Conflict / Issue Resolution with Your GM


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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 my table". Perhaps give him some plot hooks and ideas before the game and early in the planning for future games so he can more directly work in what you would like to see your character develop towards too. Giving him information can help the GM better develop the story to take the actual characters into account instead of having to guess at what everyone is trying to do.

3) The Actor
Oh no! The world needs saved! Fortunately the GM has an NPC for that. Maybe not just one, perhaps he has several. At the end of the day you feel more like you are there to simply witness the NPC's doing everything while you walk around.

What to do: Talk to the GM about the problem. He might miss playing and need someone else to take over so he can get a game or two in from the other side of the table. Maybe he's afraid your PCs can't handle what he is throwing at you so he overcompensates in the other direction. You need to let him know that while it's his world you do want to play in it too. Interact with the NPCs so he gets some acting time in too. If you usually simply say, "We go buy stuff at the store" instead start showing interest in the store and the NPC running it. This allows the GM to get his acting on without having to run all over the PCs to do it.

4) The Tormentor
This GM is a lot like the counter but there is a key exception. All your stuff works, it just takes forever for any fight to end. Literally every fight seems like a three hour slog where whatever you are doing works, but seems to have little to no effect in just ending the fight. Every fight ends with a near TPK, and he swears he's taking it easy on you!

What to do: First consider your party make up. If you are a bunch of intelligence 10 wizards trying to go with a two handed weapon melee build then that might be your problem. However if you have good party balance and your characters are generally well built (your fighter has armor and power attack, your wizard has a good casting stat and so on) then perhaps it really is the GM. He might think that if you don't just barely get by you won't feel like you got your money's worth so to speak. If that's the case assure him that you like a good epic battle every now and then, but not every battle needs to be epic (nor should every battle).

Feel free to add more, and before you get upset realize this is simply to help. Most GMs are alright. I would offer one for GMs with player problems but there are already a lot of things for that out there such as the GMG


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5) The Unprepared
You know the GM is generally good. But he just isn't prepared. He has to look up monsters all the time, and he doesn't know what's behind door A and just a minute while he looks in section 47 to see what's in the room.

What to do: Talk to the GM about it. Could be the poor guy just has too much going on. Maybe he's getting burned out and needs a break. If those aren't the cases perhaps you can help him more directly. Perhaps once a month someone else should run a one off to give him more time to prepare. Perhaps you can offer to come over and make up some index cards for the monsters he's going to need for the next week. Have him walk through each area before the game with someone so he has a feel for what's on the map before the game starts, to help with preparation. In general this one tends to come down to time and lack of organizational skills.


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I have to say that I have been guilty of all of these at one point or another. But recognizing common shortfalls is the first step in getting better at the GM craft.

This leads to another problem behaviour, the incorrigible GM. Some GMs are just not comfortable recognizing that they may be doing something that is detracting from the fun. I'm not sure how such set-in-their-ways GMs can be helped if they are not willing to exercise some introspection. Maybe have them take a break for a while so that others can show how a few changes can make for a much better game. We all have met that person who takes kind-hearted and gentle suggestions as terrible affronts to them, their mother, their dog, and their ancestors.


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I'm not sure if this is incorporated in one of the above items or not but here's one I see often enough.

6) The "Oldschool"
This GM either played 1st edition or just feels this way but everything needs to be "challenging." Skill DC's are always about 10 higher than the highest skill. AC is about 10 higher than highest attack bonus. Saves are at least about 10 higher than spell DC's etc...

What to do: Talk to the GM about it. Let him know that some things are supposed to be easy as you level up. Also that if you scale challenges to be hard for the best than it's impossible for the middling people. You players should be rewarded if they work to do something well.

7) The Gold Depriver
For this GM it doesn't make sense that Goblins have 100gp on them, or that Monsters have gold, or Bandits to have 3,000gp at their camp, or for the locals to pay thousands of GP for the quest they want you to do. (Especially if your GM wants you to do it for the greater good and not for personal wealth) Whatever the reason, you're tens of thousands of gold behind WBL and still going up against CR+3 encounters

What to do: Talk to the GM about it. The GM should understand that CR expects you to have certain gear at certain levels, and if you don't have the wealth than some classes will under-perform. Or to lower the CR since the party isn't at full APL strength.


8) The Warzone Lover

Every fight this GM throws at you is just way too huge. Sure, the fight itself may not be that hard, but he wants to make sure each and every fight feels "epic." He rolls individually for the initiative of each of his 50 monsters on the field, even using them before you have access to such board-clearing spells as Fireball. He's meticulous to the core, making intricate markings on the map, and this would be well and good if only he didn't make encounters that took hours before a single turn was over. You start walking away from the table for a break the moment this GM mentions NPC allies are helping you in a coming fight... This GM is similar to the Tormentor, but rather than the fights taking too long because of your party composition or because the monsters are that tough, the fights take forever because there's too much to keep track of.

What to do: As always, talk to your GM about it. He needs to understand that you're not having fun when it takes that long for your turn to come. Massive battles have a time and a place; "all the time" is not it.

9) The Unhappy

The Unhappy GM is someone who just doesn't like what they're running. It may not have an impact on you at first, but his mood quickly starts to bring the mood of the players down. Maybe he wishes he was running a different game; maybe he wishes you'd designed your party a bit more traditionally; or maybe it's something else. Whatever the case, he's your GM, and when he's not in a good mood, nobody will be in a good mood.

What to do: Find out what's bugging your GM. It could be a lot of things, but if he's not having fun running the game then you won't have fun playing in it. There may be a compromise you need to make as players so the GM has a bit more fun, or maybe your GM just needs a break from GMing. Either way, if your GM is in a good mood and is engaged by the game, you're more likely to be engaged by the game.


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10) The Homebrewer

The homebrewer is somebody who for whatever reason can't stand some aspect of the rules in relation to his plot. Spells will miraculously fail to affect this specific curse, abilities no longer exist if they can hope to alleviate some ill he has heaped upon you, and if you ever try to point out that Remove Blindness/Deafness should by all means remove the Blindness/Deafness spell to them, they will usually accuse you of being a rules lawyer and leave in a huff.

What to do: i dont know, i have never found a way to deal with this particular type, if you have advice i would appreciate it


11) The Restarter

This GM actually loves to run adventures, and will pull you aside to tell you behind the screen things, and talks about his latest upcoming campaign with the excitement of a 5 yr old on Christmas Day. However this GM is excited by many things, and while he may GM well, at some point, likely just when the players are really getting into the game, he comes up with some new plot or a new grand idea. This causes him to lose interest in what he is currently running, and he will want to you to start over with brand new characters for his new masterpiece.

I was annoyed by this because I got tired of creating 1st level characters. That is the level I dislike more than any other level, maybe because it reminds me that none of my other characters never ran to completion.

What to do: Try to get him to commit to finish what he is running, or least get him to let you bring your characters into his new creation. However don't expect for him to keep these agreements.


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12) The Unannounced

Guy seems alright, character creation goes off without any problems, everything seems almost to good to be true... first combat comes up, oh by the way all spells take a full round action to cast. Also there is no concentrate to not lose a spell. Also the Save throw is based on this obscure formula. Finally Spellcasters go last after archery and melee, as we don't use initiative.

The problem? The guy has a million house rules and didn't bother to tell anyone about them.

What to do: At the end of the game get a copy of all his house rules. Come to a gentleman's agreement -- if you don't have a copy of them at least a week before the rules are what the books say. As long as you have that copy before hand, no problems. Again talking is what is going to matter here, explain what you like about what you saw but also unless you know the rules you are supposed to be playing under you might as well be playing calvinball, especially when you thought you were here to play the standard game. House rules happen but you need to know first.


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Wraithstrike I call that one The Developer -- and find that to be probably my biggest GM vice. I love developing areas, towns, dungeons, equipment, archetypes, et al. The problem is I'm not so good at the narrative and descriptive bits of GMing and get torn wanting to hit everything.

Another solution is to have rotating games. If you have more than one GM allowing them to switch gives the guy (me) more time to flesh out my new craze and get back into my groove before I have to GM again and gives me somewhere else to vent some of that creative energy (either as a player or running a second campaign).

Another use is to coopt him for the regular GM -- if your normal GM is having trouble developing or building stuff this guy can be extremely useful for putting together things that the GM can then tweak to work for him. Works best if he isn't playing at the same table though...


Hazrond wrote:

10) The Homebrewer

The homebrewer is somebody who for whatever reason can't stand some aspect of the rules in relation to his plot. Spells will miraculously fail to affect this specific curse, abilities no longer exist if they can hope to alleviate some ill he has heaped upon you, and if you ever try to point out that Remove Blindness/Deafness should by all means remove the Blindness/Deafness spell to them, they will usually accuse you of being a rules lawyer and leave in a huff.

What to do: i dont know, i have never found a way to deal with this particular type, if you have advice i would appreciate it

This is the one that would likely annoy me the most. They tend not to take criticism well in my experience.


Abraham spalding wrote:

12) The Unannounced

Guy seems alright, character creation goes off without any problems, everything seems almost to good to be true... first combat comes up, oh by the way all spells take a full round action to cast. Also there is no concentrate to not lose a spell. Also the Save throw is based on this obscure formula. Finally Spellcasters go last after archery and melee, as we don't use initiative.

The problem? The guy has a million house rules and didn't bother to tell anyone about them.

What to do: At the end of the game get a copy of all his house rules. Come to a gentleman's agreement -- if you don't have a copy of them at least a week before the rules are what the books say. As long as you have that copy before hand, no problems. Again talking is what is going to matter here, explain what you like about what you saw but also unless you know the rules you are supposed to be playing under you might as well be playing calvinball, especially when you thought you were here to play the standard game. House rules happen but you need to know first.

This sounds similar to The Home Brewer, and they would both annoy me with the "surprise rules" as I call them. I feel like I can adapt to most GM's as long as I know what the rules are, but lack of consistency....


Abraham spalding wrote:

Wraithstrike I call that one The Developer -- and find that to be probably my biggest GM vice. I love developing areas, towns, dungeons, equipment, archetypes, et al. The problem is I'm not so good at the narrative and descriptive bits of GMing and get torn wanting to hit everything.

Another solution is to have rotating games. If you have more than one GM allowing them to switch gives the guy (me) more time to flesh out my new craze and get back into my groove before I have to GM again and gives me somewhere else to vent some of that creative energy (either as a player or running a second campaign).

Another use is to coopt him for the regular GM -- if your normal GM is having trouble developing or building stuff this guy can be extremely useful for putting together things that the GM can then tweak to work for him. Works best if he isn't playing at the same table though...

You are different from the guy I was under. The "idea" of ___ was what excited him. It might come from seeing a movie or a picture, but once the idea was there the old project was done. It is like it never even existed. I think he was addicted to the actual writing of the campaign, and while he enjoyed running it, the idea of writing this new thing made him more excited than completing the current campaign/adventure.

PS: We did rotate out at times, but his "new thing" was still all he cared about.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Hazrond wrote:

10) The Homebrewer

The homebrewer is somebody who for whatever reason can't stand some aspect of the rules in relation to his plot. Spells will miraculously fail to affect this specific curse, abilities no longer exist if they can hope to alleviate some ill he has heaped upon you, and if you ever try to point out that Remove Blindness/Deafness should by all means remove the Blindness/Deafness spell to them, they will usually accuse you of being a rules lawyer and leave in a huff.

What to do: i dont know, i have never found a way to deal with this particular type, if you have advice i would appreciate it

This is the one that would likely annoy me the most. They tend not to take criticism well in my experience.

You have no idea, i have run into these kind of people several times, the thing that annoys me is how when something would solve an issue they knee-jerk ban it, for instance, one of them sent us into this dungeon, first room? Full of necromancers hitting us with nasty debuffs and ailments, so after we barely survive that the cleric remembers they had prepared Dispel Magic, which because we were in 3.5 had an AOE use, so the cleric tries this and is met with "That doesnt exist" we say "But DM, it does, here you go, see, *gives link to spell description*" "Nope, it doesn't exist, continuing on, you are all blind deaf and drained, how do you plan to fight the rest of the necromancers and demons?"


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wraithstrike wrote:

You are different from the guy I was under. The "idea" of ___ was what excited him. It might come from seeing a movie or a picture, but once the idea was there the old project was done. It is like it never even existed. I think he was addicted to the actual writing of the campaign, and while he enjoyed running it, the idea of writing this new thing made him more excited than completing the current campaign/adventure.

PS: We did rotate out at times, but his "new thing" was still all he cared about.

I had a couple games with a GM like that. He always had really fun campaign ideas that were lots of fun to play in, but after 2-3 sessions he'd have some new cool idea that he really wanted to try out, having completely forgotten about the last one.

What made this especially egregious was that he not only bounced around different campaign ideas, he also went all over the place on which game system to use. Nothing worse than spending a couple days re-learning all the rules for Shadowrun only to find out he's switching to Dark Heresy, and then just when you're getting the hang of that he wants to do Pathfinder again...


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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.

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.

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.

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.

Grand Lodge

The Improviser

This guy is the creative version of the ignoramus. He doesn't know the rules, but that won't stop him from laying down the law! Of course 5' steps provoke attacks of opportunity! No, it would slow the game down if you looked it up, just take your damage and let's move on. There's no way to deal nonlethal damage with a sword! That spell doesn't do what you think it does, it does what he remembers it did back in first edition. Why bother investing in any other skill when perception duplicates the effects of most of them?

What to do: Run a few games yourself and hope he realizes everything he's been doing wrong.


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Ummm... almost every one of these is me, from time to time. *looks sheepishly at the ground* Guess I'll just hand off the game to someone else then... *Charlie Brown music*


I think the point is that its bad when these are all the time things... not when they happen occasionally in the heat of the moment. As long as your players have fun, its all good


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Funny thread.

Now do one about players, please.

You know, just to spread all that love evenly.


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Here are some suggestions just to get that player thread working.

1)The Gas-Lighter
2)The Rule Lawyer
3)The Mis-Quoter
4)The Partial-Language Parser
5)The Dissembler
6)The Optomizer-In-Denial
7)The "Fun" Tromper
8)The Penny Pincher
9)The "Creative" Crafter
10)The Alpha Optimizer
11)The Unprepared Player
12)The "Unwritten Rules" Hater
13)The Bad Handwriter
14)The Forum Freak
15)The "I know I bought this" Player
16)The RP Hater
17)The "I Only Play One Class" Player
18)The Developer-Rulings-Only Player
19)The Combat Hater
20)The Class-Guide Player (AKA The Color-Code-Cloner)

There, I figure 20 types of troublesome players ought to get the ball rolling.

Discuss!


Weslocke wrote:

Here are some suggestions just to get that player thread working.

1)The Gas-Lighter
2)The Rule Lawyer
3)The Mis-Quoter
4)The Partial-Language Parser
5)The Dissembler
6)The Optomizer-In-Denial
7)The "Fun" Tromper
8)The Penny Pincher
9)The "Creative" Crafter
10)The Alpha Optimizer
11)The Unprepared Player
12)The "Unwritten Rules" Hater
13)The Bad Handwriter
14)The Forum Freak
15)The "I know I bought this" Player
16)The RP Hater
17)The "I Only Play One Class" Player
18)The Developer-Rulings-Only Player
19)The Combat Hater
20)The Class-Guide Player (AKA The Color-Code-Cloner)

There, I figure 20 types of troublesome players ought to get the ball rolling.

Discuss!

Looks like YOU have some writing to do to realize your attack. Don't expect others to do your dirty work or you may not like what you get.


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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.


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The Petmaster:

For whatever reason one or two players get everything and the game is designed around them while everyone else just watches and is expected to applaud the pet whenever he/she accomplishes something that was pre-ordained for him/her by the GM.


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.

One of the worst... I coulda stayed home


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I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but the first sentence in 90% of the "solutions" to every sort of "problem GM" is "Talk to the GM about the problem."

While I understand that the GM is the guy that basically gives the PCs and NPCs and the story and everything the game has to offer, and it's certainly the most preferable solution to come up with instead of causing a commotion and doing illegal stuff to the GM (who, despite being a despicable human being, is still a human being), it's humorous (to me) that every "problem GM" that people could possibly come up with has practically the same identical solution.

Why even cite the types of bad GMs out there when you can end them all with Diplomacy checks or leaving the tables? A bad GM is a bad GM is a bad GM, and quite frankly, as long as every player has a "Diplomacer +10," the types of GMs that exist cease to have a function.


Because while talking to the GM is almost always the major solution it's not a solution until you know what to talk to him about.

Also people might not be realizing what the problem is. It's hard to tell someone "Man I'm not digging this game but I can't figure out why" being able to recognize the problem is important to solving it.

Also most people are at least friendly with their GM if not outright friends, and if your GM is say the developer with the unprepared you might be able to do more than just talk about it to fix the problem.

Much like the GMG points out the types of problem players (as I pointed out in the OP) and how you can go about helping them fix their behavior there is little out there to actually help the players when the issue is with the GM.

GM's spend a lot of time and energy in their games (in theory) and telling someone that something they are spending a lot of time and energy in is resulting in a subpar experience can be very hard -- it's much easier if you can focus in on one aspect to help them fix if possible.

Silver Crusade

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The Keeper of the Magical Realm

A GM that uses an unwilling or unwitting group to indulge in his or her fetishes without getting their approval. This can result in anything from mild awkwardness to "Oh God we need to get out of here before he shows us his stack of torsos in the basement". Most often it seems to simply be a GM with insufficient social understanding, but it can lead to severe discomfort at the table when certain lines start getting crossed with no discussion beforehand.

Sometimes it takes only a TMI warning to put a stop to it. Sometimes it takes a frank and direct talk about what is and is not appropriate for the group; it needs to be made clear that people are being made to feel uncomfortable or even unsafe. And other times it's just plain unhealthy to keep playing with those that continue to exhibit this behavior.

Named for a Gunshow comic that illustrates this perfectly.

(I'm honestly not sure what number this entry is now)


Abraham spalding wrote:

Because while talking to the GM is almost always the major solution it's not a solution until you know what to talk to him about.

Also people might not be realizing what the problem is. It's hard to tell someone "Man I'm not digging this game but I can't figure out why" being able to recognize the problem is important to solving it.

Also most people are at least friendly with their GM if not outright friends, and if your GM is say the developer with the unprepared you might be able to do more than just talk about it to fix the problem.

Much like the GMG points out the types of problem players (as I pointed out in the OP) and how you can go about helping them fix their behavior there is little out there to actually help the players when the issue is with the GM.

GM's spend a lot of time and energy in their games (in theory) and telling someone that something they are spending a lot of time and energy in is resulting in a subpar experience can be very hard -- it's much easier if you can focus in on one aspect to help them fix if possible.

A lot of players get upset over rulings and such, and their concerns/complaints/whatever should be easily apparent. If they aren't, then that player has no idea what their problem even is, they're just frustrated and angry over what appears to be nothing.

If a player doesn't know what to talk to the GM about, then that player needs to re-evaluate what he has a problem with. It's that simple. When was the last time that player was happy with the game they were playing? Was it before the GM said, "You failed the save, you have been charmed,"? Was it before your character concept got vetoed because it was overpowered or did not fit with the GM's setting? Was it before you got outshined by the other players?

These are the kinds of things a player needs to get sorted with himself before he has a purpose to actually complain to the GM, otherwise you get what many people would assume to be an uncertain whiner, and he essentially becomes a problem for the other players and the GM, who also have the right to enjoy a game that is fun for them.

The most important question a player should ask themselves before they decide to take the "Talk to the GM about the problem" route, is if it is worthwhile to continue playing in a game where issues like I exampled above continue to crop up, and the game instead just becomes a hassle to keep it something that is at least playable to you, and when that answer becomes "No," that's the time where talking to the GM becomes a fruitless effort, and the only smart, useful decision for the player to take is to leave the table, and find another that has less (or none) of these issues that essentially drove him from the table in the first place.


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

The Dead is Dead, but here's 10 Beholders anyway, you know, just for fun GM

The GM that decides Raise Dead never works except when he wants it to, however the world is lousy with copious amounts of Beholders, Mind Flayers, Old School Drow, and the new favorite kill every party monster F&**ing a*%**## Seugathi, but take heart you can always make a new 1st level character if the GM decides for reasons that you can't be raised (if he/she hasn't been disintegrated that is, which is the most likely outcome of course).


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What attack?

All I did was more evenly distribute the love being shared here.

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.


Weslocke wrote:

Funny thread.

Now do one about players, please.

You know, just to spread all that love evenly.

Or you could, you know, read the Game Masters Guide. The GMG already covers a variety of problem players with descriptions of why they are bad and how to deal with them.


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Weslocke wrote:

What attack?

All I did was more evenly distribute the love being shared here.

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.

You also did it without bothering to explain what any of them meant or how to resolve the issues.


bookrat wrote:
Weslocke wrote:

What attack?

All I did was more evenly distribute the love being shared here.

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.

You also did it without bothering to explain what any of them meant or how to resolve the issues.

He also didn't identify players but forumites.


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bookrat wrote:
Weslocke wrote:

What attack?

All I did was more evenly distribute the love being shared here.

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.

You also did it without bothering to explain what any of them meant or how to resolve the issues.

Indeed. He pretty much just hopped into the thread to rant about how some players are scumbags who do not appreciate the holy perfection of the Divine God-GM, because he is deeply and personally offended by the heretical idea that there might be GMs out there who are imperfect, and who players should actually talk to about their problems.


wraithstrike wrote:

11) The Restarter

This GM actually loves to run adventures, and will pull you aside to tell you behind the screen things, and talks about his latest upcoming campaign with the excitement of a 5 yr old on Christmas Day. However this GM is excited by many things, and while he may GM well, at some point, likely just when the players are really getting into the game, he comes up with some new plot or a new grand idea. This causes him to lose interest in what he is currently running, and he will want to you to start over with brand new characters for his new masterpiece.

I was annoyed by this because I got tired of creating 1st level characters. That is the level I dislike more than any other level, maybe because it reminds me that none of my other characters never ran to completion.

What to do: Try to get him to commit to finish what he is running, or least get him to let you bring your characters into his new creation. However don't expect for him to keep these agreements.

Oh, Lord. That's what the guy that's GM'd for me for several years is like. I have never once, not ONCE gotten a character past level 5 in his games. Never.

Make that level 4.

It's annoying as sin and it's one of the reasons I started running my own games, games that actually last longer than a month.

Grand Lodge

The Sandboxer
This GM wants the party to "find your own way" to an extreme. He gives out too many adventure hooks so the party can't even really decide what they want to do. There isn't enough structure to the game or long term planning put into the storyline to give anything a real sense of urgency or purpose.


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Too many negative GM threads lately. It would be cool if we could find a culturally acceptable "intervention" method for players to consult GMs and perhaps a recommended reading list to give the GM.

We're all on the same team here. It might be good if there was an anonymous way to give GMs feedback with recommendations, and it be widely accepted in the gaming community that using this method (website?) is a must.


The PlayerPhobe:
This GM is scared that the players are out to get him/her, to ruin his/her game, or to mentally break him/her. Whenever a player or players says or attempts anything, he/she will question their motives and attempt to discern their 'hidden agenda'. This practice can quickly devolve into Competitor territory.

What to do: Talk to the GM. Remind him/her that you are all there for an enjoyable, collaborative game.


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Some of y'all are missing an important part this thread: after identifying a type of 'bad GMing', explain how to solve it. Following the format of the OP, the first sentence should always be "talk to the GM", and the rest should be suggestions of what to bring up in that talk. Otherwise, this thread becomes less helpful than it could be.


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Kthulhu wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Indeed. He pretty much just hopped into the thread to rant about how some players are scumbags who do not appreciate the holy perfection of the Divine God-GM, because he is deeply and personally offended by the heretical idea that there might be GMs out there who are imperfect, and who players should actually talk to about their problems.

You got problems, kid.

Your as negative as possible interpretation says more.about you than it does him.

lol. I think the point of this thread was for players to identify problems ahead of time and/or to figure out how to talk their gms off a ledge/off their high horse/back up to the podium. But Weslocke has a point ; a lot of GMs have some of these problems in response to problem players. The two are not unrelated. PRetty much every single GM who has ever GM'd has been guilty of one or more of the faults listed above. I've found that sometimes I overcompensate for difficult encounters, for example, because while 3 of my pcs have decent character builds, one of them is some kind of hardcore maxstat munchkin with the latest hax 2h weapon build. I up the difficulty in a few encounters so that it's not a Monty Haul campaign, and accidentally kill one of my innocents. >.< oh great, now I'm THAT GM. Perhaps, I should have talked to the munchkin before we started, tried to get him to be less of a damage machine/ball hogger. Maybe if I had less experience, I wouldn't even see that problem coming until my innocent player got killed.

Point i'm trying to make, is that it's up to everyone at the table to make things work, Including the GM, the players, and also the people just there for free pizza (i hate those players >.<) Anyway, it's a great list. I lol'd for a few of them (and cringed while remembering, I was guilty of half of those at one time or another).

More often than not It (IT being, the bad gming) was because I was overcompensating for a player who just couldn't handle being on the same level of power with all of the other players. He/she just had to prove how much better they were at the game/at the build/at the acting/at life. Doesn't make ignoring/punishing/killing that player right, but its so tempting sometimes, especially when you just put all that time into planning out a game or building up some of those npcs etc., only to have the game in shambles while you and said player argue over b.s. Not talking about anyone specific, mind you, just saying, 50/50 chance from one game to the next there's someone in the group who shows up with their "all 16+ stats! honestly, i rolled it!" characters, even when you informed them a week in advance that its a 25 point buy (and that's plenty generous, isn't it? This just happens. But just like everyone says; when its a regular, just talk to them. It's not fun for anyone, when it's not fun for everyone (unless everyone in the room hates that one player who keeps ruining games, in which case, they got to go, or you need to hit them with a tax every time they do whatever is p*ing everyone off. like, "damn, Sandy, that's like the third time you showed up with a fudged character. You owe us all a 6 pack of X and a pizza. You don't get to play until its on the table, no joke.")

Grand Lodge

Idk what to call it but:

The GM who thinks you solved the problem or encounter too easily and doesnt let your character work cause it would be too easy. He doesnt roll saves and the enemy auto passes saves or gains more HP cause the encounter wasn't good enough.

I have had it happen. Playing a save or suck caster. Insanely high DC and full spell focus. Cast Hold person on a human 4 times in a row. Without a single roll the human passes and escapes the group trying to capture them alive. Hold would have been an easy solution so he decided not to allow my character to work.


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Kthulhu wrote:
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Indeed. He pretty much just hopped into the thread to rant about how some players are scumbags who do not appreciate the holy perfection of the Divine God-GM, because he is deeply and personally offended by the heretical idea that there might be GMs out there who are imperfect, and who players should actually talk to about their problems.

You got problems, kid.

Your as negative as possible interpretation says more.about you than it does him.

Possibly true if Weslocke didn't have a pretty vocal history right up that alley.

Sovereign Court

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[list]

  • The Knee-Jerk - when you're talking excitedly about some new cool thing that was published, his first reaction is to ban it. Because it's "ridiculous", or because it's "unbalanced", or something like that.

    What to do - talk to the guy of course. It may help to point out what balancing drawbacks the new thing has. Sometimes it can help to emphasize the difference between something being big, loud and obvious, and something being too powerful. Often we get excited about big things that are still balanced, just very showy. Also, exercise some self-control, if you know you're dealing with this kind of GM; your extremely vocal enthusiasm may be what causes his knee-jerk reaction. If you can tone it down a little he might go easier.

  • The Realist - some GMs get so wrapped in realism that they ban all kinds of things, or institute all kinds of cumbersome rules. Often the attempt to make one power more realistic actually worsens it in game-balance terms, because some other thing remains untouched. Particularly if the guy is suddenly an expert in one nonmagical thing that your character uses, but completely unconcerned about dragons.

    The solution - have a talk, and explain the difference between "realistic" and "cinematically appropriate". We can see all kinds of unrealistic stuff in a movie without going "no way!", because there's internal consistency. We don't complain that a basilisk's gaze is unrealistic, but we would revolt if it used it through a wall of iron. I think a great example of this is in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The fantasy-ness of the near-flying moves starts out somewhat low key at the beginning of the movie, and gradually increases. And so it gradually extends our suspension of disbelief.

  • 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.

  • Grand Lodge

    OMG, I so love this thread. Hilarious! Here's another one I saw recently:

    The Main Man

    Similar to the Actor, except this GM has his very own PC in the game! He refers to him as "my character" and gives himself a greater share of the treasure. On the blog afterwards, he lauds how his character "single-handedly" won most of the battles, even though other characters participated and almost died in the fight. Also, other players may find some of their class abilities don't work; this game is all about making sure the GMPC shines!

    What to do: I'm not sure. Does anybody have a solution that doesn't involve ammunition?


    EvilTwinSkippy wrote:

    OMG, I so love this thread. Hilarious! Here's another one I saw recently:

    The Main Man

    Similar to the Actor, except this GM has his very own PC in the game! He refers to him as "my character" and gives himself a greater share of the treasure. On the blog afterwards, he lauds how his character "single-handedly" won most of the battles, even though other characters almost died in the fight. Also, other players may find some of their class abilities don't work; this game is all about making sure the GMPC shines!

    What to do: I'm not sure. Does anybody have a solution that doesn't involve ammunition?

    Lol. Yeah, on the one hand, I like to throw in a DM PC, not to shine, but sometimes its useful to a number of plot devices; I'll make one that can act as a "glue" for otherwise disparate party members. He's old pals with the opportunist rogue, but he's also a charitable guy, who gets along well with the Paladin, helping to smooth over interactions between the two.

    If your Gm is a competitive type, there's not much you CAN do; chances are, bringing it up with him will cause an argument. But then, letting him keep doing it can be a drag for the players. Your only options are to stop playing with him, or risk the argument, and hope he gets the message.


    JJ Jordan wrote:

    Too many negative GM threads lately. It would be cool if we could find a culturally acceptable "intervention" method for players to consult GMs and perhaps a recommended reading list to give the GM.

    We're all on the same team here. It might be good if there was an anonymous way to give GMs feedback with recommendations, and it be widely accepted in the gaming community that using this method (website?) is a must.

    Many of the GM's that get really bad complaints dont listen. As a GM I understand there are problem players as well.


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    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.


    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.

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