(Written for Game Geek 14.)
When in the Course of gaming events it becomes necessary for players to dissolve the roleplaying bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of Oerth, the separate and equal station to which the Rule of Fun and of Fun’s Arbiter entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of gamerkind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all gamers are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Dice, Frivolity and the pursuit of Fun. — That to secure these rights, Game Groups are instituted among Gamers, deriving their just powers from the consent of the gamemastered, — That whenever any Form of Gamemastery becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Gamers to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Game Group, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Free Time and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Game Groups long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that gamerkind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a Game Master, and to provide new House Rules for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Game Groups; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Gamemastery. The history of the present Game Master is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these Players. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Rules, the most wholesome and necessary for the gaming good.
He has forbidden his Players to write Backgrounds of interesting and useful game hooks; and when so written, he has utterly neglected to use them.
He has canceled Game Sessions repeatedly and without advanced notice, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the gamers.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Rules for establishing nonarbitrary Difficulty Classes.
He has made Players dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their characters, and the amount and payment of their XP awards, causing them to languish without advancement.
He has kept among us, in times of unnecessity, Standing NPCs that hoggeth the glory without the Consent of our gamers.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our group, and unacknowledged by our house rules; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For nerfing large numbers of spells and class features frequently used among us:
For protecting monsters, by choosing only those invulnerable to the class features of our characters:
He has constrained our fellow Player Characters taken Captive by high Enchantments to bear Arms against their Allies, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Game Master, whose style is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the game master of a free game group.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Gaming brethren. We have appealed via Chat Rooms and Discussion Boards to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity, claiming that the GM is like unto God.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united Groups of Gaming, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the campaign world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Groups, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Groups are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent Groups, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Bad Game Master, and that all gaming connection between them and the Bad Game Master, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Groups, they have full Power to search for a new Game Master and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Gamers may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Share of the pizza money, and our sacred Honor.