[RPG] Should a new player call out a “bad” GM


I've started playing my first D&D game. The group I'm playing with wants me to be the GM, but since I've never played D&D before this I wanted to play as a normal player first.

There was one group member who I hadn't met until we started up a new game and he is the current GM. I don't know him outside of the group–we've never talked or anything before– but I've seen him at a couple of the Starcraft competitions I go to. At those events, I distinctly remember him being a poor sport, but generally speaking most people just teased him or called him a noob and basically made fun of him for essentially sucking at Starcraft. I've never had extended talks with him since he usually loses in the first round, then makes a huge fuss and leaves. It seemed like he didn't remember me, though. When I was invited to join the group, I asked if we could play a gm-less game so I could get accustomed to playing, and I recall that one of the members in the group said he was "uninterested in noob games", but I didn't know it was the same guy from the Starcraft conventions. We actually stopped playing gm-less games because he was annoyed that the group wasn't starting up a new D&D game.

So we started a new game a week ago. We can meet four times a week (basically Fri. Sat. Sun. and Mon.) but we usually do two per week. But he wanted to meet all four days. The group disagreed and he got upset, so they made him GM to appease him. I can't say whether or not he's "bad", but he's certainly not fun– he gets upset if I ask questions, which I… sort of have to considering I'm not 100% familiar with the game. He also has a character that has more knowledge than the character should. Like, the character knows if something's been booby trapped when he couldn't possibly know that. If someone points it out, sometimes he corrects it and other times he says "He knows xxyy from prior experiences" which doesn't always make sense. I mean, if we ran across a locked door and tried to open it and it turned out to be booby trapped, would that prevent us from opening other locked doors? Probably not. In any case, he tantrums if someone says he's not being fair, or that he should re-roll, or that his excuse doesn't work for the situation at hand.

Some people in the group are obviously pissed off, but they aren't doing anything. Others aren't doing anything and don't seem pissed off. I'm really, really pissed off at the GM for some sexist remarks he made towards me (that the whole group got pissed off about, but he said he was joking) and I don't want to play with him anymore. I'd prefer playing with the group without him, but he works with a couple of the group's members and they say they don't want to go behind his back, but he would definitely invite himself to games if they told him they were playing a game without him. They say to just tolerate it and that the game will be over soon. From what I've seen at the Starcraft tournaments, though, I can't say I'm particularly enthralled with the idea of tolerating it. I want the group to get together and address his temper tantrums so that we can play normally, but I'm not sure if it's a good idea seeing as I'm the new addition to the group… plus everyone else is just letting it happen. I don't want to ruin whatever camaraderie they have with this guy, but at the same time I don't really want to play with this guy and I'd rather quit if we're all just going to "tolerate" him.

As a new player, should I say/do something? Or should I just tolerate his behavior?

The Aftermath: Thanks for all your answers! Our group got together yesterday (except for the current GM, who was invited but just… never showed up) to talk. Since a few people were sort of skeptical about not playing with him, we ended up splitting into two groups, but the group I'm in now is willing to continue playing with the others provided they don't bring angry Starcraft guy along with them. And I'll be GM for the first game that my new group is playing!

Best Answer

You're not having fun.

Since the entire point of role-playing is to have fun, you need to do something about it. In particular, it sounds like the character he's playing (called a GMPC) is seriously distracting him from his GM task of running a fun story for the other players at the table.

You have several options, depending on whether you're willing to accept him as a GM as long as he changes, or if you can accept him as a part of the group as long as he isn't GMing:

  1. Talk to the GM about his behavior. Try to be non-confrontational, and don't have this conversation in front of the group; that will just make him defensive and won't accomplish anything. Try persuading him to not bring a character along with the group; he's GMing, not playing.
  2. Sit out the current game, until the GM is done. There's no need for you to continue playing a game you dislike, so take a break until he's done running the game. Then join the next game, that someone else in the group will run.
  3. Take over GMing duties, with the support of the rest of the group. Since they already asked you to be the GM, they'll almost certainly be willing to let you run the game. Talk to the other players about this individually before you try this; if you have enough support, you'll be able to usurp his position as GM, and start an entirely different game. Perhaps the current GM will be a better player than they are a GM. And look on the bright side: you now have some fantastic examples of how not to GM, which will make you much better at this new role! You can also combine this with #2 above: sit out the game until it's over, then be the next GM. (Warning: given what you've described of his personality, the current GM is unlikely to take this well.)
  4. Start a separate gaming group, inviting whoever is willing to play without the problem GM. If some people are unwilling to play with the new group because they don't want to exclude the current GM, then you'll need to exclude them as well. Recruit a few other players from elsewhere if you need to.
  5. Find a new gaming group. If all else fails, just don't play with this group at all. If they're willing to play with someone they dislike, and you can't persuade them to kick out a problem GM, that's their problem. It doesn't have to be your problem.

Note that none of these options include playing a game you dislike with a GM who you hate. He isn't going to improve on his own, unless you talk him into changing or encourage the group to leave him behind.

On a slight tangent, see the Geek Social Fallacies. It sounds like some of the members of the gaming group are suffering from GSF #1: "Don't exclude anyone" and GSF #5: "Failing to invite someone is a deliberate snub."