[RPG] What level, if any, of feedback should players give a new GM


I've recently started playing D&D with a few friends, most of whom are new-ish to the game. Our GM is running their first world, and while their world building is very impressive, when it comes to the mechanics of gameplay it feels like there's a lot of room for improvement in their knowledge and/or application. Some examples are more subjective than others:

  • They use saving throws and skill checks somewhat interchangeably (and did not know what saving throws were until our last session)
  • In combat, they seldom get us to roll for initiative/have a set turn order, which sometimes results in some players doing stuff twice before another has their turn
  • In their last campaign in this world, they felt like there was too much narrative and not enough dice-rolling, and it feels like they have overcompensated for this; during our last session most of us were sitting twiddling our thumbs for half an hour while the bard bluffing his way past the king's advisors in a lengthy conversation was rolling for Charisma every second sentence
  • They can sometimes let the players dictate which skill they roll a check for when performing an action, eg a player will say "I want to roll an Arcana check on this amulet to check for magic"

Not only am I fairly new to DnD myself, I don't want to be 'that guy' or a rules lawyer (particularly as I tend to be quite mechanics-focused in games), so how much, if anything, should I say to the GM? We never really had a session 0, and there isn't a lot of talk about the game outside gameplay. I don't believe they're being willfully ignorant/difficult about any of these points.

Best Answer

If something is causing you to not have fun, you can tell the DM: "Hey, this thing is causing me to not have fun, can we do it differently?"

If I were playing at your table, I can tell you that two of the things you describe would cause me to not have fun, and the rest would seem sort of eccentric but irrelevant. I would say:

"Hey, in that last scene, we all kind of sat there for half an hour with nothing to do, and I felt sort of bored. Could we try to make sure that more of us are involved in future scenes?"

And: "Hey, in that last combat we did, we didn't roll initiative, and I feel like my turn was skipped. Could we roll initiative in future?"

I am a DM, and I listen to this sort of thing, and I would expect other DMs to listen to this as well.

For the other issues you describe, like deciding when to call for a skill check or a save, I recommend that you not worry about it.

In particular, for that Arcana check you describe, you're technically correct that it's the DM's job to name the skill check, and not the player's. But, once the player has decided to look at the amulet, everyone at the table knows what check is going to happen, and it doesn't seem like it's worth arguing over who should be allowed to speak the words "arcana check" first.