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D&D 3E
So, yeah, I'm having a bit of a problem running my first campaign.… 
27th-Sep-2004 03:50 pm
So, yeah, I'm having a bit of a problem running my first campaign. Everyone says I'm doing a good job and I put a lot of time into it, of course, and when it comes down to it, I think I'm doing a good job. The problem si one of my players. He is the guy who we usually have DM, but he wanted me to do it so he could play a character. Now, everyone pretty much can read the clues to what the characters should do and accomplish to keep the campaign going. Well, I'm all about the characters not doing something if there characters can't figure it out, but the players can. That's fine with me; in fact, that's the way it should be. But he is intentionally dragging everything down, making things more complicated than it has to be, just to mess with me as DM to see if I can "think on my feet." You know, I think that's just immature and silly. I never did anything like that to him because I'm a courteous player and I believe in keeping the game moving.

How would you guys handle a nice and good, but also a critical and interruptive, player? He's really a nice guy ... he's just irritating the living shit out of me by dragging everything out than it has to be. Because of him and someone else taking a lot longer in certian things than EVER had to be, we only got through 1/4th of the planned adventure while everyone knew we might not be able to play again for two weeks. I dunno ... I feel like it just comes down to being immature and him being socially-inept. I don't want to kick him out of the campaign because he's a close friend of everyone who plays and he does bring a lot to the group, but he is also really hard to work with.

27th-Sep-2004 01:47 pm (UTC)
tell him you think you understand that he's trying to help you be a "better DM" but that he's being a pain in the ass and ruining it for everyone else. tell him that you could do what he's doing but don't because you understand that the game is a cooperative effort between the DM and the players and you don't want to break a game by being stubborn. tell him that its a story that everyone is participating in. but that in a story, if there's a character that makes all the other characters lives miserable, that character is usually a villain, or not in the story for long. make sure he understands that's not a threat but a critique of his playing style.

finally, tell him that while he may think he can show you how to "be a better DM" you think he should work on being a better player, and if he can think of a way you can improve your game to let you know outside the game, and if you can think of a way he can be a better player, you'll let him know outside the game. make sure you're telling him all this outside the game.

make sure it stays civil, if he gets upset just lay off.

then, after you've had the talk, and its all gone down, good or bad, whatever, consider that your fair warning. go through the rest of the game and the rest of the encounters you made, and make at least a good third of them and at least the next three of them time sensitive. recover the document before its destroyed. if they don't get it in a day, its destroyed, and its a real consequence. make the party pay for it. if they don't get to the princess in time she gets eaten. if they don't find the antidote in time someone dies. don't make the things they need to do impossible. and don't make any pc's die arbitrarily. just make sure that if they drag their feet on purpose bad things happen. eventually the other pc's will turn on him and he'll stop doing it.
27th-Sep-2004 02:13 pm (UTC)
A lot of dm's do this when someone else is running. I'm sometimes guilty of rules lawyering myself.

You sound very confident however, and if your players are enjoying it you are running a good game.

Explain you appreciate his effort, but you are standing on your own two feet and doing fine. He should understand this. Explain that if he has concerns about the game he should talk to you after a session to voice them. If he does not have concerns, tell him to just enjoy playing. It's sometimes hard to give up the reigns, especially if someone is new.
27th-Sep-2004 10:04 pm (UTC)
The funny things is that I'm a big "rules champion" ... I know what kind of game I want to run, so I have made changes in the rules. For instance, a player of mine is playing a monk, but you're not allowed to multi-class back and forth according to the general PHB, but in the OA, you are. So, I've allowed all the multi-classing they want.

Also, since the beginning of this campaign, I've been doing this rule that if someone is hit for more than half their damage in hit points, they must make a fortitude save (DC 15 for now). If an NPC fails it, he automatically dies. If a PC fails, they are automatically dropped to -1. *shrug* I just like that rule.

But it's not that he's trying to correct me on rules, because I'm usually the go-to-guy when it comes to rules questions. Not because I've been playing the longest (actually, I've only been playing a year; everyone else in the group has been playing for several), but I am the one who has read all the books cover to cover and still read them (lots of bathroom reading, teehee).

If it was a rules question or statement, no problem here. But if it is just something to mess with me and see if I can think on my feet, it's silly and unwarranted.

Thanks for your input, though.
27th-Sep-2004 02:29 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with time-crunches if he's being a real PITA about it. One session in our old campaign, we switched to real-time instead of RP time and had to get something done in a certain amount of time or else (of course, with that motivation, we blew through everything in our effort to meet the deadline)

I've also got to agree with pretty much everything said by gernboken. Keep it civil, do it out of the game so that it's one on one and not in the middle of play, and make sure you let him know that you like him as a player, but he's really being a PITA.
27th-Sep-2004 03:17 pm (UTC)
Plain and simple:

Put your foot down and tell him he's being a PITA. The problem is, I bet he does it without even realizing it. Its one of the unfortunate side effects of "always being the DM". I got caught in that loop almost 20 years ago and I think I've played a character maybe 3 times since. When you are stuck being the DM, because of the need or your enjoyment of the position, it sticks to you and its difficult to get out of that mindset.

But one thing is for sure, if you don't nip this in the bud, it -will- get worse. All the above advice is very sound, but in truth, you know this player better than we do, so make sure you approach him in a manner that won't offend anyone. I'd strongly suggest you speak with him before the next campaign takes place, because no one enjoys being told they are in the wrong, especially in front of others.
29th-Sep-2004 12:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like one of my friend's game. A game session would be sort of like this. Start out in a tavern, work our work to a dungeon or whereever the hell we are suppose to go, beat the dungeon's boss, go to next town, game ends. This game starts at around 10:00p.m. and usually ends at around 6-7:00a.m. nonstop. What pisses me and and the DM off is that the other PCs spend too much time in the taverns and shops than they do in the actual adventure. I timed the amount of time we spent in a single town waiting for the other PCs to finish their useless hagling. 5hrs and 37mins Real Time. and only 1hr and 15mins in a dungeon.
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