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TOPIC: What to do about bad DMs?

Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 1 day ago #97

I think the best course of action in the case of an issue with a room/DM is to ask for a "Dungeon Coordinator" or "Director" at one of the official areas after your run. Official areas would be the exit room (probably the best), store, volunteer desk, they all should have radios and can contact the appropriate people. Be ready to cite room number, dungeon, and room time. The sooner the coordinators and directors know, the sooner something can be done if necessary.

While I agree with Barry that the DMs have a right to defend their actions, we just do not have the time for that kind of investigation during the 12 minutes in a room. If you let the directors/coordinators know, they can observe the room with other parties and also see if the cited behavior is consistent and then make corrections as necessary.

The sooner we know about things like this, however, the quicker we can make corrections. Letting them know in the Exit room would allow them to fix things like missing treasure stamps, etc.

We are sorry for the times when things do not go as well as we would like them to, but grateful players care enough about the event to let us know.

Dave
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 1 day ago #98

On the Spider room puzzle, there were three parts to the solution:

1. Eject 1 from circle (so all the player had to be in the web in a circle)

2. Pick the right demon, the "Lust" demon.

3. and finally touch 6 times.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 1 day ago #99

joshua baessler wrote:
Barry, I'm sorry but that still doesn't sound right. You make valid points about wanting to get the whole story, but relying on the DMs to offer up the chance to speak to an AC doesn't work. I've done 22 runs, 5 grinds over the past 3 years and that option has been offered to me exactly zero times - even in rooms where I did question the DM. I was told in every case that was just how it was, they were correct, etc. If comment cards won't work, how about an Experience/Feedback Coordinator who talks to the party in the Epilogue room while they're waiting for treasure? How was your run, did you have fun, what was your favorite part, etc. A bad DM doesn't always know he or she is bad - but no one wants to offer up the chance to negative feedback. DMs don't offer to contact ACs for that reason. We need something else.


We have Customer Service Coordinators, and Dungeon Coordinators, and we try to ask that very thing in the Exit room that you suggest, when we're not otherwise busy.

I understand the need for something other than the DM's alone, but I feel we're providing that. Anyone with a radio can call for an AC, or a director, or you can look / ask for one from any other volunteer.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 5 years 1 day ago #100

  • bpsymington
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Well said, Dave.

I know that ACs did spend time talking to parties in the epilogue room, asking people if they had fun, what they liked, etc. Overwhelmingly the responses were positive. When they brought up problems I tried to address them by explaining something or by taking note of their concerns and seeing if something needed to be changed. Sometimes that meant going and observing a DM and making sure they were following the rules or the module description consistently.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #101

Eric Martin wrote:

If there is a limit to how many tries you have before losing the treasure it needs to be WRITTEN ON THE WALL NEXT TO THE TREASURE MARK easily viewable.


I would add to this that not all puzzles need a # tries mechanic. This too should be clearly noted.

My personal feeling is that if there are a small number of possible solutions, limiting the number of tries makes sense to provide an incentive to think before brute forcing and standing around with nothing to do for 10 minutes.

If there are too many possible solutions for brute force to be an option, let the party experiment and try different things without risking the treasure. That's better than paralyzing people with fear of making a mistake and costing the 9 other people in the group, or causing the party to lose interest after a few mistakes are made.


This is EXACTLY what happened to us in Underdark. Group got analysis paralysis, to avoid risk of ruining our chances. And then chances were ruined anyway because time went out, or we got the right answer but in the wrong way. Seemed to reward trial-and-error on the one hand, but punish it on the other. Bizarre.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #102

George wrote: On the Spider room puzzle, there were three parts to the solution:

1. Eject 1 from circle (so all the player had to be in the web in a circle)

2. Pick the right demon, the "Lust" demon.

3. and finally touch 6 times.


Yes we did that... but since we picked the demon from personal knowledge and not the clue, i.e. show your work or no stamp. Not sure when you had to show all the steps you come to your conclusion, NEVER in the 6 years playing had to show the work. Obviously only one was a demon, to me the dragon, the treeman were NOT demons.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #103

dbradical wrote: I think the best course of action in the case of an issue with a room/DM is to ask for a "Dungeon Coordinator" or "Director" at one of the official areas after your run. Official areas would be the exit room (probably the best), store, volunteer desk, they all should have radios and can contact the appropriate people. Be ready to cite room number, dungeon, and room time. The sooner the coordinators and directors know, the sooner something can be done if necessary.

While I agree with Barry that the DMs have a right to defend their actions, we just do not have the time for that kind of investigation during the 12 minutes in a room. If you let the directors/coordinators know, they can observe the room with other parties and also see if the cited behavior is consistent and then make corrections as necessary.

The sooner we know about things like this, however, the quicker we can make corrections. Letting them know in the Exit room would allow them to fix things like missing treasure stamps, etc.

We are sorry for the times when things do not go as well as we would like them to, but grateful players care enough about the event to let us know.

Dave


I don't think its the issue of not getting the puzzle in the right order to solve it. It's really the attitude of the DMs sometimes. I have volunteered for 5 years in a row now. DMs are hit and miss, over all TD does a great job in handling poor DMs.

I agree that 99% of the DMs are great, but everyone remembers the bad ones. :(

Just need to tell the puzzle rooms DMs, doesn't matter how they solve the puzzle longs as they have the right solution. Great training topic for next year!
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #104

@Kaledor

I agree, attitude is everything. Sometimes it is that we put a person in the wrong place. Some can not think as fast on their feet.

The issue we have always struggled with is how to empower the DMs to make judgment calls and modify the room and their style to work with a party without torquing someone off because they perceive the room was not run consistantly or in their favor.

When I used to DM, the monster stats would (and could) slide depending on the party. If they were heavy hitters, I would mentally figure the point where they blew the monster away (per module stats), then slide the stats to make the combat interesting and last a little bit, the party would still win, just not in 30 seconds. Most groups appreciated that, but obviously a few would have issues. My goal was never to kill anyone, just try and make things come to the wire. I would oftern give back hp taken away as a result of my playing with the numbers to make the room fun.

Similarly, I would be engaged more or less in puzzle rooms depending on how much I perceived the party needed a hand. Damage taken by the party could also be a sliding scale based on the party makeup. E.g., damage limits or pulling punches. The goal was never a free ride, but to remember it is supposed to be fun and challenging.

Unfortunately, some did not like the variability and some did not like the DM having that much control over their fate, so the "hardness" levels were an attempt to remidy that, however, I am not sure they are dialed in as well as they could be.

I was asked to fill in on a "normal" level run this year and our party would have been wiped had I not been playing the cleric and had a pocket full of healing tokens to boot. I think the directors and coordinators need to do more of that (sitting in on runs), it openend my eyes to the "current" new player experience. And while the volunteers from the check in desk to the exit room were all pretty good, there was still room for improvement on everybody's part.

I will remember to talk to Stuart about feedback for DM training for next year. It is all good information. Thank you to everyone who cares enough to share.

Dave
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #105

dbradical wrote: I will remember to talk to Stuart about feedback for DM training for next year. It is all good information. Thank you to everyone who cares enough to share.

Dave

I would love to see feedback cards that players could fill out including run/time/room number/and DM number (if that is better for you guys) and these cards could be deposited in the XP room.

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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #106

It is a real challenge, without consistency some will complain, but I'd prefer the DMs be able to improvise more than they do. I do think consistency is more important in treasure rooms since that matters more.
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #107

Ed,
Even if we did not have a comment card, sending an e-mail or PM with your adventure, run time, and room number is enough for the directors and coordinators to link it to a real person.

Dave
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Re: What to do about bad DMs? 4 years 11 months ago #108

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Kaledor wrote: Just need to tell the puzzle rooms DMs, doesn't matter how they solve the puzzle longs as they have the right solution. Great training topic for next year!


But the point is that "brute force" is not "solving" the puzzle. On the other hand, a requirement to "show your work" is not going to be desirable.
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