D&D General How much control do DMs need?

Oofta

Legend
I should clarify that no one is required to do anything, and I keep merrily world-building on my own. So my spouse, for example, is perfectly happy to just inhabit her character and let the events of the world unfold.

I want to inhabit my character is part of it. Since there would either be no reason for me to not invent something that would help so I would always be thinking of what I could do and feel pressure to do those things. Just knowing I have the capability to do it would take me out of immersing myself in my PC. I also see the potential for certain people overdoing it and dominating the flow of the story.

I give people a fair amount of leeway about their backgrounds and what they do in their downtime even if I assert editorial control. But being able to add things in on the fly on a regular basis? While it's always interesting to hear about other options (and I'll be curious what you think after you've done this for a while) I just don't see it working for me, no matter what side of the DM's screen I'm on.
 

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jgsugden

Legend
This really depends upon what you're trying to do. The DM doesn't need the power unless you want to include elements that require it.

You can have 5 people sit around a table and improvise a story together. That can be a blast. Each is a player in the game and each takes a turn at running the game (with turns that could be just a few minutes long, or they could be several sessions). That works and can be a lot of fun ... BUT:

It does not work if you want a long drawn out story with elements that will surprise the players while playing into the larger story. I have seen the payoff when a player figures out a mystery that his father was stumped by 30 years earlier in the same campaign world. I have seen players discover an artifact that other groups had earlier hunted for byt not found. I have seen players spend an entire campaign building up to the solution to one great mystery ... and all of these things don't happen without a single control figure behind the game with absolute control over information no other player knows.
 

I give people a fair amount of leeway about their backgrounds and what they do in their downtime even if I assert editorial control. But being able to add things in on the fly on a regular basis? While it's always interesting to hear about other options (and I'll be curious what you think after you've done this for a while) I just don't see it working for me, no matter what side of the DM's screen I'm on.

In the past when I was in that position I would talk to the GM out of session, and give my ideas and ask if they could work it in. In a superhero game I had my martial artist (with darkforce) have a storyline that was awesome, and I had no idea what was going to happen in detail. I just told the GM that I wanted to run a "Possessed by my powers, turn villian, get depowered, end up in prison, turn pure martial artists, then get out of prison (pardon maybe)" That was all I gave. The GM worked that in with other plot threads going, and it lasted nearly a year (it was a 10 year campaign).
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
The obvious answer here--"it depends"--is arguably not the most-helpful one. Some tables will do better with more authority vested in the GM, others will do better with more authority dispersed to and among the players.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Not a lot. Play your character (the world), let everyone else play theirs.

At no point decide you're going to 'teach players a lesson' or 'punish' them. Your duties for the purposes of the game never include being called Daddy, so stop trying to be one for anyone at the table not willing to call you such out of game.
 




payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I thought DMing was just another type of playing?
It is. The one with the control!
south park thq GIF
 


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