The Game Master is out to get you: How the GM equips multiple enemies and items as a competitive player.

One of the major changes Caleb mentioned in his recent post is that we made the GM a hostile, competitive player. No longer is the GM a grand facilitator, they are invested and they earn points every time they kill a player character (death is not permanent). So how did we do this?

We gave the GM a character sheet

Shown above is the GM’s character sheet: Ravenspeare, the primary antagonist in the campaign. The primary purpose of the player’s character sheet is to equip items. We briefly discuss equip requirements on the Character Progression page, but essentially, the colored squares on items indicate which attribute rows items can be equipped on:

A handful of items are equipped on the Agility row on the Rogue’s character sheet.

However, things with the GM are a little different. First, we have offloaded the world building away from the GM for the campaign. The GM’s focus is to defeat the players. Second, the GM isn’t controlling just one character, they are controlling many. Any time a player reveals parts of the dungeon that have enemies, those enemies become active and the GM is free to use them. Therefore, the GM doesn’t equip items directly to their character sheet. Instead, they equip enemies:

A Skeletal Mage enemy. Skeleton Artwork by Vanderforge, (not final art)

Once an enemy is revealed, the GM will receive an enemy card (shown above) that they can then equip on their character sheet. Enemy cards come in various sizes with various number of item equip squares. If the GM’s character sheet is full, then they will have to remove an existing enemy or leave the new enemy card off the character sheet. If the enemy card is not equipped, the GM cannot control the enemy.

Some enemies will arrive with equipment on them. The enemy cards themselves have no equip requirements, however, the items equipped on enemies do. Therefore, similar to players, the GM must tetris their equipment, but uniquely, the GM has to tetris their enemies as well:

Two Skeletal Mages equipped with Ice Branch wands on the Intelligence Row of the GM character sheet.

In the diagram above, the two Ice Branch wands can only be used if they are on the Intelligence row. The GM’s Intelligence value (large blue rectangle) augments the Mage’s Intelligence, providing a buff to the Skeletal Mages. The number “2” on the items indicates how much Intelligence (Blue) each Skeletal Mage is required to have to use the item. The GM does not need “2” or any value requirements to use items since their values are only for augmentation.

The character sheets are one of the unique aspects of Gambit since they function like a small mini-game. Between turns, the players and the GM can be thinking about how to orient equipment (and enemies) to maximize their use.

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