Jump to content

Recommended Posts

For the last year I've been playing in D&D's Adventure League at my local gamestore. In that year we have gone from one table with an occasional second, to three full tables and we're approaching the need for a fourth. So the decision was made to start a "pay to play" system.

 

Currently we meet every Saturday and run four hour sessions. The price they've decided will be one dollar an hour. So each player will pay four dollars a session, which will be paid to the DM in the form of store credit. The idea was to help the DM's pay for miniatures, books, modules, and anything else they may need.

 

I'm a bit on the fence about this. I make sure the shop receives at least three dollars each week from me in sodas, and usually end up spending about twenty each month on random comics and figures. It might not sound like much but between myself and my wife I feel we do our part (She usually makes a "large" purchase every two weeks). So as far as paying our way to the shop I believe we're covered.

 

Now as for the DM I'd say we're a little lacking. As a group we do our best to change out our DMs so they have a chance to play. Thanks to my wife I've started helping out in that department though.

 

At the moment I am currently a DM so I know how hard running a game can be, not to mention the prep that goes into it before you even reach the table. Personally I end up prepping about two hours every week. As a DM I don't feel comfortable accepting money in a "pay to play" system though.

 

The only reason I'm even DMing is because someone had to and my wife kinda volunteered me. If I was a player I think I'd support this "new" system (the shop is making money with the added benefit of the DM being able to get necessary "supplies"), but as a DM this just doesn't feel right to me.

 

Am I being crazy? This is my hobby, even though painting is the main part, taking money just feels dirty. Does anyone else feel like this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't feel too bad about it. I've DM'ed at Cons--and for the RPGA for a bit--for many years, and we always get comped for running sessions. So there is quite a precedent for this sort of thing. 

 

DM'ing is a "labor of love", but plenty of folks are happy to kick in a little bit for it. Heck, going to a 2-hour movie would cost at least $10...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do get that you're uncomfortable with taking money from your players, but one thing my players told me again and again was how they felt uncomfortable seeing me buy all the stuff without them contributing.

So I would take the money. 4 dollar per player per week will probably still not really cover the cost. And if you still feel dirty about taking their money you could always take it to sponsor a new/kid DM to get them started. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I understand, it isn't really all that uncommon for busy shops to rent table space. The shops I've been to don't do it, but at the same time they're both ghost towns 99% of the time and kind of expect a little bit of coin to come their way through incidentals like snacks and occasional purchases of goods. As you're talking a weekly event where you take up 3 tables for a few hours, I don't think it's all that unreasonable. It may feel weird, but I don't think it's anything crazy. Especially when you're doing it for something organized, like Adventurer's League. It's right up there with events like Friday Night Magic, where they have open tables that you can play a pickup game at, but if you want in on the tournaments there's always going to be a buy in.

Edited by Unruly
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 Since the money's coming to you in the form of store credit, don't think of it as being paid for your work as a DM - you're not actually getting "paid" at all. What's happening is that your expenses as a DM and the cost of running the game are being subsidized by the playing community at large.

 

That store credit can be used to purchase books, dice and miniatures for use with the AL games. (At six players per table, a DM is only going to be getting $24 a week in credit, which as we all know won't go very far.) Now you'll be able to have extra sets of dice on hand for players that forgot theirs, or give a set of dice to someone who doesn't have one. Print up a giant stack of extra character sheets. Bring extra pencils/pens. Buy an extra copy of the PHB to keep at the store as a table reference.

Buy snacks for the younger folks who had to choose between buying snacks and paying to play. Or buy snacks for your whole table.

 

There are dozens of ways you can reinvest that small amount of money back into the game.

 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get it. As somebody who usually ends up being the GM/DM, I've never done it for the purpose of any kind of compensation, or even defraying of the costs. I never expect my players to contribute to the funds, etc. However, you also have a store front that appears to be rather full at least one day of the week every week. Its possible that while you and your wife are buying stuff every week, with occasional larger purchases, a lot of the other players are not. Even the $3 in snacks you mention though don't really go very far from the perspective of the store. You're there for about 4 hours but the store has to pay an employee at least minimum wage (presumably somewhere around $8/hour) and the store doesn't even "get" all of that $3 since a good portion of that goes into the cost of acquiring said snacks.

 

Note, this isn't to blame you in any way. I actually think its great you make a concerted effort to give back to the store, and frankly, your spending habits as described mirror my own at my FLGS. I'm guessing you could get the snacks cheaper elsewhere for instance, etc. What's likely going on though is that the store is seeing that although they have a lot of people in the store, they are not actually seeing a lot in actual sales -- especially since a lot of the 5ed books for D&D seem geared toward DMs (in the form of adventure books, etc.). So this is a way to help the store get a little bit of money flowing through the store to help defray the costs of being open during those hours, including clean up and all that.

 

Now all that said, if you are really feeling bad about being "paid" to GM, then you can simply put the funds back into the group. As mentioned above you can buy extra minis, dice, etc. for the group to use. You can buy that new campaign book that comes out to run a group through it. Heck, you can even buy and paint minis for the characters of the party, etc. to give out near the end of the campaign. Does the store sell map tiles or other gaming accessories for terrain and such? If so, you can buy some of those to use in the game and enhance the player experience. So yeah, technically you may be "getting" the money, but in reality you're putting it right back into the game and as such, giving it back to the players.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind, this is NYC, but my FLGS charges $10 to anyone who wants to come in and use their tables whether to take advantage of their board game collection, paint, or play RPGs. There's an option to pay $75 for a 3 month membership, which does save some cash if you play weekly. Which means my players fork over some serious cash on a regular basis just to play D&D with me. Now, coming from Baltimore, where there wasn't anything like that was a bit of a shock, but it seems to be the norm around here. 

 

As for me as a DM, I get a bit of store credit every week, and 35% off anything RPG related I buy. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Rat13 said:

The only reason I'm even DMing is because someone had to and my wife kinda volunteered me. If I was a player I think I'd support this "new" system (the shop is making money with the added benefit of the DM being able to get necessary "supplies"), but as a DM this just doesn't feel right to me.

 

Am I being crazy? This is my hobby, even though painting is the main part, taking money just feels dirty. Does anyone else feel like this?

I totally get it.  I've been the GM (an admittedly poor one, but I've been one), and it's just "part of the deal."  You guys are rotating, so that's good.

 

Take the credit.  Build up supplies (dice, sheets, Bones minis, etc.) and maybe even small prizes for the players if you don't see anything special like a book you want.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Mad Jack said:

 

 Since the money's coming to you in the form of store credit, don't think of it as being paid for your work as a DM - you're not actually getting "paid" at all. What's happening is that your expenses as a DM and the cost of running the game are being subsidized by the playing community at large.

 

That store credit can be used to purchase books, dice and miniatures for use with the AL games. (At six players per table, a DM is only going to be getting $24 a week in credit, which as we all know won't go very far.) Now you'll be able to have extra sets of dice on hand for players that forgot theirs, or give a set of dice to someone who doesn't have one. Print up a giant stack of extra character sheets. Bring extra pencils/pens. Buy an extra copy of the PHB to keep at the store as a table reference.

Buy snacks for the younger folks who had to choose between buying snacks and paying to play. Or buy snacks for your whole table.

 

There are dozens of ways you can reinvest that small amount of money back into the game.

 

Exactly.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though it still feels wrong to accept money for a job I agreed to do for free, I think reinvesting is the way to go. It could knock some money off my next hardcover, provide personal miniatures to the players who don't have one, I could also switch from the dry erase tiles I've been using and purchase a foldable dry erase mat, and if all else fails I'll just give the credit to my wife.

 

As for sponsoring new players I'll have to play that by ear. Most of our new players already have everything they need and I already have plenty of loaner dice and miniatures. 

 

Hopefully in about a month I won't have to DM anymore and this will all be a non issue.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Grayfax
      Critical Role resumes tonight (just in case you didn't know) in a brand new campaign with all new characters.  I'll be watching it on Alpha, using my same personae.  

      We have no idea who will be who, or what they will be or where they will start, but the conjecture is strong.  
      Once the show has aired, please use Spoiler tags for any content that needs it.  As the show is airing, feel free to discuss it!  There is a spoiler tag alert in the header and I'll make a big sign below.  No reason to use spoilers, but I can link to specific episodes if people need to skip something and come back to it.  Maybe we won't say too much about previous episodes that way.  Who knows... Otherwise, bring on the popcorn and lets enjoy a good show!!!
       
      Be Ye Warned!  There Be Spoilers Below!
      The Silhouettes have been Revealed...

    • By PaganMegan
      Posting on Grump's computer, not my Fire. I need to have more than one sentence paragraphs! (I almost posted as The Auld Grump because I hadn't logged Dennis out before logging me in.  )
       
      From time to time Grump has told me that he has literally dreamed a scenario, and I never really believed him.
       
      But I told Grump that one of his Christmas presents this year was going to be running a game so he could play for a change.
       
      Then I realized that I had NO FREAKING CLUE what I was going to run, and almost asked if he would like to run the game WITH me instead.
       
      Then Saturday night I had a dream where I was running a game, directing a movie, and watching the movie/game and suddenly I knew what I was going to run!
       
      Grump left out how WICKED AWESOME it is to dream an adventure. Suddenly I know why Grump runs games. I woke up from the dream because I WANTED TO WRITE IT DOWN!
       
      And it was REALLY nice to have my subconscious send me a message in something other than a nightmare. It sent me the solution!
       
      Wow, that was still a lot of one sentence paragraphs!
       
      Strangely, I dreamed I was running/directing/watching an Eberron adventure, even though until yesterday, I had never read any Eberron material, just knew what Grump had told me.
       
      Eberron is actually pretty awesome, and is NOTHING like Forgettable Realms or Greyhawk. It is its own place, and holds together better than any setting I have read before.
       
      The dream was a mash up of Casablanca, Raiders of the Lost Arc, National Treasure, and Maltese Falcon. Some of it was narrated by the Grump as Humphrey Bogart.
       
      The idea is that the PCs start out hired by somebody to track down an artifact that will help the gods manifest on Eberron, instead of the hands off approach that is used in the setting. (Eberron even has atheists!)
       
      In the dream the introductory patron was this fat naked man that was sometimes a silver dragon, meeting the players in a bath house, while nubile young women scrubbed him. A fat silver dragon, using the human shape to conduct business.
       
      Part of that is as a dragon, being naked really does not bother him. And part of it is to make the player characters uncomfortable, so they would not spend too much time wondering what he is really up to.
       
      And what the players don't know at the time is that sometimes he EATS one of those nubile young women.
       
      He starts as their mentor and patron, both for the players and those young women, but he is really REALLY evil, and wants to use the artifact as a way of controlling the Draconic Prophecy, fulfilling its tenets in such a way that he decides what it means. The women are cultists, but do not know that he is just using (and eating) them. They literally mean nothing to him beyond his own convenience.
       
      Rescuing the damsels from the dragon will probably be one of the adventures, at least if I know the way Grump thinks. (He WILL try to rescue them!)
       
      Even after the players learn that the dragon is the bad guy, they will need a patron, and I need to come up with several, good, bad, academic, and mercenary.
       
      Travel in the adventure will be free as long as they have a patron, and EVERY time they are traveling, something happens, or sometimes THEY happen to somebody else! I picture one of those maps where you see the characters' travels being highlighted with a colored line, like in those old movies.
       
      And the scene where Indiana Jones is racing his horse alongside a train, then jumping from the horse on top of the train.
       
      In the civilized areas travel will be by lightning rail, and when going to less civilized areas travel will be by either ship or airship.
       
      Trying to keep one thing Grump has told me over and over. "An adventure is not the story. The adventure is the framework for the story that the players tell." Don't come up with a single way to handle or solve a problem, come up with three, and expect the players to come up with four, five, and six.
       
      Doing this like the old serials  and writing each part while running the previous part. I have a general shape for the story, and an idea of where it is going. And most of all, even if the dragon DOES get the artifact, it won't do what he thinks it will do. The dragon is just as much a pawn of the REAL villain as the players start out as the dragon's!
       
      One of the things I like about Eberron, more than the Pathfinder world, is that the place is designed for globe trotting, and can handle a plot that covers more than one continent, let alone country.
       
      I am sure that Grump's DMing dreams are more coherent than mine was, but it was WONDERFUL! I went from worrying about the game to really REALLY looking forward to it! I am actually EXCITED about this!
       
      SO! I am asking for ideas for potential player patrons! One is already in the game, the Wayfinder Foundation, pretty much the Pathfinder Society by a different name. (Or the Pathfinder Society is the one with the different name, since Eberron came first.) I am picturing the leader of the Wayfinder Foundation a lot like the explorer in Up! But I will look up what he supposed to be like before committing to that.
    • By Mutilatedlips
      This is one of my favorites. My friend has me painting this whole set from the module The Scourge of Suderham and the requirement is to have them all painted close to the way they appear on the box.
       

       

    • By Mutilatedlips
      crooked resin staff. I snapped the top part trying to straighten out. My friend grabbed and almost broke the bottom part trying to straighten out, thinking it was metal. It doesn't bother me too much, almost looks animated in a way. 
       
          
    • By DocPiske
      I’ve been running D&D games for 30 plus years and occasionally someone will ask to play a character with psionic abilities. I usually resist allowing this; I don’t want peanut butter in my chocolate. I view psionics as a science fiction component rather than fantasy, the theory that science fiction is a form of fantasy not withstanding. I generally prefer my fantasy to focus on magic and medieval European settings, and leave other historical cultures, aliens or technology out. Over the years I’ve mellowed and come to accept that players just want to enjoy the fantasy of taking on a role they do not (or cannot) partake of in real life. So I’ve come to accept ninja, psion or steam punk peanut butter in my European medieval fantasy chocolate.
       
      A bit more than fifteen years ago I ran a D&D 3e game set in the Diablo 2 video game world of Sanctuary, using setting and adventure supplements published by Wizards of the Coast. Included in the setting book were rules for the Diablo 2 character classes. I allowed a mix of D&D and D2 characters, but required the player to chose either the D&D spell system or the D2 spell point system, choosing spells from only from the appropriate list. One of the players chose the D2 Necromancer and used the Diablo 2 spell list and spell point system.
       
      This player was a bit of a power gamer and focused on how to maximize the spell point pool, basically never running out of spell points. The character was able to always contribute in a meaningful was to every encounter. I’ve never been a fan of the 15-minute adventure day, so I usually enforce travel time and backtracking, with the commiserate chance for creatures rising the alarm, ambuscades or random encounters. The spell point pool this character had helped this character be less of an liability in these circumstances, but for large or long fights resource management was still important. I was struck by how the spell point system and the psionic power point system were the same, just using different wrappers (terminology).
       
      After the end of that campaign we were looking for a new setting, and the magazines Dragon, Dungeon and Polyhedron did a cross over adventure called “Incursion!”, featuring Githyanki invaders. It was a precursor to the modern Adventure Paths, and it included psionics. After having run a spell point system in the D2 campaign I was more open to psionics and bought the psionics handbook. Some of players had their characters take levels in psionic classes, and it worked out fine for most.
       
      The same player that played the necromancer wanted to play a Psion, and was keen on creating new powers. His approach was with psionics anything that one could think of could be accomplished with the mind, as opposed to magic which was limited by codified spells, rules and tradition, and relied on an outside source of power. My approach was that both systems use intellect or force of personality to access and control another source of power; the mind is not powerful enough to affect the world directly. We clashed a bit as I was using existing powers to set the power level and point cost of new powers and he wanted to create custom powers with specific effects, so limited in application that he felt the level and point cost should be lower. He was of the opinion that psionics should not be limited, essentially viewing psionics as superior to magic in every way. My concern was that if psionics were always the “better choice”, why would anyone ever play a spell-caster?
       
      Around the time we were finishing that campaign, D&D 4e came out and we switched over to that system. I won’t go into my opinion of 4th edition here other than to say I think it is a fine game system, just not D&D. The new daily, encounter and at-will power system precluded spell or power points and I gradually returned to my dim view of psionics. I’m of the general opinion that there is no need for competing power systems in the same game, such as spell points as opposed to spell slots, or psionics to magic. It is difficult if not impossible to balance to power systems across 20 plus character levels. Melee combat and magic systems are difficult enough, but adding another system will only make it even more difficult.
       
      The Vancian spell system has serious flaws, but its history and well established structure provides built in limitations and guidelines on creating new spells. That same structure is not unjustifiably viewed as restrictive by some, but inserting another, subjectively “better” system will imbalance the overall game even more. If and when psionics are added to 5e, I hope they reconsider power points and stick with a Vancian system. Or rewrite magic with spell points. Keep the peanut butter and chocolate separate. Sorry fans of Reeeses Peanut Butter Cups.
  • Who's Online   28 Members, 1 Anonymous, 0 Guests (See full list)

×