When You Have a Problem With a DMÖ

Recently, a friend wrote to me privately during a discussion of DMing on a list we both are on, and told me of a problem that had occurred at a party involving a DM.  I tried and tried to get this friend to go to the party host, but this person refused to do so.  My friend took it up with the DM who basically said, ďBuzz off.Ē  Didnít make my friend happy, didnít let the party host know there was a problem, and the DM didnít seem to realize that the party host had been let down by having a guest angry.

 One thing that was clear to me was that the guest caused a lot of the problem by being unwilling to go to the party host and complain.   The party host canít fix the problem if he/she is unaware of it.  I wasnít even AT the party, so there damn sure isnít anything I can do but sympathize.   Meanwhile, we have an upset party guest, a DM who may or may not have done something wrong, and a party host who hasnít heard the problem so is going to go on using that DM until someone DOES complain.  

I was really upset by this because Iím on the board of the DMA and I probably have taught more DMA classes than anyone but Jerome.  I felt that in some way, it might be my fault.  We try to teach DMs not to be badge happy, not to be arrogant to guests, to think before acting, and not to interrupt for anything but a real breach of party rules or a serious danger to the participants.  We try.  But we canít monitor everything and neither can the party hosts. 

If you have a problem with a DM, there are things you can do.  First, if you feel the DM is being unreasonable or has made a bad call, discuss it politely and calmly with him.  If he isnít responsive, ask to speak to the head DM or the party host.  If the DM declines to put you in touch with one or the other, you still can go to the reception desk and ask them who the host is, and talk to the host.  The host wants to know when you have a problem.  If the host has disgruntled guests, they wonít continue to come to his/her parties.  There is nothing worse than not breaking even on a party, if you are a party host.  Party hosts who continually lose money, stop having parties.  This is a really, really, bad thing.  

When you talk to the party host, be calm and state EXACTLY what happened.  Usually, the host will want to talk to both you and the DM to make sure he understands exactly what happened.  If the DM was out of line, you can expect the party host to stop using that DM.  This improves the quality of DMing at that particular party and makes it a more pleasant place for everyone.  

There is an old saying, ďThe squeaky wheel gets the grease.Ē  If you have a problem and donít pursue all remedies, then nothing will ever get fixed.   

You do have to realize that the host may agree with the DM.  Sometimes it's simply a case of interpretation of the party rules.  If that happens, be gracious.  You may be throwing a party and have the same thing happen one day.  But it's always better to take an action than to just complain to the world at large.



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