Friday, September 2, 2016

Pardon My Rant: Respect for the DM

So, this is a bit of a rant, so feel free to skip it if you don't want to listen to me bitch.

Still with me? Good. Let's begin.

I love running a game. I love being a Dungeon Master. I love it when my players are so engaged that they're hanging on every word and tensing whenever a d20 clatters on the table. It's one of the great joys in my life. I'm rarely more satisfied in my life than when a session ends and my players are chomping at the bit for the next adventure.

That being said, I work really hard to make it happen. I spend my spare time reading and prepping. I purchase far too many books. I make campaign bibles. I print character sheets. I buy books and dice to give to my players. I do it because gaming should be fast, fun, and accessible. As DM, and in effect the leader of the party, I feel it's my job to facilitate these things. I'm the steward of everyone else's fun and if I fuck it up, it negatively impacts everyone at the table.

A little appreciation would be nice now and again.

I get that life interferes with scheduled gaming sometimes. I get that shit comes up sometimes. But to spend hours of work and a lot of money to craft a fun game for everyone at the table and watch players sit oblivious or willfully ignorant of this is really started to stick in my craw.

I'm older now, and have less time for bullshit. My lack of bullshit tolerance has lead to a few things:

  • First and foremost, show up. If you can't, let me know as soon as possible so I can modify the upcoming session to accommodate the absence. Same goes for being late.
  • Know the rules. I don't expect my players to know every single detail, but if we're six sessions in and you don't know the basics of how your magic-user memorizes and casts spells, there's a problem. Be proactive and read the rules for how your character functions - especially if I shelled out some money to purchase a book for you as a gift. 
  • No religion or politics at the table. End of story. That shit never ends well.
  • This is a group game. While it's neat to have a cool concept for a character, don't sit down with a pre-generated character, a complete background, and all your bells and whistles covered if the only thing you know is that "We're playing Labyrinth Lord" or "We're starting up a Star Wars campaign." Any given RPG game can have a plethora of themes and styles of play and each group gels differently. Coming to the table with your character set in stone and expecting everyone to bend themselves into knots to accomidate your special snowflake is egocentric and insulting to everyone else at the table.
  • On the other end of things, if everyone wants to play a game that you're not to keen on, say something - but don't be passive-aggressive about it. There's nothing wrong and no mature gamer will be offended if you say "I genuinely hope you guys have a blast, but I'm going to sit this one out."
  • Lastly, say "Thanks." I work my ass off and a little recognition is appreciated from time to time.

So yeah, I'm feeling salty and a little pissed. Again, my bullshit tolerance is not what it once was when I was in my twenties. I felt the need to get it off my chest. I (and every other DM out there worth their dice bag) busts their ass to make a fun experience for everyone. Respect that, otherwise I might as well pack my shit up and go home.


  1. You are so right! I play with an awesome group online. The DM creates these fantastic adventured and frickin' paints backgrounds for the stories (literally paints). To Teaman! Thank you, James, for the kick in the arse!

  2. >>No religion or politics at the table. End of story. That shit never ends well.

    This. Also,

    >>No religion or politics at the table. End of story. That shit never ends well.

  3. We actually had to ban any discussion of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy for the same reasons.


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