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D&D 5E What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?


Extreme Railroading.
Yeah, this. I have played in a couple of games where it quickly became clear there was One Right Path, and if you did not do exactly what the DM wanted you to do, your PC would be smacked around and your action would fail. There is little more frustrating.

(To be clear, I have nothing whatever against a tightly scripted campaign. Hell, I'm planning one right now; I have the whole plot laid out from start to finish. I try to anticipate the things players are likely to do, and after 30 years I've gotten pretty good at that. But if the players do something I haven't thought of, I am always ready to improvise.)

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We didn't walk out, but the group did unanimously vote to end the DMs game in favor of starting mine well before I was actually ready to run it. That was...interesting. Also a little annoying, but also it needed to be done, because the DM was so bad that in a month or two it would have torn the group apart; already had two players who stopped coming because it was so bad.


When NPCs are extremely nice to the female player characters and the DM believes that the females should be nice to him in return.

Not enforcing a separation of character knowledge from player knowledge.

Excessive use of the word “No”. I felt like creativity was not being rewarded in the slightest.
Excessive tracking of inventory. This is not right or wrong, but it’s not my idea of fun.
Excessive pacing issues. We could blow 8 hours exploring empty rooms.


I mostly DM but when one of my players once DM'ed and said of the character I was playing, 'He doesn't want to.' Me: Yes , he does. Him, 'Well he isn't going to.' Me: 'Do yuo want to play him? Left the game so did others. Same DM. Other player. 'I cast Hold Person.' The Hobgoblin is held. (3e) Me: 'I coup de gras that one.' DM: No, you can't, he has natural armour.' Me: that has nothing to do with the coup de gras rules. AC is irrelevant.' Him: 'No, don't ask again.' Me and others leaving.

In my game, we only have a couple of rules for player conduct, the first is:
1). Let them play. advise your fellows if advise is welcomed. If not, stop. Saying 'You're playing your character wrong.' will get you not invited back. Because that isn't fun.


Dusty Dragon
I'll drop game quickly if for me the GM style doesn't suit the game being run. Eg for 5e D&D and similar (3e, 4e), don't nerf core PC class abilities in the interest of simulation. If you don't understand the rules, either look them up, or accept advice from a reliable player. Viking Hat DMing is fine in 1e or 2e, not so much in 3e-5e.
What is viking hat dming?


First Post
I just DM for my home group, but when I play the occasional one shot there are certain red flags I look for:

-DM PCs are a huge red flag

-House rules that weaken abilities from the player handbook.

These aren't deal breakers, but when either of those things are introduced I for sure raise an eyebrow.


Of the games I didn't want to continue play, all three cases were over improper use of improvisational techniques.

Every DM has to improvise. But if I can tell you are improvising, you aren't doing it well, and there are two things I never want to sense about your game:

a) You are improvising challenges based on the strengths and weaknesses of my PC, and not some sort of narrative or simulation based demographics. That is, the challenge I'm facing is not based on what is reasonable for the scenario, but what you think challenges my PC. If that happens, I'm walking at the end of the session and I'm never coming back.
b) You are improvising a narrative where you had no clear idea when you began the narrative what was going on, often with the idea that I'm going to fill in the blanks for you so that I'm both the one inventing the difficulty and resolving it. In terms of a TV show, this is the 'Lost' problem and a reoccurring problem with TV Sci-Fi since the days of 'X-Files', where the producer initiates a story and a conflict with no real idea what was underlying the story, what the answers to the riddles or questions posed by the story might be, and no real substance underneath the superficial aura of mystery, and some hope that either the story can be dragged out long enough that it will be a success regardless of its lack of answers or else that somehow they are going to come up with answers at some point down the road. This games are so invariably badly thought out and incoherent and empty of content that it is a total waste of my time.

Just about everything else is excusable. Those two, it's hard for me not to leave the game angry.

Although I've never encountered it, the third thing that might get me upset is complete lack of agency in any game that was more than a one shot. For a one shot, I might be Ok with an occasional game on rails where I couldn't change the ending if there was a good enough twist involved. The CoC scenario where it turns out everyone was already dead at the start of the game comes to mind. But if on the other hand it turns out that the GM just wants to write a novel and make me witness it, I'm probably not going to be on board that.


Magic Wordsmith
I have a rule of thumb when it comes to sticking around in a game: We have to Get Stuff Done. It has to be funny.

Checking off both of those boxes is perfect. Just one is okay, for a while. If neither of those boxes is checked, the game is unacceptable and I will leave.

But if in any of these games the DM runs the game like it's some other game, it will annoy me enough that I will quit. Running D&D 4e or D&D 5e like previous editions, for example, is just not going to fly with me. These games have rules which demand different approaches and, though some DM approaches are universal, not all of them are. So if, for instance, the DM is calling for ability checks before I have declared an action like we're playing D&D 3e, I'm just not going to stick around. In D&D 5e, I get one role: Describe what I want to do. The DM doesn't get to take that from me, either directly by declaring actions for my character or indirectly by asking for ability checks when I have not described what I wanted to do.

Along those same lines, if the DM fudges or pulls punches when an outcome he or she doesn't want to happen is likely, I'm going to bail if I notice it. This is along the same lines as taking my role as a player away from me my lessening or negating the impact of my decisions.

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