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D&D General Poll: Do DMs/GMs need to trust their players?

Do GMs/DMs need to trust players?

  • Always

  • Frequently

  • Sometimes

  • Rarely

  • Never

  • Other, explained below.

Results are only viewable after voting.


I voted “Other” because I am unsure about the premise. The DM in D&D requires trust because they are the arbiter/referee of the game. If the players do not have faith in their rulings, the game will quickly go south. There is no commensurate trust necessary for players, other than the basic trust of human relationships. The DM has many responsibilities; of players I can only think of one: to not be disruptive of other players’ fun.

That said, I would say that I have a certain level of confidence in my regular group, the core of which started playing D&D with me in 1987. I know they’re not going to argue or rules-lawyer me (distinct from helping me by reminding of certain rules that might be applicable). I know none of them are trying to get a leg-up on the other players or become the main character. I don’t have this confidence in other groups I’ve DMed for (mostly organized play). You could call this a lack of trust, I suppose. But I’ve never thought of it that way. I just hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

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Yes; for example I want my players to trust me that when the see a discrepancy they think "that's odd- why is this different?" rather than "Great, Opal's screwing around with us for his own amusement..."

It comes down to engaging in an enjoyable pastime with friends. It can be high art or low comedy, it's something to entertain us and tell stories about later. It's hard to lose yourself in the moment when you think someone is waiting to be be a jerk.


I voted other, because it's not a matter of it the DM needs to, there's an effect to how much a DM does. In my younger years I was far less trusting of a DM, but as I knew that some of my players would happily take advantage of it. For example, I left my notes for the adventure at the house we played at, and two players decided to "read ahead." This greatly reduced the enjoyment for me as a DM.

As I've gotten older, and managed to get into better and better groups, the amount of trust I've shown has increased. This has correlated with an increase of enjoyment in DMing. At this point in my DMing career, I have total trust in my players, and it allowed me to run 5E for 6 years before I started to suffer burnout (and most of that was non-gaming related issues). I feel that not having to worry about cheating is a significant component to any DM's enjoyment.


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I posted frequently. I always start from a position of guarded trust until I get to know someone. Its pretty rare to get a cheat or other untrustworthy behaviors from a player. It is more likely there is a fundamental difference in playstyle that gives an appearance of distrust. Its not something you can suss out in a questionnaire, game system, or other means of filtering your players.


Victoria Rules
I put "rarely" but I'll here rather heavily qualify that: I've few if any worries these days about malicious reasons to mistrust e.g. cheating (though I've had that come up in the past somewhat more often than I'd like); my 'rarely' is because I know my players and know that sooner or later there's going to be unintentional errors be they in bonus calculation, xp addition, or wherever*. Meaning I have to verify now and then, and by my definition the act of verification is itself a lack of trust.

The one area I'm somewhat forced to trust the players is to not use meta-knowledge their characters wouldn't have, and some are better at this than others. :)

* - by the same rationale, I rarely trust myself. I make just as many mistakes as the next player. :)


I voted other. I trust all my players to act in good faith, I do not trust all of them to know/understand the rules/math. I don't typically monitor my player roils, the occasional mistakes even out in the long run, but I have a couple of players who are particularly bad at math or have troubles understanding the rules, so I try to double check their math or make sure they actually understand how what they'd like to do would be resolved within the game mechanics.


If you have a general distrust of your players the whole exercise of playing a campaign is moot.

There can always be a situation where you don't believe a specific thing a player says. If you assume the player made a mistake, you can ask the player to check again if it can really be right. No harm to ask, this just sometimes happens.
But if you assume players know that something is wrong and deliberately lie to you about it, then I don't have any idea how to salvage that into a fun campaign.

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