View Full Version : Ousting the DM?

2011-01-05, 05:01 PM
So I've recently joined a group, and while the DM is alright (hey, he's willing to DM) he's also... really bad at pacing and plots. He's got very little story built into it and no real emotional attachment is made. The story doesn't pull you in at all, but there are a lot of potential hooks if they were acted on.

For pacing, he threw a bunch of level 1 barbarians (using the equipment sheets found in the DMG, so they're universally better equipped than us) after 2 random encounters. We're first level, and had no cleric.

I'm seriously considering poaching his players (wouldn't really be that hard) and stealing his early story line (Barbarians stole MacGuffin), making it into a short one shot adventure for 2nd level characters. But I'm not sure if that'd be very polite, but I can probably do a good solid campaign like that.

Thrice Dead Cat
2011-01-05, 05:06 PM
Ask him first. Just say you'd be interested in running instead and see if he's okay with that.

2011-01-05, 05:06 PM
But I'm not sure if that'd be very polite[...]

That'd be outright rude, actually. These guys accepted you into their group. If you can create a campaign story out of it, awesome, thats an idea for later. In the meantime, I suggest you either deal with it or leave the group. I wouldn't just start poaching players mid-campaign, though. If you stay, maybe ask for the DM position to rotate once the campaign is done.

2011-01-05, 05:07 PM
And of course, your story will pull everyone in right away and good time will be had by all. I say go for it. You're not doing it for your personal glory and satisfaction after all, right? You're only doing this for the sake of the poor players, who are stuck with a bad DM. They need a good DM and you are it. The other DMs ideas are mishandled by his ineptitude and will be much better in your hands. It's nothing personal. Because you are more capable. Right? Riiiight?

Sarcasm aside, what you're contemplating will be a Grade A jerk move.

2011-01-05, 05:09 PM
Do you have any dming experience?

Kurald Galain
2011-01-05, 05:09 PM
But I'm not sure if that'd be very polite,
Whenever you're "not sure" if something would be very polite...

it's not.

The Big Dice
2011-01-05, 05:10 PM
I've had players poached in the past. It's not cool. Talk to the guy instead, say "You've spent ages sat behind that GM screen, how would you like a chance to be a player for a bit?"

What's the worst that can happen? Him saying No is my bet on the worst case scenario.

2011-01-05, 05:13 PM
what i would suggest is to talk to him and see what he wants to do with the campaign. then from there try and help him out, how else is he going to learn how to be a better DM if not by doing?

and i honestly agree with LOTRfan... they did bring you in and by poaching the players shows a lack of respect to the group as a whole and can be a good start to mistrust in amongst you and them.

Zeta Kai
2011-01-05, 05:24 PM
And no mention is being made of the other players here. Maybe they like his kick-in-the-door, low-plot approach. Not everyone wants or needs a high-plot, complex role-playing experience, & even I find a KITD game refleshing every once in a while (as a DM is cathartic to play a barbarian flipping out & clearing out a bar from time to time). How are you/we so sure that they're not happy? Would they be genuinely better off with the OP as their DM? Who's to say?

The bottom line is, if you wanna DM, go find a group. If you wanna play, then play. What you're proposing is not exactly like getting hired & then stealing your boss's employees, but it's not terribly dissimilar. If I were your DM, I'd feel betrayed by you for even contemplating such a move.

2011-01-05, 05:38 PM
Mid Campaign: It's not so much "Mid campaign" as "We had to reroll characters in the first session and use cheese in order to survive" which changes things to me.

The DM's attitude: I honestly wouldn't mind dealing with the issues I have, if he weren't rollplaying, Rail Roading, marginalizing non-combat aspects of our characters, and building a DM PC who's sole purpose is to troll the players. He's playing a Chaotic Stupid Gnome Bard. In a party that included people with either racial enmity with Gnomes or were racist against non-humans. Where most of us are Lawful. The DM outright cheating by having enemy equipment (like, say, their armor and weapons) vanish after we kill them, with no explanation, and have the remaining equipment become "rusty" after it was master work previously is also an issue in my mind.

Player Poaching impoliteness: At least two other players in the group are n00bies, and the others have run that campaign before and say that it doesn't really get better, you just out level what he throws at you so that it isn't an issue. I think they'd appreciate a change of pace. Which is why I noted that it would probably be pretty easy to poach said players.

Gaming style: I don't -mind- KitD. I mind his DMing style, as detailed above. I have more complaints than just "he has no plot and horrible pacing" but those are the big ones in my mind. Me DMing would still be pretty KitD, but you can still have a low plot KitD while /having a plot/ and somewhat deep world.

2011-01-05, 06:03 PM
English is not my native language, so i don't really know what poaching is. But i would certainly talk either to the DM personally first or throw it into the group (including the DM) as a whole and definitely make it sound like you want to DM because you think it might be fun and give the DM a chance to become a player (never mention you feel he is a bad DM, if you want to do that, make subtle hints about what you do and dont like) and do not make a fuss if they do not all agree on first hand, the DM might need to think about it first to realise he might enjoy being a player.

I joined a group and about a half year in it somehow came up that i asked the DM if he wanted to be a player and that we could see if anyone else wanted to DM, he blatantly said "No!". But 2 months later he did ask the group for a new DM, which i am now, because no one else wanted the job.

2011-01-05, 06:06 PM
Yup, a lot of times DM's will just "Burn out" and ask(beg) for someone else to do it. All you really have to do is wait for that to happen, maybe broach the subject "Hey guys, mind if I run for a night? I've got this super-great idea where....."

And then you insert the super-great idea for a story you've got in your head, because you DO have an idea in mind when you say you want to DM, right?

Usually the only times I've seen people fighting over who gets to DM is when I'm in a group where everyone has never DM'd before.

2011-01-05, 06:09 PM
English is not my native language, so i don't really know what poaching is.

Poaching is hunting animals illegally. In this case, it is just slang for stealing players from other DMs.

2011-01-05, 06:21 PM
you DO have an idea in mind when you say you want to DM, right?

He rolled random encounters and we had Were Rat followed by Dire Rats on the way to fight barbarians to get the Mac Guffin back. (Which we then died to) and on the way to get it again we ran into MORE rats followed by some wolves. Suffice to say I might have an idea or two for an adventure path, even if it's a one shot. :smallcool:

2011-01-05, 07:30 PM
Ok, now that you have explained the situation in more details, my opinion changed somewhat. Originally, I thought you were a jerk just for coming up with the idea. Now I don't think so anymore, but I still do think you will be a jerk to go through with it.

Real trust between real people is worth more than a game, no matter how bad the pacing and plot may be.

I suggest you work this problem out from the inside. Be a player for a while, get to know the other players and DM a bit better, build trust with them, make suggestions for improvements, lead by example. Then, you'll be in a position to offer to DM a one-shot. If it's good, it may develop into a campaign. And so on.

If this all sounds too hard for you, an alternative is to just leave.

2011-01-05, 11:48 PM
Ask him first. Just say you'd be interested in running instead and see if he's okay with that.


There's nothing wrong with swapping off DMing, but it'll come across poorly if it's sniping players instead of just chatting to him and expressing a desire to take a turn.

Most DMs also like playing, and like encouraging others to give DMing a try. Just take an open approach, and say you have a few things you'd like to try out, and it's generally not a big deal.

2011-01-06, 02:18 PM
Talk to the guy instead, say "You've spent ages sat behind that GM screen, how would you like a chance to be a player for a bit?"

What's the worst that can happen? Him saying No is my bet on the worst case scenario.

Seconding this.

I actually had a group once, I had just joined, and when I showed up everyone was like, "Woah, this dude is organized, he has like, paper for notes, and graph paper for maps, and his own character sheets" and such and meanwhile, the DM was, let's say, less than organized and enthusiastic about his position. After a first session filled with the DM spending alot of time looking things up and reading statblocks and room descriptions and such, it came up that the DM was mostly doing it cause no one else was, I mentioned I had some adventures I was kinda eager to run, Second session with the group I had taken over DMing.

Anyway, 'taking over the group' (Why does that sound so mean and nasty, it's not what I mean at all), is a better route than poaching the players for a new game. Talk about it, say you have these new ideas that you want to run, show an urge and passion to DM, ask the current DM if he'd like a break. If there's positive support from the group, run with it. If there's not, well, up to you what you're going to do, whether staying with the group, or if you're not having fun leaving it.

Ultimately if you do decide to leave and try and start up your own group, and plan on inviting people from this current group, make sure you're offering it as a 'second game night', not as with the intentions of keeping them for yourself. Schedule it on a different night as their current game night, etc.

2011-01-06, 02:21 PM
OP dude most people would rather play. just offer to DM for the group. Say you have some cool ideas you've wanted to try for a long time, and show them the sad puppy face.

2011-01-06, 03:14 PM
My first recommendation would be to do what everyone else has mentioned: ask if you can DM a few sessions. You might do better, you might do worse, but it sounds like you'd get more enjoyment out of DMing for a bit than playing in the campaign. Assuming the DM agrees.

Get your campaign ready, in either case. It wouldn't be very impressive to ask your underprepared DM to stand down just to run a game as an underprepared DM yourself.

Outside of that, might I suggest doing something radical and completely unexpected? Yes, I am thinking of that one thing the DM has not prepared for: Roleplaying your character. After all, if your character has a hatred of gnomes and dislike of crazy people, why hang out with a crazy gnome? How about visiting the local church to see if he can get some kind of help for his condition. If the barbarians have stolen the town MacGuffin and previous parties have died by the dozen, why not organize the town to help get it back? After all, it's their MacGuffin, and they should be interested in getting it back.

Or perhaps your character is lazy and refuses to get out of the cozy inn without being given so magical weaponry to help out on the quest.

2011-01-06, 03:24 PM
Seconding everyone's advice to just talk things out and slowly introduce the idea of you having a go at GMing.

Using words like 'oust' or 'poach' isn't really necessary. It's a game, not a gladiator arena or a court of intrigue. Save the drama and excitement for in-game situations and try to be patient and polite out-of-game :smallsmile:

2011-01-06, 03:54 PM
Sounds like you just have to wait for the next TPK, and then say something like "Well thats over, anyone care to try something different?"

Unless TPKs are like buses of course :smallbiggrin:

2011-01-06, 03:57 PM
We're playing cheese.

2011-01-06, 04:54 PM
Everything that needs to be said was said. Talk to him and see if there's a way you can take over or help.

No matter how much the DM's game sucks you're still a jerk if you pull that move until you've tried (earnestly) talking about it.