This post is automated – Thirdwaller is taking some time away for a family emergency!
Disputes at the table can be intimidating to a game masters – rookies and veterans alike. Many is the failed campaign that can attest that disputes can be treacherous ground – capable of tearing an entire gaming group apart. In fact, a particular rules dispute in Thirdwaller’s very first attempt at running a Star Wars campaign in 9th grade has forever tainted the opinion of one player such that he will not game with Thirdwaller as a game master anymore.
But what is a game master to do when the rules don’t cover a topic – or a player more versed in the rules (looking at you, The Fez) has a different interpretation of the rules? How the game master handles the interaction is almost as important as the ruling made. Handling a dispute correctly will show the players that the game master wants and respect their feedback, that they’re open to the player’s opinions and that the game master is not “out to get” the players. In other words, how you react to your players’ questions, problems or disputes will tell them you aren’t a d!ck game master.
In the first part of our multi-part series on The Golden Rule we’ll discuss a dispute handling philosophy we call “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick“.