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Who’s The Dungeon Master Here?

Written by Krystal - Published on February 22, 2010

We all encounter moments when we feel like asking players this question because one or more of them is trying to delegate or change the way we DM, or the way other characters play. For such issues there are a few references in the DM’s guide, entitled “Problem Players”, in 4E DM’s guide it’s on page 32, for 3.0 it’s “Keeping Game Balance” on page 10. But, for some extra tips and clarifications, I’m going to go through some ideas, personal experiences, and tips outside of the DM’s guide and inside so we can cover almost any aspect of “Problem Players.” Since every group has one, and every group knows who the problem player is; if you happen to think EVERYONE else is doing it wrong; chances are they think you are the problem player.

I don’t know all the rules, or I don’t agree with everything. What should I do?

Not knowing all the rules is okay, there are a lot of rules in DnD! The books specifically tell us that the main core rulebooks override any other rules if there is any question. A specific rule overrides a vague rule, unless the DM chooses a different route. The DM is ‘ultima Omega’ when you sit down at look to him to tell you the story, it’s his rules. When an author writes a book, you as a reader don’t go to the author and tell him that his race is wrong, and could not logically exist. The DM makes the ultimate decision, but as a DM you must also know when to admit you are wrong and to work with your players. The DM’s guides give us helpful tips on how to change rules, or that if there is an issue, to solve it temporarily and go in later after the sessions or at a good stopping point to discuss it. It also states that you can have one person looking up something while the game continues on; the most important thing here is to keep your players interested, keep them in the game. If people ‘get smart’ and tell you that you can’t change the rules since this is Dungeons and Dragons and you didn’t create it, tell them they are now playing “My Basement and Dragons” and to chill out and enjoy the story.

When we assume the role of “story teller”, the normal rules won’t always agree with your situation. I’ve found myself mixing rules because you enter a new world, a new place, and new mechanics. If you are in an upside down world where fish breathe out of water and humans have solar gills that collect sunlight in the day and store it at night in a sort of hibernation stasis where they don’t have to actually breathe, the rules might be slightly different in this world than in the PC’s normal book-crunching math-grinding logic-based generic fantasy world. The book constantly stresses imagination, “winging it”, creating stories, etc.  This is not a damn video game! There is no set system of mechanics unless the DM states so, but the DM must also have a sense of order and neutrality. As DM you are a world, you are what works in the world, you must have a thousand faces with a thousand different histories and a million different rules. Plan to take time before the game to specify certain rules, in and out of game. These rules will determine how serious the game will be.

In my group, cell phones and texting is completely prohibited unless for emergency purposes, we like to get into the game. Laptops have been mostly banned due to the fact people will not focus on the game and will be playing with other things while the rest of us are trying to escape our monotonous lives.  Explain to PC’s your rules, if they don’t like it they can sit out and wait for the next DM later on. We also have a sit-in rule. Since we run DnD a little different than the average Joe, new players just ‘sit in’ for their first session. If they like what they see they can join in the next game. Players need to have not only respect for their DM, but trust. They need to trust that the DM won’t frequently rule unjustly. If you are uncertain, roll a die to have an extremely neutral outcome and don’t let anyone sway you otherwise. Sometimes, when we are unsure if we want a player to do something we say “Call high or low”, and roll a D6 — thus if we roll high, and he said high, then it works within his favor. And sometimes, I must admit, we roll behind the screen and -lie-. Yes, I said it -lie-. Sometimes the players need to feel justification or like everything is randomized or neutral, and sometimes it can’t work that way. That’s the kind of attitude players need to accept, so rolling behind your screen while you are thinking or deciding, sometimes helps ease the players’ minds because they don’t think you are being unjust — since you rolled the dice, you must deciding based  off of the numbers! Sometimes, that isn’t always the case. It’s useful to develop a subtle dice roll trick that you train in private so that you can control the result. It needs to be convincing since nobody will respect you as a DM if it looks like you’re rolling the dice to ‘rig’ the result, but it’s not hard to do and in a stressful situation you can do it quickly without anybody noticing.

Taking a player aside between sessions can also be very helpful, ask him what their problem is, and why they can’t cooperate or get along, ask them politely if there would be something that would allow them to quietly ‘pipe down’ while others are playing. See if you can make him or her happy so you don’t risk losing the player and avoid a bad climate in your group. Sometimes you encounter a player who hates roleplaying and is only there for level grinding, others only like roleplaying, and some like a good mix of both. Try to satisfy every need, and if someone is unhappy about a situation they are in tell them they don’t have to participate; they follow the group throughout the whole experience and don’t have to do a thing but quiet down, though perhaps in such a situation they are not rewarded any experience since they did not participate.  Remind players that everything has a consequence. If a player refuses to participate with who you want to participate, let them get injured or die or whatever other unfortunate possibility you had planned. Do not be soft on them, they made their decision. Going too soft will open the doors to more abuse and the other players won’t respect you for ‘going soft’ on somebody who needs a kick in the rear. Too many people take the game play personally; it is supposed to be fun, but it is STILL A GAME. As the DM, it is YOUR game. Establish this criteria before the game begins.

Having conversations with the players on what they think is fair or not can also be healthy, though sometimes you completely disagree — this tends to happen. In such cases be respectful to everyone’s opinions and take into note if you are being fair or not. Sometimes it simply won’t be fair and you’ll just have to respectfully swallow it. It is a game.

I like to stick with the rules! I don’t like people deviating!

Fantastic, the rules are made for a reason and are there for mediating and ensuring a fair game. So, when you DM you let everyone know that if it’s in the book, it’s the way it is! But remember, when you are not DM it’s not your game and not your decision, you don’t make it more fun for anyone by complaining, you are just stalling the game and making it harder.

Sometimes, players who are complaining or throwing insults or constantly trying to control a situation don’t have control in their own lives so they seek it out in their gaming group. In these cases it’s good to give them some amount of special control or unique responsibility in the game to keep them from bursting out.  Sometimes these players are just rude — and sometimes, they don’t realize what they are doing. Talk to them about it in private, always being considerate with your choice of words.  If they still choose not to listen, subtle reminders during play or before the game about how this is your world, your rules. “My Basement and Dragons”. Remember?

There are some fun things we’ve included in our group at times, something similar to the “Swear jar”, but instead it was the “Throwing dice jar”. If ever a player threw dice, he’d have to put a quarter or some amount of change into the jar. (Of course, we usually ended up buying pizza with the change later on, but shhh..) Throwing dice is UNACCEPTABLE behavior and is just downright childish.  If you are so angry you want to throw things, maybe you should be considerate enough to ask for a moment alone outside. If you notice someone acting this way, you could invite them to step outside for a few to ‘cool off’ or invite the entire group to ‘take five’ so you won’t have to single that person out.

I’ve tried everything! I’m to the point of giving up!

Ahh yes, sometimes we all must admit when a situation is helpless.  And sometimes, it is hopeless. In this case, you NEED to stand up for your group and decide what is best for your game, sometimes we have personal ties to the person but as a DM you must stay neutral for your group. I’ve had this situation before where a member caused nothing but drama, we continued to confront him and tried various methods to make gaming better. It never ceased to be an issue, however, until finally we set a firm rule, one he disagreed so strongly against that he refused to show up and even cut the ties of friendship. This was hard, as I was helping another DM and this DM had been friends with him for nine years, and he allowed a game to interfere since he did not like the rules the DM set in place. He showed his ‘true colors’ and immaturity, and although it was no easy task to set and enforce a firm line, it had to be done for the sake of peace. This was no easy task and I’m not telling you to “break friendships” over the game, but sometimes it’s not the game that they have issues with. It’s often the people and the cooperation and the out-of-game experiences that they are fuming over. There comes a point where every DM must make a hard decision, and the other players are counting on you to make the right one. Staying neutral and logical is the best thing any DM can do when it comes to a troublesome player 99% of the time. Do not get emotionally involved in their temper tantrums or their head games — that’s all it is.

So, I hope this helps a little bit and remember there are even more tips and tricks in the DM’s guides specified before. Just remember you are the DM, you make the rules, you decide the end result; and remember to be fair, just, and work with your players, not against them. Clearly establish any additional rules before beginning the game, and if the entire group disagrees, perhaps you should reconsider what you are putting into play.

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Written by Krystal

At a young age, my mother opened up her own gaming store. We had two game rooms, an office, and the front area which had a ton of miniatures and books. I helped manage that store for several years, my mother teaching me the ropes and treating me like an adult so I could learn. Even beyond that she played games at stores like Haster Hobbies and several other places. In fact, my parents met gaming! DnD kind of runs in my blood, as well as any other gaming you can think of. I’m simply a gamer at heart, an artist, and a jack of all trades. I love to write and that’s why I’m here at Dungeon Mastering! I’m going to be going to school for Video Game Design, and my bf is going to school so he can publish Core Rule Sets. In the short few years I’ve been with him I’ve learned all about how to create my own rule system and create a game from the ground up! But my expertise is not limited to DnD alone. I’ve ventured far into Call of Cthullu, and beyond to games like Shadowrun and some White Wolf games..though I’m not a big fan of dice pools. :)

Anyways! Gaming is my passion and my life. I game constantly, go to conventions, and so much more! Maybe I’ll see you there! Happy Gaming!

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18 Responses to “Who’s The Dungeon Master Here?”
  1. Tim Jensen says:

    If the GM or the players are lying about dice rolls, arguing over rules, or letting a game get in the way of friendship, then *everyone* is a ‘problem person’. Sometimes it’s better to not play at all than trying to play in a socially dysfunctional environment.

  2. rumrohk says:

    Awful. I’m so sick of game masters who are concerned with telling THEIR story, in THEIR world, so it’s THEIR rules. The majority of those game masters are failed fantasy authors who get off more on the power of authorship than they enjoy the game, itself.

    I’m behind the idea that the gm makes final rulings, but the players should have just as much ownership in the game. That doesn’t mean players just get to step in and narrate or make absolute rulings; but it means that if the players are fighting back over stuff like this, chances are good that you’re not giving them a good enough game. GASP. It’s hard for some gm’s to accept this, but even if you’ve run well-received games for years, you can still run a game that’s ultimately a turd.

    The biggest reason for this is that players vary. What’s good for lots of people could be boring as hell for someone else. That doesn’t necessarily mean somebody like that is a problem player. It could be that the standards for the rest of the group are pretty low or any number of factors.

    If you have a group that’s just there to play with friends and they don’t have strong tastes, if you make a game that suits your most discriminating players, chances are good that everybody else will enjoy it, too. But even some good gm’s are not accommodating in that way – usually because they don’t realize that it’s in everyone’s interest to make a game that everyone can dig into. That’s why giving players some level of say in the world and tone (and sometimes, mechanics) is a perfect way to get buy-in for players with most types of interests.

    If somebody threw dice in anger when I played with them, I would never play with that person again. Never. That’s fucking absurdly childish. And I think the whole concept of making fake rolls behind your screen and lying about results is just as childish. At the very least, it assumes your group is childish.

    It seems to come back to this weird Game Master = Daddy thing, and that’s fucked up. You’re friends playing a game together. If you have people who are too immature to understand what is fun for everyone (game masters included), how the hell do you get excited about playing? That sounds pitiful.

    This sounds more like rules for running daycare than being a game master.

  3. Will F says:

    @rumrohk,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Check out the article ‘Almighty Player’ over on Critical-Hits to see a better take on the same kind of issues.

    Will F

    P.S. Where is Yax and Nick? With Scott W, Steve M, and Krys Underwood all gone, this site seems to be dying!

  4. Dyce says:

    @rumrohk;

    I wholeheartedly disagree with you.
    Firstly, if a Dungeon Master takes the time out of their day to prepare the game for their players, then I believe that the DM ALWAYS has the last say. While I believe that taking a player’s opinion into consideration is crucial for good gaming, I don’t agree that they should have a hand in my world, nor my story.

    Would you really walk on the set of a fantasy movie, and tell the director to change everything because YOU didn’t like what was being done? No. Probably not. Would you tell the writer to re-write a certain part of the story because YOU favored a different situation? Probably not. Would you walk into someone else’ house and tell them where to move their furniture, just because YOU were unsatisfied with its’ placement? Again, likely not.

    I think you are just saying that players should be given as much power because you yourself have never run a game, and always get what you feel is the “Short end of the stick.” Boohoo. Further, you don’t have to be so belligerent to the author of this article again because YOU don’t like it. You have your own opinion, I respect that. But stop projecting your own insecurities as a player onto other readers.

    @Will F;

    Firstly. I think you are an insufferable ass. You have your opinion. Again, I respect that. But why would you come onto an article like this, and leave a post to ANOTHER website that you believe is a “Better article?” How polite of you.

    Secondly, it doesn’t matter where the people you were asking about are. Ever heard of a Private Message? Try it. I promise. They work. And with your final comment; “With Scott W, Steve M, and Krys Underwood all gone, this site seems to be dying!”, I return to my first point. People move on, and allow for others to do what they can. If you don’t like it, and think the “website is dying,” maybe you should move on as well, and stop making the writers of these articles feel like crap just because YOU feel that the website is failing. How very polite of you.

    @everyone;

    If you have an opinion as to the contents of the articles being written here, That is fine. By all means post to your heart’s content. Just try not to berate their writings completely while acting like a bunch of children who are throwing a fit because they aren’t getting their way.

    Regards,

    Dyce

  5. Krystal says:

    Please, let me address something. First off, I am here trying my best to answer specific questions and keep an open mind and not adhere to a one-sided story. I gave multiple suggestions, for multiple scenarios. Now allow me to tell you why.

    Page. 189 4e DMG — And I quote.

    “The DnD rules can not possibly account for the variety of campaigns and play styles of every group. If you disagree with how the rules handle something, changing them is within your rights.”

    Page 6. 3.0 DMG (Again, I quote.)

    “Let’s start with the biggest secret of all; the key to Dungeon Mastering. (Don’t tell anybody, ok?) The secret is that you’re in charge this is not the telling everything what to do in charge. Rather, you get to decide how your player group is going to play this game, when and where the adventures take place, and what happens. You get to decide how the rules work, which rules to use, and how strictly to adhere to them.”

    I read through both DMG’s before I created this. I thank you for being kind and eloquent in your words — if you can really call it that. And please note that when I write I write for the best interest in ways I feel can help and assist others, it’s an opinion that is held closely to the original feel of DnD and the reason it was created in the first place.

    If you speak to many first edition players, they will (and I hear this constantly from parents.) “First edition wasn’t so buried in rules back then, it was a much more abstract game.”

    Thank you guys for taking the time to read this and comment with your opinions. Some of these tips were taken directly from the books; which means Wizards of the Coast guides me and as it is their game I only change it under their guidance. I’m sorry that I don’t match up the par of writing that I guess everyone else seems to do save for me, but all these are sent directly to Yax who then posts them for me.

    Again, I apologize I am not hitting the standard, I’ll try harder next time. Thanks for your opinions…

  6. @Krystal,

    When i started DM’ing i had a player twice me age start acting immature and quoting PHB and DMG to me. It was hard to be criticised when i was just trying to provide fun and a social game for some friends and acquiantences. I eventually sat down and told everyone it wasn’t a hardcore game and my goal was for fun, Cool awesome battles that they would probably breeze throught but look really cool while doing so and building a story together where i had final say but their input and ideas were not only encouraged but necessary for all our fun.

    Once the players had an idea where i was coming from and i had an idea where they were coming from it’s been alot better and these days i run several groups, but it was hard to come across helpful information on the subject years ago without feeling like i sucked at DM’ing.

    In the short of it, Thanks Krystal.

  7. Brian says:

    Krystal has done a good job with her blog posts lately. She’s not the only writer around here, but being new to the site, she’s done a great job with the opportunity she’s had to show her stuff.

    All writers who have contributed to the site in the past (and that will contribute again in the future) are doing so for our reader’s benefit, so regardless of whether you agree with their posts, I’ll kindly ask you to excercise your manners.

    Now, with that being said, there may be a chance for you critics out there to put your money where your mouth is. So this happened at a good time =). In a few days we plan to let you strut your stuff with an opportunity to have an article of your own published here on the site where it’ll be exposed to over 1,000+ readers a day.

    But until then, Krystal, thanks for yet another unique contribution to DungeonMastering.com. And thanks for not being afraid to have your thoughts published here on the site where they are exposed to so many players. It takes real guts!

  8. Restelphin says:

    Ok, you guys have some varied oppinions, I’m seeing extremism on both sides of the spectrum here.
    So what the hey….. i’ll throw in my 2cp.

    I have been a DM for most of my D&D life. I like to play, but the people I play with dont like to DM as much as they like ME to DM (i’m not trying to toot my own horn even tho it sounds like it)
    1- everyone at the gaming table is there to have fun and socialize with friends, so getting along is very important. Some players dont fit in with the group, and your within your rights (as a group) to invite them to either be a group player…. or leave!
    2- the DM is the narrator, you get the game ready, you prepare for the challenges you want your players to face…. but your players are the authors of their characters lives…..; Example= You have a nice adventure planned where the players are gonna face some… kobolds, the plot is thick, you have tons of loot planned, its gonna be a challenge and fun, right?….. your players (all 5 of them) decide they aren’t gonna deal with lowly kobolds since they are now 6th level on average… they are going after the Ancient Red Dragon Smarag! who’s been terrorizing the continent for the past 100 years…… If you insist they go after the kobolds and force them into it, that’s called “railroading”…. you might as well be playing the game by yourself if thats how you DM… Let them go after Smarog and get killed (dont your dare drop him down to a defeatable challenge for your players)… they will get the hint at that point not to bite off more than they can chew.
    3-If you have been DMing for more than a year, chances are you know your world pretty good… players could roll a random direction dice and simply wander off in that direction, and you could still throw challenges in their path to make the game fun, and yet the players will have A SAY IT WHAT THEY DO!!!
    4- Of course players should be able to shape your world, this isnt a movie where they are PAID to act as the director says, they are the writers, they come up with the lines, the actions, and the contraversy… however, the DM tells them how the world reacts to their actions… they are only 5 people after all… as the DM.. you are millions of people! mwahaha, cough, ahem… If a player can manage to raise an army, and depose the current ruler, why not let them be king? there are tons of adventures and problems that come with a kingdom, and if thats the kind of game your PLAYERS (all of them need participation) want, then thats what you need to cater too. (but you still get to add your own unique flare or even fight to get your kingdom back out of players hands)
    5- Rules changes can go both ways.. sometimes as a DM you dont like the way a rule works… so you change it.. suddenly your players dont like YOUR rule… so you comprimise (what a concept); Example- none of the rules say anything about CPR for dead characters… i allow it for both 3e & 4e. i worked with my players to come up with a ruling that makes sense, but doesn’t make it too easy or common place… like needing to get to them quickly, and you only get a certain number of tries, etc, etc..
    6- Lying about dice roles is NOT childish.. sometimes as a DM your having a bad night… your d20 cant seem to roll over a 5… so you fudge a few so you can get some hits in (particularly if your 3e players can kill a dragon 5 lvls higher than they should in 2rnds flat [can anyone say uber cheese?])… othertimes your getting crit after crit after crit…. so you fudge a few… so your players dont all die.. again….TPK anyone?
    7- YOUR story… all of us DM’s have stories happening in our world… there is such a thing as the players not being able (or not wanting) to do a damn thing about that storyline… make sure you have several dozen things going on in your world, behind the scenes so to speak, so your players have a variety of choices to get involved with… you can make some of em hard, some easy, some moderate, and some impossible. Learn how to “Wing it”, also learn how to plan, and adapt your plan on the spur of the moment.

    Well, that’s my opinion anyway :)
    Krystal had some good idea’s, and i beleive she tried to cover some of this in her own way… then again, some of what she said i obviously disagree with… but since i know her personally, i’m sure she wont hold that against me

  9. Elderon Analas says:

    @Krystal
    Very good aricale (probly spelled that wrong) anyway, I enjoy your work. It brings back some much needed fire back to my dragony heart. Thank you. I will need to remember this when I DM at school, we can get sort of, how you humans say ‘out of hand’ at times.
    @ Scott
    Ava’ yorn si thurirl. (Hello my friend) Long time no see. I know you left and all but it’s good to see your name in the comments list. I’ve tried Emailing you a few times. Hope they get to you. But thats a bit to personal for a public comment.

    Anyway, like I said I will try to remember this and use it when I can.

    Yor friendly Brass dragon,
    Elderon Analas

  10. TheWhite says:

    Honestly, a single bad player or two can ruin a perfectly good game. My latest campaign ran into a hole after a few sessions because of two players. One was a massive rules lawyer with the “it’s in the rulebook so we have to play that way even if we aren’t having fun. OH and you can’t tell me otherwise because I have OCD” attitude and the other just had no idea what was going on.
    Me: Make an acrobatics check
    Him: What do I roll?
    Me: d20
    Him: what do I add?
    Me: try your acrobatics skill
    That conversation was repeated on every roll in every session. (I can cope with it a few times when they are new but after a while it just gets frustrating for everyone)
    All the other players (myself included) got fed up with it and we stopped playing. A month or so later we are ready to play again now that we figure that those two have forgotten about the game

  11. Krystal says:

    @TheWhite

    Here’s an idea for you, I had a player like that too. And finally she continued to ask the same question over and over again, so we told her to get out the notes section or some paper and write it down. And we told her to write down a few different things. Now this pissed her off and she kinda threw a fit and stopped playing in character, refusing to budge. So the game went on without her until she chose to continue playing. But if someone is being that way, inform them that you’ve told them repeatedly and perhaps they need to write it down to help them remember. This is something I’ve tried to do, now it doesn’t always work and it may piss them off, but sometimes as a DM you need to take stern action. It’s a shame you had to stop playing, though that’s also understandable.

    And as for the rules lawyer, remember it’s your world, your rules. If they use OCD as an excuse, then remind them that it is your world and you will DM it as you seem fit, if this is an issue for them then they are more than welcome to sit out if everyone else seems to be enjoying your DMing, than this shouldn’t be a big train wreck. Good luck on your second go around. :) Let us know how it goes. :D

  12. Gannish says:

    Thanks for your blog post, Krystal.

    I like to see different ways to DM a game and the challenges they can pose. Perhaps I’m just sticking my head in the sand and refusing to see the obvious with the sessions I run but there isn’t a constant person who is -the- problem person. From week to week someone takes the mantle of ‘the iphone enthusiast’, ‘the walking dead’ (sleeping at the table), ‘the grump’ and ‘the rule-bender’. I take it as part of the challenge of a DM to work around these obstacles and keep my players interested in the session. I like to talk with the players afterwards to see what was going on. Whether it was my boring interaction of the tavern owner that made the person fall asleep or turn to their cellphone for stimulation or if they were playing after a long day of working or were just checking for an e-mail they had been expecting.

    Anyways, to make an end to an increasingly long point, My experience so far has been that usually, what I put into the session is what I can expect out of it. The only real rule of D&D seems to be that, just like the English language, the rules are there because they cover most of the situations and the rest of it is there in order to help people learn the meaning of ‘except for when’.

    So, have fun. If you aren’t having fun playing during a session, whether as a DM or as a player, then you should probably take a break.

  13. Elderon Analas says:

    As a player at school we have this one player who in our last adventure with him being DM fuesd his character with a Doppleganger, well now he has all these shapechanging abilities and he always finds ways around the current DMs’ traps and othe opsticals “oh i’ll just turn to air so I don’t have to dodge the spikes tah come out of the ceiling.” and other things like that. Were all geting tired of it. I’m going to find a way to stop his shapechanging abilities.
    I was planning on useing Form Paralisis a spell that keeps a creature in its current form, along with a spell of permanancy. But I need something to keep him or anyone else from dispelling my spells. Can any of you help?

    @TheWhite and Krystal
    I’m gald you can see a peacefull solution to your problems. I just end up ripping them in half. At least you humans can work your problems out without bloodshed.

  14. Krystal says:

    @Elderon

    Here are a few suggestions to keep him with his abilities but still allow yourself some leeway. First off, make him do reflex saves to see if he can change before the action happens. He’s not clairvoyant so therefore he needs to find out if he can react before things impale him. Secondly, since he is infused and not originally a doppleganger limit the amount of times he can do this, if he says he doesn’t like it and you didn’t do that before tell him it’s too much of a god mode, and if he still refutes let him keep it and then do your spell that makes it so he -can not- change. When he complains, tell him you gave him a chance and every action has a consequence if those be good or bad.

    I’m still a 3rd edition player, but from 3.0 I know dopplegangers can use the alter self spell as if it were cast by I think an 18th lvl sorcerer, they can become the shape of any small or medium creature. They CAN NOT become air. I suggest reading the monster manual for these guys and will give you a lot of tips on how to control the situation a little more, because it sounds like he’s kinda cheating. Give him consequences for fusing with a doppleganger, such as a split personality (but do this gradually, tell him he hears a voice in his head, and to make will saves as if the doppleganger half is taking over, don’t announce what you are doing to him or make it obvious.))

    Make him sick, or black out for times when the doppleganger tries to take over. Give him -half- the bonuses a doppleganger gets, not all of them. Such as a +2 on bluffs rather than a plus 4. Don’t get him a natural AC, and give him a resistance not immunities. Allow him to detect thoughts once a day, but until he hones the skill make it hard for him to do so (a will save or something of the sort). Let the players stay creative, but force him to be creative and not just a “Perfect Player” who can get past anything. Remember, make him roll don’t just “let him have” something. And if you find something improbable and you don’t agree with give him a chance, tell him to “Call high or low”, roll a D6 and if he gets what he calls let him have it. If you as the DM do not agree with his actions, tell him NO. That is within your right.

    And if you aren’t DMing, as I think I just barely figured out — sorry was talking to you as if you were the DM, but these tips are good to take to your DM and let him know your gripe. So talk to your DM about that or point it out that he’s cheating the DM or not making the game fun for others, take the DM aside and tell him some of this advice and let him know that -everyone- is having less fun because of it. Good luck!

  15. Elderon Analas says:

    @Krystal
    Thank you my kind hearted human. I will pas thes on to the all might omnisent DM when we play again tomarrow. And I will keep this in mind when I become DM, possibly just making him start a new character at his current level. (which has somehow jumped from like 5 to 25 in the space of a day. He says it is from his training in his hometown but if that were so he would have been Lvl 25 when we started.) I’m serieously thinking of next adventure using my character (my self the dragon) not my characters son ( a half dragon Monk) and possibly just eating him in a blind fury) but I digress. It would never work the rest of the party would kill me. Again thanks for the advice I’ll remember that.

    Your (sometimes) friendly brass dragon,
    Elderon Analas

  16. Elderon Analas says:

    Krystal do you use a Gmail Email account? If so would you like to join me and Kocho aka Person aka Jack (a commenter on this site) In a Gmail Chat for a few sessions of D&D. I mean if thats to personal then you can always say no. If anything it would be nice to have you Email address. If you don’t have Gmail we use another text chat site to play. I can give you the web address. if you don’t want me to email it to you, that is if you don’t give me your email. Its just that we have alot of foun and I’ve been trying to get the writers in a game (all of you seem very good). So far I have Nicks, Scotts, Yaxs’, and Expys’ (he stoped writing (dragon sad face)). I can eaisly find a way to put you in our current D&D game if you want to play.

    My E-Mail: elderonthedragon@gmail.com

    Hope to hear from you in the future.

    Your friendly brass dragon,
    Elderon Analas

    PS. No spam please. >):=8)

  17. TheWhite says:

    @ Krystal
    Thanks for the extra ideas for dealing with my problem people, hopefully others will read and apply your suggestions, unfortunately for me I can’t see them working in this case. There are a number of other games that we play as a group (Talisman, Risk, Monopoly etc) and the ‘problem players’ are problems in them as well, essentially we have had to stop inviting them to any games we actually care about. It was pretty much a mutual decision between everyone. I’d encourage everyone to try everything possible to avoid this situation in your own games but honestly, if push comes to shove, cutting out the undesirable elements may be the only possibility.
    To give an example of the extremes that it took before I got fed up, I had a half hour argument with my rules lawyer about weather or not the penalties for dual wielding (e3.5) were fair. He maintained that there should be no penalties because it is no harder to dual wield, I maintained that there should be because I have 10years martial arts experience including weapons training with single handed, two handed and dual wield weapons. Eventually I had to just go with the I’m DM and the rules stay line to stop the argument. Fortunately it happened during a gameplay break anyway.

    @Eldaron
    I’d like to backup everything Krystal said to you re: mr Doppelganger. If a player is using abilities to break everything the DM can throw at you then the DM needs to put limits on the ability being used and/or design encounters where that ability is useless. If you take the ‘lets make this ability useless sometimes’ then you also need to design a few encounters that are made for that ability to be good eg, the only way over a chasm is for the shapechanger to fly across with a rope or something. It’s a fine line to walk. If they can use their ability to much then you get the situation you are in, if they can’t use it at all then the player becomes disgruntled and annoyed at how useless their ability is.

  18. Elderon Analas says:

    @Krystal
    I have my chat up and running now. If you ever want to chat and play D&D, you just have to go to you gmail account and open a chat with me, even if I’m offline. I am online most of the day durring the weekends and in the afternoons when I come home from school. I am more than willing to play any time of the day (untill 11pm my time that is) and will try and open a group chat to have both you and Jack aka Kocho both play with me being DM. Hope we can find a schedual. If you want check our google groups page at : http://groups.google.com/group/TheDragonsLair for more details and to let us know when a good time for all of us to get together is.

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