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This is my third campaign with a DM. He enforces these rules:

  1. Only races from PHB 1 are permitted
  2. Only classes from PHB 1 are permitted at 1st level
  3. Cross-Classing is not permitted until 6th level
  4. The only races allowed are: Hill Dwarves, Elves (High, Drow), Rock Gnomes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, and Humans.
  5. The only classes allowed at 1st level are: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard.

Those are the only races and classes I have seen him accept. When I ask if I can use a psionic race or a PHB2 race I'm shut down with a blunt “No.” I have asked to make a Psychic Warrior several times and every time I was shut down with either a “No” or “You are just gonna exploit the class.”

He seems to really dislike psionics. He finally allowed psionics after I argued for it, but then the character I made started getting targeted a lot! I almost lost my character.

Before you say “Well, shucks, why don't you talk to the guy” — I have tried, but he just says “I know there are exploits and this way no-one can use exploits.” That's great and really okay reasoning, except that my character under these rules can still crit over 60 damage and does practically double the damage he should be doing if he hits.

I'm OK with the whole “you cannot Cross-Class until level 6” thing, but it ends up with half the party being weapon-based except for one spellcaster. I find that a bit too dull, so I try to liven things up by making my characters as radical as possible in their back-stories (psychopathic characters, a character that believes he's god, a character so goody-goody it hurts to RP him, etc.) but it just doesn't seem to work — I still find the lack of diversity of class/race dull.

He says to write long back-stories, but he has complained about mine to other players. In the setup for the latest game, a fellow player sent me a message saying “The DM says your back-story needs a rework.” My reply was, “He didn't say it to me?” Then the DM messages me with “Yeah you back-story is shit.”

On top of all that:

  • we have a problem player who complains about the game
  • we don't actively get to play D&D that often because…
  • its always me trying to get a game started, since I'm the only one with a “Let's get organised and play D&D” attitude.

What are the best options for dealing with this DM?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question now appears to be legit and on-topic. The question (how to deal with the DM) is what the existing questions addressed. Please proceed normally, answer or don't. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 12 '15 at 17:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only use comments for clarification of the question please. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Aug 12 '15 at 18:52
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You can't change your GM, you can only change yourself

There's no solution to this. Your GM is not doing anything wrong - he's made some rules that (presumably) the other players at the table are on board with, in order to maintain the level of character power and rules complexity that he's comfortable GMing for. No GM is ever under the obligation to open up the entire library of D&D books for every campaign they run. It's a problem for you, because you want more options.

So, your options are three:

  1. If you're enjoying the game, there's no reason to make a storm over it. Stay in the group. Accept the GMs rules. Complaining and struggling will only make the game less fun for you, the other players, and eventually burn the GM out.

  2. If you aren't having fun, Ask the rest of the players if they would rather play with the wider library. If the GM is alone in wanting to restrict the rulebooks, bring it up as a group. There is strength in numbers. Remember to be civil, though; the GM has a lot of responsibility in running the game, and may need a few extra rules to feel safe doing that. Even if all of you agree, that doesn't mean you're 100% right.

  3. If that fails, find someone else to GM (or GM yourself) and start a new group.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Whilst your answer does answer my question. There is actively no power balance: 2 players cannot hit anything (one of them is the wizard who actively avoided combat in the first game and the second game only used his crossbow) then you have me and another player who actively one shots every thing, then you have a Heavy armor archer and a warrior with a dog. And whilst the story is a great idea. Each encounter we face enemies with AC of 18 to 22. But I will try to see the game through because the story is great. I will bring it up with the others when I can. Thanks and Ps I never complain to DM \$\endgroup\$ – Pallas Aug 1 '15 at 20:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pallas: It's true that the core rules in the PHB are some of the least-balanced. However, the important part is that your GM only knows how to build encounters for parties that consist of races/classes from the PHB. He is used to dealing with the inconsistencies in relative power that emerge in PHB-only built parties. Even though it doesn't make sense from an objective perspective, it makes sense to the GM because, to put it shortly, he can't make sense of any other rules. It also sounds like he has either fallen to ill rumors or had a crummy campaign in the past with splatbook characters. \$\endgroup\$ – Lucas Leblanc Aug 12 '15 at 20:51
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In a nutshell, your good choices boil down to:

  • Accept it, get right with it, and play constructively in the framework the GM puts down. He may have a good reason for imposing those restrictions. He may not. He's the GM.
  • Don't accept it, and walk. This includes running your own game.
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You've listed three separate things, but they all point the same way:

1) The DM doesn't let you build characters the way you want

2) The DM "targets" your character

3) The DM wants you to change things, doesn't tell it to you directly, and calls it "shit"

The answer is stop playing with this person. They aren't running a game you're interested in, you're being "punished" for things that he said was ok, and he's not good at communicating what he wants.

As far as what you've described, there's nothing here you want. Move on, find a group who wants the kind of play you want.

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