Let me say that again, just so that you and I are on the same fvcking page:
I am an assh0le. Before I get to how much of an assh0le I can be, let me say this: I am not an enthusiastic, gleeful assh0le; I do not go out of my way to look for reasons to be one. I do not start conversations in order to mousetrap people into failing; I do not go off just because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. In short, if I am being an assh0le, there is a reason. I am in regards to the campaign exceedingly time-limited when it comes to responding to a specific person about a specific item. You know already how well I can write; you have probably also realized by now that I am not innately a courteous person. This is the entire reason for my emphasis here: because I do want my players to understand me, but I do not want my players to take how I say what I say personally. I need to say what I have to say quickly, concisely, and quite basically with a minimum of bullsh!t - which means that the politesse I normally use as a player takes a back seat to the clarity I need to possess as a GM. So now let's take a look at how I can be an assh0le, and why.
I will not coddle you. I will not automatically be careful not to insult your tender-wender feelings. I will kick your ass when you're being a schmuck, I will kick your head when you're being a pedant, and I will kick you out of the game if you deliberately wind me up. If you don't need any of those things done to you, you will find that I generally like people, that I'm a laugh riot, that I don't take myself too seriously, and that I can take an insult like a champ. But make sure you're wearing your big-boy/girl pants if you want to play with me as the GM, dammit.
I run with an eye towards realism. That doesn't make my game a slavish image of reality, and that won't make this a simulation instead of a game, but someone who uses ass-backwards logic in the vein of 'well, the X here could be anything, it's a fantasy X with magic' is going to get Gibbs-slapped the first time they say it, and b!tch-slapped the second - because fantasy games like this one have their core roots in what we as humans know. Brevoy and the River Kingdoms are a blend of late- and post-Renaissance Spain and France, adding a touch of robber-baron and bandit king to it; Galt is France during the worst of the Revolution, where anything you say might be reported to the evil guy in charge who may well subsequently denounce you as a spy and have you tried and executed. Nobles have a vested interest in seeing the commoners kept in their place, even if the commoners aren't their commoners. You can spurn these things, but doing so will have consequences - and those consequences can mean you getting executed for giving offense to a royal person.
I do not play your character - only the rest of the world. This means that you control what your character does, I do not. What I do control and dictate is how the rest of the world reacts to your charater. If you diss the princess, the nobles around her take affront on her behalf. You might get repeatedly challenged to duels. You might be seized by the royal guard for lèse-majesté, taken out back, and be executed for the treason under which that class of actions is defined. I don't dictate what you do; I only dictate what the rest of the world does in reaction to what you do. Heal a person? Defend a town? Slay a marauding dragon? They love you, your reputation grows. Start throwing fireballs around the tavern - or the town? Well, they don't love you, but your reputation DOES grow; just not the sort of reputation you might want. Especially understand that the 'Common-Man' sensibilities of the game -- pretty much any game -- are not the same as the sensibilities that emerge from having lived in modern times, without nobility with the power and obligation of High and Low Justice, or whatever the game happens to be. If you do not or cannot understand this incredibly important core element to roleplaying outside of modern reality, none of my games are going to be for you; I encourage you to play with me, not under me.
I write the way I want myself, my character, or the world to be viewed. I write so that both you and I can enjoy reading what I wrote. It is a statement of fact that I still return to scenes I have written in years (and, at this point, decades) past to enjoy the story and the writing there. I also write very, very well for an amateur, and I've been trying to break into the pro scene (if I can get at least one of my ten different projects done), but it means that I write well. And I check my writing before posting it. And I tend to use word selection specifically for its implications and impact. (Subtlety is my friend, though it may not be yours.) The more you write, the more you learn to write; the better you write, the more people want to play with you. It is my hope that you write well for this campaign, and if you don't write well, that you will Learn To Write Well - and then do so.
I want you to have fun. Being a player means wanting your character to do Cool Sh!t(TM). That means Spotlight Time - you know, the moment in the game where you do Cool Sh!t(TM)? That's when the spotlight is on you and your character, and you do your Cool Sh!t(TM). That spotlight can move fast - there's a lot of characters that are going to be here - but if you want to try some wild-ass stunt, then by all means, try your wild-ass stunt. I am, in fact, here to facilitate your wild-ass stunts. I am also here to provide you with Object Lessons on why wild-ass stunts are wild-ass, because when you fail, you look like a wild ass. (And if it's a wild-ass stunt, then I think there should be a reasonable chance of you failing - but I'm pretty sure we'll figure out together what 'reason' in such a case means.) But I'm also here to cheer when your wild-ass stunt succeeds, and reward you appropriately for managing to pull it off, you crazy kid.
I will be flexible - within reason. If I have a set-piece I need to run you through, then you will encounter that set-piece no matter where you go - Mivon, Daggermark, or Absalom. However, if you try to hie yourself all the way to Absalom or some other place that is clearly well out of the campaign expectations (e.g. the River Kingdoms and environs), then I reserve the right to be a bit cross about it, and Gibbs-slap you for making me twist reality not only into a pretzel, but into a Moebius strip in order to make everything work because of your ludicrous craptastic journey to Absalom just because your oats are up and you want to have a go at the Starstone.
I want to have fun too. I am not going to get involved in huge arguments about politics, an off-the-wall interpretation of a rule that depends on how you define one word, or whatever. I am open-minded, and I know what I don't know - to wit, much of the system. However, I've been playing and running pen-and-paper RPGs for over thirty years, and so I can smell a bullsh!t attempt at sixty paces. You have one (1) chance - that means two (2) posts max, and maybe one (1) post - to convince me of a rule interpretation. If I say no, roll with it, and try again the next time, because the next time I may agree with you for a myriad of reasons. Like I said above about realism and playing the rest of the world, though, it means that for the most part, 'usual consequences' will be usual. What I said above about you having fun means that I WILL adapt the game to the wild stunts you crazy kids try to pull off - either through consequences due to your failures, or amazement due to your successes. But if I start approaching this game with trepidation, if the moment I see '3 new messages' I get a sour feeling in my gut, I will locate the cause of my upset and I will make it not be a cause of upset any more, either through telling the offender to get their act together, or removing them from the game for not having done so. Because I want to have fun too.
And because I am an assh0le. I reserve lots of rights - the right to Gibbs-slap you, to tell you you're being a schmuck or a pedant, to ask you what drugs you're smoking if you think you can use two lances at once during a charge, to take a phone book to you if you think your special snowflake deserves special treatment. I especially reserve the right to kick your butt out if you not only go out into left field, but stay out there and scream and whine and cry and tell me I'm being unfair for doing all of the things I've already warned you right above this very statement that I was going to do. I also reserve the right to run a howling good game, to write like a poet (and to write entirely new poetry appropriate to the game), to make pugnacious NPCs, to make you fear for your character's life, to run you ragged, and to try to make this the best game ever played on Paizo.com.
And I'm setting out to finish this game, not just start it. And hoo-boy, what a finish. Do you feel like going up against a god? You do? Great, because that's just the opening part of Act 6's main attraction.
Now, you got all that? You did? And you're still here? Smokin'. Go put together a character, and let's go make fvckin' magic.