[RPG] How to approach a stifling DM


I have a bit of a problem with a restrictive DM. In the next paragraph I will rant a bit (understatement) so if you want just skip it.

This person is shutting down all my attempts at min-maxing (slightly understandable), actually punishing me for beginning with a min-maxed character that they approved already (not allowing saving throws), making me take damage for out-of-character jokes (counting them as thoughts), warping my spells so they damage me (I cast the unearthed arcana spell puppet, which allows for complete control on myself, and he made me swerve off and hit the rafters, knocking me unconscious for the rest of the fight, thereby having an excuse not to award xp to my character, targeting enemies onto me, etc). Worse, they attack other characters too, not allowing the trickery domain cleric to choose an alignment other than lawful good, while they blatantly allow our party's chaotic evil rogue to do anything they want.

I don't think this is very fair. How should I approach him? Should I just quit? There aren't any other games going on I can join (high school student, no games shop in town bar an EB). Should I just organise a revolt? I have been talking about running a Shadowrun game myself for a while. Should I start that up, resulting in the game to be abandoned? Should I just talk it out with him?

Best Answer

Do not talk to the other players first. If you start going behind your GM's back, it can look like you are trying to rally everyone against them, even if you aren't. I would recommend talking with the GM privately, or if you really feel like you need the input of the other players, bring it up at the start of the session.

When you bring it up, talk about it in a way that is open to the possibility that your GM has a good reason for what they are doing. Questions generally work better for this than statements. For example, rather than saying "I think it is unfair that my character takes damage for OOC jokes" ask "What is the goal you are trying to achieve by having my character take damage for OOC jokes?" You may be surprised by the results. For example, it may turn out that they or some of the players are offended by the jokes and the GM was trying to fix an OOC problem with an IC solution. Even if that isn't the case, understanding their perspective can help find a solution that works.

Once you know why your GM is doing what they are doing, the two of you can work on a solution. If people don't like your jokes, you can agree to stop and the GM can stop punishing your character. If the GM feels you are hogging the spotlight from the other players because your character is too powerful, maybe you can agree to step back and let the rogue pick the locks or you can summon things that set them up for sneak attacks.

Keep in mind, your GM probably has a reason for what they are doing that seems fair to them. It is unlikely they are just doing what they are doing because they are a jerk who hates you. If after the conversation the two of you can't come to an understanding, then it may be time to leave and start another group. Make sure you really gave your GM a fair shake though or else you will likely have a similar problem where ever you go next. If you do end up leaving, be cordial. If you end up starting your own game, it wouldn't hurt to invite them if you think you get along with them as a person.

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