Hello everyone,

Iíve been playing D&D for only a few years now. Really only have experience with 3rd
edition. A friend of mine frequently posts on your board here. He is a very experienced
player and DM, and he told me to ask all of you for advice.

We started a game a few months ago. It is a low level/power campaign set in a Dark Sun
style desert scenario. When we planned to start playing, it was agreed that this game
would be my first DMing experience, because my friend really wanted to play instead of
DM. He would DM half the time, and I would DM half the time, and we would work up
to me going full time. Our gaming group consists of him, his girlfriend, a friend of ours,
and myself. Iíll refer to them by their character names, Neebo, Luula, Garac, and myself
Balak.

The problem that Iím having is a DMing problem. Let me give a brief description of
how each player is like. Neebo is a very fine player and a wonderful DM. He will with no
doubt read the post that I am writing here. Unfortunately, the guy is so charismatic, that
when a problem comes up, and he offers advice, it always sounds really good. Iím not
saying it isnít good advice. Luula is something. Sheís a great player, but if you give her
an inch.... Sometimes she has problems with extremes. If her stat in something is 9 or 11,
she might play a total extreme high or low of that stat, when it isnít called for. Also, she
has a problem with looking at papers she shouldnít be looking at, ďOh my god! Heís level
five!Ē she shouts as a peaked at the NPC sheet of the captain of the guard that her level
two character has just gotten into a fight with. Garac is very experienced with first edition
and heís done his homework when it comes to third edition. The guy really thinks outside
of the box sometimes. The second he sat down at the table, he brought up logical points
that none of us at the table had thought about. Such as food and water for our mounts in
the desert; being that food and water is one of those things that we are forced to keep
track of in the world we are in. So, everyone is a fine person, and a fine player, and when
they all site on the opposite side of the DM screen from me, it really does look
intimidating.

While Iíve been on the DM side of the table, some things have happened that have
concerned me. Keep in mind that all these characters are desert dwelling people, born,
live and probably die as people of the desert. Three of the characters are from a rural
village; Luula is a tom-boy hunter, Balak is a god fearing young man, and Garac is an
ex-trouble-maker. Neebo is a scrawny desert bandit who stole from the party, was beaten
by the party, and was used by the party. Now, due to circumstance, heís still around.

The first thing that has started that makes me worried is that everyone now has picked
up levels in rouge, which in itself isnít bad. It seems that many have dumped some
valuable skill points into roguish things like pickpocket, which in itself isnít bad. The
problem is though is that ever since reaching level and gaining the rouge levels, I have
received a lot more note passing about little things. People asking me questions about
how difficult it would be to pick the pocket of their party member right now or take
something off their mount when they arenít looking. Poison darts are being made by one
character, which in itself isnít bad, but honestly, I donít think that it is of any use in the
scenario unless you are planning to assassinate someone. Now, nothing has flat-out
happened YET! But I want to take some preventative measures before they do. The other
thing that really got to me was the characters finally got to the oasis that they were going
to. Unfortunately, it was covered in dense foliage that contained poisonous vines and a
lair of a dozen or so basketball-sized beetles guarding their territory at the waterfront. It
seemed like a very nice little set up to have a group of level twos against many many
half-level bugs. The poisonous vines were added because Neebo asked what type of
plants are there and pointed me to a random roll chart he had for plants. Well, they did
solve the conflict. They burned down the entire oasis. :-( Which, I guess, solved the
problem, but seemed VERY uncharacteristic of the characters and their livelihood.

When Neebo DMs these little things donít come to a head or I donít notice them, and
Iíve been kinda feeling that whenever I DM things go wrong, and Iím just glad that I
know heís DMing next time and he can fix it. Sometimes I even think that the players
play differently with him as a DM and with me as a DM. Anyway, what should I do?
Should I do anything? Do I just need practice? Am I just being paranoid? Whatís up? I
thank you ahead of time for any comments, questions, criticism you will have. Thank
you.

Patrick (Balak)