It’s the second installment of Dear DM! Enjoy, and don’t forget to post more questions below!
@Draad: Dear DM, One of the players in my group recently told me that her definition of a RPG session is like “being in a movie”. The problem is that it fits perfectly the campaign we are in as, like actors in a film, we have almost no liberty whatsoever in the scenario and the will of the director is the only law. How can I subtly make the GM understand that, rather than insisting on playing Uwe Boll, he ought to let us have some freedom?
We used to have a DM back in High School named Ray Sox. Ray liked to run games…but only as long as the game followed his tightly plotted script. His most infamous quote was “Your character wouldn’t do that”. Often someone during the game would wryly observe that we weren’t playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, but Remedial Ray Sox.
We never figured out how to break Ray of his habit, though I’ve given it some thought since. Personally, I think the best way to go is the remote shock collar for training dogs. On dogs I think this is inhumane, but on Ray I think it’d be the right speed. (Just put plastic down under his chair first. Shock collars have a profoundly more dramatic effect on people than they do dogs… how I know this is not important.)
Oh… and if you wanted to be more subtle about it… run a game for him. Do it the way you want your game to play, and point out the differences. Most controlling DMs don’t realize they’re doing it and lack a reference point to be able to stop. But leave the shock collar on the table.
@Jesse: Dear DM, When a Paladin falls from grace and loses his powers, are there any recommended special effects, or is it just “poof, they’re gone”?
The official Wizards of the Coast listing under special effects related to the loss of Paladin status relates thusly: “Read the following to the player: You feel a sudden hot wind at your back that instantly tears the church’s armor from your body and leaves you sprawled in the dirt. You feel the physical rejection of your god, the heavens, your paladin’s sword, your family, the other kids at school, and porn models the internet over as wracking sobs shake your frame like a pansy girl. You pee yourself while the lights of heaven leave you, TV becomes all commercials, your mom leaves your comic book collection out in the rain, and your hands turn into giant lobster claws so that you can never masturbate again. Finally, a host of angels hike their skirts and poop on your head, and you are left by yourself in filth and lonely squalor, like the virgin-loser-geek you are.”
That’s the one I always use anyway. I might have made some of that up.
@TSED: Dear DM, 1) There’s this cool webcomic I read which has an interesting blog/thing going on. It recently started a question/answer thing for some undisclosed reason. The problem is, I’m already really smart and all the questions I can think of I can answer myself! How do I jump on the bandwagon in a clever but not obvious manner?
2) It’s crunch time at college. Only I’m not crunching. I don’t have to. I’m cruising, it’s easy, blah blah blah.
IT IS DRIVING ME MAD. All my friends are busy working their butts to the bone, and I’m sitting around twiddling my thumbs and reading wikipedia pages on Archimedes while maybe thinking about this one essay that’s due in a month or so. My video game tolerance has been played out. How do I escape this mind-crushing boredom?
The common thread in both of these questions is that your advanced intellect has moved you right out of the realm of standard interactions with normal people. You’re too smart. This is one of several instances where too much brain power is a bad thing, since it results in you being less happy than you otherwise might be. The cheapest remedy is to find a nice, quiet spot far away from any interfering passersby with their “cell phones”, or their “ambulances”, and hit yourself in the side of the head as many times as you can with a brick. When you come to, you can start in again on the other side.
After just a week or so of this, you will find that you cannot even comprehend how any of these problems could ever have bothered you.
@Tim: Dear Dm: Do you ever play any other role playing games besides D&D and if so which ones? Also, how do you convince someone else to DM for a while and let you actually enjoy being a player for a change. I’ve been playing RPGs for about 15 years and for about 13 of those I’ve been the DM. Sometimes I just want to sit back and play, not be the guy in charge.
Dear Tim: I feel pretty comfortable saying that I have played most role playing games on the market. The ones I keep coming back to however are (non-D&D) Legend of the Five Rings, Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, Villains and Vigilantes, Champions, and the White Wolf games.
If you want to keep within your group, try to get a player to run a short, one or two session game to get their feet wet. Many players will be WAY more likely to dip in a toe if they know it’s temporary. If being inside the group isn’t a problem, try your local game store and ask the owner if there are any games running that are taking players. It seems obvious, but many folks don’t think about it.
I also find that MMORPGs scratch that same itch for me, though your milage may vary.
Oh, if you do end up at the game store, DO NOT invite any of these people back to your house! They WON’T leave and they WILL eat your food and drink your beer! The only upside at all (if it can be called that) is that no one will miss them when you eventually murder one.
@Carl: Dear DM, (What is the) recommended action for when one of the players keeps blowing the DM during game time?
I can only assume since you are even asking this question that you are not the DM.
As for your recommended action… that really depends. If you’re uncomfortable with watching your DM get blown then say something about it. If it’s important enough to you then stop showing up. Don’t stop going to gaming just to make a point though, make sure you really mean it. No one is going to pick one player over getting blown at the table, especially not someone who plays D&D. If I was ready to play and NO ONE showed up but I got a blow job it’d still be a successful night.
Of course there are a few extenuating circumstances. I’d explain here… but really it’s kind of complicated. Tell you what I can do for you though. If the player is a girl, (if it’s a dude this is way less complicated) get some digital video of her blowing your DM… don’t be afraid to get up close… and send it to me. I’ll judge your situation and advise further.