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Has anyone found themselves becoming a worse player?

Kid Socrates

First Post
The question pretty much says it all. Five, six years ago I was pretty good at role-playing, and could really get into a character, his motivations, desires, all that. I wasn't world-class or anything, but I was really good.

Then I started running games. I'm running two now, at the same time in the same world. It takes a lot of my time, but it's a whole lot of fun. (That said, trying to run TWO weekly games that are plot-heavy and deep with character background is not something I think I'll do again. If not for one being online-only and the other being in person, I'd try to combine them.)

I've played in four or five games since I started these two, usually shorter ones or campaigns that didn't quite get off the ground. In each one, my character concept might be fine, but then I can't get a handle on him role-playing-wise. Or I'll make a character that then just doesn't seem to fit into the campaign at all, or I'll feel really out of place. I don't feel natural being on the player's side of the table anymore. I don't feel like I put enough into my characters.

Does this happen to other people that run a lot, or end up focusing on running? Or is this just me? And is there anything I can do?

Matt
 

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Insight

Adventurer
I have fairly high standards for my own ability to roleplay, and I can tell you definitively that I have found myself slipping, especially when I DMed most of the time. Now that I am 75% player and 25% DM (soon to go to 100% player and 0% DM for a while), I am starting to be more creative as a roleplayer and get back to my own standards.

It doesn't help much that my own group isn't that high on the roleplaying side of things. They are far more interested in the Xs and Os of strategic combat and such. It's a 'bottom-line' approach that really detracts from roleplaying. I'm not really complaining about it so much as pointing out that certain groups can change your roleplaying style and can sometimes limit what you want to do with your character.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I wonder if you're feeling a little dissatisfaction about lacking control of the situation your character is in. When you're DM, it's easier to determine how your NPCs (or even your players' PCs) fit in because you're in control of the whole background of the milieu. It's a bit harder to do it when you're not the screen monkey and are trying to fit in with something that's ultimately not as well defined in your own head. When you said that are making PCs that don't seem to fit in, that crossed my mind.
I think you just need to stake out a space for a character concept, keep it simple so the DM has plenty to work with to fit it in, and don't sweat it too much. Let the DM worry about fitting it in better and just concentrate on simple motivations for what make this PC tick. You'll feel more comfortable again in no time.
 

Shallown

First Post
I have had that happen where I half roleplay instead of throwing myself fully into it, especially if I am also running a Game. I think , for me, it boils down to work. Really playing a character takes a little work, sometimes a lot of work. It is worth it and it is enjoyable work but sometimes I just want to kick back, relax and kill crap. I think when I am running a game I put a great deal of effort into it so when I play I just want to play not work too hard. Now when I am not running I roleplay more but how much depends on the group I am with. Some groups motivate me to get deeper into who my character is , some are just hacking and slashing MoFo's. My current group is somewhere in the middle enjoying role playing and hacking and I am happy with that.

Later
 

Digital M@

Explorer
I think it is because D&D is much more tactical than it ever has been in the past. Every aspect of the game is tactical from creating your character, from bluffing all the way to combat. Strict rules have been created to give a bland but consistant system to run a role playing game. I think it is difficult not to look at the games as a rule set and as an interactive game. When RPing was a yong hobby, it was about the story and interaction of players and DM, even when it was dungeon crawling. Now there are rules to depict every aspect of the story and IMO, it has turned the game more into a tabletop war game than a role playing game.

As evidence, in the past the DM could be the only one to own the rules and anyone could play after just a few minutes of explaination, now it is very difficult to get new players involved without them having a strong knowledge of the basic rules. The game is not about the intentions of the player, but about the mechanics used to determine the intentions. It is great for rules lawyers who want everything spelled out, but it is not as good for the imagination.

I myself break the rules every single time I run a game and never think twice about it, but the game still has a very tactical feel to it.
 

diaglo

Adventurer
life is too short to play crappy rpgs.

i ams, what i ams.

i am popeye.. er..

i play the same as i always have. i found what i like and i stick to it.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Funny thing is, thanks to this site, I believe myself a better roleplayer and even a better DM than I was years ago, mainly for knowing the people here, and getting advice from people like Piratecat, (contact), etc. The more other gamers I expose myself to, I try to take what I like of their styles and approaches for my own. I still suck at extemporaneous dialogue, but I find myself both able to be a craftier DM and being able to play characters with more gusto than years ago.
 

Estlor

First Post
I won't say that I'm any worse than I was years ago, but I find myself turning into more of a min/maxer than I used to be. In high school I used to play things because I thought they were cool, regardless of whether it was a suboptimal character build. These days I obsess over skills, feats, weapons, and races as I attempt to craft someone that pushes the rules to its absolute limit without breaking.

You should have seen me the last time I made a character. It was a FR Paladin right after Complete Warrior came out. He was a combat beast, let me tell you, plus a few ranks of Sense Motive and Diplomacy to hold his own in parlay.
 

Zappo

Explorer
I think I'm getting better and better. I really hate getting worse at stuff that I care about; it simply goes against my personal philosophy. I'm always trying to figure what I'm doing wrong and how to get better, and it seems to work for roleplaying too.
 

fanboy2000

First Post
I to much of a contol freak to be a good player. You would think that DMing would make me a better player, but all it's done is feed my ego.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Kid Socrates said:
The question pretty much says it all. Five, six years ago I was pretty good at role-playing, and could really get into a character, his motivations, desires, all that. I wasn't world-class or anything, but I was really good.
Then I started running games......

I think running games *requires* more time and energy, but playing can certainly take just as much. Both are like life in that you get as much back as you put into them. That said, I've found them to be radically different. Both are fun and each has its particular of difficulties, but I think being good at one does not automatically make you good at the other.

If you feel you are slipping as a player, well... start playing again. That is about all I can say.

Edit: Oh yeah, and it happens to everybody. How good do you think the grognards were after a 10+ year hiatus when 3E arose in 2000?
 

MavrickWeirdo

First Post
Kid Socrates said:
The question pretty much says it all. Five, six years ago I was pretty good at role-playing, and could really get into a character, his motivations, desires, all that. I wasn't world-class or anything, but I was really good.

Then I started running games. I'm running two now, at the same time in the same world. It takes a lot of my time, but it's a whole lot of fun. (That said, trying to run TWO weekly games that are plot-heavy and deep with character background is not something I think I'll do again. If not for one being online-only and the other being in person, I'd try to combine them.)

I've played in four or five games since I started these two, usually shorter ones or campaigns that didn't quite get off the ground. In each one, my character concept might be fine, but then I can't get a handle on him role-playing-wise. Or I'll make a character that then just doesn't seem to fit into the campaign at all, or I'll feel really out of place. I don't feel natural being on the player's side of the table anymore. I don't feel like I put enough into my characters.

Does this happen to other people that run a lot, or end up focusing on running? Or is this just me? And is there anything I can do?

Matt

To me it sounds like you are pouring all your creative energy into DMing, so you don't have much left when you get a chance to just play. I think that if you "took a break" from DMing your "player" skills would come back. I'm not saying that you have to stop DMing, just reasuring you that you haven't "lost" your "gift".
 

Kalendraf

First Post
Since I was introduced to D&D over 22 years ago, I've DM'ed for 90% of that time. So when I do get to participate as a player, I see myself as still a bit of a learner there. I'm clearly not without fault:

1. When playing, I find it hard not to try to help the DM or become a ruleslawyer.

2. Having seen so many different characters and approaches, any characters I create now often drift into power-gamer min/max madness.

3. With the right character in my grasp (usually a bard or other charismatic type) I tend to have a blast, but I also have a tendency to steal the show if not reigned in properly by the DM.

Thus, I kind of see myself as a DM's worst nightmare, combining some of the worst elements you can find: Ruleslawyer, Power-gamer and Show-stealer. Each can be great assets for a DM, but those tend to be liabilities for a player.

I guess that's why I tend to DM more than play. :\
 

DarrenGMiller

First Post
As Kalendraf said, when playing I tend to become the DM's worse nightmare. Not in the way he said, but in that I become mischievous. Mind you, I have had some pretty negative experiences that drove me away from wanting to be on the outside of the screen. I had a HORRIBLE DM in 1982-83 who bordered on abusive to his players (to the point of locking them in the gaming room and verbally abusing us and only unlocking the door if we LARP'ed our characters singing silly songs, dancing, giving flowers to NPC's, etc. as punishment for making a mistake during character creation or doing something dumb in character during a session or just on a whim) I sometimes wonder why I stayed with the game.

Ever since then, I am just more comfortable behind the screen. I have played less than a dozen sessions as a player and probably thousands as a DM over the past 23 years.

At any rate, I have seen players who have trouble being a player after they start running their own game. It is just difficult to eliminate the metagame thinking and other aspects of DM'ing.

Just my 2 cents though.

DM
 

Eosin the Red

First Post
I have a similar but different story - I have ran games for several years and have had very little chance to play in anything. As time goes on, I find myself becoming a poorer and poorer DM. As a DM I am also much more easily distracted now days (wanting to do Star Wars one week and Dark Champions the next.)
 

Kid Socrates

First Post
wolf70 said:
Ever since then, I am just more comfortable behind the screen. I have played less than a dozen sessions as a player and probably thousands as a DM over the past 23 years.

At any rate, I have seen players who have trouble being a player after they start running their own game. It is just difficult to eliminate the metagame thinking and other aspects of DM'ing.

Just my 2 cents though.

DM

I think that's the problem I have. I love the mechanics of crafting a session, almost as much as I enjoy creating the story and all of that. The more time I spend creating the entire world and everything that goes into it, the harder just playing is. Plus my dislike for a lot of standard rules, and why I created my entire setting, that also plays into it. I definitely need to get better as a player, and more time as one would do that; there's just not a whole lot of time to do that. Having a full-time job while half your group's in college or law school makes scheduling hard.

What have you found makes you a better gamer/roleplayer as a player?
 

Ravellion

serves Gnome Master
I am the DM of our group, or at least have been for the last 4 years or so (before that, one other player occasionaly DMed). I joined a few other groups fro a few sessions and found out the following.

I can really enjoy playing under DMs that seem to know what they are doing, as well as being very loose with the rules. Morrus is an example of this kind of DM, at least how I perceived him.

DMs that show a light lack of self confidence, especially with the rules... its not pretty. I'll be second guessing them constantly, and will often say stuff as "come on!" etc. I simply can't stand a rules-based DM who doesn't know the rules as well as I do.

At Gencon UK, there was a DM who insisted rage ended when a barbarian goes down into negatives (potentially killing the barb). I had to chew on some d12s not to go into volatile argument mode.

Rav

Rav
 

Kalendraf

First Post
Ravellion said:
DMs that show a light lack of self confidence, especially with the rules... its not pretty. I'll be second guessing them constantly, and will often say stuff as "come on!" etc. I simply can't stand a rules-based DM who doesn't know the rules as well as I do.

I have this same problem. I need to have a DM that is at least as knowledgeable with the rules as I am or I start behaving the same way. That's when my rules-lawyering nature starts kicking in, and the result is generally not pretty.

I especially have a hard time when other DMs get rules completely wrong and aren't willing to take 30 seconds to doublecheck/learn how something really works, especially when a character's welfare is on the line as a result.

I am also frustrated when a DM rules something based how it used to work in an older version of the game, or based on some houserule they've always used. However, I am usually more forgiving there, since we've probably all done this before. After the session, I may kindly point out that they might want to brush up on how this or that works now in 3.5.
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
Depends on the GM. If I think the GM sucks, I'm not going to go into elaborate backgrounds and other details about my character as it's just not worth the time to do so.

That's why I try to avoid crappy games. No point in wasting the GM's time or my time.
 

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