So I’m alternating weeks DMing my group now with my old DM, who is running his own campaign. I’m really happy about it, because while I like to run games I also like to play… and normally it’s strictly one or the other. The only problem is his stupid job. He is the manager at an area restaurant, and his subordinates aren’t exactly… dependable. Whenever one of them flakes out he’s the guy who has to go put things to rights. Two weeks ago an assistant told him she had bruised her arm and wouldn’t be able to work that night. Poof! No DM. I haven’t followed up with him to find out if he actually saw the arm in question, but I bet she was faking. She’s also a single mother and I bet she was probably off having unprotected sex or attending a PTA meeting or something else irresponsible.

It’s not even the unpredictability of old DM’s schedule that bugs me. I understand when work calls you gotta go. Especially in today’s Sword of Damocles workplace. No, what really perturbs me is how no one seems to have considered how my DM’s job might be affecting me. I mean, hello people… you do not exist in a vacuum. I really wanted to game that night, and instead I ended up up watching Dr. Phil with Lena. DR. GODDAMN PHIL! Does this seem right to you?

So last week I said to him, “Hey, do you want to run this week?” It was really my week again but I so didn’t want to run. I wanted to play. “I was thinking it wouldn’t be fair for you to have to wait a whole month to DM your game. You don’t want people forgetting what’s going on.” See, here I was being kind — only thinking of his needs — as well as pointing out a compelling reason not to wait another week.

“Nah,” he said, selfishly, “I’m kinda ragged out. I’m at the end of an 85 hour work week, and I just need to relax. Can you do it?” I swallowed hard at his blatant attempt to manipulate me into taking over his job. Was it my fault he chose to work 85 hours? Did I drive him to work and push him in the front door? I most certainly did not! “Besides, my wife’s playing tonight too, and I haven’t gotten to so much as sit beside her in two weeks. It’ll be great for us to get to play together.” Oh and I suppose that was my fault too!

“I don’t really have anything prepared…” I said decisively as I shoved several pages of game notes under a book.

“Well that’s no problem for you and your 30 minute rule*,” he truthfully pointed out, “there’s still 45 minutes until game time.”

“Uh… yeah.” I magnanimously stated, making the decision for him. “I’ll run the game tonight. You can start up again next week.” 

As punishment, I ran a combat-free game, with lots of character stuff. I know old DM didn’t mind, he likes that kind of game too. But our ranger hated it… so at least somebody got to suffer.


*The 30 minute rule states that all game sessions I create in less than 30 minutes will be awesome, and all sessions that take more than an hour will totally suck. Why this should be, I don’t really know, though I assume it has something to do with truly brilliant people working really fast.

7 Responses to 425

  1. It’s not so much the pressure as the fact that too much plan can lead the players places that they don’t want to go… you’re freer to go where the group wants instead if you don’t feel you ought to shove them into this dungeon you spent over two hours populating and tricking out with traps.

  2. My first gaming group was a model of efficiency. Every Tuesday we would turn up at a friend’s house, play for a few hours, then go home. If someone needed to have a week off, we would be notified weeks in advance.

    My second group consisted of one reasonable reliable person, and a couple of people who had a tendency to drink heavily the night before, so sometime weren’t up in time for the sunday session (Starting at about 1:00pm. Who needs to sleep that much?).

    My third one was in theory the biggest, there was me, and the same reasonably reliable person as above, and then the others. On any given night there was a possibility of about d4+2 people turning up. I had a single shadowrun mission which lasted 3 sessions, and a total of 5 different people had been a part of the game, with only one person seeing it from start to finish.

    That group fell apart over Christmas, and I haven’t really tried to get the effort together to put it back again.

    I don’t mind running a game, but I much prefer playing. As a GM, I like to put puzzles and tricks to my players to see if they can get round them, disapointingly, my players seem to just blunder through.

    As a player, I like finding out what the GM has planned, and seeing if I can come up with ways to defeat the obstacles in my way using unconventional methods and cunning strategies.


  3. Hate to burst your bubble there, Kevin, but I didn’t hate the no-combat session. The lots-of-combat-with-no-dice session on the other hand …

    It does interest me to know if that is the type of player I seem to be – a straight-up hack-and-slasher? A pair of flashing longswords with legs wandering the landscape looking for things to kill?

    Sheesh. This is how I’m perceived, even after playing along with your goofy warm-and-fuzzy romantic interest sub-plot? I mean, come on. I didn’t even ask for any extra XP for that. 😛

  4. It’s possible I might have been exaggerating at some point along the way there…

    Seriously though, you DO deserve big kudos for being game for the romantic plot line, and being willing to go along with all that is to follow in that vein. I mean, can you even IMAGINE what’s coming next?

    … but I digress. You’re an excellent player and a genuine asset to the group. I tend to think of you as being the steering wheel of the group car. You help keep things on the road and are responsible enough to be allowed plenty of lead. You have extensive rules knowledge, which we use constantly, but are willing to go with the flow whenever I decide to throw the rules out the window. I would say that while in the past I have thought of you as being a much more technical player than an “acting” one, all these years of gaming with girls has expanded your horizons and improved your skill set at the table dramatically.

    In other words, yeah, you’re right. I think I have misperceived you, and I apologize for it.

  5. Um. My comments were completely tongue-in-cheek.
    But thanks for the kudos just the same. 😀

    Ha! I’m the steering wheel! w00t!

  6. Heh. So , when I (ha, IF I) start up a D&D or Rifts game, pick a DM who works fast…

    Darn. I’m the fastest worker of my friends. Looks like I’m stuck with it. 😀

    Although…my friends ARE swords with feet (whiny ones)…so if they get too annoying I can use the DM powers (i.e.~”Whiners in Calrathia get houses dropped on them.”) to shut them up. >:D