I’ve been very busy with work lately but we did get some dungeon crawling done earlier this week. The height of the session was when Gladric the Thief scouted ahead and found an opening that led to a cavern with a chasm splitting it in two. Two figures were seen moving on the other side. At the bottom of the chasm was a large pool of yellow jello, which we assumed was the monster we’d been seeking, and the figures we took to be the evil magic user we sought and probably an assistant. Elaborate plans were made for a missile attack and ambush and then combat ensued.
The day after the session I felt a little badly about how I’d criticized the DM during the game for some mechanics handling, although now I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it's his very first time refereeing - and I’m very glad he’s taken up OSRIC. On the other hand, occasionally I feel like parts of his game could be improved with some constructive criticism. I’ve been DM’ing a S&W game and paying strict attention to certain aspects of it, so it’s possible I was a projecting a little or vocalized more than I should have.
I might have waited until after the session had ended, but because the issues involved combat I raised my concerns as they were happening. After all, if players feel that their characters are killed due to sloppy DM’ing, who’s to say that the same thing won’t happen again, causing them to lose interest? Initiative, order of attack, who has attacked and who hasn’t - among other things most players are paying close attention to these. So after a couple of lapses I grew a little concerned and couldn’t stop myself.
I don’t (and didn’t) want to make too much of it and we all have our off days. There’s a part of me that wants to see him get better and more comfortable with certain parts of the game, but I struggle with how hands off to be. I’m a fairly rusty DM and relatively inexperienced myself (in comparison to many other blogging DMs at least!)… We’ve played one on one in the past and it was less of an issue then. In those games we would stop to discuss certain ways of doing things to establish precedent, without worrying about boring or otherwise putting off another player.
Anyhow, it’s just a game and all that - these things will happen. On the positive side, I sent a note apologizing if I was out of line and he responded that it was all good and that the bottom line was that we’d had fun. I think I have a tendency to over-think these things and it might have hardly been noticed by anyone else.
The lingering question I have is, when should you, and should you ever, object to how your DM is doing something, particulary during the session itself? I know that the circumstances of each game will be unique, but maybe there are certain times when it’s the duty of the players to stand up to or question their DM. Yet not knowing his motives and considering his power makes doing so a risky endeavor. A crafty DM might make it look like he’s screwing up combat just to put the players off for some reason that will become clear to them later in the game (that magic item is cursed and has a minus to hit modifier - hmm, didn’t think of that did you smarty pants! Sit down zB! Etc.) It’s a strange game.