Since the rant a few weeks back, where I was all about how boring being a player is, I have had a change in heart, mostly.
The previous game, under that particular DM, has fallen apart. Or at least, I’ve left, but I have heard it has fallen apart. And the main reason is that the DM can no longer make the Friday evening slot, but myself and several of the other players, can’t make the Saturday afternoon he suggested. So I think it sort of died.
As this change to date was sort of happening, sort of not, before it was certain that the Friday slot wasn’t going to work, there were a few Fridays were a bunch turned up, but no DM. So one of the other players, who is a very experienced DM, volunteered to run a plain old dungeon crawl. Simply this would be a bunch of characters, smashing through some dungeon with no real purpose except it was there, but an adventure that we could pick up / put down whenever we liked. And, as it turned out, it was well set up for new characters to join in or leave, or different players to substitute in and play existing characters.
I really enjoyed this game. The DM kept things interesting, with different creatures, some traps and a couple of small puzzles. There was not much RP, but it was a Dungeon Crawl.
Hilfander, my dwarf, got some sweet loot, and become a pretty cool dwarven ranger (Think Legolas, but a respectable dwarf, rather than a flighty bothersome elf).
In the end, it’s clear that the group makes the game. The DM is a big part of this, not just in the way he creates the environment, but it can be as simple as how consistently the game runs. So while combat, for example, has periods where you’re waiting your turn, you’re still engaged in what’s happening and busy coming up with schemes for your turn.
Sure, having more powerful characters was fun too – being able hit most of the time and doing good damage. Kill-stealing from the barbarian…
Wait, again that’s about the groups interaction.
So that’s why it’s not boring. It’s the group. Face to face would be nice, but as the group gels over the adventure, the fun picks up. And this can happen over the internet as well. Maybe just takes more time? There were a lot of fun little moments, pretty much didn’t matter which collection of players turned up. One of the finest moments was when the barbarian went to smash open the pit trap with his hammer, DMs says, easy, just don’t roll a nat 1.
So of course a nat 1 was rolled. In the end, the barbarian almost fell into the trap but a nat 20 saved him, and at the same time uncovered the second, more dastardly part of the trap. An invisible wall. It was a fun moment.
So the DM can have a big influence, though it’s not all up to him. But if he drags things out, spends a lot of time looking up stuff and isn’t prepared, it definitely falls down. Players can have the same effect too, but I think it can be tempered by the rest of the group.
So being a player isn’t boring, but sometimes some groups don’t fit together well.