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 didnâ€™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, â€œ barely misses youâ€. My player looked upon me and spoke the most powerful word I have ever heard, â€œCoolâ€. 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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1 comment on “I am a Wonderful Liar”
I know this is an old, old blog post, but I’m currently trying to work through the backlog of great content you all have. I just came upon your admission to lying, and I had to comment, because it is near and dear to my heart.
I lie as well… To help my players, to hurt my players, as the story demands. Always, always, lay the light of truth upon the altar of Story and offer that truth away, and take up the mantle of Liar, all in service of the great Story. Unless truth is the tool that helps the Story, in which case, wield Truth…. All in the service of Story.
In the end, my gamers know that what I tell them is malleable, but they are gracious enough to trust me to lead them to the promise of Story. And I gotta say, they love me for it.
So while yea, this is an old post that you offered, I want you to know that, like so much Fandible content, this struck a resonant chord with me. Thank you.