Anyone who has had the balls to run a campaign has my admiration and respect. I still get butterflies when I take position behind the screen and I don’t think I’ll ever be perfectly comfortable in the DM chair. With that said, the relationship between Dungeon Master and Player Characters is a delicate one. It can be tipped by even the slightest change: ambushing bandits who have intimate knowledge of PC abilities, meta-gamey spell selection that strikes at the weakness of the DM’s chosen monster, the knowledge role that seems perfectly adequate to a PC, but is just a hair shy of the necessary requirement for the DM, are all prime examples of situations that can jostle the relationship between PC and DM to a point of resentment. But even more than this, perhaps the most frustrating and otherwise infuriating situation during game play is when a PC presses the Win Button.
What is the Win Button? Glad you asked. The Win Button is an action that brings any conflict to a halt before it has begun. This is generally a spell or spell-like ability that gives the PC’s such an overwhelming advantage that continuing the battle seems…well pointless. So why is this frustrating for your DM? Anyone who has worn the crown knows that running a campaign (especially a home-grown one) is taxing and often takes up more time than what is spent at the gaming table. Simply put, your DM has planned and plotted and schemed to create a world for you to play in, built characters and scenarios in an attempt to bring you some quality fun (this of course assumes a decent DM). Many encounters in-game have been sculpted to create tension or drama necessary for story development. When all of that effort becomes inconsequential in the blink of an eye it is unbelievably hard not to resent the PCs. I am NOT saying that this situation is the PC’s fault, after all, your job as a Player Character is to find a Win Button. What I am saying is that though it is not your fault…your DM will hate you for it. So, if it seems like your DM is a little touchy after you’ve dominated his high level fighter, or used freedom of movement to render the grappling creature useless, try to understand that if this wasn’t a foreseen conclusion you as a PC have just managed to take hours of careful planning and condense it into less than five seconds. So from the bottom of my heart as a DM – kudos…and I HATE YOU!
You have probably noticed I have not mentioned how frustrating it is when the DM presses the Win Button. The reason I haven’t is because a DM has complete control of what happens. There but for the grace of the Dungeon Master go Player Characters. The classic line, “rocks fall, you die,” is always at the tip of the DM tongue, and if your Dungeon Master presses that button deliberately, then I humbly suggest you light them on fire and send them to hell for their overwhelming dicketry.