Daily Life, Dungeons & Dragons, Gaming, Uncategorized

How to keep your DM happy and your character alive

What’s the most terrifying thing when playing D&D? When your DM doesn’t look happy and starts rolling dice. You’re pretty sure something bad is going to happen, your character is possibly going to die, and it’s likely all your fault. There are times when your DM will take his frustrations out on the group. Hopefully if they are a good dungeon master they won’t make it a habit but sometimes an example needs to be made. But why does this happen? What did you or your party do to make rocks fall out of no where?

You aren’t paying attention

DMs put a lot of work into each game session. We need to figure out what will happen, create NPCs and give the players a story to actually play. But often all this work goes unappreciated, and the things we’ve carefully laid out, and the info we’re trying to give PCs falls on deaf ears. Are you playing with your phone? Spending more time talking out of character with another player about something unrelated to the game? This is frustrating and a sure fire way to make a random encounter occur that wasn’t planned for. Sometimes we need to keep players on their toes and pull them back into the game.

Keep the DM happy: Be present. During game time focus on the game, be a part of what’s going on and show the DM that their hardwork is appreciated.

You’re arguing with the DM

My biggest pet peeve is when a player argues with a ruling or which skill check I ask for. It’s ok to say “Can I use athletics instead because I feel like this may be more strength based”, I’ll usually reassess and say OK. But if a player says “No it’s athletics, I’m rolling athletics instead. Why do I need to do it that way? You’re wrong it needs to be like this”, then I’ll stick to my guns and tell them they have to roll what I asked for. Voicing your opinion is fine, but forcing what you think on the DM to change the game to favour you is not. We may have it that way for a reason. This is everyone’s game but the DM is the final word on rules and even if you think they may be wrong there is a time and place to bring it up. Arguing during the game is unacceptable.Talk to them after the game, state your case in a polite way and the DM will likely be happy to discuss it. Accusing them and telling them you’re way is right is a good way to make sure they don’t listen to you.

Keep the DM happy: Respect their rulings. Even if you don’t agree with it, during game time is not the place to talk about it. It slows down the game and upsets other players and the DM. The DM is doing their best, and will likely not want to DM anymore if they feel like they are always under attack.

You steal the spotlight

Everyone needs their time to shine. Nobody likes trying to do something cool only to have someone else butt in with what they want to do. Wait your turn, it’ll come eventually. If you didn’t get the killing blow, don’t worry about it, there will be a lot more. The game is not about you, it’s about everyone. Everyone is there to have fun and having a player who constantly tries to make it about them will make the other players resentful. I’ve had players that I like leave games because of one player and I eventually had to remove that player because they were creating a toxic game.

Keep the DM happy: Be a team player. Everyone has their turn, wait for yours. Everyone needs the opportunity to be the hero, they aren’t there to just make sure your player wins the game.

Hoarding all the treasure

The player I had to remove from my game had a habit if interrupting other players and making sure he would get to the treasure first so he got all the magic items and gold. Even though I would tell him to wait his turn, or that he needed to share the wealth it changed nothing. I put magic items in my game that are geared towards a particular character and I try to spread them out. If you’re a wizard why are you taking the +1 bow? Because you want to sell it? Meanwhile the ranger is like WTF. Again this pisses off the DM and other players.

Keep the DM happy: Share the wealth. Gold and magic items are there for everyone. Hoarding it all for yourself makes the other players feel unimportant and like they are being ripped off.

Keep your DM happy, it’s essential to a fun game. I guarantee if you follow these steps your DM will be less likely to make a rock fall on your head and keep your character alive longer. It will also lessen the chance that you will be asked to leave a game. A DM hates to lose players because of other players. If a player says they are quitting because they don’t like playing with another player something needs to be done. Ideally maybe they can all talk it out and the player causing problems will change. Maybe they don’t realize what they are doing. But if they refuse to change they need to be removed. I’m there to have fun too and if I’m not having fun then my players won’t have fun. DMs work hard to run a game for you, the least you can do is appreciate that and not make their job harder than it needs to be.

Do you have any suggestions on how to keep your DM happy? Let me know in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “How to keep your DM happy and your character alive”

  1. Love this post! Brilliant 😀 I often feel my DM is very kind to us and rather lenient. I think because we are all learning and it’s early days for us, he’s letting us get away with a lot more. But I think he’s starting to become more harsh as we go on, and I think if I try some one-shots with friends then he won’t be so lenient!


    1. Thank you! I’m generally a very lenient DM. I like to give away treasure and magic items. Which ends up making my players rich and me cursing myself. As players gain levels a DM will normally start to make things more and more difficult and let them get away with less.


  2. From my perspective, I don’t think these events/activities are about keeping the DM happy so much as having the right group of players. I’ve certainly encountered spotlight hogs and rules lawyers, not so much the loot thief but can totally understand that it happens and it is annoying. For me, and I realise it won’t work for everyone, it is about picking the right players at the start and setting boundaries and discussing expectations of the game. If you can do that and get agreement from the group it becomes easier to deal with when folks deviate from the outlined expectations. Then, if someone is still causing problems I would probably ask them to leave. I wouldn’t do stuff in game for out of game behaviour. Another good post.


    1. Very true. I don’t really see a good DM being retaliatory for how they behave out of game. Nor being petty and killing a PC for how they are acting. To me though many of these do have a direct link to the DM being happy. In my experience I’ve been much happier when DMing when players are engaged and are working well together. But I agree it takes some trial and error to find that group, especially if you aren’t playing with a group of people who are already friends.


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