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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    furious What to do about my bad DM

    Really, theres nothing worse than a bad DM. A bad player can make everyone cringe, but a good DM can take in game steps to counteract such a nuisance. A friend of mine has started up a campaign, and were about 6 sessions into it. At first I thought he was merely an inexperienced DM, but now he has taken some actions which can only be interpreted as downright boopholery.

    Alright, to give some background on the campaign. A ship has crashed into our lovely fantasy world, and now there are high tech monsters running about trying to find the survivors of said ship. This translates into enemies with some really powerful, high damage abilities. Since we can simply loot the weaponry from the fallen enemies, this hasn't been much of a problem, though it has resulted in high casualties.

    The boopholery started after my second character, a Sorcerer, my first being a Warblade, bit the dust. The survivors of the crashed ship were capturing us for reasons unknown. The DM first began to get angry after one of our characters killed several of the ships crew members in resisting capture. It was after this that my Elan Psion was introduced as a unconscious captive of the crew.

    So, when the crew revived my character form his unconscious state, I started manifesting powers, all purely defensive in nature. (Levitate and Inertial Armor) The DM then had the 8 or so armed crew in the room firing at me with 4d6 DMG rifles. Now put yourself in his situation, he is a frail psion with low hp, he has been captured by creatures that do not speak any language he understands wielding technology that would seem terrifying to such a technologically unadvanced culture. So when they didnt stop firing, I let loose an Energy burst and wiped every alien in the room. This apparently wrecked most of the plot.

    The DM was furious, and fined everyone in the party 2000 xp while also alignment shifting me to Chaotic Evil. Then he invented a way to kill my Psion. That was the end of that session, but the punishments didn't end there. He made us take a quiz on some rules from a rulebook no one in the party owned and threatened to fine everyone in the party 1000 xp for every person that got it wrong, claiming we had cheated by making some small mistakes beforehand. He's also instituted a 100 xp fine for the whole party if one of us annoys him, and he went through our equipment to make sure we hadn't cheated on equipment purchases, threatening further xp penalties. Only two members of the party, myself included, have more than a few months of DnD under our belts and I think such things could be destructive to their future interest in this great game.

    Man it felt good to get that out. Ranting aside, what can be done about my bad DM. Im thinking of just flat out quitting the campaign, but hes still my friend. Anyone who has dealt with a similar problem, please chime in. should I let him now how hes ticking off everyone in the party or should I just quit?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Tell him he shold go slow on the PC killing, unless the story IS about party kill.
    And tell him he can't keep giving xp penalty for silly reasons.
    If all fails, tell him you are not playing with him anymore. Find another DM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Step 1: Buy this:




    Step 2: Introduce step 1 to DM.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    No plot will survive contact with the players, but every adventure and plotline has to. That's inexperienced and/or bad DMing (especially considering your character was attacked with lethal force and you defeated the enemies - that's what you're supposed to do in D&D).

    The quizzing, threatening, and XP fining is completely out of line. Why are you guys letting this person be a DM? Tell him (as a group) he's not one anymore, and have someone else do it. Heck, not playing has to be better than playing with this guy.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Run to the hills!

    Seriously, that has got to be one of the worst DM-stories on this board, since LankyBugger's gun nut. I wouldn't keep playing that campaign.
    Last edited by Ashes; 2007-03-08 at 04:33 AM.
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Tell him he's being a douche (I'd suggest coaching it in diplomatic language). I mean, a quiz on the rules? What the hell?

    The credo of the GM is to make sure that everyone is having fun. That overrides any other rule or guideline. You might want to let him know that as well.

    If that doesn't work, vote with your feet.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    At this point I'd say "find a new DM".

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Yeah. Why are you playing with this guy, again?

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Eh, he's my friend, even if he is behaving like a jerk. I've decided to quit the campaign, theres no call for such behavior. Especially since he brought all that upon himself. The real problem lies in that my regular, who is probably the best DM I've ever had, is a college professor with a family and can't devote very much time to his campaign. My friends campaign is the only one I know besides my main that I can play at the moment.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Worst. DM. Evah.

    Hehehe, you should get him involved in this thread. We want a piece of that one, he's like, a brand new monster type!

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    Tell him he shold go slow on the PC killing, unless the story IS about party kill.
    And tell him he can't keep giving xp penalty for silly reasons.
    If all fails, tell him you are not playing with him anymore. Find another DM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wippit Guud View Post
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    Step 2: Introduce step 1 to DM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    No plot will survive contact with the players, but every adventure and plotline has to. That's inexperienced and/or bad DMing (especially considering your character was attacked with lethal force and you defeated the enemies - that's what you're supposed to do in D&D).

    The quizzing, threatening, and XP fining is completely out of line. Why are you guys letting this person be a DM? Tell him (as a group) he's not one anymore, and have someone else do it. Heck, not playing has to be better than playing with this guy.
    These guys said everything that needed to be said. I don't think I have ever heard of a worse DM. Do DMs this bad even exist? I thought they were a myth!
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    First off talk to him. Just sit down and tell him what you were thinking when you blasted the survivors. From the DMs point of view you were acting like an idiot for the sole purpose of disrupting his plot. I mean you were a physically weak psion who was low on hp why on earth wouldn't you surrender?

    All I'm saying is that you need to see things from his perspective. He put allot of energy into this campaign and it might seem to him that you were just being horribly unreasonable and he just wanted to lash out at you. DMs can be just as childish and prone to misperseptions as the players and coming to him and talking it out is a good way to get started on getting him to mature as a DM.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Name_Here View Post
    I mean you were a physically weak psion who was low on hp why on earth wouldn't you surrender?
    Uh. Because he obviously was tough enough to take the attacks and still kill them all? Why would he surrender?

    And perspective has nothing to do with it. The XP penalties and other *******ry are just that - *******ry.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Find a game here on GiantITP instead. Or be the DM yourself. DMing ain't easy, but the reaction of your friend is too much and should NOT be tolerated. You should try speaking with him first though.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Name_Here View Post
    First off talk to him. Just sit down and tell him what you were thinking when you blasted the survivors.
    This won't work. It's pretty obvious that this DM is beyond listening to reason. The DM is indulging in some kind of personal sci-fi wish-fulfillment thing, and the players are there merely to stroke his ego and bask in the warm glow of his creative genius.

    Any attempt to say anything other than "I was wrong, you were right" would most likely be seen as a challenge to his authority and an attempt by a player to assert power over "his" plot.

    Best option is to walk away, find another DM or start another group.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Name_Here View Post
    All I'm saying is that you need to see things from his perspective. He put allot of energy into this campaign and it might seem to him that you were just being horribly unreasonable and he just wanted to lash out at you. DMs can be just as childish and prone to misperseptions as the players and coming to him and talking it out is a good way to get started on getting him to mature as a DM.
    I have all of the sympathy in the world for DM's whose plots get messed up because players do unexpected things - it has happened to me on numerous occations. But that's just part of being a DM and if you can't deal with it you shouldn't be a DM. If the DM said something along the lines of "Oh no, I wasn't expecting that, lets call it a game for tonight so I can come up with some new plans." that would have been perfectly alright.

    Taking away experience like he did is just boopinine. As is changing somebody's alignment to Chaotic Evil because he defended himself. It looks like he's on an ego trip, to such a degree that I am not sure if he's salvagable as a DM anytime in the near future.

    Maybe you could talk to the other players about it and see what they think. They probably share some of your distress over the situation. Maybe if you and the other players confronted him and layed down the law then he just might be able to change his ways.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaseafoam View Post
    (snip) The boopholery started after my second character, a Sorcerer, my first being a Warblade, bit the dust. The survivors of the crashed ship were capturing us for reasons unknown. The DM first began to get angry after one of our characters killed several of the ships crew members in resisting capture. It was after this that my Elan Psion was introduced as a unconscious captive of the crew.
    Great, an inexperienced GM trying to force an outcome... and the "forced capture" scenario is one that always gets players angry. I had t o learn that myself, from both sides of the game master's screen.

    What does he expect? Your characters have every right to defend themselves. If it is really so vital to the plot that they get captured, he could have called for a brief break and politely asked you, the players, if you could play along... a bit of fudging for the sake of moving the plot and having fun is always allowed... but of course if he basically asks you to let your characters surrender, he is honorbound as a GM to promise you that it isn't a trap, meaning that your characters won't get automatically killed just because they surrendered or end up in a situation where they're helpless to do anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaseafoam View Post
    So, when the crew revived my character form his unconscious state, I started manifesting powers, all purely defensive in nature. (Levitate and Inertial Armor) The DM then had the 8 or so armed crew in the room firing at me with 4d6 DMG rifles. Now put yourself in his situation, he is a frail psion with low hp, he has been captured by creatures that do not speak any language he understands wielding technology that would seem terrifying to such a technologically unadvanced culture. So when they didnt stop firing, I let loose an Energy burst and wiped every alien in the room. This apparently wrecked most of the plot.
    Then it's a stupid RAILROADING plot. A gamemaster should always be flexible enough to adjust a plot to his players' actions. I myself had the misfortune to play under one who was unable or unwilling to do so, once, and it sucked.

    I mean I can't even figure out what this guy wants. What is the point, where is he going with this, plotwise? Is this just an immature ego trip, "MWAHAHA, all your characters are in my powers!" stuff?

    There's a world of difference between jerk players trying to derail a plot just because they can, and normal players growing dissatisfied with a heavyhanded railroading plot. When players start to get annoyed and the GM won't take the hints, many players (me included, I'm ashamed to say) start to let their characters do suicidal things or become uncooperative. THat should be a warning sign to any responsible game master.

    Let me recap: He do not want your characters to fight these aliens, but he doesn't provide any means to communicate with them either?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaseafoam View Post
    The DM was furious, and fined everyone in the party 2000 xp while also alignment shifting me to Chaotic Evil. Then he invented a way to kill my Psion.
    He fined your characters for not going along with his idiot plot*? So basically your GM is metagaming, punishing the characters out-of-character because he is pissed off at you the players? He needs to get off that high horse fast. THe glimpses at his personality that I get here are making me furious. He's like a spoiled child bullying everyone.

    *) Holodecks, Jedi, Incrediboy, and the idiot plot

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaseafoam View Post
    That was the end of that session, but the punishments didn't end there. He made us take a quiz on some rules from a rulebook no one in the party owned and threatened to fine everyone in the party 1000 xp for every person that got it wrong, claiming we had cheated by making some small mistakes beforehand. He's also instituted a 100 xp fine for the whole party if one of us annoys him, and he went through our equipment to make sure we hadn't cheated on equipment purchases, threatening further xp penalties. Only two members of the party, myself included, have more than a few months of DnD under our belts and I think such things could be destructive to their future interest in this great game.
    Is this guy an idiot, a psycho, or just really in need of therapy? I'm not kidding. He seems to fancy himself an autocrat, and you his subjects that must obey.

    Tell him he can take his rulebooks and stick them where the sun does not shine. Tell him he does not own your characters, and you can always start your own group without him.

    Sounds like he has read too much Knights of the Dinner Table without realizing that the comic is a satire on how NOT to roleplay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Name_Here View Post
    First off talk to him. Just sit down and tell him what you were thinking when you blasted the survivors. From the DMs point of view you were acting like an idiot for the sole purpose of disrupting his plot. I mean you were a physically weak psion who was low on hp why on earth wouldn't you surrender?
    Um, from what Aquaseafoam told us, the Psion was already a prisoner. Basically the aliens captured him, so obviously they wanted him alive, but when he woke up and started manifesting purely defensive powers, they tried to gun him down without even asking him to surrender first... that's pretty idiotic. No attempt to simply fill the prison with sleepgas or whatever, just BLAM BLAM BLAM. It's the sound of an insecure GM stomping his foot.

    And besides either these aliens know about psychic powers then they should be able to block them (i.e. a psychic static field, or psi-suppression drug), or they've never seen psi powers before, in that case how did they even recognize what was going on? Sounds like we got a bad case of OMNISCIENT NPC on top of a railroad plot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquaseafoam View Post
    Ranting aside, what can be done about my bad DM. Im thinking of just flat out quitting the campaign, but hes still my friend. Anyone who has dealt with a similar problem, please chime in. should I let him now how hes ticking off everyone in the party or should I just quit?
    QUIT NOW. And tell the other players why you do.
    Honestly, I have quit groups for less. This is.... beyond ridiculous.

    How old is he? Is he one of those idiots who thinks roleplaying games are all about giving the gamemaster a free ego trip? If you catch a gamemaster playing against the group, leave. You don't need to waste your time on a game that isn't fun and is destructive to your mood and friendship.

    Tell him your not having fun, and why. And if he gets pissed off, ask him to take a deep breath and imagine that he was a player in his own group. Ask him what his reaction would be if a character of his own had been treated like that.

    If he really wants to railroad outcomes and control all your characters's actions for the sake of his sacred plot, ask him why doesn't he just spare your suspense and simply narrate to you what happens, and then you can all go home and do something more worthwhile. Because he clearly hasn't understood that roleplaying is supposed to be a collaboration between players and game master for mutual fun.

    I'm not sure if you should talk and coordinate with the other players while he is present, to his face, or "behind his back" to spare him embarrassment. Both options are awkward, but frankly at this point, the campaign is already dead.
    Last edited by Tobrian; 2007-03-08 at 07:49 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sardia View Post
    Well, if you spent the main part of your career seeing ungodly monstrosities, violations of the laws of physics, occasionally coming back from the dead, being attacked by creatures natural and unnatural, chased by things a hundred times your size, etc, etc...I'd see the need for some stress release.
    Quote Originally Posted by Attilargh View Post
    "Laughter", while a necessary part of the word "manslaughter", is considered poor taste when committing the act itself.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Thanks for giving me a good reason why i don't ever dock xp

    And as understandible as the guys position may be , doesn't change the fact he's being a douche
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    Quote Originally Posted by Logic View Post
    These guys said everything that needed to be said. I don't think I have ever heard of a worse DM. Do DMs this bad even exist? I thought they were a myth!
    No, no they're not. I know whereof I speak. Wish I didn't, but there you are.

    And I agree with the others--this game is beyond salvaging. I'd tell you to quit if you hadn't already announced your intention to do just that.
    Last edited by Dausuul; 2007-03-08 at 07:50 AM.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Actually, the funniest thing to do, is ask for another game. Then, start making demands of him. Or, just plain walk out in hte middle of the session for an extended period of time, and return demanding that your simple sidequest be followed (you talked to a barber or something...)
    Refuse to dock the character's XP. Just sit there when he tells you you lost XP. Be DEFIANT, but not a jerk about it. Maybe he will get it. If not, slap him in the face, and tell him what an idiot jerk he is being.
    Seriously, try to have as much fun at his expense. That is what he was trying to do to you it seems.
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Logic View Post
    Actually, the funniest thing to do, is ask for another game. Then, start making demands of him. Or, just plain walk out in hte middle of the session for an extended period of time, and return demanding that your simple sidequest be followed (you talked to a barber or something...)
    Refuse to dock the character's XP. Just sit there when he tells you you lost XP. Be DEFIANT, but not a jerk about it. Maybe he will get it. If not, slap him in the face, and tell him what an idiot jerk he is being.
    Seriously, try to have as much fun at his expense. That is what he was trying to do to you it seems.
    If the DM is getting wound up and launching punitive measures against reasonable but unexpected behaviour, can you imagine how he will react to someone deliberately trying to be as much of an asshat as possible?
    The two of them will end up schreeching and name-calling, someone will pull somone else's hair and then their mothers will come in to see what their noise is and they'll send the whole group to their rooms.
    What? They're not six years old?
    Myabe throwing a tantrum isn't the right way to deal with this then...
    If a tree falls in the forest and the PCs aren't around to hear it... what do I roll to see how loud it is?

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Its hard to give suggestions on how to deal with a DM when I don't know the full scope of things, but it seems like your group has a strange party dynamic going on.

    Is your DM available to post his side of the story? It might be interesting to see what his reasons were for leveling such xp penalties & his take on how you behaved during the session in question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Logic View Post
    Seriously, try to have as much fun at his expense. That is what he was trying to do to you it seems.
    Well, while this approach can be satisfying in a revenge-y sort of way, I doubt it'll help any. It'll only make the GM even more angry and make him feel the martyr who's having to put up with "stupid" players. Same with loudly blaming him for being a jerk in front of the rest of the group; when people feel backed into a corner, one against many, they only lash out even more.

    @ Aquaseafoam:
    If there's any indication that this GM can still take criticism rationally, I'd give both sides a chance to come clean and openly say what they didn't like about the scenario, and why, and make suggestions how or if the game can still be saved.

    But if he can't but is still willing to talk, there's a little trick you can employ:
    step 1) Ask someone who isn't involved in the game (but is a roleplayer and a friend) to be the moderator, the neutral party, who can declare a time-out in case things get out of hand.
    step 2) When both sides' grievances are being discussed, each of you should try to argue the other guy's side: Your friend the GM should try to imagine he was playing your character and defend its actions, and you should argue the GM's side and try to defend his actions. And then ask each other if you correctly guessed each other's motivations.
    step 3) Being a jerk while arguing the other guy's side won't be tolerated (i.e. if your GM tries to use this little "roleplaying" exercise to get back at you by saying "The psion was being an idiot and the GM was totally right to punish me" he's not mature enough for this).


    Otherwise a group discussion can devolve into each side stubbornly trying to vindicate their actions, which doesn't help solve anything. A GM has to learn that sometimes a plot that looks like the best thing since sliced bread to him is actually crap when viewed from a player's perspective. The plot isn't supposed to make the NPCs all-powerful at the expense of the PCs.
    Last edited by Tobrian; 2007-03-08 at 09:02 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sardia View Post
    Well, if you spent the main part of your career seeing ungodly monstrosities, violations of the laws of physics, occasionally coming back from the dead, being attacked by creatures natural and unnatural, chased by things a hundred times your size, etc, etc...I'd see the need for some stress release.
    Quote Originally Posted by Attilargh View Post
    "Laughter", while a necessary part of the word "manslaughter", is considered poor taste when committing the act itself.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    I concur with Logic (hey . .. I like the sound of that. ..;-)
    Before you ditch the game completely, stand up to this jerk. When he "tests" you, don't take the test, ask him why you have to take tests in your spare time away from school/work. When he docks you xp for "irritating him" don't mark it off. Tell him your going to dock him an NPC for irritating you. When he goes on one of his little tirades, question him. Ask him why, and how that contributes to the fun of the game. Next time you run into aliens who refuse to talk to you, and only give you the option to defend yourself, ask him what his pre-conceived solution was. Maybe he's expecting a Speak Language type of spell, followed by diplomacy. Are these behaviors over several sessions, or were they all at once? Could be that he had a REAAAALY bad day at work or something if it all came at once.
    This guy may be your friend, but it also sounds like he's either got some insecurities, or for some reason feels "empowered" to bully people from behind the screen. Weird. If you can't correct his insanity, I would walk out of the game the next time he does some of this bull. Maybe he'll get the message.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Sounds like someone else in the group should be DM. You can't get attached to your NPCs. The game is about the PCs and your story needs to work around them... though I am a dangerous DM, and do kill players, but I try to make it fair.
    Last edited by BlueWizard; 2007-03-08 at 09:09 AM.

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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    I try to be as fair a DM as possible. But, if the group becomes less than 4 players, I become overly nice. Treasure and XP abound for next to nothing.
    If characters live past 17th level without a death, I tell the players in advance I plan to try to kill them using all that would be a fair challenge, but allowing for no mistakes on their part. I have never let more than half the group be unhappy in my experiences as DM.
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeantbrother View Post
    I have all of the sympathy in the world for DM's whose plots get messed up because players do unexpected things - it has happened to me on numerous occations. But that's just part of being a DM and if you can't deal with it you shouldn't be a DM. If the DM said something along the lines of "Oh no, I wasn't expecting that, lets call it a game for tonight so I can come up with some new plans." that would have been perfectly alright.
    Yes and that is the mark of an experienced GM one who can see when their plan isn't going well and who can see when he can wing it and when he needs time to plan. Obviously this guy is not among their number. I think that every DM has at least one time that they look back on where they just royally and completely booped up. It's part of the learning curve everybody goes through.
    Taking away experience like he did is just boopinine. As is changing somebody's alignment to Chaotic Evil because he defended himself. It looks like he's on an ego trip, to such a degree that I am not sure if he's salvagable as a DM anytime in the near future.
    I'm not saying that the DM wasn't completly and totally out of line in his idiotic rulings but Pencils still have erasers correct? The exp amount and alignment can be changed in seconds and if the DM is willing to eat a little crow the charecter can come back just as easily. Their friendship however would need a great deal more effort to revive.
    Maybe you could talk to the other players about it and see what they think. They probably share some of your distress over the situation. Maybe if you and the other players confronted him and layed down the law then he just might be able to change his ways.
    I think this kind of situation is best handled 1 on 1. If the DM thinks that everybody is ganging up against him he is likely to just go on the defensive and refuse to listen to any of the points about how he screwed up.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Try to keep focussed on your core problem: You've got a group of friends who enjoy roleplaying, and would like to play more frequently, though your experienced DM can't expand his playing time.

    Setting up a game with one of you running it is a perfectly good solution -- but it doesn't appear to have worked for you -- through a combination of inexperience and immaturity (though you don't necessarily have to mention the last part...).

    You might try rotating DMs and running small, self-contained dungeon crawls rather than sprawling campaigns. That way, you can both figure out which of your friends are actually better suited for DMing (both good at it and enjoying it -- even the DM needs to have fun!) and get experience with the easier parts of DMing before trying to construct a world and a robust plot.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BlueWizard's Avatar

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    Jan 2006
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    Male

    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Aw just create your own game and DM. Sounds like this guy just wants to railroad you to do what he wants.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: What to do about my bad DM

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    This won't work. It's pretty obvious that this DM is beyond listening to reason. The DM is indulging in some kind of personal sci-fi wish-fulfillment thing, and the players are there merely to stroke his ego and bask in the warm glow of his creative genius.
    Which is exactly why Foam needs to talk to him. The DM needs to realize that if he wants to tell a story he needs to sit down at a computer and start writing one because the players will ruin his story at every turn. It's a rough lesson to learn but nothing said makes me think that it's one that the DM can't learn. He made the classic mistake of trying to force a charecter to do what he wanted instead of making the player want to do what he wanted.
    Any attempt to say anything other than "I was wrong, you were right" would most likely be seen as a challenge to his authority and an attempt by a player to assert power over "his" plot.
    That may be but the other options are equally unsatisfactory. I mean just leaving the group puts the friendship in jepordy and continuing to play the game let's him believe that he can just walk over his players because they are the PCs and he is the DM.
    Talking to him is the only option that allows the game to continue and get better.

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