In the real world, I am constrained by a moral code. It was ingrained in me by parents who wished for me to understand the value of honesty. That truth is a weapon that can dig into the heart of any problem and clean a corrupted soul. When I talk to people, I am the avatar of truth. When I attempt to lie, my voice cracks, I begin to sweat, and I fidget. My mind and body fight against me and anyone who speaks to me wonders whether I am having a stroke. This curse of honesty has followed me my whole life, but I have found a loophole. I have found a way to lie that free me.
I remember the first time I Game Mastered. I was a lowly 20 year old and I attempted my hand at a simple game of Warhammer 40k using Cyberpunk 2020 rules. The players, their faces full of trust as I held their fates in my hands, looked at me as a storyteller. I felt I didn’t deserve that trust.
I came into the game with a plan. They destroyed that plan in five minutes. Now I just had a series of events. All of them unfortunate. What was I to do. Then, the moment happened. A player had taken a hit. I looked at the damage roll and realized that hit would kill. That is not a crime, but the death was low and had no meaning. Some random mook with a gun while the player was already weakened by a greater threat. This was not a game of call of cthulhu where random death is a possibility. This was warhammer 40k, where death comes fighting hordes of monsters or similar heroic ways. So, I did something that came so naturally, I almost believed it came from another mouth. I said, “ barely misses you”. My player looked upon me and spoke the most powerful word I have ever heard, “Cool”. Such simple words, but those simple words could barely contain the truth before me.
I have lied. I have lied so convincingly that my players didn’t notice. I realized then that the lie was a white lie. It was a lie that protected the player from a fate worse than death, a crappy ending. For the betterment of the game, I lied, and it was GLORIOUS!!!!!
When I game master, I lie. Truth is simply a convenient veil hiding the various deceptions my characters will face. What will they face is never planned, but the enemy always seems to be just right. I had written out an army of new enemies, but my players are already broken from the last encounter so I lie and say the enemy were weakened in a previous battle. My player is having an epic moment, but the dice will not yield to the players awesomeness, so I let things pass my gaze. My dice scream at me but I deny them, for the players story matter and not its simple six sided truths.
I lie for great games, I lie for great podcasts, and I lie because sometimes, its fun to lie to see a smile on your players faces.
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