Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hashing Without Hitting

“You are right; some things should be hashed out.”
This is probably one of the last sentences you want to hear at your gaming group.  This means that your group is either having some sort of trouble, stemming from issues that have been accumulating over the years; years of not having talked, bitched and complained of something or someone: years of not dealing with it.
Maybe your players have creative differences and it has eventually boiled over, people fed up with getting no satisfaction; days, months, years of putting up with one or more people in the group.
All gamers hit hurdles over the years, and at some point fail to coalesce with their group.  Below is a list of things that in my opinion tend to come up a lot during gaming sessions that should have been addressed from the start and dealt with on the spot.
“Just for the record, I have nothing personal against anyone in this group.”  This should be the first sentence coming out of your mouth when you want to start a discussion.

1. Different Dungeon Mastering Styles
2. Roleplaying
3. Treasure
4. Rules
5. Railroading

Dungeon Mastering Styles

I think everyone has a different DMing style, be it a Power Tripper, Pushover, or a fantastic DM.  The only rule in is that it should never take away from the fun of the game. There is plenty of literature online and a plethora of blog sites dedicated to DMing.
Since GMing P1: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens, I realised I needed to improve my skills as a Game Master.  I got the feeling that some of my players were not having as much fun as I could offer them.  Since then, I have been striving to become the best DM I possibly can by reading what other people are doing. I take bits and pieces of help and information and make my own style with it.

As a DM and player, I am learning to make it fun for the players.


Roleplay, roleplay, roleplay...need I say more. I don’t care if you like to kill things; I do too.  Without roleplaying, the game becomes boring. Skill challenges become a chore.
Encounters become a bore. Roll this, roll that; I got this, I got that.  Tell me what your character is doing; peering around corners and act surprised?!  How hard is that. Usually once one person starts roleplaying it is contagious like a smile, some of the others around the table will follow.
Encouragement practice and prodding are what is needed to roleplay well.


Treasure: I hate this whole conversation. We need to talk about this. This is a DM-Player trust issue. In my opinion,  long and short whether you defeat an encounter through parlay or battle, treasure should be awarded. What I mean is that from one level to the next the appropriate treasure bundles should be handed out. This means if you gain no treasure from bypassing an encounter, add the treasure you would have gotten from that encounter to another one.
Talk to each other and set the guidelines you want to follow at your table.


Instead of arguing about the rules, he made a decision and cool play went on. That is how the game should be played.  By this I mean, if someone wants to do something implausible, then the character should be able to attempt it. As a DM pick a DC and allow the player to do this. Rules are only there to give the game structure, but it should not stifle the table. DMs should be flexible to make rulings to make the game more fun;
The players must be flexible also. I don't appreciate players who argue through their teeth about unfair rulings. Players should have the knowledge and the faith that the DM has a plan in their heads and is not doing things out of spite. There is a fine balance here.
The game has to be enjoyable for all and we have to trust each other to find that balance.


Not all areas of the encounter have to be explored. If we can avoid combat and win, we should not have to go back and slaughter it to get XP whether the module says it or not.

I am far from perfect, but I have played a lot of 4th Edition and have read a lot of blogs to be how I think today. I have made many mistakes and am guilty of all the things mentioned above. These are things I would like to improve on. It is not meant to slight anyone in the least.  So I have learned to accept my players for who they are.  We all have our moments and things can heat up in a moment.

That is all...dismissed.