in loud foods such as pop and chips, and/or running off to the fridge to check if there’s something good in there.
2. Go to the Bathroom: Taking frequent bathroom breaks not only will annoy your GM, it’ll cripple the effectiveness of your party as well. They’ll either sit around waiting for you, or keep playing and then have to stop and explain everything to you again when you return.
3. Watch T.V.: One of the ‘kings’ of messing up a game, try to have a T.V. handy and preferably in the same room as the game. Not only will this mess up the game, the GM will be hard pressed not to watch himself even if only commercials are on. Cellphones, tablets, laptops, computers, videogames, and other devices with screens can do in a pinch.
4. Play Music: While mood music can be great, you can play havoc with the game by playing loud and inappropriate music. Not only will this distract the other players, ruin the mood, and make everyone forget the story but—hey, is that my favourite song?
5. Bring small Children: If they’re old enough to play, this plan may backfire. However, having a few toddlers, small dogs, or cats on the game table can do wonders; if they aren’t potty-trained yet, so much the better.
6. Forget Everything: This can include (but is certainly not limited to) your: dice, books, character sheets, pencils, paper, computer, figures, sense of time, clothes, food, personal items, appointments, jobs, responsibilities, phone calls, the adventure, and anything else you would normally remember out of common courtesy.
7. Gossip: Off topic chatter, especially if it’s interesting or supremely dull, can do wonders for trashing a game. Tell your fellow players about your car, girlfriend, what happened yesterday, or a hilarious anecdote about nothing which you forgot which probably happened sometime around ’57.
8. Pick a High Traffic Room for your Game: Never set up the game in your house/apartment unless it’s in a living room where all of your family members will be passing by constantly, asking questions, yelling down the hall to each other, or watching T.V. Picking a high traffic area such as the kitchen or living room can also be strategic for launching other strategies like ‘Little Kids’ and ‘Food’.
9. Wait for everyone to Show Up: This will probably include at least 5 people who have no chance of being there, ever. Such people may include: Spock, Darth Vader, and Britney Spears.
10. Launch your Game Internationally: Adding in a few players overseas where it’s probably 3 a.m. could be helpful. It also helps if you mess up the connection feed on the video or audio occasionally or get into frequent arguments with the virtual players.
11. Don’t Set a Game Schedule: People only make appointments and commitments for boring things they’ll actually show up to. You should never plan out (or let anyone know) when you’re going to be running a game. It’s much better to call them 5 minutes beforehand and find out they’re already in Alaska or at the Dentist’s.
12. Plan Unreasonably: If you have Supper at 5:00 and a Soccer game at 5:30 and all your friends live 30 miles away…you guessed it! Schedule a game for 5:05.
13. Never play the same character or Campaign twice: Everybody probably hates playing the same character more than once. What could be more boring than an ongoing campaign where your actions actually matter?
14. Sacrifice the Game for the Rules: What’s more important? Playing the game, or knowing the correct rule. Rules, of course. No matter how long it takes, always look up the ‘correct’ way of doing things. People don’t show up to game, they show up to chat and look up obscure rules.
15. Don’t Prepare: As everyone knows, prepping for a game is for wimps. Your time would probably be better spent watching T.V.
16. Be Unclear: The players don’t need a clear idea of where they are or what they’re doing. Might as well be intentionally unclear and muddle them up further.
17. Change the Game Setting Last Minute: Is everyone set to play Star Wars? Why not throw Traveller at them instead? Better yet, switch over to Monopoly with hybrid Risk rules you just thought up.
18. Always Include a New Player: Throwing in at least one new player (preferably someone who actually doesn’t want to be there) can slow your game down no ends. Do it.
19. Be Unfair: Favouring one player over all the others builds team spirit. Players also like it if you unfairly kill off their favourite characters…a lot. Being arbitrary and unfair at the same time creates a wondrous dream combo to make all your other GM buddies jealous.
20. Mess with your Dice: During dull parts of the game (everything not directly involving you) you should spin your dice, throw them behind shelves, drop them under the table, and build dice towers of them. Stealing all the other players’ and the GM’s dice helps too. If you don’t have any dice you can also do this with pencils, or make paper airplanes out of important notes and character sheets.
21. Show up Late: Being early is for sissies. No one will respect you unless you always show up late to game sessions. One method is to roll 1d6 and multiply it by 10 minutes. This is the time you should show up after the game was officially to begin. With any luck you’ll come in at a crucial moment and spoil the flow of the adventure.
22. Use a Funny Voice: Not only does using a funny voice show you’re insecure and think you’re role-playing, if you do it properly no one will be able to understand what you’re saying either. This is priceless.
How Not to Sabotage your RPG Session
...Dealing with High Level PCs