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View Full Version : Ask a GM [04/20/2009]: Being a Player



Farcaster
04-20-2009, 11:50 PM
GoddessGood asks,

Do you ever find it difficult to just play instead of GM? Does being in charge most or all of the time make it uncomfortable to be at the whim of another GM?

Farcaster
04-20-2009, 11:51 PM
To be honest, I have had very little opportunity to play the game as a player in the last decade or so. The couple of times that I did play went just shy of terribly. The problem is not that I am particular about the rules, but that I am intolerant of nonsensical plots or the linear nature of modules which some GMs favor. I am probably not the player that you want at your table if your running such a game.

But, if it is a great story with a fun group, I can totally let go of the GM reigns and I am more than content to immerse myself in the role of just one character. :biggrin:

Grimwell
04-20-2009, 11:51 PM
I don't find it difficult at all. When I'm sitting at someone else's table I give them the space to run their game and enjoy it for what it is.

At the very base level, it's an opportunity to explore different ways of looking at the same rules systems (and sometimes worlds); but I actually hope for more. It's a world I get to play in. As a player I only have to mind over a single personality -- that of my character. Playing gives me the chance to hyper focus all the development skills I use as a GM into one single roleplay entity and I really enjoy that option.

All the GM stuff, I let it slide. Everyone runs the game differently, so I try to sort out the differences of the GM whose table I'm at; and then roll with it. If they call on me for help with a ruling, I'll give my fair GM's opinion on what I'd do; but if they do something that I wouldn't I let it happen. It's their world, and their Rule 0 when I'm visiting it.

Keeping that in mind helps me not be a rules lawyer about how they run their game. I'll admit to stopping a GM to ask if they really are sure about doing something that contradicts a standard they have set in the past; but if they are sure, I am sure too.

On the rare occasions that I game under someone who's style just isn't my cup of tea I just exit the game as gracefully as I can. It's an interpretative hobby; and we all come to it for different needs.

Inquisitor Tremayne
04-20-2009, 11:51 PM
I have to honestly say that it is a a bit difficult for me to "let go" and not be so controlling. However, I do tend to approach games that I am a player in similar to Grimwell. I have to make a concerted effort to bite my tongue and not rattle off rules when the situation isn't warranted. And like Grim, I will try to give my fair and unbiased ruling on a situation if I am asked.

The flip side would be playing in a game system that I am unfamiliar with. In those circumstances I am completely at the whims of the GM and that is much more freeing for me because my brain isn't working over time trying to exploit rules that I am aware of, etc...

cplmac
04-20-2009, 11:51 PM
Actually, I would have to say that I don't find it that difficult. Of course, it helps that the game that I am playing a character in is actually 3.0 D&D, which is quite different from the 2E that I use in the games that I DM. Actually, I am rather enjoying not having to deal with all the stuff that the DM does when running a game, for the first time since I started DMing. With playing a different version of the game than I am used to, I actually find myself having to ask questions about things that I am not quite sure of.

If asked, I will give them my take on that particular situation. Like Grim and Inquisitor have said as well, I would not want to turn into a rules lawyer. I figure that each DM is going to do their own thing to make the game their own. Besides, you can always manage to steal.... er borrow an idea from another DM/GM, whose game you're playing in.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-21-2009, 12:05 AM
Not really. It all depends on the GM. In my case, having played for over 30 years, i already know before hand if there will be a problem, but if ever there is a problem, its not due to control issues, but personality conflicts. When playing a character, its best to just let go and enjoy the ride, for in the end, it's about the camaraderie.

Wannabe Mod, Thoth-Amon

bento
04-21-2009, 11:36 AM
I find it harder to take the game seriously when I'm a player than when I'm a DM. When I don't DM I'm far easier to be distracted and not as attentive to keeping the game going. Maybe it's just my way of staying the center of attention?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
04-21-2009, 01:20 PM
Having gone to the last Con, i had no problems letting others GM. In truth, many i would not join a campaign with, but for a 1-shot, things were stellar.

thegriffins1234
04-22-2009, 10:56 AM
I maybe take a little different view (what else is new?).

I think playing under even the "worst" GM can help further my own skills. Seeing what someone else does that I like, or don't like helps me try to grow and adjust my own style.

As for throwing in my own two cents, I NEVER do that. It might be hard to remember house rules (we all have them), like one friend who doesn't use AoO, but the chance to see how the game plays with different rules is always helpful (even if the experiment fails).

Besides, I am more than flexible with the rules myself. The story is what the focus should be. I think most of the DMs here have, like myself, been playing so long that we certainly know scores of players, many of whom have tried DMing. I "enjoy" all the games I have played in, because even if the story was below average, or the rules were shredded, or the players all fought with each other within the first ten minutes, it helped me figure out what not to do.

Not to mention, sometimes situations are the cause, not the DM. I once tried to run a "pick-up" game for thirteen of my friends. I don't think I have to spell out how that went, but I will say that I like 5-6 players.

The biggest porblem I usually have isn't the DM, or the story, rules or other players, it is simply scheduling. What I like about playing is that it takes one-tenth the effort that DMing does (for some sessions the disparity is even greater). Still, I sometimes don't find time to play as well as DM, and father, work, clean, etc.

I enjoy DMing more than playing to be sure, but when I burn out (just too much real world to keep the game going) it is nice to have other friends in my group who can step up and DM until they get bored, by then I am usually "recharged".

Okay, I have made it up to like three posts now! :lol:

Good luck out there!

cigamnogard
04-24-2009, 06:35 PM
Honestly it totally depends on the DM....

BrotherDog
04-25-2009, 04:06 AM
My worst problem has always been finding a DM that would allow me to play something I can care about, or using a setting I like. Plus when I do they burn out too quickly, leaving me stuck to run games as always.

Windstar
04-26-2009, 08:28 AM
Can't speak for no one but meself, I always enjoyed doing both. I learn from the other DM's while I am playing, not so much game mechanic but DM mechanics. But on a sour note if the DM is not very good I do get a little impatienct. Ok, alot, and then I try to help. Sometimes good happens, sometimes not so good happens.

Windstar:o

cpljarhead
04-26-2009, 08:54 AM
it is actually pretty easy for me to let go. i just enjoy playing either role, but as a pc i can really get into character and try to destroy if necessary, but as dm i dont want to kill off the pc;s too early or often as it ruins the game for them and then makes it difficult to find polayers once it gets around.

Loftower
04-26-2009, 03:20 PM
I havenít had the opportunity to run a PC in a significant period of time, but I have had my difficulties with the transition. I have found that I must either play a character with remarkable mental prowess to compensate for my knowledge of how things work, or (more fun) completely immerse myself in RP to the point where I can be annoying to other players. This frequently causes friction in games where players are expected to meta-game because my character will not perform as well as he could if I were to use my game-knowledge. On the other hand, if I allow myself to get out of character, I find myself infringing on the DMís rights to run his or her own game, which is not at all cool.

My most successful attempts to avoid these problems were a paternalistic cleric (full of sage advice) and a mental-midget fighter who could be (sometime had to be) convinced to do almost anything by the smarter members of the group.

Panthro82
04-27-2009, 01:44 AM
This is another really good question. The group I would ultimately like to find and be in forever is a group where like 3 different players can DM on any given night. Meaning maybe one person has a great storyline idea and it will take like 4-5 sessions. Great! Run with it. Then another player has a great idea for a 1 night session so he assumes DM for a night. And all of these players just focus on playing their character when they arent the DM and they not only refrain from criticism, but appreciate everything that this can afford them both as a player, and as a DM.

As a player, it gives them the freedom to just go with the flow, get into one characters mind, and not know what is coming next. Going along for the ride for a while can be freeing, and can definitely spark your creativity.

As a DM it allows you to see how other people DM, it gives you ideas and helps build perspective. It also helps you from becoming stagnant when other players can DM some nights. Then you dont have to run the show every single time you all get together, which could become very taxing.

I think overall it is a good idea and good policy to have more then 1 DM as long as the people are open-minded and willing to work together for the sake of a fun, and enjoyable campaign. It keeps everyone in check and makes it so the DM doesnt become out of touch with what it is to be a character ;)

Lucian-Sunaka
04-27-2009, 11:00 AM
Never really had this problem, but then, I've got to admit I'm a marginal bit of a rules lawyer and have been deemed 'assistant dm' multiple times in the past while a player.

One thing that helps in my case (not sure how many others out there GM like me, from what I've heard their few and far between though) is that in my games, I am along for the ride. I pre-plan NOTHING and let the game build itself through the interactions, random encounters off the top of my head turn into long rivalries and recurring villains, innocent little girls end up being spies, the list goes on lol.

Wish I could offer help to those of you who take charge of your games and plan it out, me I'm little more than a fellow player who controls the rest of the world, a few tiny pieces at a time.

BrotherDog
04-28-2009, 04:01 AM
...One thing that helps in my case (not sure how many others out there GM like me, from what I've heard their few and far between though) is that in my games, I am along for the ride. I pre-plan NOTHING and let the game build itself through the interactions, random encounters off the top of my head turn into long rivalries and recurring villains, innocent little girls end up being spies, the list goes on lol.

Sounds kinda like the way I run games, just add in a few more pinches of intrigue and "wtf" twists.

GoddessGood
04-28-2009, 09:07 AM
Sounds kinda like the way I run games, just add in a few more pinches of intrigue and "wtf" twists.
Haha, I do similar things. Only I've learned that long about midnight my brain starts to wind down and I can't come up with things as quickly as I might like. To that end, I have a fuzzy metaplot in mind and use character actions to warp and twist events in new and interesting ways that I never could have planned to begin with :). Oh yes, and insert several pre-planned WTF moments. It's quite gratifying when the whole table issues up a collective WTF? It's even better when it takes a while to dawn on a few people.

Redhand
04-28-2009, 07:08 PM
I've found that having been the GM for most of the games I've been in over the 20+ years I've been roleplaying has made it a treat to be a player whenever I get the chance. Putting together a dynamic world to suspend the disbelief of my players so they can immerse themselves in thier characters and the game universe is a lot of work, a labor of love, but work all the same. Enjoy when you can!

TAROT
04-29-2009, 01:13 AM
I have some trouble turning off the back seat GM, but I can keep it from passing the lips.

My bigger issue is that I prefer to change characters every half hour or so. Staying in one character for an entire session is challenging.

thegriffins1234
04-29-2009, 06:49 AM
I would think this would be the hardest transition for most DMs to make. After running the entire world full of NPCs, now you have to concentrate on one character.

Maybe try playing a split personality. Obviously, a character like this requires coordination with the DM, but imagine playing a character who was a rogue most of the time, but had two or three other personalities that would "poke through". They could all be very different characters, with separate alignments and abilities. So when the party asks you to open the locked chest you indignantly declare that common thievery is beneath a paladin of your standing. Or, when they want you to check for traps, you summon a rust monster to be on point.

I always think there is a way to turn a potential pitfall into a fun and fascinating advantage.

Fours posts now; when do I get a magical cookie? :biggrin:

-Roy

Etarnon
04-29-2009, 07:01 AM
I just try to play the character as best as I can, and get out of the DM's way, as much as I can.

I'd say it's not tougher being a player after DMing for decades, just.. different.

MortonStromgal
04-29-2009, 02:51 PM
Yes and No,

I don't need the GM to be as good as me, but they do have to have an interesting story with decent execution where I can enjoy getting into character. I don't want my GM fumbling through rule books or more concerned with combat and neglecting the story.

laizurkainon
05-01-2009, 04:39 PM
To the contrary, it's often a welcome break from the enormous (yet enjoyable) pain in the ass that is GMing. While I enjoy designing the nearly infinite killer dungeons my campain calls for, it's also nice to live inside the rules and visit the same hell on my former-player-turned-GM as has been visted upon me. Oftentimes, it gives them a newfound appreciation for all I do to make thier game fun, and me a chance to take out my own frustrations on the very monsters I once controlled.

That said, if they suck, and things are boring, I'd rather do it myself.

cigamnogard
05-01-2009, 05:10 PM
Yes and No,

I don't need the GM to be as good as me, but they do have to have an interesting story with decent execution where I can enjoy getting into character. I don't want my GM fumbling through rule books or more concerned with combat and neglecting the story.
Bingo!

DragonmagRT
05-01-2009, 08:36 PM
Usually, I find it nice to be able to just play instead of having to constantly prepare for everything. Now that being said, I have experienced others basically "back-seat DMing", which any experienced D/GM should be able to handle. Fun, after all, is the main reason why we play.

cigamnogard
05-04-2009, 06:34 PM
Okay, so the other night a player was not there at our Wednesday night game. So, being the experienced player I took over his PC. The character drops his first target - takes his 5' step - and goes to attack the next baddie when the DM says,"You cannot do that!"
I look at him and say,"Yes, it's a rule in the book that a 5' step may be taken before, during, or after the character's action.
DM responds that for now he will deny the rule but look it up later. Fair enough I say.
He never looked it up but it might have been his wife bugging him about it...I am not his wife....;)

templeorder
05-04-2009, 09:30 PM
In fact, my stint as a GM pushes me to play to the hilt when i get a chance. I crave not being in control, to not know how the next page will turn, and to grub for every silver because you never know when you will miss that opportunity... For some reason its so much more fun to be a player... and i never get enough of it.

I would say the hardest part of playing both roles is always wanting to be a player in my own games... because the suspense, mystery, and allure is all there as a player, where for a GM its already played out and laid out.

Panthro82
05-05-2009, 01:11 AM
In fact, my stint as a GM pushes me to play to the hilt when i get a chance. I crave not being in control, to not know how the next page will turn, and to grub for every silver because you never know when you will miss that opportunity... For some reason its so much more fun to be a player... and i never get enough of it.

I would say the hardest part of playing both roles is always wanting to be a player in my own games... because the suspense, mystery, and allure is all there as a player, where for a GM its already played out and laid out.

Youre the first person on here who seems to feel that way. I think the same thing! Although some of my storylines are pretty sick, so I do relish the chance to DM when I get it.

thegriffins1234
05-05-2009, 11:17 AM
I would say the hardest part of playing both roles is always wanting to be a player in my own games... because the suspense, mystery, and allure is all there as a player, where for a GM its already played out and laid out.

"Already played out" is certainly not a requirement.

The only reason I am remotely willing to DM is to see what actions the PCs make. If I preclude any of those actions from having an effect on the story, then I might as well not give them the freedom to make those choices in the first place.

The reason I think DMing can be so difficult is that to create and run an entire world of persistent events, and allow the PCs to float about in that world, while trying to balance out their adventure and remember everything I have happening a continent away, is a rather large task. I take on that challenge so that I can HELP to create a story centered around the PCs.

There is no doubt that the Player Characters are the stars of the story, and that story is not MY story, it is a group effort. I want character development, intrigue, suspense and anything and everything else that anyone sitting around the table can come up with. I love it when a player has his character do something completely unexpected, and all of the sudden an entire new plotline is opened.

Don't set the direction for the PCs beforehand, so you can allow yourself to be taken along for the ride too.

-Roy

templeorder
05-08-2009, 11:22 AM
"Already played out" is certainly not a requirement.

Don't set the direction for the PCs beforehand, so you can allow yourself to be taken along for the ride too.

-Roy

Let me clarify, because i 1000% agree. I never force PC's down a path, i always adapt. By 'played out' i mean i already know how the rulers, NPC's and situation will adapt to the actions of the players. I've ran many adventures where the players just choose not to go and i have to wing it with no notes... in fact, many of my players say that when my GMing is best (ugh!). I totally agree that you never, EVER force players into a plot... but as a GM, i know exactly how the world or locale may change as a result of their actions or inaction - no matter what they do.

Baron_Samedi
05-09-2009, 06:07 AM
I'd have to say yes, sometimes I do have a hardtime just being a player, but at the same time i've been running games more in my fifteen years, as opposed to playing. I guess its more comfortable to be running the show, than merely being an actor. I know that i'm more of the exception than the rule, but i hope it brings some sort of machete to your intellectual thicket...

cigamnogard
05-11-2009, 04:33 PM
Okay, so the other night a player was not there at our Wednesday night game. So, being the experienced player I took over his PC. The character drops his first target - takes his 5' step - and goes to attack the next baddie when the DM says,"You cannot do that!"
I look at him and say,"Yes, it's a rule in the book that a 5' step may be taken before, during, or after the character's action.
DM responds that for now he will deny the rule but look it up later. Fair enough I say.


He still has not looked it up...

Panthro82
05-12-2009, 11:23 PM
I had a similar argument recently in a game. I was a player and I didnt take a movement action before I attacked. I attacked and then stated that to end my turn I was going to move out of the range of the baddie. The stand in DM vehemently denied that I could do that. I told him it was in the book, that it didnt matter when within my turn I made my movement. He allowed it and then had the baddie come to me and attack me (my character is an elven monk, so the baddie, which was a mega strength mummy, definitely within the rules couldnt have possibly reached me in 1 turn).

thegriffins1234
05-13-2009, 06:34 AM
I think this should be a whole different subject. This topic has gone in the direction of rules use.

I am more than happy to admit that I do not know the rules as well as many. To me, the rules are secondary to the role-playing aspect of D&D. If we were playing Bridge, or Chess or Monopoly, then sure, quote the rules. But D&D is about storytelling fun, not competition.

I've never understood players or DMs that felt the need to compete with their characters/NPCs in-game. The best thing ever is when you work your way into a glorious death for your long time PC. When the death is so perfect, and fits so well with the life and accomplishments of the character.

It makes absolutely no difference to me if there is a book somewhere that tells me when your character can move, whether you can take a five foot step or not, or the ability of a bad guy to cast Magic Missile; if that is what the moment requires, then it happens.

But please do feel free to pick apart fantasy novels looking for all the rules infractions; I'm sure the authors of those fine books would be happy to hear about their rules violations/mistakes. :D

-Roy

"What I claim is to live to the full the contradiction of my time, which may well make sarcasm the condition of truth." -Roland Barthes (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rolandbart389443.html)

cigamnogard
05-13-2009, 05:41 PM
But please do feel free to pick apart fantasy novels looking for all the rules infractions; I'm sure the authors of those fine books would be happy to hear about their rules violations/mistakes. :D



Ah, but when that does happen it sucks me right out of the book. I am happily reading along when the 'Mech with Short range missles only fires it's weapon at long range. Or when the auther interchanges musket and rifle as the same thing. Or when the character in the D&D book does something you cannot do! Yeah, I am sorry it does suck for those of us that have vivd imaginations and eyes for details.
--- Merged from Double Post ---
I vote with my wallet - I stop buying from that author and complain to my friends and on forums like this...

thegriffins1234
05-14-2009, 08:00 AM
Many of my friends are handicapped in a similar fashion, and I feel so very sorry for all of you.

I am grateful that my imagination can transport me to another world without requiring me to ask questions about how the physics of that world work.

Perhaps it is my visual nature, but I only pick apart absurdities in movies, with a book, I just come up with the pictures on my own, and don't mind if that picture is something that isn't really possible (it being fantasy after all).

One of the most important rules in my book, is that people are capable of great evil, and monumental good. Regardless of a character's stats, race, class, etc.; they can accomplish great things.

I've seen enough of that in my life to know the universal truth of it, so my fantasy worlds are fully open to every possibility.

-Roy

Panthro82
05-14-2009, 12:25 PM
I agree with that. I learned in a communications class in high school that the average person once they hear an inconsistency or read one, they can't pull their mind off of it. Its like the movie, song, speech keeps on going in real-time, but your mind stops right there. My mind analyzes and re-analyzes and over analyzes. I can for the sake of fantasy put it aside, but it fights to get out.

cigamnogard
05-14-2009, 05:20 PM
I am able to continue but I no longer give any validity to what the author/character/movie is saying and begin to spot other incorrections/inconsistancies. which further diminish what the author/character/movie is doing/saying.

Zijixiong
05-19-2009, 08:23 AM
Back on topic... No, I have not found it difficult to be a player and give up the GM seat. When a GM decides to run a game a certain way, I just go with it, too. I never feel the need to "correct" the GM, though if they do something I don't like I just make sure that I don't do the same in my own game when I'm back to running it.

When I am a player in someone else's game, I consider it my "time off". As I have said in another Ask a GM forum, I get tired of coming up with the story sometimes. I feel like I need a break, and so rather than trying to keep up with the rules or the players, I just put myself in the mix.

Rook
05-21-2009, 08:40 PM
I've always loved both sides of the screen. When I'm DMing, I'm always open to suggestions after a session, but when I'm running a PC, I keep my ideas to myself unless asked. Playing according to another persons style and personality is very similar to playing a character who is very different from yourself and can be just as fun. As long as I don't feel completely stifled by the DM, I'll have fun. If I don't, I'll either volunteer to DM or leave the campaign, no hard feelings.

Charles
05-22-2009, 07:49 PM
I've been a DM for 5+ years and I will always be a player at heart. I went and played again and I totally don't mind being a player for another DM.

A few problems...

1) I was always being asked about rules. It was hard because not only was I there to be a player but it always seemed that I ended up screwing up my team or the player in conflict with the DM because of my knowledge...

2) Also, and I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm an awesome DM. And my judgement or grading of the DM is really heard because I know how much time and energy I put into it and most DM's I've seen don't...

Otherwise, I think it's a matter of maturity and being able to let go of the reigns... But I've always said, the best leaders first learn how to be the best followers.

Panthro82
05-22-2009, 08:03 PM
But I've always said, the best leaders first learn how to be the best followers.


Well said

MrFrost
05-25-2009, 10:47 AM
At times it can be, but I really enjoy playing and being that I always run the game it is a much welcome brake when someone else takes the lead.

Bob the Dalek
06-03-2009, 03:48 PM
You guys are so lucky to be in a place where you can not DM once in a while. If I don't DM, then I usually don't have a game.

Lender
08-28-2009, 09:48 PM
I really like playing, but I do find it hard to be under a GM who runs a game in a setting that I know better than he does - and he butchers it. I've been a player in a couple of games set in Middle Earth, a setting I've run plenty, and I'm a Tolkien-buff in general. It was thoroughly nauseating and enthusiasm-killing to come across a community of hobbits who dwelt in harmony with giant spiders in a forest in southern Gondor! All verisimilitude - gone!!!

Azar
08-29-2009, 02:11 AM
I like doing both, and I am fovorably well at both, I have no problems letting go of bieng a DM/GM, because I like to see what other people would like to do, and also because I play with people who stick to and know the rules, you could say that I am a rules lawer at some points but I try my hardest to stay away from that mentality.
It's just hard for me not to be when I have to play a game where everything is so messed up that I have no clue anymore what I am playing.

templeorder
08-29-2009, 09:32 AM
I just have to find some place to say this... i really need to play. Hello!? Are any of my players reading this? Someone run something for the next few months! Seriously guys... i would really like to play that mean, dark spirited magus that i got to play that one time before - you know the one that BS'ed everyone and faked having more powers than he did? Bravado and brashness, not substance or effect... that was fun :laugh:

XeroDrift
10-05-2009, 08:08 AM
I tend to be overly critical of GM/DMs who are in any way "substandard" according to my opinions, frequently diminishing my enjoyment of what could otherwise be a pleasant enough session as a player due to my obsessing over often relatively small issues. I take pains to try not to apply my ideas on gaming theory to others, fully aware that everyone is different and that therein lies a great part of the experience, but much more often than I would like, I fail in this endeavor.

templeorder
10-06-2009, 10:46 AM
I agree, its hard to let other take over - especially if its campaign play. I have a published set of guidelines of what i allow for "temporary" GM's... and i'm sure they gripe behind my back. I am ALWAYS critical of the other GM's - no one quite does it my way (which of course i think is best) but you have to learn to let go and have fun. I let temp GM's ask me for rulings and i always make sure i am fair, bur error against my character if there are questions - i want no hint of favoritism. I've seen a lot of GM's who play a character give the group items but its really just a clever disguise to get a specific item in the hands of their normal characters... so you have to watch out for that natural player inclination to 'want more'... and don't do it yourself - always be stingy. In a weird way, because any NPC/second tier character i run as part of a campaign in the GM role, they are always knowledge heavy and ability light. I have the opportunity to show players how to be clever without relying on power and uber items or abilities - it almost like i am trying to teach them how to do this on their own. Most players though are about confrontation and fighting and loot - and make sure you focus on what the group really wants because its just about having fun.

XeroDrift
10-07-2009, 11:22 AM
A particularly common complaint of mine (which I generally keep to myself, unless venting my frustrations via a friend uninvolved with that particular game) is the tendency of many GMs to be overly generous with rewards, XP, loot, money, powerful items, etc... all of these things (among others) lose their value, in addition to tarnishing the sense of accomplishment, when won too cheaply or given too freely.

Handsomethrowrug
10-08-2009, 07:30 PM
I have to say, I have found it uncomfortable being a player after DMing for so long. I find myself wanting more from my character's story, and wanting to craft it myself. For example, I wanted my human fighter to have two ogre bodyguards who were brothers that he picked up in a city one day, but my DM didn't allow it because he hadn't chosen it; that character had the leadership feat for it and I was willing to pay the gold for them, but because he hadn't made the characters, he didn't want me to have them. Which was frustrating.

I also find myself playing less seriously. I'm rarely the party leader, not because I'm incapable of it, but because I'm no longer interested in playing that type of character. Instead, I play characters like my halfling rogue who wants nothing more than to collect the greatest collection of daggers ever collected, or my barbarian who has a wonderful mind for strategy in war and siege combat. I tend to go along with what the DM wants, because I know he wants us to go that direction, but I try to always do it in a way he would never expect.

In other words, I end up setting my own goals for characters that often conflicts with what the DMs I've had try to do with my characters. Maybe it's simply because I haven't had a good DM since I started DMing, or maybe I'm just not a player who is easy to get along with as a DM. I dunno.

templeorder
10-09-2009, 09:22 AM
A particularly common complaint of mine (which I generally keep to myself, unless venting my frustrations via a friend uninvolved with that particular game) is the tendency of many GMs to be overly generous with rewards, XP, loot, money, powerful items, etc... all of these things (among others) lose their value, in addition to tarnishing the sense of accomplishment, when won too cheaply or given too freely.

This is especially difficult to control in a group with multiple GM's with varying styles. I get to play occasionally, but i found i had to write a gaming contract which set parameters around what other GM's are allowed to give out as rewards. Its too tempting to involve your own character in a encounter in order to give something to them - players are always grubbing for anything they can get. Some of that is my style - i'm not stingy, but i prefer story and ability over combat, items and stats, i don't give out much. Thats understood, but when i need a break it was Monty Haul for a while - hence a set of guidelines that limits what impact other GM's can have on a campaign. And if its not a full blown campaign, then i could care less - but i've not run serialized adventures in many years - its all about campaign and story for me.

thegriffins1234
10-09-2009, 01:39 PM
My official response is back on page one (somehow, I was one of the first to respond).

I have read a few since then (I love the little bot that sends replies directly to my email), and I think what I am seeing is that people who have a hard time playing after being a DM consider themselves either players OR DMs.

I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone would resolve to avoid titles, labels, and otherwise dividing themselves or others into subgroups for any reason.

We (everyone on this board) are role-players. Some might be more roll-players, but regardless, we all like sitting around and sharing a story as a group. Some like to write the story with no input from others; a few like to pick apart someone else's story without adding anything of value themselves; some like to add a tiny part without a real focus; others like to throw in a really good one-liner every now and then (nudge, nudge, say no more).

Label away, but keep in mind that you aren't helping to define yourself; you are limiting yourself to a definition. I don't know a single person who falls in to one definable box.

-Roy (egotistical, white, male, father, husband, fatty, etc.)

Good luck out there!

Farcaster
10-09-2009, 03:07 PM
I have to say, I have found it uncomfortable being a player after DMing for so long. I find myself wanting more from my character's story, and wanting to craft it myself. For example, I wanted my human fighter to have two ogre bodyguards who were brothers that he picked up in a city one day, but my DM didn't allow it because he hadn't chosen it; that character had the leadership feat for it and I was willing to pay the gold for them, but because he hadn't made the characters, he didn't want me to have them. Which was frustrating.

Sounds like you just need to find the right kind of DM who is interested in having his players participate more in the creation of the story. Many DMs would KILL to have players like that.


I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone would resolve to avoid titles, labels, and otherwise dividing themselves or others into subgroups for any reason.

I don't think that it is labeling or limiting oneself. Some people prefer to be in the DMs chair and just don't like being players, while others are uncomfortable being in the DM hot seat and just want to play. Some are comfortable and enjoy either role. It's more about saying which aspect of the game you enjoy most.

XeroDrift
10-09-2009, 06:54 PM
I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone would resolve to avoid titles, labels, and otherwise dividing themselves or others into subgroups for any reason.



The human mind by its very nature divides and categorizes information. In order for the mind to differentiate between different bits of information, it must have some way of distinguishing between one piece and another.

In animals this is accomplished by association, but with our capacity for higher thought and facility for language, we have evolved a much greater ability for definition. The mind "labels" everything, broad categories which are subsequently broken down into increasingly smaller and more specifically detailed bits of information. There is no other way for us to accurately quantify the world around us, this is how we are built.

Psychologically speaking, an aversion to "labels" describing people in relation to one another, their place in society, and how they are viewed in that society stems from a disdain for certain values specific to the culture to which they are subject. In most cases, this is predicated by a dissatisfaction with the perceived "labels" with which they themselves are associated. Generally due to a desire to have a different set of "labels" apply to them, usually ones more favorable in their personal opinion and/or to those held by society at large.

The impact of this mentality most often results in the development of various emotional defense mechanisms, such as detachment, self-deprecation, hostility, among others. The prevalent methods of any particular individual depend upon the nature and experiences of that individual.

The abolishment of categorization is impossible, but it IS possible, even desirable, to accept differences (and people) for what they are. Instead of striving not to recognize demarcations, one should come to terms with them, and realize the beauty of diversity.

thegriffins1234
10-10-2009, 08:26 PM
Very well said Xero, and I should clarify, it is not the labels themselves, nor the process of labeling per se which I disdain, but the "other" mentality that springs from the "little box" method of understanding. By defining the world in terms of what fits neatly into a predetermined zone, I think one limits oneself from the possibility of something being very different from ones initial perception. Also, I think that for many, defining something allows boundaries to be drawn that can then be used to outline "mine" and "yours". While I don't find that kind of selfish ownership to be completely without merit, I do find that most people who cling derely to it are without moral merit (though, as I said in my original response, even the worst human beings can help a person better understand themself).

We certainly agree that diversity should be embraced, but I tend to hold back some from too clearly defining the possible and impossible. I will say though, that self-deprecating humor is just plain fun (and I certainly do not consider my self a masochist).

Farcaster, I did not intend to redefine the question. I was approaching this originally, and in my re-response(s) from the context of the game as a whole. I do feel that everyone should add to the overall story, and development should not be limited to new hit points, but discussion between players and DMs for the future of the individual characters and the primary story arcs. I believe the best games are ones where everyone is part of the creative process. Knowing which direction to go without talking to the magic mouth, answering the troll's riddle, or fighting through the green skinned humanoids just wouldn't be as fun, so there has to be a DM. But being a player shouldn't limit a person's involvement in the game.

Or, I might have missed the point entirely. :)

Good luck out there!

Richard Littles
10-11-2009, 02:32 AM
I do not mind being a player since I have been primarily the GM in my 26 years in role playing. I try my best to help the new GM with the rules and advice, but I let them run their game as they see fit. It is a matter of respect between two players. He/she respects me enough to run my game as I see fit and I respect his/her enough to run their game as they see fit. For me, it is never about control and some GMs view it as such. They have to be in control at all times and not be open to new interpretations of the same source material from another GM.

I feel that being a player gives a GM a new perspective to see things from the other side of the screen. In doing so, they can learn on how to approach things in a different way if they are willing. I also feel that by being a player a GM can cut loose and have fun with a single character while contributing to the overall game. They can have their character do all sorts of crazy actions that they normally do not get to do with NPCs. Finally, I feel that being a player helps the GM with characterization of the NPCs in their own world by being able to connect to a single character and play it exclusively.

Handsomethrowrug
10-12-2009, 11:32 PM
Sounds like you just need to find the right kind of DM who is interested in having his players participate more in the creation of the story. Many DMs would KILL to have players like that.

Lol, well maybe that is all it is. I do know that since I started DMing, I as a player have become fully capable at filling an entire session with things I want to do if the DM doesn't nudge me in any direction. As an example, I recently played a young summoness (is that a word?) in the first session of a very short-lived campaign. The first session, the DM didn't have anything planned except for the world itself, so I traveled with a caravan, shrunk myself down to the size of a bug to play a trick on one of the children to get him to go on an "epic quest" to save me (I told him I was fey), then picked a fight with a tavern keeper, whose tavern I proceeded to rob twice after making a name for my spider that I summoned while no one was watching that I used as a distraction for stealing other various items from around the town. It was a fun night for me, but I felt a little bad for the other player who didn't get to do much but follow me around.

XeroDrift
10-15-2009, 12:02 PM
This is especially difficult to control in a group with multiple GM's with varying styles.

I generally make it a rule for characters (at least those in my games) to be GM specific.