“DMs Arent Gods …”
A Thought on a facebook Post I read today .
Jeff Carlson Of Phoenix , Az wrote in a Facebook group we both belong too :
“The attitude of “The DM is God” has to go. There is a social contract at work here, where the DM is creating a challenging but engaging story with the players. If the DM breaks that contract with “rocks fall, everyone dies” or arbitrary penalties thrown at players for no reason than sating the DM’s power fantasies, then that DM risks not having players anymore. If the players refuse to engage the story, if they cheat, etc, then they risk not having a DM, or possibly each other, anymore.
D&D is about a group dynamic. It’s not about a single person’s power fantasy. Even if that person is the DM.”
Now i do not know Mr Carlson Personally , or in anyway other than this post . I am , however , Familiar with his sentiment .
That of Someone whos answer boiled down to “ Because i said so , and im in charge” as a Resolution to some arbitrary problem , the group posed .
This si the worst example of a DM , i want to be clear , That in no way should this be tolerated .
But i get the opinion , often , that people don’t know they have options . For instance , Did you know everything you need to start DMing is in your players handbook ?
No seriously , thats it , it is in fact in that book that it is inferred that the DM is more than a god , he is every person you meet , the director of your story’s mysteries and clues . To be honest he is also in charge of all these imaginary gods .
But he has no power without you in his game .
That is just a fact , and if offered almost any alternative , most players in a game with a bully will leave .
so start a rotating Dm .
What is that ?
Leave this little trainwreck of an ego trip ( i mean your former DM here ), and pick up an adventure from the Dmsguild.com . With your players handbook and this 3 dollar adventure , you have almost everything you need to dm . You may need a monsters manual , but if you pool money as a group , buy one your group can share , and then whoever is Dming holds onto it .
Then agree to a rotation , the end of the adventure , the end of the month , or even the end of a campaign . there is no wrong length of time . However once you hit it , even if the new choice cant do it you pass it on the whoever was after them . Do not force yourself to keep DMing .
This serves 2 ideas . One , you see what its liek and why , you need the ability to bend a rule here or there , or , fudge a dice roll so something is more dramatic or less .You can even just be the straightedge by the book , dice fall where they may DM . You now have a basis , for how things can be better . you know how much work goes into knowing these answers to questions they dont have written down in your adventure , or you didnt think of before you wrote yours . Dms have to ad-lib alot . SO they do create things on the fly all the time , the good ones do anyways , but it should feel fun and seamless . the second idea it serves is now you get to play with a new DM also .
If that DM had a four man game , you now have a 3 man game , with a new dm 3 times before you give it a shot .
Dms , are not gods , they are , writers of imagination , and some people’s imaginations arent for everyone . Some people are just jerks .
As players you have the most power . There is no game with no players . to be 100 percent clear if you are drumming players out because your “ rocks fall “ solution , offends enough people . you will eventually stop Dming cause no one will wanna play with you .
Step one to that is , be the DM he isnt , ask other people to give it a shot too . Dont settle . This investment in your imagination , is a series of stories you can share later . they are yours , and if they are being ruined by someone being mean to you , you should leave .
I want to say this though , there is a difference between an author , and an unsigned author , sure you both tell stories , but one of you has a job , and one of you needs to get one . Your not an author if no one is reading your work . Your not a DM if no one will play in your game . Your both people sitting somewhere , wishing they had someone to talk to .
Mr. Carlson , I Personally want to say , i hope this is resolved not just for you , but for everyone in your group . There is the remote possibility , your Dm is just tired of Dming and is a good guy otherwise . I deeply wish the best for you , and hope you all accept my advice , and turn your Problems back into Adventures . I really Was heart broken when i read your statement . That kind of thing is what turns people away from D&D . Good luck to you all .
Thanks for taking the time to read this , as always …
Listen to them tell you , the story , all you do, is show them the road .
Have fun , and may your adventures live forever .