Monday, 6 December 2010

D&D, Lies, and Dungeon Mastery

In Dungeon Magazine 183, there was an article about being a DM "Save My Game"
- which basically went on about (the authors) three tennants for running a successful D&D Game.

The overall topics were "Lie, Cheat, and Steal" - something I vehementy disagree with to be frank

As a relatively successful DM of many MANY years, here are my thoughts on what was written.

LIE, LIE, LIE - "so-called truths of the world are fluid" - Sorry, BOLLOCKS. The Minute your players find out you are lying to them, you lose their trust, you minute you lose their trust, thats when campaigns start to go down hill (and rapidly).

I have a reputation for running difficult, but fair games - I never lie to my players (thats not to say my NPC's don't, but thats for another time) about anything in my worlds or games. HOWEVER I also don't tell them everything about a game mileu, thats for the Characters to find out.

The world should be consisten, and never change - unless politically or because something has happened because of a scenario.

CHEATING - CHEATING, FFS - NEVER DO THAT! How can you be the "master of the game" if you cheat. You are taking away the very soul of sportsmanship and story telling.

A lot of DM's (like the late great Don Turnbull of TSR UK) liked rolling dice behind their screens, if the rolls weren't what they wanted as a DM - they "fudged" around them. Something I simply don't subscribe too personally, I roll ALL my "Public" (Combat/Initiative/Monster Saves) Dice Rolls in front of my Players. I am firm with them too, if a Dice Roll isn't witnessed by myself or the rest of the group - it never happened.

My games have deaths from time to time, but my Players know they aren't deliberate - and in the same way, they know all their rewards and achievements were earned!

STEALING - Now I don't call it stealing, its more a case of borrowing ideas IMHO. Whether its an entire scenario, converted over to your system of choice - or borrowing plot threads from a TV show or Movie - doing such things is more about homage than it is stealing.

Plagiarizing or Paying Tribute to a great idea isn't stealing - thats why its got specific terminology to describe what it is (seriously Dude, learn the English Language) - whilst plagiarism can be considered theft under certain circumstances, when writing a scenario or creating a new non-player character for a game I personally don't think its the case.

"There are no new stories. It all depends on how you handle them" - Jude Deveraux.

Its borrowing, or taking inspiration - not stealing.

To sum up, Honesty is the best policy - in everything - and its especially important to a Dungeon Master who wants to be DM'ing for a long time.

I kinda resent this idea, (well, the whole article to be frank) the writer had a VERY jaded view of being a good Dungeon Master - Gary and Dave will be spinning in their graves over this!

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