-title quote: Obi Wan Kenobi
Apparently not. -Anakin Skywalker
It's something we probably would rather not discuss. Probably the one thing that, were we droids, we would not mind wiping from memory. Those of us who have GMed for a long time have certainly made many mistakes. For the benefit of new GMs, let's share some of the past decisions we've made that we really regret.
Allowing too many modifications/alterations or whatever, based on back story.
OK, here's an incident I referred to in another thread. I was the first to GM d20 Star Wars for my group. During character creation, one player asked if his Force Adept could have as his simple weapon, a staff that collapses into a compact canister, inspired by the Rangers' Minbari fighting pikes in Babylon 5. It wasn't much of a change. It basically allowed him to have a melee weapon (and not a powerful one at that) that was more highly concealable than its standard version. So far, I have no regrets about allowing it.
What happened next, I have no excuse for. Another player, who had a Jedi Guardian, wanted to take this modification a step (OK, a few steps) farther. He decided to base his character on the Minbari warrior caste. Here is where I lost all sense of reason. First I let him select a double bladed instead of standard beginning lightsaber. Then, I let him convince me to allow a mod for a red blade that did more damage (which took on his word, but realized it was from a d6 unofficial sourcebook). Finally, and probably the worst, I let him add a fighting pike mod where the saber had solid sleeves that extended out from the handle, making it a solid staff instead. (essentially giving it a non-lethal setting)
Now you might think that adding a damage bonus is worse than letting him change it into a less powerful weapon, but the real negative in doing this was the impact it had on the group. At the very least, I should have asked Player 1 if he minded Player 2 utilizing an aspect of his idea. What ended up happening was that Player 1, whose idea stemmed from adding a certain flavor to his character, had his idea one-upped by Player 2, who already had a huge advantage in combat to begin with.
In retrospect, what a dumb move. At the time, I just didn't want to say "no." And I didn't have to exactly say "no" but perhaps I should have said "not yet." Oh, and as for the back story part, Player 2 had read many of the B5 books, and relayed various cultural reasons why the "Minbari" Jedi would have red lightsabers. In retrospect, it appears that this back story was reverse engineered to justify a bonus.
I am happy to report that both players still get along, and I am still asked to GM the games.
We live and learn.
OK, your turn. Let's make this a safe space to help new GMs learn from our mistakes. (I have plenty more to share in time)