How to care for your GM


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GMs are rare. It almost always seems the case that GMs are in far higher demand and far shorter supply than people who are going to run PCs. Good GMs are as rare as gold.

GMing is largely a thankless job. There is a great deal of work involved and players seem far more likely to point out flaws than provide praise.

What's more, to become a GM is a huge task and, very often, there seems little in the way of preparation available. Many players are scared off of becoming GMs and even fewer are motivated enough to become good GMs.

This thread is about how to take care of and train your GM so that they might one day become a good GM.

Nothing in this thread should be taken to be manipulative. The number one rule is to talk to your GM about your concerns and what you want to see. If he wants what you want, but seems uncertain as to how to achieve it, that's where this thread comes in to play. This thread is about what -you- can do as players to develop an environment where people are encouraged to be GMs and have the help to become good GMs.

There are people who have significant experience in the game. I hope that this thread becomes a place where they post their helpful suggestions and -eventually- I can collect them and put them in a guide.

My first suggestions:

Always accentuate the positive, never the negative. If a GM makes a mistake, ignore it. When the GM does something right, praise him/her for it. This is called "positive reinforcement". Avoid putting yourself in an oppositional position to the GM. Identify what you both want out of the game and how you can work together to achieve it.

Make sure the GM has a life away from the table. The table should not be a priority for them. GMs for whom the table is a priority very often end up being the kind of GMs who turn your PCs into supporting cast members in their personal fantasy. Respect the GMs personal space (for example, don't send them countless emails about your character) and keep the game sessions to a minimum so that they've got time to develop other (non-gaming) interests.

Realize that neither of you are obligated to play under any rules you don't want to. So, if you can't resolve your differences, don't play.


Consider your character's actions in the context of the group. Before doing something, ask yourself "Is this going to be fun for the group? Is this going to be fun for the GM?". If the answer is no, it's probably not a good idea...no matter how fun for you, personally, it might be.

-Cross

Scarab Sages

Show up ready to play. Know your attacks, skills, feats, equipment, and spells, at least well enough that you don't have to look everything up every time you want to do something.

If there's a lull in the action or the GM is busy with another player, don't whip out your iPhone or laptop and start checking email or Facebook.

If you're not on a game break, don't bring up outside topics like what you did last weekend or what happened on American Idol this week. If you do, and the GM tries to get everyone's attention back on the game, don't take an extra 20 seconds (or five minutes) to finish your story.

Be ready when it's your turn in combat. Be thinking about what you're going to do while other players are taking their turns; don't wait until it's your turn to start looking over your options.


Help your GM. This doesn't mean roll her dice for her (necessarily). If the group wanders off on a tangent, gently nudge them back on track. You're all playing the game, you all want to have fun, but if you get sidetracked on side conversations, the GM's work is for naught.

If the GM looks tired, take a break. The world runs better when God has a break now and then, trust me.

Work with your GM. If your character concept doesn't quite fit what the GM has in mind, don't dig in your heels, don't belittle their work, don't quit. Ask questions, get answers, negotiate, and compromise.


Use "framing" to your advantage. Even when you are not actively playing a session, if you are still sitting around the table, the GM is probably still thinking in part as a GM. If you want to talk to them as equals, try to get them away from the table (and away from any room where the game is played). Ask them, during a break, if they want to go grab a coke from the store down the street or ask them to go out to lunch with you. They'll be more receptive to what you have to say then.

Emulate qualities you want to see in your GM (without being oppositional about it). If you want your GM to be more spontaneous, for example, then be more spontaneous yourself and actively encourage it in other players (in front of the GM).


I just started DMing a new group, one experienced player the others are new.

It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen (the XP player) kept encountering new PCs and asking them to join his group....(he wanted to get things going).

Every time those two encountered anyone else he asked them to join
while she was going on "So you just go around randomly asking people to travel with you?"

It was priceless and really good RPing for the new person....

They encountered two kobolds after the party was "all together"

HE wanted to kill them, she was like aren't you going to ask them to join your group?

On the other side of things for new players (remember your PCs names).

Roll to hit and damage at the same time, it saves time....


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

While a GM may appreciate participation and rule knowledge, don't try to mis-use that privilege or argue with a GM's call when possible. Don't be a rules lawyer to the extreme.

Rolls may negate the issue usually, but I've seen players argue they couldn't be surprised by "X" becuase of how they were positioned, or they were out of the way of spell "Y", because a public roll went against them. There's nothing wrong with a little give and take on some calls, but overt complaining does nothing but stifle the game for all and create unnecessary tension. Once the call is made, roll with it.


Alex Martin wrote:

While a GM may appreciate participation and rule knowledge, don't try to mis-use that privilege or argue with a GM's call when possible. Don't be a rules lawyer to the extreme.

Rolls may negate the issue usually, but I've seen players argue they couldn't be surprised by "X" becuase of how they were positioned, or they were out of the way of spell "Y", because a public roll went against them. There's nothing wrong with a little give and take on some calls, but overt complaining does nothing but stifle the game for all and create unnecessary tension. Once the call is made, roll with it.

To build on that..

Again, accentuate the positive and ignore mistakes

and

Two, when a rules issue does arise, it almost always can be postponed until -after- the game session (even when you really feel like it can't, in most cases, it can). In such cases, don't disrupt the flow of the game. If you disrupt the flow of the game, you almost always put yourself into an oppositional position with the GM (which is bad) and lose the favor of the other players (also bad).


On the issue of "helping" your GM, this is especially important in large groups or high level play. Remember you have one character while the GM has the rest of the world and in a hectic situation like combat he can get overwhelmed. If he forgets an animal companion or periodic effect (like hold person, bleed, or regenerate) then remind him. Most good GMs don't like killing players; actually make that all GOOD ones. They do however like providing a challenge. If you annihilate all their baddies because of an oversight on his side he is likely to up the CRs of upcoming encounters to provide an actual challenge and then overdoes it.

If you give advice to another player on how their character should act in game then it can feel like you are playing their character for them, which I really don't recommend. The GM on the other hand can often use and will often appreciate the help.

Always remember it's not a competition between you and the GM. If you want it to be a competition then the GM will win; he's not just god, but all the gods. If you take an aggressive stance toward your GM then he will often fire back.

I apologize for the use of masculine pronouns for GMs. Women often make the best GMs if the are willing to start.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Just a few to name from experience with my groups...
 
 
 


  • If you are going to bring a laptop to the table, keep browser tabs open for the PRD's spell index and combat chapter so you can assist other players with quick rule look-ups (Ctrl+F is faster than page-flipping).
  • Keep your laptop muted and don't be showing you-tube videos, your deviant art account, posting on facebook, twittering, or doing other Distracting Stuff™ during the game. Even if you are a perfect multitasker, you're still going to distract others who are curious about what you're looking at that's "more interesting" than the game.
  • If you are playing Pathfinder and have a laptop you bring to the table (particularly if there's no internet where you play), then at least buy a PDF copy of the rules even if you can't afford the book. Keep relevant chapters loaded-up for quick access while playing.
  • Have the stats for the creatures you are likely to summon ready.
  • If the GM actually takes the time to write up a list of houserules, be considerate enough to familiarize yourself with them. If they haven't, ask if there's any that you should know about.
  • If you have something time-intensive that needs to be handled before the game starts (i.e. making a new character or cohort, etc.), let the GM know ahead of time, and be the first person to show up, not the last.
  • If you're a new player to a game, or old player returning after being away for a year or so, work with the DM and the existing players on a plausible backstory so that everyone can get along well together. Once play starts, roleplay the introductions but don't grandstand for 3 hours purposefully walking away from all the other characters for some imagined insult. (Which actually happened this past weekend and ruined everyone's fun — novice DM's included.)
  • If you are going to argue over Attacks of Opportunity, flanking, grappling, etc., at least make sure you've read the current version of the rules and aren't actually wrong before you start accusing the GM of foul-play.
  • If you are someone who seems to have rather exceptional luck, rolls your dice where everyone else can see them so we don't have to wonder if you are cheating.
  • If the GM is also the host, don't force them to be the one who also has to pay for all the food and drink you'll be consuming. Bring your own beer (and enough to share), and chip-in towards whatever snacks shall be had.
  • If you insist on wearing a halter top and are built in such a way that others will be DDstracted, sit at the same end of the table as the GM so people will at least be looking in the same general direction.
  • Make sure the front door is actually closed tightly when you step outside for a smoke — the screen door doesn't count. Also don't treat their front porch, flower gardens, or sidewalk as an ashtray.
  • Help clean-up afterwards.
  • Say "good game" and thank them for GMing at the end of the night.

Sovereign Court

Laithoron wrote:


 

  • If you insist on wearing a halter top and are built in such a way that others will be DDstracted, sit at the same end of the table as the GM so people will at least be looking in the same general direction.

Wha...??? I need more of those players!

All good advice in the above threads. I would re-iterate that you need to talk to your DM about your build before the game starts. I had a player make a beguiler character for an exploration game that took place on an island full of undead. Needless to say, the beguiler couldn't get many of his spells to effect critters. The player was a little upset at how things were going and left the group for about a year.


Let the GM know what you want. If you would really be interested in an encounter that encouraged stealth and skillful activity, tell the GM. A good GM is interested in making the players happy, not living out his own pre-scripted fantasy.

If you feel that something isn't going the way it should be, or that something was significantly less fun for you, take the GM aside and talk with them one-on-one. Be friendly, but let them know what it is that was bothering you. A good GM will listen.

Thank them occasionally. After a good session, let them know "that was fun" or something. Its the little things that can really help.

I know this was mentioned before, but I'll echo my sentiments on the matter: When the GM is busy with someone else, don't take out your computer or start chatting about last weekend with the person next to you. GMs can't always deal with everyone, and have enough on their plate already.

Likewise, if a player IS getting blatantly more spotlight time than anyone else, the GM might be playing favorites. Let them know after the session, and while it's happening, nudge them and ask when you're character can do their thing. GMs like to see everyone eager to participate, and will generally be happy to move onto another eager player.


Say "good game" and thank them for GMing at the end of the night.

With or without the pat on the hind-quarters???


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Nebelwerfer41 wrote:
Laithoron wrote:


 

  • If you insist on wearing a halter top and are built in such a way that others will be DDstracted, sit at the same end of the table as the GM so people will at least be looking in the same general direction.
Wha...??? I need more of those players!

It can be a mixed blessing sometimes... particularly if you have any macho guys in your group who think they need to impress women who just aren't interested in them That Way™.

Freddy Honeycutt wrote:

Say "good game" and thank them for GMing at the end of the night.

With or without the pat on the hind-quarters???

Hmm, generally I'm happy if they leave a few extra beers or the left-over pizza. DDpending on the player, the pat-pat might not be an unwelcome show of appreciation. ;)


Nebelwerfer41 wrote:
Laithoron wrote:


 

  • If you insist on wearing a halter top and are built in such a way that others will be DDstracted, sit at the same end of the table as the GM so people will at least be looking in the same general direction.
Wha...??? I need more of those players!

HA! A friend of mine is a professional comedian out in LA and there are at least two female porn stars that are in his group. I think the GM has a blog called "Playing D&D With Pornstars" that you can search for.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In game be helpful but not pushy. For instance at my table one of the players always tracks initiative on the dry erase board. One less thing for the dm to have to worry about. Another useful thing is if you are using a board/map for encounters, offer to move pieces for the DM, often they are behind a screen at the head of the table and may not be able to easily reach all ends of the board from their seat. Saves time and hastle for the dm. But always ask if the dm wants this assistance, dont try to insist on it.

Another good one is try to get involved in their story. The DM's main enjoyment is likely going to be telling the group a story. Try to find ways for your character to get involved. Ask him questions about his world. Ask him how you can make your character fit it better. There isnt a dm on earth that doesnt like it when a player tries to better place their character in their world. This is particulary important in prewritten adventures where there is less wiggle room in plot points and setting details.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My personal pet peeve:

If the GM bothers to write something and email it to you, post it to the group website, or hand it out at the table, at least read it. Read all of it. Respond when a response is requested.

-Skeld


Might be sacralidge to some

I once DMed a 3.0 game in Iraq using 3d6. No real problem only the BBEGs never got to crit for damage.

The PCs all got d20s


Nice list! I'll add:

Use common courtesy at all times - if you don't know what ithat is, look it up!

Example: If you're running late to the game, call the DM and/or another player who is there to let them know. If you're going to miss it and you know at all in advance, call and email and give plenty of notice. Not showing with no notice is not cool, unless it's a family medical emergency, you're in accident, or something major like that.


-Always confirm your presence or absence to the game.

-Always make sure you understand an in-game situation correctly before you come up with a crazy plan.

-Do not pout because your actions didn't end up succeeding. No matter how cool that plan was in your mind, it didn't necessarily make sense.

-If said plan includes less-used rules (as in Catching on fire and such) make sure you know them before you decide it's a good idea to try it.

-Try not to occupy your downtime during the game by tearing paper in small pieces or other random crap that the DM or host will have to clean after

-Try to position your filled glass in a strategic position - as in not likely to be spilled at the first exciting moment. (Also chips shouldn't be filling the 5ft square around your chair)

More to come!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I'm prejudiced because I am always the GM. The main problem is that I'd like to play in the game I run, but there's nobody running my game but me.

Don't try to WIN at D&D. Whatever ability/feat/spell/power combo you come up with, if it ruins the way encounters are run, then the way encounters are run will change to keep you challenged and interested, or the game will break up.

Play the character you have now. Hyperfocus on what you get "in just n more levels!!!" ruins the game we're playing now.

If you insist on wearing a halter top, just because I glance occasionally, that doesn't I'm not listening to ... whatever it was that thing you were doing. OK, remind me.

And thanks for saying thanks. I've been running my current campaign for a year and a half, and have just also stepped in to run a weeknight game while the DM plays for a bit. I haven't heard "thank you" or "good game" or "that was fun" in over a year. And I'm starting to wonder.


If you have a rules point to bring up, mention it (with page ready if the DM wants it) and be ready to move on no matter his ruling. Don't get bogged down with it at the table. If you need to bring it up again after the game, but remember it is his game.

Tell the DM if you provoke AoO's, or have other disadvantages coming at you -- it helps him trust you with the modifiers so he doesn't feel compelled to nitpick or look for ways to mess you over for neat ideas. If he knows you'll own up to the bad things he'll be ready to do it himself/ believe you when you claim the good things.

Have a spell list ready, know your spells, and have any props/ stats you'll need ready to start with.

If possible roll everything at once on color coded dice (first attack = red, second attack = blue, third attack = purple) with the color code written down somewhere (perferably with the modifier to the roll with the code).

Dry erase boards are your friends -- you can easily track stat changes, spells used, rounds left, etc on them. Do so.


With the exception of "those" DMs - i.e. the control-freak, the guy using the game to work through Daddy issues, etc. - most DMs want their players to enjoy the game more and more and will go to great pains to improve the experience provided they know what you like. So be specific in your praise. Saying "That was a great session" is terrific. But saying "That was a great session - I particularly liked all the sneaking around bits and the emphasis on thinking through the problem instead of just fighting." is both terrific AND helpful to the DM. He/she will know for future encounters that you enjoy stealth and problem-solving adventures and will include those elements more often.

And this works for all aspects of the game. I had a player tell me (after a particularly grueling battle against a BBEG) that she loved fighting this BBEG because he used smart tactics, used magic to augment his melee options, buffed his minions, and the battle was constantly in flux until the final round. As a DM, that sets the bar for how I craft future BBEGs.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Tell the DM if you provoke AoO's, or have other disadvantages coming at you -- it helps him trust you with the modifiers so he doesn't feel compelled to nitpick or look for ways to mess you over for neat ideas. If he knows you'll own up to the bad things he'll be ready to do it himself/ believe you when you claim the good things.

I totally agree with this point. Adding to it, if the DM's badguy should get a bennie that the DM forgot - remind him. "Hey <DM>, doesn't that evil (&#$(@ Monk's Improved Evasion mean he'll only take half damage max from my Lightning Bolt? So he only sucks 20 points, not 40."

Yeah, it is a combat disadvantage to you now but I guarantee that honesty will not be forgotten by your DM and will be repaid in a dozen small ways down the line including what I consider the most valuable coin in the game - trust.

Conversely, NEVER try to cheat the DM - with bad die rolls scooped off the table too quickly before seen, conveniently forgotten combat penalties ("I get a -2 to all ATTs when I Rapid Shot?"), etc. DMs, as a rule, have LONG memories and breaches of trust will be repaid one way or another. It may not be professional - but it is generally true.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So I gave a serious answer, but was anyone else tempted to post something else when they saw the title?

[Que over the top commercial voiceover guy]

"So you have a new DM. Congradulations, DMs can be a rewarding and enjoyable companion. Here are a few simple steps to take to make sure your DM stays happy and healthy for a long long time.

1. Make sure his cheetos and mountain due bowls are always full. A hungry or thirsty dm is an unhappy one.
2. Make sure to walk your dm at least once a day. DMs like dark basements and garages, but they need to see the sun now and again, so make sure you get them outside in the light of the accursed day star now and again.
3. Make sure to play with your dm regularly. If you dont give him enough attention on a regular basis, he may become discouraged and not want to play in the future.
4. When praising your DM make sure to do it in a soft higher pitched voice, with things like 'thanks great game' and 'i really enjoyed that scene with the kobolds'. Its best to scratch them behind the ears when you do this, it reinforces the praise.
5. Never yell at your dm. Harse words never work on dms, they are a broody bunch, always talk calmly and if neccessary use a rolled up newspaper, or squirtbottle, but never yell.

If you follow these simple steps you are on your way to a long and happy gaming career with your new dm. Have fun, and happy gaming!"


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
legallytired wrote:
-Try not to occupy your downtime during the game by tearing paper in small pieces or other random crap that the DM or host will have to clean after

I FREAKING HATE IT WHEN MY PLAYERS DO THIS! I actually have a player who sits there and quietly tears up all the index cards we usually use for notes. I end up not only having to clean up a large mess afterwords, but we go through twice the cards we should on account of it.


GLAD I'M NOT ALONE

Also tried using a dimmer and candles to accentuate the difference between day and night.

Between cleaning dried up wax and having plastic pencils with melted tips.. It was abandonned pretty fast.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

This one relates to the homebrew discussion in another thread:

If your DM is primarily running the game world in a published setting, and you are a fan, don't assume you know everything about said world and want to discuss setting semantics at the table.

DM's often like having players get immersed in the game world; that shows commitment and can be fun for everyone. If your DM has invested time and attention, this can make his efforts seem worthwhile. But there's sometimes a fine line between particpation and obession.

If you have a concern that Elminster/Mordenkanen/Raistlin, etc., isn't acting the way you expect him to act, make it a topic of constructive discussion away from the table. Calling your DM out with, "X would never do that," is a good way to kill the game mood.
Personally, I've seen it happen in a few epic campaigns.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Here's the main one for me (as a player or as a DM):

If you're having an issue with something in the game, and it's big enough to not be just ignored (Always think "Will it matter in 4 sessions?" If so, then it's big), have a talk with your DM without the group there after the current session. Don't bottle things up, it comes out in your play style and it'll destroy the game. Make a note, talk it out after, be civil and be ready to compromise and have an adult conversation about your issues.

I've personally let the above ruin 2 of my games so far, and that's too many.


stormraven wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Tell the DM if you provoke AoO's, or have other disadvantages coming at you -- it helps him trust you with the modifiers so he doesn't feel compelled to nitpick or look for ways to mess you over for neat ideas. If he knows you'll own up to the bad things he'll be ready to do it himself/ believe you when you claim the good things.

I totally agree with this point. Adding to it, if the DM's badguy should get a bennie that the DM forgot - remind him. "Hey <DM>, doesn't that evil (&#$(@ Monk's Improved Evasion mean he'll only take half damage max from my Lightning Bolt? So he only sucks 20 points, not 40."

Yeah, it is a combat disadvantage to you now but I guarantee that honesty will not be forgotten by your DM and will be repaid in a dozen small ways down the line including what I consider the most valuable coin in the game - trust.

Conversely, NEVER try to cheat the DM - with bad die rolls scooped off the table too quickly before seen, conveniently forgotten combat penalties ("I get a -2 to all ATTs when I Rapid Shot?"), etc. DMs, as a rule, have LONG memories and breaches of trust will be repaid one way or another. It may not be professional - but it is generally true.

It also helps him overlook your flaws too. If you are like me and a bit of a known rules lawyer the DM will be more prone to not get upset about it if he knows your skills are aiding his side too.

Also one more time cause it's important, IF you are going to point out a rule discrepency at the table, have the book to the right page before hand, mention it, show the DM if he wants to see it (he WILL tell you if he does) and then LET IT GO! Be fast, be concise, be correct, and be willing to drop it. You can make sure after the game.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Character backgrounds can be a huge help to a GM. They tell him/her what kind of game you really want to play. Consider the following examples:

* My character is nineteen years old. I'm worried because I have three cousins who all received a mysterious visitor on their respective twentieth birthdays, and soon afterward ran away from home. Their parents get messages from them occasionally, but they say very little.

* I grew up with my grandfather, who was one of the greatest axemen our tribe has ever known. Sadly, he lived a very long life and eventually died in bed. The real tragedy is that he had done all that he needed to do to assure himself a place of honour in Valhalla, except that he didn't die in battle against a superior foe. He kept trying, but never succeeded. I won't let such a disgrace happen to me!

* My older sister sneaks out at night sometimes. I used to think that it was to visit a boyfriend, but she kept doing it even after she moved into her own place. Now I think that she's in some sort of criminal group, but I'm not sure. I'm torn as to whether to help her or oppose her.

* My mother, Zelcavra the Black, disappeared when I was four. Apparently she was going to visit her mother and disappeared along the road, but everyone I ask seems to know a different version of the story. Does this have anything to do with the locked trap door leading beneath the basement?

Stuff like this is just a gift to the GM, and it makes it more likely that you'll get to play the kind of game that you want to play. If "plot" is defined as "conflict and resolution" then your GM is responsible to think up new conflicts for your group to resolve every session. The trick is to help come up with the sorts of conflicts that you'd enjoy resolving.


Speaking of giving praise where praise is due, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread so far for your excellent suggestions.

Kolokotroni, ironically, that was exactly the kind of guide I originally thought I'd write (ie. a sort of "take care of your pet" doc, but slanted to give the kind of advice that has been offered in this thread in a humorous way). *pout* now it won't come off as so novel.


... AND (advice for both DMs and Players here) if you do have a heated disagreement, be willing to:
* Admit you were wrong
* Admit if you made an error (especially DMs)
* Apologize for the row - whether you were 'right' or not

Good gaming groups are built on the relationships between all of the players (including the DM). In this regard, being 'right' in terms of some rules argument is separate from hurting someone's feeling because of HOW you argued your point. You can win the argument but if your approach hurt the other person's feelings - you should apologize for that. In the end, 'bad blood' between players has probably wrecked more games than anything the players did "in character".


Last week, for GM Day, one of my players sent me an e-mail to thank me for the work i am doing as a DM and the enjoyment he has in my campaign.
That was nice to read and that's the kind of recognition any GM can appreciate and use as a motivation.

Many years ago, i used to have a ritual diner before the game with one of my best players, at a pizzeria, every week-end.
We used that time to discuss the game and the ongoing campaign.
Actually that was my favorite part of the game.


Something Important:

Let the DM know what your character is thinking in character as well. Little stuff such has if he didn't like dinner last night, how he feels about the quest they are on, why he wants those scars healed... etc.

Where as good descriptions of the surroundings help the players be more immersed, good descriptions of actions and thoughts from the players help the dm get more immersed... it helps him see your character as a person as opposed to just a thing in a game.


Laithoron wrote:
If the GM actually takes the time to write up a list of houserules, be considerate enough to familiarize yourself with them.

And if you aren't considerate enough to read the DM's house rules (even though s/he printed them out for you, and went over them during the first game session to make sure that everyone understands them), please don't get pissy when s/he adheres to them.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

1. Do not talk about SCA at the table. The non-SCAdians do not give a s--t.
2. BYOC. That's Bring Your Own Chow. If your DM is awesome bring him or her some too.
3. DMing involves either a) a lot of prep time, or b) a little less prep time and a lot of money buying adventures. Please play the adventure. Do not ruin the game for everyone and invalidate the DM's investment of time and money by deciding that you're going to go off and do something else entirely, unless the DM explicitly tells you that that's the kind of game he's running.
4. Corollary to #3, above: have a motivation for your character that is compatible with going on the adventure and working with the party. Roleplay and characterization are not excuses to be a jerk and ruin the game for everyone.
5. Save the drama... for your mama. The game's supposed to be fun, not stressful. This rule applies in particular to couples: do not bring your relationship issues to the table.
6. Go along with the rules call, even if you disagree. You can discuss it later, after the game (and you should).
7. This is actually a table rule I use: know what you are going to do when your turn comes around. If you're using a spell/power/special ability, have the book open to that page.
8. DO tell the DM what you like, but DON'T expect to see everything you like in the game. If catgirls and mecha are your thing you probably aren't going to have them in that Lovecraftian horror game.
9. Do not bring up that one time in somebody else's game you did something awesome. Shut up about it and do something awesome RIGHT NOW.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Something Important:

Let the DM know what your character is thinking in character as well. Little stuff such has if he didn't like dinner last night, how he feels about the quest they are on, why he wants those scars healed... etc.
Where as good descriptions of the surroundings help the players be more immersed, good descriptions of actions and thoughts from the players help the dm get more immersed... it helps him see your character as a person as opposed to just a thing in a game.

Very good points...

As powerful a GM might be, he cannot read in the player's head...


Seldriss wrote:
As powerful a GM might be, he cannot read in the player's head...

This may be getting a bit off topic, but... that's a good rule to remember not only for helping the GM, but for helping YOURSELF.

Once, when I was running a game, the party entered a room with two mounds of dirt in it. The player said the party would search the room, and so the dirt - which was actually two shambling mounds - attacked the PCs in a surprise round.

The player said "I just KNEW those dirt-things were going to attack us!"

I replied "The next time you just KNOW something, say so. I wouldn't have given the mounds a surprise round."


Charlie Bell wrote:
DO tell the DM what you like, but DON'T expect to see everything you like in the game. If catgirls and mecha are your thing you probably aren't going to have them in that Lovecraftian horror game.

5 words for you: Cthulu-worshipping Tentacled Catgirls!

6 more: Be careful what you wish for...

Dark Archive

I once GM'ed for a player who made sure to keep me up to my eyebrows in giant margaritas. Not only did it ease the pain of running a 9-PC group, but everyone always ended up getting awesome loots.

Except for the bard, I slit his throat.


Needs More Zasz wrote:

I once GM'ed for a player who made sure to keep me up to my eyebrows in giant margaritas. Not only did it ease the pain of running a 9-PC group, but everyone always ended up getting awesome loots.

Except for the bard, I slit his throat.

To be fair that was before said player joined our group. You certainly lightened up on the coup de graces after the booze started flowing though. A good GM bribe never hurts.


Once, when I DMed in high school, a player approached me out of game and tried to bribe me with real money. He actually pulled a bill out of his wallet and held it up. I told him I didn't take bribes. To this day, I wonder whether the player was serious.


stormraven wrote:

With the exception of "those" DMs - i.e. the control-freak, the guy using the game to work through Daddy issues, etc. - most DMs want their players to enjoy the game more and more and will go to great pains to improve the experience provided they know what you like. So be specific in your praise. Saying "That was a great session" is terrific. But saying "That was a great session - I particularly liked all the sneaking around bits and the emphasis on thinking through the problem instead of just fighting." is both terrific AND helpful to the DM. He/she will know for future encounters that you enjoy stealth and problem-solving adventures and will include those elements more often.

And this works for all aspects of the game. I had a player tell me (after a particularly grueling battle against a BBEG) that she loved fighting this BBEG because he used smart tactics, used magic to augment his melee options, buffed his minions, and the battle was constantly in flux until the final round. As a DM, that sets the bar for how I craft future BBEGs.

As a DM, I tend to also ask for feedback after a game, I want to know what the players liked and disliked.

Liberty's Edge

Abraham spalding wrote:

Something Important:

Let the DM know what your character is thinking in character as well. Little stuff such has if he didn't like dinner last night, how he feels about the quest they are on, why he wants those scars healed... etc.

Where as good descriptions of the surroundings help the players be more immersed, good descriptions of actions and thoughts from the players help the dm get more immersed... it helps him see your character as a person as opposed to just a thing in a game.

Very good advice. This can come in very handy on nights when a player cannot show up and someone else needs to run that character. At the very least the GM will have an idea of what your character would do.


Xaaon of Korvosa wrote:
As a DM, I tend to also ask for feedback after a game, I want to know what the players liked and disliked.

That's my general practice as well. I also follow up with "so what direction would you like to see the campaign go in next?" Sometimes players who are hesitant to be outright critical (even when you ask for it) will give you a clue as to what they don't really enjoy by saying something like "I think it would be cool if we could solve more puzzles like we did in <adventure x>!"


How about occasionally offering to run an adventure one weekend instead? Not in the middle of a big adventure, but during a breather period - after you've fought the BBEG, why not offer to run a simple bit to give him an extra week or so to prepare something else?

Most experienced gamers can run a session or two without too much problem, I'd think.

Of course, that could be a bad idea, too, but...


Love him and stroke him and squeze him and hug him...

Don't try to break his stories.

If the DM is nudging you towards a goal it's not railroading its just the place where the adventure happens.

Don't start bar fights, it never turns out well.


I would add
-Socialize with the other players and your GM outside of game. Even if it's just showing up a few minutes early to hang out. People who know and like each other play better together.
-Tell your GM if you are going to be late or not show up. Tell them as soon as you know, not an hour before game. And if at all possible, tell the GM directly, not another player. The GM is the one who has to adjust the plan to cover for your absence.
-BE ON TIME! Everyone is happier when they don't have to fill time unexpectedly. When you are late, you are declaring that your time is more important than that of everyone else combined.
-Remember that the GM is a host - even if they aren't physically hosting the game at their house, they are still mentally hosting the game world and the game session. Use common sense and etiquette accordingly.

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