What playing with me as your DM will be like
I’m a nice person, approachable, sarcastic, reasonable. I hope to lead players in a fun, entertaining game. That said, I want to be very clear up front about how I play, and what I expect from players. Not everyone will want to play with me, and that’s fine. Best we figure that out now.
Who am I?
I was born in the 70s and I’ve played face-to-face D&D since I was eleven, in the days of fighting men and elves as a class. In the 80s I ran some online forum-based games on CompuServe (those were the days when the internet was powered by hamsters). I work on the internet, so I’m online much of the time, but I work, so it’s not always convenient to post. A hot dog, while delicious, is not a sandwich. I read and write fantasy (and a little sci-fi). I still own my original copy of the Fiend Folio. When I was twelve, I used colored pencils to color in the monsters in the original Monster Manual. I’ve dabbled in stuff like GURPS, HERO, Traveller, Pathfinder, and Gamma World, but nothing ever stuck like D&D.
What you can expect from my game:
- Role-playing - There will be an emphasis on role-playing. Lots of role-playing. Have I mentioned the role-playing? I am interested in stories, and in building something fun together. Rules are for building a common framework, and dice are for adding anxiety/excitement, but role-playing is where I live.
- Traditional high-fantasy tone - I expect both in and out of game humor, and encourage it, but this is not an off-the-wall joke campaign. This is a traditional-style D&D game. We can wink at the fourth wall, sure, but if you like having your characters reference Full House/Jay-Z/ESPN in game, you should probably look elsewhere.
- Logical advancement - Experience will be milestone based, so basically whenever I say. Yes, I will probably keep track of monster-based xp, for fun and guidance, but fwiw, your tally may not match my level advancement decisions. We will role-play character advancement, if possible.
- Mundane treasure - You will not find heaps of gold and gems, or legendary magic items. If you want a tricked out character with five glowing items that buff all the things, you will be disappointed.
- Fun - In my opinion, a DM’s one job is to make sure all the players are having fun. I do not set out to kill characters, though it is possible you will do the deed yourselves if you are exceedingly stupid. :)
- Secret rolls - In order to keep the fun, I reserve the right to not roll all monster actions in a way you can see. I promise it will only be to enhance the fun, and not to kill you all.
- My decisions are final, but I won’t be an ass about it. See “Disagreement" below.
- Disagreement is okay. I will be fair and friendly, and encourage you to appeal to me, privately, if you think I have made a mistake, or you disagree with something I have done. I could totally have forgotten about that thing your character can do! I don’t know all the rules. I rely on my players to know stuff I don’t! I hope to never give you cause for grievance.
- No player conflict. I will not allow character killing or in-game abuse. I am okay with character conflict in service of role-playing, but tread lightly. I consider in-game abuse and bullying tantamount to real life abuse and bullying and will not countenance it.
- No evil characters.
- Min/maxing discouraged. Of course you can, especially when using the point buy to determine ability scores. But your cunning action+hide=one-shot-kill will be role-played, and you may not always get to do it. Similarly, your three-multi-class dip-into-cleric-for-a-level-then-barbarian-for-a-feat juggernaut will have to be role-played, and likely won’t pass that test. Set your expectations accordingly.
- Getting booted. I reserve the right to remove players if they are not contributing to the game. This can include, but is not limited to: If they stop showing up regularly. If they are disruptive. If they violate the terms of usage for the venue/product we are using. If they treat other players with anything less than the utmost respect. My game, my decision stands (rule 1).
- Replacement players. I am happy to keep a waitlist of people interested, and reserve the right to add players as I see fit.
My house rules:
I play with a set of house rules that you should be familiar with before agreeing to play with me. In general, all of these will apply though there may be some cases where specific rules are not applied to specific games.
What do these rules do to the game? Well, IMHO, it makes the game a little more realistic, which plays into my desire for a little more role-playing, and a little less rules meta-gaming. Combat is more hectic, healing is less of a full reset, and your attempts to do things are more dramatic. Choices are important, and the flexibility to try something another way is rewarded. I think it makes the game more fun, but you may disagree. That's why you're reading this, to see what playing with me will be like.
You can find all of these rules explained in my D&D Repository. These are the most important ones.
- Concurrent initiative, wherein all characters (and monsters!) declare an action, then act concurrently over the span of six seconds (one round). Then the DM resolves everything cinematically. Next round.
- Natural healing is slow (just like in real life, which I know this isn't).
- Passive Perception is not an automatically successful Perception Check, but you get a sense something is off.
- Passive Checks can supplant active checks given enough time.
- You cannot retry a failed ability check.
- Critical misses scale down with level (you'll miss critically less as you rise in level).
- And some other rules that are less important, but you should check out.
I do the bulk of my DMing and playing online now. This requires some more ground rules. If you're playing with me IRL, these don't really apply.
Whew. That’s a lot, but I thought you should know, before you decide to play with me as your DM.
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