2) Can’t wing it- he needs to have absolutely everything written down, and will spend three out of every eight minutes (yes I actually timed a DM like this once) looking up a rule or reading an entry absolutely killing any role playing, suspense, or action built up in-game. Also typically means if the dialog isn’t written down, he cant RP for the antagonists. About the only thing worse than the cant wing it DM is the DM who thinks he can and cant… see no. 18
With my groups wanderlust I'm winging it 90% of the time although I can't claim its gold all the time I think I do pretty well...but I do believe that a DM that DMs entirely from Modules can still run a great game (I use modules occasionally although I tend to make tweaks and often end up dropping it if the flow demands)
3) Can’t Sell It-In professional wrestling “selling it” is convincing the audience the punches are real, in D&D it’s describing the scene or the action, in a way with a touch of emotion to really let the players feel like they are in-the moment with their characters. A DM who cant do this lacks an essential skill.
I'm ok at this I can get it across but listening to DMs like Spoony, Mike from the 404s or even Chris Perkins himself shows I have alot to improve here but using humour and visual aids hellps
4) Can’t Act- Just has little or no ability to RP, every NPC sounds the same, uses the same speech patterns, uses a lot of modern slang, and the DM will often say something like “well he’s using a British accent but I cant pull it off” or “he sounds short” then speaks in a deep bass tone. Its typical that these DMs also have trait #1 and has to refer to notes or the AP to remember what the NPC needs to say.
there's a difference between "can't act" and "can't rp" imo...i cant act to save my life but have plenty of voices and personalites to use.
5) Cant make it- If the game starts at 6 he doesn’t show till 7:00 if the players start showing up at 7:00 he starts showing up at 8:00, if he cancels a game night, he waits until everyone has changed their plans and is sitting at the table before sending the notice.
to clarify do you mean showing up or actually truly ready to go...cause my group including myself and the other dm are very rarely late but it usually take 30 mins to an hour to get going (plug in laptops, hand out drinks, run through recap of what happened last week,etc)
6) No Girls Allowed. Happens more than ya’d think, DM cant stop himself from using rude, profane or dirty language/conversations, encourages others to do the same, or simply cant RP with a girl without blushing or quickly changing players. Some DM’s have the same problem with GLBT players (I admit I have a problem with the T, and yah it actually came up once.)
What DM is their right mind does this...I mean sometimes "no girlfriends or boyfriends allowed" rulke needs to made but thats a case by case basis thing. oh and whats GLBT
7) Table Management Fail- Just generally cant control player demands, some players get all the spotlight, others get none, slow players never get the nudge, side conversations are loud and endless, game is constantly interrupted by cell phones or other distractions. Often leads to the next habit.
I do have a bit of an issue controlling players between their turns during combat...how do you handle this there honestly is much for them to do...in 4e when I'm playing I like to play characters with some Reactions or inturupts so I can keep an eye out for it
8) Cant Cope- either carpet bags all his anger till it explodes with yelling, cussing and/or throwing dice, or he gets extremely quiet and just reads books or shuts off when the game gets to be too much to manage, when called on this passive aggressive behavior claims its all the player’s fault.
One huge mistake I made when I first started DMing (not long after 3.5 was released) was having a Co-DM...I'm good at winging stuff and keeping peoople entertained but I suck at making stories without having someone to bounce my ideas off of (also I suck at puzzles) so I asked a friend of my to co-DM...all that ends up doing is causing arguments which can kill a session or even a group it is a good idea to talk to a friend whos not one of your players about your idea but don't offer Co-DMship
Sidenote: My pet-peeve is people who youtube between their turns in combat so uh yeah that ticks me off
9) Cant Say No- A-typical Monty Hall behavior, dm kinda sucks to begin with then hands out a lot of overpowering magic items, giving incredible amounts of XP, allowing access to feats or advanced class abilities the character cant qualify for to win back the favor of the players. This is often combined with…
Yeah too much loot makes it not special but honestly it depends on the game...one fun thing to do if you have a player who loves to get things is instead of giving them a magic item every battle give them components to get an awesome magical thing made than thery can visit the local smithy, apothecary, shaper wixard,etc. to get it made
10) Loves the Meta Game- yup wash his car get a +5 sword, Give him Pizza get a magic item tailored just for your character, bring an attractive girl to the table and watch her become the favored character of the week, plays favorites, holds grudges and generally cant take criticism without repercussions… often leads to…
Ick I agree I'd hate this...sure sometimes your NPC can offer a reward fr say returning his pig "billy" but normally I avoid it
11) You Want a War- I’ll give you a war… DM sees the game as a contest between the DM and the Players, and generally the players always loose until he feels guilty and goes all Monty/meta. In his game you’ll have flashbacks of Cartman saying “Respect ma Athorita!”
Heh your refering to "rocks fall you die" eh, often threatened (as a joke) never used
12) Where the Choo Choo Go? It go wherever the hell the DM wants it to that’s where… Your on the railroad and you cant get off. This DM cant freestyle anything, any attempt to do anything not covered by an AP leads to NPC’s forcing you back into covered territory, loss of everything your character values, world destroying cataclysm, etc. etc, in short if your in his game, neither you nor your characters have free will.
Lol pretty much the same answer as #2 my group rarely follows adventure hooks...although i have been accused of "rail-roading" by a player once when I made something up for the random forest they wandered into.
14) One Skill to Rule Them All- DM has a way he likes characters to handle a problem… ONE WAY!, Either the diplomancer is god or everything is a nail to the fighter’s warhammer. DM rarely offers different ways to succeed at an encounter… this is often caboose of the Choo Choo.
Honestly I don't see how a DM could do this the players are making the decisions your just there to narrate really...ie. stuick in a pit...sure you can give but its up to the players to decide how to get out...str check to lift ally to reach top, acrobatics to jump up the walls ninja gaiden style, etrc.
16) Who is Your Daddy… and what does he do… well apparently he’s the DM. This DM is better than you, he’s right, always. He voted for the right candidate in the last election, worships the right god (gods/goddess or is a devout atheist) he cheers for the right sports franchise, and if you disagree with any of his true convictions, you’ll reap the whirlwind buddy, blue bolt, save or die, or just steals your chips and never ever apologizes and will often…
the only sports, religion or politcal discussions at my table should be in character :P seriously though im religion, political and sports neutral so I'm n/a on this one.
17) Your Soaking in It- “IT” being the preternatural glow of absolute perfection that the DMPC the DM shoved into your party seems to radiate whenever he passes gas. This DM really wants to be a player in a game with a DM as cool as him, one that knows why this absolutely bad ass guy he created needs and deserves to get all the best weapons rewards, xp etc. You can be sure 99% of the time, your adventures will likely be following this NPC around as he buys cities, fights gods etc. Face it if your in this game, your character is just one of the supporting cast to his ultimately cool main character. Probably the best thing you can do is find another game, failing that having your character become Gilligan to his Skipper and learn to endlessly repeat variant phrases of “that guy is SOOOO awesome!”
I use NPCs occasionally but their ussually guides, need to be defended or their to show of the BBEG before the party can handle it than leave as pretty much all my other responses here...it depends on the game
18) Cant Hack It- Just no system mastery, never knows the rules to the game he’s running, is easily played by a metagaming player, makes quick brash rulings that if you argue about just leads to bigger problems (ala no. 11) has a tendency to DM fiat and is even sometimes correct. Lots of times this is a secondary habit to no. 9, and this DM will occasionally have a lil buddy (husband, wife, friend etc) that has to be around to rules lawyer for him.
This is one of the few things I can wholeheartedly agree with you on, the DM doesn't need to be the best player in the room but he needs to at least know the system...on the other hand rules lawyers are a PITA because it all depends on the situation...sometimes a rule just doesnt work so the dm has to bend or break it
19) Daddy YUP! YUP!- when you arrive at this DM’s house you’ll quickly suspect he has a wholesale accounts with Playschool, Pet Depot, and the local goodwill. At this game the game is secondary to the responsibilities of the parent, the kids aren’t in school and the spouse is taking off. Every five minutes one of the droolers is at his knee arms lifted saying “Daddy YUP! YUP!” and demanding to be held, roll the dice, knock your expertly painted tailored minis of the table or better yet finding that the old led orc is missing an arm and it turns into a game of CLUE as to who ate it and needs to go to the ER etc,etc. meanwhile the 4yr old is chasing the screaming 3 yr old, and the three dogs and two cats are fighting over a milk bottle spilled on the couch that the DM just needs “a few minutes” to deal with. If you’re at this game, you’re now a walk on cast member of this guy’s own personal sit com, bout the best thing you can expect is that in-between “incidents” you might get to game a little bit, and there will probably be a barbeque and beer… BYOM! (no tofu allowed!)
never expereinced this one but yeah it would suck
20) Here I come to save the day!- This system sucks and Captain homebrew is on his way. Captain Homebrew really wishes he was a game designer rather than just a DM. Before you ever get to the game this guy has sent you gigs of his tweaker manifesto aka homebrew world/rules, and tells you that’s just a smidgeon of what you should read before your first session. He hates the magic system so he made his own, hated the standard ways of rolling characters so he’s got a stat/feat/class ability point buy system, hated the skills and combat system so he’s changed it to the resolution system of some game no one’s ever heard of complete with chips to spend, dice pools, and homemade combat cards. The bad news is if your playing in his game your really not playing the game he advertised as xyz edition with “some” homebrew rules, and you’ve got no idea what to expect. The good news is if you jump on board the crazytown express and agree with his mad ramblings and rants he’ll likely give you a character that has been min/maxed according to his twisted system that will absolutely pwon anything else at the table… (except for his NPC… no.17)
Short version House Rules Good, Comepletely new game Bad...agreed
21) I WANT TO ROCK! This Dm requires the right music to set the stage for the game… get ready, its either going to be some Danish unholy black deathmetal bands, or darkwave trance. You’ll be lucky if his speakers only go to 11.
cant agree sometimes have a bustliong street sounds =affects while playing merchant to you player can really set the mood
22) Lawful Anal/Chaotic Stupid- you don’t know how to play your character but this DM is gonna teach you. This DM generally demands that the game be serious to the extreme, has little sense of humor, and he has his own very ridged ideas on how races, alignments, background traits etc. MUST be played and failure to play to his sense of right and wrong will lead to the spinning of the great Gigaxian Wheel of Repercussions. Nobodies a winner, bring on the blue bolts and xp loss.
bleh boring often we like to say that DnD is just something to do while we hang out its definately not serious bizness time
23) DIE! DIE! DIE! no he doesn’t use too many dice… he just wants your PCs to die. His game is lethal in the extreme. More like a game of Paranoia than a game of whatever it was you wanted to play, where if your character lived longer than half a session you should consider yourself lucky.
your repeating stuff at this point...yes if everyone dies every session...whats the point of playing
24) The Never Ending Story- This DM is the exact opposite of no.23, nothing in this game will likely ever kill you and all combat is usually avoided. The DM loves sticking japananime type plots into the game, choc full of mysteries you’ll never solve, twilightesque romanticized NPCs and of course non-stop conflict free story telling. And whatever you do… don’t ask them about their art, poetry, or spiritual views…
i dont think your title suit your description..the title implies that it's about a campaign that never ends (which may or may not be a good or bad thing) that you go on to explain whats genres you dislike...honestly this is more reliant on your group so doesnt make you a good or bad DM (although stepheny meyers would make a TERIBBLE DM)
25) DM’s Can't Cheat- If ya get the feeling rolling a 1 is not much different than rolling a 20 on any knowledge or influence roll this is probably your DM. Secretly he may claim the rules tell him to roll behind his indestructible DM screen and to fudge the die rolls if it will help the game, but more often than not the truth is more likely that no die roll matters in the least as this guy wants to get to the end of his movie, and is often accompanied by the rationalization that…
I'm sorry but I disagree if your monsters are trouncing your players because the dice have been betraying them and loving you..making that 15 you rolled you know will hit to a 14 that wont can indeed improve the game...same goes for the opposite
26) All Players Cheat- This DM is of the opinion that all players are secretly min/maxing munchkin jerks plotting against him to ruin the game. He may require that all players use a dice tower or he spends as much time as necessary to triple check all figures on any check, stat, roll, etc.
Either they are or the DM has confidence issues...not really specific to being a bad DM\
27) You No Can Haz it!- this is the opposite of no.9, you spend three sessions and two party members die to eventually kill a BBEG or mega boss dragon and find the mountainous pile of treasure is made of coppers painted gold and the ancient magic sword is really an illusion or horribly cursed. This Dm tries to give you as little as possible and rewards no successes (possibly due to a strong belief in no. 26), often when you think he may have given you something worthwhile he will complain that it has overpowered you and soon something must come to steal it back or weaken you in some way in the great name of game/PC balance.
Balancing loot gain either way (too much or too little) is hard but leaning to far one way can kill a game.
28) Cheetoist- the DM is the opposite of no 22, he is a fun first game second DM, he is there to have fun and eat cheetos and if the seriousness of a game interferes with having fun or eating cheetos, something needs to change. This DM has tremendous difficulty addressing any adult or serious topics in the game, the characters and NPCs are typically over the top overdrawn stereotypes, and no effort is made to separate in-game or out of game dialog… unless its funny to do so. Bottom line, this is a goofgame, any desire for in-game seriousness will be punished with out-of-game public humiliation, so don’t try, eat a cheeto and do something stupid that everyone can laugh at and when it gets old (and it will) find a more serious game… or just buy more cheetos.
I love cheetos but never eat em during a game evrything and i mean EVERYTHING will be orange by the end of the session...seriosuly though i don't see whats wrong with having a little fun...I mean its also a direct contradiction to your ealier point of a game no being to serious...I don't think having a mix of the two is a bad thing...if anything being able to mix the right amount of both is something you need to do to be one of the great
29) 20-4 Meh. Just a substandard DM in which every game he runs has 20 minutes of fun spread out into 4hrs of gaming. May have elements of all or none of these habits. Either way every week will be a pure meh experience and leave you wondering if there isn’t a better way you could be spending your free time and gas money maybe for years, actually I think this is the worst kind of DM to have.
Bad DM is Bad??? Well yeah
30) Obsessive Much?- this DM has little or no life, probably spends every waking moment thinking about his game, characters, a new system coming out etc. He’s dangerous in that he has deep seeded largely idealistic views about what a game should or should not contain and what actions any type of player/dm should and should not do. A true onetruewayist. Just expect endless bitching and criticism. And oh yeah… he probably wrote a list just like this one once upon a time… ;-)
Oi obsession is the root of all geekdom don't be going around tell people its a bad thing :P
Honestly alot of that could be boiled down to "Know your Players, Know the Game, Don't be a douche"
While were on the subject of "Bad DMs" how does everyone keep their players focused between their turns focused during combat when they have nothing to do?