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View Full Version : DMs: Would you choose to never play, or never DM, again?



Swordgleam
2010-01-20, 07:51 PM
I wasn't quite sure how to get the question to fit into the thread title, so apologies for the vagueness.

If you were approached by some divine being and told you had to choose between never being a PC ever again, and never DMing ever again, which would you give up?

This question occurred to me because a friend said she preferred playing to DMing, and I said, "So do I, and so does everyone else I know. It's just that someone has to suck it up and DM or there would be no games."

But then I realized that that wasn't entirely true. I do enjoy DMing. I'm not sure if I enjoy it as much as playing. But when I posed this question to myself, I realized that I think I'd choose to give up playing. I think it's partly a question of control, though - if I choose to give up DMing, I can't guarantee there will be games for me to play in. But if I choose to give up playing, I can always DM if I want to.

So here's an additional question: If you were guaranteed to always have a group of gamers around willing to play or DM games in the style you prefer, would your answer be different?

Forevernade
2010-01-20, 07:55 PM
I will be the first and last to say I choose to DM.
If I could always have a group of players to play what I wanted with, all the better! Sometimes running something I don't want to run leads to just as much enjoyment because it is something new to research or just something that stretches my versatility.

If I could always play what I wanted as a player I think I would get bored because things would get old and I can't rely on myself wanting to use new systems and settings.

Drakevarg
2010-01-20, 07:57 PM
Depends. If I lose the ability to DM, do I also lose the ability to Homebrew?

If so, I choose to DM. If not, I choose to be a PC.

tahu88810
2010-01-20, 07:58 PM
It's a tough choice.
There are some days where I really hate DMing, and some days when I'm OK with DMing but I really just want to be a hero for once.
There are other times when I really want to tell a story, or I just want to be evil...and let's face it, most games aren't exactly made so the PC's can be villains.

In the end, I think, I'll have to go with DM. I like to tell stories.

Harperfan7
2010-01-20, 08:01 PM
Never play.

Nobody I personally know can DM worth a damn.

Starscream
2010-01-20, 08:04 PM
Tough choice. I like doing both.

But I guess I would give up playing. You still get to build and play interesting characters as a DM, and designing dungeons is just plain fun.

And even when there's no one around to play with I can amuse myself by making dungeons and NPCs. A DM without players can have more fun than a player without a DM.

Kaun
2010-01-20, 08:08 PM
I would give up playing with out a second thought.

As a player you get to play 1 chr. As the DM you can play as many as you want!!

jokey665
2010-01-20, 08:09 PM
I prefer playing, but never DMing again means my group would likely disband, so...

Xzeno
2010-01-20, 08:14 PM
Playing is much easier and often more fun, which is sort of what the hobby is about. That said, DMing is a very fulfilling experience. I get to use my skills as both a trained actor and writer to the test of players. I would never trade it for mere playing.

Dyllan
2010-01-20, 08:25 PM
I'd definitely choose to be a DM, although I would hate giving up being a player.

The group I'm in has 4 DMs. One started with Legend of the Five Rings, and it's still really the only thing he's really good at. But he's great at it.

The other tends to run gimmicky short campaigns. Sometimes they're a blast (better than mine), and sometimes they're a flop.

But I'm the only one in our group who consistently runs normal D&D campaigns that are well liked by everyone. Everyone (including myself) would miss it too much if I quit DM'ing.

Wow, that sounds conceited, doesn't it? The truth is, we've got an awesome group, we're all good roleplayers, and all three DMs are good.

AshDesert
2010-01-20, 08:27 PM
I would definitely choose to give up playing. Really, I've already mostly given up playing except for one-offs, I'm always the one DMing the longer stretches in my group. Even when I do play, I have fun, but I always feel less satisfied than when I DM (although that's probably a part of the whole one-off vs. campaign thing). Plus, I have so many different world-building ideas that I could never just sit there playing while I have so many things knocking around. I usually have a completely new setting every campaign, and I have plenty more in store.

Poi Sorg
2010-01-20, 08:39 PM
Actually, I would DM for one reason:

I love to do both.

(I never get to actually play tho, because my D&D buddies consist of me and my brother, who doesn't know how to dm.)

If I DM'ed, I could actually just pit the players against recurring villains that are just evil PC's that I control. (Linear Guild, anyone?) Not to mention, getting to play as the Tarrasque is a blast, and overwhelming the PC's with an army of
GAZEBOS that I homebrewed never gets old.

Edit: Wow, no one here's a pc? Weiiiird.

Rixx
2010-01-20, 08:49 PM
I usually play, but I have a blast DMing as well. It's a tough call.

Drakevarg
2010-01-20, 08:51 PM
Edit: Wow, no one here's a pc? Weiiiird.

As I said, if I was still allowed to homebrew I'd give up DMing.

Callos_DeTerran
2010-01-20, 08:56 PM
Lemme be the first to say that I'd give up DMing in a heartbeat. This may sound weird considering how many games I've run/am running on this forum and I DM IRL, but the fact is that I rarely if ever get a chance to play. That's why I started to play D&D in the first place, I only started DMing to tell more varied stories then 'go stop this guy and take his artifact, oh noes an NPC betrayed you!' kind of games I was commonly playing.

But if I was guaranteed to have a DM who'd run games I'd like to play, I'd give up DMing faster then I could say 'yes'.

kaiguy
2010-01-20, 09:04 PM
DM. The only reason I have a group to play with at all is because I told them I'd DM if they'd play. None of us have ever had much experience with D&D outside of each other.

I've never really played as a PC - the only time I tried, it lasted three sessions and then the group broke up. And the DM at that point had no idea what he was doing.

Kaun
2010-01-20, 09:08 PM
Lemme be the first to say that I'd give up DMing in a heartbeat. This may sound weird considering how many games I've run/am running on this forum and I DM IRL, but the fact is that I rarely if ever get a chance to play. That's why I started to play D&D in the first place, I only started DMing to tell more varied stories then 'go stop this guy and take his artifact, oh noes an NPC betrayed you!' kind of games I was commonly playing.

But if I was guaranteed to have a DM who'd run games I'd like to play, I'd give up DMing faster then I could say 'yes'.

Well thats half the problem.

Most people become DM's out of necessity and the ones that like it keep going.

Finding players is never overly hard.

Superglucose
2010-01-20, 09:09 PM
Nobody I personally know can DM worth a damn.
And yet I would still chose to never DM.

I have so much more fun playing it's not even funny, but I find there are a lack of GMs capable of handling a high-powered campaign and roleplaying at the same time, while there are quite a few GMs who can do neither.

I'm glad I have the online game with PhoenixRivers (even if it is just a mini-adventure) because he's close to 10x the GM I've had recently. That being said, the most fun I've ever EVER had in a game was with a 13 year old GM. Maybe 14. A guy I knew in Jr High was a fantastic Gm even though he didn't think so; he understood the rules really well and had a good story to tell and an interactive way of telling it. I remember one time we were fighting a huge shark, and all our combats were drawn on a piece of graph paper (erasing us when we moved) and he didn't want to have to redraw the shark, so instead it grew in 5' increments as it was 5 foot stepping :smallbiggrin: I also remember when we were trying to figure out how to stop a ritual and he closed the book to show that we had successfully closed the book.

I mean I remember so many little details about that campaign, and by "details" I mean "I remember what everyone else was playing, what they were doing, and who the NPCs were even if not by name." I haven't had a game since that game six years ago that was anywhere close.

Gamerlord
2010-01-20, 09:12 PM
Nobody in my group can really DM well ,so I would choose to DM.

Rhiannon87
2010-01-20, 10:00 PM
Oh, gods, I'd give up DMing in an instant. I love being a player. Love it so much more than DMing. There are other, highly competent DMs in my group, so it's not a question of necessity for us. I love playing one character and getting under their skin, in their head, writing reams of stories and diary entries and doing conversations out of game but in-character and then the actual PLAYING of the character, getting to be this person that I've worked so hard on for a while...

DMing is okay, but I feel like I have a problem with getting the ideas that I have written down properly conveyed to the group. I'm pretty new to the whole DMing thing, and I always feel like people aren't having all that much fun, even though my players swear up and down they like my game and really love playing their characters. If they weren't all so fiercely dedicated to it, I probably would have found a way to end the game before now. As it is, I'd feel terribly guilty if I stopped, and thus I have my game outlined out up to level 14 or so.

arguskos
2010-01-20, 10:26 PM
I'd give up playing, for the simple fact I never do it anymore. :smallsigh:

I tried, about 6 months ago. Couldn't be a normal player, I'm too used to having control over the world, knowing everything about it, making it my own, and giving it to others for their pleasure. It just wouldn't be the same as a player.

I am proud to say that I am a DM now, and forever more. :smallcool:

RebelRogue
2010-01-20, 11:04 PM
I'd play! No contest! It's sort of a problem that I essentially DM for a living, but I'm quitting soon anyway, so... :smallbiggrin:

I like to DM once in a while, sure. But... playing is generally way more fun to me.

BobVosh
2010-01-20, 11:13 PM
If the DM is good or decent I would play.

I would DM otherwise (unless my players are horrible, then I would play and mess with the rather rude divine being)

Fiery Diamond
2010-01-20, 11:21 PM
I'd choose to be a DM.

However, if I were guaranteed players and a DM for the style I like, I'd choose to be a player.

I like both of them, but I hardly ever get to be a player.

Swordgleam
2010-01-20, 11:34 PM
I'm seeing a pattern here - many of the people who would choose to DM, do so because they would never get to play as a player, anyway. So I pose again the second question: if you were guaranteed a great DM (if you choose to play) or great players (if you choose to DM) what would your choice be?


I'd play! No contest! It's sort of a problem that I essentially DM for a living, but I'm quitting soon anyway, so... :smallbiggrin:


DM for a living? Sounds like fun. Care to elaborate?

arguskos
2010-01-20, 11:44 PM
I'm seeing a pattern here - many of the people who would choose to DM, do so because they would never get to play as a player, anyway. So I pose again the second question: if you were guaranteed a great DM (if you choose to play) or great players (if you choose to DM) what would your choice be?
DM, still. I still would miss the total freedom.


DM for a living? Sounds like fun. Care to elaborate?
Amen! I'd love to hear that too.

drengnikrafe
2010-01-20, 11:46 PM
Tricky question.

The only thing is, I haven't been a PC in a long while, because none of my game group is capable of DMing. Even when they try, they turn to me at least twice a round for rules. As a result, my game group (being one of the two anywhere near me) would dissolve if I could not longer DM or backseat DM. I feel as though I would be willing to sacrifice PCing, even if it meant never being a PC in my heroes games, for DMing.

RebelRogue
2010-01-20, 11:58 PM
DM for a living? Sounds like fun. Care to elaborate?
I work at a youth club. I suppose that is the english term too? Anyway, it's a place where kids go after school or visit in the afternoon to do activities with friends. One of the activities we offer is RPGing, so I essentially play with them at work. 99% of the time that means DMing, usually improvising since you have to play with a lot of groups and you soon realize they don't give a damn if you prepare or not, at least not the younger ones, hehe.

arguskos
2010-01-21, 12:13 AM
I work at a youth club. I suppose that is the english term too? Anyway, it's a place where kids go after school or visit in the afternoon to do activities with friends. One of the activities we offer is RPGing, so I essentially play with them at work. 99% of the time that means DMing, usually improvising since you have to play with a lot of groups and you soon realize they don't give a damn if you prepare or not, at least not the younger ones, hehe.
That's... an awesome job, dude. What system do you guys play?

Pink
2010-01-21, 12:17 AM
DM, still. I still would miss the total freedom.

This. And many other reasons out there, not the least of which is that nobody I play with DMs the way I really want them too. I want to be able to create a world for other, to show how it reacts to their choices, to give consequences and rewards. Playing is certainly fun, but once you've got into playing a world instead of one character, there just seems something limiting about being a player. Maybe that's conceited, but that's kinda how I feel. DM all the way.

Kallisti
2010-01-21, 12:20 AM
I'd choose to play. I've never been very good at DMing. I can tell my stories by writing them, not making other people play them.

RebelRogue
2010-01-21, 12:22 AM
That's... an awesome job, dude. What system do you guys play?
Mostly D&D. We shifted to 4e when it came out, though one team is doing 3.5 again now. I've also used a number of other systems from time to time. Some WoD (Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Vampire: Dark Ages) and Basic Roleplaying. Some of the other guys have done WFRP, BESM and Via Prudensia (http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/alphabetical/V.html) (scroll down). But mostly D&D.

But I haven't got too many hours there anymore, and I'll probably stop entirely after this month (unless I can get to do some guitar teaching there, but I don't thinks it's going to happen).

Mystic Muse
2010-01-21, 12:23 AM
I work at a youth club. I suppose that is the english term too? Anyway, it's a place where kids go after school or visit in the afternoon to do activities with friends. One of the activities we offer is RPGing, so I essentially play with them at work. 99% of the time that means DMing, usually improvising since you have to play with a lot of groups and you soon realize they don't give a damn if you prepare or not, at least not the younger ones, hehe.

*wants this job*

*thinks about killing you to get it*

*decides I would rather not go to jail*

arguskos
2010-01-21, 12:28 AM
Mostly D&D. We shifted to 4e when it came out, though one team is doing 3.5 again now. I've also used a number of other systems from time to time. Some WoD (Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Vampire: Dark Ages) and Basic Roleplaying. Some of the other guys have done WFRP, BESM and Via Prudensia (http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/encyclopedia/alphabetical/V.html) (scroll down). But mostly D&D.

But I haven't got too many hours there anymore, and I'll probably stop entirely after this month (unless I can get to do some guitar teaching there, but I don't thinks it's going to happen).
Like, um, wow. This job sounds AMAZING. I need to work at that position.

RebelRogue
2010-01-21, 12:29 AM
*wants this job*

*thinks about killing you to get it*

*decides I would rather not go to jail*
It may sound glorious, but I've grown rather tired of it. You have to deal with inattentive kids most of the time, never get to prepare properly. Turning something you love into work isn't always pleasant. But yes, sometimes it is awesome, of course.

Anyway: it wasn't my intention to steal this thread, so maybe we should get back on topic? :smallsmile:

Dienekes
2010-01-21, 12:35 AM
I'd choose to not be a player, since no one in my group can run a consistent game if their lives depended upon it.

If I had a guaranteed GM, good bye all that extra work, good bye trying to create encounters so everyone can do something, good bye designing complex plots and interesting characters that the players are gonna forget about anyway. Hello easy street.

Fuzzie Fuzz
2010-01-21, 12:47 AM
DM, definitely. I love the world creation, from the grand cosmic scheme of things to the individual inhabitants of every dungeon. I love the plot creation, the messing with my friends' heads, the tedium of statting various plot-centric NPCs who are subsequently ignored/killed on sight by the PCs, the refereeing, the secrecy behind the screen, the ability to fill my free time, the pleasure of feeling all my work pay off and watching my players grin when they figure out the solution to a puzzle, or bellow in an RP-filled rage as they charge the BBEG.

Playing is... meh. You're just one guy, with a fragile illusion of control over some small part of the world. All the advantages of playing are part of DMing, for me, except for the lack of work, which I enjoy anyways.

Swordgleam
2010-01-21, 12:49 AM
Playing is certainly fun, but once you've got into playing a world instead of one character, there just seems something limiting about being a player. Maybe that's conceited, but that's kinda how I feel. DM all the way.

I feel the opposite. When I DM, I'm limited by my players' choices. I'm just an engine to show their impact on the world. I have no ultimate control over how the story ends - that's all up to the players.

When I play, I make things happen. I move the plot forward, I make choices, I steer the campaign's destiny.

Temotei
2010-01-21, 12:54 AM
I feel the opposite. When I DM, I'm limited by my players' choices. I'm just an engine to show their impact on the world. I have no ultimate control over how the story ends - that's all up to the players.

When I play, I make things happen. I move the plot forward, I make choices, I steer the campaign's destiny.

Boulders fall. You die. I win.

That said, I'd be a player. :smallbiggrin:

Mystic Muse
2010-01-21, 01:42 AM
Oh, I forgot my response

I'd ask why This guy is being such a royal jerk and what he's going to give me in exchange. If I have to give up being a player or DMing I better get something equivalent in exchange. (What can I say? I love D&D and nothing else I've done has been so consistently entertaining)

potatocubed
2010-01-21, 02:11 AM
I barely do any playing anyway.

Akal Saris
2010-01-21, 02:17 AM
I feel the opposite. When I DM, I'm limited by my players' choices. I'm just an engine to show their impact on the world. I have no ultimate control over how the story ends - that's all up to the players.

When I play, I make things happen. I move the plot forward, I make choices, I steer the campaign's destiny.

I tend to agree with this assessment - as a DM, there's nothing I can really do if the players aren't engaged and interested in what their characters are doing. As a PC, I feel more free to pursue "my" goals than as a DM.

That said, I'd definitely give up playing over DMing. Being a DM is much more rewarding at the end of the night, when everyone is happy and thanking you for such a good time, especially after the sheer adrenaline rush of running a game that's going well, especially when your players took you by surprise and you have to improvise quickly, are all things that I wouldn't want to give up.

Maybe it's conceited, but I also think that it's much more difficult to be a good DM than it is to be good player. Given all the effort that I've put into improving my DMing and the campaigns that I run, I would also hate to give it up for those reasons.

Good question, by the way - it's one I haven't seen on these forums before :)

Zaydos
2010-01-21, 02:31 AM
I'd choose to DM. Mostly because I've ran into lots of bad DMs (of the last 4 people who've DM'd for me, 2 were first timers and 2 were people who people who have played with before groan and apologize that you had to play under). The first timers had their problems, one just added fiated modifiers to penalize everyone but his best friend and I was only playing because I was his friend and I have to agree with our other mutual friend that it wasn't fun. The other, well I intend to keep playing under him although the first adventure was literally a checklist I gave him as to how to screw over my character (even without it I'm only the 2nd strongest character, and with it... well 1 screws everyone over, 1 screws everyone over but me the most, and the other 1 screws the stronger half of the party over). He should do fairly well, although he needs to realize that giving the swordsage opportunities to use his powers well is better than just trying to stop other people from using theirs (then again his first adventure was something thrown together on short notice because he wanted to see party power level). I think he'll do fine, although restarting a campaign that got ended at Lv 9 might be a little tough for a first time, but he has promise.

The above, though, is not the primary reason. The primary reason I'd choose DMing is while I love crafting a character, building his back story and actually playing him, I love building a world more. Now just to build a world when I actually have PCs that care what the world's fluff is.

AslanCross
2010-01-21, 02:39 AM
I actually enjoy both. I tend to be the DM the most because I have the time, resources, patience and managerial skills needed for DMing. Everyone else in my group just wants to remain a player. XP

Temotei
2010-01-21, 02:41 AM
Oh, I forgot my response

I'd ask why This guy is being such a royal jerk and what he's going to give me in exchange. If I have to give up being a player or DMing I better get something equivalent in exchange. (What can I say? I love D&D and nothing else I've done has been so consistently entertaining)

The deity (or whatever) would smite you for blasphemous response. DM fiat! :smalltongue:

Altair_the_Vexed
2010-01-21, 02:44 AM
I, DM.

I rarely play in games. I enjoy it, but I need a very good DM to enjoy playing more than I enjoy DMing, and I only know one who consistently runs good games - and he lives a couple of hundred miles away.

rezplz
2010-01-21, 02:44 AM
If I was guarenteed a good DM that could keep an ongoing storyline that could keep me interested enough to roleplay and whatnot, I'd definitely choose to play. But while my dad and one of my friends are pretty good at DMing, its usually been multiple shorter adventurers that aren't really connected to each other. And I've recently started working more at making longer campaigns with a story to them, which I'm starting to really enjoy and get better at. So if I wasn't guarenteed a DM that played best to my style I'd choose to DM. It'd still be a tough choice either way, when it came down to it.

Danin
2010-01-21, 03:04 AM
Choosing to DM rather than play means... nothing changes given my current circumstances. I can count the number of campaigns I've played in on two digits, the number I've finished on none.

If it means I got the chance to play, well, I'd do that. If it meant no more D&D, well, obviously DM.

Kaun
2010-01-21, 04:21 AM
I feel the opposite. When I DM, I'm limited by my players' choices. I'm just an engine to show their impact on the world. I have no ultimate control over how the story ends - that's all up to the players.

When I play, I make things happen. I move the plot forward, I make choices, I steer the campaign's destiny.

If you cant get your players to do what you want with out them realising, you are doing it wrong.

One of the bigest kicks i get of DMing is when the players think they have it all figured out and that they have it beat only to stumble on a clue which makes everything else fall into place and leaves them with the realisation that they are screwed.

dsmiles
2010-01-21, 05:14 AM
Finding players is never overly hard.

Wanna bet? I've been at my new place for FOUR MONTHS and still can't find a group...:smallfurious:

But, all said and done...I'd give up playing. I have just as much fun (maybe more) DMing, because I really enjoy writing up campaign settings, and letting my players rampage through them creating stories and history for the world.

JaronK
2010-01-21, 05:21 AM
I'd love to never DM. I just like playing so much more. But right now, all of our DMs would rather play, so we have to rotate it, and besides, the game I'm running is very popular. Plus, a lot of our DMs are new so someone has to show them how to do it.

But if I could actually keep playing without ever needing to DM, I'd love that.

JaronK

Kaiyanwang
2010-01-21, 05:37 AM
Hard choice, but DM. Maybe because I generally DM, or maybe because I love it more.

Kaun
2010-01-21, 06:21 AM
Wanna bet? I've been at my new place for FOUR MONTHS and still can't find a group...:smallfurious:

But, all said and done...I'd give up playing. I have just as much fun (maybe more) DMing, because I really enjoy writing up campaign settings, and letting my players rampage through them creating stories and history for the world.

I guess to every rule there is an exception.

I hope your luck changes.

Back on topic tho it seems to me that most people that consider themselfs a DM are the ones who enjoy it.

A lot of the people who are opting to give up DMing seem to be players who have been left with out a DM.

Lioness
2010-01-21, 06:41 AM
Well, I DMed a couple of sessions, so I guess I count.

I would choose to play. Frankly, I really don't like DMing. I'll do it, to give the normal DM a break, but it stresses me out and makes me feel overly responsible.

Longcat
2010-01-21, 06:50 AM
For me, it's either:
a) Never DM again or
b) Always DM, but with a DMPC! :smallbiggrin::smalltongue:

That said, I vastly prefer playing over DMing. I only DM when I'm with inexperienced players or when my long-time group gives me guilt-trip. I don't enjoy writing up stories, and my plots invariably end up as a mixture of George R. R. Martin novels and Michael Bay films.

ken-do-nim
2010-01-21, 07:14 AM
DM, that's an easy choice. DMing is how you turn D&D from a game into a hobby.

Guinea Anubis
2010-01-21, 07:20 AM
I would give up being a player, as much fun as it is being one I like DMing more.

I love being the story teller and being the one that crafts the world the PCs play in.

peacenlove
2010-01-21, 07:23 AM
Never play.

Nobody I personally know can DM worth a damn.

This. Sadly :smallmad:

Kaiyanwang
2010-01-21, 07:25 AM
DM, that's an easy choice. DMing is how you turn D&D from a game into a hobby.

I really like this one. :smallsmile:

Satyr
2010-01-21, 07:32 AM
I so rarely play in a game anymore, so giving it up all together would not be that much of a sacrifice. It would be harder to test new games, though.

I like to think that I am a good gamemaster and the fact that people I play with travel a long way to participate and I was once paid to run a weekned campaign, I like to think that others share this opinion.

I like playing in a game, but I think I actually prefering to run it. Yes, it is more work and more responsibility, but first of all, I have high standards for the games I run myself and thus tend to apply these same standards to other gamemasters as well, which often makes me a cranky player, and I also tend to have more fun developing a story and describing a world than exploring it.

Optimystik
2010-01-21, 07:36 AM
I'd give up DM-ing, simply because computer systems will get advanced enough eventually that they can simulate one very well (even if only in premade modules, and modifications thereof.)

Winter_Wolf
2010-01-21, 07:43 AM
Well, I'm not much of a DM, so I'd probably definitely say give up DMing and be a player, especially if it's guaranteed in the style of my choosing with DM and group. Granted I would probably get better at being a DM with a bit more practice, but I don't have the kind of free time to come up with a world, NPCs, adventures, and the list goes on and on. Also, I'm constantly scrapping ideas and starting over, so I imagine if I was the one in charge, the game would never get off the ground. :(

Yeah, color me a PC all the way.

Glass Mouse
2010-01-21, 08:07 AM
It's actually a difficult question. My first reaction was "oh my god how can you ask, I'd be a PLAYER!!!", but then I started thinking...

I like DM'ing, in theory. The idea of controlling the story, adding in whatever you want, having a variety of strings, laugh to myself when I see PC reactions, the intellectual puzzle of adding the story up, having to think fast when the players surprise me, all those appeal to me. A year from now, my answer may be different. But right now (and for half a year), I've been DM'ing out of neccessity. And I simply can't shake the feeling of performance anxiety. Knowing that I'm responsible for six people's fun. Never having a break during play. Afterwards analyzing all the times I did something wrong and all the times I had a bored player, or I had to improvise and the story wasn't 100% coherent. Also, I'm really bad at "reading" the group and figuring out what they want.
Basically, DM'ing is super-stressful both before play (preparation), during play (keeping everyone happy), and after play (analyzing and agonising).
It's like having an exam every few weeks. Ugh.

Well, who knows? Maybe it's a group incompability problem. I quit my regular (completely ragtag - 2 roleplayers, 1 hack'n'slashers, and 2 guys just there for the company) group recently, and I'm starting up a group of people hopefully more in sync with my GM'ing style (I'm GM out of neccessity here as well, but I still cross my fingers).

I'm looking forward to it. But at this point... I'd probably rather play.

Kaiyanwang
2010-01-21, 09:49 AM
I'd give up DM-ing, simply because computer systems will get advanced enough eventually that they can simulate one very well (even if only in premade modules, and modifications thereof.)

We will wait for a long, long time before we'll see a computer able to undestand the right moment to instill paranoia and fear into the players.

"are you sure?"

I think that's the real thing that makes me DM.

Another_Poet
2010-01-21, 10:10 AM
I love both, but I would choose to give up being a PC.

After years go by and I miss being a PC, I could always run a DMPC free-for-all and sneak a moment of glory in there :)

Awesome question by the way. Thought provoking.

Another_Poet
2010-01-21, 10:18 AM
We will wait for a long, long time before we'll see a computer able to undestand the right moment to instill paranoia and fear into the players.

"are you sure?"

I think that's the real thing that makes me DM.

Not necessarily. Computers already exist that can read facial expressions, body language and tone of voice to sense someone's emotions - and respond accordingly. If the thing is programmed to keep players paranoid, it can do so. The real problem is making such a computer cost-effective for use in one's home. That's what we'll be waiting a bit for.

Examples: Project Natal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Natal) and this less impressive device (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7254078.stm) are both aimed specifically at gaming. Neither of them could act as a DM-bot but it won't be long.

edit: pardon the double post :)

Kaiyanwang
2010-01-21, 10:30 AM
Not necessarily. Computers already exist that can read facial expressions, body language and tone of voice to sense someone's emotions - and respond accordingly. If the thing is programmed to keep players paranoid, it can do so. The real problem is making such a computer cost-effective for use in one's home. That's what we'll be waiting a bit for.

Examples: Project Natal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Natal) and this less impressive device (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7254078.stm) are both aimed specifically at gaming. Neither of them could act as a DM-bot but it won't be long.


I see your point. Nevertheless.. we should at least wait for a computer enjoying make PC paranoid.. :smalltongue:

more seriously, the fact that each DM has his set of dirty tricks, funny voices and cultural references makes the thing. This is why I prefer P&P to computer games..

Another_Poet
2010-01-21, 12:00 PM
the fact that each DM has his set of dirty tricks, funny voices and cultural references makes the thing. This is why I prefer P&P to computer games..


Agreed! Agreed!

Tyndmyr
2010-01-21, 12:05 PM
I honestly don't know. I went back and forth half a dozen times while reading the thread, but I enjoy both quite a bit, albeit for different reasons. I'd probably kick the guy to the curb or find some way to cheat the system. I am an optimizer after all.

DabblerWizard
2010-01-21, 12:53 PM
I like DMing. It gives me a chance to "stretch" my mind creatively and imaginatively.

My DMing always takes a lot of work. There are times when I would prefer to just kick back and enjoy someone else's game, even if they're not the best DM.

Being able to focus on one character, who I flush out extensively, feels rather desirable.

I don't think I could enjoy picking either of those choices. These kinds of absolutist moral dilemmas are none too tolerable. - I know that's a non answer. :smallredface:

Optimystik
2010-01-21, 01:06 PM
I see your point. Nevertheless.. we should at least wait for a computer enjoying make PC paranoid.. :smalltongue:

more seriously, the fact that each DM has his set of dirty tricks, funny voices and cultural references makes the thing. This is why I prefer P&P to computer games..

I fully admit that human DMs are superior... but I also never have to buy my computer pizza, argue over the rules with it, wait while it looks up tables or worry that it's fudging rolls. :smalltongue:

Besides, playing for a computerized DM is bound to be more fun than DMing for a bunch of computers, hence the choice I made.

valadil
2010-01-21, 01:10 PM
I'm still undecided. GMing is much more satisfying to me. But it's not something I always have time for. After running a 10 session game I won't run anything for a year or two. I don't think I could go that long without any kind of roleplay.

Comet
2010-01-21, 01:15 PM
I don't get to play much as a PC anyway. :smalltongue:
Game Mastering takes more work, but is ultimately more satisfying, I think. And it gives you a bit more control over the thematic range of the game you're playing.

Kaiyanwang
2010-01-21, 01:28 PM
Besides, playing for a computerized DM is bound to be more fun than DMing for a bunch of computers, hence the choice I made.

This sentence definitively defeats me :smallwink:

Zaydos
2010-01-21, 01:28 PM
ken-do-nim has it right, DMing is what changes it from a game to a hobby.

At least to me it is the personal interaction that makes me like D&D, and if I didn't want a DM I'd just play WoW with my friends.

I forget who said it but people who see themselves as DMs prefer it, people who DM because they have to prefer playing... although this should be obvious.

Those are just my opinions/things I saw I agreed with. Like I've stated before I ultimately like DMing more than playing, because I enjoy crafting the world and the story. That said I'm happy to see that there's lots of people who prefer playing to DMing, or else there would be no one to DM for.

illyrus
2010-01-21, 01:49 PM
I'd give up DMing and just be a player.

I get the urge to DM about once every three years or so but I like being a player more, especially if I could find a DM to run the type of game I like. My one big complaint with our current DMs we have is they let their games stagnate. For me if the party sets a goal and it keeps getting pushed back for months that then become years, my interest wanes. Perhaps that's me, but I'm more interested in feeling a sense of accomplishment from the successful completion of a goal than just leveling up off side quests.

All that being said, I tend to play D&D to spend time with friends so in reality my answer would be that I'm willing to be only a player because 2 people in the group only really feel happy when DMing.

Ravens_cry
2010-01-21, 02:10 PM
I fully admit that human DMs are superior... but I also never have to buy my computer pizza, argue over the rules with it, wait while it looks up tables or worry that it's fudging rolls. :smalltongue:

Not always true (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheComputerIsACheatingBastard). Sorry fro linking to that time hole known as TV Tropes, but it illustrates my point well. It will be a long time before a computer can beat us at our own game. Even the machine that beat Kasparov at the much more abstract game of chess wasn't solving it the way a human would.
I have DM a few times, just one shot dungeons, and while I enjoyed it, I would much rather play. I can still write if I want to get some story out.

dsmiles
2010-01-21, 04:07 PM
I fully admit that human DMs are superior... but I also never have to buy my computer pizza, argue over the rules with it, wait while it looks up tables or worry that it's fudging rolls. :smalltongue:

Besides, playing for a computerized DM is bound to be more fun than DMing for a bunch of computers, hence the choice I made.

Aaaahhh...but what's more expensive, the occasional pizza, or the bazillions of expansion packs that come out for video games?

Optimystik
2010-01-21, 04:55 PM
Not always true (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheComputerIsACheatingBastard). Sorry fro linking to that time hole known as TV Tropes, but it illustrates my point well. It will be a long time before a computer can beat us at our own game. Even the machine that beat Kasparov at the much more abstract game of chess wasn't solving it the way a human would.

When the computer cheats, it is the sign of bad code or a lazy programmer. I'm assuming a well-built and balanced system, which would have neither.


Aaaahhh...but what's more expensive, the occasional pizza, or the bazillions of expansion packs that come out for video games?

You mean the free community-based mods? :smalltongue:

Tyndmyr
2010-01-21, 05:02 PM
It will be a long time before a computer can beat us at our own game. Even the machine that beat Kasparov at the much more abstract game of chess wasn't solving it the way a human would.

The fact that it used a different method has nothing to do with cheating. In fact, the method it used was simply a faster, more advanced method of something many people do anyhow...that of measuring possible moves against each other, and figuring which was likely to lead to the best end result.

It involved no hidden knowledge or anything else that a player would not be allowed to do...it simply did something most players would not be able to do.

Cheating is like when a computer game looks at your cards to determine what to play. MS Hearts, for example.

Drakevarg
2010-01-21, 05:11 PM
You mean the free community-based mods? :smalltongue:

If they were community-based mods, you might as well just get the modders to DM for you. Especially since computer games railroad like no tabletop DM ever could.

Not to mention, I doubt we'll ever see a computer capable of predicting the bat**** crazy things players pull. The stuff that makes human DMs bluescreen.

dragonfan6490
2010-01-21, 06:10 PM
I like DMing. It gives me a chance to "stretch" my mind creatively and imaginatively.

My DMing always takes a lot of work. There are times when I would prefer to just kick back and enjoy someone else's game, even if they're not the best DM.

Being able to focus on one character, who I flush out extensively, feels rather desirable.

I don't think I could enjoy picking either of those choices. These kinds of absolutist moral dilemmas are none too tolerable. - I know that's a non answer. :smallredface:

That is exactly what I have been thinking the entire time I've been reading this.

Optimystik
2010-01-21, 06:23 PM
If they were community-based mods, you might as well just get the modders to DM for you. Especially since computer games railroad like no tabletop DM ever could.

In a way, they would be DMing for us - by designing the modules we play in, they would know what challenges we would face, where the various plot hooks enter the story and where they lead, etc.

The advantage to the computer is that, once the module is created, the presence of its creator is not a requirement to playing it. Or they can take a much reduced role, leaving the dicerolling and encounter generation and loot tables to the processor, and focusing purely on narrating the story.

Either way, the job of a DM can, over time, shift towards automation. Perhaps never totally, but certainly more than it is now. Playing would thus have the larger potential, and thus be the activity I would hold on to.

Though, for those who enjoy storytelling more than rolling dice, the opposite trend may hold true. :smallsmile:


Not to mention, I doubt we'll ever see a computer capable of predicting the bat**** crazy things players pull. The stuff that makes human DMs bluescreen.

They doubted man could fly once, too.

Speaking of which, shouldn't we have flying cars by now?

Drakevarg
2010-01-21, 06:25 PM
They doubted man could fly once, too.

Speaking of which, shouldn't we have flying cars by now?

If we had computers smart enough to predict players, they'd be enslaving and/or exterminating us, not being our DM.

Mystic Muse
2010-01-21, 06:36 PM
They doubted man could fly once, too.

Speaking of which, shouldn't we have flying cars by now?

I believe they explained that somewhere. They're way too dangerous. Imagine, for example, a drunk driver in a flying car.

aje8
2010-01-21, 06:51 PM
I believe they explained that somewhere. They're way too dangerous. Imagine, for example, a drunk driver in a flying car.
Not to mention the nightmare of air traffic on a grand scale.

Regardless, I'd choose to play. As much as the flaws in others DMing irk me and as much as I enjoy the freedom to do whatever I want, DMing is too much work for me and I'm really not a very good DM to start with.

Swordgleam
2010-01-21, 07:53 PM
If you cant get your players to do what you want with out them realising, you are doing it wrong.


I'd argue that if getting your players to follow the path you want is your goal, you're doing it wrong. But I suppose it's a matter of preference.

Kaun
2010-01-21, 08:47 PM
I'd argue that if getting your players to follow the path you want is your goal, you're doing it wrong. But I suppose it's a matter of preference.

Fair call, i admit in sand box games it isnt the case.

But in story driven games it's not so much getting them to choose the path i wanted. Its having them choose the path i wanted because they wanted to and being able to do that regularly.

I have noticed a few DM's say they have no real control over the story, my point is you can with out ever railroading youre players in to anything.

JeanThine
2010-01-22, 09:18 AM
Eh it's a difficult question. I've never really had too good an experience as a player. There have been good moments, and I've had great DMs but I never get into any decent longer campaigns.

However, DMing is a lot of work on my part, and it's a constant balancing act between moving the players in the right direction, giving them freedom, keeping them from killing people I like and holding the game world together.

I can't really say I'd want a perfect group of players though. I love it when people do what I hate. I fill my worlds with people I get bored of quickly, but a PC I can't predict. They have their own motives, their own initiative and their own moral lows. My current players keep surprising me in how much they can run around behind each others backs and the absolute best part is that I'm the only one who knows all of it.

A perfect DM would probably be nice, but I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy only knowing one person's worth of secrets.

I think I have to go DMing, but a perfect group of Players would be nothing like what I want. I want derailment, I want destruction. I want to find my lovingly crafted capitol on fire, my intricately carved NPCs to be hacked to pieces.

Sliver
2010-01-22, 09:44 AM
Play, with no doubt.. I had played 3 sessions IRL so far. 3! All of them with the same DM. And he wasn't really a DM, he was just one of my players that thought it was easy and wanted to try. He gave up after 1 game, later tried again (because I had tests) and that was it. Even though he wasn't a good DM, I still really enjoy the experience and playing so little real-time games (IRC had a few more) I would with no doubt prefer to play with a great DM rather then DM..

Roderick_BR
2010-01-22, 11:15 AM
First, I would freak out that some divine being is making contact with me, is bothering me because of a GAME, and somehow has the power to keep me from playing one of the components of said game :smalltongue:

Then I'd choose continue being a DM.

Hmm.. does it keep you from playing games without DM? (MMORPGs, videogames, etc?)

ken-do-nim
2010-01-22, 12:06 PM
Of course the worst situation is when you decide to be DM but then can't find any players.

Ozreth
2010-01-22, 12:13 PM
.
And even when there's no one around to play with I can amuse myself by making dungeons and NPCs. A DM without players can have more fun than a player without a DM.

My thoughts exactly. DM all the way. I usually prefer it.

Swordgleam
2010-01-22, 12:34 PM
Hmm.. does it keep you from playing games without DM? (MMORPGs, videogames, etc?)

I'm assuming it only applies to tabletop RPGs. But then, I'm not some capricious divine being. Well, as far as you know.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-22, 12:37 PM
I'm assuming it only applies to tabletop RPGs. But then, I'm not some capricious divine being. Well, as far as you know.

I'm declaring you as my diety, just to be sure.

Swordgleam
2010-01-22, 12:40 PM
I'm declaring you as my diety, just to be sure.

My domains are Magic, Travel and Destruction.

arguskos
2010-01-22, 12:42 PM
My domains are Magic, Travel and Destruction.
Awww... I wanted Spell. :smallfrown:

Back to Azuth, I guess.

Rhiannon87
2010-01-22, 02:29 PM
ken-do-nim has it right, DMing is what changes it from a game to a hobby.


Really? I was surprised to see so many people sign on to this idea... The amount of work that I and a few others players put into our individual characters is comparable to the work I do as a DM-- and I do a LOT of prep work as a DM. For one of my characters, I have a journal I update for her on a regular basis, as well as literally hundreds of type-written pages worth of stories about the adventures we've had; I'm also the party secretary/treasurer, so I keep notes and update them online, as well as manage the party cash.

So while it is a similar amount of work being a player as being a DM, for me at least, I much prefer the work of being a player to being a DM. Another one of our players is going to be starting his own game soon... I'm almost certainly going to be writing stories for my character in that game, although she's not the journaling type and I refuse to be the notetaker for this game.

Pika...
2010-01-22, 02:33 PM
When I started playing probably.

But after nearing two years of dealing with the crud players put me through, I'd keep being a DM.

Dust
2010-01-22, 03:27 PM
I'd also choose to be a DM over a Player for all eternity, if forced into choosing.

ken-do-nim
2010-01-22, 03:59 PM
Really? I was surprised to see so many people sign on to this idea... The amount of work that I and a few others players put into our individual characters is comparable to the work I do as a DM-- and I do a LOT of prep work as a DM. For one of my characters, I have a journal I update for her on a regular basis, as well as literally hundreds of type-written pages worth of stories about the adventures we've had; I'm also the party secretary/treasurer, so I keep notes and update them online, as well as manage the party cash.

So while it is a similar amount of work being a player as being a DM, for me at least, I much prefer the work of being a player to being a DM. Another one of our players is going to be starting his own game soon... I'm almost certainly going to be writing stories for my character in that game, although she's not the journaling type and I refuse to be the notetaker for this game.

That's ... that's very unusual. I'm glad you really enjoy playing and chronicling your character's deeds, but if I was your DM I'd cringe if it looked like I was about to kill your character.

Kaun
2010-01-22, 04:49 PM
That's ... that's very unusual. I'm glad you really enjoy playing and chronicling your character's deeds, but if I was your DM I'd cringe if it looked like I was about to kill your character.

Self fabricated plot armour!!!

Rhiannon87
2010-01-22, 07:44 PM
Self fabricated plot armour!!!

Heh, a little bit. Honestly, most of our group is like that-- we're all very, very attached to our characters, even if I'm one of the few that actually do that much work. We maintain a healthy stock of diamonds and have a cleric on hand to keep us alive and kicking.