Poll: Are you a nice, Dick, or fair DM?

Saviordd1

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Me and my friends just started playing 4th edition D&D and since I have the most creativity out of all of them (Especially since the one we had DM at first thought a cool story was to have Islamic pirates give cryptic warnings then explode, which isn't as fun as it sounds)

Anyway, after our first REAL session it got me thinking, to all the DM's out there, are you a nice DM who tries to keep the party alive and concentrates on story, a fair DM who's by the book and works with what the dice give or a dick DM who tries to kill the party as hard as you can without breaking the rules, or are you somewhere in between?

I'm personally a nice DM...mostly. I put a few fights in my friends favor, although I didn't hesitate to drop a pseudodragon on the their asses when the random encounter called for it.


Sorry to the mods if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't figure out if D&D is off topic or gaming.
 

TheYellowCellPhone

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I don't think I've ever played a serious game of DnD in my life, every time it's just me and some friends playing it and saying "Fuck the rules, we're doing this Grand Theft Auto style", and I encourage that by sending something like a burning clown to fight them.

EDIT: Which is leaning toward "Dick".
 

Saviordd1

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TheYellowCellPhone said:
I don't think I've ever played a serious game of DnD in my life, every time it's just me and some friends playing it and saying "Fuck the rules, we're doing this Grand Theft Auto style", and I encourage that by sending something like a burning clown to fight them.

EDIT: Which is leaning toward "Dick".
Haha that's what our other DM was basically doing (He made us fight a living pile of shit, I wish I was making that up) But we decided we wanted a real campaign with real goals and stuff, I could see the appeal of random shit though.
 

Mastemat

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I've only DM'd a few games before... but they've all been really well received, and I think that is because I am a rather cruel DM.
That is not to say that I am a dick about things, this one guy a group of friends of mine played with was disliked with some of the decisions he'd make as a DM because they were dickish... but my "mean" decisions were actually well received.
I like making people work for the prizes... by making encounters and whatnot VERY hard... unless a person actually takes a moment to *think* about what I laid in front of them.

For example, I once threw a level 1 party against three goblin warriors, a goblin sorcerer, and six humanoid skeletons... which would be crazy hard... had the group not just looted a bunch of maces from the previous encounter...
 

Teh Jammah

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It's been a while since I DMed (I think the last time was a game of WHQ) but I think I tended towards the 'fair' end of the spectrum. I had people die occasionally and I tended to put tough encounters in to challenge the tougher party members, but i never geared a dungeon to 'Tomb of Horrors' them or Monty Hauled things.

Although I did punish them when they fucked up, started a bar fight, killed the brief and burnt half the town down. That was a fun session.
 

Saviordd1

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Mastemat said:
I've only DM'd a few games before... but they've all been really well received, and I think that is because I am a rather cruel DM.
That is not to say that I am a dick about things, this one guy a group of friends of mine played with was disliked with some of the decisions he'd make as a DM because they were dickish... but my "mean" decisions were actually well received.
I like making people work for the prizes... by making encounters and whatnot VERY hard... unless a person actually takes a moment to *think* about what I laid in front of them.

For example, I once threw a level 1 party against three goblin warriors, a goblin sorcerer, and six humanoid skeletons... which would be crazy hard... had the group not just looted a bunch of maces from the previous encounter...
Sadly my group isn't skilled enough yet, I threw 3 goblins, 1 skeleton, and 3 human rebels (basically just human rabble I renamed and gave extra HP so it made sense in the story) and they almost died, so I'll do harder stuff later.
 

Cpu46

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Well I have only tried once, with a group that included my sister and two of my cousins. Only one of my cousins was interested and none of them had any idea what to do and I had only been playing once a week for a month or two. For that session I would go with Nice but exasperated DM. I'm planning on trying one more time, maybe with my sister who I could see really getting into this and the cousin that was interested in it and making some house rules to simplify it a lot more.
 

Saviordd1

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Teh Jammah said:
It's been a while since I DMed (I think the last time was a game of WHQ) but I think I tended towards the 'fair' end of the spectrum. I had people die occasionally and I tended to put tough encounters in to challenge the tougher party members, but i never geared a dungeon to 'Tomb of Horrors' them or Monty Hauled things.

Although I did punish them when they fucked up, started a bar fight, killed the brief and burnt half the town down. That was a fun session.
I found that there's certain times where you HAVE to punish stupidity. Like when they started fighting a small group of enemies I designed to have superior ground one member decided to run away but ran into another set encounter which he could have avoided by not going towards unknown areas. I had to kill him for that.
 

Calatar

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A mix, but mostly nice and fair, with a bit of "dick" at times, when I think they aren't taking things seriously enough.

They tend to have long drawn out discussions of strategy, which makes the game take so much longer, so I try to shorten that by threatening time limits. When they have drawn out out of character conversations in the middle of what's supposed to be an in character conversation, I tell them that their dialogue will now be heard by the NPC.

When they have silly ideas, I make them justify it. Last time we played, we were playing in a warped plane on a narrow bridge above an infinite abyss. If a character fell, it looked as though they would fall forever and thus be dead, but instead they would reappear above the bridge and fall back onto the bridge, taking some falling damage in the process. A character pushed an enemy off the bridge, causing them to discover this when the enemy fell down right next to them on the next turn.
There was a flying enemy floating over the abyss in this encounter, and one of the players plays an almost exclusively melee character, who didn't want to just do a basic ranged attack every turn. So eventually, he convinced me to let him do a running jump and melee attack mid-air against the flying enemy, via elaborate and hilarious argument. He ended up knocking the flying enemy prone in mid-air, so he reasoned that they would now both be in free-fall at the same speed, thus letting him attack him again mid-air on the next turn, whilst falling through the abyss, Gandalf style. I allowed it less because of the reasoning than because it was making everybody at the table die with laughter.

Fun is, after all, a more important element to the game than anything else. So I behave however I think is appropriate to make each encounter fun or interesting. Whether that's being nice or being a little bit of a dick.

EDIT: As a 4e DM, it gives you guidelines to develop encounters for each level. It's easy to pick a higher level monster to just screw them over. But because of the scaling system, they'll rarely hit it. And when people don't accomplish anything for 2 or 3 turns successively, they don't like it. To keep people happy, while making the encounters tougher, it's better to have monsters deal more damage and avoid scaling up the defenses of monsters. Damage forces a defensive, tactical mindset, which can make encounters more interesting imo.
 

Saviordd1

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Calatar said:
A mix, but mostly nice and fair, with a bit of "dick" at times, when I think they aren't taking things seriously enough.

They tend to have long drawn out discussions of strategy, which makes the game take so much longer, so I try to shorten that by threatening time limits. When they have drawn out out of character conversations in the middle of what's supposed to be an in character conversation, I tell them that their dialogue will now be heard by the NPC.

When they have silly ideas, I make them justify it. Last time we played, we were playing in a warped plane on a narrow bridge above an infinite abyss. If a character fell, it looked as though they would fall forever and thus be dead, but instead they would reappear above the bridge and fall back onto the bridge, taking some falling damage in the process. A character pushed an enemy off the bridge, causing them to discover this when the enemy fell down right next to them on the next turn.
There was a flying enemy floating over the abyss in this encounter, and one of the players plays an almost exclusively melee character, who didn't want to just do a basic ranged attack every turn. So eventually, he convinced me to let him do a running jump and melee attack mid-air against the flying enemy, via elaborate and hilarious argument. He ended up knocking the flying enemy prone in mid-air, so he reasoned that they would now both be in free-fall at the same speed, thus letting him attack him again mid-air on the next turn, whilst falling through the abyss, Gandalf style. I allowed it less because of the reasoning than because it was making everybody at the table die with laughter.

Fun is, after all, a more important element to the game than anything else. So I behave however I think is appropriate to make each encounter fun or interesting. Whether that's being nice or being a little bit of a dick.

EDIT: As a 4e DM, it gives you guidelines to develop encounters for each level. It's easy to pick a higher level monster to just screw them over. But because of the scaling system, they'll rarely hit it. And when people don't accomplish anything for 2 or 3 turns successively, they don't like it. To keep people happy, while making the encounters tougher, it's better to have monsters deal more damage and avoid scaling up the defenses of monsters. Damage forces a defensive, tactical mindset, which can make encounters more interesting imo.
Hmm good advice.

But you have a point about players trying to do the weirdest things to win.

One of mine wanted to Jump into the dragons mouth and drive it around by its own tongue while that was awesome and made us all laugh I couldn't justify it and neither could he.
 

Thaa'ir

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I tend to be fair and moderate, though I stack my players against harder stuff...and sometimes, when my friend Thom is really, really getting on my nerves, the ancient being of unfathomable power they are up against may score a critical hit one too many times....
 

Kotaro

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I'm usually fair, but I tend to become a bit dickish once the party reaches the final adventure of the campaign, in order to up the stakes.
It's surprisingly effective.
 

Erana

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If I were a DM, I would probably lean towards neutral with nice tendencies only in ways that made things more interesting. I'd rather characters find a magic artifact that caused quirky hijinks to ensue than just killing them if resurrection is a ***** or impossible in that campaign.

Oooh, especially curses. I'd have *tons* of fun with mild curses.
A curse of troublingly long finger nails, a curse of apparel displacement, a curse of arbitrarily inverted charisma in conversation (Admittedly often useful, but troubling when talking with multiple NPCs, or even among Player Characters- once decided, and individual's perception would not change) a curse of enchanting any neck apparel with "strangulation" upon touch, a curse of smelling very delicious, etc.
And what can I say? the absurd absolutely delights me.

Speaking of which, I wanna play. I haven't gotten to actually play DnD yet, and there's no one around here IRL who play or would be interested in playing.
*Hint Hint*
 

Saviordd1

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Erana said:
If I were a DM, I would probably lean towards neutral with nice tendencies only in ways that made things more interesting. I'd rather characters find a magic artifact that caused quirky hijinks to ensue than just killing them if resurrection is a ***** or impossible in that campaign.

Oooh, especially curses. I'd have *tons* of fun with mild curses.
A curse of troublingly long finger nails, a curse of apparel displacement, a curse of arbitrarily inverted charisma in conversation (Admittedly often useful, but troubling when talking with multiple NPCs, or even among Player Characters- once decided, and individual's perception would not change) a curse of enchanting any neck apparel with "strangulation" upon touch, a curse of smelling very delicious, etc.
And what can I say? the absurd absolutely delights me.

Speaking of which, I wanna play. I haven't gotten to actually play DnD yet, and there's no one around here IRL who play or would be interested in playing.
*Hint Hint*
Well I know later in the map that I made a trap that doesn't actually do damage, it just makes a very loud noise, which sucks because I know they'll send the rogue party member in first to make sure there's nothing bad past the door, Sadly the noise will attract the acid spitting drake and 6 goblins in the room xD.
 

spartan231490

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I'm between a fair and a dick, although if a character is rolling crap all day, I'll probably be a little nice and try not to let that kill him/her for what is essentially not their fault.
 

Booze Zombie

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I don't pull punches, but I try my best to formulate a plausable scenario and fill it with logical challenges.
 

Macgyvercas

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I'm generally fair, I'm nice when they deserve it, and I'm a dick when they piss me off.

EDIT: Though I got called a **** by one of my players because they were fighting on glass, and it required them to roll a DC10 Balance check. When they figured out the glass zombies they were fighting didn't need to roll balance checks, well...let's just say there was some very colorful language.
 

Johnny Impact

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Depends on the game.

Superhero games lend themselves nicely to brainless, car-tossing, light-hearted fun. Characters really shouldn't die for any reason. A game like Paranoia, on the other hand, loudly and repeatedly encourages the kind of dickish behavior (from players and GM both) that usually results in explosions of spectacular, bloody carnage. Survival is, to put it mildly, unexpected.

For D&D, it depends on the campaign. I would run Ravenloft much, much differently than I would run Forgotten Realms. A DM who shows mercy in a Ravenloft campaign clearly doesn't grasp the proper tone. Squirming painfully under the cold, rotting thumb of an immortal necrodeity is a different campaign from grandiose, freewheeling, Tolkien-style epic adventure.

My old 2nd edition D&D game fell into the nice category, partly because I didn't know what I was doing. The paladin's player was (is) very autocratic. I was the DM but he ran the table almost as much as I did.

I prefer a mix these days. I don't like seeing party members die because of bad rolls. If they do the right thing, I generally allow them to survive. Openly stupid actions, on the other hand, are punished according to the moment. Example:

DM: Your last remark angers the rough-looking man. He kicks aside his bar stool and pulls a knife.
Player: What? A dagger? Pfeh! It's only 1d4 damage. I stand there and let him hit me.
DM: Okay, since you're not moving at all, he gets to perform a coup de grace on you. Make a Fortitude save to avoid instant death.

I also allow some enemies to implement the exact sort of underhanded strategies villains should. My last group was chasing a necromancer and his minions for some time. They killed his best lieutenant. Being a necromancer, he promptly raised said lieutenant as a death knight, making him more powerful than before. Knowing he was passing through a party member's home town, he found that PC's parents, killed them, raised them as ghouls, and turned them into his personal handservants, just for spite. The hatred my players developed for this villain was epic. I didn't have to break any rules. I just thought of the most effective way for him to brutalize the party, and had him do that.
 

ArcNitemare

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I tend to play fair with a bit of niceness thrown in...though I do tend to do joke dickish moves when my players annoy me.Or make countless references to Unforgotten Realms.

Generally,anything bad that happens to the players is there own fault ie I was playing a session with a small group(two people) and they nearly ripped a magic cloak in half fighting over it.

Unfortunately I rarely get to play as I am in the middle of Florida and no one else seems to be around here :/