Issues with authority (and other questions)

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
1. My paladin didn't show up again. He's only been to one game. However, the guy who drives our bard to the game joined in too, so now we have a cleric and a once-again full table. I don't know how to easily kick the paladin out without hard feelings. I have the notion that I generally won't be seeing him around if I do (we don't have lectures together anymore anyway). Should I just put off directly telling him and expect him to keep skipping games, or is this too problematic?

2. I feel like I have no authority as a DM. My players are loud, indecisive, and on few occasions will interrupt me when I'm right in the middle of a sentence (mostly just the Druid whom I mentioned with earlier problems). I'm not sure how to properly take command to get the ball rolling. It doesn't help that I'm the youngest, the shortest, and have the smallest voice. I feel that if I show that I'm clearly unamused by their raucousness, then they won't enjoy the game as much. We're a light hearted group.

The DH group I PC in takes turns asking the players what to do, but I don't feel like this would be effective as I don't want to point someone out if they're unsure what to do next, and I can't have too many people running off in different directions.

3. (This is a low-level beginner's 3.5 game for my new players) My sister is addicted to magic missile -___-. It's basically the only spell she uses in combat. Is there any (I believe they've moved to lvl 3 now) spell that I can entice her with so she isn't constantly using the same attack? 
1. How many games has he missed, and did he tell you he'd be missing games before he disappeared?  If it's been a few games, and he didn't tell you, then it's probably safe to assume he's dropped out.  If he calls you back, tell him that his space has been filled, but if he'd said 'I'm gonna have to miss a few weeks due to (work/sick/other real-life issues)' before disappearing, you would have saved his spot.  Offer him the first call if a spot opens.

2. Get a noisemaker of some sort.  A cymbal, bell, capgun, anything that makes a fairly loud sound (though not so loud it'll get the neighbors on you).  When their arguing gets out of hand, set it off.  When everybody's shut up and is looking at you, politely request that they quiet down and remain civil.  Remind them that they are just playing a game, not having a political debate.

As far as interrupting you goes ... well, just look the interrupting player in the eye and ask him, firmly but politely, not to be so rude.

3. Not much you can do about that.  You might play an NPC wizard of your own, as an antagonist/enemy, and demonstrate what other spells can do by using them against the PCs in battle.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
1. My paladin didn't show up again. He's only been to one game. However, the guy who drives our bard to the game joined in too, so now we have a cleric and a once-again full table. I don't know how to easily kick the paladin out without hard feelings. I have the notion that I generally won't be seeing him around if I do (we don't have lectures together anymore anyway). Should I just put off directly telling him and expect him to keep skipping games, or is this too problematic?



No, you should be an adult and address the matter directly. "Hey, you haven't shown up in the last X weeks, and (the bard's player's friend) wanted to join, so we gave him your spot. Let me know if you're able to meet with us again, and if you still want to play, we'll see what we can work out."

2. I feel like I have no authority as a DM. My players are loud, indecisive, and on few occasions will interrupt me when I'm right in the middle of a sentence (mostly just the Druid whom I mentioned with earlier problems). I'm not sure how to properly take command to get the ball rolling. It doesn't help that I'm the youngest, the shortest, and have the smallest voice. I feel that if I show that I'm clearly unamused by their raucousness, then they won't enjoy the game as much. We're a light hearted group.



This may not be an authority issue. It sounds more to me like the group is trying to socialize. Does your group do pre-game? If not, you should. Invite people to start showing up 30-60 minutes before game actually starts. This way, people can burn off some energy, socialize, and catch up on whatever they haven't had a chance to talk about. When you finish a combat encounter, I'd similarly take a small break (Short rests are 5 minutes, do that in real time).

At the end of both of those (when you're ready to start game for the night and when you're ready to come back to game after a break), have the players roll their next round of initiative checks. This gives you a chance to do a small amount of book keeping while they bring their conversations to a natural end.

3. (This is a low-level beginner's 3.5 game for my new players) My sister is addicted to magic missile -___-. It's basically the only spell she uses in combat. Is there any (I believe they've moved to lvl 3 now) spell that I can entice her with so she isn't constantly using the same attack? 



Not really. MM is a long time favorite (so much so that it was not only made an at-will attack power in 4th edition, but they then went back and changed it so that it's an auto-hit power like in previous editions. They even straight up give it to almost every Wizard subclass).

"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



No, you should be an adult and address the matter directly. "Hey, you haven't shown up in the last X weeks, and (the bard's player) wanted to join, so we gave him your spot. Let me know if you're able to meet with us again, and if you still want to play, we'll see what we can work out."




That sounds best. My table is already crammed with players, so I'll likely just mention that we're full at the moment, but if someone drops out we'd like to have him back.


This may not be an authority issue. It sounds more to me like the group is trying to socialize. Does your group do pre-game? If not, you should. Invite people to start showing up 30-60 minutes before game actually starts. This way, people can burn off some energy, socialize, and catch up on whatever they haven't had a chance to talk about. When you finish a combat encounter, I'd similarly take a small break (Short rests are 5 minutes, do that in real time).

At the end of both of those (when you're ready to start game for the night and when you're ready to come back to game after a break), have the players roll their next round of initiative checks. This gives you a chance to do a small amount of book keeping while they bring their conversations to a natural end.
 



I give them entire hours before the game starts. It's not socialization, they are really talking about game related issues. They just happen to strategize a bit too much where it isn't necessary. I mentioned that there was a tiny scrap of tunic after one battle (that's going to lead into later events) and their characters held knives against each other fighting for it. They a) always want the most basic items, and b) are not always quick to decide a route of action. 




2. Get a noisemaker of some sort.  A cymbal, bell, capgun, anything that makes a fairly loud sound (though not so loud it'll get the neighbors on you).  



I definitely like this idea. I don't think they'll take it with bad spirits either. 

If you want people to behave a certain way at your table, you first need to make your expectations 100% clear.  Email a draft set of table rules and ask for input.  Tell everyone that you'll assume that these are agreed by everyone if you don't have feedback before the next session.  Enforce these rules, but always stay calm, confident and easy-going in your approach.  You improve the behaviour of the people that you lead by setting an example for them, not by following theirs.

Personally, when problem 1 arises within my group, I just let the character "fade" into the background, and they suffer no ill consequence JUST for being absent. They still gain their share of the loot (if it's gold, that is...items given out as loot tend to get claimed microseconds after being announced) This helps in two ways. 1) If they are absent frequently, they won't have much of an impact on the game, which is good. (I believe the impact your characters should have should be slightly coorelated to how often they are present; The mayor's not going to listen to the Paladin who's been sick for 4 months.) 2) They can still suffer if their allies fail, which intices them to come (One of my players actually started regularly coming after he was forced to re-roll when he missed a session and everybody died)

With problem 2, I simply wait. If somebody interrupts me, or somebody is screwing around, I simply stop. Typically, the person who interrupted me gets in turn interrupted and told to pay attention by whoever is unable to act because of my silence. Its not a cold, indifferent silence, but I am firm in that order must be restored before gameplay can resume. My group is also very much light hearted and this approach works because it doesn't foster a "player VS DM" mentality by having the players themselves enforce order.

Quo usque pro roma ibis?

1. How many games has he missed, and did he tell you he'd be missing games before he disappeared?  If it's been a few games, and he didn't tell you, then it's probably safe to assume he's dropped out.  If he calls you back, tell him that his space has been filled, but if he'd said 'I'm gonna have to miss a few weeks due to (work/sick/other real-life issues)' before disappearing, you would have saved his spot.  Offer him the first call if a spot opens.



Oh, should have addressed this first.

He pulls a "just found out I can't come!" every single time. 

Like, we have so many bus routes in our city it's not even funny. But he still says he can't make it down. Even when I know neither of us are busy with classes. He hasn't been sick, does not have a job, has not had a relative or cat die for all I know. It's somewhat infuriating - that our new cleric that is somewhat more of an acquaintance is willing to drive our bard here every other week, but one of the guys who was originally excited to start this game never shows. 

Do you ask him why he can't attend?

To be honest, it sounds kind of like he's trying to ditch you guys, if he's not forthcoming on why he can't attend.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Do you ask him why he can't attend?

To be honest, it sounds kind of like he's trying to ditch you guys, if he's not forthcoming on why he can't attend.



I really do hope he's trying to ditch the group, because the group is most definitely trying to ditch him. 
I had this issue twice. A player who skipped a lot of game! The first one, I asked him if I could give his spot to another player if he can't be with us often ( We're not playing a lot, not even once a month but he knew, a week or two before, that we were playing. )

Finaly, he didn't mind to leave his spot to another player. He liked the game but he had too much to do outside the game.

And the second one, I'm having troubles now! He's in two games but there's one game that it seems he can never play! I'm giving him one or two other chances and if he can't make it, I'll ask to switch him for another player ( Well...I'll begin to need new players! hehehe )

But, I don't know how old you guys are but since a couple of year ( We're all aound 30 years old. ) it's not that easy to all meet and play!

I was so easy when I was at school, single, without children!  hehehe
I'm playing: Abin Gadon, Halfling Bard Winston "Slurphnose", Gnome Sorcerer Pasiphaé, Minotaur Shaman Eglerion, Elf Ellyrian Reaver (Ranger) DMing: Le Trésor du Fluide (Treasure from the Fluid) Un Royaume d'une Grande Valeur (A Kingdom of Great Value) La Légende de Persitaa (Persitaa's Legend) Une Série de Petites Quêtes... (A serie of short quests) Playtesting: Caves of Chaos We're building the greatest adventure ever known to DnD players! Also playing Legend of the Five Rings and Warhammer Fantasy. Sébastien, Beloeil, Qc. I am Neutral Good and 32 years old.
To the first problem, I have to agree that it sounds like he's ditching the group and doesn't want to play anymore, so I would just let him know that his spot is filled as that seems to be the best suggestion so far.

The second seems to be the most pressing out of the three. The noisemakers are definitely a good idea. Maybe a bullhorn would be good too. Make you good and loud since you have the smallest voice. Although the other ideas are probably better to start off with. Laughing

As to the third...well, having played since the days of AD&D, MM is definitely a mainstay for lower level characters and as such, expect she's going to be using it a LOT. It's always been a great spell and increases in power nicely through the mid-level range. That's just something to deal with, although I do like the idea of having enemy magic users use other spells against the party to kind of show her what other spells can do and how they can benefit everyone in her group in the way of aids to avoid damage, interrogate villians, etc.
1. My paladin didn't show up again. He's only been to one game. However, the guy who drives our bard to the game joined in too, so now we have a cleric and a once-again full table. I don't know how to easily kick the paladin out without hard feelings. I have the notion that I generally won't be seeing him around if I do (we don't have lectures together anymore anyway). Should I just put off directly telling him and expect him to keep skipping games, or is this too problematic?

Don't kick him out if he is a good player that adds fun to the game. Just plan on his character not being there; for example; the Paladin is guarding the camp while the others adventure. Or the Paladin was called back to his temple. if he pulls a lot of no shows in the future, then tell him he either has to show up regularly or he is out, but say it with a smile, do not be mean about it.

2. I feel like I have no authority as a DM. My players are loud, indecisive, and on few occasions will interrupt me when I'm right in the middle of a sentence (mostly just the Druid whom I mentioned with earlier problems). I'm not sure how to properly take command to get the ball rolling. It doesn't help that I'm the youngest, the shortest, and have the smallest voice. I feel that if I show that I'm clearly unamused by their raucousness, then they won't enjoy the game as much. We're a light hearted group.

Tell them all at the start of the game session that you need everyone to listen. Tell them it is nothing personal but you can't run the game if everyone is talking wheile you are DMing. Getting a bell or noisemaker might actually help

The DH group I PC in takes turns asking the players what to do, but I don't feel like this would be effective as I don't want to point someone out if they're unsure what to do next, and I can't have too many people running off in different directions.

Common problem; it takes many people a long time to learn how to be prepared for when their turn rolls around. You can make a general suggestion that everyone think about what they plan to do without pointing anyone out.

3. (This is a low-level beginner's 3.5 game for my new players) My sister is addicted to magic missile -___-. It's basically the only spell she uses in combat. Is there any (I believe they've moved to lvl 3 now) spell that I can entice her with so she isn't constantly using the same attack? 


Don't worry about it; as she gains levels, she will have level 2 and higher spells to cast. she will not really be able to use only magic missle long term. (Well, not without meta magic to cast magic missile as a level 2 spell anyway)



Should I just put off directly telling him and expect him to keep skipping games

Actually, this is fine if you are ok with the number of players if he does show up. If that would be too many for you though, politely explain that you 'now have a replacement player that can reliably attend, but you would be happy to notify him when you have an opening in the future'.

Should I just put off directly telling him and expect him to keep skipping games

Actually, this is fine if you are ok with the number of players if he does show up. If that would be too many for you though, politely explain that you 'now have a replacement player that can reliably attend, but you would be happy to notify him when you have an opening in the future'.




Good point. I have a full table now since I allowed someone else to join in his absence, and I can't have him popping in.

One of my players suspected from the beginning that he didn't really come because he wanted to play the game.  
fwiw: flaky players are just a part of D&D (possibly an important part even):
1) D&D is a social game
2) You don't really want marginally interested players occupying a spot that more interested players might want.
3) You sometimes have to go through several players before a good, solid, compatible group of players is assembled.

With that in mind, most players should be understanding when you need to make room for a more reliable player.
As for your sister with Magic Missle, I second the idea of having an enemy wizard fight them and him them with their own impressive spells.
Sign In to post comments