Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Living Forgotten Rant

No, this isn't about those cards.  Something has been festering in my gut.  It has to do with mandatory DMing.

I have no idea if mandatory DMing is an official RPGA policy, but it was practiced where I played.  I've seen mention of Living Forgotten Realms being run that way on other blogs, so I assume it's a common practice.  Other gaming groups attempting organized play probably use it too.

Now I have no problem with playing a game under a learning DM.  I have no problem playing with a horrible DM.  Once. (I always have the choice of who I play with.)  But the flip-side of mandatory DMing is mandatory NOT DMing.

You heard me.  Mandatory NOT DMing. 

How it works is this - I check out the games that are scheduled for play.  There is no game with an opening (there needs to be two openings for my son and I.) 

So I say "Hey - there are some other players who want to play, my son wants to play, I want to DM - lets' do this.'

And the organizers say, "No.  You have DMed this month.  You may only DM once every four weeks."

"But," I say, "No one is willing to step up.  No one wants to.  I would LOVE to DM.  Gimme a mod.  I will DM it.  Gimme the back of a cereal box.  I will DM that.  I want to play."

"Sorry," they say, "Someone else has to."

"But, if I don't DM, there will be no game.  I DM - there is a game.  I'm happy, people are happy.  Right?"

"Wrong.  If you DM, then someone else is shirking their responsibility of DMing.  They won't DM, they won't learn how to DM.  They'll just sit there and play and never give anything back to the community."

I then start chewing my leg off rather than explode in a volcano of cuss words that would flambe everyone within 50 miles.

So, because of the mandatory DMing policy, five to seven people don't get to play in the RPGA that day, even though they was space, they had enough players, they had a table, and they had a DM.

On an organizational level, I get it.  They need DMs.  If people don't try DMing, they don't learn and there will be no new DMs.


Yanno, if it was just me - well, I'd say, those are the breaks.  But my son was getting kicked around by this policy.  That is very frustrating.

The only way to be sure to have a spot was to hover over the sign-up sight and wait for a DM and sign up the second a table was posted - whether I knew we had Saturday free or not.

I never could resolve the whole thing satisfactorily in my mind.  It makes sense on paper.  In my gut, it feels all sorts of messed up.  I just don't know.  Since I don't play in the RPGA anymore - it's not really an issue - so I suppose I should just let it go.

There - I got it out of my system.  Grumpy post done.  Now I hope I can have a slew of ungrumpy posts. :)

- Ark


  1. Sorry to be obtuse but...what is this? Mandatory DMing? Could you explain what this idea is and how it applies?

    Never heard of it before.

  2. Umm, I don't get this. I'm not in RPGA, so maybe I'm missing something. Where does this happen that people can tell you that gaming can't occur when there are people wanting to game? I don't want to spew venom, blood and snot until I have a clear picture of what this is. (But it sounds like whatever RPGA is, it is crappy.)

  3. I was in the rpga when all you got for it was polyhedron magazine.. heh. Mid 80s was the last of it for me.

    Anyway, yeah, that policy is stupid. They can explain it any way they want.. it's still stupid.

  4. If only there were some sort of communication system (maybe using distributed computing) that the RPGA could use to co-ordinate things like this and prevent such annoying dog-in-a-manger c*ck-ups.

    Bah! Enough of my utopian technofantasies.

  5. I'd suggest you send this blog post to Wizards of the Coast and ask them about it.

  6. That is absolutely, totally and completey a local policy invented by your gaming group and it has no basis in the rules and policies of either the LFR or the RPGA.

    If anything, it is a violation of their policies as it prevents games from taking place.

    For a more official response, inquire here:


  7. Thank you for your responses. When I finally voiced my concerns to an open audience, it helped me see how messed up the situation with the group has been. When I saw your responses, it only confirmed that my gut was dead on. And then Anonymous Carl said his bit up there. It got me thinking and remembering.

    I think there has been a systematic attempt to stop me from DMing at this group. There have been more little rules or 'suggestions' that all end in me not DMing - for my own good, for my son's good, or for the good of the group in general. The suggestions made sense at the time. It hasn't been all of the organizers. In fact, it's been one guy, come to think of it.

    I think I am a pretty good DM. I don't think this is about me sucking so bad that they want to take away my DM card. Looking back, I get the feeling that something else is going on. Paranoid speculation maybe. Whatever the case, I get the feeling that at best, I was a naive and trusting idiot.

    So thanks for listening. This issue may not have anything to do the RPGA. It may just be someone with an agenda that I do not understand.

    (For more on mandatory DMing, check out this rant -> )

    - Ark