Game: The Slayer’s Guide to Games Masters
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Review Dated: 30th, August 2003
Reviewer’s Rating: 6/10 [ On the ball ]
Total Score: 6
Average Score: 6.00
Mongoose Publishing have a small collection of these parody Slayer’s Guides. The Slayer’s Guide to Games Masters will find space on the shelf beside The Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers and The Slayer’s Guide to Rules Lawyers. It’s a different author this time though. James Desborough, author of the first two, was probably busy writing the d20 conversion of Macho Women With Guns and so the Signs & Portents contributor Jonny Nexus has picked up this title. It works, it might be British humour and therefore alien to many readers, but I find it funny. It’s a different style of humour than the first two; it’s more aggressive and Jonny talks about himself whereas Grim Jim rarely did. The Slayer’s Guide to Games Masters has “Recommended for Mature Readers only” slapped on the front and the back. It swears. Ooh. Naughty.
You’re not really encouraged to slay your GM.
“Books in this series of supplements are normally intended for use in fantasy based D20 game systems and settings. This one isn’t. If you didn’t know that when you bought it, then we’re sorry. Though not, you understand, to the point of admitting any legal liability. This is, in short, a joke, a wind-up, a parody, a work o attempted humour, a piss-take, and quite possibly a mistake.”
There are lots of illustrations of GM’s blowing their top and dice flying everywhere or demonic GMs lurching out from behind GM screens – but not much in the way of Mongoose’s T&A artwork. What a waste of a Mature Reader recommendation.
If the only other British author you’ve read is Terry Prachett then you’ll be terribly used to notes of footnotes already. You get plenty of them here. 44 of them, or 45 if you want to count the one that escapes correct type setting. Footnotes are either funny or annoying, depending on the mood you’re in when you read the book.
The Slayer’s Guide to Games Masters (and special kudos for using my preferred term and not gamemaster) gets going by looking at different types of GMs. We have the kinds who prefer to known as The Storyteller, they’re easy to pick on since tend to be emotionally attached to their work, The Control Freak, the ultimate challenge, The Accidental GM and the Female GM.
“Female GMs are much the same as male GMs save for the fact that they are more likely to be ‘storyteller’s than men. But in the end, all the advice I’m giving you applies just as much to women as to men, leaving you with only one ethical question: Do you have a problem with making a girl cry?'”
Given that the book notes there’ve been convention encounters were some gamers didn’t work out that some of the Slayer’s Guides are spoofs I want to make it clear that the paragraphs here in quotes are, yup, quotes.
You may play your game around a large table or you may all settle back in comfy chairs and make do with whatever space between you is left. The GM may hide behind a screen (so he can cheat on the dice rolls, of course) and this Slayer’s Guide discusses some tactics you can employ. Be nice to his parents. Spray food all over the carpet. Flirt with the sister. Threaten to move into the spare room.
We consider where GMs might be found, shops or message forum sites. What about breaking into the GM’s house while he’s out and checking his cached internet files to see what he’s been discussing about the game online? You can gleam some valuable insight from that.
Players tinker with dice as the game. Mr Nexus suggests an easy to learn dice code that can be used to slyly pass messages between the players. Two d6 both showing 1 placed side by side could mean, “Be careful, I think the GM is planning something.”
Rules Lawyering, Power-Building, Information Laundering, Method Roleplaying and even cheating are anti-GM strategies. If you’ve read “Why I Hate Monks” by Jonny in Signs & Portents #2 then you’ll be familiar with the munchkin monk scenario. AC 32.
What’s more anti-GM players are advised to ignore Mongoose Publishing products, because they’re perfectly balanced, and head straight to crappy D20 supplements chock full of rule errors and loopholes that can be expertly exploited. Heh.
Refuse to be railroaded, explore off the edge of the GM’s map, exploit the fact that GMs can’t possibly know everything, embarrass the GM or just read the scenario. Phew! A lot of ideas in there and each one comes with a fairly witty sketch.
This list doesn’t even cover tactics that can be used outside the gaming environment. Why not manipulate, intimidate, blackmail or screw around with his mobile phone’s address book?
There’s a GM prestige class. Level one brings the class special “Transmute Water to Wine.” Ah-ah! I knew it.
GMs in a convention are a different animal and so the Slayer’s Guide dedicates a few extra pages to them here. Why not fake a disability? Pretend to be narcoleptic. Actually, that’s not too hard in some convention games. Cyber-stalk the GM before hand. Pretend to be an “on-line personality”. You know; like a reviewer from a RPG web portal. Hey hey! Apparently the idea is to buy some rubbish products, write some really mean reviews for them so you appear to be harsh but fair. No! Reviewers do this? Never!