Be kind to Your DM
Image from the upcoming Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg book
I wrote this last night before I went to bed. Then I thought maybe I am being too negative and sat on it a bit. Well, here goes anyway.
Since coming back to gaming I see something odd within the RPG gamer community.
People don't seem to trust their referee's, or DM's.
People are very critical of their referee's. They complain that their ref's aren't fair, or aren't creating the world setting they wanted.
There seems to be an attitude that the game can exist without a referee, or that the referee is merely there to be like an entertainment computer that runs the modules for them.
Another thing I find strange, despite all this demand for a certain type of referee, many will not be the referee despite making these demands. This is odd, how can you even know what a referee does and is worthy of criticism over if you've only been a player? I suppose it is easy to pass judgement if you've never done it.
There will be extremes, people who do not yet know how to DM well, or occasional bad calls, and yet RPG's exist because the referee concept was created. Being the DM is not something where you can say aloud: I am a great DM now. It is a life long journey and most of us are always looking to pick up new and old tricks from other ref's. Most of all, if your referee leaves - the game is over.
When I began playing many of our players had campaigns using different systems. I ran D&D. Elmore ran our T&T games and Traveller. Chad ran some Traveller too. Tracy ran TFT. We'd take turns and help each other be better by adding ideas to our group. Over time we all got better together. I doubt any of us were perfect, but we had fun.
I think those who DM are special. Sorry, it's just my feeling about it. They invest time and effort and also try to create something new through their games. I find it hard not to take it personally if someone attacks me for how I run my game.
Our games are like living books or plays. No one ever says: Gee, that Tolkien, the book was awesome except for that one thing, he should really rewrite it the way I want it.
Our referee's, or DM's, are the keepers of secrets and that only works if we trust and respect them.
Be kind to your referee's, they are in the hot seat and most likely they are doing the best they can because no one else will.
Feel free to discuss.
Also, check out this thoughtful Blog Post dealing with the very same issue:
e I went to bed. Then I thought maybe I am being to negative and sat on
I'm not sure I would call it not trusting their DM's. I'm seeing this trend more as a there should be no central authority defining how the game should be played. I'm seeing this from Millennial players mostly, so it is definitely a generational perspective.
3/10/2020 12:24:45 pm
I don't have these problems with players since I make it pretty clear that the "rules" they like to reference are NOT rules, they are guidelines and have always been such. The DM/GM is the final say on everything in the adventure. I run strictly an AD&D1e game (minor input from some Dragon Mag articles of things that might have made it into AD&D2e). I never tell players anyone's AC or HP etc. I describe what they can see. There is no"sign" showing NPCs stats etc. I let them role dice, but I describe the damage they do and the current status of the NPC... I use to get flak for this, but not any more... If the players want a "rules" type game, go play it on a computer where things have to be rule based... if you're playing a desktop RPG in person, it's "story telling" at ti's best and you are IN the story, enjoy the story, make thing happen and don't sweat the small stuff. If you can't enjoy your DM/GM, find another group (especially if you are the only one whining about it)... see everyone in June at the Con if you're coming !
1/12/2022 09:33:51 am
Very much appreciated. Thank you for this excellent article. Keep posting!
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