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randomhero00
2011-05-12, 04:06 PM
Just wondering how desperate most people are. Personally if I had a bad DM/Storyteller I'd still stay...at least until I found a better group.

Lonely Tylenol
2011-05-12, 04:13 PM
Just wondering how desperate most people are. Personally if I had a bad DM/Storyteller I'd still stay...at least until I found a better group.

I'd stay. I only play with groups of friends, anyhow--it's not like my parties are ever just random conglomerations of people who stand each other's company for the one and only purpose of playing D&D.

Moreover, I'm making a campaign of my own, and learning the "don'ts" from bad DMs/concepts is as important as learning the "dos" from good ones.

Tengu_temp
2011-05-12, 04:21 PM
Of course I'd leave. No game is better than bad game. Besides, thanks to the net I have access to an almost infinite amount of games anyway.

kamikasei
2011-05-12, 04:25 PM
Depends on the group, and on how bad is "bad". I might stay in an RL game with a not-terribly-capable DM if it was a fun way to hang out with people I liked, and the DM was merely could-do-better, not is-actively-infuriating. That said, most bad DMs of whom horror stories are told are bad in ways that make playing less fun, not just in the game but as a social activity, so...

EccentricCircle
2011-05-12, 04:25 PM
it depends on how bad really.
not all DM's can be awesome and everyone has bad days. if you are not enjoying the game then you should do something about it. but leaving might not be an option. ( if its the only game you have, if you need to keep on friendly terms with the DM for whatever reason, if leaving would leave too few players for it to run etc...)

often you can talk to the DM and address whatever issues you have. or try to drive the plot in a way you are happier with. there was a game a while back which I didn't enjoy at all for the first few weeks. The game was filled with very dry starship combat punctuated with long periods during which our ship would be refit and the DM would go to great lengths describing all the new armaments in excruciating detail. I didn't like the way the DM was running it and wasn't having much fun, so next combat I asked her if I could Lead a boarding party instead of just operating artillary again. a few of us beamed aboard and basically hijacked a stardestroyer. it was a very hilarious evening and I had a lot more fun.

the DM needs to write a game that suits the players tastes. but if the players don't tell them what they want they can't be blamed (much) for not doing it.

I hope that I listen to what my players want when I run games but no game will ever be perfect for everyone and each players idea of what makes a good game will be slightly different. At the end of the day DMing is a very tricky job, I prefer not to hold it against the DM when they do a bad job. chances are they are doing their best.

Jude_H
2011-05-12, 04:29 PM
I'd leave. I've left. If I'm not having fun, I'll do something else with my time. I'll still hang out with the folks, just not during gaming sessions.

Odin the Ignoble
2011-05-12, 04:29 PM
It depends. Am I still having fun?

Just because the GM might be bad, doesn't mean that the entire game unenjoyable.

How exactly is the DM/GM/Storyteller bad?

Hiro Protagonest
2011-05-12, 04:43 PM
How exactly is the DM/GM/Storyteller bad?

Yes, is he just bad at improvising? Does he railroad you? Does he leave the world too sandboxy, whereas you want an obvious plot? Or is he worse then just bad? And when I say worse then just bad, I mean, does he blatantly use DM fiat on dice rolls, the only ramdom part of the game? If you take a flaw or trait, does he force you into situations that your flaw or trait affect negatively? Does he look over your character sheet, and then design encounters where your character is next to useless?

Pisha
2011-05-12, 04:54 PM
Honestly, I've left games before. I don't have as much free time as I used to; I like gaming, but if I'm not having fun with the game I'm only going to stick around for so long. There's other things I could be doing with that time.

dsmiles
2011-05-12, 05:02 PM
Honestly, I've left games before. I don't have as much free time as I used to; I like gaming, but if I'm not having fun with the game I'm only going to stick around for so long. There's other things I could be doing with that time.Ditto. This is also why I won't game at gaming stores. Too many people I don't think I'm compatible with, game-wise. I like heavy plot and low optimization. Most other people don't.

ClockShock
2011-05-12, 05:08 PM
If you take a flaw or trait, does he force you into situations that your flaw or trait affect negatively?

I'm picking on just a part of the post i am aware, but is this really such a bad thing? If your flaw is never a negative then why not just ask for an extra bonus, "'cause that would be like totally rockin'"

I'll bet you make sure that you make use from the benefit side of that flaw/trait.

BluesEclipse
2011-05-12, 05:09 PM
I wouldn't leave... Generally, though, a bad DM makes me stop caring whether or not I break the game.

Mark Hall
2011-05-12, 05:14 PM
A firm depends.

What is the nature of my relationship with him? I've played with some bad DMs because they were friends (or friends of friends).

What is the nature of their badness? I'm less likely to stay with a railroady jerk whose thought processes are alien (i.e. "I do not understand your logic") than someone who's got some good ideas, but lacks system mastery.

Who else is in the game? If I've got friends in the game who are not the DM, I'm a lot more likely to stay in solidarity.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-05-12, 05:17 PM
I'm picking on just a part of the post i am aware, but is this really such a bad thing? If your flaw is never a negative then why not just ask for an extra bonus, "'cause that would be like totally rockin'"

I'll bet you make sure that you make use from the benefit side of that flaw/trait.

No, for this I mean the DM makes sure that the negative side plays in as often as possible. Took the inattentive flaw? Has a bunch of ninja and assassin encounters. Took feeble? He'll put you in a trek through mountains with lots of constitution checks, climb checks, jump checks, and tumble checks.

oxybe
2011-05-12, 05:20 PM
Of course I'd leave. No game is better than bad game. Besides, thanks to the net I have access to an almost infinite amount of games anyway.

this.

i have X amount of free time every week. i have Y amount of activities that i know i can do during said free time that i find enjoyable. among these games are:

-pokemon white
-minecraft
-portal 2 (every time i play i seem to find something different)
-the sidemissions i've yet to finish in Saint's Row 2
-Valkyria Chronicles
-the still-wrapped Demon's Souls sitting on my PS1
-oh yeah, all those other PS 1, PS 2, SNES, GB, GBA, DS, etc... games i've already beaten but still enjoy. hell, i should look back on my backstock of old PC games...

and that's only in the videogame category. i've got a few sites of manga i can read when needed, several for anime to watch and gord knows how many old TV shows i can rewatch like Batman:the Animated Series, Freakazoid, Animaniacs, Gargoyles, etc....

i see no reason why i would attend an activity, during my free time, that i don't find enjoyable, when i have a VERY large pool of stuff i do find enjoyable i can do.

Roleplaying is one of many different games that fall under "Y". if i think a campaign is no fun, then i give the GM a tip of my imaginary hat, thank him for the opportunity to game but that this game is not for me and leave.

no bad blood, just a "sorry, this doesn't mesh with my preferences."

Savannah
2011-05-12, 06:13 PM
I've left a gaming group because the game was no longer fun due to the DM (and the DM's lack of controlling an obnoxious other player). I did stick around until the end of the campaign, but only because it was fairly close by the time I decided that the game was no longer fun.

Pisha
2011-05-12, 07:09 PM
I actually remember one time when I "left" a game even before joining. I'd shown up to watch a session, learn the setting and system, and make a character. In the space of half an hour, the GM had managed to be 1) condescending, 2) hypersensitive, 3) controlling, and 4) rude. I walked.

Axinian
2011-05-12, 07:44 PM
As many above me have said, it depends on the nature of the badness:

1) They are inexperienced and thus don't have the finer points of running a good game down yet.

I'd stay. The best way to help them improve is by being there to help them out.

2) They are too railroady.

As long as the plot's good, I won't mind so much being forced to follow it. If, however, they are railroady in the sense that they simply rule zero stuff away for no sufficient reason, I'd leave.

3) They are too sandboxy.

They'd have to be really good and sandbox games. Otherwise it'll just feel like there isn't much reason for me to be there.

4) They play the game against you, rather than with you.

Actively nerfing you for the fun of it, designing encounters to destroy you out of malice, that sort of thing. I...am...OUTTA THERE!

valadil
2011-05-12, 09:48 PM
If it's a group of friends I'd stick it out. I'd give up on having an interesting character though and just show up to be social. Ultimately I want to encourage other people to learn to GM and that's not going to happen if I bail. I also don't want to offend my friends.

I've only once been in a game so abhorrent that I ditched it even though I was friends with all involved.

If it's a random group of gamers I don't care about I'd ditch.

If I'm using up a slot that someone else could take to join the game, I'm somewhat more likely to ditch.

Tvtyrant
2011-05-12, 11:49 PM
Honestly I don't know. I have had three DMs (other then myself :P) and two of them were related (best friend at the time and his older brother) while the other one was another friend of mine. The first one mentioned quits really early in campaigns, but knows the game well enough that they turn out fun. Besides, "I sunder the cowbell" is an awesome line.

RndmNumGen
2011-05-13, 12:38 AM
Absolutely not. I don't have a lot of free time, and I certainly don't want to waste it in a bad game. Even if I had the time, there are a lot of other things I would much rather be doing.

peacenlove
2011-05-13, 01:39 AM
Bad DM's forced me in youth to become a DM. So I curse them and bless them at the same time. :smalltongue:

Inexpirienced DM's: Long story short one of my friends decided to make a campaign. The plot was one of the most boring railroads at start (you begin in a featureless tundra with fog covering everything, this trope lasted for 3 months...), the encounters were hilariously easy (then again they should be because we were few players, and I played a nocturmancer, later I permanently dominated a bard), and we were 2 players, the other loved hogging the spotlight (a 3rd was added but he was very bloodthirsty and didn't care about RP much).

The DM learned a lot during the 1 year the campaign lasted, the plot was improved tremendously (undercover operations in pirate ships, besting the tests of wardens of a plane equivalent to Hades, decoding an ancient prophecy and the occasional smacking of vampire lords into their dungeon.) the other player learned a lot and enriched the game with his RP (we even married in game :smalltongue:), and the Pathfinder shadowcaster was born.

So with a little patience this kind of DM can be very enjoyable.

Bad DM's: Most of them do not care for the game. Usual examples: party with melee vs rust monsters, ultra powerful baddie with 4 golems, cr 10+ from us, trolls at level 1, railroad dungeon and so on.
I have encountered many who facing my optimization abilities (which are mediocre :smalltongue: but usually involve playing druids), and convincing the party of playing only druids have made them ragequit and not DMing again ... which it is probably for the better.

Jerthanis
2011-05-13, 02:06 AM
I'll only leave if I'm not having fun to such an extent that I'm no longer contributing to the game myself. If I feel like I can make a bad DM have less of an impact; whether by roleplaying seriously with his bland, non-character NPCs, or finding in-character reasons to do his stupid railroad plot, or just being a fun person to have around, I'll stay.

If I hate the game enough to snipe at or undercut the DM, just out of spite, or I find myself unable to avoid distractions, then I'll leave the game.

Yora
2011-05-13, 02:26 AM
Depends on how bad. If he's just struggling with the system and structuring the adventure, I probably wouldn't have a problem with that.
If he's annoying and has an idea of fun that consists of pissing the players off, I'd very soon leave.

AsteriskAmp
2011-05-13, 02:28 AM
I'd stay, the group can make a coup and make the DM a player again and get another one up if things get really bad, and I believe any one of us would understand the reasons for the coup.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-13, 08:22 AM
Just wondering how desperate most people are. Personally if I had a bad DM/Storyteller I'd still stay...at least until I found a better group.

I used to do that...then I decided it wasn't worth it any more. Last bad DM instance, I took over DMing from him. We later ended up kicking him out, since he wasn't working as a player either.

See, I don't see stay or go as the only two options. They are always possibilities, yes, but there are other things you can try first, such as talking to the DM, talking to the other players, swapping DMs, giving a newbie DM advice and help, etc.

But yeah, if it's bad enough, I've left a game after a single session.

Vladislav
2011-05-13, 10:08 AM
First, a bad DM doesn't automatically equal bad game, as most here seem to assume. Players also have effect, and gaming with cool player can be fun even if the DM isn't good.

Now, if the game was actually bad ... most likely, I'd stay and work from inside to make things better. I'd give it some time. For me to just up and leave, the DM would have be not just bad, not even very bad, but That Lanky Bugger level of bad.

Kislath
2011-05-13, 10:39 AM
In 30+ years of playing, I'm happy to say that I've only very rarely faced this. The situation is key. If you're in an established group where everybody takes turns being the DM, then suck it up pretend to like it. You'll be fixing things later. Otherwise... look at your fun gained vs agony expended ratio.

Roderick_BR
2011-05-13, 11:03 AM
Depends. People I don't hang around much I'd leave the game, but would still stick around. With my old gaming groups, we were all friends, so I'd stay, even if to join the silliness between scenes.
Luckly, we only had one bad DM, and whenever he tried to DM, someone else would take over. Usually me.

navar100
2011-05-13, 12:04 PM
Been there.
Left that.
Would do it again.

Once, the DM was fine. It was most of the players I didn't enjoy.

Mark Hall
2011-05-13, 01:21 PM
4) They play the game against you, rather than with you.

Actively nerfing you for the fun of it, designing encounters to destroy you out of malice, that sort of thing. I...am...OUTTA THERE!

With your specific examples, I agree, but a DM being out to get you isn't horrible, IMO. If you've got an intelligent enemy (instead of just a big sandbox with no clear opposition), then they ARE going to send things against you that you will have trouble with if they can manage it. Your wizard is going to get ambushed by golems. Your rogue is going to find himself against constructs and undead. Why? Because you hit people where they're weak.

Seb Wiers
2011-05-13, 01:31 PM
I've walked away from games I was bored with, so i guess my answer is "no, I would not stay". However, I'm not certain that the games I disliked really were the fault of a bad GM, or failed for other reasons (bad co-layers, bad system, bad circumstances). Its also likely I've enjoyed some games run by "bad" GM's, although I suppose if enough people are having fun, the GM is de-facto a good one.

Jay R
2011-05-13, 03:10 PM
Just wondering how desperate most people are. Personally if I had a bad DM/Storyteller I'd still stay...at least until I found a better group.

I can't answer until you provide more detail. What is a "bad" DM? Often, a party thinks the DM is bad when he is in fact correctly reacting to information they don't know.

In one of my first games, a party had had a TPK. My thief wasn't with them, but they had told me what happened. I found their bodies and brought them back to town, where they were revived. But none of their magic items worked. They thought the DM was being unfair. In fact, my thief had a magic bag that could make a perfect but non-functional copy of any item. I had stolen all their magic items, and made copies so they wouldn't know I'd done it. They continued for some time to believe that the DM was applying an unfair penalty.

I had one DM whose understanding of how a wish worked was "wrong" by the rules. I eventually learned how he wanted it to work and got a great deal more out of his wishes.

I saw a party who thought the DM's bad guy was reacting to DM knowledge rather than his own. Turns out they were wearing an item he made, and he could always see what they were doing.

I had one DM who would plan the bad guy's strategy based on what he heard you say after the last session. Annoying, but I learned not to mention the actual plan until time to set it in motion.

I had a Champions GM whose idea of the rules was different from mine. I learned to discuss any power with him in advance to be sure it would do what I wanted it to. No problem.

But I also left one game after a single session because the DM deliberately misinterpreted your words to cause you to do stupid things you hadn't intended.

My current DM is lethal, devious, honest and fair. A good game.

ajkkjjk52
2011-05-13, 09:14 PM
Generaly, I'd stay. A bad game is better than no game. I might try to subtly urge other players to run one-shots every few weeks in place of the normal game, or run them myself, but I understand GMing is hard work and I'm just happy to be playing.

One exception: I once joined a game, and when the player who brought me had arrived, he handed the GM a five dollar bill, and the GM said "Okay, you level." Througout the game, the GM straight up accepted bribes. 50 cents bought you a reroll of a d20, $1 bought you 1000gp, etc. It was utterly horrifying, and I never came back to that group.

Winter_Wolf
2011-05-14, 10:36 AM
Depends on the qualities that make for a bad DM. If the DM is a new one, I might stick around. I'd probably even discuss the game with him or her after the session, talking about what went wrong and what went right. If the DM is a friend, then I'd probably stick around if we did other stuff before and/or after the game. If the DM is a stubborn know it all who is ignorant, opinionated, and stubborn, then I'd rather tell them I'm done and get out. I have sadly known a young DM who hit the bad DM trifecta, and found him highly irritating in real life because it wasn't just a "DM time" problem, that's how he was ALL. THE. TIME.

Firechanter
2011-05-14, 01:29 PM
I've left games because of a bad GM before and I'd do it again. As it's been said further up: even no gaming is still better than bad gaming.

Of course I don't leave at the first hint of a mildly irritating habit of the GM. But I decide pretty quickly if it's something I can put up with or not.

Reasons why I have left games include:
- GM is hell bent on keeping the PCs "small" (i.e. poor, weak, inept, resident suckers);
- GM really only wants the players as audience for his awesome one-man-show. (often a subset of the first point)
- GM doesn't understand the system, insists on idiotic houserules etc.
- GM makes newcomers (e.g. me) play a level 1 character in a highlevel party.

ScionoftheVoid
2011-05-14, 03:41 PM
It would depend on how bad they were, really.

For example, the DM I've played under most uses critical fumble and critical hit tables, tends to tie class with given fluff and does a few other things which just grate on me a little. But I'm willing to play under him knowing that these are going to come up and that I'll have fun anyway. I run things very differently, but we all have fun either way (unfortunately he hasn't been able to play recently, I'm sure he'd give the party a little more inclination toward plans which are not rediculously dangerous and/or stupid. And I haven't been able to play 'cause noone else is ready to DM yet, lacking either experience with the rules or time and effort to come up with something).

However, I know of another DM in the area who takes all the things I dislike in the first's playstyle and dials them up to 11. I'd heard of the kind of funny things he let fly or ruled before and thought I'd be able to cope, and inquired as to joining. This was before character creation had started and before I'd seen his DMing first hand. I am very glad there was no room in the party as soon as I heard that not only were multiclass penalties in place (something I'm willing to work around or talk about with the first DM if it comes up) but that the favoured class rules were even more ludicrous and nonfunctional in his games. I then saw him directly carry over things from 2e to 3.5, a Dwarf subrace I believe. I'm okay with homebrewing an adaptation but reading the rules text from a 2e book as if it were supposed to be compatible is alien to me. And then the game started, and it was definitely not for me. That the group is far more rowdy and - in particular - loud than my usual group didn't help.

But basically, if I had joined that game I'd have left before the characters were finished. I'm not going to say that my playstyle is better to a group so obviously having fun, nor do I have the arrogance to suggest I know how to run a game better than a man who was probably doing so before I was born - having started DMing something past the level of "path through the forest with monsters and healing shrines on it, your choices are pretty much continue or go back to the last shrine and try again" (that was my first campaign and I was told the first session was enjoyable. I apparently run combat at a decent speed and difficulty with enough description for the group. I'm glad the campaign died quickly so I could improve, however. I'm only running my third adventure and the game hasn't died after about five sessions, which is very unusual for this group). He is not a bad DM, but he is not a DM I would be anything approaching comfortable playing under.

Velaryon
2011-05-14, 07:00 PM
One exception: I once joined a game, and when the player who brought me had arrived, he handed the GM a five dollar bill, and the GM said "Okay, you level." Througout the game, the GM straight up accepted bribes. 50 cents bought you a reroll of a d20, $1 bought you 1000gp, etc. It was utterly horrifying, and I never came back to that group.

^^
$ $
_O
(My terrible attempt to make a face with dollar signs for eyes).

I would like to run a game for these players.

Kislath
2011-05-15, 09:10 AM
Wow.
I've been offered money to run games before, ( I've got a reputation for excellence :) ) but never offered cash while IN-game. That's too bizarre for words.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-05-15, 09:31 AM
^^
$ $
_O
(My terrible attempt to make a face with dollar signs for eyes).

I would like to run a game for these players.

I wouldn't accept five dollars for a level, but for the d20 reroll and the 1000 gold, I'd accept it for that. After all, the PCs are supposed to win most fights, and clever characters can break WBL anyway.

Quietus
2011-05-15, 09:44 AM
I've left a game before, but it was due to a conglomeration of things. It became clear early on after I'd joined that their playstyle was vastly different from mine. Very linear, combat focused, with a "melee can't have nice things" line of thought, where a dungeoncrashing duergar capable of doing the same damage as the party wizard's fireball, but to one target, was too strong. I was actually specifically asked to not use my class features as much after that.. meh, whatever. I stayed, because it was more fun to go and hang out than it was to not do so.

After a bit, the DM decided to un-gestalt our characters, which I took in stride. I did get the feeling he was a little annoyed, however, that where everyone else's characters were clearly "One side is this, the other side is that", I'd built my character with both sides adding to and enhancing each other, making it harder to strip him apart. We worked that out, though, and everything was fine.

Then came the ****storm. One of the players couldn't show up for a day; It was declared that my character was busy doing something else, and I would play the other player's character for that day. Whatever, it was one session. Then his wife left the game, due to busy life. And one of our regular players. By the end, it was down to three players, and we were approaching Christmas.

I find out, over Christmas, that apparently something about me bothers his wife - no one had told me about this, but whatever. It was basically put as "She can't stand my face", and I'm pretty sure I wasn't intended to be included in that particular email, but meh. Then the DM decided that we were switching to pathfinder, that my character would be retired, and that I would play one of the old player's characters, completely redesigned by the DM. I politely informed him that since I appeared to be causing potential household issues, and since I don't play D&D to play someone else's character that I haven't even had a say in deciding anything about mechanically or fluffwise, I didn't think the game suited me any longer, and that I wouldn't be rejoining the game when they restarted in January. To my knowledge, no bad blood exists between he and I, though I've had no contact with him since.

Jay R
2011-05-15, 03:22 PM
I once joined a game, and when the player who brought me had arrived, he handed the GM a five dollar bill, and the GM said "Okay, you level."

Gosh, I guess I completely misunderstood what WBL meant.

Absol197
2011-05-15, 06:22 PM
Luckily, I have had very little problems with bad DMs. There is one exception, though, and in that case I did indeed leave the game.

In high school, this guy was the only one with solid DMing experience, so we always allowed him to run the games. Unfortunately, he was one of those types who thinks the point of the game is "the DM vs. the Party." He purposefully misinterpreted everything you said so that it would be to your detriment, every NPC in the world was at least 5 levels higher than the party and had extremely twitchy trigger fingers, so that you had to walk on eggshells to avoid making anyone mad, or else you died (several times he even flat out said, "You die," and offered no other explination).

The worst part, however, was that I wanted to try out a different character archetype. I was playing a smart rogue (17 Int), who specialized in crafting and using a large assortment of alchemical items that he could use in a variety of situations. This rogue also used a warhammer in combat, and was huge (439 lbs., I believe). Halfway through the first session, once I had begun to do fights in the method that this character would use, the DM says to me, "change your character. I want to run a game for a standard sneaky, Dextrous rogue."

I finished the session, but afterwards I talked to all the other players and we started a different campaign for the next day. Didn't talk to the guy about it, which probably wasn't the nicest move, but hey, I was in high school :smallredface:

Ozreth
2011-05-15, 06:32 PM
I'd leave, take the other players with me, and start a new game.

ericgrau
2011-05-15, 06:33 PM
I think it all boils down to whether or not the game worse than nothing or alternative activities. I've had varying DMs but none quite that bad yet. Maybe close sometimes. The other issue is that I don't have time to DM myself, so I'm not horribly picky even if something could be better.