Author Topic: New Energy and Blood Sought...You Got the Chops?  (Read 221 times)


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New Energy and Blood Sought...You Got the Chops?
« on: February 11, 2011, 01:06:03 pm »

               Tales of the Silver Marches has a bit of recent in flux of players while we have lost a Staff to real life and another to a longer than thought real life job. Dang jobs and money....anyhow...with this we need some dedicated Staff who are intrested in maybe pursuing a leadership role or builder role.

We do expect a lot but we are also a very close knitted Community and as such give and enjoy alot as well.

If you have any intrest go ahead and read through our DM Code of Conduct and see if mayhap you would be intrested in joining us. We would ask any potential person that is intrested know that we will either

A/ Expect you to have led a similiar postion on another role play server
B/ play on our server for a bit so you know what to expect
C/being willing to run a small adventure for some folks with a Staff looking over your shoulder.

Hopefully we hear from some good folks to join our Hall of Fame Server.

The following are the expectations TSM holds for it's DMs. It's posted here for full community view so it's understood that DMs are held to a standard, not just the players.

DM Code of Conduct

Though each member of the crew is important in it's own way, there is no more influential position then that of a DM. Being the ones who interact the most with the player base either through quests, general day to day help, or dealing with issues, it's the DMs who are on the forefront of any server. Even the best built places can fall apart due to a negligent, rude, selfish, self centered or a non-existent DM crew. With this in mind, the following guideline was written in the spirit for the continual harmony of the TSM community.

Conduct 1 - Responsibility

- As a DM it is your responsibility to make sure that you are open and available as often as possible. If you know that in your real life that you don't have the time to devote to being on the server as a DM, then do not volunteer for the position and do not continue to hold on to the position. There is no shame in dropping out if you know for certain other obligations will hold you back. It's better to have just 2 reliable and present DMs, rather then a list of 5 or 6 absentee DMs.

- If you've made the decision to become a DM and still intend to be on as a player as well, you need to do two things.

One is to make sure you log more hours on as a DM, then you do as a player. By accepting the title of DM you are also accepting the fact that you now have a responsibility to the community as a whole. This means being on and being present in your DM form. Taking a break from being a DM to be a player every once in a while is fine, however mind how many hours you are spending as one or the other.

Second is to make a solid separation between you as a DM and you as a player. Being part of the DM crew does not give you allowances to give you access or benefits to your PCs that other PCs (players) do not have. This can include, but is not limited to:

Posting as your character IC in a guild forum that your PC does not belong to.

Using your main PC that you play on a regular basis as an NPC to start a quest, then switch over to a DM to see to the quest.

Giving your own PC XP, gear, or gold to compensate for your time "lost" being on as a DM.

Begging, asking, or expecting more XP, gear, or gold for your PC, just because you're a DM.

Logging off as a player, then back on as a DM in order to raise the party you were with that got wiped out.

Using the IC information you read in a forum to the benefit of your own PC, giving him/her knowledge they normally would not know had you not read it (a.k.a. metagaming).

Giving the guild your PC belongs to unfair advantages, perks, gear, or attention when another player/DM is in charge of seeing to the guild already. -Or- making your own PC part of a guild that you are already in charge of in order to take full advantage.

[/list]Always mind that you as a DM and you as a player need to be kept as separate entities. Be fair to the player base by playing fair as a player.

- Don't forget the responsibility to yourself so you continue to enjoy being a DM. To prevent burning out, take time off occasionally from being a DM. Approximately a week out of each month where you concentrate on being a player or just walk away from the server for a bit. When you are on as a player, do your best to concentrate on being a player, not a DM.  This means, when asked for DM attention, you must weigh whether it is vital or not as to whether you should become involved as a DM.  For example, if a player needs help with a problem that can wait till another DM can do it (next day, after a skype shout is sent, etc...) then let the player know that you are on break and will try to ensure a DM knows about it to come in and help them.  However, if the problem is immediate (ie., player is stuck, portion of the map is broke, etc...) then do what needs to be done to allow everyone to continue, but keep it to the minimum necessary. If a player must wait for a bit, let them know that you are on break, and will help guide them to find another DM. There are other DMs who can assist them and they should speak to them. Just enjoy playing and make the most of it. This can also help with seeing things from a player's standpoint and refresh your own DM creative juices.

- Communication is key on any server and this goes doubly so for a DM. They can be a communication hub between players, admins, builders, and other DMs. If you don't make a crew aware of what you have been up to, then it's possible another DM may end up stepping on your toes or you may step on theirs. It's the responsibility of a DM to keep in contact with the rest of the crew either via forums, Skype, or PMs.

If there is a major quest that takes a few days to accomplish, then it's best to let the crew know that it's taking place. You do not need to give details, but a simple heads up of "Please don't use NPC so-and-so until this quest is over and limbo him if the server resets" or even a "Please don't use the cave in area X as I'm still finishing a quest with players A, B, and C." By doing so you won't run into trouble if another DM comes along and decides to use that area/npc for their own quest and you end up with a roleplay conundrum that leaves the players and DMs confused.

If a player needs to be monitored for certain behavior, then make the rest of the crew aware. If the player was caught doing something they shouldn't have (such as ninja looting, running though town, or talking excessively in OOC) then let the rest of the DM crew know that the player had been warned once already and to just keep an eye on him/her. As much as we don't want the TSM crew to become a bunch of cops, there are times where some players have to be guided accordingly. This can't be done if the player is being warned three times by three different DMs and none of the DMs are aware of the other warnings.

Conduct 2 - Self Interest Set Aside

- When helping make server decisions regarding rules, guidelines or mechanics, do not base it on how it will benefit your PCs or the PCs of players who are your favorites. Always keep in mind that various players with all sorts of playstyles are playing on the server. Ask yourself how the decision is going to affect the whole server, from the players, to the builders, to the DMs, up to the Admin. Ask how exactly it is going to benefit a server that is striving to make a true roleplaying environment.

- In keeping with fair play across the board, don't give out extra benefits to players just because they are on the crew, happen to be a "friend", or is a favorite player of yours. Do not give them free raises or refund their XP to avoid a death penalty, especially if they were not involved in a DM run quest. Do not give custom made or high quality items with little to no roleplay involvement. Make the players work for what you give them. Do not worry about them not "liking" you for not being overly generous as this isn't a popularity contest. Remember that fun does not equal loot or XP, fun equals interaction and that you can give to all.

Conduct 3 - Issues and Maturity

One of the harsher lessons that every crew and individual DM ends up learning is that there will always be issues no matter how well put together a place may be. There will be trolls and dinkwads (the naked PC running around, the voice emote spammer, the l33t LOLer who's purposefully being a l33t LOLer) just as there will be issues between various members of the community. All of which can end up being stressful to deal with for a crew.  It lands on the DM to usually be the first to run across such issues and it's a DMs responsibility to be mature when dealing with it.

- The immediate reaction of anger can come up suddenly and without warning for everyone. Be they DM or player, they're all human and can be subject to some very negative emotions, even in a gaming environment. The main key is to recognize when you are getting angry and when it may be time to step back from the computer until you cool off. The term "cooler heads prevail" very much applies to this. Often a volatile situation becomes explosive because one person or another didn't take the time to back away from those feelings of anger. As a DM, it's even more important to remain calm and rational as yelling and screaming when an issue comes up does little in the way to solve the actual issue.

Don't be afraid to give a message to the players you are overseeing that you need to step away for a little while and to be patient while you figure things out. Walk around for a bit, get a glass of water or maybe a little to eat, try and analyze why it made you angry and if it was logical or just a knee jerk reaction, greet those other strange vaguely familiar people living in your house with you known as "family" and interact with them for a moment. When you feel you've calmed down enough, come back and rationally deal with the situation.

- If the issue happens to be between two players and you find yourself playing referee, do not immediately take sides with one player or another. Often, issues come up due to misunderstandings or miscommunications. Players can get angry as well and in that anger they can get information wrong or assume a lot. It is the DMs roll to calm the players down, gather all the facts, and then make a judgment based on reason. More often then not a DM becomes a councilor in order to mediate things between the two and smooth everything over, especially when it was just a misunderstanding.

- Even if the issues isn't with one of the genuine players, but with a troll (someone who only comes on a server to create chaos, get attention, then get banned) you still need to be mature about the situation. There is no quicker way to deflate a troll when they realize they have failed to make you angry. Address them politely, even if they are rude or belligerent. Use light humor when speaking to them. Often trolls do what they do because they are bored. If you happen to amuse them or show that you (and thus the server) are good sports, they will often leave on their own.

- Be mindful of what is said to players OOCly. Often there are issues that the DMs must deal with that can contain sensitive information in a tense situation. Do not speak of these issues outside of anyone who is not on the DM crew. This act tends to do little more then create rumors and assumptions within the community. What is said and decided in the DM circle needs to remain in the DM circle until the Admin makes a general announcement concerning it. Do not give in to ranting at a "friend" about it or giving in to a player that wants to know it all.

- Overall, your position as a DM is a privilege and not a right. The crew here has trusted you enough to warrant you a spot as a DM. Do not break that trust by being immature, selfish, or thinking yourself above others on the server. As a community, you are part of it. Without the players, there is no server. Treat them and your fellow crew members with respect and do not use your position to "get back" at someone you dislike. Griefing a player is unacceptable. It's a breaking of trust not only with the player base, but the crew as a whole.

Conduct 4 - Make It Fun, Make It Fair

The first priority for any DM is to make things fun for the player base. Fun equals interaction. Interaction should range widely from a long quest to see an evil slain to a two hour rambling conversation with an NPC to a simple funny emote made by a chicken. There is no end to how many different ways a DM can interact with a PC and should at least try different ways at least once. All the while, that same DM needs to keep in mind that the fun needs to be balanced with what is fair.

- Sometimes when interacting with PCs (IC) and players (OOC) they can end up doing things you were not expecting. Remember, there is no book or script that the players are going by and you as a DM should be prepared for any contingency. Occasionally they will even do things that starts to give the whole situation a "bad" feel to it or turn it so chaotic that you can't get the quest back on track. Do not think of yourself being jilted for not being able to see to the quest as you envisioned it. Think of it as a learning experience instead.

If a player is continuously running ahead and getting the rest of the party in trouble, drop a spawn or a nasty trap on him/her to get them to slow down. If by the third time they do not learn and die from the situation, do not resurrect them. If they start to complain, tell them exactly why the traps and/or spawns were done.

If a player is not giving you enough time to type a response and is interrupting the conversation with question after question or inane babble, have the NPC react In Character that they are getting irritated by the interruptions. Even threaten to end the conversation if they are not willing to listen. There is no quicker way to get a person to slow down their typing then the chance of a quest not happening at all.

If a player or a group of players obviously didn't listen to a word your NPC said and starts treating the situation like any other hack-n-slash quest, start removing the combat encounters from the area. When they see nothing is spawning, they may just concentrate on talking about the situation and why the "expected" creatures are not there, which may lead them to talking about the plot itself.

If a player is insistent on pressing things with an NPC that you only possessed for a moment to make an idle comment (and didn't intend to have any quest or plot connected to it) take the moment to make them realize that not every NPC interaction will lead to some grand quest. Have a bartender get them to take out the trash or a farmer tell them to catch all the chickens that got out of the pen. After it's done hand them 1 gold and 10 XP for the "quest".

[/list]Some of these methods may sound 'cruel', but if done with the intent to try and better the player it's better then the alternative of simply getting angry and letting the situation turn into an Issue.

- Try not to corner all your quests and attention to just one set of people or one particular play style. Just running things only for evil characters or only for a single race or guild will make other groups or players feel neglected. It can also stymie your own growth as a DM if you never branch out and experience different styles of play. When thinking up quests, try to not have it that only good characters can come along or that only dwarves can be part of the fun. In a multi-player environ it's always good to compensate for the fact that you might have a Lawful Good Elf and a Neutral Evil Gnome in the party. Granted, there will be times where, due to plot devices, only one alignment, race, or guild can see to the quest. This is fine and to be expected. However, do not make a constant habit out of it.

Also, do not constantly cater to only the highest leveled or longest lived characters on the server. Give some of that DM love to new folks and PCs of lower and mid levels as well. Run quests or interact specifically with them for a while so they also feel part of the community, even if it's just a level 3 PC. By spreading your attention around you help the players avoid the mentality of "needing" to level up fast just because they know only the high level characters get quested.

And don't leave the non-combat PCs out of it either. Not all quests have to be based around combat. Puzzle quests, mysteries, intrigue. There are many different non-combat situations you can get the PCs into. Even players of PCs with low Intelligence can have fun with it as they can roleplay their character stumbling over their own brains.

- When it comes to dishing out rewards try to be fair to each and every PC participant. If you're looking to give a small RP XP reward give the same amount to all the PCs involved, regardless of level. When it comes to treasure, give something nice, not overpowering for their level. Don't get egged on by "is that all we get" comments. If the PCs were only on your quests for the end rewards then they've missed the point.

By giving out extremely high powered items or lots of XP/gold for your quests, you are only encouraging the players to expect to receive that from you every time. They will purposefully seek you out for quests (a.k.a. DM Quest Farming) because they know they will get good items from you after it's over. By being fair and even realistic to the quest (such as a beggar NPC will not have much to give in the form of a reward) you make them realize that high prizes should not be expected each and every time. This also keeps it fair to the other DMs on board. Remember again that this isn't a popularity contest. Giving players bribes in the form of quest rewards so they will like you is no way to run a server.

- All items made by a dm for a specific reward must have the DM name in the description so that everyone on the team is aware of the item.  Because of the limitations on the magic items allowable, you need to show the item to another DM to get their opinion on whether or not the item is within the magic level range and is appropriate.