Coping with our DM

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Hi all,

   I hope you all can help our gaming group.We our currently playing a 4 man team and a dm,the problem we are having is that our dm keeps saying we are not playing properly.We constantly keep having every encounter turn into a major battle.At the moment our party consists of 4 tenth level characters, 


Monk
Cleric   
Wizard
Barbarian
 
 Our party have very limited money or treasure rewards,as an example i play a monk.The dm has given in treasure a +2 viscous spear ,+2 amulet ,and helm of the eagle.I have bought +1 cloth armour and acrobat boots.AndI have a few potions which i have bought .

The problem is we come acrros powerfull encounters with only 35 to 45% chance of hitting the monsters and that is boosted  by potions of clarity or whetstones,or combat advantage etc.

We do manage to defeat the monsters on each encounter but it turns into a war of attrition,slugfest etc,and that means us only completing 1 or 2 encounters in a gaming session.The dm says yje game is going too slow and expects us to kill the mobs quicker.

I have told the dm this:-

  If he wants us to have 2,3,4,5 encounters in a session we need treasure parcels relevant to our levels.

  The reason we have no money is that we spend all our money on potions and whetstones etc to boost our percentage chance of hitting.

  As a 4 player group he has to consider this on monster encounters,and not too increase the monsters (because he thinks it is easy)
  
  The reason we take extended rests nearly every 1 or 2 encounters is because we keep getting our **** kicked.

  D&D is,and allways will be a fun and exciting game.

  And before any of you suggest we raise these concerns with our DM we have and his reply is this YOU WHIMPS.???????
Heya,

Yes DnD is meant to be a fun and enjoyable game for all,both the players and the dm aswell.Is this the way your dm likes to dm,does he enjoy having you struggle through every enconter with little or no eward for all your hard work.

By the sound of what you say both players and dm need to understand that this is a game ,which is meant to be fun and exciting.I f non of you are achieving this then you either address and resolve amicably the issues you have ,get the DM to play for a while(this usually works as the dm might have forgotten how to play) or you all take a long break from the game. 
if that was his response then i think this may be of some use to you all

community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/7588...

assuming you can't talk the DM into more reasonable encounters, and don't want to replace him as DM (with one of you taking over or some such), and don't want to show him the door/leave,


then it's char op time

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

PLAN A: Tell your DM to pull back a on his encounters.


PLAN B: Give him a wish list of items you want to find. Search for treasure everywhere. If he describes a statue you search it for secret pockets. Turn up entire rooms, take everything; you can sell wood and metals for a good price. He can't stop you taking things and if he tries to stop you from selling it just melt it down and make your own weapons.

PLAN C: Read up on some great magical weapons. All clerics get powerful items from their gods. Tell your DM that you no longer wish to go to the next quest and that the group are going in search of the clerics magical sword.

If he makes these cleric quests too hard, stop questing and go to Plan Z.

PLAN Z: It sounds like your DM likes to win which is bad. Have the group settle down in a small town and role-play the mundane tasks of life. Get simple jobs, turn down hero quests and avoid confrontation, find an NPC to marry! Plan the wedding!

You have the best group for the retirement joke because each of you would be great at your jobs. Monk, you world be a farmer since you're skill at using most farming tools/weapons, the cleric could join the local church, the wizard could open a magic store and the barbarian could become a woodcutter.


If this doesn't get him to see reason tell him you would like to give DMing a try. Our DM hosted a game once every year or two. I took over as DM and now he comes to my sessions as a player every week or two.
Just in case I failed to mention; I am playing D&D 3.5e.
PLAN A: Tell your DM to pull back a on his encounters.


PLAN B: Give him a wish list of items you want to find. Search for treasure everywhere. If he describes a statue you search it for secret pockets. Turn up entire rooms, take everything; you can sell wood and metals for a good price. He can't stop you taking things and if he tries to stop you from selling it just melt it down and make your own weapons.

PLAN C: Read up on some great magical weapons. All clerics get powerful items from their gods. Tell your DM that you no longer wish to go to the next quest and that the group are going in search of the clerics magical sword.

If he makes these cleric quests too hard, stop questing and go to Plan Z.

PLAN Z: It sounds like your DM likes to win which is bad. Have the group settle down in a small town and role-play the mundane tasks of life. Get simple jobs, turn down hero quests and avoid confrontation, find an NPC to marry! Plan the wedding!

You have the best group for the retirement joke because each of you would be great at your jobs. Monk, you world be a farmer since you're skill at using most farming tools/weapons, the cleric could join the local church, the wizard could open a magic store and the barbarian could become a woodcutter.


If this doesn't get him to see reason tell him you would like to give DMing a try. Our DM hosted a game once every year or two. I took over as DM and now he comes to my sessions as a player every week or two.



+1 to this.

But in all seriousness, what you should do is direct your DM to this thread. When veterans of the game are giving direction on how to get someone to reign it in, showing them the response can help. That sort of behavior is NOT what a good DM does (unless you're playing Call of Cthulhu, but that's a horse of a different Color From Space).
Hi ,

I have read what you have said and will discuss it with the rest of the group.


One of the other problems we have is that we have started the Tomb of Horrors Adventure ,and as you know that is meant to be one of the haedest ever dungeons.


With only a 4 man party which is bereft of magic items and monetary rewards i believe the Dm has set us a un assailable target.


I think we have 2 choices retire to a life of village simplicity ,or get a new DM   
Heya,


Yes the Tomb of Horrors is meant to be one of the hardest dungeons.


If your Dm has ill equiped your 4 person  party and with little monetary rewards then you will have little or no chance of completing that dungeon.


If your Dm refuses to listen to advice then maybe you should replace him.     
You have a DM who hates his players. Time to get a new DM.
Support Cedric Diggory, the real Hogwarts Champion!
Tomb of Horrors! Turn Back! Turn back at once!

ToeSama's idea is the best. Have your DM see what others think of his behavior.

Is it possible he's been making your quest hard in preparation of the challenges you’ll face in the Tomb of Horrors? I know I want to run it with my group at some point but they don't check for traps enough and need to roll for search and spot a whole lot more then they do. I'd hate to see them in that tomb.


That being said, level 10 characters should have a lot of wondrous loot acquired. My characters are just about to hit level 3 and have already started to find useful magical items.

Just in case I failed to mention; I am playing D&D 3.5e.
Don't ride his railroad.  Your PCs should, logically, realize they are underequipped and poorly suited for something that creates such horror stories as the Tomb.  Just don't go in.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Don't ride his railroad.  Your PCs should, logically, realize they are underequipped and poorly suited for something that creates such horror stories as the Tomb.  Just don't go in.



Though I agree with the sentiment, having this out in the game is asking for all kinds of weirdness and probably unhappy discussions. Making a point in game is either going to be ignored as too subtle, or come across as very passive/aggresive, probably leading to an argument. Discussing what you like and dislike about the game at a neutral time, or maybe just after a session, is a good way to provide feedback with less risk of shouting. Arguments are ok sometimes if you can all cope with the heat, and they might clear the air.

The main advantage of doing this sort of thing in game is that you may be able to demonstrate your point. However, it doesn't seem to me this time that you'll be able to make it terribly well. Retiring your character, or refusing to enter a dungeon just doesn't send the right signal or make it clear to the DM what detail he needs to change.

I would suggest that you play using the Inherent Bonuses system, which will adjust your biggest concern (or being able to hit the enemies) without requiring the DM to re-think how many magic items he gives out.


Just talk to the other players and have all of you come to the agreement that you're going to use Inherent bonuses until the DM starts handing out adequate treasure parcels. If the DM finds out, just state plainly that since you all (as a group) clearly were not using standard treasure parcels, you all (as a group) assumed he wanted to use the inherent bonuses, since one or the other is pretty much a mathematical necessity, given 4th edition's mechanics.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

There is a post on the Rules Discussion where the DM is complaining that the party is constantly using potions of Clarity... are you this guy's players?  If you are, it seems that you should post in the DM to Do portion and put your case forward.  That way, other DMs can say "yeah, you guys are underequipped and the only way you can survive is to use potions."

To me, it sounds like there is a disconnect in his mind between what he thinks should happen and what actually is, and he's failing to recognize that. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Yes we are that DM's group,its very difficult because he has house rules,no going on forums,no discussions re the rules in gametime,and inevitably the DM,s decision is final.



So i had to go on the forums to ensure that we had a viable point,but i did text him our concerns for our group and he has now decided to no longer DM.


In a way it could be a blessing in disguise,we can have a new DM,no arguments and a good enjoyable game for all.     
For the record, that other thread is here (link).

Sounds like a dysfunctional group - the DM apparently wants to "win" the game and is creating house rules and cutting off equipment and other Player options in order to do so, and the players for whatever reason feel that a game that is a chore to play is a better way to spend their free time than any of the other things they could be doing instead.

If the DM is stepping down and making room for someone else to take his place, that's probably the best outcome that could have occurred. 

Better luck this time - I hope the communication and cooperation work a little better in this incarnation of your D&D group
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I've always found that a flat "don't go on forums" is a bad sign, usually.  The closest I've ever gotten is "don't go on forums that specifically ask players from this campaign not to read it, because it might contain plot spoilers."

If my players want to discuss my game and/or discuss rules after the game/by email or whatever, no DM should have a problem with it.

If they do, it tends to be an inexperienced DM who is trying to run a perfect story. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
I've always found that a flat "don't go on forums" is a bad sign, usually.  The closest I've ever gotten is "don't go on forums that specifically ask players from this campaign not to read it, because it might contain plot spoilers."

If my players want to discuss my game and/or discuss rules after the game/by email or whatever, no DM should have a problem with it.

If they do, it tends to be an inexperienced DM who is trying to run a perfect story. 



+1 to that: that "don't talk about Fight Club" rule definitely sounds like a bad sign.

[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
Yes we are that DM's group,its very difficult because he has house rules,no going on forums,no discussions re the rules in gametime,and inevitably the DM,s decision is final.



So i had to go on the forums to ensure that we had a viable point,but i did text him our concerns for our group and he has now decided to no longer DM.


In a way it could be a blessing in disguise,we can have a new DM,no arguments and a good enjoyable game for all.     



No fourms?  He might as well as said...No internet use

Yes we are that DM's group,its very difficult because he has house rules,no going on forums,

So i had to go on the forums to ensure that we had a viable point,but i did text him our concerns for our group and he has now decided to no longer DM.



If a DM told me I couldn't go on forums, I would walk then and there. Thats super controlling. Its one thing to say "please don't print a build off and try to use it without knowing how it works when I ask" and another to say "You can't go to X, Y, and Z, websites". 

I am glad to hear this person is not DMing, and would recomend your group have a discussion with whoever picks up next about expectations. "we expect traditional WBL" ect.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Hmmmm what about the DM saying please don't go on my forum posts as it may contain spoilers for future adventures-
but its fine to go on any others especially ones of character optimisation where you build the best characters you legally can,
i find that one has been the saviour of my games in the past.
As I had said before, it is generally accepted to say "hey, don't go on forum threads that I post that say "Argonessen Prophecies Players Don't Read."

There's a major difference between that and "don't go onto forums". 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Hmmmm what about the DM saying please don't go on my forum posts as it may contain spoilers for future adventures-
but its fine to go on any others especially ones of character optimisation where you build the best characters you legally can,

i find that one has been the saviour of my games in the past.



Yeah, thats totally different. "I am putting spoilers for this game online, don't read them" is totally fine. "Don't go online" is insane. 



"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

what about if you have a rule discrepency that between the party and dm is not clear? could be player is right could be the DM
Is'nt it better to say hey we'll play it this way tonight, if we post on the Q&A forums well have a clear answer for next week and we'll go with that!  rather than stop the game play with arguing?
what about if you have a rule discrepency that between the party and dm is not clear? could be player is right could be the DM
Is'nt it better to say hey we'll play it this way tonight, if we post on the Q&A forums well have a clear answer for next week and we'll go with that!  rather than stop the game play with arguing?



Yes.

The problem, of course, is that when you have a control freak DM, they would consider researching the rule and seeking out other opinions to be 'undermining his authority' or something silly like that.  A DM like that will never admit that he might be mistaken and won't listen to his players, which is a rather big sign that says 'terrible DM, do not use'.
what about if you have a rule discrepency that between the party and dm is not clear? could be player is right could be the DM

Is'nt it better to say hey we'll play it this way tonight, if we post on the Q&A forums well have a clear answer for next week and we'll go with that!  rather than stop the game play with arguing?



Thats probably the best solution to the problem. 



"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

It's counter-productive, anyway:  a control-freak DM ordering players not to do something is the surest way to ensure that they do it, just because.

If the DM really wanted to ensure that none of the players ever visited the forums, he should say "it's a requirement to read the forums twice a day" - in that case, he'll be lucky if they log into the forums twice a year Laughing


[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
what about if you have a rule discrepency that between the party and dm is not clear? could be player is right could be the DM
Is'nt it better to say hey we'll play it this way tonight, if we post on the Q&A forums well have a clear answer for next week and we'll go with that!  rather than stop the game play with arguing?


Depends on the rule.

If it is a quick "you can't target me because I'm Hidden" or "Superior cover is -4 to attacks against me," a GOOD DM will recognize that he will have made a mistake and is being corrected by someone who knows that particular rule.  If I was a player and spent my move action to get behind superior cover and get hidden and suddenly you say "nope, I can target you just fine with these archers and they don't even take an attack penalty," I'd be a pissed off player.

A good rule of thumb is that if it affects the players negatively, go with the rule as the players understand it, then look it up before next session, and run it correctly from then on.  My personal preference is to give 15 seconds to look it up on Compendium, see what it says, then side with player's recollection of the rules, unless I am 100% certain I am right (and by 100% certain I mean "I know the exact page/wording used in Compendium)

A bad DM will insist that his way is right each and every single time, because he is afraid of being "wrong."

How often does this happen in your game that there is a "rules argument"?  Is it an argument just between one player and the DM, or does it happen between all the players and the DM?  If it is the former, it might be a rules lawyer thing, but if it is the latter, it might mean that the DM isn't as familiar with the rules as he should be, but doesn't want to admit it.
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
I just keep a copy of the Rules Compendium at my table, and take the less than one minute it takes me to look something up if there's a discrepancy.

Not if I think the DM called it wrong. Not if a player is claiming something and I think it's untrue (I stay quiet).

But when either of those two things happen, and someone else at the table raises dispute, before it can fall to debate, I just look it up and we go forward with the correct ruling. 

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Heya,


That is well and good but sometimes you find that some DM,s dont have all the rule books to enable them to be a good dungeonmaster.And sometimes they rely on the players to purchase all the other books in the game,so as not to incure the costs.If this is the scenario then the DM will constantly be checking on the forums regarding rules,and if this is the scenario of a control freak Dm he might not like being corrected by his players. 



I have never met a single person who is a fountain of knowledge in this game,people always have to refer to some rule/update etc,so the DM should just accept the ruling untill it is proven wrong or it will turn into a scenario like their "Underminding his authority".


Also if you have a game with casual stangers then maybe the dm could make certain stipulations,but if you have a game among friends then it should be based on ease of play.


As an example if a player knew a rule and the dm didnt then why cant the dm just accept it untill the following week ,unless a dm feels the players are constantly lying.           
Heya,


That is well and good but sometimes you find that some DM,s dont have all the rule books to enable them to be a good dungeonmaster.And sometimes they rely on the players to purchase all the other books in the game,so as not to incure the costs.If this is the scenario then the DM will constantly be checking on the forums regarding rules,and if this is the scenario of a control freak Dm he might not like being corrected by his players. 



I have never met a single person who is a fountain of knowledge in this game,people always have to refer to some rule/update etc,so the DM should just accept the ruling untill it is proven wrong or it will turn into a scenario like their "Underminding his authority".


Also if you have a game with casual stangers then maybe the dm could make certain stipulations,but if you have a game among friends then it should be based on ease of play.


As an example if a player knew a rule and the dm didnt then why cant the dm just accept it untill the following week ,unless a dm feels the players are constantly lying.



I think an important part of being prepared and able to run a game is having the necessary resources, or at least access to them. Does someone in the group have a way to make encounter maps? Are there enough dice for everybody to use? Character sheets? pencils? monster stats?

These are important resources. For the DM, the important resources are: maps (either tiles or gridmap), monsters (stats and tokens/minis), adventure outline (at least the general plot), and rules.

If you're going to be able to do your job as DM, you need to be able to referee the game. This is part of the DMs job. If you're going to be a good DM, you need the tools to do your job. Having access to the rules is, therefore, an essential part of being a good DM.

I seriously doubt anybody has memorized all the rules for 4e, even at this point, so actually having a rulebook on hand should really be considered mandatory for a DM.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Heya,


That is well and good but sometimes you find that some DM,s dont have all the rule books to enable them to be a good dungeonmaster.

 The DM should have the rules that are in the DMG/PHB1 and/or Rules Compendium.  Those are the core rules of the game.  The DM should read the DMG and be familiar with the rules and advice within it.  It's one thing if the DM isn't quite sure how many Power Points a Psion gets at level 6.  But it's another if the DM doesn't give out level-appropriate treasure without anything to make up for the loss in player effectiveness.


And sometimes they rely on the players to purchase all the other books in the game,so as not to incure the costs.

It is generally accepted that the player of any character should know/have available the rules for said character.  For example, if someone brings a Psion to the table, they should either have the Power Points table memorized and recite it to me verbatim, or they should have PHB3 available at the table for the DM to check if needed.

If this is the scenario then the DM will constantly be checking on the forums regarding rules,and if this is the scenario of a control freak Dm he might not like being corrected by his players.

Well, if the DM is a control freak that doesn't like being corrected, he shouldn't be DMing (or tell the players flat out that they're playing 4.Steve).  The rules are convoluted and there are lots of them.  There is no reason to feel like you're a bad DM if you mess up on remembering a rule.  You ARE a bad DM, however, if you refuse to ever admit that you COULD be wrong.  

Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
+1 to what Corrin said!

The DM really doesn't need anything more than:

[spoiler Minimum DM Requirements]

  1. basic DM's Rules:  a single basic DM's guide (the Rules Compendium and other DMGs are optional); alternatively, a DDI account

  2. an adventure:  easy access to a published adventure, or a monster manual (or DDI) for reference when home-brewing an adventure

  3. dice:  a complete set of polyhedral RPG dice

  4. pen-and-paper:  scratch paper and pencil (for making notes, doing math, and sketching maps)

  5. basic understanding of rules:  a good enough grasp of the rules to keep the game running with minimal rule-book referencing and rules disputes

  6. communication skills:  the minimal communications skills needed to read and comprehend the rules, and to talk to the group

  7. social skills:  the ability to make, understand, and uphold his/her end of a social contract

  8. imagination

  9. game and preparation time

If a DM doesn't have these minimal requirements, then something is wrong.  Most new DMs won't even need to buy most of these items.

I strongly recommend that the DM also have a basic Player's handbook, but if at least one player has one, that's fine.

Everything else is "gravy" (arguably, nice to have but more than a group actually needs.)
[/spoiler]


The Players are also required to meet some minimum requirements of equipment.

[spoiler Minimum Player Requirements]
The Players are responsible for having access to all the books required to run their characters.  The DM might lend his copy of the Player's Handbook if he has one and that's dandy if he does, but, really, the Players have nobody to blame but themselves if they don't have their own Player's books. 

Each Player should also have his/her own dice.  The DM or other Players might lend their dice to Players who don't have their own, but Players have nobody but themselves to blame if they don't have any dice to roll.

It is also the Player's responsibility to be able to find and point out the rules for any character option (s)he has chosen, should the DM have questions about those options.

The only possible exception to that would be if the DM is starting a new group, or if (s)he has any specific, potentially unusual character requirements.  In those cases, it would be good etiquette for the DM to provide the required players' books to start the group with, or provide the books that make those picky requirements as easy as possible for players.  (For example, if the DM requires characters to be created only from Player's Handbook 1, the DM should provide Player's Handbook 1.  If the DM requires only Essentials characters, the DM should provide the Essentials player's books.  If the DM requires Psionic PCs, the DM should provide the players' book that makes that possible.)

Thus, each Player should have:

  1. basic Player's book:  easy access to a basic Player's handbook, plus any splat books and other materials used to generate the character

  2. dice:  easy access to a complete set of Dice

  3. a character:  a complete, accurate, and legible character sheet, including background and description

  4. pen-and-paper:  scratch paper and pencil (for making notes and doing math)

  5. basic understanding of player rules:  a good enough grasp of the player and character rules to understand the character sheet, play the character, and create and/or level a character from time to time

  6. communication skills:  the minimal communication skills needed to read and understand the PC rules, and play the character in front of a group

  7. social skills:  the ability to make, understand, and uphold his/her end of a social contract

  8. imagination

  9. game time

If the player cannot meet these minimal requirements, then something is wrong.  Most new Players won't even need to buy most of these items.
[/spoiler]


Most of these items are free, or nearly free.

If the DM and each Player are able to contribute their part of the minimum equipment listed above, then there's never a good reason for a DM to ever check the forums for answers to questions about rules or anything else in the middle of a game session.

(Researching obscure rules and debating the meaning of an unclear rule between game sessions is OK, though:  it's far better to make a provisional decision that favors the PCs during the game session, and then look up the real rule after that session for future reference - just don't hold up a live game session to do this.)


  • his/her own dice (the DM or other Players might lend their dice to Players who don't have their own, but Players have nobody but themselves to blame if they don't have any dice to roll)



[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I don't really know what rulebooks would make the difference between a good or bad dungeon master, They are expensive books between $35 and $25 a pop on cover price -
As a Dm i have PHB1. DMG 1 . the various monster manuals - I buy WOTC scenarios revenge of the giants and tomb of horrors are $29.00 cover price, I buy all the monster minis and provide the dungeon scenery- thats a couple of hundred $'s right there. Does that make me a bad dungeon master because i don't have all the other books too?
I would expect players to have the relevant PHB for their character class so they can read up obn it and if they want the extra powers to buy martial powers, primal powers etc for their classes- also if they want their toys adventurers vault, in 4th ed players can easily buy magic items . have rituals to make them or even transfer enchantment...... Is it the consensus that dm's HAVE to have adventurers vault to know the powers of a pc's magic item?
As for players knowing the rules fully for their abilities and having the books I totally agree with that,  But even in a fantasy game there must be a kind of logic in the game that seems based on a kind of fantasy reality.
I once had a player who had adventurers vault ( I did'nt ) announce that he had bought a potion bandolier when he levelled up, fine I asked what does it do? he announced it lets you drink a potion as a free action, cool and we played with that rule for a year, seemed fine move action , standard action, minor action and a free action drink a potion, did'nt seem broken to me. Anyway when it was around nearly 20th level time , big boss fight player gets slammed then announces he is going to drinjk 7 potions!
How i say? well you can have as many free actions as you want is the reply its the potion bandolier power
but thats seens crazy as DM i say, as practically all the party had them equipped. you could in theory with five characters if you had enough potions be drinking five potions each every round of the encounter?????! 25 potions drunk in one round????? I know you would use up healing surges but it could be done!
The big boss fight and suspense i had planned would have completely evaporated, a tense encounter becomes an absolute walkover,
So i ask to see themagic item card and read it, the getting OUT the potion is FREE action but drinking it is still a minor, you could still only drink 1 potion a round much more sensible,
So as DM do I let player have the ruling in his favour for the session as the big boss fight would have just become a complete joke or do i overrule it, and check on the forums ( Which i got the correct ruling as I thought)
I had another player who would shout and get annoyed at me with the shield spell wizard power. If i hit him with the defences on the stat card i had clipped to my DM screen, he would lose his temper saying the shield spell meant the Ac and reflex stats are higher and i would have missed, But i explained i never know when you are playing it as an immediate interupt i've only got your stats at the present time, this went on for months, And it did'nt make logical sense as every time he levelled up sats would rise too so his stats shielded raised too, finally got to the bottom of it
anyway it took another careful reading of his card the Shield spell activates when hit, so the original hit is at the unshielded stats then the shield spell activates and that makes a logical sense. So ages of playing and a player getting annoyed was just due misreading the rules....... not due to someone being a bad DM because they did'nt know a players abilities.
I don't really know what rulebooks would make the difference between a good or bad dungeon master, They are expensive books between $35 and $25 a pop on cover price - 
As a Dm i have PHB1. DMG 1 . the various monster manuals - I buy WOTC scenarios revenge of the giants and tomb of horrors are $29.00 cover price, I buy all the monster minis and provide the dungeon scenery- thats a couple of hundred $'s right there. Does that make me a bad dungeon master because i don't have all the other books too?

 As people said above, you should have the DMG1 and PHB1, and/or the Rules Compendium.  That is all that is needed to play the game.  What your focusing on is having every book, when we're trying to say "you should know the information in these 2 books".  Having extra stuff isn't going to make you a better or worse DM:  you can have all the rulebooks, but if you don't have a firm grasp on the core rules, you're going to make bad rules calls.  I don't care if you have $1000 worth of minis and fake trees and all the crap if you're flimsy on how Immediate Actions work, or don't know the difference between a Turn and a Round.  

How much stuff you have doesn't mean squat.  It's knowing the Core Rules that is important.


I would expect players to have the relevant PHB for their character class so they can read up obn it and if they want the extra powers to buy martial powers, primal powers etc for their classes- also if they want their toys adventurers vault, in 4th ed players can easily buy magic items . have rituals to make them or even transfer enchantment...... Is it the consensus that dm's HAVE to have adventurers vault to know the powers of a pc's magic item?

Consensus is that the DM only needs the DMG and PHB1.  There is enough magical treasure in PHB1 that you can give treasure.  Another facet of consensus is that if you are running, for example, Dark Sun, the DM would be expected to have the Dark Sun Campaign Guide himself, or at least accessible.


I once had a player who had adventurers vault ( I did'nt ) announce that he had bought a potion bandolier when he levelled up, fine I asked what does it do? he announced it lets you drink a potion as a free action, cool and we played with that rule for a year, seemed fine move action , standard action, minor action and a free action drink a potion, did'nt seem broken to me. Anyway when it was around nearly 20th level time , big boss fight player gets slammed then announces he is going to drinjk 7 potions!
How i say? well you can have as many free actions as you want is the reply its the potion bandolier power
but thats seens crazy as DM i say, as practically all the party had them equipped. you could in theory with five characters if you had enough potions be drinking five potions each every round of the encounter?????! 25 potions drunk in one round????? I know you would use up healing surges but it could be done!
The big boss fight and suspense i had planned would have completely evaporated, a tense encounter becomes an absolute walkover,
So i ask to see themagic item card and read it, the getting OUT the potion is FREE action but drinking it is still a minor, you could still only drink 1 potion a round much more sensible,
So as DM do I let player have the ruling in his favour for the session as the big boss fight would have just become a complete joke or do i overrule it, and check on the forums ( Which i got the correct ruling as I thought)

As a DM,  you should have simply asked to see the player's character sheet, or had him open the book to said item and read it yourself, right then and there.  It is expected that the players should know the rules for their characters and the items they have, and should be able to make the exact wording of the rules for said item available at any time as needed.  

To be honest, the problem you describe here has the fault shared by both the DM and the player.  You should have been familiar with the item, at least having read the stat block for it, and the player should have had it available for you to read whenever you wanted.  My guess is that neither of these things happened, so I would say that DM and player both share responsibility for that failure.

If you, as a DM, allowed him to have treasure from a book you didn't have, you should have read the book so that you knew what the item did, and either memorized it, written it down, or asked him to always have it on him so you could reference it later.  Either that, or you should not have allowed anything from books you don't have.

I had another player who would shout and get annoyed at me with the shield spell wizard power. If i hit him with the defences on the stat card i had clipped to my DM screen, he would lose his temper saying the shield spell meant the Ac and reflex stats are higher and i would have missed, But i explained i never know when you are playing it as an immediate interupt i've only got your stats at the present time, this went on for months, And it did'nt make logical sense as every time he levelled up sats would rise too so his stats shielded raised too, finally got to the bottom of it
anyway it took another careful reading of his card the Shield spell activates when hit, so the original hit is at the unshielded stats then the shield spell activates and that makes a logical sense. So ages of playing and a player getting annoyed was just due misreading the rules....... not due to someone being a bad DM because they did'nt know a players abilities.


Actually, I would say that it was partially your fault, as well as the player's.  It's obvious from the initial interactions with your player that neither you nor your player were familiar with the Immediate Interrupt rules and/or how Shield worked.  Also, it's your fault for letting the problem exist for so long.  One session, okay, I can understand, sometimes problems pop up.  At two sessions of it happening, you should have been hitting the books/forums to figure out what was going on.  From your description of "ages," I'm going to assume that this happened for more than three sessions, which means that you failed as a DM by

1.  Not recognizing that there was a rules problem going on and
2. Not addressing it in a timely manner.

As a DM, you should have been able to open the PHB, look at Shield, and say "It's an immediate interrupt, so you use it this way, this is how immediate interrupts work."  Yes, the player should know how his character works, but it is the DM's job to be able to explain to them how it works if there seems to be confusion.  Just as the players are supposed to inform the DM if the DM is making rules mistakes.

As said before, anybody can make mistakes by DMing or playing.  That happens.  But it's how you DEAL with the mistakes that makes you good or bad.

What reinforces the perception of a bad DM is also how they react to issues: I find it interesting that in both of these situations, you're blaming the players for the mess up, and not the DM.  
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Hey I'm just mentioning rule discrepencies happen, and its not really a dms fault for those, but favouring a players decision every time  until a q&A check can sometime spoil the whole flavour of a game. I was talking about my revenge of the giants campaign which went fine all the way thru with the minor mis read of potion bandolier, The final boss battle would have just ended on a damp squib with the potions thing- Ho hum that was tough,

As for other times If i make a rule error i quite frankly apologise, or use the q&a until next week, and then announce it at the start of the game if it could'nt be fixed in game time so we are all clear,

In my games, a player has never died by a bad rule call, which is the ulimate annoyance I would feel as a player, but minor inconvieniences cannot be avoided occaisonally. As you described before the rules are convoluted anmd its a rule heavy game and I've asked my players if they would like to play any other game, but d&d is all they have ever wanted to play so you have to accept it warts and all.
Heya,


In support of what has been said,i have just looked at your posts and you do constantly seem to be questioning and looking for answers in reference to your players.And it seems that most of the times the players are correct.


You raise this issue i have noted a few times on your threads regarding this potion bandolier,i presume you did look in AV when the player announced they bought one,if so is this not a mistake made by both the player and DM. And if it took untill the party was 20+ level then it should have been noticed before that.And did it take 20+ lvls for them to drink more than 1 potion in a round?


You mentioned the same scenario with the wizard shield spell,  did this take till the party was 20+ levels aswell. 


I do feel that if a DM is giving out random treasure they should have more than one source for this ,otherwise your high lvl party will not be getting any varience in their campaign.


Could you note this thread was started in reference to a party underequiped and about to start tomb of horrors,and i believe 10th lvl. Were you the DM of that party ,and how is 20+lvl characters relevant.Do you have a second group with problems?
 And if so maybe you should consider you are addressing these problems wrong,and blaming the players and not the DM.      
Hi All,


Yes as i have said before there are some very astute people on this forum re our old dm.What amazes me is that our old issues(grossly exagerated) which where resolved years ago,and  an oversite of both players and the dm are used to try and condemn the players as rule bending cheats.All we have ever wanted is a fun and enjoyable game,which became for all of us a headache  in the end because when we ever had concerns about the game it met on deaf ears and we were told to stop moaning.


Thankfully we have moved on as a party,i wish the old DM good luck in the future,and maybe he can take just a little advice from everyone and listen. 
Hey I'm just mentioning rule discrepencies happen, and its not really a dms fault for those, but favouring a players decision every time  until a q&A check can sometime spoil the whole flavour of a game. I was talking about my revenge of the giants campaign which went fine all the way thru with the minor mis read of potion bandolier, The final boss battle would have just ended on a damp squib with the potions thing- Ho hum that was tough,

As for other times If i make a rule error i quite frankly apologise, or use the q&a until next week, and then announce it at the start of the game if it could'nt be fixed in game time so we are all clear,

In my games, a player has never died by a bad rule call, which is the ulimate annoyance I would feel as a player, but minor inconvieniences cannot be avoided occaisonally. As you described before the rules are convoluted anmd its a rule heavy game and I've asked my players if they would like to play any other game, but d&d is all they have ever wanted to play so you have to accept it warts and all.


Kiss, what's amusing about this is your refusal to take responsibility at all for what happened.  You say it's not a DM's fault for those, EXCEPT IT IS.

You allowed someone to take treasure from a book you didn't have, didn't know what it did, and relied on someone else telling you what it did, and when it became an issue, didn't have the ability to look it up and check.

You were unable to explain how a power that's listed in PHB 1 works for "ages" to a player.

I'm sorry, but you're coming across as "it's not my fault, I'm not responsible, it's all the player's fault."  Which is totally denial and shifting blame.  You as a DM were partially responsible for the situation, and I can tell from this thread that you really haven't learned your lesson from your old problems, because you were still making them right up to the creation of this thread.

In your thread about potions of clarity, you were blaming the players for not using good tactics and taking too long to defeat monsters.  It wasn't until this thread that we find out that the party had hardly any level-appropriate gear against level+3-5 encounters.

Kiss, you really need to spend some time as a player, and maybe learn from other people DMing.  You also need to get over yourself and realize that D&D is a group game, and any problems in the game are shared by the group, with the DM taking ownership of rules problems. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Well my bad,
I'm sorry I felt that if a player had a power, ability or magic item its ok to trust them to use it or is d&d etiquette everytime we play at the beginning of the night before we start when people have levelled up and bought new stuff etc etc etc...... I have to have a look at all their new abilities items etc. possibly wasting half an hour. to check they are all using it ok?...... thats kind of long winded if you only meet up week nights due to work and family comitmments you only have 3 1/2 to 4hr game time. 
I don't know is that d&d etiquette ? 
secondly you can get accused of not trusting your players? when for a fun game i should be able to trust the players.
As for potion bandolier it seemed ok for so many levels the player never abused it until the final boss encounter of revenge of the giants, I apologise but that kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth that a good campaign now- did a player delibertly deceive or was it just a honest mistake?

Heya,


You make it sound as if your 4 players bought numerous magic items every week,but according to your own blog and this one your players hardly ever received any money from their DM and if they did it was to buy potions of clarity.


You saying 'well my bad',is that a general forum sort of apology,if so dont you think it should be directed at your ex gaming group,i do sincerely beleve they deserve it.


Another point that was raised was that do you have little or any gaming experience,do you know what its like to be a player?.


I personaly feel you should quite as a Dm untill you have more people experience,you obviously have major people issues and that age old issue 'dm is God'            
What excellent suggestions and ideas ,we will all wait patiently for the relevant answers.Laughing


But we will not hold our beath 
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