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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    The J Pizzel's Avatar

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    Default Any DM's ever had this problem??

    Hey guys, I'm going to send this e-mail to my players (5 in all) and was just wondering if I'm the only DM whose had this problem before. I'm spoilering it for length purposes, although it's not really that long.

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    Spin-off of number 4b. I’m seeing a condition that I don’t like and it’s gradually getting worse. When someone offers you advice on something (“don’t forget these bonuses; you still have a move action if you wanna do this; etc”) DON’T GET DEFENSIVE. They’re not doing it to insult you, they’re doing it to help you. No one knows half as much of this game as I do, no one’s played this game half as much as I have…yet when Babs or J or Killa asks me “did you remember the -4 from Ray of Enfeeblement, JP?” or “don’t forget his 3 acid damage from my aura”…do you see me get defensive and snooty. Hell no!!! In fact, I usually thank you for reminding me. Ya’ll are not insulting my intelligence or calling me stupid, you’re politely reminding me of something I forgot. There is nothing wrong with this. Even if you DID remember that +3 from the Recitation Spell; when Adam asks you if you did, don’t give a snooty sarcastic look and say “yeah, I did, OK?” (and yes, I did see that Saturday night). If someone asks you “why didn’t you do (x) that round?” politely explain it to them. They probably weren’t thinking the same way you were OR there might be something you didn’t hear me say and they want to make sure you knew it.

    Example:
    Bob: “hey Tom, why didn’t you nail that succubus with scorching ray? I thought you grabbed a scroll to do that”
    Tom: “cause he’s still out of my reach. Scorching Ray’s gotta be within (x) ft”
    Bob: “Pizzel just said he moved down 30 ft. He’s within (x) now isn’t he?”
    Tom: “Crapstick!!! I didn’t hear Pizzel say that (and yes, that happens a lot with ya’ll). Can I still do it Pizzel?”
    The Great and Mighty Pizzel: “yeah, that’s cool.”
    See, now wasn’t that nice of Bob to let you know that the succubus dropped down?

    Now, all that being said. If you’re one of the players who likes to give out advice (Nick, I’m so talking to you, although you all are starting to do this) that’s fine, but do so nicely. The more we play the better you’ll get. You’ll start noticing something that they could’ve done. Ask them nicely. There’s nothing wrong with that. And if you get the vibe that they don’t like hearing your advice, shut up. Hey, if they’re doing something stupid, let them do it. They’ll die, not you.

    Now, all thatbeing said. When I (or any DM) asks you for an explanation or your bonuses or why you did something, (examples: ”how’d you get a +16 to attack?”; ”why is your AC 38?”; “how is the DC against your Fireball so high?”; ”did you wanna tumble so as not to provoke an AoO?”) don’t you DARE get pissy with me. I didn’t spend my evenings with a laptop building advanced crocodiles, undead lich druid/blighters and balancing encounters just to stay up till 6 in the morning and get sh**ty looks from people. There are several reasons why I’d want to know how ya’ll get your totals. Sometimes, it’s higher than it should be and we need to correct it (example: Nick was combining un-stackable bonuses); sometimes it’s not high enough for your level and we need to make it better (example: Kia’s attack was a little low awhile back, so we picked some new feats and I threw her some gloves of dex to help); whatever the reason, if I ask for it, don’t get fussy with me. I’m God. If you want that power, let me know and I’ll teach you how to DM. Until then, if I ask for an explanation of your total, give it to me; and do it nicely.

    Now, I know this sounds like a B****ing session, cause it is. If you don’t have this problem, then don’t worry about it. We’ve got a pretty good group and for the most part, ya’ll work pretty well together, don’t let pride screw it up. If anyone has taken offence to this message…re-read it, you obviously didn’t get the point. If, after re-reading it, you’re still offended…let me know and we’ll settle it over a game of Halo.


    Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. If your wondering why I'm a little harsh, it's becuase I stress that everyone in the game be nice to each other. Especially out of character. If people starting getting pissy over little stuff, it'll tear the game apart. This is the first group that I really like DMing for in a long time and now their starting to get on each other throats. Regreatably, it's not just one player. There's about 3 who do this. We just got a new player and his first spell he cast was Recitation (I think); when he asked if the Monk (who sucks) remembered it, she gave him a "go to hell" look and said "yeah, i remembered Adam, OK!!". I'm like....for frack sake...he's new and was just politely asking if you remembered something.

    Man have things changed since I played an character in 2E.

    jP
    Thanks to DarkCorax for the "Gnome Wizard", which holds a special place in my heart as it's the first DnD character I'd ever made.

    Live everyday like it's your last and one day, you'll be right.


  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    Nope ... My players generally try to squeeze all the +'s they can (not get snippy about 'em) and even when the reminder is "Hey don't forget Bull's Strength does not stack with your +2 STR from your belt because they are both enhancement" it is received as it is intented ... not an insult, but a desire to play the game right.

    The only time I've seen this situation as a problem was when our parties "cleric" constantly reminded people to count his buffs and ended each reminder with a look that says "see how cool I am"

    Example:

    Attack die rolled (Don't forget my Bull's str for +hit)
    Attack damage rolled (Don't forget my Bull's str for +dmg)
    (Yeah, see that extra dmg all because of me)
    Gaming session quote of the week

    Ranger - You know if it were not for the "1 immediate action per round" rule I could totaly hit someone who stepped next to me and attacked me 3 times and then move away.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    My very unreliable group has been playing together for... 16 years now. I don't recall a time when people were getting snippy with one another because of the game (it happened because of reasons outside the game pretty often, though).

    Perhaps some folks are having out-of-game problems and it is just leaking into the game.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Archmage in the Playground Moderator
     
    truemane's Avatar

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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    I've had it off and on over the years, but never to the point where I was worried. My table-top groups usually had the one or two rules-lawyers and when they said "don't forget your +2" everyone else listened, because that's what they're there for.

    I've had MUCH worse luck with P2P conflict going horrible wrong than I have with defensive advice taking. Once had a group disitegrate in mid session and, to my knowledge, NONE of the players ever spoke to each other again.

    Good luck with that, OP. You are handling it correctly. Tell 'em how it is. Make them at least PRETEND to be nice. Sometimes that's all you need to do.

    And remember the ancient wisdom of the east: Sometimes the solution to your morale problem is to get rid of all the unhappy people.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    I've noted that usually the people who get snippy when they're reminded to check their bonuses are the ones who end up being wrong about what's on their sheet.

    That said... attaching the following link to your email may help the situation. I mean they live in D&D and need reminders http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0034.html
    Last edited by Starsinger; 2008-04-09 at 11:22 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    No, haven't had this problem... the people I play with all are friends in real life and know each other well enough to not misunderstand each other's intentions, and besides we usually play rather rules-light RPGs, where it is not necessary to remind people of stuff to remember, since there isn't much to forget; if we ever play the more rules-heavy systems, we all gladly help each other all the time with figuring the rules out, and are grateful for it.

    My advice would be to make sure the people you play with know each other and get along well also while not rolling dice and hiding behind character sheets; maybe do something together some time that is not related with roleplaying, just to hang out with each other.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    I've had this problem once or twice. Some people don't like to be corrected. Your players sound like those kind of people.
    However, while I sympothize, you do realize that you're not just reminding them about a stat bonus, in this case? Rather, you are questioning their personality. If they were snarky before, prepare yourself for the loss of, at least, one player. I hope you get lucky and they all see the yonder goal, without losing any friends in the way.

    At the same time, as a player and a DM, I hate the concept of the DM being god. Yes, you do more work than players, and, Yes, you probably get a lot less gratitude than you deserve. But, when it all boils down, you are still playing the game. You are a player, just filling a different role. Asking for gratitude is one thing, but referring to yourself as "God" will tick off somebody.

    I sympothize with the situation, but I hope that you reread that email before sending it. Especially that end paragraph, if somebody is insulted, being insulted a second time will not cancel out the original insult. They have missed no points. They are insulted, and that is the point you're sending.
    [/diatribe]

    Anywho...good luck. This is a stressful thing for a group. Let us know how it turns out.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    It sounds like inexperienced player problems with situational awareness

    I got this idea from play MTG card Game

    On individual index cards, write any buffs or effects that players can cast.
    Example Card
    Prayer
    +1 attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saves, and skill checks
    1 round/level

    I also keep a DM card for myself behind my screen
    Player Prayer
    -1 attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saves, and skill checks
    1 round/level

    There will be two types global (affecting all players) and personal.
    Global:
    Place these on the game board when the condition exists.
    Examples: haste, prayer, bless etc

    Personal:
    These cards are in front of the player..color coding these can make it easy for a DM to see at a distance

    For effects that have a duration less then 20 rounds, place a D20 on each card with the round count #.
    At the end of each round, reduce each die number by one.


    In addition, I would recommend that each player write up on the character sheet the stats they may have under different SELF buff and effects. And I keep a copy, so I can see the differneces between "normal" and buffed"

    For example, one player has a half-giant , glaive wielding, enlarging and raging barbarian..

    RAGED w/ +1 Glaive (+4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and a +2 morale bonus on Will saves, but suffers a -2 penalty to AC)
    REACH = 10 FEET
    ToHit = +17/+12
    DAMAGE = 1D10+13
    AC = 20
    FORT SV = +16
    WILL SV = +4
    (+12HP)
    ___________________________________
    ENLARGED w/+1 Glaive (+4STR,+2AC,-1 ToHit)
    REACH = 15 FEET
    ToHit = +16/+11
    DAMAGE = 2D8+15
    AC = 24

    ___________________________________
    RAGED + ENLARGED w/ +1 Glaive (+8STR, +/- +4 Con, +2 morale bonus on Will saves, -1 ToHit)
    REACH = 15 FEET
    ToHit = +18/+13
    DAMAGE = 2D8+17
    AC = 22
    FORT SV = +14
    WILL SV = +4

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Prometheus's Avatar

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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    The biggest problems is that you're players seem to be playing competitively. There shouldn't be an issue with casting the right spell at the right time if it will all be alright in the end. There shouldn't be an issue with correcting a mechanic mistake when that really isn't what the game is all about.

    That being said, it is really understandable when a character is disappointed retroactively. "You barely finish off the Fire Giant, it drops to the ground with a resounding thud." "Yay" "Wait...don't you have a flaming greatsword? You didn't add the fire damage did you" "Uh no" "Sorry guys, fire giant gets back up and swings for 3d6+15" A DM should be able to correct that before it happens, but I believe the problem is that players should want it corrected so it doesn't happen.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    My group corrects each other, but usually it's positive. Like, they'll remind each other that that miss should have been a hit thanks to recitation. Players are more receptive to that kind of correction that one of "no, actually you missed because of ray of enfeeblement." This is kind of cheesy, but maybe you could suggest that the group only make corrections for positive things that help the corrected player? At least until the players get used to it. To me it really sounds like they lack some social maturity in that regard.

    What I've seen that is a bit more problematic is the overly competitive player who corrects things selectively. He'll remind the GM that another player was flanked if that gets the other player hit, but won't remind that same player of the same flank if it gets the monster hit instead.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    I'll second the Burley Warlock's advice: reread that message before sending it. Its intent is good, but it's likely to backfire. It sends a lot of mixed messages.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpbooth View Post
    When someone offers you advice on something [...] DON’T GET DEFENSIVE.
    It's counterproductive to start a message with an accusation ("You get defensive when other players try to help"). That's going to make readers defensive, and you've already lost the battle. From this point on, readers will not listen to you; instead, they'll try to find errors in your message.

    A better approach might be to start with my friend's Rule #1 of Gaming: help others have fun. Acknowledge that people have different styles of gaming. Some try to help other players, some would rather not have the advice. Suggest that paying attention to how others respond to their actions is to everyone's benefit. If you see that you're annoying someone else, back off for a bit. If you've got an ongoing problem with another player, talk about it out-of-game. The whole point of the game is for everyone to have fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpbooth View Post
    when Babs or J or Killa asks me “did you remember the -4 from Ray of Enfeeblement, JP?” or “don’t forget his 3 acid damage from my aura”…do you see me get defensive and snooty.
    I know you're trying to set an example, but you've just implied your fellow players are both defensive and snooty. Ouch.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpbooth View Post
    I usually thank you for reminding me. Ya’ll are not insulting my intelligence or calling me stupid, you’re politely reminding me of something I forgot. There is nothing wrong with this.
    Good. Stress that you're trying to help everyone have fun. The succubus dialog was a good example of how cooperative gameplay should work; its closing comment is good because it points out that Bob is trying to help, and he does so in a way that doesn't offend.

    The paragraph directed toward Nick works well too. But then you drop the ball with "don’t you DARE get pissy with me". Once again there's an accusation. Simply say that when you ask questions about stats & bonuses, it's to help gameplay, and leave it at that. [Aside: from three of the four examples you give, it sounds like you suspect cheating. If you do, handle it out of game.]

    Quote Originally Posted by jpbooth View Post
    If anyone has taken offence to this message…re-read it, you obviously didn’t get the point.
    If you need to acknowledge in advance that someone might take offense, you should rewrite the letter. And insulting readers who do feel offended is a major no-no. It will just make them more defensive. Doing so may not be your intent, but it's what comes across.

    If this letter is typical of your DMing style, I can understand why gameplay is falling apart. You're rapidly switching back and forth between good advice presented neutrally and demeaning accusations. Your players may be taking their cues from you.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpbooth View Post
    Man have things changed since I played an character in 2E.
    Aside from mechanics, nothing's changed. Poor player interaction wasn't invented with 3E, and likely will still be around when 9E is published. Unfortunately.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    Quote Originally Posted by Venerable View Post
    Aside from mechanics, nothing's changed. Poor player interaction wasn't invented with 3E, and likely will still be around when 9E is published. Unfortunately.
    I heard that, by 8.5ed, players won't even play. Character sheets play with their own sentience, and, when they defeat a really hard enemy, the DM screen rewards them with players.
    But, they usually just trade those for Amulets of Natural Armor. (Seriously, why even take proficiency with players? Sure, they get critical a lot, but the intelligence and encumbrance penalty they haul around, it's not worth it.)
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

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    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    I heard that, by 8.5ed, players won't even play. Character sheets play with their own sentience, and, when they defeat a really hard enemy, the DM screen rewards them with players.
    But, they usually just trade those for Amulets of Natural Armor. (Seriously, why even take proficiency with players? Sure, they get critical a lot, but the intelligence and encumbrance penalty they haul around, it's not worth it.)
    That's hardly realistic. By the time 8.5 is out, there'll be no need for anyone to play anything. Every sentient thought capable of being conceived by the human mind will have been declared "cliche".

    Someone will simply declare a string of numbers like a serial code "491-224-1033-7713" and everyone around the table will get all teary-eyed and nostalgic.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    I know where you're coming from, jpbooth, however I can't help but feel that there is a more diplomatic way to say what you need to say. oh well. I can empathize though.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    The J Pizzel's Avatar

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    Default Re: Any DM's ever had this problem??

    Thanks for the advice. I'll definetly re-write a lot of those sections to make things a little less hostile. I haven't sent the e-mail yet for this very reason. I'd take the time to explain some points that yall brought out, but I'm real busy at work...and although some of my explanations might have done just that (explain) they wouldn't really be justification. So, regardless, I'll re-write my e-mail before sending it.

    A few quick things:

    I don't really suspect cheating. Sometimes I notice a modifier to be real high or too low and I ask how they got it (and I always ask with a non-threatening tone; example: "+24 to damage, good god that's awesome man, how'd you get that". That allows me to find out how they got that number, without making it sound like I'm accusing them of anything)

    We are all friends outside of DnD. Most of us were just in a wedding together.

    The two worst of it are married (which I think is the root of the problem) and as they have done it, so to have others.

    @Venerable: Hella good advice. Thanks. I'll defend but only a few of my actions.
    If this letter is typical of your DMing style, I can understand why gameplay is falling apart. You're rapidly switching back and forth between good advice presented neutrally and demeaning accusations. Your players may be taking their cues from you.
    Rest assured this is nothing like my DMing. I hated writing this e-mail. In fact, I suck at being mean so bad that I don't even know how to do it correctly. Also, I've been DMing since 2E and have never once had a problem such as this. My players are usually always happy to take advice from fellow players and be reminded of bonuses...this group just seems to be different.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jpbooth
    when Babs or J or Killa asks me “did you remember the -4 from Ray of Enfeeblement, JP?” or “don’t forget his 3 acid damage from my aura”…do you see me get defensive and snooty.

    I know you're trying to set an example, but you've just implied your fellow players are both defensive and snooty. Ouch.
    I don't follow how I was implying that the 3 people I mentioned are snooty. I was giving an example of people reminding me of stats (exact examples from our game) and how that's a good thing. I'm not following you on this one.

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    The paragraph directed toward Nick works well too. But then you drop the ball with "don’t you DARE get pissy with me"

    Yeah, I'll re-word that.

    JP, your last paragraph sux (paraphrasing what you and some others have said)
    Yeah, I'll be re-wording that too.

    Aside from mechanics, nothing's changed. Poor player interaction wasn't invented with 3E, and likely will still be around when 9E is published. Unfortunately.
    I was implying that it seems the comraderie isn't as strong as it used to be. At least in my personnal experience. Then again, it could just be difference in players. I wish I knew more DnD players in my area.

    jP
    Thanks to DarkCorax for the "Gnome Wizard", which holds a special place in my heart as it's the first DnD character I'd ever made.

    Live everyday like it's your last and one day, you'll be right.


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