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D&D General The DM Should Only Talk 30% of the Time... Agree or Disagree?

Hussar

Legend
Folks really, REALLY need to stop getting hung up on the number here.

If it helps, think of it this way - would the game be better if the DM spoke less than he or she currently does? Calling this "onetruewaysism" or "backhanded ways to give players more narrative control" really misses the point. No one is "forcing" anyone to do anything.

Good grief, if the advice doesn't sound helpful to you, why are you bothering to post? For some of us, we'd actually like to get the players talking more. I remember way, way back when I ran VTT games without voice, only text, I used to give XP bonuses based on the number of times someone's name showed up in the chat. I would just take the saved chat, do a quick search for a name, and that would be the amount of xp you got for the session. Speak 300 times? Get 300 xp. Speak 20 times, get 20 xp. Worked fantastic. Got players to be really engaged in the game and stopped people from wall flowering.

I'm just sick and tired of playing with players who figure that just showing up and rolling dice is enough. If I can replace a player with a dice bot and not really notice the difference, then I don't want to game with that player anymore. This whole idea of the DM "does all the work" needs to die in a fire, AFAIC. Pony up players and take an active role or go find someone else's table because I'm tired of passive consumer players.
 

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Folks really, REALLY need to stop getting hung up on the number here.

If it helps, think of it this way - would the game be better if the DM spoke less than he or she currently does? Calling this "onetruewaysism" or "backhanded ways to give players more narrative control" really misses the point. No one is "forcing" anyone to do anything.

Good grief, if the advice doesn't sound helpful to you, why are you bothering to post? For some of us, we'd actually like to get the players talking more. I remember way, way back when I ran VTT games without voice, only text, I used to give XP bonuses based on the number of times someone's name showed up in the chat. I would just take the saved chat, do a quick search for a name, and that would be the amount of xp you got for the session. Speak 300 times? Get 300 xp. Speak 20 times, get 20 xp. Worked fantastic. Got players to be really engaged in the game and stopped people from wall flowering.

I'm just sick and tired of playing with players who figure that just showing up and rolling dice is enough. If I can replace a player with a dice bot and not really notice the difference, then I don't want to game with that player anymore. This whole idea of the DM "does all the work" needs to die in a fire, AFAIC. Pony up players and take an active role or go find someone else's table because I'm tired of passive consumer players.
The OP literally asked people whether they thought the concept was useful.

So... I think that's probably why people are posting about whether they think it is or not. This isn't a + thread or one dedicated to how to implement the idea regardless of perceived utility.

I do honestly think that if "passive consumer" players are a huge issue it's worth asking "Why D&D?" because D&D rules design and official adventures (at least some of them) strongly encourage this sort of approach. I do think rewarding them with XP (if you use it) or hero points or whatever is the best way to combat it within the framework of D&D but the very best way is to play a ge.where that's part of things.
 

payn

Legend
I'm just sick and tired of playing with players who figure that just showing up and rolling dice is enough. If I can replace a player with a dice bot and not really notice the difference, then I don't want to game with that player anymore. This whole idea of the DM "does all the work" needs to die in a fire, AFAIC. Pony up players and take an active role or go find someone else's table because I'm tired of passive consumer players.
I agree with this. Though, everybody has those home games with friends and at least one person is just there to roll dice and drink beer. I dont think doling out mechanical bennies really helps. I mean, they might talk more, but it will be centered on just talking more to get the XP and not because it makes the game better. So, when folks want their players to talk more, they should examine if their players even want to. Then, as you point out here, you have to decide if you want to keep gaming with them if they dont.
 

Folks really, REALLY need to stop getting hung up on the number here.

If it helps, think of it this way - would the game be better if the DM spoke less than he or she currently does? Calling this "onetruewaysism" or "backhanded ways to give players more narrative control" really misses the point. No one is "forcing" anyone to do anything.

Good grief, if the advice doesn't sound helpful to you, why are you bothering to post? For some of us, we'd actually like to get the players talking more. I remember way, way back when I ran VTT games without voice, only text, I used to give XP bonuses based on the number of times someone's name showed up in the chat. I would just take the saved chat, do a quick search for a name, and that would be the amount of xp you got for the session. Speak 300 times? Get 300 xp. Speak 20 times, get 20 xp. Worked fantastic. Got players to be really engaged in the game and stopped people from wall flowering.

I'm just sick and tired of playing with players who figure that just showing up and rolling dice is enough. If I can replace a player with a dice bot and not really notice the difference, then I don't want to game with that player anymore. This whole idea of the DM "does all the work" needs to die in a fire, AFAIC. Pony up players and take an active role or go find someone else's table because I'm tired of passive consumer players.
Ummm...hate to break it to you, but the DM DOES so all the work. Unless the DM is using a module, the entire setting was spawned from the DM's brain. Players don't choose cultures, build maps, build world histories.

Players are IN the DM's world. The players can operate within constraints of that world. If players tell me "we have decided we want to go explore the mountains on the edge of the map", well then, I have to slow the game down until I can build the actual topography, history, flora and fauna for that area created, if I have not already created it. Players don't get to decide one bit of those things.
This idea of "players have an equal say in the game" needs to die in a fire.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Folks really, REALLY need to stop getting hung up on the number here.

If it helps, think of it this way - would the game be better if the DM spoke less than he or she currently does? Calling this "onetruewaysism" or "backhanded ways to give players more narrative control" really misses the point. No one is "forcing" anyone to do anything.

...
I'm just sick and tired of playing with players who figure that just showing up and rolling dice is enough. \\If I can replace a player with a dice bot and not really notice the difference, then I don't want to game with that player anymore. This whole idea of the DM "does all the work" needs to die in a fire, AFAIC. Pony up players and take an active role or go find someone else's table because I'm tired of passive consumer players.
But the implication is simple: DMs speaking less is always better. That's what I disagree with. It's too broad a statement and without context is meaningless.

If a person is fun to play with even if, heaven forbid, they aren't into long dialog expositions then I'm not going to try to force them to play the way I want them to play. Are they paying attention outside of combat? Are they contributing at least now and then, even if it's minimal? Then good on them. I'll give them opportunities to speak out, but I will never push it.

The hypothetical "dice bot player" has never existed in any game I've ever run. YMMV of course, but just because someone is there for different reasons doesn't mean I'm going to kick them out for that reason alone. Some people just aren't comfortable with in character dialog, some people just want to play a PC that's not talkative.

You sure as heck seem to be pushing one true way of playing for your players. 🤷‍♂️
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I agree with this. Though, everybody has those home games with friends and at least one person is just there to roll dice and drink beer. I dont think doling out mechanical bennies really helps. I mean, they might talk more, but it will be centered on just talking more to get the XP and not because it makes the game better. So, when folks want their players to talk more, they should examine if their players even want to. Then, as you point out here, you have to decide if you want to keep gaming with them if they dont.
Put me in the camp of dropping players who aren't active and engaged during a session. If the game is a conversation, then it's on everyone involved to hold up their end of it. This is one of the criteria I use when building up my player pool via one-shots. If the player is a wallflower, they will not make the cut and get into our regular campaigns. It's nothing personal. It's just the game is better in my experience when everyone is putting forward more or less the same solid effort and I'm not going to spend my leisure time on anything that isn't top notch. We only get around 4,000 Friday nights on this earth if we're lucky. I aim to make them great.
 

payn

Legend
Put me in the camp of dropping players who aren't active and engaged during a session. If the game is a conversation, then it's on everyone involved to hold up their end of it. This is one of the criteria I use when building up my player pool via one-shots. If the player is a wallflower, they will not make the cut and get into our regular campaigns. It's nothing personal. It's just the game is better in my experience when everyone is putting forward more or less the same solid effort and I'm not going to spend my leisure time on anything that isn't top notch. We only get around 4,000 Friday nights on this earth if we're lucky. I aim to make them great.
Total agreement. I also am liberal with one shots, but selective with long term campaigns. I do have fun at beer and pretzel games that often attract the wallflower types too. I just want the best of both worlds and the right players in the right seats at the time.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Hey all, just a quick note that I purposefully did not make this a + thread because I do want folks to disagree as well. Though I am also surprised by how much some folks are glomming onto the number, I'm not too concerned about it. 😁
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Ummm...hate to break it to you, but the DM DOES so all the work. Unless the DM is using a module, the entire setting was spawned from the DM's brain. Players don't choose cultures, build maps, build world histories.

Players are IN the DM's world. The players can operate within constraints of that world. If players tell me "we have decided we want to go explore the mountains on the edge of the map", well then, I have to slow the game down until I can build the actual topography, history, flora and fauna for that area created, if I have not already created it. Players don't get to decide one bit of those things.
This idea of "players have an equal say in the game" needs to die in a fire.
I think this is the big thing.

For my own game, I want to reduce the power and responsibility of the DM, and increase the narrative power and responsibility of the players.

Now I know that's a break from tradition!

But here's how I would love to play out your example:

The players decide to explore the mountains.

During Session 0, we had divided up the map, and I'd asked different players to come up with descriptions and histories for different areas. So I turn to Susan and ask her to describe these mountains, since this is her territory. From her notes or imagination, she details the topography, flora, fauna, etc.

I roll a random encounter... Two trolls! I ask the players what two trolls might be up to in the mountains. They come up with the idea that they have an abandoned guard tower they've turned into a hunting lodge (hunting people, of course). I have some of the players come up with descriptions for the tower as I sketch out a map.

During combat I have the players describe their own actions and spells, and sometimes I ask the players to help me flesh out these trolls. What are they wearing? What makes them distinct?

Now at the end of the encounter, the characters have a cool tower, and I give the players time to plan out what they want to do with it, taking notes so I can provide some rules, structure, or costs for their goals.

That, to me, would be a fun session, and shouldn't "die by fire."

(Oh, also, saying someone's idea should die by fire is a pretty, um, inflammatory way to add to a conversation!)
 

payn

Legend
Hey all, just a quick note that I purposefully did not make this a + thread because I do want folks to disagree as well. Though I am also surprised by how much some folks are glomming onto the number, I'm not too concerned about it. 😁
C'mon now. Its a D&D site. You could write an entire treatise on role playing an Elf, but one single number and it will descend into an argument on that metric. :ROFLMAO:
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think this is the big thing.

For my own game, I want to reduce the power and responsibility of the DM, and increase the narrative power and responsibility of the players.

Now I know that's a break from tradition!

But here's how I would love to play out your example:

The players decide to explore the mountains.

During Session 0, we had divided up the map, and I'd asked different players to come up with descriptions and histories for different areas. So I turn to Susan and ask her to describe these mountains, since this is her territory. From her notes or imagination, she details the topography, flora, fauna, etc.

I roll a random encounter... Two trolls! I ask the players what two trolls might be up to in the mountains. They come up with the idea that they have an abandoned guard tower they've turned into a hunting lodge (hunting people, of course). I have some of the players come up with descriptions for the tower as I sketch out a map.

During combat I have the players describe their own actions and spells, and sometimes I ask the players to help me flesh out these trolls. What are they wearing? What makes them distinct?

Now at the end of the encounter, the characters have a cool tower, and I give the players time to plan out what they want to do with it, taking notes so I can provide some rules, structure, or costs for their goals.

That, to me, would be a fun session, and shouldn't "die by fire."

(Oh, also, saying someone's idea should die by fire is a pretty, um, inflammatory way to add to a conversation!)
I understand, I still simply disagree. A lot of my players would feel very uncomfortable for being put on the spot to make up something on the fly. I improvise all the time in my games and I wouldn't want to do that. I have little or no context, I have no way of knowing how to weave it into the world in a way that reveals something new or revelatory.

Last, but certainly not least, it totally takes me our of the moment and destroys any sense of immersion.

I've tried it as a player, its not for me. It's great to explain different approaches because different people enjoy different things. My not liking that approach doesn't make it wrong.

But end of the day? I'd rather have the DM tell me what the trolls are doing here. So I agree your idea doesn't need to"die by fire" but at the same time sometimes changing how things are done will not be as enjoyable for people.
 

I think this is the big thing.

For my own game, I want to reduce the power and responsibility of the DM, and increase the narrative power and responsibility of the players.

Now I know that's a break from tradition!

But here's how I would love to play out your example:

The players decide to explore the mountains.

During Session 0, we had divided up the map, and I'd asked different players to come up with descriptions and histories for different areas. So I turn to Susan and ask her to describe these mountains, since this is her territory. From her notes or imagination, she details the topography, flora, fauna, etc.

I roll a random encounter... Two trolls! I ask the players what two trolls might be up to in the mountains. They come up with the idea that they have an abandoned guard tower they've turned into a hunting lodge (hunting people, of course). I have some of the players come up with descriptions for the tower as I sketch out a map.

During combat I have the players describe their own actions and spells, and sometimes I ask the players to help me flesh out these trolls. What are they wearing? What makes them distinct?

Now at the end of the encounter, the characters have a cool tower, and I give the players time to plan out what they want to do with it, taking notes so I can provide some rules, structure, or costs for their goals.

That, to me, would be a fun session, and shouldn't "die by fire."

(Oh, also, saying someone's idea should die by fire is a pretty, um, inflammatory way to add to a conversation!)
So in your view of D&D, everyone is a DM, making base content. Sorry, that is not D&D. There is one DM, not everyone.
And as stated by others, many, if not most, players would be very uncomfortable coming up with stuff, even if I gave them a week to do it.

And my "die in a fire" comment, have a look at the original comment I replied to.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
So in your view of D&D, everyone is a DM, making base content. Sorry, that is not D&D. There is one DM, not everyone.
And as stated by others, many, if not most, players would be very uncomfortable coming up with stuff, even if I gave them a week to do it.

And my "die in a fire" comment, have a look at the original comment I replied to.
Since when has there been only one way to play D&D? Do you go around in real life telling people the way they play is wrong, or is that behavior you save for this community?

It's totally fine to disagree with my idea. But please do not tell me that what I play isn't D&D.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
The real question is whether that talk time is dedicated to the DM ranting about how they're the most important person at the table because they chose to run game and how the others are just there to do as they're told.

Then 0% might be a nice change of pace.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Taking the stance that GMs should try to maximize player involvement does not necessitate a collaborative storytelling stance. I mean this aligns perfectly with the sort of advice you see in most OSR games and they maintain a pretty standard authority structure. It often just means focusing on the relevant bits, being concise, and putting the ball in the players' court.

That still might not be your thing, but this advice is thoroughly compatible with traditional play.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Taking the stance that GMs should try to maximize player involvement does not necessitate a collaborative storytelling stance. I mean this aligns perfectly with the sort of advice you see in most OSR games and they maintain a pretty standard authority structure. It often just means focusing on the relevant bits, being concise, and putting the ball in the players' court.

That still might not be your thing, but this advice is thoroughly compatible with traditional play.
This is a really good point, and not something I had thought of!
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Ummm...hate to break it to you, but the DM DOES so all the work. Unless the DM is using a module, the entire setting was spawned from the DM's brain. Players don't choose cultures, build maps, build world histories.

Players are IN the DM's world. The players can operate within constraints of that world. If players tell me "we have decided we want to go explore the mountains on the edge of the map", well then, I have to slow the game down until I can build the actual topography, history, flora and fauna for that area created, if I have not already created it. Players don't get to decide one bit of those things.
This idea of "players have an equal say in the game" needs to die in a fire.
"Flora"? Seriously? What self-respecting DM puts "flora" in a traditional game of spattered blood, rended flesh, and murderous carnivores??
D&D is a serious game, good sir, not a salad bar!
 



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