Sunday, August 21, 2011

Being a Better DM: Blair's Version

1) Read Jack Vance.

2) MASH - Keep the game moving; keep things fast. Make up a ruling on the spot instead of wasting everybody's time looking stuff up and heming and hawing. Get the viking hat on and steamroller the game forward. If there's a rules lawyer or whiner in your group that's cramping your style, '86 them. If a player isn't paying attention or listening and keeps holding up the game let them know that you're always right, to get their shit together, and MASH on through/over them. If someone is holding up the start of the game while fussing over naming their character or buying equipment have everybody at the table STARE at them and let them know that they're being an asshole. To quote from Savage Worlds, Fast Furious and Fun. I persecute and harass and implement punitive houserules to get the players to the sessions by a reasonable time. A guy who plays in a buddy's game keeps hinting that he'd like to play in my game; he always show's up to my buddy's game hours after everyone else, there's no way I'm going to put up with that crap! I wasn't happy to do this, but I had to ask a friend to leave my game because he couldn't keep up with the other players. It was nothing personal, but he was holding up the game and I MASH.

3) Be Unmerciful. You forgot to buy torches and you got seperated from the party? Well, I guess you're fucked. Nobody wrote down the 5,000 gp gem? Well I guess it was lost. You didn't write down your XP from last session? Well I guess you'll remember next time. The dice say your favorite PC just ate it? Well I guess this is goodbye. You rolled a crap set of ability scores? So did I for my Red Box Vancouver character, and that PC is one of my favorite characters; deal with it. The point isn't to be a dick, the point is so that people are engaged, pay attention, hustle, and have to be so in order for their PCs to survive and thrive.

Believe me, when I'm DMing I'm a combination of Nethack, Captain Bligh, Larry David and Kali. I revel in mayhem, confusion, and horrendous death. But I don't do it to be a jerk or fuck over players; I do it because I love my players and I love my game, and have too much respect for both of them to play kindergarten softball. This isn't World of Warcraft, this isn't T-ball, this isn't Chutes and Ladders; this is Dungeons and fucking Dragons, so you damn well better hustle and sweat and think and pay attention in order to keep your character's head above water blood.

And from what I gather my players quite enjoy playing in my games, and I'm also very grateful for their participation. Thanks guys...you're the best!

9 comments:

  1. This stuff works, so long as you have a surplus of players and plenty of time to game.

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  2. @ By The Sword: Maybe it's due to my good looks and charming personality, but it hasn't been a problem :)

    @ Johmstone: Hohoho! I think I lost them :(

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  3. "Believe me, when I'm DMing I'm a combination of Nethack, Captain Bligh, Larry David and Kali. I revel in mayhem, confusion, and horrendous death. But I don't do it to be a jerk or fuck over players; I do it because I love my players and I love my game, and have too much respect for both of them to play kindergarten softball. This isn't World of Warcraft, this isn't T-ball, this isn't Chutes and Ladders; this is Dungeons and fucking Dragons, so you damn well better hustle and sweat and think and pay attention in order to keep your character's head above water blood."

    AMEN

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  4. I love it, this attitude is also why I tend to hand-wave the rest of a battle when the PCs have a clear advantage (finding the weakness is pretty much an assured win in my encounters) and I love to draw out an encounter when the PCs make a mistake, even a small one. It keeps them on edge for a larger portion of gametime, it's more fun that way. Celebrate when you survive the session, after you catch your breath.

    That last paragraph is amazing.

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