The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

4 Ways to Suck up to Players

Rory over at The Blog of Holding has a nice article on Sucking Up to the DM – which is to say, ways a player can make a DM’s job easier. After I got over the feigned rage of “Hey, why don’t MY players do those things.” (actually they do 2 of them consistently and most of them at least sometimes) I started thinking about the reverse situation; what should DMs do to suck up to players?

Kirby sucking it all up.

1. Play to Their Styles

Sometimes as a DM it is really easy to get caught up in the whole attitude of “This is my game, I am the one doing all the work, and so things will be done the way I want.” But that way of thinking isn’t really conducive to fun sessions. As a DM, if you get to know what styles your players enjoy and adapt your game to them everyone will have a great time. During the years I consider to be best DM/GMing I ever did, I had a mantra – “Its is a privileged to have players in my game, and I must do my best to make them happy.”

2. Give Them Something Special

I don’t mean going all Monty Haul; that is in fact the opposite because although players gets lots of stuff in a Monty Haul campaign, none of it is special. What I mean is introduce things to the games, be they magic items, NPCs, stories, spells, or whatever that are unique and let the players know you are thinking about them when you are preparing the game.

3. Encourage Them

Next time you DM listen to your choice of words throughout the session. Are you encouraging the players to play brave heroic characters, or are you discouraging them? This doesn’t mean you can’t paint an atmosphere of despair when that is appropriate, but if you regularly are saying things to discourage action or worse are insulting their style of play it can be a real downer to players.

The odd thing about putting players down is that most DMs I have known who do it weren’t even aware of the effects of what they were saying. One was just taking insulting NPCs too far, another wanted players to solve puzzles faster, and a third just liked reminding everyone that rules applied equally to NPCs and PCs.

So try saying positive things (even if you aren’t being negative right now) – it doesn’t hurt you impartiality, it just makes you more fun to play with.

4. Let Them Be Cool

Most players have a desire to do really cool things in games (though what that means varies), so let them. If a player loves cutting down monsters like grass, give him some weak opponents to do that with. If a player likes doing huge acrobatic feats, make some interesting terrain. If a player likes skulking through the shadows to assassinate powerful baddies make sure there are some good shadows and an unsuspecting villain. Try to make sure that every session has at least one player feeling cool and preferably as many of them as possible as often as possible.

Another List?

The thing I noticed as I wrote this list is that while these are good ways to appeal to players and make them have a good time, I didn’t really follow Rory’s lead and make the list about making playing easier. Perhaps that will require another list…

Have an opinion about this article? I love comments. Please feel welcome to leave your thoughts.

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December 7, 2010 - Posted by | Dungeons and Dragons, RPGs | , ,

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