Well, I had one player who felt that a judicious offering
of chocolate would improve my mood, and thus the group's
odds of survival.
He never tried to bribe me directly, and he did the whole
thing publicly as a joke, but if a run ended on a cliffhanger,
he'd bring some good chocolate for the next run, and
cheerfully make sure I ate some before we started the game.
(Myself, I don't figure it affected the odds, but hey,
who's gonna turn down free chocolate?) <grin>
What are appropriate methods of bribing a GM?
What are appropriate bribes?
I had a player once who always brought food for the gamesmaster, or made
sure he didn't have to pay if we sent out for pizza or something. I don't
think this actually improved the player characters' survival chances; on
the other hand, it was an appreciated and, I thought, appropriate reward
for the extra work the gamesmaster has to put in.
Probably any bribe is appropriate provided it is done in front of the
other players and has the stated goal of helping the entire group of
players (eg, get the gamesmaster to run more often) or the entire group of
player characters (eg, improve their chances of survival). Any bribe
intended to benefit one particular player or character only is probably
inappropriate, and in my case would likely be refused.
I think that many good games eventually dry up because the gamesmaster no
longer finds it worth while to devote the time the game requires.
Sometimes he just quits running; other times he just puts less and less
time into it, giving the players less and less reason to play until they
finally drift off.
I frequently get the feeling that, in some of these games, paying the
gamesmaster could benefit both the gamesmaster (who could justify
continuing to run) and the players (who would get to continue to play a
game worth more to them than the money they are paying). Unfortunately,
cash payments might change the nature of the game itself in a way that
made it less enjoyable for all (for example, the gamesmaster might feel
obligated not to kill of the last major character of a paying player).
I'm curious about other opinions out there on this subject. Is
bribing/paying the gamesmaster with more than nominal gifts appropriate?
How much? Would there be detrimental or even beneficial effects on play?
The GM I run under publically states quite regularly that "the GM is
bribable"; it is then up to the player(s) to come up with an appropriate
bribe, the "worthiness" of the bribe hinging partly on how appropriate it
Things to watch for:
1) the GM's personal fave's--If a GM *loooooves* Darkwing Duck, and also
has a thing for knickknacks, finding him a Ratcatcher, still in the box,
is a good thing.
2) the game you're in/character you're playing--If you're playing Torg,
and the GM doesn't have Wars End (which is almost impossible to find
without special order around here, and even *then* it's not always easy to
find a store that will special-order >gasp< Torg. ;) ), giving him a
surprise gift of a certain module is a good thing. Also, if you happen to
find something that's incredibly in character for your charcter, *and*
will be suitably pleasing to the GM (see #1), this is a real bonus. Some
GM's also go with the "If you want to use the rules out of the Complete
Book for Left-Handed Ninjas with Food Allergies, you have to make sure the
GM owns it first--and the GM isn't about to buy it himself..." corollary.
3) The GM's preferences for games--I've arranged to GM special sessions
where the GM can play a favorite semi-retired character.
4) Many GM's have...quirky... tastes, so finding something really
off-the-wall (that isn't just trash) can go a long way.
5) Food. 'Nuff said.
6) Bribe the GM's SO. If the SO is happy, chances are the GM is happy...
In short, if you show that you put some thought into it, it'll usually go
further than if you just, for example, buy them the latest supplement for
Of course, when in doubt (or when out of ideas), large sums of cash work,
Bribes often work better when there isn't a specific end result in
mind--'tis better to ask for lenience if a situation warrants it, or for
the inclusion of items your character could possibly gain & enjoy, then to
flat out say "Here, this chocolate cake for a Holy Avenger +5 for my
Paladin." This also allows GM's with a conscience to accept "bribes,"
since it just means they aren't doing anything they wouldn't do
anyway--like fudging dice, allowing a single reroll when a situation
warrants it, inserting special items geared for certain characters in the
One caveat, however; too *much* bribery can have a negative effect, as you
can lose the GM's respect ("Oh, he's just trying to bribe me again. When
will he learn to occasionally let his character take a few lumps?"), as
well as that of the players ("There he goes paying off the GM again. Lets
go find a more fair group.")
(A second caveat--don't bribe someone with something they already have...)
Aardy R. DeVarque
Feudalism: Serf & Turf
who is bribeable, but has never had anyone take him up on it.
>Writing out a game session in a nice form often tickles the GM,
>especially if you make them a copy. I guess this is a bribe, but
>a much more subtle one than money or even chocolate.
IMO this is the best complement a GM can receive, as it shows the players were
actually interested enough in the game to remember it, then commit some time of
their own to it.
Mark Thomas - tho...@capitol.com (work) - tho...@clark.net (home)
"You can't manage creativity, all you can do is give it a place to work."
Had a GM once who considered a Tootsie Roll (the giant foot-long
kind) to be his rightful due. Somebody obligingly bought him a
Tootsie Roll for each game session, to ensure that he was in a
benevolent mood. In practice, the Tootsie Roll was broken up
and shared in the course of the game session. (Are game sessions
just an excuse to consume junk food?)
He also kept order by threatening to hit people with the Tootsie
England expects that every man will do his duty.
-- Lord Horatio Nelson
Battle of Trafalgar
>What are appropriate methods of bribing a GM?
>What are appropriate bribes?
Male or female GM? or is that another thread? :)
A semi-famous quote in one of my college gaming groups was :
Player: "I attack the demon with my +20 sword of super slaying!"
GM: "It laughs."
Player: "I give the GM the rest of my pizza."
GM: <munch, munch> "It dies"
On a side note, I'm not sure if this was a quote of somebody I should be
giving credit for it, or was made up by one of our members. If you know
who said it first, please post it.
So obviously, the three classic GM bribes are, in no particular order
If you want to get more serious than that, you should maybe see a
therapist. It's a game, man. :)
As to methods, thats a style decision. I would never interfere with your
roleplaying to that extent. :)
Take two GMs, who play in each other's campaign. If, as a GM, I give my
counterpart's character a starring role in my campaign, I could hope for
better treatment when I play in the other campaign.
Note that such an unspoken arrangement need not necessarily involve dice
fudging or gifting characters with large magic watsits. The "bribe"
could be as subtle as giving the character a central role in the
The views expressed here are mine, and not those of the Commonwealth
Department of Primary Industries and Energy.
Bribes should not involve threat of bodily harm or inconvenience to the
GM in RL. These have their uses, but are more properly termed
'threats', such as, "Hey, how were you getting home tonight, Chris?"
It is also considered somewhat poor manners to offer to allow the GM to
sleep with your girlfriend. A, your girlfriend will most likely punch
you in the head. B, other players will feel left out.
> What are appropriate bribes?
Numbered swiss bank accounts are universally prized.
'Sometimes what you have to say is going to get right in the faces
of the powerful people who really run this world. But you don't
care....It's your place to challenge authority...'
The artistically inclined can do illustrations, though you need to
avoid "No, it's *nothing* like that" reactions.
Writing out a game session in a nice form often tickles the GM,
especially if you make them a copy. I guess this is a bribe, but
a much more subtle one than money or even chocolate.
My Berkeley group, admittedly, got some milage out of taking me to
dinner after the game. Be sure to pick a restaraunt where the staff
will not call the police when they overhear you planning to blow
up an oil refinery, though!
Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu
In a previous article, bj...@cornell.edu (Bryan J. Maloney) says:
>What are appropriate methods of bribing a GM?
>What are appropriate bribes?
Pizza. Lots and lots of pizza. Soft drinks. Free miniatures
and/or paints. Concert tickets. Get creative. :)
There was an article in an April issue of Dragon about 3 years ago about
cheating and GM bribery. I think it was the one with the Valkyrie riding
the donkey on the front.
> (Myself, I don't figure it affected the odds, but hey,
> who's gonna turn down free chocolate?) <grin>
I'm afraid I'd have to turn down the chocolate, at least if it's
made with real cocoa. I'm allergic to the stuff - makes me break out
in a rash.
In my case, a large pizza and a six-pack of cola works wonders...
> What are appropriate methods of bribing a GM?
> What are appropriate bribes?
Well, I don't think outright bribing the GM is kosher. However, it's
always a good idea to be 'nice' to the GM in the same way as you should be
'nice' to a designated driver on a night on the town. Little things like
providing drinks/snacks and letting him/her know that the work put into it
is appreciated. Helping to keep the storyline going is also a great way
to get into a GM's favor. I've had a few players over the years that on
occasion worked against me, usually just to playfully get under my skin.
Let's just say that making the GM's job easier helps to make your life
On a similar note, I have been known to use bribing to railroad the
players into a particular adventure I'm excited about. Chocolate chip
cookies are the key:
GM: "The forest seems much darker and gloomer in the area you just
entered. You have a sense of forboding."
Player: *munch* *munch*
GM: "You stop with a cold chill down your spine as you notice a column of
ghostly apparitions crossing the path 25 yards ahead of you. They take no
notice of you. As the last leaves the path, you notice the overgrown
path they are following."
Player: "I remember the last time we followed spirits. *moan* Let's ignore
them and continue on."
GM: "Hmm. The path looks real interesting...By the way, those were good
cookies weren't they?"
Player: "Uh, yeah. Hey! Now that you mention it, one of those ghost
looked like my deceased Aunt Mable. Let's go!"
A temporally displaced Bill Nitsche (bnit...@u.washington.edu)
hobbit Oceanography, University of Washington
: I had a player once who always brought food for the gamesmaster, or made
: sure he didn't have to pay if we sent out for pizza or something. I don't
: think this actually improved the player characters' survival chances; on
: the other hand, it was an appreciated and, I thought, appropriate reward
: for the extra work the gamesmaster has to put in.
The term for this in our gaming group is "snackrifice".
Flattery is good.
Food is better.
Sex is best.
(I've only got the first two and a certain amount of flirting, but a man can
hope can't he?)
Actor and Genius
AKA Theophilus Prince Archbishop of the Far Isles
Motto Nulla Spes Sit in Resistando (Resistance is Uslesss)
Ask me about the Far Isles Medieval Society:
Better Living through Pan-Medieval Anachronisms.
This is the God's-honest-truth(tm). I pay a compliment or two to my GM
and he lets me have a lot more role-playing time than my character (who
is really unfit for the game but I don't want a new one) might otherwise
On the flip side, I have yet to have someone bribe me ;-(. I guess I am
not mean enough...Thanks to all who responded. Now I know what I should
be asking for. :-)
Unrepentant Rationalist "It is hard to be tolerant when intolerance rages
about me." "A hug is worth a thousand declarations of love." "Security +
Freedom = 0, and I prefer Freedom" "The meek shall inherit the earth, and
the bold will go to the stars" - Heinlein
The Religious Right aren't, and Scientific Creationism isn't.
My suggestion for Lockheed Martin's next slogan:
"Lockheed Martin, we make things that go BOOM!"
In a previous article, bnit...@u.washington.edu ("W. Nitsche") says:
>On Wed, 28 Aug 1996, Bryan J. Maloney wrote:
>> What are appropriate methods of bribing a GM?
>> What are appropriate bribes?
>Well, I don't think outright bribing the GM is kosher. However, it's
>always a good idea to be 'nice' to the GM in the same way as you should be
>'nice' to a designated driver on a night on the town. Little things like
>providing drinks/snacks and letting him/her know that the work put into it
>is appreciated. Helping to keep the storyline going is also a great way
>to get into a GM's favor. I've had a few players over the years that on
>occasion worked against me, usually just to playfully get under my skin.
>Let's just say that making the GM's job easier helps to make your life
Yeah, it's always nice to know that your work as GM is appreciated.
When I play (not often enough!) I always try to make a point of letting the
GM know how much I enjoyed the session (not easy to do when a beloved
character dies, but...), how I am looking forward to the next one, etc.
I've had many players tell me they enjoyed the session, I've been
treated to pizza a good number of times, etc. I even had a player give me
a really nice (and huge!) Takhisis miniature. (Now if only I had a player
who had won the Necromunda tournament :) ). But, IHMO, the best reward is
when you hear them talking about it later, or telling stories to friends or
on the net.
Not really a bribe, but a nice addition.
>In article <503fcj$r...@nntp4.u.washington.edu>,
> mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu (Mary K. Kuhner) wrote:
>>Writing out a game session in a nice form often tickles the GM,
>>especially if you make them a copy. I guess this is a bribe, but
>>a much more subtle one than money or even chocolate.
>IMO this is the best complement a GM can receive, as it shows the players were
>actually interested enough in the game to remember it, then commit some time of
>their own to it.
Oh, I don't know. The best compliment I've ever received from my
players was the time that two of them told me I had given them
nightmares after the last game.
My puppy: "Pillow? What pillow? Oh, you mean *this* pillow!
would you like to share a pillow?"
=Bryan J. Maloney wrote:
=> What are appropriate methods of bribing a GM?
=Bribes should not involve threat of bodily harm or inconvenience to the
=GM in RL. These have their uses, but are more properly termed
='threats', such as, "Hey, how were you getting home tonight, Chris?"
=It is also considered somewhat poor manners to offer to allow the GM to
=sleep with your girlfriend. A, your girlfriend will most likely punch
=you in the head. B, other players will feel left out.
For B, you could always suggest to the other players that they
could let the GM sleep with *their* girlfriends, too.
Doesn't the fact that there are *exactly* fifty states seem a little suspicious?
George W. Harris gha...@dur.mindspring.com
=My experience is that flattery will get your further than bribery,
=because it's less obvious. Figure out what parts of the game really
=please or excite your GM, then work out a truthful and well-targetted
=compliment or two involving those parts. For example, if they're
=proud of their NPCs, making a comment that shows you've spent time and
=energy trying to understand the NPCs can be a real pleaser.
I can state from experience that this works. I joined an
ongoing Champions campaign, in which, unbeknownst to any of
the players, one of the recurring minor NPCs was a vampire. I
gave my character, not even knowing for certain that undead
existed in this world, the power Sense Undead, and the limitation
Enraged by Undead. Needless to say, he was quite pleased with
this development, and the character was treated quite well in the
Of course, this was all unintentional, which no doubt
made it more effective.
=Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu
=My Berkeley group, admittedly, got some milage out of taking me to
=dinner after the game. Be sure to pick a restaraunt where the staff
=will not call the police when they overhear you planning to blow
=up an oil refinery, though!
That shouldn't have been to hard, in Berkeley.
>=It is also considered somewhat poor manners to offer to allow the GM to
>=sleep with your girlfriend. A, your girlfriend will most likely punch
>=you in the head. B, other players will feel left out.
> For B, you could always suggest to the other players that they
>could let the GM sleep with *their* girlfriends, too.
Speaking as a GM, what if I find the assorted girlfriends revolting?
Is there a back-up bribe?
One or more six-packs of the GM's favorite beverage
Fresh bagels and whipped cream cheese
We also once bribed an out of work GM by passing the hat. On the one
hand, our results were as successful as our planning deserved (which was
pretty successful). On the other hand, it cheapened the adventure, IMO,
because we were never sure that it was our good planning and play that had
worked, or the lousy $36.
Actually, I was always sure it was the planning and play. A lot of the
other players were clueless in that campaign, but my problem was never in
not knowing what to do; it was in convincing the others that that
"dangerous" action was right.
The opinions expressed are my own, not those of the ImagiNation Network
That could get the entire group killed! Er, in RL!
Sometimes what you say is going to get right in the faces of the
powerful people who really run this world, but you don't care....
It's your place to chellenge authority.
Pizza is nearly a universal commodity.
> On the other hand, it cheapened the adventure, IMO,
>because we were never sure that it was our good planning and play that had
>worked, or the lousy $36.
Trust me... it was your planning... any good GM knows, take bribes from
competent players so they think they survived by bribery... when it wasn't
even nessicary!!!! heheheheh... we GMs are sooooooooo evil...