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TOPIC: What to do about bad DMs?

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #25

Jeff321 wrote: There was some inconsistency on the Amethyst Ovoid in the spider/grub room. My first run, I showed it to the DM and he said yes that works. The next two, it was denied (because it's not a psychic "blast"). It being denied is probably correct though, so I'm not upset about it.

Also I played monk once, and the DM didn't give me an insect at all (I assume since I was immune to all poisons).


I played through the room twice and it was radically different each time (one time slides on a table were used, another time there was a role play focused mini game involving three pucks that represented "torches").

Anyway - in one of them the DM indicated that on Normal the Monk was immune, but on Hardcore and above they were not. So that might explain about the monk.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #26

I brought a lot of new friends to Gencon this year and convinced them all to pay the $52 for True Dungeon because I have enjoyed it so much these past 5 years. My run had 7 newbies so we stuck to normal because we didn't want anyone to die and have a bad time.

Everyone had a pretty bad time. On at least 2 rooms the DM stood in the corner chatting with another volunteer. In the room with the bugs that stuck on you, you could use the torches to take them off and the dm said they were susceptible to fire, so our wizard (newbie) wanted to use scroll that did fire damage to everything in the room, but the DM didn't allow it. Same thing happened in room 6 where the DM said the egg sacks were weak to force, but didn't let the wizard use his wand on them.

The worst part was probably my own fault, but I chose Sable Gauntlet because the Underdark had a big spider for the logo and I thought the Sable Gauntlet was just more of an arena-type thing. My wife has terrible arachnophobia, so we decided to avoid Underdark assuming there would be more spiders there. She ended up having a panic attack and had to be escorted out of the dungeon after one of the volunteers (in character) taunted her for not liking the spiders and threatened to feed her to 'her children'. The volunteer apologized afterwords, but my wife was an absolute mess for hours.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #27

[/quote]I targeted one with a Firebolt. That stopped it from hurting anyone[/quote]

Some dm's said they were immune to all magic

I suck at html or whatever lol
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Last edit: by Pstyle.

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #28

Doc2DM wrote: I brought a lot of new friends to Gencon this year and convinced them all to pay the $52 for True Dungeon because I have enjoyed it so much these past 5 years. My run had 7 newbies so we stuck to normal because we didn't want anyone to die and have a bad time.

Everyone had a pretty bad time. On at least 2 rooms the DM stood in the corner chatting with another volunteer. In the room with the bugs that stuck on you, you could use the torches to take them off and the dm said they were susceptible to fire, so our wizard (newbie) wanted to use scroll that did fire damage to everything in the room, but the DM didn't allow it. Same thing happened in room 6 where the DM said the egg sacks were weak to force, but didn't let the wizard use his wand on them.

The worst part was probably my own fault, but I chose Sable Gauntlet because the Underdark had a big spider for the logo and I thought the Sable Gauntlet was just more of an arena-type thing. My wife has terrible arachnophobia, so we decided to avoid Underdark assuming there would be more spiders there. She ended up having a panic attack and had to be escorted out of the dungeon after one of the volunteers (in character) taunted her for not liking the spiders and threatened to feed her to 'her children'. The volunteer apologized afterwords, but my wife was an absolute mess for hours.


The spiders and grubs were weak to natural fire only - so the torches on the walls or if you happened to have flint and tinder (old tokens).

So sorry to hear about the panic attack - my wife has high anxiety as well, so I completely understand.

The apathy of your DMs in those rooms is inexcusable. I know everyone is a volunteer, but it's still a job and should be taken seriously. The DM's job is to set the mood and help tell the story, the magic is lost when he or she is just chit-chatting away while you figure out the room. :(

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #29

Jeff321 wrote: Also I played monk once, and the DM didn't give me an insect at all (I assume since I was immune to all poisons).


Our DM said it was because the bug couldn't get under the diamond skin.

I can reiterate enough how awesome the DMs were for us in Sable. Every DM was helpful, but not too much so, quick, energetic, and it was awesome. We didn't have an issue until the last 2 rooms on Underdark.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #30

This was my first time as a DM, and I was in Sable puzzle room 5. If you had me as a DM I hope I was able to give you a fun time. I tried really hard on the normal level to give hints as much as I could. Nightmare and hardcore were pretty much left on their own. If I did anything to take away from a persons experience, I apologize. I hope to volunteer again next year.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #31

FirstGladiator wrote: The best thing to do is become a volunteer and be a DM. Then you know that customers will be satisfied and get a better experience.


I think this is very poor advice.

Imagine if you went to Starbucks to get a hot cup of coffee and the barista ignored you. When you complained, you were handed an iced mocha.

Would it be right for someone to tell you, "Well, you should work for Starbucks so that other people don't have a bad experience like you!"?

True Dungeon is relatively expensive and takes place during GenCon, when there are a lot of other opportunities for gaming and fun stuff for nerds. Playing TD takes up plenty of time; volunteering takes even more. Folks shouldn't need to commit to running a game in order to get a good experience playing it.

Personally, all the DMs which I had this year were very good, and I enjoyed my experience. I'm sorry to hear that the same wasn't true for everyone.

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Last edit: by Herid Fel.

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #32

It would also help if some of the rules were explained while in the coaching/training rooms. For example, every party should be told
  • how to identify a treasure room and how many attempts are allowed (for their difficulty) before the treasure is lost
  • how much time they will have per room (even if it is an approximation such as 8-10 minutes)
  • how and under what circumstances to contact an AC
The lesson is this - the game is rigged. The cards are stacked. The dice are loaded.

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Last edit: by dsypher (Luigi).

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #33

Jim Auwaerter wrote:

FirstGladiator wrote: The best thing to do is become a volunteer and be a DM. Then you know that customers will be satisfied and get a better experience.


I think this is very poor advice.

Imagine if you went to Starbucks to get a hot cup of coffee and the barista ignored you. When you complained, you were handed an iced mocha.

Would it be right for someone to tell you, "Well, you should work for Starbucks so that other people don't have a bad experience like you!"?

True Dungeon is relatively expensive and takes place during GenCon, when there are a lot of other opportunities for gaming and fun stuff for nerds. Playing TD takes up plenty of time; volunteering takes even more. Folks shouldn't need to commit to running a game in order to get a good experience playing it.

Personally, all the DMs which I had this year were very good, and I enjoyed my experience. I'm sorry to hear that the same wasn't true for everyone.


Not necessarily bad advice - if you want to make a difference, volunteer. But I will say there has to be a better way.

I think part of the problem is accountability - what are the consequences for a DM if he or she half-asses the job or treats the players poorly/unfairly? Next to zero. If a really dedicated, detailed person could remember the name, the run, and the room, that DM might be counseled. Calling for the AC to come resolve the issue will only slow the dungeon down and most people don't want to do so for that reason or to avoid confrontation.

I know the party card is already crowded, but could we have them initial the room when the puzzle/combat is over?

It would be much easier to provide feedback on (completely made up example) 10:26 am Saturday Sable Combat Room 3 DM initials JB "DM was rude to our party and applied wrong difficulty to combat" on a feedback card (I'm sorry, relying on forum posts for feedback is near useless - I know veterans that don't touch the forums, ever - newbies are extremely unlikely to create an account and complain).

I don't know, maybe have the Epilogue person ask the party if they had a good time or had any problems and note that in the computers somewhere? Follow up with those DMs as quickly as possible to resolve the issue? Flag problem volunteers so that they can't volunteer again without additional training?

I know all of these solution require additional resources that aren't really there, but the lack of accountability needs to be addressed, somehow.

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Last edit: by Joshua Baessler.

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #34

I didn't run into any bad DMs. I definitely had a couple that were a bit slow on combat, and others that were incredibly fast and/or lively. For this reason I'd like to reiterate the idea of putting a link to a survey on the card they hand out after the run. I think TD should collect data on their volunteers to make sure volunteers that consistently get poor reviews aren't asked back while the best ones can be placed in the best positions.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #35

joshua baessler wrote:

Jim Auwaerter wrote:

FirstGladiator wrote: The best thing to do is become a volunteer and be a DM. Then you know that customers will be satisfied and get a better experience.


I think this is very poor advice.

Imagine if you went to Starbucks to get a hot cup of coffee and the barista ignored you. When you complained, you were handed an iced mocha.

Would it be right for someone to tell you, "Well, you should work for Starbucks so that other people don't have a bad experience like you!"?

True Dungeon is relatively expensive and takes place during GenCon, when there are a lot of other opportunities for gaming and fun stuff for nerds. Playing TD takes up plenty of time; volunteering takes even more. Folks shouldn't need to commit to running a game in order to get a good experience playing it.

Personally, all the DMs which I had this year were very good, and I enjoyed my experience. I'm sorry to hear that the same wasn't true for everyone.


Not necessarily bad advice - if you want to make a difference, volunteer. But I will say there has to be a better way.

I think part of the problem is accountability - what are the consequences for a DM if he or she half-asses the job or treats the players poorly/unfairly? Next to zero. If a really dedicated, detailed person could remember the name, the run, and the room, that DM might be counseled. Calling for the AC to come resolve the issue will only slow the dungeon down and most people don't want to do so for that reason or to avoid confrontation.

I know the party card is already crowded, but could we have them initial the room when the puzzle/combat is over?

It would be much easier to provide feedback on (completely made up example) 10:26 am Saturday Sable Combat Room 3 DM initials JB "DM was rude to our party and applied wrong difficulty to combat" on a feedback card (I'm sorry, relying on forum posts for feedback is near useless - I know veterans that don't touch the forums, ever - newbies are extremely unlikely to create an account and complain).

I don't know, maybe have the Epilogue person ask the party if they had a good time or had any problems and note that in the computers somewhere? Follow up with those DMs as quickly as possible to resolve the issue? Flag problem volunteers so that they can't volunteer again without additional training?

I know all of these solution require additional resources that aren't really there, but the lack of accountability needs to be addressed, somehow.


Yeah, more work, more resources, but I agree with you; without accountability, you can't weed out the volunteers you don't want. You have some good ideas on how to collect that info.
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We buy, sell, and trade True Dungeon tokens. We also have a convenient consignment program where you can sell your own tokens.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 2 weeks ago #36

I think some of the bad experience came from the decision to eliminate the treasure stamp in certain situations. For the mushroom room it makes sense. But for the lava tile room, it doesn't. The only limit on that room should have been time. If the party made a few mistakes figuring out the puzzle it should have been some damage commensurate with the difficulty level. Except for boots of lava walking, you can't nerf the lava tile room like you could the mushroom room. On Normal, with a relatively inexperienced party and a DM I know is a great DM, we had a mistry, a slip off a tile and a player who stepped on prematurely (the last two after we had figured out the puzzle). As the DM's guide stated, it was three strikes you are out, which left a sour taste in the parties mouth. That one should have been can you finish it in time like many in the past have been. it sounds like the eliminate the Treasure Stamp instructions caused some confusion for some DMs as well. It's a tough job and this made it even harder for them.

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