Tuesday, September 04, 2007


A guest post from Yax of the "Dungeon Mastering" blog:

I was recently thinking of how sadistic a game master has to be. Lovingly sadistic, of course. I think that it is unique to dungeon masters and that they all have that evil streak in them.

When I plan scenes, events, and encounters for my D&D game I am trying to hurt, mangle, injure, confuse my players' characters. But I want to keep them alive. How paradoxal is that? No other profession - is DMing a profession? - requires the same incompatible set of skills.

If other professions required the same twisted, contradictory approach here's what they would consist of:

Car manufacturer

You need to design a car that will scare the driver to death and will require constant vigilance. Bad break pads, impossibility to go in reverse, maybe a trap-protected glove box! After each car ride the driver has to be afraid, relieved, happy, and the damage to the car needs to be minimal so that the driver is still alive and willing to go back behind the wheel!


Your job is to send your clients to a high-security prison from which it is impossible to escape, then provide your clients with advice and possibly tools that will allow for an action-packed prison break!


Let your patient's condition deteriorate to a point where only the most exotic and rare ingredients can save him. Ideally the patient would have a very specific time window to find the medicine.

War general

Your duty is to declare war for dubious reasons and bring nations - including yours - in a state of disarray. If possible do not hire good security so that any enterprising group of young lads can sneak into your headquarters, steal your plans, and use them to defeat you.

Computer programmer

No matter how the technology evolves always develop software that includes bugs and glitches. Wait! Is that a joke or is that reality?

- Yax