Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So we started a new game tonight, and only an hour in I was bored out of my brain. The GM kept ranting about where each of our characters were from, the heritage of the area, etc. It could be argued that he was trying to immerse us, but all I saw it as was character development, which we had already done. The GM also went on about the specifics of the world we were on, including land mass, total world population, resources etc. That may have all been relevant for all I know, but at the time it seemed like a bit too much information.

When we finally did get into the game though, all the information we were given, and the information we were required to give, was all too specific. We had to wrestle even a general depiction of a single building on a street, to the point where all I could imagine was this one building, and nothing else. And then from this basic outline, we had to find "the right way in". It was too much effort for our first mission and it really wasn't pulling me in at all.

The other issue is that his information is a bit off. None of us noticed at first, because we were constantly fighting to try and get a general idea of our surroundings, but the information on the town said there were the same number of people as in this one building.

How can I deal with this? Is there anything I can say exactly to get a more general description of an area, and try to portray my intentions a bit clearer for the GM to try and meet me halfway?

share|improve this question
Relephant – wax eagle Jul 21 '14 at 13:11
Welcome - great first question :) – Wibbs Jul 21 '14 at 13:22
up vote 16 down vote accepted

The first thing to be absolutely certain of is how many of the rest of the group feel the same way you do. If you find that it is just you and maybe one or two others, then the solution becomes a little trickier, as presumably there are players who are happy with the way the GM is describing things. In this case, I find that addressing it as a group is the best way, as you will need to come to some kind of compromise. Otherwise the decision as to whether to approach the GM en masse is more difficult, and can depend on how likely they are be defensive about the situation.

I would have the discussion either before or after a session and not during, as this allows it to be focused on the situation rather than it interrupting play. You will need to try to avoid being confrontational, and frame the discussion as a way of coming to an agreement that everyone is happy with. Be clear and specific about the aspects of the GMing that you were unhappy with, and be ready with suggestions as to how things can be done differently.

You may find that the GM has absolutely no idea about the issue and will welcome a constructive discussion. However, you may find that the aspects you have issues with are the same things that they enjoy about GMing. If they have spent a long time building the world and working out the fine details, then it is only natural for them to want to share that with the group. In this case, you will need to work towards a solution where those details are handed out appropriately rather than shovelled down your throat. How you do this can depend massively on the group, the system and the specific campaign. You might suggest that they use written handouts with background information that people can read if and when they want to. Some groups make use of wikis, or other information repositories.

At the end of the day, you need to talk to the GM, and doing so outside of play is the best way, as it seems to be an issue that is coming up over and over again. Be gentle but firm, and not confrontational, and be open to compromise.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the input. Hopefully I can take this to him and try to work out a middle ground. I think as GM he does want to challenge us, but it's usually at the end of the work day and all I want to do is have a bit of fun, rather than spending extra effort trying to unlock the puzzles to access basic information. – Ben Jul 21 '14 at 13:58
Another important point - Give it more time. New groups take a while to "find their rhythm" and first sessions (at least in my experience) tend to be slower and deal more with background and descriptions than a standard mid-campaign session. I'd wait for another session or two before addressing the subject - things may improve on their own and in that case you avoid a probably long and potentially unpleasant conversation cutting on the group's game time. – G0BLiN Jul 21 '14 at 16:01
Also, +1 on how to defuse what may be a loaded situation. – G0BLiN Jul 21 '14 at 16:02
Oh wow the best post I've ever seen on this stack. Extremely scientific in the methodology, no quoting that overly used Making the right decision, and not a single mention of "Find other players". It's all about trying to find the best solution and how to do it. Just BRAVO. – Saffron Jul 22 '14 at 7:57

When I run into a situation like this, I tell the GM / Table that the description is too complicated for me, and that I need a map or picture to look at. Or ask if they can simplify it.

Normally, this results in them "dumbing it down" enough for me that I don't get bored.

share|improve this answer
This is a good idea, some of the people in the group have some issues visualising the areas sometimes :) thanks – Ben Jul 21 '14 at 13:56

Some good answers so far about how you as a player should react, but as a GM who has faced similar situations from the other side of the table, here are some ideas of the underlying problem.

In my experience this kind of situation happens if the GM is not prepared enough for the game session, or prepared with completely wrong emphasis. I'm used to having not enough time for preparation and often improvising as a GM, which results in me having unbalanced information, e.g. I have a ton of information ready about the first scene, but almost no clear idea of the next scene - so I will go on ranting about the first scene and playing for time, somehow keeping the players entertained while figuring out the next scene... A strong indicator for this is the number of people in the city vs. in one building - sounds a lot like some of my improvised sessions going south.

If the GM has enough preparations for the whole evening, it is usually no problem - if a scene drags on or the players seem bored, you just pick up the pace, go to the next scene or throw in some random extras/characters to keep the bored player in the game. Of course this is a difficult topic to talk about with the GM, and maybe I'm wrong and the GM just likes a different playstyle or something else. But especially if your GM is a little short on time and seems a little stressed at the beginning of a session, you could think about asking him if he wants additional time for preparation while the players play a short round of cards or Wii, this will cost you maybe 30min at the beginning of your session, but you will get a more consistent storyline and a relaxed GM

share|improve this answer

You list a lot of issues, but the one that stands out to me as the giant, blaring red flag is, "only an hour in I was bored out of my brain."

You weren't bored because folks were busy making characters and you were waiting on them. You weren't bored because everyone was goofing off and the game was taking time to start.

You were bored because the game itself (as it was being run) was boring to you.

We could talk about whether this is a matter of the GM's style not matching your own, or if the GM really needs to work into better communication skills, but either way, it sounds like it's not the game for you. If the GM needs to improve, you don't have to be the test dummy for that, especially since roleplaying games are often a large time investment and for all we know, the GM isn't even interested in changing.

If I read a book that is boring, I don't keep reading the author's books hoping it'll get better - I move on. Likewise, it sounds like this GM has nothing for you, so you should thank them for the time and move on to someone else who fits with what you want.

share|improve this answer
I think this is good advice, if and only if talking to the GM doesn't work. The question gives no information about how experienced the GM is or anything like that, and making an assumption that the situation is not rescuable before an attempt is made to even broach the subject with them is made is wrong in my opinion – Wibbs Jul 21 '14 at 22:50
The OP states that several of the players were asking for clarifications and still not getting much headway with it. That doesn't seem to me to be a "rescueable" situation within a reasonable amount of time given that the point is to play a game and not rehabilitate someone's communication skills. – user9935 Jul 21 '14 at 22:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.