Smoke and Mirrors

Hi players.  I am here to let you know how to destroy every Pathfinder or D&D game ever devised by your GM.  You can thank me later by breaking one of my games using these simple rules!  You see, to make an interesting adventure we GM’s like to use smoke and mirrors to obfuscate what is actually going on.  We like to keep up this charade for as long as we can so the final reveal hits home as hard as possible.  To defuse the tools of the GM and be in complete control Pathfinder and D&D give you a couple of tools that make being a GM as thankless a job as being a fine dining critic and only being allowed to review McDonald’s outlets.

smoke and mirrors
Smoke and mirrors smashed…

Skills are your friend!

You see, the big thing in Pathfinder and D&D is that you get a skill based and a level based system all in one.  That means you get to level up and get powers that way PLUS you can max out skills that destroy the every day GM’s toolkit.  In both of these games, you can even choose feats that make it just that little bit easier for you to bring your GM to a babbling incoherent mess.  You see the GM generally relies on hiding objects and the truth from you to build the plot they want to portray.

Both of these systems provide you with skills to spot and determine the truth from NPC’s.  You see, if the GM is hiding things from you then you will want to have a character that is super good at perception in Pathfinder or D&D.  Then, the other normal trick that we GM’s use to obfuscate the truth is to have naughty NPC’s lie to you!  Fancy that!  Well, don’t worry – in Pathfinder you just need to make sure your sense motive skill is nice and high or insight in D&D is your go-to place.


But don’t stop there.  If these are just at maximum ranks or ability for your level then the GM may have an edge.  Make sure that your character has the highest Wisdom possible and if you are using feats boost the skills that way!  Honestly, you can have a starting level 1 character rolling a d20 with a +12 to +13 to the roll!  The GM will be powerless against you!  Laugh at his futile attempts to hide material from you.  Watch him squirm and twist as he tries to hide the fact that the NPC before you offering aid is, in fact, the mastermind behind it all.

Core Mechanics

Turn the core mechanics against your GM.  If you are playing in these games make sure you know the precise rules for sense motive.  Don’t let your GM get away with bumping up Wisdom scores or hit dice of his NPC’s.  After all, the GM has probably got the adventure scaled to a level appropriate to yours, it is not your fault that the rules are so flawed you can defeat any DC with a single roll.  Blast through those smoke and mirrors.  The GM is a fan of yours and will let it happen, after all, what choice do they have.

Once the smoke clears

Then you have to deal with the mirrors!  While the GM is reeling they are going to try and be inventive on trying to force you to play their well-prepared adventure.  They will introduce illusions and illusionists to the mix.  Do not let them get the upper hand.  You will need to make sure your Wisdom save (D&D) or Will save (Pathfinder) is ready for this trickery.

Illusions in these games need to be interacted with – so make sure you touch everything – it gives you a save.  You can boost these saves with magical items and feats so make sure you use these wisely,  Never let your GM be in control, always maintain the upper hand!

Nobody likes an interesting, well thought out adventure anyway.  Everyone knows that all we want to do is win.  No matter the cost.  Keep on rolling.

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  1. Hi players. I’m writing to warn you not to trust this article. It’s a cunning plan to lure players into believing they know what’s going on.

    If your GM is handing out information to you, then one of two things is happening. Either the adventure doesn’t actually depend on “smoke and mirrors” (but instead on storytelling or action).

    Or – and this is worse – your GM wants you to know stuff. This should concern you. Trust me. As a GM, I’m usually highly disappointed when my players fail a perception or sense motive check. That’s a lost opportunity to feed my players “important” information that they “need”. So, if your GM is pretending to curse your latest successful perception roll, don’t trust what he tells you. It’s probably just enough information to get you even further into trouble.

    Just remember, your GM may not be in control, but you still can’t trust them. Just keep on rolling.


    1. This is unequivocally the best statement about RPG’s I have seen in a long time…


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