My question: How would you, as an experienced role-player, deal with this situation?
I was recently invited to join a 4e startup goup. I've RP'd a fair bit in my day, but not in decades, and never D&D.
To prepare I pick up a PHB1 and research my race, class, and role. Since I am the group's tank I take it upon myself to be as prepared as I can be. I also purchase the DM a deluxe screen as a show of goodwill (he needed one, Amazon had them on sale, no biggie).
I create my character using PHB1 only, as per DM's request.
In the days leading up to our first session the DM and I often chat electronically. Lots of enthusiasm. At the DM's request I write an EXTENSIVE back-story for my character. DM seems extremely appreciative and excited.
First session, I use a Charge. DM decrees that Charge functions differently than what I thought I read. I go along with it, but take note to inquire afterward. I then use Combat Challenge to "mark" a few opponents. Again, DM decrees that this ability functions differently than what I thought I read. Rinse and repeat with a few more of my abilities. Note that at no time does the DM explain to me that these abilities are intentionally being "house ruled". He simply says "no...Charge doesn't work that way. It works this way". I assume that I misread.
Session ends, all good, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, myself included.
That evening, away from the table, I research my abilities further and see that I had understood them correctly. Wanting clarification, I send the DM a polite email. Being a noob without experience to fall back on, I cite an example on the WotC message board. In the DM's reply, I notice an immediate change of tone. I am called a "rules lawyer".
At this point I have never heard of the term "rules lawyer".
DM goes on to type that it's his "table" and he "doesn't have to listen to what wizards say on message boards". In my head I'm like, whoa, dude, I was only asking for clarification here. But I respond "Thanks! See you next session".
Over the next few days he initiates electronic chat (game related) with me many times. Enthusiasm returns, I figure I must have misunderstood the previous exchange altogether.
I ask a few more questions. Like, what source materials we are limited to going forward, and for a clear definition on how core abilities function (because hey, I'm excited, I'm interested, I'm looking ahead and planning out my character long-term. If I only get 1 OA per round, I'm probably going to stay away from OA feats).
DM types "Christ almighty man you're taking the fun out of this game"
This time I respond: "whoa, dude, I'm only asking for clarification here"
DM goes on a rant about how he doesn't want the game to get bogged down by rules, how he doesn't want min/maxing, how role-playing is far more important than stats etc. etc. etc.
I don't argue, I just say "OK man, my bad". But in my head I'm like...I was the only player to create a back story. It was 5 pages long. And I'm being slapped about being too focused on stats? When I'm just asking for clarification on how my core class abilities are being house-ruled?
Now, it's days later and I've lost all enthusiasm for my character, his back story, the campaign, my role, my build, everything. I'm ready to bail.
Here are the options I see:
- Press the reset button on everything and go to the next session as a casual player. Don't read the cards, just ask the DM how my abilities work before using them (not sarcastically). Forget how I've been slapped down by someone I've just met and am supposed to be having fun with.
- Bail from this group. Take what I've learned and find another group.
- Realize that D&D is apparently too nebulous for me, and go back to board games.
Advice would be appreciated!