I have been an ST (Storyteller, the Dungeon Master of the White Wolf world) for a long time. Not consistently. No one should do it consistently. But that’s another topic. This is the story about how I became one in the first place.
I was a freshman in college. I had started LARPing all of a few months earlier, and was voraciously reading all the Vampire rulebooks and other such things (I read game systems for fun. I’m trying not to be ashamed of that). While I was reading the written material, I realized that the game I was in was not being run correctly.
See, it was a vampire game. But there were both Camarilla and Sabbat in the same game (those two factions hate each other and kill on sight). AND there were werewolf players (who hate vampires and kill on sight). All of this in the same game at the same time. It was basically a free for all.
The problem is, these groups really don’t work together. Aside from the whole “I hate you and everything you stand for” problem, the power level difference is just horribly unbalanced. Werewolves kill vampires 99/100 times. And if someone came in as an ‘evil’ vampire, the werewolves just killed him.
So I made it my mission to start murdering the werewolves. And I had it all planned out on how to do it and get away with it (I was a very cocky new player), but then something happened. During a game, someone had about $60 stolen from their coat in the coatroom. Luckily, that person (me) didn’t press charges or anything, but the college didn’t want us playing there anymore, so the game went on hiatus.
While it was on this hiatus, I wrote out an email outlining the problems in the game as I saw them. I talked about this balance issue. I talked about there needing to be something that stopped the sabbat and the camarilla from killing each other. I talked about some of the rules that needed to be fixed, loopholes that needed to be covered, that kind of thing. It was (I think) written respectfully, and as a call to arms rather than as an attack.
The STs at the time responded by saying “You think you can do better? Put your money where your mouth is. Step up as an ST.”
Which would make me the youngest ST by about 10 years, and the only one not in a certain clique that had been running the game.
Naturally, I said yes. And when I did, it was too late for them to back down. So amidst a bit of “Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” I became an ST.
At first, I was pretty sidelined, but I learned how the group worked, and I managed to sneak in little bits of the game that would be solidly mine, and we worked out a plot.
Looking back on it, they were trying to get rid of me. I was responsible for playing the NPCs who died. I was responsible for handling downtimes. They shoveled more and more responsibility on me, hoping I’d quit. And I didn’t.
So they tried one last ditch effort: They approved a bunch of ridiculous characters for themselves, then all stepped down en masse, leaving me as the only ST, rather than the group of 5 we usually had.
I brought up a friend quickly, and the two of us ran that game for about a year as the former STs tried to destroy the game as players (some people are bitter). That was not the last time I became an ST and had the rest of the crew immediately step down. But that was the only time it was out of spite directed at me.
I have another story about that group, but I’ll put it in a different post….