Role play: Dungeons and Dragons and bad GMs

I am a GM for a DnD campaign. We are using the latest version of DnD, 5 edition/Next. It is actually a quite lovely set of rules. When I picked it up I did not rely know what to excpect from it since a few of my friendes had told my about DnD 3.5, which judging by their stories is broken. Horrendously broken.

Many role playing games often have a few things that are not balanced, but it will not matter most of the time since it might be something the players can not acquire until very high levels and by then everything is unbalanced… which also is not that good now that I think about it.

Anyway what I wanted to write about was a story from another friend. This friend have only role played once and I understand why he has only done it once. Because his GM was frankly put an asshole. This GM, who had role played many times before had gotten the wonderful opportunity to introduce a bunch of people, one of them my friend, to the wonders of role playing. This GM did a few key mistakes which lead to this group of people never wanting to role play again.

The first mistake was to not leting the players play whatever they wanted, which was not that big of a mistake or problem (and yes I would probably also have limited new players in their choices for the first time playing) but this GM did not explain to the group suficantly why they could not play whatever they wanted. Instead he just told them they could not be certain classes wihtout any explanation.

Secondly, he used Eon (3 edition I beilive). This might stirr some hate and anger but from what I have experinced Eon is a very clunky system and it takes ages to just create a character. I am sure that there are good things about Eon, but I would say that it is not good for beginners, since it is very complicated and the start up/set up is very slow for a new group. Also since they randomde moste of the character creation some of the characters became way to overpowered. One of them started with “the best bow in the game” which was used to prevent two of the GM’s encounters. The enemies was killed before the rest of the group could even see them by the character with eagle vision and Bow +5.

Thirdly, the GM played the game as if his group was a very experienced group, AKA hard mode. You should never use hard mode on a group completely made up of beginners since they do not know the power of the GM. And even if you all had agreed on doing hard mode, the GM should still not play the game with hard mode. So what happened was that when nightfall came and the party decided to stop and sleep, the GM asked if they wanted to put anyone on guard duty, which they did not. Now you might be thinking, “AHA, so the GM stole all their equipment or captured them.” No, if he had only been that nice. Instead the GM just stated that since no one was on guard duty the whole party was killed in their sleep and they had to create new charactes.

YOU. DO. NOT. DO. THIS. KIND. OF. THING. AGAINST. BEGINNERS: Heck I would not even do it against a season group of players. What he should have done was to maybe steal some of their equipment and told them not to reapet that or just said that he would let them off the hook this first time, but next time, if they did not have a guard, bad things might happen. And yes, I can understand the value of hard lessons, but this was not a hard lesson, this was just pure unfun punishment and role playing should always be about fun. The GM is supposed to try to mka sure everyone is having a good time.

So the moral of the story is, do not be a stupid asshat. It will make people angry, sad and frustrated.

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