Tales from the Worst Adventurer's League Game Ever

6:00 PM - There are three other people at the table and they all seem incredibly cool, this is looking good.

6:12 PM - He hasn't looked at my character sheet at all, but I assume that's alright. My randomly generated name is Sidney "Coxswain" Chaos. I may change my real name to this.

6:30 PM - Wait. Did he just tell that girl she can't use chill touch because it's melee? He also called all her spells useless non-melee spells but she has both chill touch and witch bolt. 

6:34 PM - DM keeps pointing at everyone and aggressively going "your turn, your turn." I tried to finish my movement action and he told me "It isn't your turn anymore." Bitch I still had two squares of movement.

6:38 PM - "Your character is built all wrong, but it's creative, so there's that" ~ DM to the girl.

6:40 PM - Why is he making the girl cast Comprehend Languages to understand kobolds? She speaks draconic.

6:42 PM - The girl just rolled high on a bluff check and convinced the kobolds that we're all dead already, I like her. 

6:44 PM - The DM keeps saying this module is crap and that we shouldn't blame him for how horrible it is, that's probably not great. 

6:48 PM - Made the mistake of going "awww" when we killed a dog, DM rolls his eyes and goes "There's always one at the table." One what? It was a good dog, Brunt.

6:52 PM - The DM yadda yadda yaddas through the village because apparently it isn't even in this module. There is a brief argument about whether dwarves would know blow guns are a thing that exists.

6:55 PM - We suddenly find ourselves placed in front of a cave, the DM shrugs and says Adventurer's League is like this and that there's nothing he can do about it.

7:00 PM - The DM tells us we walk in, because he needs to get to bed to get to work at 5:00 AM, and he can't waste time.

7:05 PM - The DM begins a long-winded story about how he was once a very rich man, one of the leading computer service technicians, but a 40 year old woman stole all of his money. He is certain to repeatedly mention she is 40, and therefore would be of no sexual interest to him. She was able to get away with it, by telling him she would lodge a false rape claim against him, and falsely claim that he had also raped a 16 year old. What 16 year old? IDK, a generic 16 year old, somewhere. Anyway women are the worst. I feel super comfortable at this table.

7:48 PM - We continue to walk down the hallway, forty minutes later. We run into kobolds. We attempt to talk to them. DM: "As you know, Kobolds are evil. Even good characters would never hesitate to strike them down and would never try to reason with them. There is no reason to do anything but fight." A'ight bro. 

7:54 PM - Our paladin crits. Our DM tell us that he doesn't believe in criticals. If someone crits high or someone crits low, he has them roll again because he thinks a 5% chance of wild success or wild failure isn't fair. Confirming crits is so 2001, dude.

8:04 PM - Our DM just asked me to roll for "move silently." Wait.

WAIT.

Oh my god he thinks we are playing 3.5, he doesn't know 5e. That's what's going on. THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE.

8:05 PM - Brief argument about whether "unseen servant" dissipates after 20 seconds for reasons.

8:15 PM - Girl tries to use Mage Hand during a combat to steal explosives off a kobold's belt. It fails, and she asks why it failed. DM leaves his chair, walks over to the other side of the table, and launches into an absolute tirade at the girl: I am the DM. I am NOT your friend. I am NOT going to help you. I am not HERE FOR YOU. I am here for ME. I will do things that entrertain ME, and YOU will go with that.

8:25 PM - The DM just told the girl that she can't move because she is using a concentration spell. Goddamn how much concentration is that spell.

8:38 PM - I came back to the table and all I heard is "That's because my sister is a whore. I mean, a literal whore. She whores." ~ DM

8:45 PM - We are two hours into a two hour module and we are only halfway through this dungeon.

8:40 PM - The DM starts yelling at me for rolling so poorly. DUDE, I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS EITHER.

8:55 PM - The DM goes into a rant about how marines are the stupidest people he's ever met, how they will jump out of windows onto flaming mattresses if you leave them alone, and all they do is drink and whore. 20 minutes into this, the girl tentatively raises her hand and says "My father is a marine, but he's an officer, maybe that's different?" The DM says, "No, it's not." The guy in front of me says "I was a marine for 8 years." The DM begins to stammer.

9:39 PM - We've only cleared two rooms. The DM is telling a story about how stupid people from Florida are. He says he is probably the most well-traveled person around the table. The only country he has never been to, he says, is "Oceania."

9:45 PM - The DM finally realizes that chill touch is a ranged attack and, to his credit, apologizes. He follows up by saying that the girl "Looks portuguese, because portuguese hair is different."

10:20 PM - Our Paladin falls during the final battle, maybe having crits would have helped. The DM tells him he has to roll death saves three times in a row, and whatever is the highest number is what happens to him. 

10:25 PM - THIS IS A TWO HOUR LONG MODULE.

10:30 PM - We finally vanquish the enemy. Girl gets up to leave. DM orders her to sit back down because "we still have to fill out paperwork." 

10:32 PM - Tell him I am not saving this game and just get up from the table. 

10:35 PM - Another DM comes over and asks if I'm "okay" because "another DM told me that your DM was staring at your breasts all night."

10:40 PM - thisisfine.jpg


Notes: I've spoken previously about how I really don't run into rampant sexism in board gaming, which is true. Of course, roleplaying is another beast: it's well-known that roleplaying has always been a boy's club and this is still just changing. The girl at the table was a young woman who was very new to gaming, but it was pretty obvious that the DM was paying special attention to micro-managing her. There was another new player as well, and he didn't get nearly the same experience.

Now, when I reported this to the game store, they said that they would try to tell him his session went too long. This was their compromise, but my feeling is that if we don't tell DMs what they are doing wrong, they won't ever learn. In this case, the DM had to rush out because his 5 hour game session somehow made him late, and I didn't get a chance to talk to him later. 

Adventurer's League is bringing a lot of new blood into DND, and the last thing we want is for it to give people the wrong impression. Unfortunately, with as many new DMs as are being pulled from the ranks, there are also many more conflicting issues. In this case, I realized too late in the game that though the DM was running 5e, he didn't know 5e. A lot of our arguments and issues were arising from the fact that he was trying to use 3.5 knowledge, when our characters weren't built for that.

Of course, that doesn't stop everything else from being miserably invasive. When you're a DM, you:

* Keep your personal and political opinions to yourself.

* Don't distract from the game.

Obviously, playing with a group of people you know well means you don't have to follow these rules, but when you're playing at an open table, it's really about the game. If the DM had stuck to the game (and known the system he was playing), we would never have known that he was insane. 

Another element is that we still have an old school breed of DMs who truly believe that players and DMs are in an intentionally antagonistic relationship, which simply doesn't have to be true. The best games I've ever played are ones in which the DMs and players are working together to cause cool things to happen.

Though the girl at the table didn't know much about DND, she was doing very interesting, expressive things. She was trying to talk to and trick the kobolds, she was using utility spells to make fights easier; she was doing everything you DREAM of having at your table as a DM, and if she'd been at my table she would have been richly rewarded (if, of course, the rolls aligned). It would be a shame if she was discouraged from the game because of one bad DM.