Content of the article: "New DM arguing with player"
Hi, so I’m a new DM and I have been running the mines of phandelver campaign with my 5 friends. It’s being learning experience and I feel I have been getting better at understanding the rules but I am consistent getting into arguments with a player. Usually these augments are started when my player does something and expects a different result, not communicating they don’t understand rules or thinks I’m being unfair/inconsistent with rulings. I have been trying to talk to him about it to resolve things but this is leading into more arguments or I feel there is still an issue since they don’t seems to be comfortable with my ruling.
For example: 1. I made a homebrew dungeon that was going to be a goblin trap for the players. Is was going to be a cave trap with gates and a puzzle. I described the gates as makeshift with rocks, lumber and other mining equipment tied together with ropes. These gates are tied to a puzzle in the cave system and where holding the puzzle together. My players start by cutting the ropes and I tell them the cave shakes as a warning. They keep cutting and more shaking happens and the ceiling starts cracking. All the players stop except the arguing player (cuts two more times) and is get annoyed when an area he thought was safe also causes him to make dex saves. He says that this cave is the worst thing ever and makes no sense. I admit the way I described the gates lead to confusion but I felt the shaking and increasing damage would imply to not mess with the gate.
His character was a twilight cleric and had an ability to give players 1d8 temporary hit points. He said they stacked since I have no info on this spell but after looking into it find out it does not. He thought I was being unreasonable as 1d8 would be nothing later in game but me seeing this as a better healing spell and knowing that 1d8 per turn is crazy. He was not happy with my ruling.
We were playing in game and he tied to prank a character for benefit and rolled for it. They said he was joking and that he could not cast since they had 1 of the spell prepared. Me realizing the problem, found out that he didn’t know how clerics cast spells. It explains why he didn’t heal at all and would usually use damage spells. I talked about this but I don’t know if anything changed since they still don’t heal.
This one is honestly where a lot of the problems come from I think and is why they feel bitter at me. After a longer and cleverly avoided fight by the actions of a player. There was a very weak and fleeing owlbear. Their character wanted to heal and care for the creature with the intentions of taming it. He rolled an nat20 animal handling check (I looked into this and this this check didn’t matter). Me thinking that they have not real beast master or nature related skills thought it would not make sense for them to have a fully grow owlbear as a pet. I said that the creature is very friendly to you. They player was not happy and wanted it as a pet stating they rolled a nat20. I said that a nat is a success but not always what you expect. They are now stating that Flip flopping my rulings and say that I’m saying that nat20 only mean something when I want them too (technically true) but I said it’s deeper than that. They believe I was being unreasonable and defend that what I said was wrong and I’m not being consistent. They have not been happy with the fact I might be fudging rolls sometimes(usually to avoid killing them).
I’m trying to mend this by stating that they can’t get a owlbear but if they take beast master, I can give them a cub (Reskin of some other companion) that does not seem to be doing anything and they seem unhappy with my ruling. This is starting to effect me in game as I’m not starting to not trust them. The other day, the party rolled 12 crits in two rounds (tabletop simulator) and it’s making feel paranoid like if they would hate me enough to cheat.
I want to have a better relationship with my players but this whole situation is getting out of hand and I feel it’s ruining the game for me and them. I have tried talking to them but it leads to more arguments or they don’t want to talk to me at all. I’m looking for advice on maybe how I’m dming or how I can handle things with the player
TLTR: Need help handling player I have arguments with about my rulings and corrections.
- Respect and Owlbears: Managing Unforeseen Player Trigger Issues
- How would you have handled this as a DM? As a player?
- When should I ‘call the session’ if I feel it’s going bad?
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