The Role of the DM

The Role of the DM


I was watching a debate about old school vs new school gaming, one thing that came up I wasn’t aware of, was that in 4e there were two areas where it mentioned that having a DM was not necessary. First in the DMG there was a section about using random encounters and rewards to dungeon crawl, another was in the last section of the PH 3 (?) where it said that if you just get a module you don’t really need a DM (can anyone confirm?) but the bottom line for me is, (assuming this is true) they created a game where if you have the right supplements a DM is completely unnecessary.  (this is not meant as a slight to 4e, just an observation)


I hope this IS NOT a design goal for 5th ed. To me most of the fun of being a DM is creating the world, the NPCs, the story and plots, and all of that is central on having me as a DM run the players through those plots, or act those NPC roles with the players. IMHO To have a real TTRPG you MUST have a DM. If you create a game where a DM is completely unnecessary in essence you’ve changed a role-playing game into a boardgame.  


If you see your job as a DM as doing nothing but reading what it says out of the pre-written module, move and roll for the monsters, and play your NPC as a character in the party, to me your not really DM-ing, your half playing the game and sort of half DM-ing.


Your not doing work creating anything, your responses to the characters as an NPC are already written down (except for a tiny bit of improv when the characters say or ask something unexpected) your not having to balance or create encounters, or plan out what rewards will be available and really think about how the players will utilize them. The rules are so well written, there is never a need to interpret them. This isn’t DM-ing to me, its wargaming.


Sure I’ve heard the other arguments, we don’t have time to do that, we have lives and facebook and jobs kids cars blah.. we cant possibly prepare for two hours to run a four hour game… aint nobody got time for that… in my mind then you really don’t have time to run an RPG, and shouldn’t be DM-ing.


I’ve also heard the argument “we have fun doing this, shut up and let us have our fun you damn one true wayist” fair enough, but that’s also going to be my first rule of finding a game, asking a DM “are you really a player just running a pre-scripted game from an AP or are you actually going to DM?”


To me this is the essence of the difference between old school and new school gaming.   

"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Two hours to prepare for a 4 hr adventure is not a part time job. 

If you dont have enough time to DM... then you dont have enough time to DM. period. its not your players fault you have so many responsibiltites that you cant possibly spend any time before a game actually preparing for it.

Why should the players at the table have to suffer because you cant do time management?


what does the BBG say? uh hold on a sec, I got it in a book here somewhere... now where did I leave that... uh now gotta look it up...  uh ok yeah he says... urm... no its on that other page, hold on a sec... um..

at that point I'm leaving the table.    
 
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
It's all about tools. Provide guides, subsystems, and tools for the people who want them while allowing DMs to ignore them.

The differenes won't mattter if you actually provide a game both types of DMs can play.

There are flaws off both old school and new school DMing and we should groups to choose.
If you do not provide options for both styles, you get more bad and low quality DMs.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!


(SNIP)
IMHO To have a real TTRPG you MUST have a DM. If you create a game where a DM is completely unnecessary in essence you’ve changed a role-playing game into a boardgame.  
(SNIP)
 to me your not really DM-ing, your half playing the game and sort of half DM-ing.
(SNIP)
 Your not doing work creating anything,  This isn’t DM-ing to me.
(SNIP)
  in my mind then you really don’t have time to run an RPG, and shouldn’t be DM-ing.
(SNIP)
I’ve also heard the argument “we have fun doing this, shut up and let us have our fun you damn one true wayist” fair enough, but that’s also going to be my first rule of finding a game, asking a DM “are you really a player just running a pre-scripted game from an AP or are you actually going to DM?”   




Way to tell people they are having Badwrong fun. 
Who are you exactly to define what a TTRPG is and isn't to everyone?

Personaly, I take the time to prepare my games a bit: I don't have kids and I only DM once a week.

But some people just don't have the time, does that mean that they don't deserve to play ?

ALso, is that tread supposed to spark a discussion? or are you just loudly emitting your opinion for everyone else to bask in your genuineness ?


P.S. English isn't my first language, but your and you're is one of the first things I learned...it's not even hard
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Two hours to prepare for a 4 hr adventure is not a part time job. 

If you dont have enough time to DM... then you dont have enough time to DM. period. its not your players fault you have so many responsibiltites that you cant possibly spend any time before a game actually preparing for it.

Why should the players at the table have to suffer because you cant do time management? 
 



Time is crutch.
Time allows DMs to upgrade their games and become better DM by letting them dull their DMing weaknesses.
Tools and Guides are another way to fix weaknesses.

That is the core of the old/new ridge.

Old School does not want to harm the system in order to develop DMs.
New School does.

The answer is to develop DMs while maaking a system that allows freedom.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

DMing is being creative.

You do not necessarily need a lot of time, depending on what you want to do. Different DMs plan differently. There are those who need to write down everything, those who can improvise a lot while remaining coherent and those in between. I am in between. I usually spend a few hours preparing a session (playing DD4) like I did with previous editions. Sometimes I want to write down most descriptions of what the characters will live or encounter, sometimes I think about it ahead of time but do not write it down and keep it in memory until I need it during the session, adapting as the plot unfolds.
But DMing is work alright. The proof is, ususally in a gaming group, there is a Primary DM who will DM most than ther other members of the group. (at least it's what I experienced in my 20 years of roleplaying). DMing is not at everyone's reach.

Some players do not have the time, or do not want to take the time, to create an adventure with a story, a plot, coherent NPCs, monsters, mapping, etc, completely satifsfied with their role as a player. Sometimes it's easier to come to a session, sit down, play, go home, then wait for the next session to by planned.

I also think that some players do not realize what it means to be a DM until they try out the role.
Balbamoth, your premise is wrong. No 4e supplement recommends DMless play. You may be thinking of the 1e DMG which had random dungeon generation and random monster tables so you could run a DMless dungeon crawl. Of course that would turn your argument entirely on its head because it means that old school was designed to allow DMless games and 4e was not.

Sorry for the interruption. Please continue with your edition warring.
In the interests of strict accuracy (as my opinions on what the OP has put forth are well known to say the least) I do believe one of the two 4th ED DMGs did have a variant of those same rules Wrecan, although I can't look it up right now as I'm literally about to throw on my coat and walk out the door to work right now.
About the only time you don't need a DM is if you are playing a solo adventure module.   



Chuck- when I say IMHO that means its "in my own humble opinion" im not defining it for everyone, I am using a public formum to state my opinion. which is kind of the point of having public forums so yes, I guess I am loudly (?) emitting my opionion to allow everyone to bask in my genuineness. 

If somebody does not have the time to run then yes then they should not run, if they dont have the time to be a player, then yes they should not show up at a game and leave 20 minutes later. If you dont have time for a hobby then you probably should find a hobby that takes less time.

Acrilos- Agree with most points you made, and generally yeah, I think that most DMs use a combination of materials and their own designs… its kinda cheating if you use a pre-made setting, cheating a little more if your running pre-written adventures, and cheating so much I will leave a game if you aren’t even roleplaying but instead reading statements out of a book.


Orzel- I gotta disagree with you there, you cant turn a person with no technical skill and no understanding of auto repair into a great mechanic by handing them every tool a mechanic would ever need, likewise the only way to prevent a bad DM with a system, is to make a system that really does not need a DM to function, otherwise known as a boardgame or wargame, and that is something that has been bothering me about many APs coming out, they seem more like "choose your own adventure!" books where having the characters do anything that wasnt predicted in the book leading to a collapse of the game or game world "well you decided to go to that other town rather than fight the thing over the hill, therefore the bbeg wins and the world is destroyed create new characters."

I think it's wrong to try and prevent bad DMs from a design standpoint, you just have to accept that some people either because of lack of natural tallent or ability will never make a good DM regardless of the system or tools available.

and that "time" and "crunch" your talking about, thats what the supplements and tools are taking away,  the ability to create and improv, its not a skill you pick up by reading out of an adventure path, and generally I don’t see people who do that becoming better and better DMs… they just buy more adventure paths, which is fine if your selling them but not so great if your only choice is to play in them.


Wrecan as I said I never bought a single 4e book, but plenty of others have... this is from another forum on playing 4e without a DM... "Playing Without a DM" section is two paragraphs out of 224 pages in the Dungeons Masters Guide (the random dungeon and monster pages are another 4-5 pages.) You will also need the Players Handbook (character creation and combat rules) and a Monster Manual (for the monster stats.) " so it IS in the 4e DMG as I stated assuming this poster is correct, another poster said the rules are "in the back of the DMG".  Then I did a little more searching and found its on page 195 of the 4e DMG, so go back re-read your 4th ed DMG or just keep on making wrong posts, hasnt stopped you before why change now?  

"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
So, essentially you are telling us that you wouldn't want to play with a group that doesn't play the way you want to play?  Thanks for the information, I'll inform the stenographer.

To be fair, I will do the same, and tell you about my own preferences:

To me, D&D is a game that is fun to play, and I play it with my friends (just like any other game).  We enjoy it a lot (just like any other game), and we don't take it too seriously (just like any other game).  We understand that we all have things going on in real life.  We have kids, work, go to school, have relationships, etc.    When we have time, we gather to play D&D because it is always fun.  It doesn't matter to us if the DM created a fully fleshed out world or if they are running a premade adventure.  And we wouldn't have it any other way.  I would never play with a group that made me feel bad for putting real life ahead of a game.
its on page 195 of the 4e DMG, so go back re-read your 4th ed DMG or just keep on making wrong posts, hasnt stopped you before why change now?  


You are coorect and I apologize.  i had forgotten that rules for random dungeons are in the 4e DMG, just as they ar ein the 1e DMG.

Still, no comment on the fact that the exact same rules are in the 1e DMG?
As Wrecan has said, playing a DM-less game has been bounced around as a concept since 1e. Earlier actuall, as that was the impetus behind the Dungeon! game. 
I think 4e made this easier with the embracing of the Delve format and the samey monster design. As monsters were less likely to be gotcha! monsters or require special tricks or tactics to defeat it is easier for the players to run and manage. But that's the most shallow expression of D&D. It's still fun, as shown by the Delve board game, but isn't very varied. 
Ptye advantage of a DM is the range of actions, from the simple straightforward delve to complicated WoW raid style boss fights to combat-less mysteries to character based tales 

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Baalamoth

I'll have to disagree with you there. Mostly because you see Good DMing and Bad DMing as black and white. Dungeon Mastery is not a single skill. It is a combination of many skills:

Tactical Management
Strategic Management
Story Arc Creation
Historic Creation of the Narrative
Improvised Narration
Character Creation
System Knowledge
System Mastery
Map Creation and Logistic
Dungeon Design
Improvised Houseruling
Etc
Etc

I know many DMs are good at some DMing skills but bad at others. Sometimes they are lucky enough to find a group doesn't care about the element the DM is poor at or they just happen to not screw up bad enough. But I've see DMs want or try to do things they are not good at, and because their is no help, guidance, or sample rules for it, they fail miserably.

I haven't known a DM who is a natural at all these DM fields. Most good DMs have learned through trial and error and years of play. And Many good DMs are still weak in certain areas.

It is just as wrong to leave everything open and allow DM Survival of the Fittest handle DM success as it is to hard code everything in hard locked systems the DM who don't need help in a particular skill cannot opt out of.

DDN should be an edition that helps when you need it (new school) and stays out when you don't (old school).

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!


The Role of the DM


I was watching a debate about old school vs new school gaming, one thing that came up I wasn’t aware of, was that in 4e there were two areas where it mentioned that having a DM was not necessary. First in the DMG there was a section about using random encounters and rewards to dungeon crawl, another was in the last section of the PH 3 (?) where it said that if you just get a module you don’t really need a DM (can anyone confirm?) but the bottom line for me is, (assuming this is true) they created a game where if you have the right supplements a DM is completely unnecessary.  (this is not meant as a slight to 4e, just an observation)


I hope this IS NOT a design goal for 5th ed. To me most of the fun of being a DM is creating the world, the NPCs, the story and plots, and all of that is central on having me as a DM run the players through those plots, or act those NPC roles with the players. IMHO To have a real TTRPG you MUST have a DM. If you create a game where a DM is completely unnecessary in essence you’ve changed a role-playing game into a boardgame.  


If you see your job as a DM as doing nothing but reading what it says out of the pre-written module, move and roll for the monsters, and play your NPC as a character in the party, to me your not really DM-ing, your half playing the game and sort of half DM-ing.


Your not doing work creating anything, your responses to the characters as an NPC are already written down (except for a tiny bit of improv when the characters say or ask something unexpected) your not having to balance or create encounters, or plan out what rewards will be available and really think about how the players will utilize them. The rules are so well written, there is never a need to interpret them. This isn’t DM-ing to me, its wargaming.


Sure I’ve heard the other arguments, we don’t have time to do that, we have lives and facebook and jobs kids cars blah.. we cant possibly prepare for two hours to run a four hour game… aint nobody got time for that… in my mind then you really don’t have time to run an RPG, and shouldn’t be DM-ing.


I’ve also heard the argument “we have fun doing this, shut up and let us have our fun you damn one true wayist” fair enough, but that’s also going to be my first rule of finding a game, asking a DM “are you really a player just running a pre-scripted game from an AP or are you actually going to DM?”


To me this is the essence of the difference between old school and new school gaming.   




Going to have to disagree on a lot of that.  The DM helps facilitate the gaming experience and arbitrates rule disputes. That's basically all that's mandatory. Hell, you can do that solo if you wish. One thing to keep in mind is there is no Platonic ideal of what a particular role within a game is. 

As a DM, I would be upfront with the players.  Yes I am running H1-E3 as written with a few embellishments. Don't like it?  Ok.
The one and only measurement of a good DM is whether their players have a good time.

They do? You're a good DM, even if you are reading a module verbatim.

They don't? You are a bad DM, no matter how far back you have written the biographies of the Royal House of Zend who they might encounter 3 sessions from now.


Two hours to prepare for a 4 hr adventure is not a part time job. 

If you dont have enough time to DM... then you dont have enough time to DM. period. its not your players fault you have so many responsibiltites that you cant possibly spend any time before a game actually preparing for it.

Why should the players at the table have to suffer because you cant do time management?


what does the BBG say? uh hold on a sec, I got it in a book here somewhere... now where did I leave that... uh now gotta look it up...  uh ok yeah he says... urm... no its on that other page, hold on a sec... um..

at that point I'm leaving the table.    
 




Bye...  Really, it's not the DMs job to hold your hand and entertain you.
its on page 195 of the 4e DMG, so go back re-read your 4th ed DMG or just keep on making wrong posts, hasnt stopped you before why change now?  


You are coorect and I apologize.  i had forgotten that rules for random dungeons are in the 4e DMG, just as they ar ein the 1e DMG.

Still, no comment on the fact that the exact same rules are in the 1e DMG?

What Wrecan is referring to is on pg. 169 Appendex A. random Dungeon Generation ( 1st Edition Dmg). Random generation and play is actually noted by Gary as useful but also as More time consuming rather than less. Baalbamoth, The section is just before Random encounter which also is as staple of AD&D play at all levels of experience. There is Value in this sort of play.
     Your entire thread seems to be a big " Up your nose with a rubber hose" toward 4e. You are coming off as anti 4th edition and baiting for edition war. I also prefer AD&D over any other system but not to the exclusion or degradation of other peoples playstyle or prefered game. I'm not sure if you are doing this on purpouse or just out of emotional upheaval about the new school style of play. Either way,being a good D.M. has less to do with the chosen r.p. vehicle than it does with a proper attitude, preparation, and System Mastery. Then there's the Best tool a D.M. can ever have- experience.   
 
 
arithezoo- so you've never gamed at a game stores open gaming night, never went to a convention, never played a game with people you had never met before? not everyone I game with I would consider a friend, most are just other gamers, and thats sorta what happens when you get older and all the guys you use to game with around the kitchen table go to different colleges or move to different parts of the country...

Likewise D&D is not "always" fun for me, a bad game, bad DM, bad system can ruin parts if not all of that fun and turns into a big waste of time. IF that happens, I find new gamers to game with... or I quit gaming for a while. my friends are my friends with or without D&D

and yeah... when the DM at our game store weekly game sent a text saying the game had been canciled today because of personal issues and this has happened in 3 of the last 6 weeks... I did give him some crap about it.

If you tell 7 people (not necessarily friends) that you will put aside your "real life concerns" for one night a week, every week,  just like you expect the other players to do, and 50% of the time you cant make it after they had already arranged their schedules... you deserve to take some crap about it, you should feel a little bad about it, and you should make some effort not to let it happen again unless there is an emergency. it's not just about "fun" people with lives make a commitment in order to game, that should be respected.

wrecan - its more than just rules for a random dungeon generator, it actually says that "a DM is not necessary" and gives more rules for DM less play... I sort of remember random dungeon generators in the AD&D dmg... but I dont ever remember reading play without a DM being encouraged.

edit- some other responses were made while I was writing this...

demomonkey- so if your having a terrible time your still a good DM as long as the players are having fun... humm... I dont think I'd agree with that, and I think that whole line of reasoning is suspect and the reasoning behind why they mention monty hall games in AD&D... your not having fun... here have a +5 holy avenger, still not having fun, gain two levels and become immune to death! having fun now?!?! see I told you im a good DM!

Regarding the position that a DM need only facilitate the game, and end rule dispuits... not a DM to me. I tend to agree with the many descriptions of a DM I read in most games... that if the game is a move the PC's are the main characters, the DM is the director, writer, producer, location screener, FX designer, as well as acting all the supporting and antagonist roles, and because its a game not a move also the Ref. 

Its ok with me if a DM cuts some of these corners, but too much and yeah it just feels like I'm reading a book where my character is just "hero guy no 2" or why should I spend time doing this when I'd get more enjoyment out of actually reading a book or going to the movies? and thats sort of the problem with bad DMs...
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
To summarize the OP (and many other threads I've seen on these boards): "D&D should not provide this option (which is completely optional and doesn't impinge on my preferred playstyle in any way, shape, for form), because I don't like it, and if I don't like it, no one should."

You're welcome.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Brightmantle- about edition wars... yeah I've been watching those new school vs oldschool vids on youtube, and yeah some things that were said struck home with how game design can absolutely ruin a good system... I think one thing that was said was that if you create an amazing work of art, then give anyone who walks by a paintbrush and paint, eventually what you created isnt so amazing.

I think thats sort of whats been happening with all the new editions of D&D, somehow somewhere the core of what D&D was has been lost and Next is at least in some measure trying to find it again, I'm not saying which edition it happened in or which edition needed to be hated more than any other, just saying that it happened.

In baseball some fine rules and rulings need to be changed but the essence of the game never really needs to be changed, you dont suddenly decide "people can play with tennis balls or golf clubs or anything else that they want to play with, after all its your game and its always baseball, and while your at it get rid of the refs and the other team!" so yeah I guess my additude is a bit harsh.

Souldoubt- ok but lets add on there, "no one should... and besides this is a completely unecessary option that can only harm the game and a designer's time would be better spent working on anything else and most reasonable people would agree with this."

so are you really telling me you'd rather have the designers time spent building options for the game to be ran without a DM than to have those designers spending more time on say optional rules for ritual magic? 
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
so are you really telling me you'd rather have the designers time spent building options for the game to be ran without a DM than to have those designers spending more time on say optional rules for ritual magic? 


I'm saying that if such options will sell books and entice people to play D&D, sure?  Once they get the standard game published, they should spend their time bulding whatever Advanced Rules will help keep the game afloat and I don't care if I personally use it because I'm not so irrational as to think I'm going to use every single Advanced Rule they published.

And I do think that a module for Solo D&D would be fine.  When I was 10 and my brother was seven, I  fondly remember many a rainy afternoon he and I sat down with the AD&D random dungeon and monster generator charts playing D&D without a DM becuase neither of us anticipated that rainshowers would keep us indoors that day and thus hadn't prepared an adventure.  (Strangely, the fact that Gygax didn't explicitly permit us to play without a DM proved no barrier to using those tools for exactly that purpose.)

And, yeah, those lovely rainy afternoons are one of the reasons I love D&D, which is one of the reasons I still have a gaming group, and have introduced my children to the game and have brought a lot of friends who otherwise wouldn't have played into the hobby.

So, yeah, I think that a DMless Advanced Rule may in fact be a great -- and very Old School -- Advanced Rule for the designers to spend their oh so precious time working on once the Standard RUles have been published.
so are you really telling me you'd rather have the designers time spent building options for the game to be ran without a DM than to have those designers spending more time on say optional rules for ritual magic? 


I'm saying that if such options will sell books and entice people to play D&D, sure?  Once they get the standard game published, they should spend their time bulding whatever Advanced Rules will help keep the game afloat and I don't care if I personally use it because I'm not so irrational as to think I'm going to use every single Advanced Rule they published.

And I do think that a module for Solo D&D would be fine.  When I was 10 and my brother was seven, I  fondly remember many a rainy afternoon he and I sat down with the AD&D random dungeon and monster generator charts playing D&D without a DM becuase neither of us anticipated that rainshowers would keep us indoors that day and thus hadn't prepared an adventure.  (Strangely, the fact that Gygax didn't explicitly permit us to play without a DM proved no barrier to using those tools for exactly that purpose.)

And, yeah, those lovely rainy afternoons are one of the reasons I love D&D, which is one of the reasons I still have a gaming group, and have introduced my children to the game and have brought a lot of friends who otherwise wouldn't have played into the hobby.

So, yeah, I think that a DMless Advanced Rule may in fact be a great -- and very Old School -- Advanced Rule for the designers to spend their oh so precious time working on once the Standard RUles have been published.




man random dungeon and random monster tables should be in the first releases.  Their friggin excellent tools for us DMs that don't prep and just run off the cuff by choice (I just prefer that DM style and my players like it as well).  Especially random encounter tables that are by level and environment.  I also want the random dungeon stuff to include outside dungeon creation.
Brightmantle- about edition wars... yeah I've been watching those new school vs oldschool vids on youtube, and yeah some things that were said struck home with how game design can absolutely ruin a good system... I think one thing that was said was that if you create an amazing work of art, then give anyone who walks by a paintbrush and paint, eventually what you created isnt so amazing.

I think thats sort of whats been happening with all the new editions of D&D, somehow somewhere the core of what D&D was has been lost and Next is at least in some measure trying to find it again, I'm not saying which edition it happened in or which edition needed to be hated more than any other, just saying that it happened.

In baseball some fine rules and rulings need to be changed but the essence of the game never really needs to be changed, you dont suddenly decide "people can play with tennis balls or golf clubs or anything else that they want to play with, after all its your game and its always baseball, and while your at it get rid of the refs and the other team!" so yeah I guess my additude is a bit harsh.

Souldoubt- ok but lets add on there, "no one should... and besides this is a completely unecessary option that can only harm the game and a designer's time would be better spent working on anything else and most reasonable people would agree with this."

so are you really telling me you'd rather have the designers time spent building options for the game to be ran without a DM than to have those designers spending more time on say optional rules for ritual magic? 

      Perhaps you should watch the Rob Kuntz interview video on Youtube under Grognard games as to that paint brush work of art idea. D&D is much more geared toward being "the paints and brushes and an easle" rather than the work of art itself.
       You sir think this attitude is channeling the true spirit of the D&D genre? Perhaps you forgot Rule 0. Gary was totally for making his D&D yours. It was meant to be modified to please us the gamer. D&D was a game made for gamers by gamers. To think of it as pristine and a work of art never to be modified seems rediculous, the true beauty of the AD&D game or rules light approach is the way it can be houseruled, and modified to suit it's fans. 
      I used Kuntz as an example for you hoping if you are old school ( had cred)you would instantly recognize Gary Gygax's quasi adopted son, an original OD&D playtester: You know, the guy whose brother created the beholder?
Your sig betrays your line of rules specific Jargon. Game mastering as a pursuit is better served through creativity than all this rules lawyering.
I also want the random dungeon stuff to include outside dungeon creation.


Hooray for random harlot encounters!


I kid, I kid.  (Sorta.)
There is no Us vs. Them. There is only we- like minded hobbiests- trying to have a good time. The faster you get off that idea of Antagonsitic thought the faster you will find the spirit of The Dungeons and Dragons game. Thus far I have seen nothing that makes me believe you O.P. have any intrest in seeing D&D live on. Why?
I also want the random dungeon stuff to include outside dungeon creation.


Hooray for random harlot encounters!

 



hahaha I remember that table.  I more meant outdoors as in forest paths and whatnot but I guess that works too.
Ah.  Good ol Appendix B: Random Wilderness Terrain.
I also want the random dungeon stuff to include outside dungeon creation.


Hooray for random harlot encounters!


I kid, I kid.  (Sorta.)

Hey those harlot tables have saved my character "lives"? More than a few times. Awe the true reason treasure management is a problem in D&D.
So the primary concern here is "I don't want an edition designed to be played without a DM".

Well, that's okay. D&DN is primarily designed around having a DM. If they release an advanced rules module for DM-less play, or even have a paragraph or so with vague guidelines, so what?

The secondary concern is "Don't DM unless you have enough time".

This is logical. Unprepared DMs can really mess up gaming sessions. However, it would be nice if the game required the least amount of mechanical preparation as possible, giving the DM more time to get storyline notes and role-playing ideas settled, and less time figuring out exactly what the AC on monster #314 will be with all the bonuses.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

arithezoo- so you've never gamed at a game stores open gaming night, never went to a convention, never played a game with people you had never met before? not everyone I game with I would consider a friend, most are just other gamers, and thats sorta what happens when you get older and all the guys you use to game with around the kitchen table go to different colleges or move to different parts of the country...

I play with old friends online (using Skype and Maptool) as well as new friends I have met after moving.  I have also played at open gaming night (though I found it less fun).  The way I have the most fun playing D&D (just like any game) is by playing with friends.  Failing that, I would at least play with people who were respectful, nice, funny, etc.   I would expect anyone to understand that life comes first, even people I just met.
Likewise D&D is not "always" fun for me, a bad game, bad DM, bad system can ruin parts if not all of that fun and turns into a big waste of time. IF that happens, I find new gamers to game with... or I quit gaming for a while. my friends are my friends with or without D&D

I have never failed to have fun with any version of D&D.  I certainly have experienced bad groups, none of which I attended more than once (this happened after a move when I was trying to find a new group...after a couple bad experiences I decided to make friends first, and ended up getting a fantastic group that lasted until I moved again).

This is why I like to play D&D with my friends.  It really is always fun, and has never been a waste of time.
and yeah... when the DM at our game store weekly game sent a text saying the game had been canciled today because of personal issues and this has happened in 3 of the last 6 weeks... I did give him some crap about it.

I am going to refrain from responding to this because it would just get me in trouble.  Suffice it to say that I see things in a completely different way.
If you tell 7 people (not necessarily friends) that you will put aside your "real life concerns" for one night a week, every week,  just like you expect the other players to do, and 50% of the time you cant make it after they had already arranged their schedules... you deserve to take some crap about it, you should feel a little bad about it, and you should make some effort not to let it happen again unless there is an emergency. it's not just about "fun" people with lives make a commitment in order to game, that should be respected.

Thank you for lightening your stance there.  Sure, if someone is canceling for silly reasons, you can give them a hard time.  Or you could understand that sometimes people get in over their head.  I have had plenty of times where someone wants to DM but ends up giving up.  It is understandable, because DMing is a lot of work.
But in my experience, when people end up cancelling (either as a DM or as a player), it is because of a very real reason.  And if I gave my friends a hard time for that, I would very quickly have no friends.


The Role of the DM


I was watching a debate about old school vs new school gaming, one thing that came up I wasn’t aware of, was that in 4e there were two areas where it mentioned that having a DM was not necessary. First in the DMG there was a section about using random encounters and rewards to dungeon crawl, another was in the last section of the PH 3 (?) where it said that if you just get a module you don’t really need a DM (can anyone confirm?) but the bottom line for me is, (assuming this is true) they created a game where if you have the right supplements a DM is completely unnecessary.  (this is not meant as a slight to 4e, just an observation)


I hope this IS NOT a design goal for 5th ed. To me most of the fun of being a DM is creating the world, the NPCs, the story and plots, and all of that is central on having me as a DM run the players through those plots, or act those NPC roles with the players. IMHO To have a real TTRPG you MUST have a DM. If you create a game where a DM is completely unnecessary in essence you’ve changed a role-playing game into a boardgame.  


If you see your job as a DM as doing nothing but reading what it says out of the pre-written module, move and roll for the monsters, and play your NPC as a character in the party, to me your not really DM-ing, your half playing the game and sort of half DM-ing.


Your not doing work creating anything, your responses to the characters as an NPC are already written down (except for a tiny bit of improv when the characters say or ask something unexpected) your not having to balance or create encounters, or plan out what rewards will be available and really think about how the players will utilize them. The rules are so well written, there is never a need to interpret them. This isn’t DM-ing to me, its wargaming.


Sure I’ve heard the other arguments, we don’t have time to do that, we have lives and facebook and jobs kids cars blah.. we cant possibly prepare for two hours to run a four hour game… aint nobody got time for that… in my mind then you really don’t have time to run an RPG, and shouldn’t be DM-ing.


I’ve also heard the argument “we have fun doing this, shut up and let us have our fun you damn one true wayist” fair enough, but that’s also going to be my first rule of finding a game, asking a DM “are you really a player just running a pre-scripted game from an AP or are you actually going to DM?”


To me this is the essence of the difference between old school and new school gaming.   


I don't know what the rol of the DM is anymore man, there was a time when people gathered around the table characters in hand and awaited the DM's word with anticipation, eager to find out what adventure would be laid before them this week, what part they would play, what plot or secret would be uncovered.

Now the DM is treated like a referee for combat to divvy up the turns and count the rounds, the power is in the book. Even 3rd edition seemed to hint at this by suggesting that the DM should whever possible use the guidelines.

As for me the DM is the software behind the game, the final adjudication, a weaver.

I sat down with a 3E group in Wyoming once, they had figurines and dice and cool maps but when I start my action with "My character says..." they gave me a long, strange look. They were not role-players....but war gamers. Every character was designed around the highest damage output, Savings throws, armor classes and feats to harden areas of weakness. Not my cup o' tea.

Once when I was playing AD&D 2nd Edition, I earned a Intelligent +2 Vorpal Long Sword. May have been the single best item I've ever earned in AD&D. Jim Peterson or Shawn Webb(Disherllagh)....if your out there, you know who you are. Send me a PM will ya!

the real difference between new and old-school gaming seems to be this self-imagined sense of elitism that pervades nearly every post i've seen you make.
- trebor_rjf



What is Elitism precisely? Exclusiveness? Limited Inclusion? Or perhaps those that REALLY no what they are talking about?
I am an old-school DM (20 years) but I do not consider myself Elite. Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, Zeb Cook, Chris Perkins. THOSE are elite.

By classifying ANYONE as Elite...or not, you are by your own actions participating in a form of Elitsm. "This group or person is not as good as me because I so (do not) participate in [insert behavior here]"

So let's not go throwing names, classifications and archetypes. Classifications are for core books....not Forums.

8.8 My House Rules! (roll the d20) *click to roll*8.8
"By classifying ANYONE as Elite...or not, you are by your own actions participating in a form of Elitsm. "This group or person is not as good as me because I so (do not) participate in [insert behavior here]""

Does that include the elitism of criticizing people who accuse other people of elitism?

OWWW! I think I sprained my Meta.




...
On topic,  I'll repeat; the only measurement of a good DM is "Do his/her players have fun?"

Playing with a DM is better than playing without one, but solitaire tools are still a fun and worthwhile addition.

I don't really think the designers wants to turn D&D Next into a boardgame.  They already HAVE D&D boardgames!
Did the OP just tell me I'm not a good DM because I like to run modules?

I...I don't know what to say to that. 
My two copper.
The DM is all that players and rules don't cover, that is what the DM is, and that is going to vary wildly by group. This means anything the DM can do that can be replaced by a module should have a module for it as much as is reasonably possible. That doesn't change the tradtitional DM job in any way unless the DM chooses to use that module. Hell if all you want to do is have a random dungeon crawl with friends the only thing not traditionally covered by rules or players is the monsters actions, but that can easily be done to a basic level either by the players simply playing them themselves and thus choosing the challenge level, or using simple creatures with simple decision trees. This is a perfectly legitimate way to play and in no way inteferes with traditional play and DM roles.

Dm-less play should be an option, but we all know it will never be the norm. The designers know these tradtitional dm roles well, and so do the players, but to say f-you to any other option is just being stuborn. DDN is a module driven design, and that makes it perhaps the best edition to add dm-less play into, the more dm-less a game can be run, the easier it will be for a dm to pick and choose what he leaves to rules, and what he arbitrates himself. Optional modules that can add up to or close to DM-Less play is a great goal as it means picking and choosing which if any of these modules to use allows anybodies idea of what the DM's role is to be realized.

I really hope the DMG is filled to the brim with modules and dm tools to allow varying degrees of improvization/structure, varying degrees of gaming versus roleplay importance, and verying degrees of dm responsibility. If the DMG contains enough module to replace a DM for certain playstyles then I'll be very happy even though I'll probably never play dm-less.

Let the DM choose their focus, let them choose what aspects of arbitration they want to be rules based and what they want to do manually as that allows for the best range of play styles.

Chuck- (...)
If somebody does not have the time to run then yes then they should not run, if they dont have the time to be a player, then yes they should not show up at a game and leave 20 minutes later. If you dont have time for a hobby then you probably should find a hobby that takes less time. 




I simply can't wrap my head around this one...


I mean, if you said "you shouldn't try and pilot a plane if you don't have the time to learn how...BECAUSE if you do, you might crash and die"  That would make sense.


But to say "you shouldn't play a game if you don't have time to prepare ahead" begs the question: or what ?

am I gonna injure myself ?
go crazy?
tear a hole in reality that will let cosmic horrors pour forth ?
surely you are aware that if those people didn't have fun, they would stop playing... so "unprepared play is borring" is not a valid argument either

...so why SHOULDN'T they play?  if they like it, if they are entertained? the basic goal of a game is to be entertained, well, if they are, what is wrong with it ?

I'm not saying unplanned play is just as good as planned play, that would be silly... and I fully understand that YOU wouldn't want to play in a game run this way, and that's perfectly ok. 

 It's the "others shouldn't do it either" part that bothers me.
I'm pretty sure people around the world are doing harmless things that they like, and they are doing it in a way that you wouldn't like...but they're not you

Unplanned play (that is still fun for all parties engaged) is objectively better than no play at all
So what on earth warrants not playing, over playing in less than desirable conditions?



You know who I play with ? I play with my friends (as in: the people I hang out with even if we are not playing D&D )
Thankfully, I do have time to prepare, but if I did not, we would still play.
 And I would pick an unplanned and messy game with these guys (and girl) over a well crafted game with strangers. Any day
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What is Elitism precisely? Exclusiveness? Limited Inclusion? Or perhaps those that REALLY no what they are talking about?
I am an old-school DM (20 years) but I do not consider myself Elite. Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, Zeb Cook, Chris Perkins. THOSE are elite.

By classifying ANYONE as Elite...or not, you are by your own actions participating in a form of Elitsm. "This group or person is not as good as me because I so (do not) participate in [insert behavior here]"

So let's not go throwing names, classifications and archetypes. Classifications are for core books....not Forums.




I don't think he was refering to people who call themselves old-school when he called elitism.

It was more about the OP's opinion on what other people should and shouldn't do

I happend to agree with Trebor on that, and I consider myself old school too, and I never thought this was directed at anyone else but the OP
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
Souldoubt- ok but lets add on there, "no one should... and besides this is a completely unecessary option that can only harm the game and a designer's time would be better spent working on anything else and most reasonable people would agree with this."

Responding to the bolded text...  Totally subjective opinion, and pretty off-base.  Expanding the number of ways the game can potentially be played helps the game.  It does not harm it.  The idea that the possibility of running a dungeon without a dedicated DM is somehow "wrong," that's just silly.

Firstly, there's no way that DM-less play going to take over as the prime method of playing, so stop feeling like your playstyle is threatened, you're knee-jerking.  It's just an option for a little fun, it can't sustain the hobby as a whole, and won't.

Secondly, what DM-less play can do is offer a "lite" altenative for certain occasions and situations.  Running a combat-heavy dungeon-hack is a great thing to do for a oneshot over drinks, or at a party where you could introduce new players to the basic mechanics of the game, thereby expanding the fanbase and giving novices an avenue into the more "serious" side of D&D.  (I am speaking from personal experience, as my fiancee was convinced to try what you would call "real" D&D after seeing my friends and I run a few informal, just-for-fun encounters at parties.  Admittedly, we had a DM most of the time, but only loosely speaking, as he was running a character as well, and was really just the one rolling for the monsters and tracking their stats; in other instances we divided monster-control up amongst the various players to share the burden.)

Again, expanding the number of ways the game can be played almost always helps; it does not harm.

so are you really telling me you'd rather have the designers time spent building options for the game to be ran without a DM than to have those designers spending more time on say optional rules for ritual magic? 

I never said or even implied that in the vaguest way.  I'm merely pointing out that you're trying to force your preferences on the game as a whole, which is not how this works.   You use the game according to your preferences, and others use it according to theirs; you don't force the game and others to conform to your views of how the game "should" be played.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I also want the random dungeon stuff to include outside dungeon creation.


Hooray for random harlot encounters!


I kid, I kid.  (Sorta.)



Combine that with the original Book of Vile Darkness and you might have a bestseller.

The Role of the DM


I was watching a debate about old school vs new school gaming, one thing that came up I wasn’t aware of, was that in 4e there were two areas where it mentioned that having a DM was not necessary. First in the DMG there was a section about using random encounters and rewards to dungeon crawl, another was in the last section of the PH 3 (?) where it said that if you just get a module you don’t really need a DM (can anyone confirm?) but the bottom line for me is, (assuming this is true) they created a game where if you have the right supplements a DM is completely unnecessary.  (this is not meant as a slight to 4e, just an observation)


I hope this IS NOT a design goal for 5th ed. To me most of the fun of being a DM is creating the world, the NPCs, the story and plots, and all of that is central on having me as a DM run the players through those plots, or act those NPC roles with the players. IMHO To have a real TTRPG you MUST have a DM. If you create a game where a DM is completely unnecessary in essence you’ve changed a role-playing game into a boardgame.  


If you see your job as a DM as doing nothing but reading what it says out of the pre-written module, move and roll for the monsters, and play your NPC as a character in the party, to me your not really DM-ing, your half playing the game and sort of half DM-ing.


Your not doing work creating anything, your responses to the characters as an NPC are already written down (except for a tiny bit of improv when the characters say or ask something unexpected) your not having to balance or create encounters, or plan out what rewards will be available and really think about how the players will utilize them. The rules are so well written, there is never a need to interpret them. This isn’t DM-ing to me, its wargaming.


Sure I’ve heard the other arguments, we don’t have time to do that, we have lives and facebook and jobs kids cars blah.. we cant possibly prepare for two hours to run a four hour game… aint nobody got time for that… in my mind then you really don’t have time to run an RPG, and shouldn’t be DM-ing.


I’ve also heard the argument “we have fun doing this, shut up and let us have our fun you damn one true wayist” fair enough, but that’s also going to be my first rule of finding a game, asking a DM “are you really a player just running a pre-scripted game from an AP or are you actually going to DM?”


To me this is the essence of the difference between old school and new school gaming.   


I don't know what the rol of the DM is anymore man, there was a time when people gathered around the table characters in hand and awaited the DM's word with anticipation, eager to find out what adventure would be laid before them this week, what part they would play, what plot or secret would be uncovered.

Now the DM is treated like a referee for combat to divvy up the turns and count the rounds, the power is in the book. Even 3rd edition seemed to hint at this by suggesting that the DM should whever possible use the guidelines.

As for me the DM is the software behind the game, the final adjudication, a weaver.

I sat down with a 3E group in Wyoming once, they had figurines and dice and cool maps but when I start my action with "My character says..." they gave me a long, strange look. They were not role-players....but war gamers. Every character was designed around the highest damage output, Savings throws, armor classes and feats to harden areas of weakness. Not my cup o' tea.

Once when I was playing AD&D 2nd Edition, I earned a Intelligent +2 Vorpal Long Sword. May have been the single best item I've ever earned in AD&D. Jim Peterson or Shawn Webb(Disherllagh)....if your out there, you know who you are. Send me a PM will ya!

the real difference between new and old-school gaming seems to be this self-imagined sense of elitism that pervades nearly every post i've seen you make.
- trebor_rjf



What is Elitism precisely? Exclusiveness? Limited Inclusion? Or perhaps those that REALLY no what they are talking about?
I am an old-school DM (20 years) but I do not consider myself Elite. Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, Zeb Cook, Chris Perkins. THOSE are elite.

By classifying ANYONE as Elite...or not, you are by your own actions participating in a form of Elitsm. "This group or person is not as good as me because I so (do not) participate in [insert behavior here]"

So let's not go throwing names, classifications and archetypes. Classifications are for core books....not Forums.




Elitisim is the tone projected by those advocating THE ONE TRUE WAY™! 

Here's the facts  whatever the publisher of D&D prints is what D&D is. Whatever you or I do with the rules is our business. Our interpretation, patching, discarding, or other permutations are our rules. They are not right nor wrong. They may be incompatible but frankly how other people play or dm is no one's business. There is no objective standard aside from RAW to judge by.

This idea that the ONE TRUE WAY™ is wargaming, talking funny, or w/e other feature predominated at your group is really the ONE TRUE WAY™  ought to disappear amongst the older more educated people. It's unbecoming.