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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    I've been reviewing my old campaign notes and logs, and I've come to a conclusion. I'm simply not cut out to be a DM, and I'm fine with that. I've got an extreme aversion to confrontation, which makes it hard to say "No" to anything a player tries to do. Sure, saying "No" outright is kind of bad form, but I've found it to be a necessity in certain cases (one of my players seemed to be allergic to reasonable thoughts). I'm also not nearly a group leader, and have problems making myself heard. I'd give a brief description of something, and by the time I'd said four words, I was being talked over and interrupted for bizarre questions. My assertiveness leaves much to be desired overall, so even if I've made it explicit and crystal clear that something is a certain way, I'd typically get steamrolled into something else, lest a player pitch a fit and take up even more time. I am a nervous speaker if I feel more than one or two sets of eyes on me, so much of my speaking time is spent fumbling and forgetting what I was saying.

    All in all, the combined factors from my lack of extroversion and people skills even in small groups has led me to believe that I'm just not made to be a DM. Annoyingly, the few times I've been in the role of a player, I've been able to avoid tripping myself up. It may have something to do with the responsibilities that come with running the game, or the perceived pressure that everything hinges on my ability to juggle nearly everything.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Have you considered Play-by-Post? It seems to me that that would address several of your specific issues:

    • It's easier to be assertive when you're only sitting in front of a computer screen.
    • You can't be interrupted (ninjas notwithstanding); when you hit 'post', your entire train of thought goes up in an instant.
    • You have more time to organise your thoughts, and a digital log of everything that's been said.
    • In-character speech and out-of-character tabletalk are usually segregated into different threads, so the game can't be derailed, even if a player throws a fit (which, unfortunately, can still happen).

    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2016-12-11 at 09:01 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    I second the above post.

    Also, have you considered co-DM'ing? I will happily admit I'm a crap RL DM in the flesh; while I can do worldbuilding, plots etc I really fail due to the fact I've got a concentration span of around 5 minutes and I'm easily distracted by tangents. Which means if it was a tabletop, I must have a co-DM to actually keep things running.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    If you can't be a good DM, that's fine.

    Be a good player.

    Seriously, being a good player will majorly contribute to the fun of a group, including your own fun.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    If you can't be a good DM, that's fine.

    Be a good player.

    Seriously, being a good player will majorly contribute to the fun of a group, including your own fun.
    That's some solid advice there. Work with your DM, build fun characters, don't overshadow other party members... You'll have a good time.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    It's OK not to DM.

    My experience is that most people aren't good at DM-ing anyway. I'm just about competent at it and out of a dozen or so other DMs I've experienced (small sample size), one is better than me and the others worse, in my opinion.

    I also don't have to deal with a rambunctious, argumentative group of dominant personalities and if I did, I probably wouldn't bother.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    I would third trying pbp GMing. I'm not a very good GM IRL, bit am pretty good at running pbp games.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    I think, that even if the DM isn't very good, ( by which I don't mean people who try to kill the players, railroad way too much, or have a DMPC that hogs all the glory, I mean bad at world building, doesn't know the rules well, etc.) you can still have fun with the right players. I recently played with a new DM and new group, and half the people in the game left. Me and a new player ended up playing two characters each, spent an hour on two rounds of combat, and still had a lot of fun. So stop DMing if you want to, but don't feel like you have to.
    Last edited by Freed; 2016-12-11 at 05:23 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Never say never.

    Perhaps someday the right group will pop up that you can DM.

    Perhaps after a few years of focusing on playing you'll pick up tricks from some DM's.

    We all aren't a natural at everything, I shouldn't be a tow-truck driver for example, but we can dabble.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Taffy View Post
    All in all, the combined factors from my lack of extroversion and people skills even in small groups has led me to believe that I'm just not made to be a DM. Annoyingly, the few times I've been in the role of a player, I've been able to avoid tripping myself up. It may have something to do with the responsibilities that come with running the game, or the perceived pressure that everything hinges on my ability to juggle nearly everything.
    Firstly, if you don't want to DM you don't have to DM - it's fine to give it up. With that said, there are ways to reduce the perceived pressure and responsibilities. For instance, if you're also usually the host you might be able to dodge that; there are lighter systems that are easier to run, etc. The biggest thing is that you have a group of rambunctious high energy players - that works great for some people (I've had some fun games that I ran for rambunctious high energy players that worked as well as they did precisely because that's the kind of players I had), it doesn't for others. You sound better suited to dealing with a generally quieter and lower energy group, and I'd give DMing for that sort of group a try before giving it up entirely.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Out of curiosity, what originally drew you to DMing? Was it a sense of obligation, or do you legitimately like the world and encounter building aspect of things?

    If moreso the latter, I'll second the recommendation of a co-DM. There's often people who hate the prep work of DMing but enjoy the act of actually running the game, so if your problem is actually running things at the table, having someone cover that end of things while you do more of the prep work ends up working for everybody. Depending on the group dynamic you may even be able to get away with actively playing a character while assisting the DM between sessions with prep.

    That said, I agree with everyone else saying it's fine not to DM. It's not something everyone is going to enjoy and not something you have to do if you feel like it's not working out the way you'd hope. But on that note, how long have you been DMing for? Because I've noticed the problems you described tend to be common with newer DMs, but tends to fade away just with experience and building personal confidence.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Sorry to hear you want to hang up your mantle, good DMs are hard to find.

    Maybe some experience with other groups and other DMs may one day change your mind. Maybe not. Either way, do what's best for you.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Good DMs are indeed hard to find, and from the fact you mention notes and logs, maybe you had some really great ideas.

    So have you tried DMing for people who aren't acting like selfish brats? If people throw a fit during the game and talk over the DM...I wouldn't even want to be a player alongside them!
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Thank you to those who've posted encouraging comments here. That's most of you, by the way, though not to say the rest have been discouraging.

    What drew me to being a DM was, honestly, the lack of anyone else in the group willing to do it. My first foray as DM was in a game called Living Legends (Created by Dan Felder). It's a free system and very easy to improvise in, so it was perfect for my first campaign. My players had been wanting to start a campaign for a while, but I'd had a falling out with one of them (I've mentioned him before), so there was a longish pause before we got this one going. Things went well, at first, but it quickly became clear that player expectations were not matching up with what the system offered. Combat in Living Legends is meant to be loose and reasonably unrestricted, but the players wanted a grid on which to move and clear indications of where they were at all times. I wound up reworking the combat for the game into basically D&D 4e's system, which led to jarring swings between combat and roleplay, and this caused the players to protest whenever combat came up, since it took too long. This, despite my original and repeated explanations that the system's combat was meant to be fast-paced and not even remotely as tactical as 4e.

    That campaign fizzled out in the spring, due to certain reasons I'm not quite comfortable bringing up here, since the wound is still somewhat open. Suffice it to say, there was a three-month period during which regular game nights became impractical. During this hiatus, I discovered 4e and took an immediate liking to it, and shared my enthusiasm with the group. They agreed to try out a campaign, and we got an outline going and characters created. I put the advice I'd gotten during the hiatus to use and suggested a Session 0, which went... well, not badly, but not exactly well, either. The player with whom I'd had a falling out previously had created a character who effectively ignored everyone who wasn't at the top of his internalised pecking order, which made establishing a party needlessly difficult. This was when he wasn't trying to be the party face, when he'd created an antisocial fighter.

    The other two players, one returning from the Living Legends campaign and even importing his character from there, the other being my girlfriend (I know, I know), had a bit of a slow start adjusting to the system, but proved to be quick learners. The importer quickly took up the mantle of party face, to great effect. He was absolutely ideal for that role in that campaign, even if he occasionally stole the show a bit. My girlfriend fell naturally into the role of the thief, with her hybrid Rogue/Bard pixie character. Her character was sassy and sticky-fingered, and she served as a great companion to the imported guy.

    That's the abridged version of how that campaign went. I've posted a much more detailed account in the 4e subforum, if you'd like more of that. Even though they (mostly) fell naturally into their roles in-character, I still had problems with the three of them out-of-character. It got to the point where I felt as though I was on a game show half the time, and if I didn't hit the buzzer and answer their questions quickly enough, I would just get bombarded even further. I was increasingly disincentivised from giving anything but an immediate "Yes, you do that and it works perfectly", because anything else was met with loud protesting from the player I ultimately cut ties with.

    Perhaps he was the largest problem all along, really, but as the saying goes, "Once bitten, twice shy." I suppose one day I might return to being a DM, since I thought I did a decent job of it, the few times I wasn't steamrolled into playing yes-man. For now, though, I'm going to see how it feels to be a player. I've only been in a player role for two-and-a-half sessions (one was cut short for certain reasons), but I did enjoy it, and would like to try it out more.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    If you can't be a good DM, that's fine.

    Be a good player.

    Seriously, being a good player will majorly contribute to the fun of a group, including your own fun.
    Yes, being a good player is as important as being a good GM.

    On the other hand, I dont think you should give up being GM. Just take a break - rotate GM duty for a few months to others - then jump back on the horse. The more you do it the better you'll get.

    edit - also, your players might just be jerks, interrupting you and trying to do nonsensical sh*t all the time. In which case,.. try roll20 for better players.
    Last edited by Psikerlord; 2016-12-14 at 03:05 AM.
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    To do any activity well, you need to learn. That takes practice and work.

    I never wanted to learn to play football well, so I didn't do the work, and never learned it.
    I wanted to learn to fence well, so I did the practice and work, and got good at it.

    You now know what you need to learn to be a good DM.

    OK, decide if you want to do the work to learn how to do it well. It's a learnable skill, like any other.

    If you don't to learn to DM well, then fine: don't do the work,and don't DM.
    If you want to learn to DM well, then fine: Do the work and practice and training to learn to do it well.

    But either way, don't fool yourself that you're just "not cut out to be a DM". Any skill you care about, from math to football to camping to DM, requires work.

    You can work on people skills. You can be as good as you want to be.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Taffy View Post
    What drew me to being a DM was, honestly, the lack of anyone else in the group willing to do it.
    Ah, this old chestnut. Sadly, it is a common reason people foray into being a DM. Not as a calling, but because unless you do it, no gaming will happen.

    Being a DM is a lot of work even for the most casual of DMs, and often a thankless job. It works out better if the person becomes a DM because they enjoy world building and game running, since it becomes a labor of love, but when someone is in it because they are the only one willing to do it, it feels less like fun and more like an obligation.

    Not to say that people who do such are bad DMs or games can't work out that way, they certainly can. However, they only really work if the players understand the work being put in for them and respect the DM, allowing them to have fun too.

    See, the DM has as much right to fun as any player, and should be given a little bit of extra rope because of all the work they put in. (Not to say there aren't selfish DMs but that is another story). Selfish or inconsiderate players can make a reluctant DM quit a lot easier than one doing it because they love the craft.

    I hope you are able to eventually find non-toxic players that will provide the sort of environment you can DM in some time.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Marmot View Post
    Being a DM is a lot of work even for the most casual of DMs, and often a thankless job. It works out better if the person becomes a DM because they enjoy world building and game running, since it becomes a labor of love, but when someone is in it because they are the only one willing to do it, it feels less like fun and more like an obligation.
    It depends. I'll grant that in most editions the mechanics alone are a lot of work, but a heavily improvisational style can get by with surprisingly little work. It's still going to suck if you don't enjoy running the game though.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Def nothing wrong with this. In fact probably better than trying to be the worst kind of DM, the one who wants to please everyone. Because it just can't be done. lol
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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    You can work on people skills. You can be as good as you want to be.
    QFT (sorta). I've made amazing strides in my own interaction and communication skills; now, instead of hanging out with me because everyone else rejects them, some people actually enjoy my company. My grad-level course in management said leadership was a trainable skill and showed proof to back up the claim. "Good as you want to be" may be overstating the case, but social skills can definitely be improved. Exercise that mental muscle and it'll grow.

    @Delicious Taffy: I'd suggest assertiveness training and public speaking classes, not for the sake of better DMing, but because improving those skills can let you feel a lot better in various parts of life.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    I have run games because I wanted to, and games because somebody had to. The former is fun, the latter is work. You can have both situations, but if even a drop of necessity sneaks in it will start to rob the fun from being DM.

    I have never met a DM who did not enjoy playing as well(although the balance was often skewed towards being DM). Most DM's I know or have played under/with enjoy playing as a PC, if only sometimes. Every memorable NPC is a character they want to play. It is good to step away from it and be a player. Having been DM, you will be a much better player than somebody who has never seen the other side. You can really empathize with the DM, understand the work they put in, likely have a stronger grasp on the rules and mechanics than other players, and overall better the gaming experience for the entire table.

    It also helps to step away from it for a while; to stop having to worry about building worlds, NPC's, encounters, treasure hordes, and instead focusing on building and playing your one single little character, that one figure in the vast game universe.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geddy2112 View Post
    I have never met a DM who did not enjoy playing as well(although the balance was often skewed towards being DM). Most DM's I know or have played under/with enjoy playing as a PC, if only sometimes.
    Oh, there are some. Usually control freaks you don't really want as DM.


    Usually when "No one wants to DM" i propose introduction of rotating DMs (so the burden is shared somewhat equally) and using moduls (so that less work is required)

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Usually when "No one wants to DM" i propose introduction of rotating DMs (so the burden is shared somewhat equally) and using moduls (so that less work is required)
    My buddy and I did a campaign rotating between the two of us. We shared a single PC too... who had multiplicity personality disorder. (My half of the character always who a helmet where his face couldn't be seen... he was blind.)

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    It depends. I'll grant that in most editions the mechanics alone are a lot of work, but a heavily improvisational style can get by with surprisingly little work. It's still going to suck if you don't enjoy running the game though.
    Even under the best circumstances where enemy stats and treasure and such can be picked up easily and quickly, you still have to find maps, design encounters, and more importantly slesh out your world. You have to come up with personalities for your NPCs to make them memorable, make custom villains who actually have some personality as well. At least I do.

    You have to come up with a plot, a reason for adventurers to do what they do. The dungeon crawl with room after room of inexplicable monsters and loot will be fun for a while, but the party will tire of it eventually.

    Of course if you are using modules, you don't have to come up with much, but then you are giving various levels of creative control over to the publisher. Don't get me wrong, modules can be invaluable as a resource, especially if you need a quick dungeon, but to me it always feels like you're running someone else's game unless you heavily modify the module.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealth Marmot View Post
    Even under the best circumstances where enemy stats and treasure and such can be picked up easily and quickly, you still have to find maps, design encounters, and more importantly slesh out your world. You have to come up with personalities for your NPCs to make them memorable, make custom villains who actually have some personality as well. At least I do.
    I'm not arguing with that (for the most part, maps are one of those things that is extremely game dependent). However, within the context of certain systems where the system side isn't prohibitive all of that can be done on the fly if you have the proper skill set for improvisation. To some extent that's just pushing the work up front, in that you need to already have a mental framework organized around a bunch of game relevant details, but if you have that you're good.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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  26. - Top - End - #26
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Having gone through your stories on past experiences in this thread? I'm getting the impression that you're probably a decent DM, and what's scaring you away from it isn't an actual lack of skill, but a problem player making you think that you do.

    I've had a similar experience in a home brewed Campaign I used to run, I tried to be rather loose with how I ran things, preferring to just improvise things and give players the benefit of the doubt most of the time. And for 3/4 (5/6 if you count visiting, non-weekly friends) players? That worked wonders, they shined brilliantly in the campaign and had a lot of great moment. But then there was the last player, who long story short decided everything he could and should do would be solving problems with explosions, and took any offered opportunity to expand his character as a chance to petition for more explosives, and if he wasn't getting it (Ex: Double Damage for throwing two Grenades at once... Note that DR was a significant mechanic in this system) he'd be liable to get angry, claiming he wasn't being respected and then storm out, and then later his "attempt" to fix it would be to proposition house rule after house rule to obtain said broken thing, where the DM (me) putting his foot down as simply 'not being co-operative'.

    Basically, I could have easily taken this experience and told myself "I'm not a good DM. I can't make this player happy". But it's important to remember that sometimes the Player can be the one causing issues. Sometime's the issue is just a difference in play styles, other times the Player/DM intends for Malice, where their objective isn't really to play the game but assert dominance over the group (both in-game and out of game). It's important when you face an issue like what you've described that you've thought it over, looked at the angles, and considered exactly who in the group can be responsible for what, and why.

    Like for you? I'd first look over your dynamics with each of your players. How many of them do you have these issues with? If it's all or most, then either you're making a slip up as a DM, or you and your players just have different playing styles. If the former, ask your players for advice and feedback, if the latter maybe you aren't the right person to DM for that group, but you could make a good DM in another group. If these issues are only happening with a minority (or one) players though? Then the issue is likely more specific, where either the player is doing something wrong, or once again a difference in play styles. If it's the former, try to question what exactly is causing it? When has it shown up? Why would it have shown up? Has the issues been more the player just getting excited? Or were they getting hostile/aggressive? And try discussing it with the player, explain your situation to them and try to understand there's. Ideally you two should be able to come up with a solution, but sometimes the Player just isn't willing to co-operate and/or has an agenda, in which case... cut them lose, your games will be better for it. If it's the latter? Like I said above, maybe they just aren't the right player for that group, but would flourish in another group.

    All that being said though, if you genuinely believe that you aren't a Good DM then I respect that. I just want you to think over and ask yourself if that's truly what you think, or if that's an idea someone else has implanted into you.
    Oh hello! :)

    Please note if you are replying to one of my d&d 3.5 topics asking about a character build, I just feel the need to inform you that there's a 95% chance I won't be using the character. I jump ideas, inspirations and motivations far too often and rarely end up sticking with a concept into play sadly.

    But I enjoy being able to learn more on D&D and builds through the topics and giving the mind exercises for those who want it.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Moncton NB
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Seems to me a genre change (from fantasy to sci-fi) or a system change to something more Narrative (like Dungeon World or Fate) where telling players 'no' becomes 'yes, and' by the rules. :)

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    If you can't be a good DM, that's fine.

    Be a good player.

    Seriously, being a good player will majorly contribute to the fun of a group, including your own fun.
    This. My forever-GM tried to quit GMing due to burnout, asked the rest of us to GM, and he acted like the most entitled brat possible when playing, started sulking and crying whenever something happened that he didn't like. And you know what? He got to hop back behind the GM screen, and now the rest of us get to watch him keep on burning.

    So act like a good player. Be respectful, let go of the reins, don't try and control the new GM's world, think about what the new GM must be feeling like when dealing with your shenanigans. I say this for not only for that GM's sake, but for your own as well.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Mr Blobby's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016

    Default Re: Pretty much done being a DM, I think.

    This is why I'd say: Never, ever start DM'ing in an old DM's world if they're still at the table. Ever. In fact, I'd go as far to say changing the game itself might be a good idea too. A clean break to reinforce the fact they're no longer behind the screen.
    Shameless plug for my pbp forum: http://eabn.forumotion.co.uk/
    Got a pbp VtM game forum? PM me, please.

    'This is my truth, tell me yours.' - Nye Bevan

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