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41195171 No.41195171 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

Sup /tg/,
How does one be a stern DM without coming off as a dick to his friends?

>> No.41195179

Be stern. Don't be a dick.

>> No.41195195

Make sure your friends actually want a stern DM beforehand. Then don't be a dick.

>> No.41195196
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Just say you're following rules.

Also don't do this.

>> No.41195213

Folks will generally think you're a dick if you surprise them. Tell them right off that you're not going to fudge dice; tell them how closely you're going to follow the rules, and then stick to that level of adherence.

If you've told them what to expect, they can't complain when you go and do it that they didn't know ahead of time.

If they don't _like_ what you've told them you're going to do, then better that it gets brought up ahead of time and negotiated.

When conflict like this comes up, more talk is always better than less talk. It's okay to sit down and have a conversation ahead of time about what kind of game everyone wants to play.

>> No.41195238

Be stern, but be fair. Let them know the rules and how you're going to be running so they can understand what's going on. Roll in the open, if need be. Also what >>41195213 said, talk is super important.

>> No.41195351


Thanks for the advice, although one small problem. I'm not exactly following the rules exactly.
For Example, A dragon they were fighting bit one of the characters and he fell unconscious, although I wanted to make it so that the Dragon picked up the unconscious character and flew away with him in his mouth.
I though it would be a tense moment in the story but the players complained i wasnt following the rules completely.

Is this bad DMing?

>> No.41195846

That filename!

>> No.41195898

People are willing to deal with unpleasant shit at the table so long as it's fairly distributed unpleasant shit.

If you're letting the dice do the talking, let them talk. Make it known you're running by the book, and give them citations. If someone comes up with a winning combination, let them win. Make them feel like the sweat you're giving them is paying off, in some way, and make it known that you reward creativity but don't cut them any slack.

There's a reason why the phrase "harsh but fair" gets used as a compliment. People value equitable treatment, even if they end up unequal.

>> No.41195999

Don't get tired and desperate if someone is learning the ropes but eager to learn.
I had a player who was super excited and like asking questions beforehand so they wouldn't slow down gameplay and our GM kicked em.

>> No.41197679

Doesn't sound bad at all, makes perfect sense.


Have you ever shut down their efforts to exploit the environment due to lack of rules?
Will that player be able to contribute constructively and have their share of the spotlight next session?

If you let the players do similar environmental shenanigans like flipping tables, throwing things as distractions and throw around loads of circumstance bonuses then that's fine, but if you've ever told them no based on a lack of rules rather than a lack of feasibility you need to correct that. That's why it's worth agreeing with the players beforehand how much of that can fly, to make sure you're both in the same mindset and that mindset isn't "it rolls the dice onto the table or else it gets the hose again"
The spotlight share isn't a rules thing, it's just a general thing. Arbitrarily declaring that one player isn't allowed to contribute for half the session will get on the player's tits no end, and reducing them to a hostage without them being REALLY stupid is almost as bad.

>> No.41197699

>Have you ever shut down their efforts to exploit the environment due to lack of rules?
Thanks anon, now I'm just mad. Fuck.

>> No.41198180

Some people have a stick-to-the-rules-or-you're-cheating mindset wherein the GM is a servant of the rules. I don't like playing with those people. It's my view that the rules are a tool that the GM uses to provide consistency to the game, so that the players might better grasp how things work and so that things end up being impartial and fair. But anytime those rules get in the way, the GM can (and should) discard them.

Of course, you have to be careful not to completely pull the rug out from under your players. If they're used to things working a certain way and then you toss it out the window in an annoying way (making an PC lose against an NPC for a plot point, when going by the rules he should've won, for instance), the players will resent it and see things as less authentic.

A lot of this has to do with expectations though. If your players are used to or expecting a by-the-book approach and you pull something out of your ass, they'll be surprised, and if it hurts them, probably unhappy as well. So it's best to establish right off the bat that you're a believer in GM fiat / rule zero / improvisation. You might even want to exaggerate a little how much you rely on it, that way they'll be expecting it more and will be less likely to pitch a fit.

Of course, some players are crybabies and some are rules lawyers, and they may never be comfortable with this sort of approach. It does help if you don't play a crunchy, rules-heavy game with detailed rules for everything. In a rules-light game, you pretty much *have* to improvise, so it's hard to object about it. And you'll be violating rules a lot less because there are fewer of them, especially of the uncommonly-used variety (detailed rules for how many inches you jump, or material strength rolls to determine if you can break an enemy's weapon, etc.).

>> No.41198492

Reward cooperation and don't overly punish antics.

If someone screws with you or is trying to be a massive munchkin and you just say "Dude, don't do that." is much better then "Lol a mind flayer pops up and eats your brain."

In other words, be mature.

>> No.41198528

Then just follow the rule.

By that I mean Grapple + Swallow Whole with the right kind of dragon is perfectly legal, and in a lot of ways even more tense. You can always BS that your dragons can spit the players back up or something.

>> No.41198711

Not OP but I like this advise.

As someone who used to put "cutscenes" in his games (stuff that just happened and the players could not change) I found that giving the chance to actually change things really is better. Now, even if they totally screw up my stuff with a few well placed rolls I can usually roll with it into something even better. Adapt, don't rewrite.

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