Thursday, 20 May 2010

Players ruining my passion

My first year at university and I was taking up the role of Dungeon Master. I recently bought the board game to help me get started and help me understand how the world works. I have to admit, it was 3.5 edition because it was back in 2007 and 4th edition was released in 2008 I believe, the most up-to-date edition. Once I played the board game with my friends I naturally assumed the roll of DM because I bought all the products and invited my friends to play.

The first few adventures were very linear and very easy. I was still learning the ropes so to speak and still trying to understand how encounters work and so on. Over time they became more complicated, less linear along with a deeper plot. However, it got to a point where it just got boring writing up D&D games. It took up many hours and I don't think the players really appreciated my efforts (as they preferred to listen to David Bowe on a stupid plan radio). This added to my frustrations and I seriously wanted a break. But at the same time they wanted more from me.

To counter this situation I decided to transfer the DM power to one of the players for one of the sessions.I was doubtful that she would be able to crate a good game but she was an intelligent person so I left it up to her. I gave her a week to write up a story. I told her not to make it complicated, just make it a simple story or even just a dungeon run with rooms and monsters in. Anyone could pretty much do that once they were shown how. Considering we were both first years we didn't have a lot of work anyway so she had plenty of time.

A few days passed, had she done anything? No. A few more days had passed, still nothing. The morning of the evening session, nothing. An hour before the session? She had wrote 3 lines and I told everyone to come round to my flat for a session of D&D. I had nothing to give to them. So...everyone arrived, and I told her I would play the role of an assistant DM and she would have to improvise. We both had our laptops and was ready to begin...

It was a disaster, she had to improvise and then I took over every now and again to try and develop the plot a bit, or to give direction to players. Eventually I felt like I was playing the role of DM and doing the match (she was looking at hello kitty stuff on amazon at this point). Complete failure of a session, I left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated that I couldn't even have a break from Dungeon Mastering. I think I would have felt less frustrated and felt more motivated to write up a session if I felt I was appreciated for my efforts. I wasn't, I became angry at my players and eventually gave up. Players had ruined the D&D world for me and I was only a few adventures in.
Few of the players said thank you, there was little feedback to help me guide my next session and they generally just seemed bored with the game. What's the point of pouring all this effort in to not get appreciated?

However, I have moved on from that group now, and with a new group they seem to be more involved with role play, more appreciative and provide ore feedback to help me improve as a DM. I feel more motivated to write up more sessions and I find them exciting. However, I have yet to find the day where another player will take over as the role of DM and for me to take the players sea to join in a story that another DM writes without already knowing the plot.

So, what about you guys? Do you feel you group enhances or ruin your passion for D&D?


  1. When it comes to the typical hack and slash group, you should 1st be aware they are looking for Video Game type experience. Thus have the group pool money and purchase some of the Dungeon Crawl Classics Adventure Modules from someone like The most work you'll need to do is Read. However if the group is more of a Role Playing bunch (The type that likes to read books) then go with the custom stories and plots. This will make life a whole lot easier. Warning with the Hack and slash group, your bound to get ONE player that is a psychopath and takes pleasure in destroying the game, story, and other players. (Thus causing and unending cycle of character revenge. Even with new characters. ) Good Luck. P.S. I've been playing since 1984.

  2. @Anonymous

    Since 1984!? That's before I was born! So yes you've had plenty of experience haha!
    Yeah, one of the players was a greedy rouge who basically did take all the treasure for herself and claimed she was "role playing". This annoyed the other players so I included the idea of a magic bag that pooled all the treasure and distributed at the end. I suppose the group I am talking about was more of a hack 'n' slash group and I should have done more dungeon crawlers with them and I wouldn't have got so frustrated and bored with writing up adventures.
    Thanks for your comment! :)

  3. 1984, here again. Here was my first introduction to D&D back when I was 11 in 5th grade.

  4. Talk about retro! Love the picture and I'm going to stick it in the links section under your name (if you provide one, and a link to your website if you like). You can just e-mail me