The Gassy Gnoll: When Did It Become Us vs. Them?

Recently I was introduced to the idea of a “DM Kill Board” where DMs or GMs could jot down the particulars surrounding the death of a PC. Level and class details are intermixed along with the circumstances of the death. And I can’t help but be a little weirded out by this trend.

Warning: Opinions AheadWhen did it become an “Us vs. Them” approach? Regardless of whether the GM kills a PC/NPC or a PC/NPC kills a favorite monster/NPC in the game, is it really something to celebrate? Sure, some deaths are a bit “Darwin Awards” at times. And I can certainly see a player lamenting the death of a favorite PC or relating the details of a particularly cool battle. But a kill list for GMs?

Am I old fashioned in my tabletop role-playing? I feel like the gaming experience is shared and that having fun and telling a good story is paramount, no matter which side of the GM screen you’re on.

Now I’m not averse to some occasional PC on PC battles, with or without the presence of a GM. Some games are built around this like good old Car Wars from Steve Jackson Games. Some of the MechWarrior/BattleTech stuff lends itself to an arena environment. And any nearly any fantasy RPG can be used in a gladiatorial battle kind of mindset. But those should be the exceptions, not the rule.

These days games like The One Ring use the concept of party harmony to enhance the experience of shared storytelling. I would hope that tabletop RPG would move towards that ideal of common goals, not away from it…

Obviously not everyone plays that way.¬†Does the “kill board” approach apply more towards a list of cautionary tales or idea fodder for some GMs? Or does it have a different purpose?

I really am curious. It’s not a mindset I’ve ever found myself in.

I want more!

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