Dungeons & Dragons Online

New GM and Confrontations

I need advice about a situation that already and how I handled it. I will admit that I did some things that probably made it worst and maybe I let my emotions handle it. But I wasn't sure how to deal with a situation. I don't deal well with confrontations and I'm not a great speaker. Bear with me, this is a long one.

To give background: To start with, I am a new GM. Started back in the late Winter of this year. I had only done a one-shot (Banquet of the Damned) for a group of friends and it was fun. I got the idea of running a Homebrew campaign focusing on a selective genre. After a couple of mishaps and some changes, I ended up with two groups that while had the same homebrew game had different goals and enemies.

Group #1 was slow to start as we lost players and I won't lie, I felt jaded because I thought it was me. Group #2 I had more of a success as I had joined a collective discord server and they were always willing players. I manage to find others that were willing to play and I got great backstories from each of them. In the group were two veterans DMs so I thought I would at least get some help (which they did). We lost a player because they were a problem and we manage to get two players totaling the party of 6.

Enter X and A. I met them in another game where X was co-DMing and I enjoyed his world-building and the characters were memorable. A was a player with me in the campaign and they were funny and enthusiastic. I liked them both and invited them to Group# 2. A was a khalastar cleric with anger issues and an unknown past. Meanwhile, X asked if he could be a Renagade from the Runeterra Content. I had assumed it was homebrew and I said no as one of my rules was no Homebrew classes or races. X pointed out that Runeterra Content was official, it was just taken because of copyright issues. Looking back now, I should have stuck to my guns and said "You can either play fighter class or something else- not that." But I wanted to be easy and fun after hearing horror stories about other DMs who were so structured and cruel. So stupidly I said yes.

We started playing and I started hanging out a lot with X and A. We played games on steam and Xbox PC and we got to talking personal stuff. There were a few red flags about X but I ignored it because I can't expect every person I meet to be perfect and it wasn't bleeding over into our DnD game. I even went as far as to invite X into my Group#1 where he played a reborn echo knight (original a drow).

For their character in Group#2, they played a renegade changling where they secretly were an artificer. Because they were a changling, they wanted to come up with a persona where they were connected to the Black Market of each kingdom. Again I should have said no because logically there is no way the character should have been able to do that. But again- wanting to be a fun DM.

Then it became the rolls. There were a few times X rolled low but they always seemed to roll very high when it came to attack rolls and saves. I will admit that I didn't look at his sheet at the beginning or the stats (did not know that there are such rules 70<#>90 when it came to stats). Nor did I look at their weapon output (which was an off-brand of Deadman's Tale and dealt 2d10+#). That was my fault and I should have asked someone if that was okay. The same with Group #1 where the Reborn character would roll very high like always. I had a friend in that campaign and she noticed that as well. X also had a bad habit of making comments during important scenes or interrupting when it was another player's turn. I had several times ask X to stop only for him to later do it again.

There was one time where X showed up drunk and high and said they were going to communicate via text instead of speaking. I asked if he wanted to sit out of this one because that can't be a good combination for him but insisted on playing. Because I had several things going on, I missed X's comments and questions (it also didn't help that the group was shitposting in the same chat). After the game, X berated me for completely ignoring and I felt like it was indeed my fault. Looking back, I'm not sure if that was indeed my call or his.

Then there were events in the game that happen that were a mixture of my poor RP skills/miscommunication and reactions. What was worse was that I fucked up with the timeline that I had planned and things that were supposed to happen later happened earlier. Some of my players got frustrated and instead of coming to talk to me, they began to speak with X. I didn't find out about till X said something about several weeks ago. Mind you, at the beginning I told each player if they had any comments or complaints, just DM me. I wasn't getting anything and it took me creating a Google form document to finally get some feedback but by that time it was too late.

I started feeling anxiety with Group#2 and began hating my campaign- not because I wasn't winning or killing the players (I was actually pretty easy when it came to running encounters) but because X made me feel on edge.

It all came to head when X was invited into another campaign that was run by a friend of mine who we'll call E (who in a way was also a new DM but had done a couple of really great one-shots). E was doing a desert campaign and myself, X, and 3 other friends that E and I knew were going to play. X was an aasimar paladin and we got off on a bumpy start due to all characters not being familiar with each other (which is fine as we didn't mind us starting with nonrelationships that would grow as the party went on). However, after about 3 sessions, X complained that he felt that the group would fall apart and was upset with the dynamics. He didn't like the way a certain fight went because we did things differently nor that players acted the way he expected. He was also again showing signs of fudging his rolls and more than one person felt that way. It also didn't help that he had two different sheets for his paladin and his stats were super high for a Level 3 player (over 100). The sheet X was using was actually completed after Session 1 and E did not have a chance to look through it. It was also noticed that X was using homebrew stuff without asking the DM and doing stuff against RAW but expect the players/DM to go with it. X also had a problem with spellcasters as they considered magic as the answer to everything cheating. It

All of this brought out my anxiety because I did try to make excuses for X but when presented with evidence and what was happening with games I was running with, you can't argue with facts.

One of the admins of the server was tempted to remove X but decided to give him a chance. E made a request for the player to reroll the stats to a manageable level and that instead of personal dice, we use DnDBeyond/Roll20 virtual rolls. X first agreed to the rules except for the stat change and then ask if PVP was inevitable, then he started bargaining with the E. Even went with that he can fail at rerolls and such, talking about testing his hypothesis. It came to head where it was a day before the next session where E once again ask for the changes and X continued trying to bargain. He was finally kicked out (although he made it seem like he was leaving and maybe he was hoping E wouldn't carry out with that promise). Funny enough he did the same thing with me that he did with E but E was much stronger and had other DMs that were more observant than I did.

After that, I took a 3-week break from Group#2 (one of my players would not be in session due to work) and had to think about where I wanted to go with my own campaign. I started to hate running it and that was a sign for me as I never hated anything I created. I ask several of my players what they thought about X. One player (that was one of the veteran DM)said that if I had proof about the fudge rolls, I should speak to X and try to come to some sort of compromise. That scared me because X had a way of making me feel like the bad guy (it happened too many times). One player who was also a veteran DM thankfully saw the same things I did but never brought it up because there was never change. I couldn't figure out what to do after speaking with people and finally decided to try and implement some rules. Come to the final session (we were going to play that night but I wanted to talk), only 3 people showed up(P who was the veteran DM who agreed with me and my missing player J). A and the veteran DM (I'll call C) were not there. Maybe I should have waited for them but I was just eager to get this over with. I explained the new rules I wanted to implement (rolling with Virtual Dice, less shit posting in chat, respecting when someone has the floor, etc). At first, X wasn't going to say anything and didn't want to give his opinion but I said cut the bs and do so. He made it like he was the victim and that I was in the wrong and that as a DM I should have been fair and talked to him in private. It went on between us for a minute before he said "This is just miscommunication not just from you and me but others." I pointed out "Are you saying J and P are also miscommunication as well?"

X lost his temper and said he was going to leave the call. I asked him once more if he was going to obey the new rules (I didn't even get on him about the stats because I figure that was a fight I would not win). He then said, "I don't even think I want to play in this campaign anymore." I told goodbye and have a good life. Now note, A and C had not arrived yet and said they would be in within a few minutes when I was talking. Right after X left, both post that they were leaving the campaign as well. That let me know that this was the game plan all along. No matter what I did, A and C made up their minds. They didn't come talk to me like they said they would and I felt betrayed. It was petty of me but I blocked all three of them and deleted a server I created that we would play games and chat in outside of DnD sessions.

Looking back, there were warning signs and things I should have done differently. I should have paid more attention and held my ground about things. If I had lost a player, I think it would have been fine. The anxiety and fighting were not worth it. And I will admit the petty thing I did at the end was not a good idea- just adding fuel to the fire.

So that's my case. It hasn't dampened the spirit of being a DM cause I want to tell my story and this is a learning process for me. I know better now. I just want to know if I could have done something different and maybe could have salvaged this campaign. I lost 3 potential friends and while the anger has died down, there is some sadness. Outside of DnD, they were fun to hang out with.

Thank you for your time.

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