What’s your feeling about those DM’s that charge players to play in their game?

5 thoughts on “What’s your feeling about those DM’s that charge players to play in their game?

  1. D. Walker says:

    From a practical standpoint, it’s hard to charge money for something as nebulous and non-standardized as DMing – there’s a huge variety in DMs in terms of skill, style, et cetera.

    Well known, established, celebrity DMs can do it, because they have reputations and videos / podcasts of their prior games and whatnot that help people know what they are paying for in advance. Most DMs, though? Not as doable.

    Also, while work is work and workers should be paid… doesn’t that also apply to the players? Because while some games of D&D are linear, on-rails experiences where the players contribute very little of substance to the actual story and campaign, there are a great many where the players play a major role in shaping what course the campaign takes.

    In my opinion, D&D is at its best when it is deeply collaborative, and the DM and players work together to craft the campaign as a group – and at that point, how do you try to factor “payment” into things? Does the DM pay their players in turn?

    How do you weigh the monetary value of a player’s dramatic character choices, or the quality of their roleplaying? Do player “wages” just get deducted from what they are paying the DM? Does a player who has an off night suddenly have to pay the DM more to compensate for their mediocre performance? If a player has to miss a session, what does that mean for everything?

    People are of course free to try to make money off DMing… but boy, is it not a simple issue with easy answers! And the prevalence of dedicated hobbyists offering comparable services for free makes it hard to compete from the outset.

  2. I have tried a pay to play game, and frankly I was quite disappointed. The DM was flakey in terms of actually showing up, and I got the impression she wanted to tell her story through the players. Rather than the other way round. The rules and expectations weren’t clear either. All together a not great experience. That said, I put a great deal of time and effort into running a good game that the players will remember. I have asked for donations for certain things, like my one time purchase of Fantasy Grounds so we can still play remotely. If one is going to charge, one should be prepared to run a pretty awesome game is my take away.

  3. FairDM says:

    It’s not a terrible idea. It all depends on what the players are getting I suppose. I personally don’t charge my players, but I do have some expenses. Books aren’t free. Spare dice to loan players when they forget theirs. My 3d printer and materials for it to create 3d playable locations. And the time creating and then painting this all. Snacks, beverages, use of my home space. Would it really be a bad thing to charge a meager fee? Especially if the DM was strapped for cash. Why not share the costs of all these things?

  4. Dragonfly says:

    Well FairDM you ask a fair question but for me and my group we take turns DMing and hosting the game and no has come without buying dice and a miniature. We all share the cost in the sense we all spent the same amount of cash. We loan each other miniatures and bring the food to whomever is hosting. I am not rich and I have been so poor I could not afford three meals a day in the past. I understand being strapped for cash. I would be worried that someone has the same financial problems I did and if I asked would be putting someone else out. What if someone is embarrassed they can’t chip in and don’t play? I get enjoyment from dming and playing and I would not be able to do either with out enough players. So I wouldn’t think it would be fair for players who also have expenses and take time out to learn rules, make characters, and attend the game should pay for my time and effort. I mean it’s harder, takes more time, and cost more but I don’t understand the idea of sharing the cost of a hobby I enjoy. I don’t condemn it, I just don’t understand it. But then I dm for my friends not for customers.

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