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I am a better DM than a player (THREAD-O-MANCY)

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I just am.

I don't think I am a bad player - but I think I grow impatient with a character and often have to fight with myself to stay in-character.

I think I am less patient with other players when I am a player.

I think I am more easily distracted when I am a player.

I find it easier to juggle a dozen plot elements and NPC motivations than to develop one character over time.

I find it easier to do several different NPC "voices" than have a consistant character voice.

I find it easier to keep notes about what is going on in the campaign as DM, than as player.

As a player, I sometimes forget my books, my dice or even my character sheet - but as DM I hardly ever forget any important books, notes, maps or minis.

Why the discrepency? I am not sure.

However, I have found the qualities that make me a decent player were cultivated from years of DMing, i.e. - not second-guessing the DM at the table, being on time, being quiet when it another player's turn to be in the spotlight, listening carefully to descriptions so the DM doesn't have to repeat himself, etc. . .

So, how do others compare their player vs. DMing skills/abiltiies?
 
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Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
Me too, but for different reasons.

Some of the stuff that you find difficult (like a consistent voice) I don't have trouble with. But I'm so used to answering DM questions that I immediately tend to make rules judgments, even when I have no business doing so. It's an awfully hard habit to break.

In a pick-up game I played in yesterday (over at nopantsyet's house), I also found out that I can have severe twink tendencies. :D We were told to bring in 15th lvl rogue-y characters, standard gear. My shadowdancer was criticalling a few times a round with his keen brilliant energy rapier, especially with an improved crit feat that brought my range to 12-20. Add that to a few potions of haste and a ring of blinking, and I was doing close to 100 points of damage a round! I had no real idea it would be that effective, and I felt guilty even as I skewered bad guy after bad guy. Moral of story: deep inside me, I indulged my munchkin tendencies, and I'm never letting one of those into my own campaign. *grin*
 


Forrester

First Post
Piratecat said:
Me too, but for different reasons.

Some of the stuff that you find difficult (like a consistent voice) I don't have trouble with. But I'm so used to answering DM questions that I immediately tend to make rules judgments, even when I have no business doing so. It's an awfully hard habit to break.

In a pick-up game I played in yesterday (over at nopantsyet's house), I also found out that I can have severe twink tendencies. :D We were told to bring in 15th lvl rogue-y characters, standard gear. My shadowdancer was criticalling a few times a round with his keen brilliant energy rapier, especially with an improved crit feat that brought my range to 12-20. Add that to a few potions of haste and a ring of blinking, and I was doing close to 100 points of damage a round! I had no real idea it would be that effective, and I felt guilty even as I skewered bad guy after bad guy. Moral of story: deep inside me, I indulged my munchkin tendencies, and I'm never letting one of those into my own campaign. *grin*

I'll second that -- on both counts (the rules lawyer problem and the twink problem).

A friend of mine decided to run a one-shot module -- Bastion of Broken Souls.

My 18th level cleric of Flahrnahghahn can get his AC up to 59 (core rules only, mind you), can cast Miracle up to 7 times a day if necessary (love those Candles of Invocation), is pretty much immune to targeted spells, INCLUDING Greater Dispelling and Slow (as he's always holding onto his Rod of Absorption), can easily deal out 100pts+ damage a round against the toughest of opponents (as he can cast Holy Sword -- the 4th level Paladin spell -- from an Ioun Stone, put there using Miracle, of course.)

I mean, how exactly DO you kill an 18th level cleric that's been polymorphed into a stone giant, has a 59 AC, can't be effectively targeted by individual non-touch spells, and who can cast Mass Heal once a round before engaging in his brutal full-round attack? I'll note I have Mind Blank up, and a Contingency up that gives me SR34 if I'm targeted by a melee touch spell. (I may just change it to a Heal).

I have to point out at this point the whole "Gating in a Solar" thing doesn't suck much either . . . my DM is currently working on a way to nerf it, as it's just a *little* broken.

The first real combat we had was almost a TPK (we teleported to the Marilith/Kyton's lair). Guess who survived?

Yeah, I gotta twink problem. Lord knows I'd never allow a character like that into *my* campaign, either. I'm such a hypocrite :).
 

Sniktch

First Post
Ditto with Piratecat and Forrester. I've been DMing too long and I'll jump in with rules adjudications when its not my place to do so.

Although my latest character is a bit of a munchkin (16th level sorcerer/archmage w/ 28 Cha, spell focus and imp spell focus, spellcasting prodigy, etc. The DC to save against one of my 1st level evocations is 27), he's the exception and not the norm. I usually have no problem staying in character and am much more likely to play something cool and off-beat than overpowered.

Now if I could only let the DM make his own rules decisions :eek:
 

buzz

Adventurer
Re: I am a better DM than a player

nemmerle said:
So, how do others compare their player vs. DMing skills/abiltiies?

I'm playing a cleric in my current group (I posted a request for character advice on ENWorld, so you know where this is going). The last time I was a player in any game was 1991, and the last time I played a cleric was, most likely, 1986.

So, yeah, I kind of stink as a player. :) I'm clueless about what the good cleric spells are, I can't seem to figure out who my character is, and I tend to balk at engaging in IC speech.

Essentially, I have little practice bieng a player. I'm finding that it is genuinely a different mindset.

The main thing I realized is that being a good player can (and indeally, should) involve almost as much prep work as being a DM. I assumed that I could just show up each session, but now I'm realizing that, to be an effective player, I need to do some prep work. Studying my spell list, planning my character's advancement, boning up on the rules, and even creating a character sheet that I find aesthetically pleasing.

I also find that sometimes I get frustrated not being in the DM's chair. E.g., our last session involved almost nothing but heading back to town and taking care of a lot of mundane business. Some of this was of interest to me, but most of it wasn't. The DM and the other players were RP'ing a lot of situations that I would have just described in a few sentences (it took more than 30 minutes for a few of them to get some magic items identified, as they were playing it all out... I think I came close to falling asleep).

I would never have played it this way, but that's my style, not my DM's. It's taking a little getting used to.
 

As a player I tend to not pay attention, randomly scream, and minmax my characters to hell and beyond.

I playing a mounted combat paladin at level 4, and as my first big action I do a smite evil charge attack at attack +10, 3d8+27 damage.

You can just here the mouths hitting the table in shock, most of the people had never read the rule books, much less seen or created a min-max or even optimized character before. Of course on the flip side most of them thought that playing a Simese Twin Pimp in roman Alexandria was a valid option.
 

MadScientist

First Post
Yeah, I'm generally the DM of our group as well, but because I've been to busy lately(Grad School sucks up alot of time) I've been on the players side.

-I have a very hard time RPing a single complex character. I mean I always found it pretty easy to play a bunck of two dimensional cleches.... but one multi-dimensional character has been difficult.

-I've also released my inner twink! Maybe it's just because I know the rules so well and the twinkish combos are just so obvious.... I don't know. I do know that my dwarven Barbarian/Fighter dishes out far more hurt than any one else in the party, and of course he has a 6 Cha (I should be so ashamed) [As a side note I never realized how twink dwarves were until I played one... +2 save versus magic, +4 AC vs Giants, etc., etc. sheesh!]

-Rules judgements, yup me 2.

-I also have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when my fellow players use less than optimal tactics. (Well if you had 5 ft stepped here you could have done X. No cast the fear spell on the mook so I can AoO him and then cleave into the big bad guy!)

I have to say thay being a DM has made be a better player in some respects though. I always try hard to pay attention, write down clues, keep careful track of my missile weapon ammo (Many players never seem to run out of x-bow bolts!)

Although probably the best thing about playing is seeing weak points in you DM that you suddenly realize you have as well.:)
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
As Dm I can't stand when some "know it all" questions my rulings - and while I will sometimes allow some questioning/discussion - when I say "let's move on" - then my players know - end of debate - we are moving on.

I try to show my DMs the same courtesy.
 

kengar

First Post
However, I have found the qualities that make me a decent player were cultivated from years of DMing, i.e. - not second-guessing the DM at the table, being on time, being quiet when it another player's turn to be in the spotlight, listening carefully to descriptions so the DM doesn't have to repeat himself, etc. . .


Dude, compared to some I play with, the above alone makes you an AWESOME player. :D
 

BryonD

Hero
Piratecat said:
I indulged my munchkin tendencies

Yeah, and isn't that GREAT!

I tend to prefer RP a bit over power gaming, but isn't a high level pick-up a great time to just forget about everything else and go at being a super powered butt kicker? You can still role play being the SPBK, but you don't have to unless you want to.
 

Gospog

First Post
I'm not only a bad player, when I play in our regular group, I'm downright awful!

My biggest fault is that I'm bossy. I get very frustrated when the other players won't follow my orders. Can't they see I know the RIGHT way to do all this, because I'm usually the GM? ;)

My other big problem is that I see where the plot is going, decide, in my GM-ness where it should go, and when it does not go that way, I get pretty frustrated.

Whew! I feel a lot better now. Confession...good for the GM!

:)
 

Jeremy

Explorer
megamania said:
may none of my players read that abomination of a weapon:eek:

Could be worse, I played in a game with a keen vorpal brilliant energy scimitar +1 that kept getting greater magic weapon'd up to +5. He had reach and great cleave and improved crit and he'd just spin around in a room and all the heads and bodies would hit the floor.

Not that we weren't all powerful at that level too, INCREDIBLY powerful. But when the baddie grunts have 200 hp apiece and they are dying at a rate of 3 or 5 per round... :) It's impressive. And frightening. :)
 

takyris

First Post
I find my problems lying at the other end of the spectrum. I've gotten bored watching my players make all the safe, ordinary character choices, so when the opportunity comes for me to play, I haul out the most un-min-maxed character of all time, roleplay him to the hilt, and attempt to prove to the players not only that you can roleplay anything if you try hard enough, but that I can out-minmax them even with un-min-maxy characters.

They thought that my dwarven Brb3/Clr7 was underpowered right up until he used a large number of his daily spells and became a combat inferno. The fact that up until that time he'd been comic relief (a cleric of a Water God who is a) Not built for swimming and b) Five hundred miles from the nearest large body of water) was even better. One minute I'm using my wilderness lore skill to find crawdads (those four-legged, tree-dwelling crawdads with the furry tails. I think you call them "Squirrels"), and the next I've unloaded Bull's Strength, Endurance, Fly (Travel Domain), and am winging my way around the battlefield, dual-wielding a pair of Icy-Burst warhammers.

My dwarven Druid/Bard talked like Sean Connery. His badgers, Bloodfang and Mister Snuffles, were occasionally used as ranged weapons.

And Mirk Dilliwaddle, the half-orc raised by halflings, was fabulous comic relief, and the players thought he was pretty much useless until they got into a boxing match with him and discovered that a barbarian/rogue with Improved Unarmed Strike, Stunning Fist, Ambidexterity, Two-Weapon Fighting, and Extra Stunning can really be a bit formidable.

-Tacky
 

Forrester

First Post
Jeremy said:


Could be worse, I played in a game with a keen vorpal brilliant energy scimitar +1 that kept getting greater magic weapon'd up to +5.

Which immediately causes the DM in me to do some quick math . . . +4 for Brilliant Energy, +5 for Vorpal, +1 for Keen, +1 for regular enhancement . . . that's a +11 enhancement bonus! In other words, Epic, and completely illegal (or way way too expensive) under normal rules. For shame :).

The thing is, brilliant energy isn't actually that good for most PCs, because it doesn't ignore natural armor. But apparently you guys face a lot of armored up foes . . . in which case it's tre cheaty.
 

maddman75

First Post
I got to third Piratecat and Forrester. Being a player usually just brings out the rules lawyer and power gamer in me. The first works in our group, as I know the rules better than the rest of the group put together, so when someone else DMs they look to me as rules-guy.

Power gamer, well I just can't resist :). I always do it to fit the background and character though - if he's a dwarven warrior blessed by the gods to find his family's lost heirloom, then dammit he's going to *fight* like he's been blessed by the gods!

The group is terrible with tactics too, especially when it comes to spells. Ever seen a 15th level party who walked around without Continual Flame and never thought about Greater Magic Weapon? That's my group. No matter how many times they got their butts handed to them by DR creatures and darkness. Oh well :).
 

Gargoyle

Adventurer
I'm a much better DM than a player, but also for different reasons. As a player I tend to hog the spotlight; being accustomed to DMing, I guess I'm used to getting all the attention. And even though I can easily offer tactical advice to the players when DMing, I sometimes make terrible tactical errors when playing, and I'm not sure why. I'm not a patient player either; a DM who runs a slow moving game really gets on my nerves and makes me want to knock him out of his chair so I can "run things right" even though the other players are having fun. I also get tired of playing just one character and tend to get interested in what all the other characters are doing.

I guess I'm just so used to DMing that it's hard to be a passenger instead of a driver, no matter how much fun it is to enjoy the scenery. Also, I think that playing the game well (that is, contributing to the party in both a tactical and in a fun roleplaying way) requires more skill than we DMs sometimes realize. It's just a different type of skill.

Good post, Nemmerle, very insightful.
 

kkoie

First Post
Interesting, I've never had much of a problem switching between my DM personality and my Player personality. If I do have a problem as a player, its remembering that when I create the character, I have to do it the good oldfashioned way, and actually roll up the stats, rather than just assigning them in a semi-random way. Although I do understand the bit about biting your lip about making judgement calls about rules, when you're not the DM.
 

DDK

Banned
Banned
I'm a horrid player. Much like the rest of you, I've DM'd mostly and have some very bad habits that I'm barely conciously aware of let alone able to break.

I not only second-guess the DM, I halt play and argue the ruling until I feel a fair and reasonable adjudication has been made.

I point out errors on the behalf of other players and dob on them for rules violations.

I tell others what they're characters SHOULD be like and how they, as people, SHOULD be playing them.

I refuse to play if things aren't satisfactory and, in many cases, have walked out on a game due to minor annoyances such as the DM GIVING away 35,000gp items at 1st level for NO good reason.

I have annoying quirks like 'only on the book' and I flip my pencil CONSTANTLY in the air, often dropping it or making it fly towards other players, or the DM's eye by sheer lack of hand/eye co-ordination.

I also make my opinion well known about everybody elses roleplaying ability, which usually is completely suckful and pathetic.

I once abused a DM for wasting four hours of my life on his piece of crud game and told him where he could put his d4.

In fact, I've never once complimented anyone on their DM'ing ability in a game that I've played in because no-one has ever come even remotely close to my lowest standard of DM'ing ability.

And the number one, worst and most despicably intolerable thing that I do, is roleplay my characters REALLY well :D

Now you're all probably thinking I'm an :):):):):):):), and you're probably right, but it should also be known that, as a person, I'm devoting resources to a hobby that is supposed to be fun. My standards aren't THAT high and anyone who puts in a modicum of effort can reach them. So when someone doesn't meet my standards, I get miffed because it is a sign of disrespect, a sign that they aren't willing to go the distance. Things that peeve me off are DM's who don't know basic rules or players who have one thought running through their heads, which is, "I LIKE SWORDS!" Such people are a waste of my time and since I'll most likely die young, (probably by someone I pissed off), my time is precious :)
 

Shadeus

First Post
I'm just the opposite. I can DM, but I don't like to. The biggest problem for me is keeping the overall story arc interesting from start to finish. And inevitably I'll get bored with it and lose interest, etc.

But as a player, I enjoy the intellectual challenge of overcoming obstacles. Most of all enjoy delving into the background of my character and using their strengths to their best advantage while guarding their weaknesses.

Also on the flip side, I know the rules very well. I don't like it when DMs make mistakes on clear rules (like trip attacks or spells they haven't read very carefully). Then I get labeled as a troublemaker/rules lawyer.
 

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