A DM’s judgement is the final authority in the game.
But if the DM is not running the game for the enjoyment of their players, then why are they running it at all?
Saw this quote in a discussion forum talking about D&D rules. Sage advice, that.
It boggles my mind when I see people telling stories of how un-fun their DM is. Like the one where he’d put the party up against too powerful opponents, calls every one of their skill checks failures, then, when it’s obvious the party is overmatched, would bring in his favorite overpowered NPC to save the day and wipe out the baddies. And not once or twice, but regularly.
How is that fun?
Or, to be precise, how is that fun for anyone other than the power-mad Dungeon Master?
I’m the DM for my group, mostly by default. (I’m the one who works to keep the group together; without me, there would be no group.) That’s okay. To me, the most important thing is for everybody at the table to have fun.
I’ve had sessions where the party did not follow up on any of my carefully crafted clues, or ignored several (what I thought were obvious) adventure hooks. I’ve had sessions that were a TPK. I’ve had sessions with what I thought were challenging encounters leave the characters barely breathing hard.
But when everyone is laughing and having a good time, that’s a good gaming session, whether or not it advanced the plot in my grand epic storyline that only I know. And I suppose I’m doing okay, because every member of my gaming group (except my teenage daughter) is married with kids of their own. They have plenty of other things they can be doing. That they want to spend their afternoon with me is the best compliment I can receive.