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View Full Version : Delicate DM-Player Interaction.



TempusCCK
2009-01-22, 12:47 PM
So, I've been taking a break from DM'ing for a bit, and since I'm the only half-competent DM I am aware of, our group has also taken a break. However, over the course of our break one of my best friends Brother-In-Law returned to town, and as a hardcore D&D vet himself, he had a very interesting idea that I have adopted and wish to share with you all now...

The basis for this idea is that as a DM, you are unable to completely and wholly seperate bias for certain players. You like certain people more than others, it's just natural. So to offset this natural favoritism, he allows his players to freely bribe him, making it an equal playing field for the favoritism. Want to fudge that roll? Buy me a drink, so on and so forth.

I understand the this doesn't necessarily comply with many groups that are insanely RAW oriented, but I'm the type of DM who wants to make things work the way they should work in my game...

I thought it was funny, you guys might not. It is what it is.

Vortling
2009-01-22, 01:03 PM
I've heard of player "buy in" but this is silly. :smallwink:
It's funny to hear about but I'd hate to play under a DM like that. The problem is it doesn't fix the bias issue. What if someone doesn't want to literally "buy in" and the DM bias doesn't favor them? In short, funny idea to hear about and good in theory, but bad in practice.

shadowfox
2009-01-22, 01:16 PM
As long as people have opinions, DMs will have some natural bias. Although I play with friends, I made one or two of them sort of a whipping boy, who had to face the blunt end of my aggression, and get punished or ruled more harshly over (though, the things I did were harmless). I've worked with difficult PCs, PCs who seem to refuse how to learn, PCs who refuse to let me teach them, and PCs who only try to defy my DM authority beyond "reasonable limits." I also favor certain PCs, especially one who's a good friend of mine, and has been playing with me since we both really got into it.

But I put those biases aside.

I've killed my girlfriend's character before, because she decided not to stick with the group in the "dark, evil sub-terranean tunnels." I constantly have to stop myself from favoring my favorite PC. But that's just me.

As for taking bribes, I personally wouldn't do that, but your best friend's brother-in-law does hit the bullseye with recognizing the problem. It is a way of counter-acting bias, but then if you continue to view someone unfavorably, and they keep bribing you, they're spending money and/or time. I don't have any major problems with bias, so I don't really need an anti-bias system. It is an interesting way to handle it, though...

kalt
2009-01-22, 01:17 PM
Shoot that system almost sounds like it would make the bias that much worse. If the DM can't seperate his bias down to a smaller degree there is a decent shot the person the DM doesn't like will just quit and that can and can't be good in some situations.

mikej
2009-01-22, 01:34 PM
I think bribing someone in D&D is pretty sad, I'm going to buy you a drink soo I can write down some fancy sword ?. thats just me though.

I think every DM is a little biased towards one player or two, heck I've done it before. one player has a really good char concept and you hate to see it dead...while others are " Mr.Fists2Face" and spelled there races name wrong ( humane ??? ). some players just really play to be jerks and annoy you, while others actually want to enjoy your story.

Just I don't make it completely obvious and try maintain a little fairness, after one campaign I promised myself I'll never be like this DM. Can you spot the PCs that DM favored ?

1/2 Elf Druid
Werewolf Monk
Human Cleric
Human Bard
Centuar Fighter

valadil
2009-01-22, 01:35 PM
DM bias can still affect bribery. The player the DM likes will be asked to buy a soda, while the player the DM barely tolerates will be asked to buy a pizza. He just screws the players out of real world currency instead of in game mechanics.

Lost Demiurge
2009-01-22, 02:14 PM
If a GM can't put his bias aside, then he shouldn't be running.

Mind you there's always exceptions. If an entire group has a problem with one PC and the GM has a problem with that PC, then it's usually better to eject that PC then stop running.

But by and large, a good GM needs to avoid bias.

First time I ran Shadowrun with my fiancee (Now wife) in the group I told her "Dear? I love you, but if the dice fall wrong I'll f***ing kill you."

And I nearly did, one game. We laughed, she took the rules-permissable character stat sacrifice to stay alive, and we kept going. She still games with me today... As does everyone that was there for that game.

Lose the bias, gain the awesome.

Tengu_temp
2009-01-22, 02:21 PM
I think this guy crafted this mechanics solely as a tongue-in-the-cheek excuse for his players to buy him drinks/food, and his players are aware of its non-serious nature. Which means it's not unfair, just funny.

Satyr
2009-01-22, 02:34 PM
I would be sad if my group would degenerate in this state of corruption. Rewards for the players should be dependent on the player's effort they invest in the campaign and for the campaign, nothing more, nothing else. A highly dedicated player deserve a better treatment, and when a player thinks that his or her character should get favors, he or she should put more effort in the game.

Narmoth
2009-01-22, 04:19 PM
It's a sad, sad dm who actually plays by those rules.
In the group I dm, we the snacks for the game together (with the exception of one person who doesn't like pizza and hates coke)
Yes, the player with the best character concept will get an in game reward. That reward is that npcs connected to him through the background will appear.
The player who roleplays good will get rewards as well, as his fame will be slightly higher than that of the rest of the group, and npcs will se him as their leader for the time being, with the exception of times I want another player to be more active, and will force upon that player to talk with npcs.

TempusCCK
2009-01-22, 05:11 PM
Wow, alot of you are taking this way too seriously. Tengu hit it right on the money, it's just a funny thing that this guy has going on with his group. "corruption" is a pretty strong term considering the most it'll buy you is a fudged roll. It's not like he's handing out Relics in exchange for a pizza or anything.

But I do think there is some truth in the fact that you're, even subconciously, going to target some players more than others and so on and so forth. YOu can try your best to limit it, but it's not always feasible, and you won't divorce yourself completely from bias ever. If my slightly annoying friend Nick feels like I'm targetting him a little more than my less annoying friend Jordan, and then he moves my car for me so someone can get out of the driveway, I'll be more inclined to treat him better. It's natural. This guy has just brought it out into the open in a funny way.

Shalizar
2009-01-22, 06:02 PM
If someone does something nice outside of the game while I am DM'ing I give that person free experience. Got me some pop, 50 exp. Threw me a pencil, 10 exp. Make a really bad joke, lose 250 exp (that happened to my character). A DM can easly be bribed, it all depends on the DM. You can refuse to allow people to bribe you, but when people do nice things for each other, the game session runs easier, and everyone has fun. Remember, no one wants to play with someone acting like a (edit:) Male Genitalia. It sucks for everyone, unless it is your character, then people will love to kill them (again another character of mine).

UserClone
2009-01-22, 06:57 PM
Wait, so the players are each bribing the GM into not killing their particular
character? Of course, this is how every game of Paranoia gets played by default. Where's the question?:smallconfused:

Temp.
2009-01-22, 08:22 PM
I think this guy crafted this mechanics solely as a tongue-in-the-cheek excuse for his players to buy him drinks/food, and his players are aware of its non-serious nature. Which means it's not unfair, just funny. That man is playing life to win. He deserves a high-five. Or a pizza.

Raum
2009-01-22, 08:48 PM
The basis for this idea is that as a DM, you are unable to completely and wholly seperate bias for certain players. You like certain people more than others, it's just natural. So to offset this natural favoritism, he allows his players to freely bribe him, making it an equal playing field for the favoritism. Want to fudge that roll? Buy me a drink, so on and so forth.He hasn't made it equal. Nor has he gotten rid of favoritism. He's simply turned it into 'pay to play' and is openly bigoted against anyone frugal or poor enough to want to avoid paying.

Tell me, does he bribe the players to follow his plot line? If not, how is it different from buying 'justice' from a corrupt judge? If he does, he's simply encouraging players to be disruptive...just as any player paying up is encouraging him to come up with another situation requiring payment...

It's a slippery slope.

Inyssius Tor
2009-01-22, 09:01 PM
Unless, as said above, he's not being entirely serious.

Zeful
2009-01-22, 09:07 PM
Before I really started DMing I had heard stories of DMs accepting bribes (and later played under one, it was not fun at all) and wanted to be as unlike them as possible, so under the good advice of the people at the WoTC DM forums, I created an exhaustive list of my table rules. One of the rules was "Attempting to Bribe me will result in character harm in direct proportion to the size of the bribe." Getting me a soda would mean that you would be targeted by enemies first/more often. Giving me 1000+ USD would result in Gygaxian style death-traps for your character. This would of course be after I took your bribe, but I was very clear in the rules about acceptable behaviour, you broke it.

Raum
2009-01-22, 09:12 PM
@ Zeful - That's funny! :)


Unless, as said above, he's not being entirely serious.If he gives some benefit to the briber which isn't given to those who choose not to pay, it doesn't really matter whether he claims it's 'serious' or not.

Assassin89
2009-01-22, 09:14 PM
I prefer a DM who cannot be bribed, because D&D is about adjusting strategy to the situation.

Siosilvar
2009-01-22, 09:19 PM
I prefer a DM who cannot be bribed, because D&D is about adjusting strategy to the situation.

And not just giving the DM food.

Narmoth
2009-01-23, 04:32 AM
If someone does something nice outside of the game while I am DM'ing I give that person free experience. Got me some pop, 50 exp. Threw me a pencil, 10 exp. Make a really bad joke, lose 250 exp (that happened to my character). A DM can easly be bribed, it all depends on the DM. You can refuse to allow people to bribe you, but when people do nice things for each other, the game session runs easier, and everyone has fun. Remember, no one wants to play with someone acting like a (edit:) Male Genitalia. It sucks for everyone, unless it is your character, then people will love to kill them (again another character of mine).

So, you actually need to get in game rewards from the dm to be friendly with him?
Then again, it's not nice if you are rewarded for it. And this dm-ing style is very much only suited for dms who act as male genitalia

hewhosaysfish
2009-01-24, 09:43 AM
The guy who DMs one of the regular games I'm in will occassionally offer small XP awards for whoever will pass him his folder, find his dice under the sofa or fetch him a beer from the fridge.
Whenever someone actually takes him up on this, he expresses his amazement and amusement that someone would be willing to do an actual chore in exchange for "numbers on a piece of paper".
He still hands out the XP. And threatens XP penalties for making terrible puns or pop-culture references (usually aimed at one player in paticular. He didn't earn any XP for several months at one pointhis punning was so bad).

BobVosh
2009-01-24, 09:48 AM
Wait, so the players are each bribing the GM into not killing their particular
character? Of course, this is how every game of Paranoia gets played by default. Where's the question?:smallconfused:

Tis true. Says so in the rules.

Although all my DMs have encouraged bribing. Also silly rules like make a DC 100 sleight of hand you can see his notes, etc.

Tormsskull
2009-01-24, 09:53 AM
Is bias really this bad? I get that it is entertaining, but I don't think I am biased towards any players when a campaign starts.

I have found myself giving more screen time to players that are roleplaying or trying to roleplay. But since I explain upfront that this is a heavy RP game, I don't really consider that bias.

So maybe this is for a different thread, but do most DMs find themselves biased towards certain players?

Ravens_cry
2009-01-24, 09:55 AM
Tis true. Says so in the rules.

Although all my DMs have encouraged bribing. Also silly rules like make a DC 100 sleight of hand you can see his notes, etc.
Ever made it?:smallamused:

TempusCCK
2009-01-24, 01:22 PM
Is bias really this bad? I get that it is entertaining, but I don't think I am biased towards any players when a campaign starts.

I have found myself giving more screen time to players that are roleplaying or trying to roleplay. But since I explain upfront that this is a heavy RP game, I don't really consider that bias.

So maybe this is for a different thread, but do most DMs find themselves biased towards certain players?

Well, quite frankly, yes, I do have some bias with some of my players. The friend aforementioned sometimes brings his wife along to games. Aside from a slew of personal problems I have with this person, she is one of the worst players ever. Unable to roleplay, revels in cheating the team out of loot, things like that. Due to the delicate social situation I can't simply tell her to not come (most of the time), but I find that I need to set up things in a special way to ensure that she doesn't ruin the experience for everyone else. That is a bias, albeiit not of the same type mentioned in the OP, which, as I've said, is for humor purposes mostly.

KeresM
2009-01-24, 06:36 PM
I've accepted bribes before. Probably will again.

If you bribe me with a suitable alcoholic drink, I will overlook that you just quoted Monty Python and refrain from dropping Pun Pun on your character.

There have been sessions in which I was almost to drunk to walk home.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-01-24, 06:44 PM
Tis true. Says so in the rules.

Although all my DMs have encouraged bribing. Also silly rules like make a DC 100 sleight of hand you can see his notes, etc.

That information is above your security level. Please report yourself to the nearest Confession Booth. :smallbiggrin:

But yeah, if the "bribe" game is seen as just fun then so be it. But it's something you shouldn't spring on your players - it's like trying to force a meme. Personally, I've never found it difficult to deal with any unconscious prejudices in D&D; I use dice, you see. :smallbiggrin:

In earlier editions of D&D, the dice didn't really cover that much of the game, so favoritism could be a real problem. But in later editions, the rules actually cover most interactions, so it's no big deal.

xanaphia
2009-01-25, 01:23 AM
It's a sad, sad dm who actually plays by those rules.
In the group I dm, we the snacks for the game together (with the exception of one person who doesn't like pizza and hates coke)
Yes, the player with the best character concept will get an in game reward. That reward is that npcs connected to him through the background will appear.
The player who roleplays good will get rewards as well, as his fame will be slightly higher than that of the rest of the group, and npcs will se him as their leader for the time being, with the exception of times I want another player to be more active, and will force upon that player to talk with npcs.

Well said.

To add to that:
The player who optimizes well also gets a reward, in that he is better in fights.

So, in conclusion, the best character RPs, has a great background, and is strong game-wise.

_Zoot_
2009-01-25, 07:02 AM
I don't think that i am particularly bias, but Iíve only DMed for 1 and a half sessions, Iím going to Dm more soon, any way, the way i see it is, the person that puts the most effort into a character should get some reward, in game probably. This might mean that you include more from the back story or the like. Some one that dose no work on a character can't get the same treatment because the material isn't there..... I don't really think that it is really bias but, it's close.

BobVosh
2009-01-25, 07:24 AM
Ever made it?:smallamused:

No, he raised the DC in the epic game. Would have had it otherwise :(


I don't think that i am particularly bias, but I’ve only DMed for 1 and a half sessions.

You will be...you will be...