Having trouble motivating my DM that he's doing an ok job.

15 posts / 0 new
Last post

My Dm, an old friend of many years now has run many a good campaign in our history of things.  But for some reason when we picked up 4th ed its just been one big downhill spiral of him putting himself down and doubting himself.

I'm not sure what’s set this off in his head and I'm having a hard time trying to convince him he's doing ok.  It’s a new system to all of us.  Mix up's happen and I tell him not to take it like he's sucking and failing at every turn.

Some examples are as fallows.

One fight he threw several of the needledrake swarms at us under the old rules before they were nerfed and almost killed the party.  It was like one of the first semi big fights, that he had intended to be easy and has really been afraid to challenge us ever sense.

Two of us have died in the campaign so far but in both cases the players wanted to re-roll.  One I face stabbed (literally he was playing a kobald and he turned on the party) and then our rogue just was bored of his character and the class so he internally got himself into trouble and went out in a blaze of glory. But he's taken it like he's not made the game fun enough for them and blames himself that they died.

First he was very tight lipped on the rules on the whole system not wanting us to go past players handbook 1 then he back peddled to handbooks 2 and 3 and then after a few of us asked about maybe getting a power or two from divine power and other similar books.  He just threw his hands up in the air and said any rule book goes, once again blaming himself that he was ruining our fun yet again.

He's so afraid right now of putting his foot down in anything, telling us no or stifling our actions or telling the party what to do.  It's been sort of a pain honestly when he was letting the rogue go off on his own, literally not kidding the whole table would sit for an hour or more sometimes while the rogue snuck around bribed people and talked his way through everything.  He got a lot of **** done granted but usually at the expense of the rest of us sitting at the table with our thumbs up our **** because he didn’t want to just tell the player no or summarize some parts.

Another prime example I can give of this is my dragonborn paladin.  I built him to have a very very high intimidation skill.  at lv 3 its 19 and he's asked me on more than one occasion, why he should even bother to set a DC against me as it’s an almost auto win against even a difficult DC check at my lv.  I've told him time and again it’s not something vie taken to abuse, if people are generally nervous around me that’s pretty much all I ask for.  I see it as my paladin is very intimidating and has a very very strong aura / presence in the room or when he passes near you.  I've tried to explain this to him and told him if I ever have to make a real check against something that’s actually semi important just set the DC to a higher lv tier but once again he complains he might as well just tell me no and hates the idea of doing that. 

I just don’t know what to do with him at this point  I was sort of hoping either some advice on how to deal with him or you guys can post some encouraging comments in this threat and I could shot it to him.  Share some stories on what was funny when it crashed and burned when you Dm’ed something and it went to hell.  I dunno, I just feel like I should help him somehow in all this.

Speaking as someone who recently got back into DMing after an absence I can sympathise with what he must be going through with a new system. As a DM you're supposed to have all the answers and playing with a new or unfamiliar system is like turning up for a business meeting and finding out someone switched your notes. Even if the meeting still goes fantastically and everyone else is high fiving you, it's a hammer blow to the confidence. How long have you been playing 4th ed for? If it's not more than a couple of months then in all likelyhood these are just nerves because of his unfamiliarity with the system.

It could also be that he's just not used to styling his DMing to a 4th ed world. Though the settings are basically the same there are subtle differences that are called on because of the rules which he may be struggling to compensate for whenever he gives his flavour text. Things like healing surges and powers are a big change from the cleric bandaid and feats of 3.5 and previous editions and that will naturally effect the world that can be built on them.

I think the best thing you could do is what you're doing so far. Keep the laughter going at the table, keep having a good time and make sure he knows it. If your group is pretty close knit it's probably also a good idea to bring it up to the other players. Ask them to try and tow the party line for a few sessions and be as open as possible to your DM's adventure hooks and plot points. Not to the point of compromising their characters obviously  but if they start showing a real willingness to do what he's planned rather than whatever crosses their mind I think it would really bolster him up. You're a good friend for wanting to help him. I'm sure he'll be back to his old self with a little more experience. 
What is the game system under which he ran "many a good campaign?"

A DM is good, in large part, when he or she has a passion for it. It sounds like the fire has gone out of your friend's belly. That's fine - we all get burnout. Offer to take the reins for a little while and run a module. When he gets his drive back, he can jump back in the rotation.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Well as far as monsters goes, i think most DMs have picked out a monster that outperformed expectations. I once had a group who had set up a watch system and bunked down in the woods. I had a bunch of elven archers sneak up on them (i think they where from the 1st or second monster manual). I had thought the group would get up a warning snd squash them, being and normal level chalange. But the Wizard was on watch and dident notice them. So i gave them a surprise round, targeting the wizard. The poor wizard was instantly knocked out. I had the group wake up to deal with them but it went from bad to worse. By the end of the fight 2 characters had died and the bandits ad tried several times just to get them to surreneder rather than finish the fight.
 
He shouldent blame himself for either a PC turning evil and getting killed or a PC that commited suicide. They both follow under player choice. If they really wanted to come back they is always ressurection magic. 

I know alot of DMs that start out restricting books, for fear of power creep or just wanting a simpiler game. Opening up options in my opinion is never a bad thing.

Now as for the rogue issue. Really i think the best two options would be for him to just try and speed things up to get back to the rest of the party, or perhaps they could set up a time away from the game table to hash out what happened, since it happens to the rogue only.

I think the best thing you might do is set up a appreciation party. Have all the players bring some food or beverge to the game so that he knows that everyone is having a good time. 

Some DMs start to get run down with the game, time to time, so see if perhaps he wants to be a PC for awhile and let someone else from the group DM for abit.      
One fight he threw several of the needledrake swarms at us under the old rules before they were nerfed and almost killed the party.  It was like one of the first semi big fights, that he had intended to be easy and has really been afraid to challenge us ever sense.

Two of us have died in the campaign so far but in both cases the players wanted to re-roll.  One I face stabbed (literally he was playing a kobald and he turned on the party) and then our rogue just was bored of his character and the class so he internally got himself into trouble and went out in a blaze of glory. But he's taken it like he's not made the game fun enough for them and blames himself that they died.

If you guys don't mind your characters dying, he needs to know that, and you need to clearly show it if it happens or looks like it's going to happen.

I also do not like to inadvertently kill my players' characters, but I recognize that things can go wrong even with what should be an easy encounter. For this reason, my monsters are hardly ever actually trying to kill the PCs. The monsters almost always have some other goal they're trying to pursue, and will fight the PCs to achieve it, but killing them isn't necessarily worth the monsters' time.

He's so afraid right now of putting his foot down in anything, telling us no or stifling our actions or telling the party what to do.  It's been sort of a pain honestly when he was letting the rogue go off on his own, literally not kidding the whole table would sit for an hour or more sometimes while the rogue snuck around bribed people and talked his way through everything.  He got a lot of **** done granted but usually at the expense of the rest of us sitting at the table with our thumbs up our **** because he didn’t want to just tell the player no or summarize some parts.

If he doesn't want to do anything about this sort of thing, exhorting him to will just make his anxiety worse. The players themselves should talk and work out how to keep everyone involved. Let the DM know what you've decided.

Another prime example I can give of this is my dragonborn paladin.  I built him to have a very very high intimidation skill.  at lv 3 its 19 and he's asked me on more than one occasion, why he should even bother to set a DC against me as it’s an almost auto win against even a difficult DC check at my lv.  I've told him time and again it’s not something vie taken to abuse, if people are generally nervous around me that’s pretty much all I ask for.  I see it as my paladin is very intimidating and has a very very strong aura / presence in the room or when he passes near you.  I've tried to explain this to him and told him if I ever have to make a real check against something that’s actually semi important just set the DC to a higher lv tier but once again he complains he might as well just tell me no and hates the idea of doing that.

Well, basically, he shouldn't set a DC against you for intimidate. I have an Eladrin wizard in my group, and there's very little chance he'll fail an Arcana check. Every PC in my party has at least one skill like that. It's easy to do.

It's not necessary for every skill to have a chance of failure. If it was, then a natural 1 would be a failure. Sometimes skills can't fail and that's by design. I would recommend to your DM that if he wants to challenge high skills like this without raising the DCs that he not worry about rolling unless the PCs are in a stressful situation, such as combat. In combat, even if a PC can automatically succeed, there's risk and cost in even trying the skill, unlike outside of combat. The PC might risk being out of position, and is spending an action that could be spent on an attack. In fact, the party might decide that the best character for the job can't or shouldn't be the one to perform the skill at that time, and bring in the second-stringer, who won't get an automatic success.

Bearing that in mind, he might want to check the rules about intimidate against bloodied targets, because I think he'll find that those DCs are pretty tough.

I just don’t know what to do with him at this point  I was sort of hoping either some advice on how to deal with him or you guys can post some encouraging comments in this threat and I could shot it to him.  Share some stories on what was funny when it crashed and burned when you Dm’ed something and it went to hell.  I dunno, I just feel like I should help him somehow in all this.

Can you convince him to come on here and talk to us?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

What is the game system under which he ran "many a good campaign?"



Gurps and the FF RPG really.

And yes we’ve only been at this for 2 or 3 months now maybe  he just needs to get into the swing of things.  Sadly I happen to know more about the system then he does I just have more free time right now.

Now as for the rogue issue. Really i think the best two options would be for him to just try and speed things up to get back to the rest of the party, or perhaps they could set up a time away from the game table to hash out what happened, since it happens to the rogue only.



Thankfully the rogue is the one who got bored and killed himself off.  I've sort of been the back seat DM right now when it comes to playing the group nanny.  I've sat down with him and he's come up with something for a new character that should lend him more motivation to be less of a one man army.  This was partially a problem because the set up of the campaign dumped us all into a city and we had no reason to group up or party.  The only reason we are on the quest right now is because my paladin got righteous on everyone’s ass and said MISSION TO SAVE CITY NOW, YOU COME and dragged us all down the road heh.

Oh and I’ve suggested maybe I run something he’s just been very reluctant to let go because to him its admitting he can’t do it. 

Bearing that in mind, he might want to check the rules about intimidate against bloodied targets, because I think he'll find that those DCs are pretty tough.

Can you convince him to come on here and talk to us?



I'm going to try to show him this post maybe.  I'm not sure yet.  He's been under a lot of stress at work lately.  They keep changing his hours at the factory he works at and we've had to move the game twice now.  I'm not sure how he might take this thread.  But maybe some encouragement from others not related to our group may help.

We have all made it very clear though to him we are enjoying ourselves and having fun.

 


Also just as a side note for myself any other advice you guys can give me as Dm’s on how to best play a high intimidate character.  To me its not about running around going RAWR  in everyone’s face and frankly unless there is a Rp element behind it I don’t plan on using it in combat to make something yield.  I really play it off as just being an imposing presence though my Dm seems to think it shouldn’t work that way.  The huge backstory I have aside I want people to feel intimidated by just looking at me, they feel the power or the divine strength.  Not to sound to egotistical but as if jesus was walking down the street I suppose.  Ive dumped a lot into the skill.  Ive even got the noble influence power that lets me add a +5 to the check to make it a 24 and can sub it in as a bluff or dip check if need be that round.  I’m just a heavy story Rp type person always have been.  It’s less about the min max and more about what gives me the best quality’s I need to roleplay with. 

Also just as a side note for myself any other advice you guys can give me as Dm’s on how to best play a high intimidate character.  To me its not about running around going RAWR  in everyone’s face and frankly unless there is a Rp element behind it I don’t plan on using it in combat to make something yield.  I really play it off as just being an imposing presence though my Dm seems to think it shouldn’t work that way.  The huge backstory I have aside I want people to feel intimidated by just looking at me, they feel the power or the divine strength.  Not to sound to egotistical but as if jesus was walking down the street I suppose.  Ive dumped a lot into the skill.  Ive even got the noble influence power that lets me add a +5 to the check to make it a 24 and can sub it in as a bluff or dip check if need be that round.  I’m just a heavy story Rp type person always have been.  It’s less about the min max and more about what gives me the best quality’s I need to roleplay with.

Well, first of all, you don't high numbers just to be imposing. The "Intimidate" skill has a pretty specific mechanical meaning, and just because you don't have it maxed (or don't have it at all) doesn't mean you can't be "imposing." A 30th level character has an Intimidate check of at least 15, which isn't too much compared to the things he spends his days fighting, but it would knock the socks off the average mortal.

I think what you and your DM need to keep in mind is that not everyone will react to intimidation the same way. Some will flee, some will placate, some will fight, some will seek to undermine. Some can't be intimidated at all. Jesus, after all, wasn't exactly a scary guy, by most accounts. From what you've told me of this DM, I would expect him to play very conservatively and interpret "intimidated" only as "scared." If your PC scares everyone who sees him, that's going to make roleplaying NPCs pretty lame. In general, people should raise their eyebrows at this guy's presence, and maybe seem a little nervous, but people with any kind of self-confidence or power will probably not be too affected.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the effects of the Intimidate skill are also not constantly active. Your PC might have an imposing demeanor, and might turn heads, but it's only when he really focuses it that he should expect a major reaction. Yes, technically one could just walk down the street using Intimidate on everyone they see, but in normal description and narration, it's safe to assume that this character's presence is not glowing like a sun, but more like the smile of a minor celebrity.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

people should raise their eyebrows at this guy's presence, and maybe seem a little nervous, but people with any kind of self-confidence or power will probably not be too affected.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the effects of the Intimidate skill are also not constantly active. Your PC might have an imposing demeanor, and might turn heads, but it's only when he really focuses it that he should expect a major reaction.




This is all i really want maybe i didn't explain it well enough. 

Also i know its not always active its not like im going around beaming the thing right now.


But your right all he sees it as the straight rule things should be scared of me. 


Mainly i just want folks to notice... Walk down the street, maybe turn a few heads.  Talking to someone they look maybe uncomffy they shuffle once doesn’t have to be everyone.


Granted he's a 7ft 4 dragonborn with a tail so yea but the problem is some of the other players, well all of them are lazy when it comes to lore.  I'm the only deep roleplayer when it comes to these sort of things so it kind a gets wasted sadly. Dragonborn with a tail /shrug, oh he has some small wings he keeps hidden that are useless no big deal.  Lost for several thousand years and is from the great Arkhosian Empire... meh.  Is what i get out of them lol.  To them I’m just an overly large dragonborn they nicknamed stumpy ><  le sigh



also he's at work right now till 9 but i may try to talk him onto these forums if i can.  I've had nothing but respect and kindess from everyone sense I've joined up for 4th a few months ago its been very inviteing around here.

I'm going to try to show him this post maybe.  I'm not sure yet.  He's been under a lot of stress at work lately.  They keep changing his hours at the factory he works at and we've had to move the game twice now.  I'm not sure how he might take this thread.  But maybe some encouragement from others not related to our group may help.


 This is the root of the problem... Lack of control IRL and percieved lack of control within the game (i.e., the "sudden disappearance" of the mad skillz he had while running the other game systems due to his unfamiliarity with 4E) = general insecurity and depression/resignation.


Show

I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

I'm going to try to show him this post maybe.  I'm not sure yet.  He's been under a lot of stress at work lately.  They keep changing his hours at the factory he works at and we've had to move the game twice now.  I'm not sure how he might take this thread.  But maybe some encouragement from others not related to our group may help.


 This is the root of the problem... Lack of control IRL and percieved lack of control within the game (i.e., the "sudden disappearance" of the mad skillz he had while running the other game systems due to his unfamiliarity with 4E) = general insecurity and depression/resignation.





I'm pretty much awaore of the root of the problem.  I was really comming here to seek advice on motivational tactics i could employ cause the ones I've tried are not working.  But sadly your right his emtional state is not well right now.  He's also Diabetic, he doesn't keep his blood suger right anymore and nothing I do seems to help.   I think this was a partial vent for me as well, it can be very frustrating watch a good friend spiral into a deep depression that you cant seem to dig him out of.

He takes after his father all to much, though he wont admit it.

And yes we’ve only been at this for 2 or 3 months now maybe  he just needs to get into the swing of things.  Sadly I happen to know more about the system then he does I just have more free time right now.



Unless you meant "less" instead of "more", then under those circumstances I'd recommend you DM yourself, unless your friend really likes to do so and you not so much. Seems you'd have the most experience and time out of anyone.

Regarding the spotlight-hogging rogue thing, that's really something you need to express right then and there. The thing with the introverts that usually play D&D is that they're very timid/non-confrontational. To a certain degree it's helpful to be polite and agreeable, but when there's a problem you need to bring it up. Silence is concession, and for all the DM knows you guys are totally cool with twiddling your thumbs for an hour and don't mind the attention focused elsewhere, as is natural for introverts.

But I also understand the division of perception 'tween DMs and players, and how the former can find it impossible that the latter is enjoying the game when he isn't. It's caught me off guard a few times, like when the party finds something hysterical and I find it dumb.

Finally, I'd look at how much the DM is having fun with the game itself. Obviously unfamiliarity with the rules is upsetting, but beyond that does he seem to like your PCs, and enjoy where the adventure is going? DMs are players too, and if people are having fun at his expense, that can also lead to some resentment.

I'm going to try to show him this post maybe.  I'm not sure yet.  He's been under a lot of stress at work lately.  They keep changing his hours at the factory he works at and we've had to move the game twice now.  I'm not sure how he might take this thread.  But maybe some encouragement from others not related to our group may help.


 This is the root of the problem... Lack of control IRL and percieved lack of control within the game (i.e., the "sudden disappearance" of the mad skillz he had while running the other game systems due to his unfamiliarity with 4E) = general insecurity and depression/resignation.





That was exactly the impression I was getting - that he was having trouble outside the game, at work or with his family, and it was trickling down into the game.  As soon as I saw you mention the stress at work, I thought, "there it is!  I didn't even have to ask about it."  I'm glad Mad_jack caught that, too!

I think your DM needs a little more control over something in his life, and I don't think he's getting it from his fairly hands-off DMing style.

Have you ever had one of those moments in your life where you feel like you're trying everything you can think of, but you still don't seem to be making progress, and that things are actually going against you in spite of your effort?  And then, perhaps you step away from it and do something different for a little while, get some rest, sleep on it, and when you come back you realize exactly what you've been doing wrong, or you can see what you were working on in a completely different light as part of a bigger picture?

Your DM seems like he's currently in just that sort of rut:  he's probably doing things on the job the same way he's doing them at the gaming table, and no matter how hard he's trying to do things that way, it's actually working against him.

Perhaps your group needs to take some time away from the gaming table to do something very different, so that your DM can go back to the game (and his job) with a fresh perspective.

Spend a weekend or two hiking or camping or having a barbecue instead of gaming, perhaps, or spend some time at a rifle range shooting up watermelons, or play paintball or laser-tag or something.
[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



Unless you meant "less" instead of "more", then under those circumstances I'd recommend you DM yourself, unless your friend really likes to do so and you not so much. Seems you'd have the most experience and time out of anyone.

Regarding the spotlight-hogging rogue thing, that's really something you need to express right then and there. The thing with the introverts that usually play D&D is that they're very timid/non-confrontational. To a certain degree it's helpful to be polite and agreeable, but when there's a problem you need to bring it up. Silence is concession, and for all the DM knows you guys are totally cool with twiddling your thumbs for an hour and don't mind the attention focused elsewhere, as is natural for introverts.

But I also understand the division of perception 'tween DMs and players, and how the former can find it impossible that the latter is enjoying the game when he isn't. It's caught me off guard a few times, like when the party finds something hysterical and I find it dumb.

Finally, I'd look at how much the DM is having fun with the game itself. Obviously unfamiliarity with the rules is upsetting, but beyond that does he seem to like your PCs, and enjoy where the adventure is going? DMs are players too, and if people are having fun at his expense, that can also lead to some resentment.



Oh I've spoken to the rogue about it.  It doesn't matter anyway really he died a few sessions ago because of his gallivanting he bit off more than he could chew.  The problems fixed itself, I think he's written up a new character that should be less anti-social or so he claims.  We will see about that.

I do know more about the system then he does at this point.  Problem is he REALLY wants to DM and taking that away from him right now would really vindicate his feelings he can’t do it right now and is sucking at it.  He can be a very down person on himself when it comes to these things and I’m not going to pour gas on the fire as they say.   Also I do plan on running my first 4th campaign sometime soon but I have my own ideas and I don’t want to just force him out.  Were all good friends outside of the game and you just don’t do that to a friend.

Last session kind of went better  it felt like it did.  I won’t know until a few more have passed, I've been strongly harping to him that he’s doing fine over and over and have gotten the others to do so in the recent weeks but I think his work is getting to him more then he wants to admit.

 


Perhaps your group needs to take some time away from the gaming table to do something very different, so that your DM can go back to the game (and his job) with a fresh perspective.

Spend a weekend or two hiking or camping or having a barbecue instead of gaming, perhaps, or spend some time at a rifle range shooting up watermelons, or play paintball or laser-tag or something.



To be honest I agree with you in all this.  The problem is we just took a month off from the game recently because of his work times.  As i said last session did seem a little better so maybe it has helped but only a few more are going to tell me anything different.

I know its his work but sadly there is nothing i can do to change or fix that problem.

I do thank you guys for all the help.  All the advice has been good and it’s been really helpful for me to just vent a little over my frustrations of not being able to help a friend out.

It strikes me that your DM might be trying to say that he's feeling insecure and unmotivated because the group isn't having fun, but it sounds to me like you and the other players are having fun, and he knows it - the real trouble for him is that HE isn't having fun as DM or at work, and that's the problem that the DM needs to address before he can make any progress.

The truth is, there's only so much that you can do about that - you and the other players can meet him more than halfway, but he's got to be willing to do his fair share of changing what needs to be changed before he can start having fun.


There's one thing that bears repeating:  it's an out-of-game problem that needs to be resolved with an out-of-game solution, and that out-of-game solution can only happen if everyone involved is willing to talk to each other out-of-game, explain what's really on their mind like adults, and agreee on the real problem, what a solved state for that problem looks like, and on a solution to reach that state, before starting the game back up.
[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
He wants to run but has some problems with 4e.


Have him download some of the RPGA modules.

They are simple in design but some are quite fun to play.  The more he reads the more he can understand the system by design.  He can change them as he sees fit.  This way he doesn't have to worry about writing anything after a shift change or a long day at work.


The idea is that sitting around the table is supposed to be relaxing not stress.