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


I'm a pretty good DM and really good evil player. I went the whole munchkin route once and did a rogue/assassin dual shortsword deal and got bored quickly. as a DM i CAN go that route as many times as i want and enjoy it! I can throw out twinkies at the PC's and rejoice in their slaughter of them! Yea!!!

The tough part is finding a race/class combo i haven't been and playing that WITH weakness. Oh that gnome cleric of the Strength domain? He's only got an 8 STR and 16 Wis but a 18 CHA though! To me it's NOW up to being something and roleplaying it and saying to hell with how he fares in combat, play something interesting and amusing and just have some fun with the rules....ahh a githyanki barbarian, why the hell not!

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First Post
it's been so long since i have been a player that I wouldn't know if I am a better player than a better DM.

I have my present players that think highly of my skills at DMing. I have that comfort at least.


Forrester said:

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.

Epic game and VERY Powerful. :)


First Post
Jeremy said:

Epic game and VERY Powerful. :)

Well, if you're playing an Epic game, then I don't think it's too powerful -- I mean, what does that weapon cost, a couple million?

Epic NPCs will, I hope, have at least mod fortification on their armor (which, bcs it protects against crits, will protect against vorpal attacks). Epic creatures -- well, they have their own ways of defending themselves :).


Wow, Nemmerle. Based on the Warhammer FRP I ran I'd say you were an excellent player. You really got into the role, and I thought you did a lot to make the scenario come to life.

However, I feel the same way with respect to GMing and playing. I don't feel as into the game when I have to play. I almost always would rather DM. I like to run a wide range of characters and tend to get bored if I have the same role over and over again. When I do play, I like to go for flashy PCs with obvious, weird hooks: a gnome jester, a paranoid fighter, a power mad wizard, stuff like that. Yet, invariably those characters wear thin. OTOH, when I DM I can skip from NPC to NPC, keeping things fresh while the game moves along.

Really, I derive 90% of my enjoyment from RPGs while creating things. I like making up villains, towns, or adventures. It feels cool to come up with a very cool scene for a game and watch it play out, or keeping track of the campaign world as the players wreak havoc with the NPCs' carefully laid plans. I love looking over a campaign world and picking out all the things the characters changed: a malignant druid's grove burned down here, an orc army turned back from Dead Dog Pass there, things like that. As a player, I miss the control and options I have as DM.


First Post
I'd have to say I'm a better DM than a player for a very simple reason: attention span.

I love creating characters. On my work computer I have a file of nothing but character ideas -- stats, characteristics, thumbnail backgrounds -- that contains nearly 150 ideas from the mundane to the bizarre.

When I run a character in a campaign, I have fun. But after a few weeks, I'm already thinking about what character I'll bring in if this one dies...

I can stick with a character, but I'm always wondering how another one of my character ideas would have panned out.

I think the real problem is that I need to be playing in about seventy different campaigns to try out all my ideas! :D

Darrin Drader

First Post
nemmerle, I too feel that I am a much better DM than player for most of the reasons that you posted. I tried being a player a while back and honestly it wasn't holding my attention as much as it normally does when I'm running the game. The main thing that was going on in the back of my mind the whole time was, what can I do to that the DM won't expect or be prepared for? That's great when you're presenting an adventure, but isn't the best for functioning in a group and helping the adventure to move along.

I think it comes down to the ability to be more creative as a DM. I've had players that have tried their hand at DM'ing and people were in a hurry to switch back to me in some cases. I think there's really two different modes of play and some people are noticeably better at one mode than another.

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
I've been running games pretty much twice a month for about 13 years now, and I've run into many of the barriers that Piratecat, Nemmerle, and Mearls have run into, as well as having the same over-compensation tendency as Forrester...

What I find is, as both player and DM, I'm not very good at utterly min-maxing a PC/NPC. Nor do I want to min/max them. I try to catch myself at any opportunity, and I'll tend to depower my own PC if I feel he's getting out of hand.

I'm very good with the rules, but I try hard not to rules-lawyer things. Luckily, in the groups I play in, short rules discussion is not frowned on (though it is kept short) and all the various DM's are comfortable with someone bringing up a rule. I actively try to NOT bring up specific rules when I play, however, in favor of aiding play.

I've found that playing the really out-there PC can be a trap. Often-times, they can be really interesting until the "twist" gets over-done or over-used, and then they get dull. Playing a PC that isn't all that outlandish on the surface allows for freedom to play more normal sorts of challenges. A PC whose quirks is hatred of Mind Flayers will get boring if Mind Flayers aren't frequently on the menu. A PC who can't keep track of his funds and always needs financial bailing out will always have some thing to roleplay.

I try hard to not monopolize the spot light. In some of my groups this is harder than others. I've always got ideas on what to do, and it's hard some time to let someone else lead.

Spending most of my first decade in the game as a player probably helped me develop that way, learning the game from the player side before taking on a big game as DM.

Mind you, my Fighter PC with the Keen Scimitar and improved crit can do 100 pts in a round too, so I'm not immune to a little twinkie-ness myself! It's not the damage; it's how many points can you put into Power Attack and still hit...


Unattainable Ideal
I'd love to know if I was a better DM than a player. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to play in something like 15 years, so I just don't know.

I buy campaign settings and read them because I'd LOVE to play a character in one of them. Leave them out for my friends as hints.



Epic Commoner
I may get to see how I do. I may get to play in Kalamar game with a bunch of newbies. While I was working during Christmas I made 2 characters, one a half elven ranger. I read so much how half-elfs are nerfed and so are rangers, might as well play them both together. The other was a Grey Elf Wizard with and effective intelligence of 22 (spell casting prodigy, grey elf +2 int, 32 point buy for stats) at first level. Now I am geared up to playing the ranger. The wizard has possiblities. I am holding up to see what the new players will make. I told the DM I will not say anything to them on what they should play. If they ask me, I will give them advice.

I know I am not a rules lawyer in other peoples game. After years of RPGA I have learned to live other DM's rules interpratation.

My problem I see is patience. I know the rules, these new people will not. I will have to remeber that.


First Post
As a long time DM I got to play this autumn in a friends (former player in my group) campaign.. quite an experience. I chose to play a twinked out elven archer-cleric, just for the power and versatility.

Staying in character is quite hard. I just enjoy looting and spending the money. I metagame a lot, both in game mechanics and plot. ("you say the head of the notorious noble house is 'abroad'. Yeah right - he's either a) mutant hiding in cellar b) controlled by mindflayers c) undead")

It seems pretty hard to be truely surprised by premade adventures after so much DMing.. ;)


First Post
I am a Far Better Player than DM. This has to do directly with my desire to play my character, and my knowledge of how to help the DM. I draw maps, look up what needs looking up, check the other players character sheets, find myself trying to memorize Grapple at all times (because it is impossible to actually memorize Grapple), and I tend to do maps and keep good notes. I'm not the most vocal player, I prefer to role-play character to character events, but I tend to shy away from confronting NPCs without my dice. (In other words, I prefer to roll diplomacy or gather information, and simplify my questions when dealing with NPCs, wheras I would role-play encounters with relatives and other PCs).

Also, my DMing relies on the players speaking their IC thoughts to me (or passing a note) so that I know what's best to do. I'm a player at heart, afterall, and I'd rather make their playing the main thing. For examples of my playing, check out the 3rd IR or the Psionicle, for examples of my DMing check out the LHHS, LHHS Mini-Game, or Mecha-Crusade when it gets going. You'll notice a finer taste of role-playing in the IR and Psionicle, because I prefer to act out my character when I play, but you'll notice floods of different plot hooks and stuff if you look at my DMing. It just shows you the variance in quality.

Micar Sin

First Post
Well, I guess I'll chime in with a 'ME TOO!'

I've been the GM for 90% of the time our group has been meeting, so about 4.5 years. We know have a couple of players who are capable GM's, so I'm actually getting a chance to play. The problem being that I've found that as a player, its much harder for me to get into character, and I'm not sure why.. I also have the standard things...I.E. being the 'rules guy', jumping on the GM for violating a rule he should know (not fudging, out right not applying the rule to his NPCs, but applying it to the players), etc...

Time to go to that GM's anonymous support group :rolleyes:

Viking Bastard

* Stands up on soapbox *

"Hi, my name is Doddi and I'm a bad player..."

wolff96 said:
I'd have to say I'm a better DM than a player for a very simple reason: attention span.
That fits me as well.

It makes for great DMing but poor PCing when you can't control your imagination.
Last edited:


First Post
DM vs PC

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.

I have run a game so long that I have almost forgotten HOW to be a player.

the problem is everyone wants to play in agme THE WAT THET THEY WOULD RUN IT.


First Post
I am a better GM than PC because...

1) I am a control freak.
2) I am too sexy for just one character. Or maybe I have multiple personality disorder. My players think I'm making these worlds up. Heh.
3) I am more interested in the power of the story than how bad a mama jama my character is. Or maybe I am a pretentious, narrativist snob. Either way, my players love me for it.
4) I enjoy GMing more than playing. Or rather, I enjoy being the center of their attention, the nemesis in their hearts, the dark cold place in their nightmares, and the only one who can give them what they need.
5) I am a control freak. My setting. Mine! MINE!

A bit tongue in cheek, but my players would probably agree with every point above.


Moderator Emeritus

I was hunting around in the archives and while I have not had a chance to play a PC on the regular since I first created this thread. .. I think it is still true - and something worth asking the community about again. . .

blargney the second

blargney the minute's son
DMing and playing are separate skills. If you don't do one very often, it atrophies like any other skill.

ps - there's no statute of limitations on a forum. :)


First Post

I am a great player and a better DM(NOT GM)however if I get bored as a player I can be very disruptive,but the older I get ,I just work on my game while I play and that way I dont FREAK OUT!

Thornir Alekeg

I think I'm OK at both. I'm not fantastic or horrible at either one.

As a player, I think how good I am depends upon how much I end up liking my character and how much the DM gives me opportunities to be some than just a bunch of attack rolls. I am a slow starter with any character, I need time to figure out just how the PC will act and interact with others.

As a DM I think how good I am depends upon the players involvement. I've found I get frustrated with players who have no interest in doing anything with their characters other than make attack rolls.

So, with a good DM I can be a better player and with good players I can be a better DM.

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