[RPG] How to handle “firing” our DM


I'm new to the game and new to this site, so hopefully I'm ok in asking for help with a situation that is plaguing our otherwise happy group.

My roommate and I have been hosting D&D 5E in our basement for several months. I'm new to the game and really loving it. Recently, our first DM moved away and we had another player take their place. The issue is that he brings along his girlfriend who is a disinterested player and doesn't understand the game. He has made the entire story line center around her in an effort to win her attention. The other players and I just sat through a 5 hour session where we were practically extras in a bad soap opera/love triangle that had two "fade to black" moments between her and an NPC. The plot is going nowhere and we kind felt like we were watching some sort of bedroom role play. No sex-negative judgement here, but we all kind of wished they had saved that bit for when they got home.

The game before this one wasn't much better–the DM had to cut the game short because he had drank to much earlier and wasn't able to continue. To compound the issues, his girlfriend will fall asleep in the recliner near the end of the game unless something dramatic is going on with her character. To help with this, the DM suggested stopping the game earlier, which would be ok, if they weren't late to the game most of the time. The straw that is breaking the camel's back is that the DM cancelled at 10pm the night before gameday because the girlfriend didn't want to play–so apparently they aren't willing to come independently of one another. Am I alone in thinking that's a bit inconsiderate to our players, especially if you're the DM? We understand that stuff happens, but it was sort of lame to cancel last minute.

I know the answer would be to find another DM, which we have a seasoned player more than willing to fill that roll. But we host this out of our home, want to remain gracious hosts, and we generally like the couple outside of all of these gaming issues. (Except for one moment where the gf started talking about another player behind their back, so there's that gem.) On the other hand, they aren't being very considerate of the schedules of 5 other players in an established weekly group, and the game isn't very good as of now.

His plots move slower than DragonBallZ seasons, and the group wants another player, who is a seasoned AL GM, to step in for some faster/more reliable and on point gameplay. The player GM'd a one-off last weekend that was fantastic, and we want him to keep going.

Everyone in my group is super polite and are trying to be supportive. So on one hand they are trying to be patient, but they are voicing their concerns to my roommate and I, especially after this last-minute cancellation thing. I think they are looking to us to handle it since we are the hosts.

So I guess my question is: How should I go about fixing this? Has anyone been in a position where they've had to "fire" your DM? What did you do or do you have any advice or viewpoints that I may be overlooking?

TL/DR: How do you politely tell a DM that their services are no longer required?

Best Answer

Tell him the truth, because that's what friends do

Sometimes, talking around or avoiding an issue increases trouble, rather than decreasing it. This looks to be a case of that happening.

You said this in a comment.

The main thing is, the DM is a good guy, but his girlfriend is adding some complications to the group because he is understandably trying to make her enjoy the game. His plots move slower than DragonBallZ seasons, and the group wants another player, who is a seasoned AL GM, to step in for some faster/more reliable and on point gameplay. The player GM'd a one-off last weekend that was fantastic, and we want him to keep going.

  1. The point of getting your group together is to have fun
  2. What was fun was the one-off you just did. What wasn't fun was that other thing.
  3. Point out (as a group) that it is obvious to the rest of you that she's not all that into D&D. You all don't want to force her to have that kind of fun, and maybe he needs to know that you (as a group) don't feel a desire to try and persuade her to have fun in that form: a D&D game. You can't force fun like that.
  4. Now for the payoff, in your own words, you need to tell DM something like this:

    • We are all in this to have fun, and your DMing has not been fun for the understandable reason that your priority is her: we get that, she's important to you. We'll be playing the next session with the new DM, and we hope you'll join in as a player if your relationship allows. If not, also understood as relationships are important.

    Including a thank you for stepping up to do some DMing is certainly in order.

  5. In that event, if she accompanies him anyway, but he's a player, it no longer becomes an issue since the DM in question isn't constrained by "trying to serve two masters."
  6. Having seen a few similar dramas play out where game and relationship clash, the longer you let it fester the worse it is for your group.

That's about as tactful a way as you can put it. By not speaking up and clearing the air, you risk falling into the unfortunate trap of "bad gaming is better than no gaming." (It isn't).

And the truth will set you free.

Good luck. For a similar but different problem that has to do with interpersonal dynamics, you might want to take a look at this Q&A.

@yo' suggested the following:

Speak to him without her presence to give him the opportunity to solve his relationships. With her presence, things could go wrong so easily on the spot.

Depending upon your assessment of how she gets along with the game group, this is solid advice and likely the best approach.

A related issue about "trying to have it both ways" when gaming and relationships collide.

Your DM is experiencing the problem of "having it both ways" by both being able to have fun by being a DM, and spending his free time with his significant other at the same time ... when she's not all into that form of free time (group fun, versus one-on-one interaction). Quite frankly, I discovered that I had to make a choice (wife in this case) when I discovered after a few tries that she just wasn't into it (it = D&D) though the kids loved it. What happened for me was that I first curtailed and then let go of D&D for ... about a decade. Why? Because relationships are important, and the marriage is the one that got priority.