Open-Ended Campaigns: Sandbox Trouble
In the various campaigns that I've run over the years, I have always tried to…
I had an interesting conversation with my GM last week. We somehow got onto the topic of how evil he was as a gamemaster. Honestly I don’t see him as evil, but I ran with it for the sake of ignoring some other things I really didn’t want to work on.
Between the alignments of Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, or Chaotic Evil, we decided that he was a Neutral Evil GM with some Chaotic tendencies.
A Lawful Evil GM is a rules lawyer and typically more interested in enforcing the letter of the law as spelled out in whatever game he is entranced with at the time. Mike definitely doesn’t fall into this category. I don’t think I even fell into this category when I was GMing either – I’m far more likely to either make a ruling and go with it on the spot or stop the game to get into a philosophical debate about why it was phrased the way it was. (Occupational hazard when you’re the one who wrote the game.)
A Neutral Evil GM is more interested in game balance than the rules persay. Mike tries to be very balanced and err on the side of roleplaying and story more than focusing on either making sure the PCs get their butts handed to them regularly. I’d like to think I fall into this category myself, but I know better.
And then there’s the Chaotic Evil GM. These are the guys who sometimes roll dice for no reason but to increase his players’ blood pressure. (Mike’s been guilty of doing this from time to time.) These are the GMs who decide one session they want to really teach the PCs a lesson and beat up on them and then in the next session be really nice to make up for it… And then there’s my type of chaos, where I end up GMing a sandbox game and watching the fireworks.
Each of these types of GMs should be observed in their natural habitat and not removed through the use of force, or that might backfire.
Why Evil you might ask? Honestly good and evil are in the eyes of the players most of the time, not in the eyes of the GM. So the night that your GM springs an encounter with an invisible flying creature in a cave and nearly kills all the PCs (one actually did die in that case and was raised later), he might be evil. The night he just happens to leave a magical crystal sword in a pile of loot just so your character can use it, he might be good.
Just don’t anger your GM without good reason. Then you’ll see True Evil raise its ugly head.