Posts Tagged ‘argumentative’

Remember: The Dungeon Master is Always Right!

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Now, to play Dungeons & Dragons, or any other fantasy role-playing game, is to lose oneself in an alternate world that was created by the “Dungeon Master” (aka “Game Master,” “Referee,” et al). Some times players forget that fact. If the DM says what you can see, you can always ask questions, but once the DM clarifies those questions, move on in the game — don’t start arguing with the DM!

I mentioned how I stopped being our group’s DM back in 1982 when I started going to college. I didn’t have the time to adequately prepare the dungeon adventures, what with having lots of homework, and working full-time, in addition. So, one of the other players became our new DM.

During an adventure with our new DM at the helm, our group was trying to sneak up on the entrance to a cave that was located in a steep hillside. As I was now a player, I asked the DM if there was any sort of cover we could hide behind in order to approach the cave without being seen from within the cave. (We didn’t know if anyone or anything was inside the cave that could possibly observe our adventuring party.) The DM flatly stated that there was knee-high grass (knee-high to a human, that is), and a few boulders maybe three-feet in diameter that we could try to use to screen our approach to the cave.

OK, all is well and good, most of us thought. But then the new DM’s sister spoke up. She asked, “Are there any trees?” The DM answered, “No, there aren’t any trees near the entrance to the cave.” Once again, that should have been good enough, but No! The DM’s sister then proceeded to argue that if there was grass, there had to be trees, too! The other party members all tried to reason with her, telling her that if the DM says there are no trees, then there aren’t any trees! (I guess she forgot that fantasy role-playing is also called “let’s pretend.”)

Anyway, she proceeded to argue with the DM for at least a half-hour as to whether or not there were trees. Some of us at first tried to reason with her, giving her plenty of examples of local real-life terrain where there was grass but no trees, but she wasn’t about to give in to her brother.

So, the rest of us sort of wandered away, taking bathroom breaks, getting snacks, then finally some of us started watching TV in another room. Eventually, we did get back to playing D&D again, but the mood was totally spoiled. I don’t think that campaign ever really recovered from that. That may have been the precipitating reason why the campaign fell apart after I stopped DMing for it.

When I was the DM, I always had a solution for overly obstinate, argumentative players — a grisly death for their character! Sometimes that is the only way to remove a disruptive player from your group. I would have dealt with such a player by either having a 10-ton block of granite fall on that character, squashing them flat, or perhaps just let some green slime fall on them and dissolve them into a puddle of green slime! Solutions such as those will allow the campaign to move forward. It also alerts the other players to not be disruptive!

I would also first try to remind players that they are playing a game, and not to take it too seriously.

— The Dungeon Master