PDA

View Full Version : DM Help Am I justified being as angry as I am right now?



lytokk
2015-01-22, 09:34 AM
So I'm running a 3.5 game and something hapenned last night that just royally pissed me off. The group meets once a month because thats all our schedules will allow. Three weeks ago I sent out a message to the group asking if this upcoming saturday would work for a session, which got no replies. Taking this to mean no one would have issues, yesterday I sent out another message reminding people of the game which is normal for the group. Come to find out one member won't be able to be there, as her work is sending her off this weekend. This has happened with her last minute from time to time, and I understand. I don't know if this was last minute or not, but it happens.

Another member of the group later mentioned that he was going to be late due to a disc golf tournament he was going to be in. I know he knows about these things weeks in advance. Him and me had been texting off and on in the previous few weeks about the game time, and this is the first he mentioned he won't be able to make it. He says he'll be late, but I know how his tournaments go and he's going to end up missing the entire session.

Right now I'm livid. I know things come up, but just tell me more than 3 days before the game. The previous session had to start late due to there being some nice weather, and the fact that I had to have my eyes dialated at a eye dr. appointment. Said session also had to end early due to two players making plans after the game. Session ended with the golfer running into the middle of a pack of goblins. He NEEDED to be there.

I feel like I bought tickets to an event for everyone in the group, only to be told right before that people wouldn't be able to make it. I'm wasting my time for people who can't even be bothered to check their calendars. I'm also getting mad because we're all grown adults and I'm getting this upset over a game.

/vent.

Thinker
2015-01-22, 09:55 AM
My gaming group has had issues with people being able to make it to games for years. We handle it by simply ignoring the character when the player is missing and then the character magically appears again when the player is available. It works well.

Rondodu
2015-01-22, 09:58 AM
Three weeks ago I sent out a message to the group asking if this upcoming saturday would work for a session, which got no replies. Taking this to mean no one would have issues, yesterday I sent out another message reminding people of the game which is normal for the group
That’s… weird. I certainly never understand no answer to mean to me “Fine with me.” I actually would be pissed off at people for not answering that message in the first place, not because they aren’t available at a date they never told me they were available in the first place.

hymer
2015-01-22, 10:01 AM
@ OP: I can certainly see where your anger is coming from. A good experience that you've been looking forward to for weeks has been yanked out from under you at short notice. That's frustrating! I think you have every right to be angry right now.
But I also think that you need to get a lid on it before you talk to the others about it. You need to be calm when you take this matter up with the group, as I think you should. It sounds like the game is being prioritized lower these days than it used to be, and this could be a symptom. You all need to get on the same page, have the same expectations.
And don't forget, those tickets are good for the next show too! You just need to get the group together, then your money aren't wasted.

lytokk
2015-01-22, 10:02 AM
That’s… weird. I certainly never understand no answer to mean to me “Fine with me.” I actually would be pissed off at people for not answering that message in the first place, not because they aren’t available at a date they never told me they were available in the first place.

The thing is, they never told me they weren't available. When the question is asked "does this date work for everyone" and no one responds, I have to assume that no one has conflicts. But it was more than likely wrong of me to assume and I should have followed up.


@ OP: I can certainly see where your anger is coming from. A good experience that you've been looking forward to for weeks has been yanked out from under you at short notice. That's frustrating! I think you have every right to be angry right now.
But I also think that you need to get a lid on it before you talk to the others about it. You need to be calm when you take this matter up with the group, as I think you should. It sounds like the game is being prioritized lower these days than it used to be, and this could be a symptom. You all need to get on the same page, have the same expectations.
And don't forget, those tickets are good for the next show too! You just need to get the group together, then your money aren't wasted.

Thats why, other than cancelling the main game and asking the remaining players if they want to run a one shot, I haven't said anything.

Palanan
2015-01-22, 10:22 AM
Originally Posted by lytokk
When the question is asked "does this date work for everyone" and no one responds, I have to assume that no one has conflicts.

I understand it's frustrating when no one responds--deeply frustrating--but that lack of response shouldn't be taken as silent agreement to attend. The only way to be sure is if people actively tell you "yes." Otherwise there are simply too many possible reasons for why people can't make it.

In the groups I've been in, we tended to keep in close email contact, and would work out the gaming schedule based on when we could assemble a quorum of players. Usually people were very good about letting everyone know if they could make the date or not.


Originally Posted by lytokk
But it was more than likely wrong of me to assume and I should have followed up.

Yes.

But your players also could've helped by actually responding one way or another. They do bear a measure of responsibility for dropping the ball. So, to answer your question--no, not a cause for overheating, but certainly a good moment to step up the communication all around.

Kol Korran
2015-01-22, 10:24 AM
I think you are right to be livid. My gaming group also meets about once a month, and we value our gaming time. Sometime making a session happen is like jumping through hoops, so if someone pulled a stunt like this, yeah, we'd be pissed. Thing is, this isn't something directly game related- this is common decency between people who have arranged to meet.

This begs the question: DO these players do this for all kind of engagements, or is this particularly with the game. If it's the former- there is little you can do about this, as it's part of their personaity and how they handle themselves, their time and their engagements. If it's the latter though- Why do they feel they can do this so freely? I think this is worth checking out. Some people consider some engagements (Say D&D?) as "less serious/ less demanding" and allow themselves "liberties" they wouldn't do otherwise. Or maybe they think that since for them it's "no big deal", then it's not for the rest either? If so, put them straight, or adjust expectations.

In any case, I suggest at the next session to talk this over, and set "group rules" as to what is to be expected.

Segev
2015-01-22, 10:28 AM
This is a breakdown of communication and assumptions on the part of all. While frustrating, and I can sympathize, the best solution is probably to take steps to improve communication.

Explain the assumptions you made, and that you will change them based on these events. In the future, emails should ask if a date is okay and spell out that you need a reply. There should be follow-up emails each week, to confirm with those who have said "yes" (and to remind them to keep it open) and to pester those who've not answered to reply. And, if you get "no"s, to let people know that it doesn't work for so-and-so, and to try to reschedule.

There are google scheduling tools that allow everybody in a group to label times that are good for them. I would see about finding one of those and seeing if an obvious "everyone is available" window is visible. Send out an email explaining that this time is open for everyone, and ask them if it's okay and to schedule that time for the next game session.


Again, your ire is understandable, but unhelpful to your cause, here.

arcane_asp
2015-01-22, 11:28 AM
I can totally sympathise with this, especially if you are DM for the game. You will have to be prepared in advance, whereas the players just have to show up. If they cancel, they haven't wasted any time, but you may have!

Some people hate saying "No" to others, it may be that if they couldn't make it they just decided not to reply rather than reply negative. That's their problem, although it doesn't make it any easier for you.

Raging doesn't help though, unfortunately :smallfrown:

I used to have this problem, and I also got furious with late cancels. In the end, it happened so much, I ended cherry picking the players who were most committed from a few different groups and making a new group. It works much much better, and the remains of the old groups do sometimes ask when their next session is. I have fun debating on whether to bother replying to them about it :smallsmile:

Mr.Moron
2015-01-22, 11:29 AM
Well people have priorities and act accordingly. They'll put things more important to them higher and less important to them lower. When it comes to interacting with people, you just gotta make a personal call as to if you're high enough on their priority list to give them a place on yours.

If folks are consistently ditching you last moment you can either tolerate it in peace, or you can just drop them. It's healthier than staying invested in them being mad that they aren't invested.It's realistic than expecting anyone to change their priorities for your sake.

ComaVision
2015-01-22, 11:42 AM
I have 7 players in my game, which means I typically have 3 - 5 players for any specific session. I plan encounters and challenges for 4 players, as the ones missing games more often are also less experienced players. I also never end sessions on a cliff-hanger, so I'm never dependent on one person for the next session.

Obviously, character hooks are only used on characters whose players have good attendance. I used to get angry about cancellations (particularly last minute ones) but I'm used to it now. I could cull the worse players and replace them but the game is going fine so I just don't stress about it.

Mark Hall
2015-01-22, 11:51 AM
IMO, you really don't. You sent a message, got zero responses, and assumed that everything was OK. I can understand being frustrated, but I'd save your anger for positive responses that turn into last-minute nos.

lytokk
2015-01-22, 12:18 PM
Lack of responses have somewhat become the norm for the group, and I had to start assuming that no response was an affirmative. This has been a problem months in the making. Everyone is interested in playing, but people just don't respond. Some of this may have had some to do with the planning taking place over facebook messenger, which people do have a tendency to forget about.

I should take responsibility for the lack of a followup. I dropped the ball on this. Still upset though.

BWR
2015-01-22, 12:23 PM
Gotta agree with most of the rest, you aren't particularly justified.
Your feelings are your own, certainly, and no one should tell you how you must feel. Feel free to blow off steam.
However, people have their own lives. Sometimes real life issues get in the way. Sometimes people intend to answer but don't. Sometimes they get distracted and let you know too late. Sometimes they simply think other pastimes are more important than game night. Sometimes there are miscommunications.
Best thing to do is a combination of 1) talking to this player and 2) letting someone else run the PC.
I don't see why 2 is such a big deal for some people. My groups do it all the time. Not everyone can make game night every time and PCs are almost always involved in something important. Pretending that PC isn't there is just ridiculous. Most everyone in my groups knows enough about how the various PCs act to make a decent stab at that, and we tone down any heavy RP aspects involving that PC. Merely controlling in combat is easy. Start doing this and watch gaming become a lot easier and more enjoyable.
To go on to 1, just calm down and next time you talk to this player, just explain your position. Explain your position and ask if he could maybe be a bit more careful when replying because it would make your life easier. Be calm, be almost apologetic for bringing up the issue and most people will respond well.

Kiero
2015-01-22, 12:30 PM
You feel what you feel, justification is kind of irrelevant. Other people have covered the expectation mismatch.

Really, though, this is what happens with infrequent games; and monthly is as good as infrequent. People forget, they don't build it into their habitual schedules, the enthusiasm from the last time wears off, and so on.

People who can't be bothered to reply to an email do annoy me, but it's something I accept as part of modern life.

lytokk
2015-01-22, 12:38 PM
#2 is an issue at this point as his character put himself into a very deadly situation that we were unable to resolve at the end of the last session. Normally when he is unable to attend his wife runs his character for him. He put himself as the lone target in a room with a group of bloodthirsty killers, thinking he could talk to them, completely forgetting the entire setting where everything in this area will attack and kill you on sight. Most likely, he's going to die, unless he can think of a way out of this. I don't want to put this responsibility on another player.

A few months ago, we set up scheduling and attendance rules. If two people aren't able to attend, we cancel the game and try and find something else to do. As its a story driven game, having two people absent tends to muck things up when PC's subplots are tied into the main plot.

Vitruviansquid
2015-01-22, 12:50 PM
Players are the worst.

When they see each other flaking, they go "man, *someone* should really take charge or recruit new players or whatever, so we can keep the game going" and then when you get on their case for flaking, they're all "why you stress, mate? It's just a game."

All the while they have like no preparatory work for these sessions, and no idea of how much effort and skill the DM is devoting every week (or month, as it might be) to keeping the game alive.

Kiero
2015-01-22, 01:13 PM
A few months ago, we set up scheduling and attendance rules. If two people aren't able to attend, we cancel the game and try and find something else to do. As its a story driven game, having two people absent tends to muck things up when PC's subplots are tied into the main plot.

We have a "backup game" which only runs when someone can't make it. It's a completely different game, intended to be episodic in nature. That way, for the sake of one person cancelling, we don't have a missed session.

Honest Tiefling
2015-01-22, 02:46 PM
These people have made it clear that the game is not worth 5 minutes to confirm that they can be there, or to check that they could be there. It isn't, as others have said, a huge priority for them. If they expect you to have a very well planned out game that requires a great deal of effort, I think you have every right to be annoyed. I have to wonder if they see it more as an oppurtunity to hang out as opposed as a serious game, however.

I think it would be reasonable to start running a side game or another group if this continues to happen after you have made it clear (calmy, preferably. Take a few days to think on it) that this bothers you and they keep doing it.

lytokk
2015-01-22, 03:19 PM
We have a "backup game" which only runs when someone can't make it. It's a completely different game, intended to be episodic in nature. That way, for the sake of one person cancelling, we don't have a missed session.

We had talked about doing that, even ran a few sessions. Disc golfer and his wife have been hosting the games as me and my wife didn't have the space. He was supposed to DM the backup game, as he figured being the host would mean he'd not miss a session.

nrg89
2015-01-22, 03:39 PM
I think everyone is familiar with lytokk's story and I have had this happen to me too many times. I moved from my home town (population: one million people) to a small village on the other side of the country (population: 900 people, and yes, that's two zeros) directly after high school and there wasn't much I could do to find a new game so I played when I returned to my family back home during the holidays and summer. Most of the times, it clicked and everything worked brilliantly. Other times, they were informed well in advance that I was on my way but still ended up going to concerts, movies and (unavoidably) cramming sessions for a linear algebra exam with a few hours notice. The latter I understand, you can't control it if work, school or your family sets an ultimatum and DnD is not that important, but goddamn concerts?
This meant months before our next chance of playing and after a while I couldn't care less any more.

After I moved to a mid-size city (100 000+ people) I found new players and I honestly think that if over scheduled players is a problem you need to address it with the group, and if that doesn't solve it, seriously question the group composition. Do you really need the players who keep disrespecting the time you set aside for all of this (and they're not wasting their time, only you did)? Because if they don't change after you make it clear this isn't cool, they don't think they need you. Finding new players is much easier than many believe.

caden_varn
2015-01-22, 03:54 PM
I understand where you are coming from here, but you HAVE to get out of the 'no response means it's OK' position. I've been there and done that and ended up spitting with rage too. And it is not worth it.

Spell out to them EXACTLY what you expect in the communication -
'Are people OK to continue on Saturday the 30th? Respond by the 15th if so, I will take no response to mean you cannot make it, and will cancel the session if so. And if anything changes, please let me know asap'

Do it every for every session, and on the deadline send out a message saying that the game is cancelled as ppl cannot make it. If they protest, be friendly and polite, but ask them to reread the message. If you have a session with them first, tell them, again in a friendly and polite manner, that you will be requiring a specific response to the communication or you will assume they are not free.

The DM generally has more invested in a game than the players, and players who have never DMed, or DM very little, may not understand the investment that the DM makes.

People have to prioritise their time, and some members of your group may prioritise it higher than others. Given the group nature of the game, anyone who is unwilling to place a reasonable priority to it (and thus to the group in general and DM in particular) may have to accept that they don't have a place in the group anymore. There is nothing wrong with this, they just have their priorities elsewhere. Best to move on in a friendly manner.

veti
2015-01-24, 11:31 PM
This is a breakdown of communication and assumptions on the part of all. While frustrating, and I can sympathize, the best solution is probably to take steps to improve communication.

Explain the assumptions you made, and that you will change them based on these events. In the future, emails should ask if a date is okay and spell out that you need a reply. There should be follow-up emails each week, to confirm with those who have said "yes" (and to remind them to keep it open) and to pester those who've not answered to reply. And, if you get "no"s, to let people know that it doesn't work for so-and-so, and to try to reschedule.

There are google scheduling tools that allow everybody in a group to label times that are good for them. I would see about finding one of those and seeing if an obvious "everyone is available" window is visible. Send out an email explaining that this time is open for everyone, and ask them if it's okay and to schedule that time for the next game session.


Again, your ire is understandable, but unhelpful to your cause, here.

To seconds this: Yes, you've had a frustrating experience, but you need to get that frustration under control before you try to deal with it.

Email is a really poor way of setting this sort of thing up. Emails just aren't compelling, either to answer or do anything about. We can thank both spammers and employers for that. Better would be some kind of scheduling system, that would monitor for you who's responded (and let everyone else see too). The only catch is that it has to be something they actually want to use.

How about, after each session, you do an entertaining write up of events, including such pertinent and compelling information as "running XP totals", and post that online. But to read it, you'd need to be logged in to the same service as the calendar, and only one click away from it.