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This e-book is all about how game group fuck things up, and how to avoid it, or fix it up. The reason for this is that it's something game books don't talk about much, but gamers themselves talk about constantly, on web forums, in person, after the death of a game group and while forming a new group. The two basic questions are:

How do I get a decent game group?

Once I've got them, how do I keep them?

If those questions are answered for a roleplayer, then everything else is simple by comparison.

Game groups do not bugger up because of the wrong game rules, or the wrong setting, but because of the people in the group. Most problems could have been avoided, and can be fixed up, simply by talking to each-other. So that's the basic message of this book: talk to each-other.

That's going to be the tone of the whole thing. Casual, and most of it obvious. When you read a non-fiction book, it'll only tell you four kinds of things,


  • Something you didn't know, and agree with (or don't object to);
  • Something you didn't know, and disagree with;
  • Something you knew already, and it seems obvious to you;
  • Something you knew already, but you didn't know it until it was put into words for you.


This book aims to tell you mostly the last two things. It is not revolutionary, and contains no great and innovative and profound insight into human nature. It just takes normal observations of an experienced roleplayer and puts them all together in a more or less organised form. A bunch of obvious things, if put together well, can together give you better understanding than all those things spread all over the place.

The basic idea of it is that roleplaying is a social creative hobby . The "social" part is the prerequisite for the "creative" part; a good game group can make even a crap game fun, but a bad game group cannot make even a good game fun. So Cheetoism deals mainly with the "social" aspect of gaming.

Some of the following text first appeared in d4-d4 Main Book. I don't mean to repeat myself, it's just that I got it right the first time. Why change it? Just build on it.


The Thursday Nighters

Throughout the book I will refer to an imaginary game group. They're the Thursday-nighters. They are Anna, Bob, Charlie, Dave, and Erika. They are based on bits and pieces of real people, and their stories are, too.


Anna is a university student, and Army Reservist, and lives in a uni college with a room to herself. She's not supposed to have visitors after 8pm. This is rarely enforced, but four other rowdy gamers would probably be pushing it. She is short but of medium build. She is friendly and extroverted, likes all the crunchy detail of games, and is searching for the perfectly realistic game.

Bob is a student, too, and lives with his parents 30 minutes along the train line from the uni. They have a large house, space in the garage and a spare bedroom they never use. He is a big guy, um, "big-boned." He is a bit shy but open and honest, and likes games with magic. He is always well-dressed and clean, and his mum even irons his underpants for him. No-one is sure if he shaves every day or just has no facial hair whatsoever.

Charlie is an accountant, he lives about an hour on the train from the city, but works in the city, where the university is. He has a decent-sized home with his wife and two children (4 and 2 years old). Charlie swims and has shoulders like a marble mantlepiece. He is steady and serious, and likes games with guns.

Dave is a chef, and works in the city, but lives 20 minutes away, in the opposite direction away from the city compared to Bob. He has his own one-bedroom flat, only a kitchenette but a decent-sized loungeroom. Dave is a little runt. He's a bit distractible, and says, "a character's just a piece of paper, who cares about motivation and if they die."

Erika no-one is really sure what she does, holistic art therapy psychic tarot readings or some damn thing, but anyway she has no official workplace, and shares a 3-bedroom flat with two couples five minutes from the city. She says that the couples are always out, and she has "a huge kitchen table." Erika's size is uncertain as she is always clad in velvet. She is a social munchkin – all her characters are intelligent, beautiful, persuasive, etc.

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