Author Topic: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game  (Read 14607 times)

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kevin_video

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1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« on: April 29, 2009, 09:53:27 AM »
I was looking for this thread forever, and was finally told by the BG to make on here if it had to deal with serious stuff. It does. This is being made for two reasons. One: no one's perfect, and we can all learn from other people's mistakes. GMs? Take notes and know what NOT to do. I'm guilty of some of these things and will note them when the time comes. Two: players need a place to rant, and tell us of who they have had to deal with.

These are all DMs that myself, or other players have had to deal with. Be sure to add your own, a story behind it, and if you're guilty of any of these, fess up.

Ultra-Competitive
Treats the game like it's him vs. the Players, although a slowly dying breed, this brand of DM is particularly annoying in his utter refusal to consider fun before the competitive spirit of the game. Without realizing that killing players is easy as pie for the DM, he relishes in what he perceives as a competition and loves throwing super high-level beasties at players armed with what few piddly enchanted weapons he gave them. Cannot understand why players don't like his game.

Mr. Player/DM
It would be unfair to say that any DM with a DMPC fits this, these are the ones that are the reason why DMPC has the bad connotation it does today. Likes making the game a story about his character and keeps the others around as cute little pets. Usually either a DM who never plays or a player looking to get back in the action as soon as possible. Also ties to Egomaniac, as detailed below.

Egomaniac
Is very confident about his skills as a DM, even if it's clear that his players hate his game. Absolutely, positively, cannot stand criticism and likes to punish people IC for OOC actions. Players will lose magical items, loved ones (who are NPCs and therefore even more helpless), and sometimes their own characters to sate his need for "vengeance".

The Conductor
Railroads to the extreme, forcing characters into whatever he's planned for the day. Goes so far as to make NPCs unkillable (especially villains that he wants to taunt or goad party members and then leave) or make locations PCs are in unleavable until they finish whatever quests he had wanted them to complete (usually by outlandish metagaming). Often cannot understand why players are being so difficult and/or why they won't do what he thinks it's obvious for them to.

No, your character is obviously Chaotic/Neutral/Lawful Good/Neutral/Evil
Argues with you about your character's alignment. Especially in the case of a class where it doesn't matter, or in a direction that doesn't matter. Doesn't even get alignment in the first place, but he's still right. ie Chaotic Good =/= Chaotic Stupid.

That skill/class feature/whatever does what? No.
Your class/skills/whatever let you do something. He doesn't like it, and won't allow it. Sometimes he'll relent, but he'll be cranky about it.

You're spending a week in town anyway while you wait for someone to recover, so you say your Bard is standing on the street corner singing to earn money and roll a great Perform check. He gets cranky because he doesn't want you having money. Or you talk to someone in-character for ages and he still doesn't want you rolling Diplomacy.

What do you mean you have x equipment you all only get y
Isn't at all clear about the guidelines as to what you can or can't have or be and isn't consistent with it. Doesn't check character sheets the first session and then is cranky the next session when you have better equipment than he wanted to allow, despite him never actually telling you that he only wanted the PCs to have x.

Rules? What rules? Oh those rules. Uh... They're different today
What do you mean Masterwork only adds to damage rolls and not to damage? Oh Jump? It works by the book today even though we didn't have it work that way last time. Oh sure, that weapon randomly does more damage to the creature you're fighting.

The retaliator
Out to get you because of something that happened with your PCs in a previous game/games. Denies it when confronted with it, but it's blindingly obvious.

Often in conjunction with Rules? What rules? Oh those rules. Uh... They're different today.

The cackler
Cackles, giggles, grins, or smirks about EVERYTHING he does, regardless of what it is.

Why don't you love my story you're barely in?
Gets upset because everyone doesn't love his story/NPCs/etc. Railroads, mostly ignores PC backstories, mostly ignores the PCs themselves. When the campaign dies tells you about the story which was planned out an exact way to the very end and had no chance to figure out the twist in-character and no backup plans for exactly that happening.

The lone Storyteller
This DM has so many cool and fascinating (to him) plots, NPCs, descriptions, events that he forgets about the players.
He is busy talking to himself, that the players are just the audience while his favorite npc steps to save the day.

In a broader spectrum:
-Forgets that the story should revolve around, or atleast focus on the actions of the players.
- Has a favorite npc, that the players can't touch no matter what.

"Ofcourse it's logical to trace the origin of every common pebble on the street"
This DM will expect you to pick up every obscure hint and be angry at you for not thinking about every little detail he describes.
Chances are that when you do chase something that you think to be a lead, it will probably be nothing.

The Master of Chaos
This DM has a game that's so sporadic, so random, so completely and utterly off the wall that he just absolutely has to be on drugs. He might have incredibly crazy or otherwise ridiculous custom monsters, magic items or other treasure that is either hideously underpowered or world crackingly overpowered, NPCs who are races of a power level that the PCs shouldn't even be dreaming of (gods, for example) interacting with them on a day to day basis. Between the horde of one million single hit point flying monkeys you fought last session and the halfling Godfather (as the movie) that you are negotiating with for no apparent reason this session, these games usually end with players getting utterly fed up and/or not being able to take the sheer amount of mindf*ck. These campaigns often have a sort of "anything goes" attitude in which the DM allows players to pretty much do whatever they want, almost no matter what with little if any reaction from the NPCs. Having a swordfight in a tavern barely seems to phase anyone, for example. These games are often trying to be funny, and occasionally they do succeed at it, but more often than not they are just frustrating to play in.

The Monty Haul DM
This guy gives you everything. All the time. Forever. Players get so much loot they don't even know what to do with it all. +5 Vorpal swords are thrown away by the bucketload because the players already have three mansions full to the brim with them. Loot is good, but too much is too much. DMs exhibiting this problem often just want the players to like them and/or to have fun (by having everything they could possibly want), but in truth games such as these become very boring very fast as the PCs' power levels skyrocket to godlike ability. Players usually quickly lose interest in the game and drop out.

I'll just pull your string, and you'll do anything, you're my puppet..."
This guy likes to plays your character for you because he believes he knows your character best, no matter how stupid an idea he's about to pull. "As the enemy breaches the main hall and makes its way for your chambers, you leap out of the window, and..."
"What? No I don't."
"Yes he does. Now roll 6d6 for jumping out of a window six stories up instead of taking on the enemy because it's a more realistic attitude for your character."

The Miser
Refuses to give out the appropriate gear to the group. In our current campaign, over 3/4 of the characters are at 1/2 the appropriate gear level, or lower, and we still aren't getting the right gear. The DM complains that we defeat the challenges he gives us too easily. What he fails to notice is that we have a group of 6 - 8 regular players, with 3 others who show up on occasion, and he's creating challenges stated for a group of 4. Usually, one group member gets KO'd in the first round, and then we win the fight on sheer numbers alone.

Double-Standard Man
Once, while a player in the group, argued insistently that new gamers should not be allowed to join unless they had their own copy of the core rules. Now, that he's the DM, he refuses to bring his own copy of the rules b/c three of the players (myself included) already have a copy. One week, I didn't bring my copy, and he threatened to kill my character as punishment.

I Have what the Doctors Like to call a Short Atten... OOOHH!! A Kitten!!
Completely forgets what they were doing, several times. Story line jumped so much that it was impossible to follow. Horrible, inane plot twists. Completely unaware of the world around them.

Wait! You aren't a god?
Luckily, not a DM I've campaigned under... A friend of mine once left a game after the 5th session b/c every NPC they encountered, and I mean EVERY NPC, was a deity of some sort. They spent most of every session being beat up by peasants who were actually gods of war, or something like that.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

When God gives you lemons... it's time to find a new God.

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kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 10:03:14 AM »
I thought it sounded cool
Comes up with ideas that sound good for your character, but don't work out, and then doesn't want to fix it.

Epic Battle
Every battle is an epic battle. You enter the dungeon. the first fight is an epic battle. You move on. You encounter more monsters. Another Epic battle.

You some how manage to make it to the boss mob. Double Epic Battle. How you manage to survive, you don't know.

All Monsters Are Master Tacticians
Every monster knows how to move to avoid oppurtunity attacks, every monster employs amazing tactics. How come they don't rule the world if they are so amazingly masterful at tactics?

Your powers are useless!
All encounters are designed where your powers and abilities don't work. Take fire spells, for some reason you are up against fire creatures, in an evironment that you wouldn't expect fire creatures. Good at sneaking, suddenly it's all monsters with great perception. However you build your character, the DM makes all the encounters so that you can't use them, with the idea that's the challenge. What fun would it be if you could actually be effective in the encounter? The only builds that work are generic damage dealers and damage mitigation ones.

Core only...because it’s BALANCED
This DM mistakenly believes that having a core only game will balance the classes out, as an oppose to penalizing people like me who prefer martial characters to full casters. I don't mind a core only game, as long as the DM doesn't rant on about his quest for game balance.

The Chauvinist
If there's a female player* at the table, said player's character will be forced into the 'Damsel In Distress' role, regardless of her combat prowess. If the DM is running a NPC with the party, he will rescue her even though she's perfectly capable of saving herself. Opponents will be impossible for her to hit, yet fall easily to male players (or especially, the NPC). If a child is involved in the plot in any way, the female player and her PC will be relegated to the position of babysitter.

*Unless said female player is the DM's girlfriend, at which point she'll become an unstoppable juggernaut that the rest of the PCs sit around and watch annihilate armies, of course.

What the Hell is "Once Bitten, Twice Shy?"
So at the end of one adventure, the enemy Doppelganger ran away by using his invisibility power when bloodied, after taunting us. Okay.
A few minutes later, a little girl showed up with an envelope for our party leader. He opens it, takes a HUGE hit from a nasty poison that was impregnated into the paper, and finds out that it's a letter from the BBEG taunting us and threatening to invade the town leading into the next adventure. Okay.
At the end of the most recent session, the BBEG once again used his invisibility powerz to run away once bloodied. As we staggered away from the fight, beaten and bloodied, we noticed that the BBEG had left an envelope on the ground.
The party leader and I looked at each other.
I said, "I cast Scorching Burst and burn that @$!#!@# thing to ashes."
He's decided that we should be punished by having all subsequent letters include special important plot related things, since we'll just burn them.
I'm willing to live with that.

You're Playing Wrong
The DM who disagrees with you on how a particular class and/or alignment should be played and punishes you for it whereby nothing you do will work right.

When You Wish Upon A Card
Eagerly tempts the party with wishes and/or the deck of many things as an excuse to reem your character.

Jason Voorhees Takes Notes From Me
Loves to kill player characters. He keeps score and boasts how many player characters he has killed.

Would You Like Cheese With That
Any attempt by the player to talk with the DM about why he's not having fun is dismissed as the player being a whiny baby.

The Lonely DMPC
This DM is not just a regular Player DM (DMPC), of which most DMs are guilty of. This DM wishes very much that they were actually playing the game instead of running it. As such, they create their own PC that joins the party, and mysteriously knows everything that's going to be coming up in the game so the other PCs just let him do all the talking, searching, etc. They just want to belong, an be a part of the story too. He wants to be the friend, and not just the evil DM god that he/she is supposed to be.

Captain Bring-Down
Shoots down any attempts at outside-the-box thinking, example: instead of fighting the man on horseback, he tries to set a fire under the horse so that it panics and bucks its rider. DM either fails him no matter how good his roll was or shoots the idea down. Note, the line is very thin between player stupidity and player ingenuity, some DM shoot-downs are very reasonable.

Hater
Has it out for something in the game, usually a certain class or race. Anyone who attempts to play either of them will encounter difficulty in doing so, powers will be unexpectedly and unreasonably nerfed, racial abilities will disappear, and generally you'll get immediate hostility from NPCs.

Lover
Is enamored of a particular class, race, or something else, usually a part of his game that he made himself, like a city. This is not really at the exclusion of other things, he just makes his stuff much better, anyone who plays/is from the object of his affection can expect to be tripping over magic items and gold. Races get a giant empire that scares the hell out of every other one, classes get a few dozen training academies, and parts of the setting are usually the best in the world, the best city/shoemaker/box merchant.

Detail-focused
Expects players to check for traps every five feet if they expect to survive, and roll perception every five inches if they expect to get any treasure. Gets mad at players who complain, or worse, don't make the compulsory checks, likes to label them as lazy people who are little better than fungi. Skill challenges tend to be horrendous as well, often demanding players to remember what the janitor they met eight sessions ago thought about the city's economy.

The SFX Guy
Will bring many props, laptop with music and sounds, refined minis for each player and monster, everything that "looks pro and builds climate"!
Pity actual adventures are dull and NPCs flat. What's more, all this stuff distracts rather than build climate.

Legalist
Takes a very strict interpretation of the rules as written. Basically, if it isn't in the book, you can't do it. Doesn't believe in the existence of Rule 42.

Hack Novelist
The DM whose plots tend to be thinly-veiled (or not-so-thinly-veiled) ripoffs of fantasy novels and movies. Especially bad if he's also a Conductor.

Low-Magic Nerfer
A DM which only likes to run 'low-magic' games simply because it keeps the PCs weak. Of course, said 'low-magic' restriction tends not to apply to the DMPC.

The Fool
He mistakes rules in the worst possible way and doesn't have enough common sense to find out.

The Optimizer. No, no, the Bad one
This DM is a fan of 'optimizing' characters. Except that he's bad at it. And he insists on trying to 'help' his players optimize, regardless of whether they want his help or not.

It gets particularly chafing when you're actually capable of good optimization and he keeps badgering you for 'bad' choices.

Sybil
Likes to switch games every few months. Promises you'll come back to the main campaign, as if, but wants to try out another campaign of lower level or even another gaming system. Are we playing D&D, Shawdowrun, or Ars Magica this week? You forgot? It's GURPS night.

There Ought To Be A Law
Every few game sessions likes to add in a new house rule. It could be a reworking of an official rule, something he made up or learned elsewhere, or adding in a new sourcebook from some 3rd party publisher. Players don't get a choice in the matter. It's now the law of the land.

"What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
The exact opposite of the Conductor. Gives the players infinite freedom; so much, in fact, that he neglects to give the players any sort of goal or direction. I swear, we were roaming that king's road for three sessions, trying to find something to do.

Mr. Vindictive
The DM who brings personal grudges into the game. If one of the players did something to cheese him off in real life, except him to drop a grudge monster or falling rocks on his character. Seems to happen occasionally when the DM's significant other is in the game and they break up.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 10:31:58 AM by kevin_video »
I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

When God gives you lemons... it's time to find a new God.

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kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2009, 10:08:16 AM »
The Spouse
This is the DM that games with his wife as one of his players (or vice versa doesn't matter), and the game is one way they date. The player-spouse of the DM somehow is always the most important character of the group, somehow always gets the best items, best contacts, and most interesting plot hooks, etc, yet will always vehemently deny any favoritism even though the pattern persists for game after game after game....

The Stripper
No not that kind of stripper (that would fall under 'BEST DMS EVAR!!!!") but the guy who seems to start a campaign by going through a published setting, identifying the four or five best things about that setting that makes it unique and interesting, then summarily stripping those things out. the guy that wants to DM an all-human/no-magic game of Shadowrun, for instance.

The Great Off-Screen Adventure
You know the part where your party goes in through one way and the NPCs go in through the other? This DM uses those excessively, and usually goes into detail about it, often prompting the question, "why weren't we doing that?" Unfortunately, it's a fairly easy DMing mistake, constantly detailing off-screen adventures that make the kobold-infested dungeon the players just went through seem like nothing compared to the grand adventure the NPCs are having.

Master of Cliche
Every dwarf guzzles ale, every elf hugs trees, and every dragonborn is an honor-bound samurai rip-off. Players who make something "against type" can expect to encounter difficulty along the way. Blatantly steals from Lord of the Rings and wonders why nobody wants to follow the main story, which, in an eerie coincidence to DM of the Rings, may lead to railroading. Otherwise, the game is just a hackneyed thing you're playing for the fun of it.

Do anything you want...
This DM won't force you to do anything but won't help when another player starts acting like an ***hole. He won't talk to a player who constantly steals from teammates and won't lift a finger to save you when another player plants a dagger in your back while you are asleep.

He Would Have Been A Good DM, But...
As the title implies, this DM should have been great. His encounters are fantastic, and you will be deeply immersed in his storyline. His NPCs are all three-dimensional characters. You can feel, taste and smell the world he has created.

The only problem is that you're playing a very Vampire: the Masquerade-esque campaign and everyone wants to play a not-so-scary campaign filled happiness. Or you're playing a political intrigue campaign when all you want is to bash doors and kill stuff. Or he wants a full-scale war campaign in the wilderness when everyone's into urban mysteries and romance.

But I think it works better this way.
This DM doesn't so much houserule or rule inconsistently as he just makes up a totally new set of rules for his encounters. Automatic weapons fire in modern games becomes an environmental effect instead of an attack roll. How well you roll on a reflex save determines how far you get in a trapped environment. Drowning rules are ignored in favor of doing HP damage.

He wants to call his game DnD or D20 modern, but doesn't actually want to play that game.

Sorry guys, but...
The DM who runs a weekly campaign that only gets played once per month. Enough players want to show up, but he doesn't, calling off at least half the sessions for some reason or another. Can be a coverup for sheer laziness. More generously, can be busyness or bad timing. Annoying either way.

I don't believe in taking notes
I'm guilty of this one. Makes up names for important NPC's on the spot but never writes them down. Nor does he write down what NPC died where, who owns the house in the forest, or which three of the players have actually spoken to the dwarf lord. Often has to coverup by referring to NPC's by their roles in game rather than their names. "The city leader that you spoke to earlier..." or "That one bandit that killed that other farmer dude."

If the company wrote it, it's kosher!
Doesn't believe in balancing the game. If someone wants to run a 3.5 druid who chain-casts maisma, that's fine. Half-dragon centuar hulking hurler? Sure. If you have the money, then yes, you can go ahead and buy that holy avenger at the nearest farmers market, right next to "Billy-Joe's last pub for 50 miles". Takes the authors of the material at their word that it's all balanced and that there's nothing at all mechanically wrong with any rules. Allows tear gas grenades in d20 modern and orb-locker paragon-level wizards in 4e. Blames the other players for not building strongly enough to keep up with the broken builds.

The Racist
This can also be "The Homophobe" or the "Sexist" or the snarling politico. Hates some group for no good reason and constantly makes terrible remarks that players would never normally tolerate but feel they shouldn't confront their DM about. Even if some of their hatred is justified, it's irritating to deal with on a constant basis.

Circumstances? What circumstances?
So your PC just spent half his gold around town on bribes. He's spent an in-game week making friends with the townsfolk and having them sign his petition. He's spoken with nobles, the royal family, and the house of commons representatives and done a lot of favors that he's too ashamed of to mention. His name has gotten around, and the king knows about his cause. When he finally gets his audience with the king, he asks "So, what's my circumstance modifier for all the extra work I've done in advance when I ask this king to support me?" Dm reponds with "Ok, fine, it's an especially favorable circumstance, so I'll give you a +2 to your roll."

Player cries.

You didn't say you brought rations.
THis is the type of nitpicking DM who makes your party starve to death if you leave without supplies and don't specify you're foraging as you go. He doesn't ask, he just starts the mechanics. He's also the type who, when you've intimidated the crap out of a peasant for information, will have the extremely scared rice-farmer immediatly alert the town guards because you didn't threaten him to keep him from reporting your influence, thus ruining any plans you were to use that information for. I understand that I need to declare when I *cast* Mordekainen's magical watchdog, but please, don't make me specify that my highly successful diplomacy check to seduce the NPC also included trying to prevent her extremely scary father who I know about from finding out.

It's My Soapbox and I'll Preach If I Want To
This DM cannot leave his or her personal politics/philosophies out of the game, especially if they don't fit. If your adventure centers around saving a sacred forest from the ravages of extensive logging, fine. But don't send the party out to stop a guy who's building a log cabin and preach about the environment to us all the way along and about how trees are people, too. Every animal we shoot for food just happens to be a mother with a litter that we must now take care of or else we're evil? Meat is illegal in Lawful Good societies? Nations don't believe in borders? All merchants are greedy and out to screw whomever they can? No businessman is honest? Geez, get a radio talk show already!

The Statted Out
A DM who either throws ridiculously strong monsters at a party or a ridiculous NPC with the stats of a PC, but optimized through the neck, decked out with all the strongest magic items, and has the lich template. And there are four of them. A big pain unless you can make stronger characters than your DM can.

Jackass
Sets up stupid, nonsensical alignment puzzles, want the evil overlord's treasure? Too bad because his lawful good elven friend is guarding it, no paladin could condone it without losing his powers. This DM brags openly about making paladins fall, and like every other crappy DM, fails to see why people hate him and his campaigns.

Restrictive
These are not always bad DMs, some do it out of necessity. An example of a good version of this DM is one I have who doesn't allow (most) content from Dragon magazine in his games, knowing the history of broken things from Dragon. The worst ones ban main PHB classes for no reason, nerf their powers, and take away PPs.

Mind Over Minutae
Your character can have a +25 diplomacy, but if you, the player, don't come up with the right words, your character autofails the diplomacy roll. You want to do a quick check of the room. DM asks where. You respond by saying starting with the desk. DM says "Hah! You didn't say you look at the ceiling. You are surprised." Rogue searches for traps on the door. "Hah! You didn't say the floor. The 5ft square right before the door is a pit trap. You fall and take 10d6 falling damage plus 5d8 damage from the spikes, and make a fortitude save vs. poison.

Tolkien Lives!
Sometimes a DM puts a lot of work into his homebrew campaign setting, and that's a really good thing. But other times, it's not such a good thing at all. Some people fall so in love with their setting, in which they've painfully detailed the history, politics, economics, religion, and metaphysical nature of ever single race, class, and nation, that they'll spend l15 to 30-minute clips of time explaining things about the setting that you, the players, neither care nor need to know about. It's great that you took the time to write out the lineages of the kings of the seven elven nations going back two thousand years, but we don't need to hear about it everytime we show up to a high-blooded elf's house for supper.

It's too late, roll initiative
The DM that refuses to let you use buff spells unless already in battle. He's running a campaign from a published book, and you know that the BBEG is coming up soon by his description of a large cavern with the smell of sulfur coming from it.

He insists that your party recklessly charged into battle with an adult red dragon, even though you haven't even SEEN it yet.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

When God gives you lemons... it's time to find a new God.

Like D&D Freakouts? Check out this 4th Ed one.

kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2009, 10:22:14 AM »
Your Enemy's "Psychic", Plus He's My Greatest Work So You're Not Allowed to Kill Him
This DM has a favourite NPC, sometimes a villain that you want to kill, but you just can't hit him no matter what. The DM's not even rolling for Reflex or Will saves.

PC1: I cast Fireball.
DM(without even rolling): He leaps out of the way and out of range of your spell.
PC2: While he's dealing with the wizard, I send a couple of arrows his way!
DM: It won't do you any good. He'd already cast Protection From Normal Missiles.
PC2: When?!?
DM: Right before you guys entered.
PC3: We snuck in AND won the initiative!
DM: So? The guy's paranoid. What can I say?
PC4: I know what I can say. 'I quit.'
DM: You're just mad 'cause your losing.

Sure you can do that
Has no cohesive setting, or it changes from week to week. Anything some players say is obviously in the setting, or it would be really cool if added so crappy homebrew rules are created on the spot to include it-7 sessions in- (guns, air ships, new races, ect) but when other players attempt to make basic assumptions that were never specified to be different (Ill just be some sort of wood elven archer) it is treated as though this was an obviously stupid question and ridicule starts. (I was one of the favored players, but it still bugged me, although mostly because it would be because crappy homebrew rules would be created and then id be obliged to use them)

Flavor=mechanics
"Sorry, no arcane magic in this game you can't be an eladrin." I can't see how you could justify fey step as a not arcane thing. "What if it were he is really acrobatic and he leaps/hops/tumbles over to where he would normally teleport". Also call it a high elf, or heck I can even use the fluff of normal elves. No dice, well what if you houserule that eladrin soldier is open to non-eladrin because I mostly just want to play a spear user honestly. No? Thats not even remotly arcane.

Skills dont matter
Discourages the use of skill checks, especially social ones. Would prefer you "roleplay it out", and then arbitrarily decides if you succeed or not based on a whim.

4E is basically the same as 3.5, I won't bother reading the changes
Claims to read the new book, and love the new system so much more, while in reality DMs using the old systems rules. IE feats are assumed to do what they used to, monster special abilities, racial powers, classes (I assumed clerics get plate), magic items (+3 flaming frost longsword that adds d6 of each type on each hit anyone?) Will occasionally reference the BAB (or equivilent) of the players, who often times have never played anything but 4e, and is confused when no one knows.

One big monster
All you ever fight is one big monster, so every fight is either cake walk, or a TPK. Results in DM escalation of monster levels, skewing it closer to TPK every fight. Rarely more than one foe.

All NPCs are better than you
All the NPCs are better than you. Not only do you get the impression, but you are told. In character. "Greetings, I am ___ the fighter. I will train you. Go see ___, my level 23 apprentace fighter."

The Frankenstein
Combining disparate elements and themes into a coherent story can be done well, or it can be done in the Frankensteinian way, where a DM will take various settings, books or genres kill them, rip them apart and then stitch them back together into an unholy amalgam of a campaign setting. "They called me mad...they said one couldn't combine World of Warcraft's setting, Rainbow Brite's characters, Warhammer 40k's storyline, the themes of Adam West's Batman into a working setting. But I showed them! MUWHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

You'll Have To Improvise
This one isn't so bad so much as it takes getting used to. He won't tell you the rules, and refuses to let anyone look at the combat rules in the PHB. If you ask him if it's possible to do something under the rules, or if he has any house rules about it, he responds with "Why don't you try it, and see?"

This DM either doesn't like the existing rules, or hasn't read them, and doesn't like the players being aware if it's even mechanically possible.

The DM that does't want to be there
Does everything in his power to make the game end as fast as possible. Including allowing you to bypass the puzzle to open the secret door and head down the stairs, only to have you ambushed by 3 goblins who automatically roll crits in the surprise round. Then when you try to jump over whatever they're hiding behind, it bursts into flames and kills you without allowing you a save.

Hey, let's give this a try!"
No campaign lasts more than 2 or 3 sessions under his rule. Every third week, he thinks up something else for the players to try, using new characters in a new setting. Often gets bored quickly, or has too many ideas floating around to form a coherent, lengthy storyline.

Mr. Improv
Rarely has anything planned. Most encounters are decided on by him pulling out a Monster Manual and flicking straight to the back of the book, where the creatures are listed by level. Usually starts a new campaign by rolling a d10 and saying, "Start at this level" (The d10 roll).

"4th Edition? Pfeh! I can't make Homebrew, so we'll play 3.5."
DM flat-out refuses to play 4th Edition. Why? Because he's got too much homebrew created for 3.5. Rather than take the time to learn how to balance out homebrew things in 4e, he declares that the group will continue playing 3.5 indefinitely. He promises to learn how to homebrew 4e stuff, but it won't happen.

4E Fanboy
This DM thinks 4E is the messiah of D&D and will purposely destroy his 3E campaign world in some apocalyptic cataclysm. He will only run 4E forever more, refusing to play 3E despite his players prefering 3E.

The Purveyor of Inconsistant Reality
This DM doesn't make any effort for his encounters, or even worlds, to make any sense whatsoever. Attempts to make logical conclusions based on what he throws at you always fail, because there is never any thought behind it. You encounter Hydras in rooms that do not have exits big enough for them to leave and no sources of food, prides of lions on pyramids in barren deserts, polar bears in the swamps, Human bandits who liv in pitch dark caves without any lights, etc. Most often this is done when a DM just wants to use specific monsters against the PCs, which can lead to ridiculous combinations of forces for you to battle (like, oh, Drow and Pixies) simply because the DM thinks it's cool. This can get even worse if it extends to the DM's wold itself, which generally results in any conclusions players make based on the descriptions the DM gives to be about as accurate as it would have been to make a random guess. Traps work because the rules say they do rather than because of any actual mechanism, all of the habits of that evil cult you're hunting as told to you by the DM are just fluff and any attempt to act on that knowledge results in failure, and gods help you if you try to follow the world's political system...

The Dragon-Slayer Campaign DM
Ever fight a dragon every session? Either the DM really likes dragons or he just cannot handle creatures that aren't solos. Either way, the entire campaign is based on slaying a different named dragon every session.
All characters have in-depth backstories involving their dreams, aspirations, vocations, etc. but once you enter his world, you're murdering dragons.

Too late, you should have known what i meant
The DM who fails to give an adequete description of the place/situation you are in, and then punishes you for taking actions based on what he said rather than what he meant to say.

example: You come across a room in which you believed the floor was trapped, there were lit braziers on the othe side of the room. You threw my grappling hook over to one of the braziers, but apparently these braziers were 10 feet across with a fire burning hot enough that it burned through rope before your DEX 20 halfling could react. So you lose the grappling hook because you thought you were throwing it into a regular sized item rather than a massively oversized one. Then there are situations were a 10 foot deep inescapable ditch turns into a waist high one instead during the middle of combat, and you are not allowed to take your action back of course.

End of the World Man (aka: 'Screw it, I can't take it anymore')
Has no ability to adapt to players. It's his way or the highway, and if the player goes off and deviates from the DM's path, he detonates the world and ends the campaign right there. If the party is too strong to get through his encounters, he declares that someone (Or everyone) is playing a broken character build, and ends the world to make you cut it out.

Hurry up and kill the monsters!
At the start of each encounter, tells you how many hit points each monster has, what it's weaknesses are and what your battle strategy should be with very little role playing because the session has to have 4 encounters by 9 pm. "What do you mean, you want to talk to the dragon??"

Setting Fanboy
Has every book, read every novel cover to cover. Believes every other setting is bad. Tries to make players into stereotypes of the setting. See also "Dritzz clone". Believes that everything non-preferred-setting, non-core book is tainted in some way. "Does not exist in X setting", "They are all power-gaming", and such.
Much of this does not apply do Eberron fanboys.

You're perrty
The DM that has a crush on one player in the group and obviously favors her over the rest of the players.
"You find a +5 intelligent dragonslaying katana made of pure gold."
<yawns> "Ok, I'll hang it on the wall of the castle with all my other ones"
"Um...so I'm 11th level now and I still havent found any magic items."
"Oh...you...yeah...um...you find a +2 short sword."
"Are you ****ing kidding me?"
"Ok ok, you find two +2 short swords."

The um... wait...umm.... sorry...just a second...
Runs a pre-published adventure and hasn't properly prepared. Doesn't really know what the players are supposed to be doing in said adventure, and so neither do the players. Constantly stalls the action to refer to notes about the adventure. Fails to give vital clues to the adventurers as to the objective, scene, motivations, etc. Read's the read-aloud text, and then is done.

Players eventually give up and just kill whatever happens to come along.

This guy and that one...
"You walk into the hallway and you see this guy..." - puts miniature on table
"The room is full of a bunch of these..." - puts miniature on table
"This guy attacks you..." - points vaguely at the miniature somewhere on the table.

Especially bad when combined with "The um... wait...umm.... sorry...just a second..." DM because not only do the players not know what they're doing, or why they're fighting, they don't even know WHO they're fighting.
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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2009, 10:26:49 AM »
Is the DM Touching Himself? Ewwww...
As DM in whatever game yu are playing, all female NPCs are amoral sluts with impossibly huge breasts. We're talking massively hormonal pre-teen boy fantasy land, here. These women would always hit on one PC in particular, and it made the player very uneasy. Also, it made the girls at the table pretty disgusted. The DM will then claim it is because the girls present irl are mad that they didn't look all hot and sexy like his NPCs.

System/edition X is OK, but its not system/edition Y
The DM have nothing particular against the system/edition, he just insists on playing it as his or her favoured one. Sometimes it works out, and other times its pure horror...

The Raging GM
When things don't go his way, he gets loud. It doesn't take much either. Out of character banter not to his liking, shouts about playing the game. Players can't figure out his convoluted plot, he gets his undies in a bunch. Best of all, Player's outsmart him. Hulk Smash.

Hates his game
The evil bastard child of "Hey lets give this a try" and "System/Edition is okay, but system/edition Y is better" . He starts running a game in a system. And at some random point, he determines that he hates everything about the game. Sometimes, "Rock Falls and Everyone Dies".

The Great On-Screen Adventure while the NPCs bask in the sun in Hawaii
This DM has the players and the NPCs take the same adventure, but only the PCs have any kind of hardship. The PCs battle giants, oozes, werewolves, and every single possible incarnation of evil, while the NPCs, who were only five feet ahead of them, make it through the same scenario without a scratch. When the adventure is done, the NPCs are sitting at an inn, eating and drinking to their heart's content, while the PCs stagger in the door, and drop. The NPCs then all ask what took the PCs so long, and let them know that they had no problems at all.

The Undead DM
This is a DM who I'm an aquaintance with. His campaigns are exactly this. Full of undead (all types) and constructs. What really sucks is he has everyone play rogues, ninjas, thugs (fighter variants), and the only mages allowed are his (and they're usually all necromancers). Somehow he's still able to make a good storyline. Thankfully. But it's still annoying.

Scouting Counts as Splitting Up the Party
This one's just stupid, and it kind of kills the whole purpose of being a ranger, rogue, scout, etc character. You're in a party that would not survive an ambush, you know what your destination is, so you go a few meters ahead of the group to make sure everything's fine. This is when the DM loudly proclaims "You're splitting up the party. That's a bad thing. It means consequences." Why does it have consequences? Because I'm going to find your perfectly planned ambush that you set up to kill us all off, and in turn you're going to set the trap off on just me?

Yes there's strength in numbers, but scouting ahead to look for danger isn't exactly a bad idea, nor should it count as "splitting" you from the rest of your group unless you're going WAY ahead of them. And even then, you're the stealthy, hidey one so who cares?

OVERBREWER
A variant of the "Tolkien lives!!". This guy homebrews everything, A list of thirty gods, complete with portfolios, domains, and common worshipers. New traits for every race, tweaks to every class, changes to many rules, new ways for things to work. New way of doing Xp. Has NPC's for every little thorp in the world. As well as noble lineages for every family, A 10,000 year history spanning twenty eras. Ten self made prestige classes. A complete code of laws for every town, city, county, and nation. Most of the time also a HUGE control freak.

DNA Scrambler (aka "The Geneticist")
If I can come up with a better name, I'll probably change it, but for now this works.
This DM feels the need to randomly give you a level adjustment with a creature who you didn't think (or even want) to take. This is done so that when you're unable to come to sessions, and fall behind in levels, the DM can pull out genetic material from your blood, and book your levels without you actually having to earn class levels. Note that you will either find a random book with a LA in it, or you have a half-celestial ancestor with which you're able to access their bloodline, and spawn at least one level of power from that race. You don't really get a say in the matter, other than maybe which race you get to choose from (unless you have a parent with a LA, then you're stuck with that).

The Setting Tramsuter
This GM has a favorite setting, and it doesn't really matter what game you're playing, content from that setting starts cropping up. You may be wandering around Krynn when a Mul shows up, or perhaps in Baldur's Gate, only to meet a Vampyr carrying pistols, or in truly egregious circumstances, the GM jumps companies and has those walkers from Rifts start popping up in the middle of Geoff.

Tends to overlap with DMPC's, as very often their DMPC will be from said setting, and will have magical powers and abilities far beyond the ken of you earth bound mortals.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 10:51:33 AM by kevin_video »
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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2009, 10:29:48 AM »
I used to be part of a group (before I had it out with one of the DM/Players), and we were pretty much ALL DM's. Now, that being said, it obviously didn't go over very well from the very beginning because we all DMed, and we all had our own system that we were good with. For the most part we just stayed out of each other's way, but that didn't mean any of us weren't one of these categories. I've put myself in this as well because I didn't want to play favourites.

I'm sure everyone knows about the regular DMPC.

Current DM:
Ultra Competitive
(Part) Egomaniac
The retaliator
The cackler
Why don't you love my story you're barely in?
The lone Storyteller
"Of course it's logical to trace the origin of every common pebble on the street"
The Miser (What treasure drops? What's wealth by level? Oh that, no. You don't get that.)
Wait! You aren't a god?
Epic Battle
All Monsters Are Master Tacticians (the ape, the fighter in plate mail, and the storm giant all do a tumbling ckeck to get away from you)
Your powers are useless! (every enemy is immune to breath weapons, and spells)
You're Playing Wrong
Jason Voorhees Takes Notes From Me
Hater
The SFX Guy
The Fool
The Optimizer. No, no, the Bad one
the "What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
The Great Off-Screen Adventure
Do anything you want...
The Statted Out (He is especially bad for this.)
Tolkien Lives!
All NPCs are better than you
"4th Edition? Pfeh! I can't make Homebrew, so we'll play 3.5."
The um... wait...umm.... sorry...just a second...
This guy and that one ...
System/edition X is OK, but its not system/edition Y
The Great On-Screen Adventure while the NPCs bask in the sun in Hawaii
Scouting Counts as Splitting Up the Party
OVERBREWER
DNA Scrambler
The Setting Tramsuter


DM I had it out with:
What do you mean you have x equipment you all only get y
Why don't you love my story you're barely in?
The lone Storyteller
The Master of Chaos
I'll just pull your string, and you'll do anything. You're my puppet..." (you partied last night so you're hungover, you hear the inn is on fire so you jump out of your room's window which is located on the 5th floor, and take 5d6 damage)
Wait! You aren't a god?
I thought it sounded cool
Epic Battle
You're Playing Wrong
Hater (anyone who plays an elf and isn't a wizard, or any race that isn't played as their favored class)
Lover (elf wizards)
Detail-focused
Legalist
Hack Novelist
The Fool
The Optimizer. No, no, the Bad one
Sybil
There Ought To Be A Law
The Spouse
Master of Cliche (to the extreme with wizards and elves)
He Should Have Been A Good DM Although...
Sorry guys, but...
I don't believe in taking notes
You didn't say you brought rations.
Tolkien Lives!
Skills dont matter
All NPCs are better than you
The Frankenstein
"Hey, let's give this a try!"
System/edition X is OK, but its not system/edition Y
(Part) DNA Scrambler
The Setting Tramsuter


DM #2 in old group who I always wanted to punch every other session:
Ultra Competitive
Egomaniac
Conductor
The cackler
Why don't you love my story you're barely in?
The lone Storyteller
"Ofcourse it's logical to trace the origin of every common pebble on the street"
The Master of Chaos (wanted the characters to have an epic background story, so I made one, and he killed everyone my character loved because it was "too" epic. So, to get back at him, I made my Paladin go insane and turn into a Blackguard. He sure didn't see that coming.)
I'll just pull your string, and you'll do anything. You're my puppet..."
The Miser
Epic Battle
All Monsters Are Master Tacticians
Your powers are useless!
You're Playing Wrong
Jason Voorhees Takes Notes From Me
Captain Bring-Down
Detail-focused
Legalist
Hack Novelist
The Fool
The Optimizer. No, no, the Bad one
Sybil
There Ought To Be A Law
the "What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
The Spouse
Do anything you want...
He Should Have Been A Good DM Although...
Sorry guys, but...
I don't believe in taking notes
Circumstances? What circumstances?
You didn't say you brought rations.
The Statted Out (all NPCs have +50 to pick pocket, and have Fast Movement, Run, and Endurance...works with Miser and All NPCs are better than you)
Jackass
Mind Over Minutae
It's too late, roll initiative
Sure you can do that
Skills dont matter
All NPCs are better than you
The Frankenstein
"Hey, let's give this a try!"
This guy and that one ...
DNA Scrambler
The Setting Tramsuter


DM #3 in old group:
Mr. Player/DM
Conductor
Why don't you love my story you're barely in?
The lone Storyteller
"Ofcourse it's logical to trace the origin of every common pebble on the street"
I'll just pull your string, and you'll do anything. you're my puppet..."
Wait! You aren't a god?
I thought it sounded cool
Epic Battle
All Monsters Are Master Tacticians
Your powers are useless!
You're Playing Wrong
Captain Bring-Down
Detail-focused
Legalist
Hack Novelist
The Fool
The Optimizer. No, no, the Bad one
Sybil
the "What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
The Spouse
The Stripper
He Should Have Been A Good DM Although...
Sorry guys, but...
I don't believe in taking notes
Circumstances? What circumstances?
You didn't say you brought rations.
Jackass
Tolkien Lives!
It's too late, roll initiative
Sure you can do that
All NPCs are better than you
The Frankenstein
"Hey, let's give this a try!"
The um... wait...umm.... sorry...just a second...
System/edition X is OK, but its not system/edition Y
The Setting Tramsuter


DM who is also the wife of DM I had it out with:
Why don't you love my story you're barely in?
What do you mean you have x equipment you all only get y
I Have what the Doctors Like to call a Short Atten... OOOHH!! A Kitten!!
Detail-focused
Legalist
Hack Novelist
The Fool
Sybil
There Ought To Be A Law
the "What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
The Spouse
Do anything you want...
He Should Have Been A Good DM Although...
Sorry guys, but...
I don't believe in taking notes
Jackass
The Frankenstein
The DM that does't want to be there
"Hey, let's give this a try!"
System/edition X is OK, but its not system/edition Y


DM I'm still friends with:
The Monty Haul DM
Hack Novelist
The Fool
Sybil
the "What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
Sorry guys, but...
I don't believe in taking notes
The DM that does't want to be there
Mr. Improv


Myself
DMPC (Sometimes I get really tired of being the DM for 12 sessions in a row, but I'm not lonely)
The cackler
Your powers are useless! (I don't adapt well, and am a bit of a railroader in that aspect, so while I'm recovering, all the NPCs that are trying to capture, but not kill, the PCs, seem stronger)
Hack Novelist
The Fool
There Ought To Be A Law
the "What, you don't know what to do? Well, don't look at me, I'm only the DM."
Sorry guys, but...
I don't believe in taking notes
The Frankenstein
The DM that doesn't want to be there
"Hey, let's give this a try!"
The um... wait...umm.... sorry...just a second...


Another DM that I'm good friends with:
System/edition X is OK, but its not system/edition Y (Hates, hates, HATES any system after 2nd Edition)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 10:52:10 AM by kevin_video »
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bhu

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2009, 11:52:51 AM »
I know all of these people  :(

RobbyPants

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2009, 01:59:52 PM »
Wow.  That's a big list.  I'll add one that I don't think was there...

Doesn't let you die
The DM throws tough monsters at you that are well beyond your typical capabilities, leaving only one of two possible outcomes.  If you roll well and the monster rolls poorly, you win, and the DM might get misguided views as to how powerful you are.  If not, the monster's start miraculously missing every round once you get to low enough HP, and you eventually win.  This step is often precluded by the DM asking "how many HP are you at?"
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]


kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2009, 05:28:07 PM »
Wow, I actually know that one too.
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kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2009, 05:36:19 PM »
The Excessive Homebrew/Houseruler!
These are the DM's who do it obsessively and arbitrarily. This is the type of person who will pick up a new game and immediately start rewriting the whole system before he'll even think of running it, which usually results in clunky, untested mechanics, capricious rulings, irrational restrictions and all around inconsistent play, since the games then become a defacto QA job. This is also the DM who refuses to run anything until he has tweaked it into unrecognizability, even to the point of "fixing" things that were never broken in the first place.
I reject your reality, and substitute my own.

When God gives you lemons... it's time to find a new God.

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Vinom

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2009, 06:37:37 PM »
You're spending a week in town anyway while you wait for someone to recover, so you say your Bard is standing on the street corner singing to earn money and roll a great Perform check. He gets cranky because he doesn't want you having money. Or you talk to someone in-character for ages and he still doesn't want you rolling Diplomacy.

In the defence of the DM in this situations, the Diplomacy skills are rather vagued and unbalanced, which is why I perfer to run this 3rd party supplement. http://www.giantitp.com/articles/jFppYwv7OUkegKhONNF.html
A player once asked me if there was any way to make a Tarrasque more evil... 3 sessions later he was stoned with D20s as the PC led an exidus out of the path of a Dire Tarrasque of Legendary Wonder.

Quote from:  Sarda the Sage
You're a quick thinker and spiteful, I can respect that. You won't be killed, Bikke

Never trust a smiling laughing chuckling grinning emotionless drunk, you know what Never Trust a DM!

78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature

Pulling off Pun-pun in 26 rounds

N00bs, because all gamers have to start somewhere

"Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from Science!"

Remember, Mobs are at least as stupid as their dumbest member.

GawainBS

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2009, 06:51:12 PM »
I'm guilty sometimes of "I don't believe in notes!", partly because my crew tends to everything BUT what I had in mind. ;)
Also kind of an Eberron fanboy. To my defensive: I just think that it's the best, not that every other setting sucks.
Partly Mind over Minutae, since I always let my players play out their diplomacy roll. The roll matters, but decently playing it out influences the roll.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 10:08:53 PM by GawainBS »

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2009, 01:04:41 AM »
The Zerocrat: Can be readily identified by their tendency to quote, "Rule Zero."

This one guy would always run games and toss out any roll, event, or rule that deviated from his set plan. In the last game, he had some monsters "surprise" us while we were guarding a caravan. The monsters had no steathing capabilities, were affected by a -4 penalty to perception checks thanks the our Bard's Lullaby ritual, and still managed to get a surprise round on our scout who had a 25 stealth check (they had a +7 to perception - Natural 20 is the only way that's possible.) This guy must have rolled nat 20's every time, because our scout NEVER spotted anybody. EVER. We figured out that whatever we built our characters for, it wouldn't matter - we were building within the rules, and he would do whatever he felt like, victimizing our "heroes" on a weekly basis, because he felt justified that "rule zero" supported his complete and total lack of respect for the players.

We instituted the the Players' version of Rule Zero - "It's not fun - stop playing."
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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2009, 02:55:10 AM »
Quote from: kevin_video
Mr. Improv
Rarely has anything planned. Most encounters are decided on by him pulling out a Monster Manual and flicking straight to the back of the book, where the creatures are listed by level. Usually starts a new campaign by rolling a d10 and saying, "Start at this level" (The d10 roll).

You aren't one of my players are you? I would think that I'd know if you were, but you described my style to a 'T' ;)
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The freely downloadable and searchable 3.5 SRD I prefer (Web)
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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2009, 03:47:09 AM »
Wow.  That's a big list.  I'll add one that I don't think was there...

Doesn't let you die
The DM throws tough monsters at you that are well beyond your typical capabilities, leaving only one of two possible outcomes.  If you roll well and the monster rolls poorly, you win, and the DM might get misguided views as to how powerful you are.  If not, the monster's start miraculously missing every round once you get to low enough HP, and you eventually win.  This step is often precluded by the DM asking "how many HP are you at?"


Somewhat guilty. I have no qualms with killing PCs, but I have qualms with waiting for a backup character to be made. That doesn't mean I don't kill them every now and again (several dozen PCs have fallen to truly bad luck), but I usually try to avoid killing them so they don't spend 3 hours making a new character.

The exception is my brother. If he fucks up, I go out of my way to kill his PC. Legitimately, mind you. I don't drop bridges, I drop dragons.


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kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2009, 05:30:14 AM »
Quote from: kevin_video
Mr. Improv
Rarely has anything planned. Most encounters are decided on by him pulling out a Monster Manual and flicking straight to the back of the book, where the creatures are listed by level. Usually starts a new campaign by rolling a d10 and saying, "Start at this level" (The d10 roll).

You aren't one of my players are you? I would think that I'd know if you were, but you described my style to a 'T' ;)
lol No, not one of your players. A friend of mine is an improv as well. Always just shows up at the university with all tree core books, and starts rolling for random encounters.
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kevin_video

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2009, 08:12:05 AM »
The Bitter DM
Doesn't want to be DMing, but nobody else will. Will suffer through it as best as possible out of desperation for a game, but won't enjoy it. Bans something they don't want in their setting and justifies it as 'I'm the one who has to do this, I'm making the world so I actually like it'.

Random Number Generator
The DM who decides everything based on rolls of the dice. Usually a relic of older editions and a big fan of massive random encounter tables. Will you find the next town in the forest, a hungry red dragon, or will a meteor randomly fall on your head? It's all up to the dice, and the entire game is a gamble. Especially polarizing if he enjoys random checks to see if the players trip and critical fumble tables that can result in players decapitating themselves.
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Slaughterhouserock

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2009, 12:54:03 PM »
One of my old DMs had the following traits:

Ultra-Competitive - Always thought our characters were too-overpowered and sought to destroy them at every opportunity.
Egomaniac - His game was "perfect" and we just didn't know how to play.  Would constantly use the "you get captured and all your equipment is taken away" bullshit if you pissed him off.
Conductor - Real big on the unkillable NPCs and making us do shit we didn't want to just because he planned it.
Rules? - Claimed to know all the rules, but didn't even know how Improved Trip worked(which got one of my characters banned when I took it).
Cackler - Apparently everything was amusing to him as he would grin even when his plans got ruined.
Master Tactician - I remember fighting goblins once, with no levels mind you, that were using to field to their advantage, setting up fighting formations, and avoiding AOO's.
Optimizer - He thought he knew how to make amazingly optimal characters, yet couldn't figure out how Two-Weapon Fighting worked.
Sybil - He wasn't too bad on switching the games, but when he did, he'd always claim we'd come back to finish the others and never did.
Jackass - The puzzles he had us do gave us all headaches.  He made my paladin lose his powers and had my god turn his hand into a lump of stone(not useable as a weapon) because I killed an evil person while within a town.
Mind Over Minutiae - Especially bad when it came to Search checks.  "Where do you search?" was often the precursor to getting screwed over.
Doesn't Let You Die - Would always fudge rolls when our HP got low.  While playing a game of Shadowrun, I had a building explode while I was in it, burying me, but I took no damage.  I never played that game again.

I usually have these two:

SFX Guy - I like props and will use them if I can find a good one.  I don't overdo it though.
The Statted Out - I mainly do this for random NPC's for shits and giggles.  They may be strong, but they're usually just the comic relief.

A buddy of mine:

Master of Chaos - While it can be crazy, it's usually fun so I've never minded.
Mr. Improv - He may preplan one fight a session, everything else is completely random.

I don't think this was covered.

The Monstrously Ignorant
Has failed to understand how to read monster stat blocks, how CRs work, or any of the monster's special abilities/attack work.  This can lead to long pauses while figuring out where a creature's attack bonus is, fighting creatures of much higher CR, and all sorts of shenanigans with their special abilities.  As an example, I've been forced to fight a CR 12 creatures while in a party consisting of three 2nd level characters.  The same guy also thought that "at will" meant "free action", which led to an interesting fight with a Marilith.
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RobbyPants

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Re: 1001 Worst DMs/GMs You Can Have Running a Game
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2009, 01:04:06 PM »
Wow.  That's a big list.  I'll add one that I don't think was there...

Doesn't let you die
The DM throws tough monsters at you that are well beyond your typical capabilities, leaving only one of two possible outcomes.  If you roll well and the monster rolls poorly, you win, and the DM might get misguided views as to how powerful you are.  If not, the monster's start miraculously missing every round once you get to low enough HP, and you eventually win.  This step is often precluded by the DM asking "how many HP are you at?"


Somewhat guilty. I have no qualms with killing PCs, but I have qualms with waiting for a backup character to be made. That doesn't mean I don't kill them every now and again (several dozen PCs have fallen to truly bad luck), but I usually try to avoid killing them so they don't spend 3 hours making a new character.

The exception is my brother. If he fucks up, I go out of my way to kill his PC. Legitimately, mind you. I don't drop bridges, I drop dragons.
The big distinction between those two is when the DM continually underestimates the strength of the mosnters.  It's one thing for a level-appropriate challenge to get hard due to some crazy dice.  It's another when the PCs are completely out-classed and they can only survive due to really good rolling on their part or the DM pulling punches.

Perhaps I should have been more specific in naming this DM.  Maybe Uses Tough Encounters but Doesn't Let you Die is better?
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