Problems Alternating DM's?

DarrenGMiller

First Post
I am wondering if anybody here has DM'ed in a setting with alternating DM's and/or campaigns. What I am considering is switching DM's every 2-4 weeks, with each of the 2 DM's running a distinctly different campaign. For those of you who have tried something like this, what were the problems and pitfalls that I would have to look out for? What worked well? Should we even try it? Give me all of your feedback, please!

DM
 

log in or register to remove this ad

BiggusGeekus

That's Latin for "cool"
Don't expect the players to remember much of anything from session to session. Pretty much everything else flows from there.
 


Hawkshadow

First Post
I ran a GURPS home brew far future science fiction setting with another GM where we switched every one or two sessions. It worked moderately well. Each of us would run a short adventure, then the other person would run. Even though we collaborated to put together the setting, we ended up with very different views about how things should work or be run. That aspect of it was a little frustrating, but I think the players had fun. The other aspect of that which was frustrating was that we'd set up a fairly rigid schedule of who would run when ahead of time. As we got into running the games it became more difficult to bring the adventure to an end on schedule.

I also ran a Palladium heroic horror game set in very near-future Chicago with another GM. I had a blast playing in and running that. For this game we ran separate semi-related story-lines and would switch GMs on an infrequent basis (basically, the one who was currently running would continue until the other one asked to run the next game).
 

Crothian

First Post
Ya, we do this., 2 weeks of my Stargate and 2 weeks of a friend 's Arcana Evolved. We switch back and forth and it works fine. The people remeber what is going on in both cmapaigns, its not hard all they have to do is pay attention to that game. Quite Frankly, I require that of my players even if I'm just running a single weekly campaign.
 

Don't expect the players to remember much of anything from session to session.

I have this problem without any alternating DMs!

Seriously the one major pitfall is "what happens if the other guy disappears or is abducted by a UFO?" Real Life Happens.
 

tarchon

First Post
We almost always did it like that. The main problem was with keeping the wall between DM and player up - the current DM often was a little stricter than usual with letting sometime-DM players use supplements and such, in order to try to fend off DM's PC syndrome. Unfortunately that sometimes caused some friction too.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
I'm not following here.

Are you asking about your group having two campaigns, run by two different DMs?

Or the same campaign run by two different DMs?

Case #1 - been like that for 15 years in my group. Not a problem at all.

Case #2 - don't bother. Serious issue here. But - sometimes ppl got to try it themselves just to satisfy the itch and learn for themselves "yeah this sucks".
 

Ao the Overkitty

First Post
Right now we alternate weeks between to games. This week is Exalted week and next week is my Firefly game. Since it is every other week, we have less trouble remembering what goes on. Plus, I write synopses for each game so everyone remembers (I don't know how often people actually read them, but the writing helps me remember, at least). So far, the only problem we've had is one player can't keep a character in the group for my game.

I will say that alternating ever 2-4 weeks isn't the best. I've done that before and we all had a hell of a time keeping interest in both games and remembering what we were suppossed to be doing. Course, there were other problems with those games as well.
 

MonkeyDragon

Explorer
We do this in both of our groups. The morning session will be trading three months my D&D game, and three months another GMs MM game. The night game alternates between a few months of one DM's D&D and the games of various other people in the group who run shorter, more contained games.

It works very well. Different people get to run their games, it keeps things from getting monotonous, and the long-term DM gets a break between seasons.

Switching every few sessions, though, I wouldn't suggest. Aside from memory issues and continuity issues, I think that flow would be a major problem. Sometimes it's hard to jump right into a character, and if it takes someone a couple of sessions to really get immersed, then suddenly they'll be switching up every time they get comfortable. Also, if a session has to be cancelled for real life, that could mess with stuff, too.

All in all, I'd suggest going monthly, or two months, and switching up that way.
 

DarrenGMiller

First Post
Steel_Wind said:
I'm not following here.

Are you asking about your group having two campaigns, run by two different DMs?

Or the same campaign run by two different DMs?

Case #1 - been like that for 15 years in my group. Not a problem at all.

Case #2 - don't bother. Serious issue here. But - sometimes ppl got to try it themselves just to satisfy the itch and learn for themselves "yeah this sucks".

I am asking about case #1. I know a group that does case #2 with great success, but I am not interested in it.

DM
 

Nightcloak

First Post
As others have said, the biggest problem is continuity. It'll work fine if your players can remember details through the down times. I have over came this in the past by:

1. Having a player keep a journal (In character which is a lot of fun) and rewarding them with a bonus (XP, hero points, etc.). I have them read from it at the beginning of the sessions.

2. When their is no one who wants to do this (happens periodicaly - depending on the characters), then I just recap the essentials at the beginning of the "first" session.

But usually their is one character who is either into the idea from a RP perspective or someone who is out to get the bonus.
 

TheGM

First Post
Like everyone else has said, it can cause continuity problems.

Another issue that I have seen (this really depends upon group) is the issue of the GM from one game tiptoeing around so he doesn't get smacked when he's not GM. If your group is one of those adversarial ones, this can, and has happened. I've seen players who were so ruined by years of this that it took a lot of work to get them to play well in a normal campaign.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top