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.