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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Time for some positive thinking, people. I've seen a number of posts about "Breaking your DM" and "Making them hate you" or "Making you hate them". How about some love for that all-too-necessary stress-inducing job that they do for you?

    What has a DM done in a game that made them your favorite? How did they make it fun and memorable, and basically succeed at the cat-wrangling insanity that is running a game for you CharOp sociopaths?

    HP

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My DM from university, who incidentally got me into the craze, tries a lot when running his games. Sometime he hits it, sometime he misses, especially when running a pre-built adventure, but he's such a nice guy you can't get mad at him when he does miss the mark. There was a time when he hit the nail squarely on the head, with an adventure run in this ruined temple of time that he created. As we were a bunch of physics students at the time we just ate it up . There were pockets of subjective time everywhere making it some sort of minefield to navigate; "slow" time was just like stepping onto terra firma, the downside being that it held you like quicksand as the sole of your boot was still sinking into the field; worse were the "fast" time ones which caused the blood vessels in your leg to rupture, under prolonged exposure, due to the stress of being under two significantly different speeds (he studied medical physics of course). Naturally there were coins, boots and bits of rope tossed about and held in various states of animation.

    Then there were corridors which had a varying time field along its length- one end would be faster (or slower depending on how you look at it, natch) than the other. These were dandy until my friend broke into a grin, got out a good length of rope and proceeded to experiment with the motion of it within a corridor. We spent a good twenty minutes, pizza in hand, playing around and discussing possible notions and theories, DM included. Good times.
    Purveyor of Pies and the Iron Kingdoms!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    _Puppetmaster_'s Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My favorite DM is an awesome storyteller.
    Check out my class, the Clothfighter.

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    Thing-Thing and Inkscape Avatars by me


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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DrowGirl

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    not converting 2 4E, ok I guess for putting up with my constant character changes w/o dying.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My DM would give use lots of props when we played. Most of our magic items had physical objects representing them.
    Truly awesome Ark Tamaeus avatar by Bryn. Full size version here.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    JackMage666's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Heh... I was dating my DM I had for the longest time... Don't need to go into what She did to make her my favorite!!!

    But, my favorite DM based on skill was just an awesome guy. I think they best moment I saw, when I knew he'd be awesome, was when he decided to take care of a problem player (who he accidently allowed despite his suboptimal attempt at powergaming). See, the player has the Leadership feat, which he used to get ANOTHER Warlock to follow him around (which was basically his character 2 levels lower). So, my DM decided he didn't like it, and sent a troll out to rend the guts out. That was the goal of this whole troll. It succeeded. Ever since that moment, the general quote has always been "IT RENDS!"
    If there's a rule, there's someone out there trying to figure out how to get around it just to piss off his DM.

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    - The Jack-signal. Thanks Jokes!

    Avatar created by Yeril, who made it look awesome.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    monty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    He's one of the few people who can handle my characters (not necessarily the builds - I don't always try to break the game - but the personalities).
    My characters:
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    Sarah, human gestalt druid/totemist
    Adrian, human rogue
    Calypso, half-nymph human gestalt druid/miscellaneous


  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Cainen's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    He handles a literal party of nine players by himself with no trouble, manages to make things interesting for me, and keeps things as speedy as he can while simultaneously making maps from 16-bit tiles while also using a program that lets us use 16-bit sprites for map combat. Unfortunately, the system he uses for that game is absolutely awful, so it's slow in combat anyways.
    HOW IS BABBY FORMED

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

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    He's the most creative on-the-fly storyteller I've ever met, and he has the incredibly-difficult-to-achieve property of being able to successfully mix comedy and drama effectively. I can't remember a time when I was bored in one of his campaigns, even if there were seven PCs in a slow, complicated four-faction castle seige combat (happened). Then, and this may be even more impressive is the fact that in at least one campaign he's running, everyone involved is emotionally connected to their character. it has some of the best roleplaying I've ever seen, and it's his best plot ever, from what I know of it (I get the feeling that though we're level 13 (started at level 1 a year or more ago), we still don't know half the plot).
    For people who enjoy reading or writing.

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    Formerly known as lordhenry4000

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My player's say I'm a good DM because:

    -I keep them on their toes (they freak when I start to smirk)
    -I describe death scenes in too much detail (and they love it)
    -I may be patient, but I have my limits (they enjoy my spaz-outs, even if one of their characters dies of dysentery...)


    One player says I became the best DM ever when I suddenly made DnD 4e go from boring to brutal. He and my GF had been bored for most of the session (they'd missed most of the plot hooks, and ended up lost in the woods...), and eventually they happened across some kobolds. One was rowing a boat across a nearby river. Well, my friend did magic missile from atop a tree, while succeeding at his stealth checks. I don't remember the specifics, but he ended up doing a critical hit or something, and did a ton of damage against something with 1 hp.

    So I said the orb of energy impaced his nows, ripped through the back of his head, and made his skull implode from the impact. I then explained how the headless kobold sat their twitching as a school of fish swam up to nibble on the bits of brain matter that landed in the water.

    They were exctatic...
    Anemoia: Nostalgia for a time you've never known.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My favorite GM is excellent at balancing stories so everyone gets to take part and everyone gets to be awesome!

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Shazzbaa's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My favourite? Oh, man, that's tough.

    I know that the best GM I ever had was also my first; the thing that made him the best GM was his ability to instantly perceive when his players were bored, and alter the session accordingly... I think some of them didn't even notice him doing it. This was particularly impressive because there were NINE of us in the party, and when the action-oriented player started looking bored, suddenly his part of the plot would come up and he'd perk up and become interested. If some plot thing happened that disappointed one of the players, suddenly the GM would twist it and it became more interesting and agreeable to all of us. I was, simply put, amazed at his ability to recognise the most important part of GMing: keeping it interesting and fun for everyone involved.
    He also made the NPCs real enough and the villains frightening enough that we all actually freaked out whenever the main antagonist showed up. He really managed to scare us.
    I could go on.
    Having this GM as my first also sort of spoiled me, though, I have to say. No one else will ever measure up. ^^;

    However, my other favourite DM is someone I have now, who is fantastic because he's so in character. The fact that all his characters have different voices probably helps, too. Once I jokingly sent him an AIM message as my character, and he unexpectedly answered, perfectly in-character, as one of the NPCs, and I squealed with glee. His story is intriguing and the fact that I feel I could get to know all the people involved in it makes it even more so.

    So, I've suddenly realised that, pretty much, my two favourite game masters are the ones who act the most... and do voices. I do voices for my characters, so I'm sure that must influence my preference somewhat. ^^;

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    DraPrime's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    My DM made incredible plot twists, memorable characters, and **cking awesome encounters. That's all I require from a DM.
    Avatar by Serpentine.
    "Love takes up where knowledge leaves off."
    - St. Thomas Aquinas

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Cilvyn's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    oh i feel the love.. gimme gimme

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zocelot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by Shazzbaa View Post
    Having this GM as my first also sort of spoiled me, though, I have to say. No one else will ever measure up.
    I think a lot of people's best GMs were their first, because if their first was bad, then they wouldn't be still playing D&D.

    My favorite was my first, because of the way he managed to mix more then enough humor into a horror campaign.
    Step 1: Get workers to make goods for you.
    Step 2: Sell the goods for a higher amount than what you pay the workers.
    Step 3: ???
    Step 4: Profit!

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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by Zocelot View Post
    I think a lot of people's best GMs were their first, because if their first was bad, then they wouldn't be still playing D&D.
    Definitely not the case for me. While my first DM wasn't downright awful or anything, he was definitely sub-par. The next GM was pretty terrible.

    My favorite so far is probably tied between Call_me_Fate and Phantom.exe. Fate was my first PbP DM, and the first good DM I had (and after my prior ones, I felt downright spoiled. She's still running games over at Myth Weavers, and they're superb.). Phantom is running an IRC game that I'm in now, and somehow manages to make horror translate over Gametable (this is not an easy task). Both are great at telling an interesting story without making the PCs feel constrained by the plot, and rewarding clever moves by the PCs. They also both tend to have really well-made NPCs.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    I have two regular GMs. I don't want to pick between them, but they're both quite talented at the thing that I admire most about both of them. They each play NPC caricatures wonderfully. Like, they can just put on a dumb orc or a farmer and go with it. I have to take time to get into character (several hours for a serious character) and can't switch between them quickly enough as a GM. It really helps bring their NPCs to life. The next time I run a game in any capacity I'll be focusing on emulating both of them in this regard.

    As for my own GMing, I've been told I'm a favorite of players. Usually it's for my plots. I weave a ton of plots together over the course of the game, many of which are personal for each player. My plots are original and interesting. And I somehow manage to get all my PCs roleplaying.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Quote Originally Posted by Zocelot View Post
    I think a lot of people's best GMs were their first, because if their first was bad, then they wouldn't be still playing D&D.
    I was my first DM, and I was pretty awful. Basically, I played up all the trite aspects of the game (focus on nothing but combat, fed into cliches, monty haul campaigns, virtual lack of roleplaying). There were only 2-3 of us playing so someone had to do it, though.

    But I got better!

    Seriously, my favorite DM is my favorite for a number of reasons:
    • Student Becomes the Master: when he started gaming, he had virtually no experience in RPing, but he seemed to have a natural talent for it and learned fast. His first D&D character was a lowly human paladin in a short-lived game I DM'd. He DM'd the next campaign we played and, although our characters were horribly broken and walked all over his plot/story arc, we all had a lot of fun. The publication of Savage Species terminated that game and, by the time we rolled up new characters, he was ready to go with a campaign we couldn't simply ignore but never felt like we were being railroaded.
    • No Holds Barred: his policy for character options was "as long as I can read it over first." Whether we got cool character ideas from weird, third-party supplements or simple homebrew, he was willing to let us play it so long as he got a read-through first. This lead to all sorts of creativity and homebrewing and really lent a 'can do' atmosphere to the gaming table.
    • Actually Used Backstory: I've had more than enough DMs that read over the character histories and then proceeded with the campaign as if the characters existed in a void - not entirely railroading, but not really being open to player-influence, either. My DM would utilize our backstories, including prominant NPCs from our characters' past to help drive the story.
    • Loves to DM: unlike most gamers, he never DM'd simply because nobody else would. His favorite position around the table is the DM and he puts a lot of care and work into his craft. He'd humor us and let us DM games if we had an inclination, but it usually worked out that we were all happier and having a better time when he wore the DM's mantle.
    • Willing to be an Actor: I've never really been able to get the hang of the chameleonic aspects of DMing. I can usually only handle RPing a precious few NPCs during a given session. Anything more than that and I run out of ideas and have to hand-wave my way through encounters that the PCs may have wanted to RP. I've only got so many people in my head fighting to get out, I guess. That, or I'm just too self-conscious to be able to act my way through some roles. My favorite DM, however, never seemed to be unable to come up with some personalities, complete with quirks and accents, for whatever NPCs we wanted to interact with - whether it was the merchant ripping us off, the barmaid we were flirting with, or the villain who's monologue we were dead-set on interrupting!
    • Good Friend: my favorite DM is also one of my best friends - we met through gaming but our friendship didn't end when it was time to put the dice away.
    • Absense Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: After we graduated college, we moved far away from each other. I haven't played a really fun game since.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dr Bwaa's Avatar

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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Willing to be an Actor: I've never really been able to get the hang of the chameleonic aspects of DMing. I can usually only handle RPing a precious few NPCs during a given session. Anything more than that and I run out of ideas and have to hand-wave my way through encounters that the PCs may have wanted to RP. I've only got so many people in my head fighting to get out, I guess. That, or I'm just too self-conscious to be able to act my way through some roles. My favorite DM, however, never seemed to be unable to come up with some personalities, complete with quirks and accents, for whatever NPCs we wanted to interact with - whether it was the merchant ripping us off, the barmaid we were flirting with, or the villain who's monologue we were dead-set on interrupting!
    All of your points are actually great. I wanted to add this one in particular to the list of things that makes my favorite DM my favorite. The last session (of several) we had during the week I was visiting home recently included a great moment in which we, the PCs, were privy to a conversation between a very rich, influential rogue, his family's butler, his mother, and his maid/friend with benefits: all of whom were NPCs! The dialogue was flawless and as far as I know, he made up the latter three of these characters on the spot when we arrived at Florence's (the rogue's) house.
    For people who enjoy reading or writing.

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    Play chess? Look me up! (bwaa)


    Formerly known as lordhenry4000

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Things your DM did to make them your favorite

    Wow... I feel terrible. I don't have a DM I can point at and say, "he's my favorite." Must be because I haven't been a player in almost 5 years, save for 2 sessions last April, which I then dropped out of due to disagreements in character with the party (and out of character with another player who despises me, I don't know why).

    I guess my favorite would be the only one I remember then, my father. He taught me D&D on a mostly improvised AD&D game when I was 9-10. It was the best campaign ever.

    -argus

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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