D&D General How to be a Better DM: One Size Doesn't Fit All

Thomas Shey

Legend
Right but not realky. Fun is subjective, so you have to manage expectations. But that's for you as a DM and your players to work out. What works for Mercer or paid dms may not work for me you.

Absolutely true, but that doesn't mean a given GM has to just come up with everything ex nihilio. Chances are, invidual group or no, the issues you're having are not things that never came up before, and finding how other people handled them can be useful.
 

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p_johnston

Adventurer
So I will preface this by saying I really enjoy critical role, just as I really enjoy a lot of streaming D&D games. I have also stolen ideas, stories, and parts of my GMing style from both it and other games I have seen streamed.

In many ways watching Critical Role is just watching a bunch of friends having fun playing D&D. However Particularly by seasons 2 & 3 It seems (at least to me) that the main focus is on presenting an entertaining product rather then just having fun playing D&D. That doesn't mean they aren't having fun, it doesn't mean they aren't really playing D&D. It just means that they have a different focus then a group that isn't streaming.

a couple of specific examples that sticks out the best for me. The first is the first episode of season 3. After the game starts it takes 30 minutes before the second set of characters are introduced. It takes roughly another 30 to introduce the next 3. It takes over 2 hours to introduce the last character. Now these character introduction bits are fun and make for great viewing. But in a home game I would highly advise against having you players sit on their hands for the first 1 to 2 hours of the first session in service to telling a story.

Another example is in season two when Molly dies. It takes 1 1/2 sessions roughly to get his new character into the group, because it made for a better story. In a home game I would, again, highly advice against this and suggest you just find a way to introduce the new character a soon as possible even if it makes for a weaker story.
 
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Oofta

Legend
So I will preface this by saying I really enjoy critical role, just as I really enjoy a lot of streaming D&D games. I have also stolen ideas, stories, and parts of my GMing style from both it and other games I have seen streamed.

In many ways watching Critical Role is just watching a bunch of friends having fun playing D&D. However Particularly by seasons 2 & 3 It seems (at least to me) that the main focus is on presenting an entertaining product rather then just having fun playing D&D. That doesn't mean they aren't having fun, it doesn't mean they aren't really playing D&D. It just means that they have a different focus then a group that isn't streaming.

a couple of specific examples that sticks out the best for me. The first is the first episode of season 3. After the game starts it takes 30 minutes before the second set of characters are introduced. It takes roughly another 30 to introduce the next 3. It takes over 2 hours to introduce the last character. Now these character introduction bits are fun and make for great viewing. But in a home game I would highly advise against having you players sit on their hands for the first 1 to 2 hours of the first session in service to telling a story.

Another example is in season two when Molly dies. It takes 1 1/2 sessions roughly to get his new character into the group, because it made for a better story. In a home game I would, again, highly advice against this and suggest you just find a way to introduce the new character a soon as possible even if it makes for a weaker story.
Are they playing D&D? Yes. Are they acting/ roleplaying for each other? Yes. Are they doing it for an audience? Yes. Is it a job? Yes. Are they having fun? Certainly seems like it.

I don't think any of these are mutually exclusive. You mention the character intros (which they did for campaign 1 as well). In a home game it wouldn't be a half hour intro in my experience there would be a lot of back and forth, chit chat about who was going to do what, do the PCs already have relationships and so on. Much of this may go back and forth on message boards and texts over the course of weeks while also discussing some campaign outlines. That kind of stuff wouldn't be entertaining to watch.

But their skipping all that and just doing presentation also seems like an exception, not the norm.
 

Of course that's a big "if" in your second sentence in your second paragraph. The world is full of games where things aren't entirely working for GMs and players are sometimes having fun. Trying to figure out how to rectify those qualifications is often what GMs go on a search about.
I would disagree with this. From my observations, most tables are having fun. Heck, if you look at these forums, 90% of the people who post here have perfect games. Now, a table full of strangers or young kids might be a little different. But, in my experience, even most of them still have fun.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
a couple of specific examples that sticks out the best for me. The first is the first episode of season 3. After the game starts it takes 30 minutes before the second set of characters are introduced. It takes roughly another 30 to introduce the next 3. It takes over 2 hours to introduce the last character. Now these character introduction bits are fun and make for great viewing. But in a home game I would highly advise against having you players sit on their hands for the first 1 to 2 hours of the first session in service to telling a story.
That really didn’t work for me and I have to say C3 has mostly been a bit of dud, except for Marisha and Travis‘s character work. The totally random character choices and a city that has turned out to be basically the same as every other city in a DND campaign is wearing a bit thin.

Would like to see things get moving. So if they’re looking for entertaining then they’re heading in the wrong direction, which I guess proves that they’re not doing this to necessarily please an audience. :)
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I would disagree with this. From my observations, most tables are having fun. Heck, if you look at these forums, 90% of the people who post here have perfect games. Now, a table full of strangers or young kids might be a little different. But, in my experience, even most of them still have fun.

[citation needed]

Less snarky, even if you believe everyone's press about their games--and aren't overreading into the fact that people who have things that generally work don't have problems--forum discussion cannot be viewed as meaningfully representative. Among other things, people prone to posting on forums are probably people more likely to have sought out solutions they had early on.

And note my qualification about "some of the time". You can be having fun more often than not, and still have significant problems that crop up with some regularity.
 

[citation needed]

Less snarky, even if you believe everyone's press about their games--and aren't overreading into the fact that people who have things that generally work don't have problems--forum discussion cannot be viewed as meaningfully representative. Among other things, people prone to posting on forums are probably people more likely to have sought out solutions they had early on.

And note my qualification about "some of the time". You can be having fun more often than not, and still have significant problems that crop up with some regularity.
I get the need for evidence. But, in this case, there is no evidence - for either side.

That said, there is a representation to be had via eyeballs. And if we don't trust those, then how about sales. D&D is growing, showing higher numbers than any time in its history. To me, we can infer that means the majority of people playing are "having fun." Complications that a handful of people find are so few and far between, they are irrelevant.

And if I may add, I highly doubt anyone has ever found a solution to a "table problem" on any forum. Sure, they may find a solution on how to glue minis together or how to use a specific spell. But fun is subjective, and no one increases their "fun" by asking questions on a forum.

But I get it. Your statements were vague, yet declarative. The italicized words entirely and sometimes (and "some of the time" leave it obscure enough to always have an out. It's a fair enough way to state things, until you place the burden of proof on someone, like you did @carmachu . Once you disagree with someone, it is expected they rebuttal. It's hard to rebuttal something that can change shape like a cloud.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I get the need for evidence. But, in this case, there is no evidence - for either side.

That said, there is a representation to be had via eyeballs. And if we don't trust those, then how about sales. D&D is growing, showing higher numbers than any time in its history. To me, we can infer that means the majority of people playing are "having fun." Complications that a handful of people find are so few and far between, they are irrelevant.

And if I may add, I highly doubt anyone has ever found a solution to a "table problem" on any forum. Sure, they may find a solution on how to glue minis together or how to use a specific spell. But fun is subjective, and no one increases their "fun" by asking questions on a forum.

But I get it. Your statements were vague, yet declarative. The italicized words entirely and sometimes (and "some of the time" leave it obscure enough to always have an out. It's a fair enough way to state things, until you place the burden of proof on someone, like you did @carmachu . Once you disagree with someone, it is expected they rebuttal. It's hard to rebuttal something that can change shape like a cloud.
Just a quick aside, but I managed to increase my fun a good bit by asking questions on a forum. Or rather, I think it started by being asked questions on a forum....
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
That said, there is a representation to be had via eyeballs. And if we don't trust those, then how about sales. D&D is growing, showing higher numbers than any time in its history. To me, we can infer that means the majority of people playing are "having fun." Complications that a handful of people find are so few and far between, they are irrelevant.

This is still based on assumption that needs more support. That assumption is people will only keep playing a game if they never have problems or struggle with things. That doesn't describe anything people do in any other part of human life, why should it be true here/

And if I may add, I highly doubt anyone has ever found a solution to a "table problem" on any forum. Sure, they may find a solution on how to glue minis together or how to use a specific spell. But fun is subjective, and no one increases their "fun" by asking questions on a forum.

I have.

But I get it. Your statements were vague, yet declarative. The italicized words entirely and sometimes (and "some of the time" leave it obscure enough to always have an out. It's a fair enough way to state things, until you place the burden of proof on someone, like you did @carmachu . Once you disagree with someone, it is expected they rebuttal. It's hard to rebuttal something that can change shape like a cloud.

If you don't understand the difference between not overly universalizing, and being vague, that's not my problem.
 


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