Conflict / Issue Resolution with Your GM


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Inlaa wrote:

Every GM and every player goofs up. That's natural. I've been both a problem player and a problem GM at different points in time.

Really, it comes down to whether or not your GM or player is willing to talk and listen. If a person doesn't want to listen to advice (whether because you presented the advice rudely / condescendingly or because s/he is already trying to do that or because s/he is stubborn)... well, then you need to either bear with what's presented to you, try leading by example, or find a new game.

So, yeah. A lot of this comes down to talking it out with the other person.

EDIT: For the record, I've both been a problem player and a problem GM in the past. Rules Lawyer player is what I was (but often ruling AGAINST the party), and as a GM I've been the Unprepared a few times.

Same, but also I've been accused of being an alternately Monty-haul/stingy scrooge, or a ruthless dictator/pushover. Hard to find that middleground sometimes


Inlaa wrote:

Every GM and every player goofs up. That's natural. I've been both a problem player and a problem GM at different points in time.

Really, it comes down to whether or not your GM or player is willing to talk and listen. If a person doesn't want to listen to advice (whether because you presented the advice rudely / condescendingly or because s/he is already trying to do that or because s/he is stubborn)... well, then you need to either bear with what's presented to you, try leading by example, or find a new game.

So, yeah. A lot of this comes down to talking it out with the other person.

EDIT: For the record, I've both been a problem player and a problem GM in the past. Rules Lawyer player is what I was (but often ruling AGAINST the party), and as a GM I've been the Unprepared a few times.

I don't think goofing is a problem. As you say everyone goofs up sometimes. It's called being human.

I've had times when I accidently railroaded certain events. There's been at least one instance where I blatantly ignored a PC's Diplomacy result of nearly 40 (!) and had the NPC do what he does anyway.
When I notice stuff like that (can sometimes take a few weeks for me to realize I screwed up) I talk to my players about it, and we work it out.

When a certain "goof" happens all the time, it stops being a simple goof, it becomes a problem.

Dark Archive

A GM's Perspective

Spoiler:
Given my relative inexperience I think I may have a mix of problems though I pay attention to them.
------------------------

First, I am not nearly as good when it comes to improvisation and having a truly open world for the players as such I would/will steer players towards a handful of 'adventure paths' or plot hooks for them to choose from.... which could lead to some railroading and limiting my players a bit just to keep things on track with what I have prepared.

Yet, since I understand this, I would request of my players to work with me in using the adventures/'modules' I prepare and not force me to make things up/improvise unless completely necessary and I would promise to do everything I can not to limit them. At least want for such once I have more confidence and experience.

Perhaps offer, as was mentioned on this thread, that players write down what they would like to see happen and I incorporate their ideas into the session in some way. Have them help me give the sort of adventure they want to see... while understandably also keeping details to myself.

Second, I will often probably use some homebrewing a bit in that I want to see certain ideas in my campaign used or perhaps use a setting unlike that of vanilla Pathfinder or D&D which would require more work from me but I would encourage my players to be a part of this and make sure the decisions made are understood/agreed upon by my players.

Third, since I do frequent the forums hers and Giant of the Playground so I do come to learn of certain complains and problems brought up by others... such as involving full casters and tier systems like Wizards and because of such have considered more rounded tier options such as the homebrew [i]Giants and Graveyards[i] that would allow for greater player balance by limiting certain options.

Now, I admit, I haven't run a full campaign yet so I haven't quite figured out what does and does not work. Hopefully in time I can find a balance both I and my players agree with.


Quatar wrote:

I don't think goofing is a problem. As you say everyone goofs up sometimes. It's called being human.

I've had times when I accidently railroaded certain events. There's been at least one instance where I blatantly ignored a PC's Diplomacy result of nearly 40 (!) and had the NPC do what he does anyway.
When I notice stuff like that (can sometimes take a few weeks for me to realize I screwed up) I talk to my players about it, and we work it out.

When a certain "goof" happens all the time, it stops being a simple goof, it becomes a problem.

Exactly this. It's one thing for a GM to make the occasional goof (we're only human, after all) and quite another when it's a consistent pattern of behavior.

To bring up one of the earlier examples I discussed, there's a big difference between that one campaign I cut short after a couple sessions because it just wasn't working out vs. A GM who never sticks with a single campaign for more than three sessions.

At the end of the day, the only real solution to any problem at the table is to talk about it and work things out.


avr wrote:

The Monty Haul GM

Everything's easy. You have loot coming out your ears, no fight is ever dangerous - maybe the enemies are lightweights, maybe the rolls are fudged - and short of another PC enacting the Head of Vecna scam nothing bad can ever happen to your PC.

It may not sound too bad but it gets boring fast playing in this game IME.

OK, solutions. This is a tricky one IMO. Talk to the GM, sure, but don't be too surprised if they're either too scared of losing players to change their style or if they see no middle ground between their style and an adversarial style of GMing. It may be necessary for someone else (maybe you) to step up and run a game for a while to show that there are other ways. Maybe a one-shot if GMing long-term isn't something you enjoy.

There may well be other successful solutions which I just don't know about or haven't made work; I'm not saying you have to start a new game.


Weslocke wrote:
In a small fraction of the time it took to list just over a dozen types of problem DM's I managed to list almost twice as many classifications of troublesome players. And I did it without even bothering to try and create an exhaustive list.

So you did. But you included no detail and no suggested solutions. Time for you to create a thread and do so.


Also, to bring up a couple more GMs I've encountered/heard of:

The God Complex/Control Freak
In many ways, a railroading GM turned up to eleven. Expect to have every single decision both in and out of character carefully picked over and rejected if it does not meet the GM's standards. There will be frequent demands that players justify anything from talking to the innkeeper to picking a CRB feat, and for most of such efforts to end with "You can't do that."

What to do: Talk to your GM about the problem. This might take some good diplomatic skills, since in my (limited) experience most GMs of this type react very poorly to anything that seems like a challenge to their authority/GM skills.

The Barely There
This GM has taken the idea of being a laid-back GM who lets his players do whatever they want a bit too far. Expect to see lots of players wandering about aimlessly in desperate search of anything to do or acting out in all the ways horribly bored players will do. Meanwhile, the GM makes no contributions beyond occasionally asking a player. "What do you do next?"

What to do: Talk to your GM about the problem. Unless the GM just has no interest in running the game, they're probably just trying too hard to keep things as a wide-open sandbox and/or avoid railroading. Let the GM know they give a bit more direction to the game without denying player freedom.

The Spoiler
This GM is commendably enthusiastic about his plans for the upcoming campaign. Perhaps a bit too enthusiastic, because he keeps talking about everything he has planned. That one random guy in the king's court? Your characters won't find this out for months, but he's totally a dragon in disguise! And that half-orc is carrying on a secret affair with the princess, though you won't find out about that until you finish the next three questlines.

What to do: Talk to your GM about the problem. The GM probably just doesn't realize that they're ruining the fun of discovering all these plot points for yourself.


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One observation on the often repeated "talk to the GM solution".

This will work with a GM who is inexperienced or who is willing to listen to criticism and wants to do better.

I have learned not to have powerful PCs with strong personalities around much, cool as they may be. They tend to dominate the play, and that should be the role of the PCs.

And I have learned that being soft spoken, disliking loud noise and people talking at once isn't a good personality trait for a GM and to get around it as I can.

But I think a person genuinely changing their behavior when people talk to them, in roleplaying or anything else, is an exception.

Try talking, but it may well not work and certainly won't with the more extreme cases. Then its a matter of put up with it or find another campaign.


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As mentioned in this thread, everyone messes up. However I'm seeing stuff I do all the time as GM coming up in this thread and my players are not only not saying anything but telling me in feedback that they're having fun. I'm paranoid that they're not being honest with me.

Then it hit me: I don't think I'm having much fun.

I wonder how many of these behaviors stem not from the GM being bad or something but actually from the GM just getting burnt out? The Restarter or Actor immediately jump to mind. I used to be the Actor every game but only gave it up after I finally got to be a player. I restart all the time but I fully admit I have a terrible attention span if the game sessions aren't consistent.

Recently I got invited to run a game that meets every week but only for 3hr sessions. I freaked out and was really nervous about it, but also very excited. The short sessions and the types of players are a total departure from the type of game I have going with another group.

Our first session we only just rolled up characters but here's what I realized: I'm jonesing to run this game for the first time in a long time.

Since we've got such little time to play the players HAVE to get into it right away. From the stories I've heard of their previous games they are all good players mechanically; they understand what their characters do and all of them work to drive scenes and stories forward. Since the game sessions are so short but only a week apart keeping up with the plot never seems to be a problem for them.

I WANT to run this game. I think that goes a LONG way towards being a good GM versus a bad one. I'm trying everything I can not to hose up this new game. Everyone makes mistakes, but I want to stop making them more than once.


Quote:
I WANT to run this game. I think that goes a LONG way towards being a good GM versus a bad one. I'm trying everything I can not to hose up this new game. Everyone makes mistakes, but I want to stop making them more than once.

Yes.

This is truth. A happy GM runs a better game. I know this both from a player and a GM perspective, and it's why I wrote up the "Unhappy" archetype for a GM. If the GM is having a good time, chances are the party is having a good time. It's not always the case, but... it's important.

Having a good time as a GM also, in turn, stems from your players enjoying themselves too. You can help them achieve that by coming prepared for the game you're running and being in a good mood, generally. If you, the GM, have energy, then your players will pick up on that energy.

(Generally, anyway. Sometimes you have a group with that ONE GUY that annoys you and everyone else in the game to the point of not having fun. I... hate... that one guy...)

Sovereign Court

Ascalaphus wrote:

•The Family Hunter - if your character has relatives, a place of bussiness, any one he likes, those will be targeted relentlessly. Nothing you try to build stays upright because the GM can't resist using it as a plot hook. After a while you try to actually avoid having any attachments because they're always liabilities. So then you get a generation of PCs with families pre-killed by orcs in their backstory, just as a precaution.

Ha! That one was referenced in The Gamers.

DM: "Do you remember where we left off last time?"

Player: "Yes, Rogar's blood brother had just been killed."

DM: "No - that was last time guys."

Player: "Yeah - remember? Nimble's sister was just killed outside of the temple."

lol

(Paraphrasing - don't yell at me for slight misquotes.)


Abraham spalding wrote:

So obviously the first thing to do with any problem between GM's and players is to talk about it in the group and fix it as a group.

That said not every behavior is easily recognizable. So I would suggest that we start categorizing the various types of bad GMs and how to recognize them, as well as suggestions on how to help the GM move off the behavior that is causing the problems.

1) The Counter GM
You get to the game things are going alright and suddenly your major thing no longer works. If you are a fire mage all the enemies are fire-proof, if you are a paladin all the enemies are neutral. If you are ranged there is always fog, wind walls, deeper darkness or some other means that prevents you from attacking at range. Regardless of what you want to do it no longer works. High attack bonus? Everything's AC jumps, high AC? Everything's attack bonus jumps, lots of damage? More HP, SoS/SoD? Nothing fails its saves. So you develop new tactics just to have them closed down too, eventually nothing works because everything is immune to everything.

What to do: Talk to your GM about the problem. It could be he has a weird idea of just how effective things are or he doesn't realize much he's overcompensating for your abilities. Assure your GM you aren't looking to have an easy time, but you would like to be able to do the things you are good at sometimes.

2) The Director
Hey everybody get on the train! You have a part to play and by the gods you are going to play it. This play has a plot and if you side track it everything is going to blow up or just plain not work.

What to do: Talk to the GM about the problem. It could be he's uncomfortable with the system and doesn't understand how to work around various abilities. Maybe he's really only worried about a specific power and he's overcompensating in order to prevent that one type of power from entering the game. Perhaps too much time on the forums has him intimidated about "players taking over...

I really like how all the problems you list are solved by talking to the GM. this really needs to be restated again. If you have a problem with how things are being run, talk to your GM.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Weslocke wrote:

Funny thread.

Now do one about players, please.

You know, just to spread all that love evenly.

Many of us see also GM's. You act like this is a player only convention designed to down talk GM's. Nobody is forcing you to read this if you dont like it, just like nobody is stopping you from making that "problem player" thread. So how about getting on that instead of telling other people what threads to create.

Also, a crappy player can be replaced relatively easily. A crappy GM can easily sour the whole group. If you're in a small town, they also might be the only one around. The scale of influence is just different with GMs versus players.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The Module-lar GM
The GM that uses modules and runs them completely as written, right down to the very last copper piece, which is all fine and dandy as long as you're proficient with the bastard sword, have Aberrations as a favored enemy and your Bloodline is right otherwise you're s!%* out of luck, because she won't change anything.


The DM who never gets any better at DMing.

I blame the players!

; )


Buri Reborn wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Weslocke wrote:

Funny thread.

Now do one about players, please.

You know, just to spread all that love evenly.

Many of us see also GM's. You act like this is a player only convention designed to down talk GM's. Nobody is forcing you to read this if you dont like it, just like nobody is stopping you from making that "problem player" thread. So how about getting on that instead of telling other people what threads to create.
Also, a crappy player can be replaced relatively easily. A crappy GM can easily sour the whole group. If you're in a small town, they also might be the only one around. The scale of influence is just different with GMs versus players.

That is a good point. Most the bad players I've gamed with just weren't invited to another session, while the group carried on without them. When the problem is the GM the entire campaign will almost certainly melt down, and the gaming group might well break up as well.


I'm a new GM and I'd probably end up placing myself as #5, the unprepared.

It's not that I don't have encounters prepared perse', I did, but I play my games with friends over roll 20, and we usually end up having to put off games for months at a time due to everyone's schedules. Eventually, I just forget a lot about the campaign and when we finally set a solid time, I have to re-read everything to get back into it and thus re-prepare. That, mixed with me not knowing some of the random rules my players put me through gives me a lot to work on.

It'd odd really. We're playing an AP since I don't have enough experience to homebrew just yet, especially with encounter building and maps, but I think running the AP isn't fun for me because it isn't my story. I don't really enjoy DMing right now, but my friends seem to enjoy the games so I do it for them. Maybe once I get enough experience, I can make my own and we'll all have fun. Maybe. Or it could be I enjoy playing more then DMing.


captain yesterday wrote:

The Module-lar GM

The GM that uses modules and runs them completely as written, right down to the very last copper piece, which is all fine and dandy as long as you're proficient with the bastard sword, have Aberrations as a favored enemy and your Bloodline is right otherwise you're s#*$ out of luck, because she won't change anything.

I think that if this happens the GM should be told that modules/AP's are not one size fits all. Now personally if I am running a module and let's say the bad guys are neutral I will tell the players up front so nobody makes a paladin.

Other times a GM may be of the mindset that you play the hand you're dealt, which is fine if the entire group likes that, but not all groups like that style of play.

Sometimes the GM has enough time to read the book and run the game, and that is about it. In this case someone else may have to step up and GM or the players may have to deal with it if the GM is not willing to give them information to avoid making choices that wont help them.


Captain BadWrongFun
This GM is firmly convinced that there is a right way to game and a wrong way to game, and god help anyone who isn't playing the game properly. Maybe he hates any characters that deviate the basic classic tropes (An Elf who doesn't love nature? A Dwarf who isn't gruff? A cleric who isn't 100% focused on healing? Unheard of!) or maybe he hates all the standard character tropes and insists that players be more creative (A wizard with high intelligence who casts spells? Be more original). Maybe he explodes the slightest hint of optimization (Your fighter has 16 strength and power attack? Munchkin cheesemaster!) or maybe he get annoyed at the slightest hint of a suboptimal build (why not just specialize in throwing water balloons?). The key trait is an incredibly narrow idea of what makes for the "proper" way to play, combined with an utter intolerance for anything that doesn't match that.

What to do: Talk to your GM about the problem. It's possible he wants to go for a specific theme/flavor for the campaign, but isn't very good at articulating that up-front and only comments when he sees something that violates his sensibilities. If that's not the case, try to show how there are plenty of ways to have fun playing the game outside of his area of preference.


Third Mind wrote:

I'm a new GM and I'd probably end up placing myself as #5, the unprepared.

It's not that I don't have encounters prepared perse', I did, but I play my games with friends over roll 20, and we usually end up having to put off games for months at a time due to everyone's schedules. Eventually, I just forget a lot about the campaign and when we finally set a solid time, I have to re-read everything to get back into it and thus re-prepare. That, mixed with me not knowing some of the random rules my players put me through gives me a lot to work on.

It'd odd really. We're playing an AP since I don't have enough experience to homebrew just yet, especially with encounter building and maps, but I think running the AP isn't fun for me because it isn't my story. I don't really enjoy DMing right now, but my friends seem to enjoy the games so I do it for them. Maybe once I get enough experience, I can make my own and we'll all have fun. Maybe. Or it could be I enjoy playing more then DMing.

If you are only playing every few months you might be better off with modules. For many people if they have to wait more than 2 weeks they forget everything.

If possible what you can try to do is run a 2nd game inbetween your main game so you can get some practice in.


KenderKin wrote:

The DM who never gets any better at DMing.

I blame the players!

; )

Actually I agree. GM's have a hard lot, and they can't really tell by themselves what exactly is going on with the players.

Players have a duty to provide feedback to their GM for the following reasons:

1 To keep their spirits up and make them feel appreciated
2 To provide feedback on how to improve their skills
3 To help the entire table keep in touch with how the group dynamic is changing.

Everyone is responsible for a good game.


Abraham spalding wrote:
KenderKin wrote:

The DM who never gets any better at DMing.

I blame the players!

; )

Actually I agree. GM's have a hard lot, and they can't really tell by themselves what exactly is going on with the players.

Players have a duty to provide feedback to their GM for the following reasons:

1 To keep their spirits up and make them feel appreciated
2 To provide feedback on how to improve their skills
3 To help the entire table keep in touch with how the group dynamic is changing.

Everyone is responsible for a good game.

I agree if the group does not speak up.


Combine 4, 6 and 7 and you have what I might call the "Ravenloft" DM :D


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The too-many-NPCs GM:
This GM introduces lots and lots of NPCs into the campaign, and you have trouble keeping track of who each one is or why they are connected to the PCs' stories. Maybe the GM likes writing characters and wants to use them. Maybe the GM doesn't realize when it is better to reuse an earlier NPC. Maybe the GM spends a lot of time thinking about their world and so can remember all the characters easily, and doesn't realize that the players can't. Or maybe the GM writes for a Hasbro franchise like Transformers, and is just introducing characters so that the manufacturing division can make toys based on their characters, and the plot of the campaign is ultimately irrelevant:P

What to do: Talk to the GM. Explain that you are having trouble keeping track of all the NPCs. This issue is quite fixable, but only if you acknowledge it.

I have actually done this before. I introduced too many NPCs without thinking about it. Eventually what I did was organize information about the campaign's NPCs in a Google doc and share it with all the players. That, combined whit having some unnecessary NPCs stop showing up, and introducing fewer new characters, alleviated the problem.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Removed a post and reply to it, since it's just baiting for an argument. Also, we're starting to really give this thread the side-eye here. Being annoyed by certain habits is natural, venting about them/communicating about them with people on our forums is fine, but there is a line where it starts becoming somewhat abusive/counter to our goal of supporting different play styles and preferences.


Abraham spalding wrote:

So obviously the first thing to do with any problem between GM's and players is to talk about it in the group and fix it as a group.

That said not every behavior is easily recognizable. So I would suggest that we start categorizing the various types of bad GMs and how to recognize them, as well as suggestions on how to help the GM move off the behavior that is causing the problems.
...

The Antagonist

Somewhere, somehow, this GM got something fundamentally wrong ingrained into his head. This person believes that his role in the game is to kill your characters. He states it openly, and every encounter is CR+3 or higher, or even comes with additional houserules like max monster hit points, or even 1.5 times max hp's and other buff spells already in effect. Some times he pulls a "D*ck Move" and will randomly ambush a player when they're in town and away from the group with encounters specifically made to hit a character's weak point. He is a fan of save or suck/die spells and likes throwing them at you with stupidly high DC's. He will spend countless amounts of time looking up the worst monsters, traps, and places to throw his victims into. Playing his game stresses both your nerves and your reserve of blank character sheets.

What to do Most of the time it seems that the answer is 'talk to the DM', and this might work with the Antagonist, but the core issue is the way they view being a GM. If possible, try to get them to enjoy playing in a game where the GM does things differently, or put him in the seat of his victims and run a game for him that goes the same way and be absolutely brutal about it, though this avenue has a chance to backfire.

Alternatively, perhaps Pathfinder isn't the way to go with them. Offer him the chance to run a game using a system more built for his style of play. Like Call of Cthulhu or Dark Heresy.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As a general approach if you're a player who is unsatisfied with the way your game is going, I'd also suggest not thinking of the cause as a "bad GM". I'd approach any discussion from the position of "elements of the game I'd like to see change".

Partly it's to make the complaint easier for them to hear (it's not about them, it's about the game) but it also leaves open the possibility that you might be the source of the problem. No matter which of the above categories you think applies - it's possible that the DM and the rest of the players are on the same page and are enjoying it and that your real problem is that you're playing in an incompatible group. I think that will be easier to diagnose if you dont go in with the assumption that it's a question of DM quality.


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Abraham spalding wrote:
KenderKin wrote:

The DM who never gets any better at DMing.

I blame the players!

; )

Actually I agree. GM's have a hard lot, and they can't really tell by themselves what exactly is going on with the players.

Players have a duty to provide feedback to their GM for the following reasons:

1 To keep their spirits up and make them feel appreciated
2 To provide feedback on how to improve their skills
3 To help the entire table keep in touch with how the group dynamic is changing.

Everyone is responsible for a good game.

There is a reason why just about every solution to a problem with your GM starts with "Talk to your GM." I think quite a few of the GM-types mentioned here aren't aware of the issues they're causing, and would make a good-faith effort to fix those problems if they were brought to their attention.

That said, sometimes a jerk ends up in the GM chair who won't respond well to constructive criticism. I do recall one rather unpleasant GM who went into a full screaming meltdown when the group told him that we weren't having fun spending 4 hours doing nothing but trying to figure out the solution to his "clever" puzzle, telling us all that players weren't supposed to have fun while gaming.


Chengar Qordath wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
KenderKin wrote:

The DM who never gets any better at DMing.

I blame the players!

; )

Actually I agree. GM's have a hard lot, and they can't really tell by themselves what exactly is going on with the players.

Players have a duty to provide feedback to their GM for the following reasons:

1 To keep their spirits up and make them feel appreciated
2 To provide feedback on how to improve their skills
3 To help the entire table keep in touch with how the group dynamic is changing.

Everyone is responsible for a good game.

There is a reason why just about every solution to a problem with your GM starts with "Talk to your GM." I think quite a few of the GM-types mentioned here aren't aware of the issues they're causing, and would make a good-faith effort to fix those problems if they were brought to their attention.

That said, sometimes a jerk ends up in the GM chair who won't respond well to constructive criticism. I do recall one rather unpleasant GM who went into a full screaming meltdown when the group told him that we weren't having fun spending 4 hours doing nothing but trying to figure out the solution to his "clever" puzzle, telling us all that players weren't supposed to have fun while gaming.

... Wat?

I play and run games in order *to* have fun. If it wasn't fun, I'd be doing something else. Or if I had to do something not-fun, I'd be at work. ;)

****
I made my post not as a complaint about a GM, or saying that the particular type of GM I listed was 'bad'. If anything, the thread could use a better title, such as "Dealing with differences between GMs and Players." or something. Ultimately, since there's quite the opposite published on Paizo material (The Gamemaster's Guide has a large chapter on 'types' of players and how to work with them. I actually think that a similar guide for how players can work with different kinds of GM's would be supremely cool in helping ensure everyone does have a good time.


Abraham spalding wrote:


1) The Counter GM
You get to the game things are going alright and suddenly your major thing no longer works. If you are a fire mage all the enemies are fire-proof, if you are a paladin all the enemies are neutral. If you are ranged there is always fog, wind walls, deeper darkness or some other means that prevents you from attacking at range. Regardless of what you want to do it no longer works. High attack bonus? Everything's AC jumps, high AC? Everything's attack bonus jumps, lots of damage? More HP, SoS/SoD? Nothing fails its saves. So you develop new tactics just to have them closed down too, eventually nothing works because everything is immune to everything.

What to do: Talk to your GM about the problem. It could be he has a weird idea of just how effective things are or he doesn't realize much he's overcompensating for your abilities. Assure your GM you aren't looking to have an easy time, but you would like to be able to do the things you are good at sometimes.

I've had this issue before. My GM was especially ignorant to game mechanics and how they pertain to rogues. The other rogue in the party was prone and had a fireball then cast at him. Because he was prone he was not allowed Evasion or his reflex save. The rogue pointed out that not only does it not say this anywhere in the rules about evasion but it also doesn't say losing a saving throw for being prone. GM said it didn't matter because being prone was equivalent to losing your dex which negates a reflex saving throw, which he could not use the book as support for but deemed it so as he was the GM.

The second time was with me when I was wanting to stealth. I originally asked if he'd allow me to take the feat Hellcat Stealth which he rejected since it was created in a specific module and we were not using that module. He instead suggested Shadowdancer so I could use stealth so long as I was in a shadow or dim light of some kind. After taking a level in Shadowdancer, the next game we came up against two werewolves in a dark alley. Our fighters were exchanging blows with the werewolves and I wanted to stealth. The GM said, "What's the point? As soon as you get close they're going to know where you are so you wont get sneak attack anyway." Werewolves have scent, which meant to my GM that so long as I was within 20ft, yeah that's right, 20ft, that they would know my exact location and they would regain their dex to me. Fine. I let it slide since I knew we wouldn't be coming up against anything else with scent in the up-coming games.

Later, during that same game, we came across some orcs with darkvision. Again, I tried to stealth while in a shadow and the GM said I couldn't because they had darkvision and could therefore still see me. This is where I fought him tooth and nail pointing out the exact language and getting opinions from people at Pazio (who were in my favor). I showed him everything and kept on it for a whole week before our next game, but he would not give in. The day before our game I e-mailed everyone that because of differences I was bowing out of the game. The GM replied everyone back and slammed me for quitting after discussing the issue all week and for him "putting up with me" instead of kicking me out after the first time I e-mailed him about it. I just laughed it off hoping everyone would see how two-faced he was. He made it clear we could argue rules with him so long as it did not interrupt game time. I did just that and still got disrespected.

It's very sad to find GMs who obsess over their power and claim ignorance over "the law". Such is the country we live in.


Joynt Jezebel wrote:

The Ignoramus.

This GM does not have sufficient knowledge of the game system, the game world or both.

You can talk to these GMs about the problem, but they typically either don't know the game well enough to understand what the problem is.

Talking about the problem can help. Something else that can help is seeing if the GM would like a Co-GM. Someone to simply help him keep the rules straight as they continue to learn. A lot of times when I see this problem the issue is the group and GM are new or new to the system and the GM has stepped up to the plate and is wiffing because of it.

Quote:


The Competitor

This person uses GMing to compete with players, showing off their superior intellect by ruling things won't work. One of the worst of all.

Sometimes a change of venue will help with this GM. Warhammer 40k can be a fun wargame to play with people like this as it puts everyone on the same level. If nothing else playing a game like Warhammer 40k will help expose if this is just a competitive person or if this is a person with problems that you might not want to play with at all.

Quote:


The Rules Perfectionist

Wants to get everything correct by the rules to the last detail. This slows play down to a snails pace and leaches drama from the game due to constant looking up of rules.

I know when this happens to me I'm worried about not giving the PCs every bit they are due. It can be useful to remind the GM that the PCs don't expect perfection, just an even shake. As long as the rule stays constant for the session people can work out what should have happened before the next one and run from there.

Quote:


But we should be more gentle on GMs. It is extremely hard to do well. I think because PCs can do most anything a real person can, so RPGs are potentially infinitely complicated. And the poor GM has to try to keep everything balanced and right at the same time.

Agreed!


rungok wrote:
I made my post not as a complaint about a GM, or saying that the particular type of GM I listed was 'bad'. If anything, the thread could use a better title, such as "Dealing with differences between GMs and Players." or something. Ultimately, since there's quite the opposite published on Paizo material (The Gamemaster's Guide has a large chapter on 'types' of players and how to work with them. I actually think that a similar guide for how players can work with different kinds of GM's would be supremely cool in helping ensure...

Agreed -- I should have titled this thread better.

Dark Archive

Chengar Qordath wrote:
Captain BadWrongFun

I admit I can have shades of this, though it mostly shows itself when players treat the game too mechanically, focusing more what what their character can do not who they are. Where when they may turn down or choose certain options based on whether or not it 'too weak' or 'not strong enough'. Where they seem to only care about crunching the numbers or whether or not something will limit them power-wise not how an option can enrich roleplaying.

For me D&D and Pathfinder should be about the roleplaying, the growth and story of characters.... not 'roll' playing or how powerful you can make your character or whether the numbers work the way they want too.

This actually effect my answer when it comes to allowing a playing to alternate rules or 3rd party resources. If they come forward asking to use something because they feel it would enhance their character or help them take a certain path I am much more likely to say yes then if they came to saying it would be cool or help make their character a ot more powerful.
------------------

Also I normally encourage my players to try and stay in character when roleplay, to really get into it and not joke around or mess around out of character... though that is something I need to consider more because it could mean that I am not keeping their focus on the game or boring them. I take roleplaying seriously, and disapprove of players getting distracted and clowning around.


Abraham spalding wrote:
rungok wrote:
I made my post not as a complaint about a GM, or saying that the particular type of GM I listed was 'bad'. If anything, the thread could use a better title, such as "Dealing with differences between GMs and Players." or something. Ultimately, since there's quite the opposite published on Paizo material (The Gamemaster's Guide has a large chapter on 'types' of players and how to work with them. I actually think that a similar guide for how players can work with different kinds of GM's would be supremely cool in helping ensure...
Agreed -- I should have titled this thread better.

I'd suggest PMing a mod to ask to change the thread topic. If people use this thread as intended, I think it could be a great resource. Unfortuantely, the thread title may invite people with no interest in contributing to come on this thread and whine about their personal vendettas against internet forums, without including suggestions on what to do.

Also, while this thread could function as a sort of guide (which makes sense in the Advice forum), the thread title doesn't get that across, which lead to it being moved to the Gamer Talk forum, where threads are sent to devolve into un-moderated flame wars.
So yea, ask to have the thread title changed:) Or just restart it in a new thread, with other people's (positive) contributions in the new OP.


Quote:
For me D&D and Pathfinder should be about the roleplaying, the growth and story of characters.... not 'roll' playing or how powerful you can make your character or whether the numbers work the way they want too.

I'm a roleplayer. I've roleplayed via all sorts of mediums: tabletop games, forums, MMOs, MUDs, e-mails, you name it. However, as important as roleplay is to me, Pathfinder is a dice-oriented system.

You should NEVER discount the influence of the game mechanics. The game involves both dice AND character interaction; that's intentional design. If the designers of D&D (and subsequently Pathfinder) didn't want dice to make important decisions, they wouldn't have included dice in the game. So, while I will make decisions in-game based on what makes the most sense in-character, I will make character design decisions and class decisions and so forth based on what makes sense build-wise, and I actively help other players (if I'm playing and not GMing) build their characters in ways that are useful and have synergy with what the rest of the group has done.

Also...

Quote:
This actually effect my answer when it comes to allowing a playing to alternate rules or 3rd party resources. If they come forward asking to use something because they feel it would enhance their character or help them take a certain path I am much more likely to say yes then if they came to saying it would be cool or help make their character a ot more powerful.

I find a lot of people that have approached me in the past (as a GM) use the excuse of "It just fits my character" or "It only makes sense that my character would become this" or "It has great flavor!" when in reality they were choosing it for powergamey purposes. When I'm a player, I've had people approach me with questions about what's more powerful, then later word their request to the GM in such a way that makes it sound as if they're choosing it for roleplay purposes.

So... I always make sure that I eye anything I'm presented as a DM for serious gamebreaking potential, and I forewarn players that if they use 3PP / Homebrew sources for gamebreaking purposes that I reserve the right to retroactively remove those 3PP / Homebrew sources from the game.

I probably lie somewhere on this list of bad GMs.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
137ben wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
rungok wrote:
I made my post not as a complaint about a GM, or saying that the particular type of GM I listed was 'bad'. If anything, the thread could use a better title, such as "Dealing with differences between GMs and Players." or something. Ultimately, since there's quite the opposite published on Paizo material (The Gamemaster's Guide has a large chapter on 'types' of players and how to work with them. I actually think that a similar guide for how players can work with different kinds of GM's would be supremely cool in helping ensure...
Agreed -- I should have titled this thread better.

I'd suggest PMing a mod to ask to change the thread topic. If people use this thread as intended, I think it could be a great resource. Unfortuantely, the thread title may invite people with no interest in contributing to come on this thread and whine about their personal vendettas against internet forums, without including suggestions on what to do.

Also, while this thread could function as a sort of guide (which makes sense in the Advice forum), the thread title doesn't get that across, which lead to it being moved to the Gamer Talk forum, where threads are sent to devolve into un-moderated flame wars.
So yea, ask to have the thread title changed:) Or just restart it in a new thread, with other people's (positive) contributions in the new OP.

Well my long term goal is to collect the best/most accurate/ over arching types and put together a "guide" like the class guides. Again much in the same lines as what is in the GMG as the intention is to help people find ways to do something constructive to improve their gaming groups rather than just be upset about how things go. Something like that "arm, anvil, hammer" guide that was done.

But yeah I'll see about getting the title changed to something better.

However on the positive side, I feel as a whole the thread has gone really well for as contentious of a topic as this is.

I appreciate all the positive contributions people, thank you!


Abraham spalding wrote:
137ben wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
rungok wrote:
I made my post not as a complaint about a GM, or saying that the particular type of GM I listed was 'bad'. If anything, the thread could use a better title, such as "Dealing with differences between GMs and Players." or something. Ultimately, since there's quite the opposite published on Paizo material (The Gamemaster's Guide has a large chapter on 'types' of players and how to work with them. I actually think that a similar guide for how players can work with different kinds of GM's would be supremely cool in helping ensure...
Agreed -- I should have titled this thread better.

I'd suggest PMing a mod to ask to change the thread topic. If people use this thread as intended, I think it could be a great resource. Unfortuantely, the thread title may invite people with no interest in contributing to come on this thread and whine about their personal vendettas against internet forums, without including suggestions on what to do.

Also, while this thread could function as a sort of guide (which makes sense in the Advice forum), the thread title doesn't get that across, which lead to it being moved to the Gamer Talk forum, where threads are sent to devolve into un-moderated flame wars.
So yea, ask to have the thread title changed:) Or just restart it in a new thread, with other people's (positive) contributions in the new OP.

Well my long term goal is to collect the best/most accurate/ over arching types and put together a "guide" like the class guides. Again much in the same lines as what is in the GMG as the intention is to help people find ways to do something constructive to improve their gaming groups rather than just be upset about how things go. Something like that "arm, anvil, hammer" guide that was done.

But yeah I'll see about getting the title changed to something better.

However on the positive side, I feel as a whole the thread has gone really well for as...

I am interested in continuing helping you with this guide. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know with a PM. Also, if my help is not needed please let me know when you've completed it, I want to read through it. My girlfriend is just starting out as a DM and she's the kind of person who learns best by reading a guide or rulebook so having materials I can provide would be great.


Given that the solution to every problem is "talk to the GM," I think that a "Why they usually do this" section might be more helpful than "What to do."


martinaj wrote:
Given that the solution to every problem is "talk to the GM," I think that a "Why they usually do this" section might be more helpful than "What to do."

Good point. You'll notice that on some there is more of a "what you can do to help the GM" theme too. That's the sort of information that can be helpful.

For example if each player does five index cards for monsters then the GM can quickly have a bank of cards that he can quick reference instead of opening a book. He can then use a paper clip to attach the cards to the section that those monsters appear and be ready just by turning the page.

Having someone in the group be the "information tracker" and have a board on which they keep initiative on as well as when buffs start and when they will end helps the GM not have to track time and all of combat. Seeing as the player had only one character (generally!) to run this makes it easier for the GM without over burdening a player.

If someone else can do buff cards (or has the professional deck that Paizo offers for sell) that can make it easier for everyone to know what exactly they have going on.

I was in charge of group buffs for my party once. I would track what all buffs we had and then if someone needed to know what bonus they had I could simply give them the total for the things they needed.

OH!

Something that can help everyone:

When I build a character and I have a 'pre-plan' -- especially if it involves multiple classes I will cut and paste from the class tables the abilities into an excel spreadsheet. Then I'll arraign them in the order I think I will take. In effect I'm making a "custom class" for that character. Then I'll list the abilities in order under the class table. That way when I'm talking to the GM about my plans for the character I can show him an actual road map for how I see the character developing and what abilities will come on line when. If he has a problem with part if it I can adjust that part instead of him not liking the character as a whole.

This also allows me to know what my base numbers will be at any given level since they are added up in the chart.


I'd be interested in seeing an analysis of WHY these gms do what they are doing... Surely they are doing these things for reasons they are able to, at the bare minimum, justify to themselves. So it might not be a bad idea to also explore the method to the madness instead of simply labeling it madness... To what purpose do gms gravitate to these 'bad habits'? Instead of simply vilifying it, perhaps try to figure out not the purpose of it as perceived by the players, but the purpose of being that kind of gm from the perspective of the gms themselves.

Coming together as a community means making an attempt to understand where each other is coming from.


Vincent Takeda wrote:

I'd be interested in seeing an analysis of WHY these gms do what they are doing... Surely they are doing these things for reasons they are able to at the bare minimum justify to themselves and It might not be a bad idea to also explore the method to the madness instead of simply labeling it madness... To what purpose do gms gravitate to these 'bad habits'? Instead of simply vilifying it, perhaps try to figure out not the purpose of it as perceived by the players, but the purpose of being that kind of gm from the perspective of the gms themselves.

Coming together as a community means making an attempt to understand where each other is coming from.

Hand-in-hand with this is the question of perception. Are they doing what they appear to be doing, or something just being misunderstood? As has been noted, communication seems to be key.


Well Vincent I have seen good GMs go bad over bad players, and I've seen good GMs run out of time, or pick up new systems and not know them, or think they can wing a session or two or a hundred other things.

It really is a case by case thing, just like it can be with some problem players.

I went through a phase where I couldn't have a weak save or low HP or low AC because of a really bad GM. He instilled in me a bad habit of 'turtling' because that was the only way to survive his games. At the time I didn't realize I was picking up the habit either. We had fun, the group dynamic was alright and the other players enjoyed the game and got what they were wanting from it.

Fortunately I have had many more great groups that helped me get past this and other really bad GMs that gave me other bad habits that other people helped fix.

Unfortunately a lot of these are something I have been guilty of at some point or another too. Things happen and I hope that even for those GMs out there that are not bad can look at this and use it to help stop themselves from going down a dark path.

After all if you are a GM and you read this and think, "Gee, I've felt like I haven't had enough time and there is too much going on in combat."

Maybe you'll look into the unprepared and think, "Oh, maybe I can have my group help me get set up with monster index cards and then I'll have my creatures ready before hand, and if Sarah who's a bit of a rules lawyer and looking bored helps track initiative and buffs then I'll have more time to concentrated on the rest of the game."

This way you can be self-correcting as well, to help prevent the problem from developing and pulling your players in deeper by making it more of their game too.

At one time I was defensive about what I saw as my GMing duties. I thought in order to be a good GM I had to be a perfect GM able to run the combat, track the dungeon, know what was going on at all times, and be on top of everything.

Which is insane. No one can really do that all the time. I have found that by allowing my players to help with these things (something learned from watching other GMs do it back in Indiana) I could concentrate more on being a GM and they would have more skin in the game as a whole too.


I was thinking something a little more along the lines of

The counter gm. This gm is attempting to challenge the players by presenting them with an obstacle their go-to solutions will not solve in an attempt to get them to employ different tactics. Your tactic works very well in a lot of situations... When it doesn't work... What's your backup plan? We must go deeper.

The montyhaul gm: this gm is attempting to quickly get the characters past the murders and aquisitions stage of the game and get down to the nitty gritty of 'what are your characters about that isn't about killin and lootin'? He's trying to get players to explore character concepts beyond the slay for pay model. If your characters primary motivation is get rich, what does he do after he's gotten rich? We must go deeper.

The director: this gm is attempting to bring the characters through a very specific narrative. He's challenging his players to be able to voluntarily closely follow and pursue that narrative... Star wars wouldnt be the same if luke skywalker murdered ben kenobi in his sleep and sold all his belongings on the black market. We must go deeper.

The restarter: this gm has a hard time staying interested in any one particular world or theme for long... He's challenging his players to rapidly adapt to wide sweeping changes to narrative and environment at a moments notice and frequently in order to test their versatility... We must go deeeper.

The gold depriver: this gm is interested in running a campaign opposite of the montyhaul gm... He wants the party to define their heroics by their actions, without being able to buy their way out of challenges. If you don't have the necessary tools to get the job done, but still need to get the job done... how would you do it instead? We must go deeper.

Even the unprepared gm can give you a goal... This gm admits its very difficult to know every mechanic and every rule. He challenges his players to be familiar with the rules their characters plan to use, and have handy the page numbers for those mechanics to back up their actions. Which rules and mechanics does your character use and how does your character pull off what its trying to do? Where did you find that information? We must go deeper.

Something like that. Essentially theres more at work to these tropes than simply 'the dm has gone bad like strawberries left on the counter for 7 days.'

It might be constructive to say

If I am one of these gms... What exactly am I after by being that way
If I am one of these gms... Are my players interested in these particular goals at all?
If I have one of these gms... Am I willing to pursue these particular goals as well?

Its the gms job to challenge you in ways that are fun. whether that challenge is to change your tactics, stay on task, adapt to change, carry on when overextended physically or emotionally or financially, to keep track of your own characters mechanics, sometimes the challenge is to know when its time to hide or run away... xometimes the challenge is figuring out which npcs they want you to chat with and which npcs they want you to slay.... and sometimes the challenge is to find out what comes next for your characer once they have become wealthy and bored. If that were the end of the story we'd have a lot of suicidal rich people... What's next. We must go deeper.

The question is which challenges does your gm want you to meet and how much do you enjoy meeting those particular kinds of challenges.


The Ego Maniac GM: A horror combination of the Actor, Director, and Counter GM. May also have elements of the Homebrewer and the Competitor. For this guy, the game isn't a roleplay, it's a grand sweeping opera stage for his awesome story, and you're all just along for the ride. Your actions are going to have very little impact on the story - this is pretty much all NPC and GMPC driven plot! Expect that any fight you get into is going to already be decided on its outcome anyways, so you'll win fights that advance his story, and lose fights for the sake of showing off the awesome GMPCs!

More frequently the bane of PbP because it's easier to keep an audience captive if they're not actually being strapped down into a chair; no, they are merely lulled into the campaign with false promises, only to become too invested to quit later. He'll be constantly recruiting new players to either add to this campaign or replace his hemorrhaging losses.

What to do There is nothing to do. This guy is so far up his own ass that your only hope to salvage the campaign is to conspire with the other players to enact a coup. Make sure to back up any campaign critical information - because he'll definitely flip the table and delete everything in a rage when you fire him. And if you can't manage that, just quit. Don't be this GM's gimp.


The trick of course is to either

Find a gm that challenges you in ways you like to be challenged
Find a gm that avoids challenging you in ways you dont like to be challenged
Find a gm that makes the kinds of challenges you dont like facing fun anyway

Or any combination of the three.


Sandbox gm: this gm is challenging the player to write their own story... To choose their own path... When you have every freedom to choose that path... What would you choose? We must go deeper!


The main man... Heheheheh. This gm is challenging the player to uh... tolerate... an npc that they care about deeply... uhhh... that you probably wont like... uh... but also probably cant kill. How does your character handle a situation when they are forced to interact with someone they dont like but cant kill and is probably pretty powerful and cheezy? We must go deeper?

Oddly this might be the most relevant skill to have in real life. You'll often meet people in real life that you dont like but cant kill... How do you handle it? How would your character? How can we make that fun? On the other hand for some the most relevant real life challenge could be finding your own path...

Something to think about anyway.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
avr wrote:

The Monty Haul GM

Everything's easy. You have loot coming out your ears, no fight is ever dangerous - maybe the enemies are lightweights, maybe the rolls are fudged - and short of another PC enacting the Head of Vecna scam nothing bad can ever happen to your PC.

It may not sound too bad but it gets boring fast playing in this game IME.

My Wrath of the Righteous players* are worried about the tweaks to the Mythic rules I'm considering.

I'm worried about this.

*Except for "just make the fights harder" guy. I just want to pinch him. At a certain point, the effort has diminishing returns, and I have three other campaigns to prep for. Just make it harder. :/

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