DM Bribery Survey

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In your local group or groups, what (if anything) do DMs get as an incentive to run games?



Examples:



At Pandemonium in Cambridge, there's a $2 play fee for each player; the $12 goes to the DM as store credit.



At my game day in Towson, DMs get priority seating the next time there're too many players, plus I'll run whatever they want at the next opportunity because I'm grateful.



I don't think the local Glen Burnie group does anything special.



Followup question: do you have trouble finding DMs?



Semi-serious followup question: anyone want to go in on an order of custom D20s from Q-Workshop?

Generally speaking, I don't see any fees to play in games around here, outside of conventions.  Similiarly, I don't see DMs getting paid / bribed / whatever, except, again, for conventions (where they will often be given minis, Player Reward cards, etc.)  I don't generally see a big problem in finding DMs, either, especially not in LFR, where "eating" a module doesn't mean that you're forever barred from playing it.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
I once ran LG gamedays and asked for donations to offset costs since I had to rent the space we used, on top of printing costs for certs and such.  If the donations built up to a high enough amount over costs I would order pizza for everyone.  I usually asked for donations of $2 per slot but many folks were happy to donate more.

On the other hand, when DMing at cons I have been known to actively seek bribes.  Usually it's because I end up with a splitting headache and I will offer a floating bonus to the first player able to get me a couple ibuprofen. 
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Generally speaking, I don't see any fees to play in games around here, outside of conventions.  Similiarly, I don't see DMs getting paid / bribed / whatever, except, again, for conventions (where they will often be given minis, Player Reward cards, etc.)  I don't generally see a big problem in finding DMs, either, especially not in LFR, where "eating" a module doesn't mean that you're forever barred from playing it.



I don't think the incentives in LFR work out the way you seem to think they do. At least from my perspective, the ability to replay mods means that I always am able to play whatever adventure is being offered in a particular venue (provided I have a character of the right level, which I usually have). There will be few if any situations where I will say, "Oh, I've already played that one, but I could DM it for you." Consequently, DMing always has to compete with playing--combine that with a gamer population that prefers playing to DMing and you have a recipe for a DM shortage.

As for DM incentives in my area, one game store offers $5 store credit IIRC per game DMed. Another game store doesn't offer anything tangible, but publicly thanks the DMs before every slot. In both cases, the organizers often have last minute requests for DMs.

My local game group usually plays in stores which introduced a $2 table fee for anyone who plays in the store. The store has waived the fee for anyone who DMs.


DMs also get to sign up for modules before other players (one for one). It means they don't have to fight in the big rush when signups are live for everyone.

I don't think the incentives in LFR work out the way you seem to think they do. At least from my perspective, the ability to replay mods means that I always am able to play whatever adventure is being offered in a particular venue (provided I have a character of the right level, which I usually have). There will be few if any situations where I will say, "Oh, I've already played that one, but I could DM it for you."


Right.  My past experience was that the largest source of new DMs were "judges of opportunity"--players who had already played the module being ran, so "Hey, you don't have anything else to do this slot, so why don't you DM a game?"

In LFR, that's likely to be met with, "Thanks, but I'm looking forward to playing it with my secondary/tertiary/quaternary character."  Thanks to the tiering rules, just about any serious LFR player is going to have a stable of characters, and odds are there's one they'd really like to get up a level.  Replayability gives DMing an opportunity cost.

The replay rules make it easy to grab your "old faithful" DMs to run a game, but that's just a short-term gain.  In the long run, those DMs still want to play, so you still need the same total number of tables and DMs, it just gives you flexibility as to when those tables need to be run.  The problem is that this increased flexibility means you can lean on the same group of DMs over and over again (and you will probably have to), right up until they burn out on you.

As far as DM availability goes, I think the replay rules are a net (and rather large) negative.
I don't think the incentives in LFR work out the way you seem to think they do. At least from my perspective, the ability to replay mods means that I always am able to play whatever adventure is being offered in a particular venue (provided I have a character of the right level, which I usually have). There will be few if any situations where I will say, "Oh, I've already played that one, but I could DM it for you." Consequently, DMing always has to compete with playing--combine that with a gamer population that prefers playing to DMing and you have a recipe for a DM shortage.



That's a different issue.  What I'm referring to is that, when a new module comes out, it's not as difficult to get DMs for it as it was during LG, when relatively few people locally were willing to eat modules (especially not our region's modules). 

But, yes, I suppose that some people are disincented to DM more now, because playing is always an option.  At least locally, we never have too much of a problem in getting people to volunteer to DM.  Certainly, some people DM quite often, and some rarely, if ever, do, but, overall, it's not something where I'd feel like we'd need incentives to attract DMs.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"

For the groups I play with, there really isn't any incentives to DM such as store credit etc. The main incentive for DMing is you get invited to play in convention slot zeros (and this can add up to a considerable amount of play) and usually a piece or two of swag from the prize support. Other than that, its just a taking your turn thing. 

As far as getting judges in general, LFR has invigorated our local judge population. We seem to have enough judges to easily staff 95% of our events via warhorn without senior gms hasseling people. It was harder to do this during LG I feel.

Thats just one area though (greater Los Angeles) but its not small, roughly 450-500 tables a year, and not a general representation of the entire LFR population.

I haven't been to Northern California for a bit, but it seems like the conventions up there (at least from viewing Warhorn) have a harder time staffing with DMs (the Game Castle conventions seem to be an exception).   

I'll note that in my experience, store credit/fees for in-store play is more a function of what the store wants than what the LFR organizers want. Dunno if that varies, but that's one of the reasons I was curious.
In your local group or groups, what (if anything) do DMs get as an incentive to run games?

Examples:

At Pandemonium in Cambridge, there's a $2 play fee for each player; the $12 goes to the DM as store credit.



I established this system for PMNG (Pandemonium Monday Night Gaming), games organized by the Boston LFR community.

The system has been working well now for over a year for multiple reasons:

a) The store receives *something* from the community every week for hosting us. 4 full table = 24 players @ $2 a head. $48 guaranteed revenue each week. It's not much, but I guess it's something?

b) DMs receive $12 store credit which definitely adds up. I see DMs buying dungeon tiles, minis, and other items on a constant basis. Others save up for something big. I can't even imagine how much store credit Don Walker has saved up - I think he might be able to buy out the owners by now.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com

a) The store receives *something* from the community every week for hosting us. 4 full table = 24 players @ $2 a head. $48 guaranteed revenue each week. It's not much, but I guess it's something?



I think it's decent business -- the key is to get people to the cash register. Once they've made that psychological decision it's easier for them to add another couple of things to the order.

At the store I play at, Warhorned-scheduled games are 5 dollars a head to play with the DMs getting a 7 dollar credit. Pick-up games are generally free. The five dollars appear to be an obstacle to many players accustomed to it being free. I think the 5 bucks is probably fair but, more should be going to the DM to ensure interest in the responsibility at our store.

I think the space to play, printed out module, available gaming materials and a good DM are probably worth around 10 dollars to me if it's a mod I want to play. I am probably in the minority in my valuation of it but, seems about right to me compared with movie prices, clean-up issues in a home setting or the actual expense to play at a convention. Admittedly, at 10 bucks, clean and comfortable amenites and good support on needed minis, and documents should be a must.

Having been there, Pandemonium probably has it's system about right. I'd imagine another dollar a piece wouldn't meet much resistance and could help out the store and DM who should be appreciated for their service and effort.

lee

At the store I play at, Warhorned-scheduled games are 5 dollars a head to play with the DMs getting a 7 dollar credit.



Wow...that strikes me as pretty expensive, given that a one-round LFR ticket at GenCon runs around $6.50.  But, hey, if it works for you guys, more power to you.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
I'll note that in my experience, store credit/fees for in-store play is more a function of what the store wants than what the LFR organizers want. Dunno if that varies, but that's one of the reasons I was curious.

Well, if the money is used to reward the DMs with wares from the store paid with this money, I would consider that only fair and a very good idea.

Unfortunately some people just don't "pay where they play" aka showing up to take advantage of the offered FLGS-gaming-space with their books being bought from amazon because that's $5 cheaper than the store offering the gaming space.
We charge $2.50 per slot to play (or $40 for a year pass).  DMs play free and get credit for a soda and a candy bar from the store.

We are sometimes having a similar problem to others with folks preferring to play/replay than to DM, other than the old reliable standard crew.  It seems to go in cycles.  Sometimes we have no end of volunteers, sometimes the GD organizers end up giving up playing more than they'd like.
Interestingly, our area gaming stores are doing really well. The economy has not impacted them negatively. Instead, the two store owners I have spoken with think it might have bolstered income, as people want some (relatively) cheap fun. One store has added a lot of inventory and hired another person.

In general, I hate to pay for play. It is not due to the cost, but the concept. I can play at home. My reason to play in a store is to promote that store, but I take a hit in comfort and time (they usually have closing times that are difficult) to do that. I don't like paying on top of that. Now, paying and getting it back as coupons... cool.

Economically, I think a store would be better off giving players a coupon for $1-2 off of merchandise (or more off selected merchandise) than charging $2. Charging (poor) gamers sends the wrong message, IMHO. Fueling what they already want to do - that works.

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The LFR group I'm involved in that plays at The Source in Falcon Heights (St. Paul) MN doesn't do anything specific to incent DMs, but the store will sometimes pitch in -- I remember one session in December where the manager brought back pizza for the LFR DMs to share as a way of saying 'thanks for bringing in the extra business'. It was a small gesture, but definitely appreciated.

Our bigger problem is in finding a way to keep the guy who organizes the games motivated/incented -- it's a lot of work, and turnover from burnout is pretty frequent.

--
Pauper 
Interestingly, our area gaming stores are doing really well. The economy has not impacted them negatively. Instead, the two store owners I have spoken with think it might have bolstered income, as people want some (relatively) cheap fun. One store has added a lot of inventory and hired another person.

In general, I hate to pay for play. It is not due to the cost, but the concept. I can play at home. My reason to play in a store is to promote that store, but I take a hit in comfort and time (they usually have closing times that are difficult) to do that. I don't like paying on top of that. Now, paying and getting it back as coupons... cool.

Economically, I think a store would be better off giving players a coupon for $1-2 off of merchandise (or more off selected merchandise) than charging $2. Charging (poor) gamers sends the wrong message, IMHO. Fueling what they already want to do - that works.



There are two game stores that I regularly play in. One charges per game (I think $3 or 4 games for $10). The other charges $4 per game but gives it back to the players in the form of store credit so what you're really doing is committing to buy some merchandise at the store every month or two rather than paying per game. I like the second model better. The store gets their money--and since I often buy more than the minimum required to use my store credit, they probably make more money off the deal than the other store does. But I don't feel like I'm being charged to play either.
Curious to see that in the states people apparently are in agreement about paying even something small is a normal thing. I've been hosting conventions here in the Netherlands for the better part of five years now, first together with people and the last 3 years as head organizer. Last year I introduced the concept of paying for a game and then only at the two big events we had a year and I met with various responses. Most people quickly understood why and payed but there were also people who just thought it was weird.

I can bring the argument when I organize something big but I won't see people pay easy for a one round adventure in a store. Makes me wonder at the deeper reasons behind that.
I ran the Game Kastle (santa clara, CA) gameday for a year - store policy is the games are free (and has been for about 5-7 years).  The store doesn't charge for space for normal activities (be it war gaming, cards, or role-playing).  It changes the dynamic of the local business environment to charge, and I'd hesitate to do that without a long conversation with the store management. 

My DM supply waxed and waned over the year, and I take it to just being a cyclical thing.  I would have players jump in for 2-4 months and then disppear.  Most of the more organized/assertive players and DMs would find or construct home-groups from the RPGA people they met, then "leave" the group.  So I'd have a group of great players/DMs come in for a few months, then fade out.  From a hobby perspective - that's Awesome: people found like-minded folks to play with and are happily enjoying the hobby on their own.  From an organizer perspective it's heart-breaking.

the replay rule makes it hard to provide sufficient DM's.  since players (and DMs) can replay, it creates an essentially infinite load of DM demand on a finite supply.  The DM supply hasn't really increased relative to LG; about 25% of the population will DM a game for every 3-4 they play, but that's never enough.  We suffer from DM burn-out.  DM's run a game every month, 3-5 games at one of several local conventions and then get burned out.  They get frustrated that they DM so much, but they SEE players play 1-2 games per week and never help out.  Why should I DM all these games (and give up the chance to play) when so many other people refuse to DM (and it's so easy to DM in 4e!).

For rewards/incentives, I have a supply of player rewards cards and miscellanious materials from WITR, gamedays, and local conventions I hand out continually to new DMs.  I also maintain a box of printed LFR mods, free dungeon tiles and monster tokens (to faciliate new and ad-hoc volunteer DM's). 

I honestly believe that the greatest reward is additional or special play opportunity.  In LG, it was playing in all the zeroes that was a great reward to DM'ing at CONs.  In LFR, it's still nice - but we don't need zeroes.  If I can organize a zero amongst local DM's, then I can just organize a private game amongst local DM's. The danger is in your DM population realizing it "doesn't need" the bulk of the population to play, and essentially divorcing itself from the bulk of the players (that has happened around here recently). 

In the past, I'd run "DM rewards days" where I'd run 1-2 games of new and/or high level material as a "reward" for game-day DMs' (once/month).  This became really time consuming and tiresome, especially on top of my already organizing and running normal games.  I decided to switch to a new model and combine the idea of a DM reward day and a convention:

I've run three local conventions so far where the model is every attendee "must DM one game".  This creates a "DM reward convention" where essentially everyone gets to play 5-7 games and run one (and only one) game.  The logic is it streamlines the whole convention setup process and lets the area DMs get a solid weekend of gaming (there are no zeroes, since I don't need to incentivize DM'ing).  From a workload perspective, it is way easier than organizing a typical convention -as the math works in my favor that I will have enough DM's for every slot. 

warhorn.net/judgekon2/

This does disenfranchise new players (if you don't DM, you can't play) and the adventures are typically higher level (H3-P1), but the size is where I want it to be.  I figure new players get enough play opportunity at other conventions and the 3-4 local gamedays in the area. 

I don't really see a good solution for incentivizing DM'ing.  I see great ideas for growing the hobby, but when DMs and players exit public RPGA play, it grows the hobby at the expense of local / public RPGA play.



Best I have gotten is I GM'ed in a store once and got $15 store credit outta it.

Otherwise the other 20+ games I have run I have gotten a slice of pizza even if I couldn't chip in, that kinda thing, etc.
Christopher Green RPGA# 5209379759 Aelar Tel'ess'san - Elven Cleric Lvl 4 Veloch Shade - Tiefling Rogue Lvl 4 Adaeth the Mindwalker - Deva Psion Lvl 2 The Story Tellers' Guild The Roleplaying Association of SUNY Oswego http://www.oswego.edu/stg
The danger is in your DM population realizing it "doesn't need" the bulk of the population to play, and essentially divorcing itself from the bulk of the players (that has happened around here recently).

I'd consider that the usual end stage of a gaming group.

Most gaming groups start as a group of friends: you rotate DMing and those who don't DM contribute in other ways or you let them ride because you value their participation.

Once you hit the point that your DMs can form tables all of their own, rotating amongst themselves for DMing, you need ties of friendship or some other connection to those in the group who just play.  Otherwise, the DMs will eventually realize that, out of everyone in the equation, the players are the least necessary.

Alternatively, the DMs can keep running for the takers of the group because of friendship with or bribery from the event organizer himself, but that tends to be wearing on the organizer, since the most likely currency is running more games for the DMs (of which the organizer will need to run a disproportionate number himself, as a DM that's running a slot zero is a DM that is going to want to play on the game day).

Sure, you have those who DM for public play purely out of the goodness of their heart (or for the ego boost or whatever other motives cause people to do volunteer work), but those are few and far between, and their overgenerous nature means they'll eventually get burnt out as well.
There are many reasons for DMing. I've rarely had the opportunity to play since my son was born 10 years ago. In the past year he found my KODT stash, and we've gotten a set of 4th ed rules and his Crown Royal dice bag is filling up. (yeah, I'm all for tradition).

My belief is that it's fair to DM 1/6 of the time. My son can't DM, so I'd have to DM 1/3 of the time just to not put a strain on the local club. My plan is to DM 1/2 of the time, taking the noobs/kids table. To me that seems like the fair exchange in return for my son and I having a regular place to play. DMing half the time is one way for me to support and grow the club.

The difference between that 1/3 and 1/2 (or conventionally 1/6 and 1/4) is simply that fair ISN'T enough. There will often be new players who don't know the rules well enough to DM. I'll be in that boat for a couple more sessions. There will often be younger players who aren't trusted to DM yet, either because of known behaviors or because they aren't known well enough yet. Heck, there are often older players not trusted for the same reasons. There are also people who don't want to DM, but serve the club in other ways (RPGA liason, store employee, the guy with cases of miniatures and three megamats who doesn't mind sharing).

The other point here is that the club often either needs to give people a direct reason to DM (see bribes above. [Does the RPGA still send out swag to DMs who get X number of points?]) or needs to give people a reason to feel they have a vested interest in keeping the club going (by DMing). When the DM population begins divorcing itself from the players that means the club itself isn't attractive to the DMs. It's failed to provide the location or atmosphere or assistance that makes the pooling of resources a good thing.

To me, the key difference is when grandpoobah says 'your DM population realizing it "doesn't need" the bulk of the population to play' which tells me that the club has become a home for people who can't or won't GM, since they're the bulk. That's not a pooling of resources, it's a pooling of leeches.
Unfortunately some people just don't "pay where they play" aka showing up to take advantage of the offered FLGS-gaming-space with their books being bought from amazon because that's $5 cheaper than the store offering the gaming space.



When I used to run LG stuff I always tried to encourage people to buy from the store we were playign in.  At least while we playing there.  (Obviously once we had to stop playing at the store I didn't push people to do so anymore)

Although my FLGS sells at cover value, so Amazon to me is $11 cheaper and free shipping.  I buy my D&D minis when I'm there though.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
At the store I play at, Warhorned-scheduled games are 5 dollars a head to play with the DMs getting a 7 dollar credit.



Wow...that strikes me as pretty expensive, given that a one-round LFR ticket at GenCon runs around $6.50.  But, hey, if it works for you guys, more power to you.



Keep in mind that some fraction of your convention badge fee should be figured into that cost as well. When I consider what I paid in fees at GenCon against what I actually took part in, I probably paid 10 dollars a slot. Local cons are probably closer to 7 or 8 dollars a slot.
Keep in mind that some fraction of your convention badge fee should be figured into that cost as well. When I consider what I paid in fees at GenCon against what I actually took part in, I probably paid 10 dollars a slot. Local cons are probably closer to 7 or 8 dollars a slot.



OK, that's fair...but, still, $5 for a slot at a game store strikes me as expensive.  Maybe it's just me, but, in my area, I simply don't see people charging for small game days like that.  And, I don't think that our local cons work out to more than about $5 per slot.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Although my FLGS sells at cover value, so Amazon to me is $11 cheaper and free shipping.  I buy my D&D minis when I'm there though.



Yeah, I personally participate in a "reward miles" program that allows reward miles to be converted into gift cards at an online bookstore, and I am awarded these reward miles for purchasing things I would buy anyway via a method I would use anyway, so gaming books are, for all intents and purposes, free for me (my wife and I split the gift cards, and I still get enough to preorder every player-resource type book).

My FLGS guy is aware of this, and he's also aware that every $ I don't spend on D&D books I spend at his store on Warhammer miniatures (literally true, as I have put myself on a very specific/strict gaming $ budget).
To give further data points, our local gaming group doesn't charge anything to play.  (Nor do I believe do any of the gaming groups within an hour or two's drive that I'm familiar with.)  DMs at our regular game days do get $2 store credit per LFR slot, however, which is a function of one of the partners who owns the store being a D&D player who wants to grow the hobby.

I don't have any problem with the concept of game fees, but I think it creates a different dynamic.

If a group of friends show up to play, one of them is going to have to offer to give of his time so the rest can play, and it's just common courtesy to take turns.  If you're a complete stranger that these friends are willing to accept, it's even more incumbent on you to not take advantage of their generosity.

If I'm being charged $5 to play a game, then I'm now a customer, a consumer of entertainment.  I don't offer to take a shift behind the register to give the store clerk a break; why should I feel differently about the DM the group or store has provided for the game?

I guess I see charging to play as entering a separate arena.  Once money is involved, then it becomes a simple mercantile exchange, more of a business relationship than a cooperative group where everyone's in it together.
I would agree that alot of gamers balk at 5 dollars a slot. I know Flagship in CT where I play has fewer players in it's LFR nights because of it. Players have told me that is why they do not attend. It's more than I am accustomed to spending out side of conventions but, ultimately, the bottleneck seems to be willing DMs more than players to fill the seats. Were I the owner, I would do it differently but, at the same time, I recognize the expenses involved and feel I do get value for my entertainment dollar. A dollar an hour to hang out in a business and engage in your activity of choice is cheap compared to about anything else.

A typical local con (2 hours away or less) for me generally yields 6 or 7 played mods. Friday evening, 3 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday and maybe a midnight madness slot for 25-40 dollars and possibly 2-3 dollars per event ticket. So, 6-7 slots for let's say 30-45 dollars. Yes I could eek a few more games by getting there earlier and staying up later but, this how many weekend cons work out for me and quite a few others. Maybe not, the 7-8 I though but still upwards of 5 per slot. When you begin to consider precious free time spent travelling, gas and lodging, it's easy to see how many players are valuing the opportunity to play mods they want at something like 10 dollars or more.

When the issue seems to be a lack of incentive to DMs, paying to play seems to make the perfect sense. Myself, I like Pandemonium's method of a set DM bribe that get's spent in the store. Players very directly see what they are paying for, the DM gets his incentive and presumably large fraction of it translates into profit when the DM spends his bribe. 2 bucks seems to work for them. I'll bet few people would have issue with 3 and bet 5 dollars with some sort of bulk discount could fly in some places.

Especially if you aren't DMing much, make sure your DM is being taken care of and don't forget your FLGS needs to make something for their effort.

Lee
My FLGS guy is aware of this, and he's also aware that every $ I don't spend on D&D books I spend at his store on Warhammer miniatures (literally true, as I have put myself on a very specific/strict gaming $ budget).



Ahh... Warhammer is like crack... I mean like a warm blanket... CRACK!

Please!  I just need to finish this army!  I swear I won't build anymo... rrr... *twitch twitch*... Oh, God please let me build that alternate Cult of Slaanesh Dark Elf army, PLEASE!!
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Pay-per-play outside of conventions has always rubbed me the wrong way, although I recognize that in some situations its neccesary to cover the actual expense of providing the space. Considering our local con is 15ish for an entire weekend and DMing some games can bring that down to almost a third, charging per slot locally wouldn't work.

I suppose charging 5 dollars or more works for groups of people who are doing well for themselves but its a small daily fortune for minimum wage slaves and poor college students.

I can appreciate using the money as a way of rewarding the DM but frankly a store trying to make a profit off public play is like charging people just to come into the store imo. I'd think public play would be a form of free advertisement since new customers might come in and check out the game.
Christopher Green RPGA# 5209379759 Aelar Tel'ess'san - Elven Cleric Lvl 4 Veloch Shade - Tiefling Rogue Lvl 4 Adaeth the Mindwalker - Deva Psion Lvl 2 The Story Tellers' Guild The Roleplaying Association of SUNY Oswego http://www.oswego.edu/stg
A local green bay store charges $7.00 to play (used to be $5) and uses their own employees to run the adventures. During a late December con, the store had nonemployees run and the cost dropped to $5. The DM's got a $10 store credit and a box of free minis (legendary evil mostly till they ran out.)
The only regular gameday at a FLGS I know of in the Netherlands is free I believe (haven't been there myself).
Cons are usually around €2-5,- /slot. You don't pay for a slot you DM (and last time I believe you got a free slot as a player as well). Apart from that the DM gets a free drink and the occasional 'goody' (mini, reward cards) depending on what the organiser has managed to conjure up. My main reason for DMing is that simply that I enjoy it though.
You don't pay for a slot you DM



I woudl hope not.

Apart from that the DM gets a free drink



Scotch?  I think Dave Christ is gonna have to work on those DM perks this year. 
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Mostly coffee, tea and soda, although, I think it even included beer. Us Dutch are a bit peculiar in that we don't drink that much alcohol during the game. We do so after wards ;)
A local green bay store charges $7.00 to play



Wow! I am really surprised that would work. Does the area really lack DMs?

Edit: I say that because I can't believe people would rather pay $7 than be at someone's house and rotate DMing... If I paid $7 to play that would be a sourcebook a month, at least. Of course... I usually DM.

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A local green bay store charges $7.00 to play



Wow! I am really surprised that would work. Does the area really lack DMs?


That is kind of surprising. Although man, if I knew I'd never have to worry about taking a turn DMing... I'd expect multiple slots, and a good range of adventures, too. If I was gonna pay seven bucks a slot, I'd want to basically get a convention experience out of it. Lots of choice, plenty of convenience, less travel. ;)


I assume this is Gnome Games?

A local green bay store charges $7.00 to play



Wow! I am really surprised that would work. Does the area really lack DMs?



It works out to be about minimum wage, assuming it all goes to the GM ; even less, if you count the prep time.  For a $7 table, I would expect quite a bit.

My group uses a volunteer system for GMs, with a little invitation-only games tossed in.  The store, Area51 in Grapevine, Texas, provides the facilities and is very supportive.
When I did play back in the far past. The game day down in Harrisburg would charge you $2 per slot and that money went to the DM as a gift card for the store to encourage spending.

I personally like that method and have used it as well.

James Playing D&D since the Red Box of '83.
I'm one of the coordinators for an LFR group that games at a store every week on two different nights.

There's no cost to play -- the store hosts all sorts of gamers (wargamers, Magic: the Gathering, boardgamers) at various times.

DMs don't get anything special except a guaranteed play spot (for a different day, obviously!). In practice this isn't strictly necessary given our schedule, but it does prevent the possibility of a DM  getting shut out of playing.

We are very fortunate to have 8 active DMs. Of those, 4 or 5 have been DMing since LFR's launch. So far none has complained about not being compensated. Knock on wood, it'll stay that way!
I've been a DM in several stores around the country, and while Pandemonium in Boston has a pretty decent system (as said by several folks in this thread already), most stores I "work" in for any length of time seem to be keen on providing discounts and complimentary drinks/ snacks for me.

My current store on Michigan State University campus is giving me RPG supplies at cost with a drink and snack of my choice during the game slot.  Woot!

 

Alan Patrick

Associate Community Manager, D&D Adventurers League

http://dndadventurersleague.org