Should I report this guy?

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I'd like to start off by saying that I have been playing and judging RPGA games for a few years and have over 500 player reward points and about 200 judge points.

I played a normal 4 hour RPGA LFR game yesterday. I knew a few of the other players from playing other RPGA games, but none of us knew the judge who was new to the community.

RPGA adventures are normally supposed to take about 4 hours, but this one took 8 hours because the judge obviously hadn't prepared it and took his sweet time on the monsters turns.

Durring the game he continually stopped the game to ask rules questions, but didn't like the answers and would make up his own rules.

Here are a few questions he asked and his responses:

Show
#1
Judge: How do you have 36 HP at level 1?
Me: Paladin gets 15 plus I add my Wisdom which is 16 plus I have the toughness feat which adds 5.
Judge: You don't add your Wisdom, you add your Constitution.
Me: I'm from Impultur which allows you to use your Wisdom insetad of Constitution.
Judge: I haven't read that rule, so use your Constitution for now.
Me: Here, I have the book and can show it to you.
Judge: I don't care, just use your Constitution.

#2
Me: I move to here which will provoke an OA from the Ochre Jelly.
Judge: You can't move that far.
Me: My movement is 5 and it is 5 squares.
Judge: That is 7 squares.
Me: [Counts Squares] 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5
Judge: You can't move diagnal across enemy squares.
Me: Yes you can.
Judge: [Pulls out PHB and begins flliping through it.]
[Everyone waits 10 minutes while he searches for a rule that doesn't exist]
Me: It is Divine Challanged by him, so if it takes an OA on me it will be at a -2 and he will take 3 damage.
Judge: [Continues to look through PHB]
[Everyone waits patienlty another 5 minutes]
Me: Ok, If he isn't going to take an OA I'm going to continue my turn and attack him.
Judge: [Throws book down and takes OA.]

Next Player: I also move which provokes an OA.
Judge: [Rolls d20 and asks if 26 hits my AC]
Me: Yes, but why is it attacking me?
Judge: You take 6 damage.
Player: He didn't provoke, I did.
Judge: I know.
Player: Why is it attacking him?
Judge: Because it can.

I'm still not sure how some one else provoking an OA from an Ocre Jelly allows it to attack me.

#3
Me: I Divine Challange this guy and attack this other guy.
Judge: You have to attack an enemy to Divine Challange him.
Me: Nope, I just have to engage him.
Judge: Right, which means you have to attack him.
Me: "To engage the target, you must either attack it or end your turn adjacent to it." I'm adjacent, so I can challange it.
Judge: I don't care, you have to attack it to Divine Challange it.
Me: No you don't, the rules clearly say "or end your turn adjacent to it."
Judge: Fine, I'll just call the game now. [Tears up the session tracking sheet]


Past this point everyone could tell the Judge was angry and had every enemy in the remaining encounters focus on attacking only me. I didn't really mind being the focus of his attacks since I was the defender, but he also threw RAW out the window.

#4
Me: I use LOH, Second Wind and attack.
Judge: That's to many actions.
Me: Second Wind is a minor for Dwarves.
Judge: Does LOH provoke?
Me: No. [I attack and miss]
Judge: [Rolls an attack against me] You take 11 damage.
Me: LOH doesn't provoke.
Judge: It does for you.

At this point I quit talking and the Judge started taking a free attack on anyone who missed with their attack. I later realized he was actually using the Goblin Hexers Incite Bravery (Immediate Reaction), but was using it multiple times per round. He never told us why he was taking multiple free attacks. I assumed he was just being a baby.

#5
Player: I Fey Step to here.
Judge: You can't.
Player: Why?
Judge: You don't have line of sight?
Player: Yes I do.
Judge: Vexing Cloud blocks line of sight. You can only see adjacent squares.
Players: No it doesn't. We take a -2 to attacks and it grants concealment to the goblins.
Judge: It's a Heavy Fog.
Players: Whatever.

#6
Player: I attack that enemy.
Judge: You can't attack him.
player: Why not? I have a reach weapon.
Judge: You can only see adjacent squares in the Vexing Cloud.
Player: Fine, I'll take a -5 to the attack.
Judge: You can't see him to target him. You can't attack.
Player: Whatever.

#7
Me: Can I move diagnal across the corner of the Pit?
Judge: No.

I decide it's still a bad idea to talk.

#8
Player: I cast a Scorching Burst here. Does a 18 hit his reflex?
Judge: You mean 14?
Player: No, I'm not in the Vexing Cloud and bursts and blast ignore concealment.
Judge: They don't ignore this concealment. You miss.

#9
Judge: The Goblin Hexer hits you with a Stinging Hex. You take 15 damage.
Player: You only take the damage if you move.
Judge: No, he takes the damage now.
[My turn comes]
Me: I use Divine Mettle to save versus the Stinging Hex. [Roll 15] I save.
Judge: There is no save.
Me: Fine, I Divine Challange, attack and shift.
Judge: [Rolls dice] You take 11 damage from moving.

At this point we retreated from the encounter to take a short rest and go back, but the Judge called the game, and said we recieve 21gp each, and can't pick any bundles because they were all in the last encounter which he wouldn't let us have a second chance at because he decided to call the game.

This was by far the worst judge I've ever had. Should I report him to the RPGA, or just let it go?
I'd like to start off by saying that I have been playing and judging RPGA games for a few years and have over 500 player reward points and about 200 judge points.

I played a normal 4 hour RPGA LFR game yesterday. I knew a few of the other players from playing other RPGA games, but none of us knew the judge who was new to the community.

RPGA adventures are normally supposed to take about 4 hours, but this one took 8 hours because the judge obviously had read prepared it and took his sweet time on the monsters turns.

Durring the game he continually stopped the game to ask rules questions, but didn't like the answers and would make up his own rules.

Here are a few questions he asked and his responses:

Show
#1
Judge: How do you have 36 HP at level 1?
Me: Paladin gets 15 plus I add my Wisdom which is 16 plus I have the toughness feat which adds 5.
Judge: You don't add your Wisdom, you add your Constitution.
Me: I'm from Impultur which allows you to use your Wisdom insetad of Constitution.
Judge: I haven't read that rule, so use your Constitution for now.
Me: Here, I have the book and can show it to you.
Judge: I don't care, just use your Constitution.

#2
Me: I move to here which will provoke an OA from the Ochre Jelly.
Judge: You can't move that far.
Me: My movement is 5 and it is 5 squares.
Judge: That is 7 squares.
Me: [Counts Squares] 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5
Judge: You can't move diagnal across enemy squares.
Me: Yes you can.
Judge: [Pulls out PHB and begins flliping through it.]
[Everyone waits 10 minutes while he searchs for a rule that doesn't exist]
Me: It is Divine Challanged by him, so if it takes an OA on me it will be at a -2 and he will take 3 damage.
Judge: [Continues to look through PHB]
[Everyone waits patienlty another 5 minutes]
Me: Ok, If he isn't going to take an OA I'm going to continue my turn and attack him.
Judge: [Throws book down and takes OA.]

Next Player: I also move which provokes an OA.
Judge: [Rolls d20 and asks if 26 hits my AC]
Me: Yes, but why is it attacking me?
Judge: You take 6 damage.
Player: He didn't provoke, I did.
Judge: I know.
Player: Why is it attacking him?
Judge: Because it can.

I'm still not sure how some one else provoking an OA from an Ocre Jelly allows it to attack me.

#3
Me: I Divine Challange this guy and attack this other guy.
Judge: You have to attack an enemy to Divine Challange him.
Me: Nope, I just have to engage him.
Judge: Right, which means you have to attack him.
Me: "To engage the target, you must either attack it or end your turn adjacent to it." I'm adjacent, so I can challange it.
Judge: I don't care, you have to attack it to Divine Challange it.
Me: No you don't, the rules clearly say "or end your turn adjacent to it."
Judge: Fine, I'll just call the game now. [Tears up the session tracking sheet]


Past this point everyone could tell the Judge was angry and had every enemy in the remaining encounters focus on attacking only me. I didn't really mind being the focus of his attacks since I was the defender, but he also threw RAW out the window.

#4
Me: I use LOH, Second Wind and attack.
Judge: That's to many actions.
Me: Second Wind is a minor for Dwarves.
Judge: Does LOH provoke?
Me: No. [I attack and miss]
Judge: [Rolls an attack against me] You take 11 damage.
Me: LOH doesn't provoke.
Judge: It does for you.

At this point I quit talking and the Judge started taking a free attack on anyone who missed with their attack. I later realized he was actually using the Goblin Hexers Incite Bravery (Immediate Reaction), but was using it multiple times per round. He never told us why he was taking multiple free attacks. I assumed he was just being a baby.

#5
Player: I Fey Step to here.
Judge: You can't.
Player: Why?
Judge: You don't have line of sight?
Player: Yes I do.
Judge: Vexing Cloud blocks line of sight. You can only see adjacent squares.
Players: No it doesn't. We take a -2 to atatcks and it only grants concealment to the goblins.
Judge: It's a Heavy Fog.
Players: Whatever.

#6
Player: I attack that enemy.
Judge: You can't attack him.
player: Why not? I have a reach weapon.
Judge: You can only see adjacent squares in the Vexing Cloud.
Player: Fine, I'll take a -5 to the attack.
Judge: You can't see him to target him. You can't attack.
Player: Whatever.

#7
Me: Can I move diagnal across the corner of the Pit?
Judge: No.

I decide it's still a bad idea to talk.

#8
Player: I cast a Scorching Burst here. Does a 18 hit his reflex?
Judge: You mean 14?
Player: No, I'm not in the Vexing Cloud and bursts and blast ignore concealment.
Judge: They don't ignore this concealment. You miss.

#9
Judge: The Goblin Hexer hits you with a Stinging Hex. You take 15 damage.
Player: You only take the damage if you move move.
Judge: No, he takes the damage now.
[My turn comes]
Me: I use Divine Mettle to save versus the Stinging Hex. [Roll 15] I save.
Judge: There is no save.
Me: Fine, I Divine Challange, attack and shift.
Judge: [Rolls dice] You take 11 damage from moving.

At this point we retreated from the encounter to take a short rest and go back, but the Judge called the game, and said we recieve 21gp each, and can't pick any bundles because they were all in the last encounter which he wouldn't let us have a second chance at because he decided to call the game.

This was by far the worst judge I've ever had. Should I report him to the RPGA, or just let it go?

WoW.

I'd file an appeal of the session - I don't know of any way beyond that to "report" a judge, short of e-mailing [email]dci@wizards.com[/email] if you happen to have his RPGA/DCI #.

If this was played at a local game store, I'd also make it a point to tell the owner/manager about his confrontational attitude (not knowing the rules is forgivable, if you deal with it properly).

You might also contact your Regional POC to let them know about this particular judge.

Lastly, if you fear he may decide to become a convention judge (for DDXP, or GenCon, for example) you might want to contact WaveSter and let him know about this particular judge so we can be aware of him for the big shows. (You can also PM me if you like and I'll make sure Wavester gets the info - I suspect the Regional and Global Admins can do the same thing, however).

Of course, it goes without saying, but I'd avoid playing with him in the future as well.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

There's really no mechanism for reporting "bad judges" to the RPGA. About the only sort of thing that would get reported up like that would be violations of the RPGA rules. Mostly, it sounds like he was unprepared, didn't know the rules well, and got very defensive when one of the players (i.e., you) knew the rules better than he did.

If this were an organized convention or game day, I'd strongly suggest letting your Senior GM know about it...but it doesn't sound like this was the case.

I think your best option is just avoiding playing with this guy in the future.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
CAN you move diagonal across a pit corner? I could see that one going either way...

I doubt I'd report him to anyone but my own little gamer community, but do what you will.

Next time you'll let the new guy PLAY the first time out, right? What a horrible experience. Sorry, guy.
He had a signup sheet posted for three more games he was going to run next week which he took down as he left. We didn't discuss it with the store owner, but I'll e-mail him and mention what happened. He did send another piece of paper around the table at the end and asked us to write down our Name, RPGA # and Character #, but said he was just going to give us all the same XP / Gold with no bundles or story awards. I somehow doubt the guy even wants to judge again, but I did fish the torn up tracking sheet out of the trash and copied down everyones info, including the judges. i also got everyones e-mail address and let them know that I would report the game if he didn't report it within a week.

I play and judge at all the state conventions and local gamedays, so if I see him signed up to judge again I'll mention it. I doubt I'll forget his name anytime soon.
CAN you move diagonal across a pit corner? I could see that one going either way...

I wasn't sure if you could, which is why I didn't challange him on the ruling, but did think about asking if I could just make an athletics check to jump over the corner, but figured he would make up some rediculous DC so I didn't even bother.
Hey Ganadai,
Where is your community? I think everyone here would like to know if this jerk-weed is lurking in their backyard.
Hey Ganadai,
Where is your community? I think everyone here would like to know if this jerk-weed is lurking in their backyard.

Dallas, TX area.
Yes, you absolutely should report the heck out of this guy.

4th edition is ridiculously easy to run and this guy apparently can't muster up the ability to do it properly. He just ruined a lot of people's days and then threw a DM tantrum.
I think everyone here would like to know if this jerk-weed is lurking in their backyard.

You do have a way with words, Fleet. ;)
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
In the name of being fair - keep in mind we only have one side of the story here.

It's possible every word is the unabashed truth, but it's also possible there are/were mitigating circumstances.

It's up to Ganadi as to how much he's willing to share with who, but I'd caution against forming a "witch hunt" against this judge. Nobody likes to game with players like this, but for now, the local player base is as far as concerns really need to go.

I'm sure Ganadi will let his local base know to watch out for this guy, and that's as much as needs be done. It's possible that he may re-examine the rules and try again, with a fresh mindset, in a couple months.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Wow, what a really unprepared, annoying and vengeful DM. I can forgive some ignorance of 4E rules, but the DM needs to be willing to accept input.

I don't think that a report to the RPGA would result in any action, but you could try that.

What I do recommend is you privately explain your complain to:
1) the store owner, recommending that the questionable DM not host games there, until he has changed his attitude and learned 4E better,
2) your LFR region's POC or Event Manager (they could privately share with regional cons)
and
3) Dave Christ, so Dave will not use him at Gencon, DDXP or major cons he runs for the RPGA.

If you need email addresses for either of the latter two, I can help.

Keith

[email]LFRWDHoffman@aol.com[/email]
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
I guess I just have a bad attitude, but I do not understand why you all did not get up and walk out.

As Senior Gm for our local WitR, I allowed a person to judge that we had previously had problems with in LG. I discussed it with the other leaders of our RPGA group and it was decided that we would give him a chance with the new system.

It took 23 hours for his table to finish all three 3-hour mods. Only one player at his table was mad enough to skip part three. I think he got Really lucky in his table assignment.

He will not be judging at our events again. In a Gameday/Convention setting you must finish in the four hour alloted time. If this had happened at Gencon Dave would have severely beaten someone.
Amy My blog http://mistimp.blogspot.com
In the name of being fair - keep in mind we only have one side of the story here.

It's possible every word is the unabashed truth, but it's also possible there are/were mitigating circumstances.

It's up to Ganadi as to how much he's willing to share with who, but I'd caution against forming a "witch hunt" against this judge. Nobody likes to game with players like this, but for now, the local player base is as far as concerns really need to go.

I'm sure Ganadi will let his local base know to watch out for this guy, and that's as much as needs be done. It's possible that he may re-examine the rules and try again, with a fresh mindset, in a couple months.

Well put. We, the players, did try to help him, but his "I'm the DM so I'm always right" 1st ed. attitude made it really difficult. After he called the game, he admitted that he was tiard and was probably only right 75% of the time, but never appologized.

A friend of mine, who just started playing D&D (LFR) a couple months ago, was also at the table. He is judging for the first time this weekend and made a comment that he is no longer affraid to judge, because no matter how bad he does, he knows he will be better than this guy was.
I was playing this game as well. It was bad. I considered leaving at the start of the first encounter (which took 2 hours) because I just had that feeling that this wasn't going to be fun.

Other highlights:
--------------
Me: I use my Paladin's Judgement, which lets GANADAI use a healing surge now.
Judge: NO, ON HIS TURN. (The judge was blatantly trying to kill GANADAI at this point)
Me: Umm, I guess it doesn't say when... I thought it was immediate but it's your call.
--------------
Judge: You enter a skill challenge. An old stinky goblin approaches you and asks to speak with you.
Me: (an Orc) Hello old stinky goblin.
Judge: Skill challenge over. You were rude to the goblin.
(This made the whole party lose a story reward. I could understand if I didn't get it, but the whole party?).
--------------

I can forgive someone for being new to 4e and not knowing all the rules, but when you constantly shoot down people who are trying to help explain the rules, it stops being fun. Not only that but he was always accusing people of trying to do more actions on our turns that we were allowed. After a while everyone just spoke minimally to the judge so we could get it over with.
As pure speculation, I wonder if the DM was having fun. Or what his idea of fun even is.
When that first combat took two hours, was he even aware that there were people at the table who were itching to get the story moving again?

I've figured out what adventure y'all were playing. It's a good one; kind of a fight-fight-fight mod, but I thought the authors integrated the region's flavor pretty well with the aventure-hook-fishers. I'm sorry your experience with it was so foul.

Oh, and as a relocated Texan, let me say that sometimes I really miss Grapevine, but I'm glad I wasn't there at your table.

Gig'em!
This was by far the worst judge I've ever had. Should I report him to the RPGA, or just let it go?

This post seems vindictive.

You have extensive experience in the RPGA and probably have been in these forums for a few years so why do you need to ask? I think with that much experience you would already know what you should do.
That sounds like the judge I had at Gen Con for round 2 of the D&D Open. After the thoroughly unpleasant experience, our team discussed it and came up with two conclusions.

1. The entire round had essentially been a challenge to see if we would play the judge rather than the game. Had we smiled and nodded and catered to his every whim, all of the random attacks would have landed on bad guys rather than all of them landing on us and all of the OAs would probably have missed and he would have given us high marks. Because we decided to fight about the rules (climb is a move action not a standard, yes, Combat Challenge does give us attacks, Shield Push does negate the attack, etc ad nauseum), rather than accept his dicatorial demeanor, all of the random attacks landed on us rather than the bad guys, all of the monsters hit, and he probably gave us very low marks which kept us from advancing.

2. Since we didn't appreciate being bullied, after the judge's trip became clear, we should have got up, informed the judge that we were not interested in continuing the table with him, explained the situation to the coordinators so that they could take whatever actions they deemed necessary to ensure quality judging in the future and spent the rest of the evening doing something that was actually fun. (Though, staring at the wall and doing nothing would have been more pleasant than sitting through that table).

After the fact, it's pretty difficult to do anything about such a situation. The best that can be done is to inform the senior judge at the convention and avoid any tables that are run by the judge in the future. I know that in my local areas there are some people who the convention organizers will not allow to judge for various reasons (not showing up to slots they committed to judge is the most common one). If this guy is as bad as you say he was and the other people at your table agreed, he would probably find himself on the outs in short order. If it is bad enough, you might ask the other players for a private word with them and find out if they are also at a level where they are ready to walk from the table and take 0 gold and xp for the character. If they are, you can all go, but in general, I wouldn't want to damage other players' experiences by abandoning them in what might otherwise be a salvageable experience for them.
Originally Posted by eudemonist
CAN you move diagonal across a pit corner? I could see that one going either way...
I wasn't sure if you could, which is why I didn't challange him on the ruling, but did think about asking if I could just make an athletics check to jump over the corner, but figured he would make up some rediculous DC so I didn't even bother.

Yes (a pit is not an 'obstacle').

Carl
Informing Senior GM's and other locals is a must. I have used a lot of different judges in my days (I think I'm over 1,000 different judges at this point) and you have to take them at face value when they want to judge for the first time. You can steer them towards events where they cannot do as much damage if they suck (such as a normal LFR core instead of the LFR Special or D&D Championship Finals) but they still have the potential to ruin an adventure for a group of six persons. The only way this can be prevented from happening again (since you really cannot prevent it from happening the first time) is letting the Senior GM know.

Also realize that sometimes your play style, from what you are used to in a home game, is not the same as the judges. A lot of times this is pretty minor but at other times causes a lot of headaches. I have a few judges that I would consider my top tier judges. Ones that people ask to have judge for them again and again. Even they get a complaint on occassion (though nowhere near what the OP had happen to him).
This post seems vindictive.

You have extensive experience in the RPGA and probably have been in these forums for a few years so why do you need to ask? I think with that much experience you would already know what you should do.

I don't think a post that:
A) Doesn't give personal information about the judge (John Smith of Friendly Local Gamestore Inc)
B) Avoids personal attacks ("This stupid obnoxious tub of lard")
C) Hides the details of the table behind a spoiler block

really qualifies as "vindictive". He's not out to ruin this judge forever, instead he's explaining what he feels went wrong (perhaps venting a little, but after a play experience like that I can hardly fault him), and asking if this qualifies as something that the RPGA at large should know about.

As there's no official "bad judge" reporting mechanism, it's a fair question. After all, one of the many purposes of this forum is to facilitate communication and help people find answers. Seems he's doing both quite well to me.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Best story ever. I'm at work and I was laughing out loud as I sat and read this.

First of all, I have to say that I am so sorry that you had to have this experience. On the bright side, I'm sure you can add this to your list of RPGA experiences that you can look back on and laugh at.

I've had judges like this, with similar arguments, and similar attitudes, and I empathize.

I don't think reporting him will do anything, but word-of-mouth often works quite well. I have a list of RPGA judges that I avoid - some due to personal experiences, and others due to the stories I have heard via word-of-mouth. Just tell everyone you know about this guy and ask them to spread the word.

I'd appreciate a PM with his name and RPGA number if you have it. I'll add him to my list in the spirit of word-of-mouth boycotts.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
I don't think a post that:
A) Doesn't give personal information about the judge (John Smith of Friendly Local Gamestore Inc)
B) Avoids personal attacks ("This stupid obnoxious tub of lard")
C) Hides the details of the table behind a spoiler block

really qualifies as "vindictive". He's not out to ruin this judge forever, instead he's explaining what he feels went wrong (perhaps venting a little, but after a play experience like that I can hardly fault him), and asking if this qualifies as something that the RPGA at large should know about.

As there's no official "bad judge" reporting mechanism, it's a fair question. After all, one of the many purposes of this forum is to facilitate communication and help people find answers. Seems he's doing both quite well to me.

Well, all of us know there is not really a bad judge reporting mechanism. It usually is just talk with other DMs in the area, and often times its exhibited by the 15% of players at your local convention that request not to play with xxxxx DM or yyyyy player. Its not something thats posted on the RPGA message board and detailed out very often. Every 6 months or so there is a post along the lines of "worst DM/LG experience ever, I am never playing LG again." And well thats fine, I actually like complaints, I believe they are a way to improvement. These posts usually break down to "Joe was awful." "I know Joe, maybe he was just having a bad day." Fair enough.

I am guessing lots of us go to participate in local conventions as well, and theres always one or two messy events which are usually contained quickly by a Senior DM. At this event there was no Senior DM (or rather the SDM was the main source of the problem) so this event would only be contained if someone at the table blinked. Things didn't work out and what passed was probably an awkward 8 hours of frustration and incorrect rulings. A quick inspection of the facts shows lots of using 3.5 rules in a 4e game. LFR has been out since August and this stuff is going to happen.

This DM was basically new to the community and probably thought it might be fun to give this a whirl at a retail location.

However, I find it hard to believe that a the OP, who is someone thats a contributor and probably a big plus to his local RPGA area, doesn't know what to do with a bad table experience. So I look at this post and first thing I think is "bad DM"; but the OP is also calling this guy out (a newcomer) on the WotC RPGA boards. Because I get the feeling its a a veteran calling out a newcomer, it feels like internet bullying to me.

How about some solutions? Why not invite this guy to play, maybe that could help get him up to speed. Lead by example and all that.
Just because you started out on the wrong foot doesn't mean you have to end on the wrong foot.

You might never like each other but lots of people don't like each other in this organization, but we play together.

The guy also might turn out being a plus for the RPGA in the local area as well. He obviously posted multiple games so he has some initiative. He could turn out awful and never come back, but at least he would gain some better knowledge of 4e rules. Even in that situation, everyone still wins a little.

I hope this turns into a net positive for everyone.
Well put. We, the players, did try to help him, but his "I'm the DM so I'm always right" 1st ed. attitude made it really difficult.

Ah... DM Empowerment rears it's ugly head...

On a serious note, don't play with him... ever. If there was any sort of senior DM you could file an RPGA violation report for unsportsman like conduct. That's about the best you could do.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
Ah... DM Empowerment rears it's ugly head.

This is not DM Empowerment. This is a DM who either didn't know the rules or who chose to ignore the rules.

Shawn
Ah... DM Empowerment rears it's ugly head...

On a serious note, don't play with him... ever. If there was any sort of senior DM you could file an RPGA violation report for unsportsman like conduct. That's about the best you could do.

"DM Empowerment" is intended to enable the DM to use his best judgment in altering the adventure as he sees fit in order to enhance the experience for his players.

The example above is anything but DM empowerment.
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
Apparently everyone missed the "On a serious note..." Written after it... sigh...
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
While it definitely sounded like a nightmare session and the DM may have had a pretty bad attitude, I wouldn't cast him out too badly. First times and bad days happen. Some more experience from the player end getting acclimated with the game and campaign could make for alot of improvement. If he's not a problematic player too, maybe he could become a decent DM down the line. Definitely get word around to the Senior DMs and organizers but, sometimes things change.
This is not DM Empowerment. This is a DM who either didn't know the rules or who chose to ignore the rules.

That reference was not meant seriously, but as Clarke would have said if he played LFR, sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from DM empowerment.

Under a system where the DM is required to run a module as written according to the rules as written, a situation like the above is clearly illegal under RPGA rules--a DM just isn't free to decide that a creature or the world behaves in ways that differ from the way outlined in the module.

Under a system where the DM is free to change the world of the adventure in any way that he deems will be more fun, however, that's out the window.

The difference between "I know the rules, but I'm going to change them because I think it'll be more fun my way" and "I don't know the rules, so we're going to play by whatever I think the rules are because I think it'll be more fun my way" is pretty slight, and the difference is more far subjective than a "You must play by the rules" system.
Here are my two cents, (Ok maybe three or four cents)

#1. One can always leave. I have never been in a situation where I have walked away from a table, but a few occasions come to mind where I reminded myself that I could.

#1a. I game to have fun. If I am not having fun, I should remove myself from the situation.

#1b. Any game is only as fun as the people you play it with.



#2. Run times. LFR adventures are designed to take up 4 hours of play time. Game time should be scheduled and ran accordingly. This is simply a common courtesy to those we share out hobby with. Of course there should be some room maneuver. +/- 30 minutes is my unofficial guideline. I had a round at Gencon that did not complete an adventure. At the 5 four mark we were not done and the judge had to marshal for the next slot. I was not pleased. There is nothing impolite about reminding the judge of the time. I do it and have had it done to me.


#3. I am a firm believer that the single biggest problem in LFR (and LG before it) is a lack of preparedness. Much of this is well intentioned, but still a problem. At a bare minimum a judges should read the module completely prior to the scheduled time. Anything I run, I read several times while highlighting and making notes. I also take a second at each encounter and try to look at it from a players side to see if the writer missed anything. Hey, it happens. This happened with an adventure I ran recently. As I read the first combat, I thought to myself "what if the PC's do not take the bait and try something else." So I made a few notes on that. Sure enough, the PC's never even considered doing what the mod expected of them.

#4. I am a firm believer in Play Now, Rules Lawyer Later. Everyone should try to know the rules and apply them as best they can. But a full-on rules argument is a fast way to ruin a good game. My motto is "Let's rule it this way for now, and we can look it up during a break or after the game." Of course as a judge, be prepared to be wrong. It happens to all of us. There are a lot of rules out there and it is difficult to know them all. Not to mention errata. But let me tell you that Sir Ungodly of Brokenness knows exactly how the rules for his character work. Of course this works both ways. There is always the player who is trying to pull a fast one or just simply misread the rules. Which brings me back to #3, be prepared!
#4. I am a firm believer in Play Now, Rules Lawyer Later. Everyone should try to know the rules and apply them as best they can. But a full-on rules argument is a fast way to ruin a good game. My motto is "Let's rule it this way for now, and we can look it up during a break or after the game." Of course as a judge, be prepared to be wrong. It happens to all of us. There are a lot of rules out there and it is difficult to know them all. Not to mention errata. But let me tell you that Sir Ungodly of Brokenness knows exactly how the rules for his character work. Of course this works both ways. There is always the player who is trying to pull a fast one or just simply misread the rules. Which brings me back to #3, be prepared!

I whole heartedly agree with this one. When I DM that's how I do it, and I usually tell the player's up front "If there's a disagreement on a rule I will make a ruling and we will move on and discuss it at a break or after the game. Unless it involves a player death."
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
As a DM, I really wish that players had the option to "grade" their DM's by logging into the DCI site. Some of the modules have questions to grade the modules, so it can't be that hard.

Personally, I'd love to get more feedback on my DMing so that I can get better, and also give positive feedback to other DM's (and negative feedback for cases like this one).
As a DM, I really wish that players had the option to "grade" their DM's by logging into the DCI site. Some of the modules have questions to grade the modules, so it can't be that hard.

Personally, I'd love to get more feedback on my DMing so that I can get better, and also give positive feedback to other DM's (and negative feedback for cases like this one).

Once upon a time, the RPGA did just this. Part of table reporting was rating the DM, and also ranking the other players at your table. RPGA had more of a "competitive" bent at that time, and the "best player" at the table got a "die bump" cert (good for a +2 to a d20 roll, IIRC). That was all phased out in 2003 or so, as the philosophy of the RPGA changed.

That said, I'm not sure how useful the ratings were. And, in this case, I'd be very surprised if the DM in question didn't realize that his players were unhappy.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Ratings can be good, but there's inherent problems with them too. You could run a great, fun game, but if a player was unhappy about one detail they could give you a bad rating. For example, I ran a game once back in LG which was an investigative module (it was in the series that had the module A Tiger In Ahlissa). There was a case of mistaken identity in the module where the surviving person didn't want to reveal that info. During questioning of said NPC, after the players had exhausted their questions anbd couldn't think of anythign else to ask, one player asked, "Is there anythign else you haven't told us?"

This player obviously expected me to run through the bullet points and give everythign up then and there. So when the end of the mod rolled around and the group hadn't figured out the mistaken identity, they didn't get the xp listed for it. That player then whined and complained about not getting the xp for it because he asked if there was anything else.

Do I want to get a bad rating for that? Heck no. If a DM is truly bad, people come to know who they are. Word of mouth does a fine job.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
I judged at Gen Con during the time when modules were rated, and there were best judge ratings. In my experience, Living City tables gave the best ratings; the players were most happy when successfully completing the module with full rewards. Classic players were tougher judges, perhaps because they cared primarily about the quality of the role-playing experience. The best judges probably weren't the ones who won the awards at Gen Con.

The rating system (six attributes, rated 1-5) wasn't entirely useful. Some people always gave 30's, some people always gave 24's, some people always dropped one or two scores, etc. A perfect 180 score could just mean you got six of the first type of players, and your performance was just adequate.

Another concern is expectations of judges. Although 3 was labeled good on the judge rating section, the feeling I got after being in the RPGA a while was that 24 was the standard for a decent performance, and rating someone all good (18) was considered giving them a terrible rating. I wonder how many judges I and others upset at first by taking the RPGA scoring system at face value. And then, when those judges talked at their Sunday morning breakfast, how many players got unfairly assigned a negative reputation for "bad ratings" because of this?

And it can also be a problem in reverse, like the (insert negative adjective) judge who announced at the start of the game "The scoring scale starts at 30, and I demand an explanation for any score that's not a 5."

Still, the section where you could offer suggestions to the judge, and also about the module, were useful details. I miss the points system....
Still, the section where you could offer suggestions to the judge, and also about the module, were useful details. I miss the points system....

I'd forgotten about the open-ended comments. I agree, those could be useful.

I do miss die-bumps...just the ability to get that little extra oooomph on a roll when you really needed it was VERY useful. (And, I still have a stack of 20 or so die-bump certs somewhere, leftovers that I hadn't used yet when they became invalid.)
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
Die-bumps still exist. It's just now they are Reward Cards instead of certs
This little signature is my official and insignificant protest to the (not so new now) community redesign. The layout is lousy. The colour scheme burns the eyes. The wiki is a crippled monstrosity. So many posters have abandoned this site that some major forums are going days without posts. The 4e General Discussion board regularly has posts on the front page from two or even three days ago. This is pathetic. Since I have to assume Wizards has a vested interest in an active community I wish someone in charge would fix this mess.
Die-bumps still exist. It's just now they are Reward Cards instead of certs

True enough.
"Of course [Richard] has a knife. He always has a knife. We all have knives. It's 1183, and we're barbarians!" - Eleanor of Aquitaine, "The Lion in Winter"
While there's no formal tracking of GM reviews at the RPGA - don't be afraid to tell others how you feel about a particular judge.

As a judge/GM/DM, I appreciate it when my players have feedback for me.

At larger shows and conventions, tell your Senior GM, RPGA HQ, or someone else "in charge" of the RPGA events whenever a judge leaves an impression on you - good or bad.

I know at GenCon and Origins we keep a small stack of stickynotes or index cards, or whatever else is handy - so that we can give Wavester the feedback on judges. Lots of good feedback means a judge is far more likely to be around at future shows (and may even get them an extra "thank you" book or similar rewards). Bad feedback gives us a chance, early in the show, to talk to a GM about what they may be able to do better for the next table - and failing that a chance to see that they don't judge at future shows.

In a single-table session at your FLGS - don't be afraid to tell the owner/manager about how the judge did as well. This lets the owner know what kind of people are volunteering for them.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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This post seems vindictive.

You have extensive experience in the RPGA and probably have been in these forums for a few years so why do you need to ask? I think with that much experience you would already know what you should do.

I totally agree and I hope the DM never runs a game that way again....

Ganadi sorry for your issues but it sure made my day I was laughing the whole post...
I would post his RPGA number ;)
this way nobody falls in that trap again... Or at the very least give the guy a chance but if he starts acting like that not be afraid of walking away.
"...sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from DM empowerment."

This is a brilliant quote! I plan on stealing it and using it repeatedly!

Vernon L. Vincent
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