Dm school 101: how not to be a bad dm

I must comment on this. I must. As a DM I have the obligation to do so. I am a transgender DM on top of that, so I need to speak out for my fellow female dnd players.

trigger warnings aplenty here: rape, sexual assault, gaslighting,… (don’t read if you have prior experience with douchebags like dm and certainly not watch the video)

The DM in question, let’s call him DB (douchebag) interviewed women explicitely to be in his game, letting them believe they would be in a safe space. According to his explanation, the situation they were put in was in a Wizards of the Coast official module called Hoard of the dragon queen.

The situation is like this (abbreviated and made less triggered):
The PC’s are tired, they need a place to sleep. The inn they arrive at is the only one in the vicinity and if they don’t do it, by the dm’s instructions, they will suffer one exhaustion. The place is rented out completely by nobels and then the nastiness happens (so the player characters have no other place to go, per DM instructions, and according to him, the module prescribes that it should happen that way)

Hoard of the dragon queen page 36: a Judge and 3 nobles have rented the place out and explicitely tell the characters to sleep with them or be thrown out, eventually when they not go into this “kind” offer, they are forced by knifepoint or be thrown out stripped naked? I have checked, and that is not in the module at all. He promised them a safe space, and made the module more sexist than it was!

I DM a group with females in them. If this part was in a module I ran, which I don’t believe it is, I would cut it out, or I would make the inn more female friendly. I don’t shun sexual content, as I play strictly only with adults, but I do shun rape and sexual assault, so if this was in a module, which I am certain of is not (although I can not check it), I would remove it, to not trigger my female players.

A bad dm leaves it in, as seen in the example above, or fabricates a situation like that for his own creepy pleasure, and sees his female players squirm, like the masochistic son of a bitch that he is.

A good dm would cut it out and make it more player friendly, because first and foremost, players are there to have fun. TTRPG should be a safe space. There is nothing gritty about giving your players trauma. There is nothing fun about seeing your players squirm.

There are devices invented for situations like this like the X card, like doing a fantastic session zero where expectations are set forth. A good DM-player relationship, which in this case, where the dm needed a sockpuppet to talk his point of view, clearly is not.

If I would ever do something like this, which I won’t, and my players come at me saying that it was triggering for them, I would apologize a lot! massively.

Not gaslight them through a sockpuppet (which I am sure is DM himself), I would apologize so much and probably would forsake my dm chair, to someone else, to learn more about being a dm for a while. I would only DM, not only that group, but forever, if they forgive me and let me go on.

This guy should not be dm’ing for his power-trip. Dm’ing isn’t about power in the first place, but about telling a story together. To have fun. To bring joy. To give your players a place to escape to and let them be someone else for a change. Yes, this means fudging rolls in favour of your players sometimes, this means letting the monsters flea if that means a tpk otherwise. Your players are the stars of the table, treat them as such!

Every post is written first in scrivener 3, which you can get a 30 day free trial of here at literature and latte.

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