Hipsters & Dragons

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How Not To Be A Really Annoying Player

Beyond finding the treasure, rescuing the princess, and saving the village / town / nation / world, every game of Dungeons and Dragons has a higher goal… that everyone playing has fun. In that sense D&D is very much a team sport, dependent on the co-operation of all gathered. As such it can quickly be ruined, or impaired, by someone that doesn’t buy into the team mentality, usually because they want, consciously or subconsciously, for the game to revolve around them.

Just like a game of soccer can be spoiled by a Lionel Messi wannabe who attempts to take on the entire opposition and shoot every time he gets the ball, a game of D&D can quickly be compromised by a selfish player who monopolises the DM’s attention and tries to take control of everything from the party’s strategy and decision making, to NPC interactions and combat scenarios. Whether that Messi wannabe has the skills to back up their selfishness is besides the point (in soccer at least they invariably don’t!); because by their singular approach, this one person excludes the other party members from playing a full role, reducing them to spectators for much of the session.

Partly for cathartic reasons, partly for educational ones (feel free to subtly share this with any friends who are guilty of one or two of the misdemeanours below!) and partly to remind myself to improve my own gaming behaviour (as I’ve ticked off most of the below in my time!) I’ve compiled this list of specific things that players do which the game could really do without.

One type of annoying player… according to Dorkly.

So without further ado, let’s take a look. Which of these bad gaming etiquette traits are you guilty of?

10+ Things Annoying Players Do in D&D

1. Control Familiars, Pets, Steeds, Henchmen

For many it’s one of Dungeons & Dragons most loved spells, but my number one pet peeve in the game is the Find Familiar spell as it’s a massive time sink, especially in the hands of someone who constantly abuses it. Much of D&D is waiting for your fellow party members to act, and that’s fine, but when someone’s turn consistently takes twice as long to act because they are commanding their pet hawk / bat / cat / guinea pig / woodlouse to perform some additional task I start to think how much better this adventure would be without the animal in question. Familiars also are also a massive cop out for most adventurers, allowing parties to scout way too easily, possibly infringing on the rogue’s role (see point 3. below) and perform a host of minor tasks without character involvement or risk. Worse still than familiars however are creatures that PCs control that get an attack. Do I really want to spend my precious Sunday afternoons watching someone roll dice to see if their warhorse or henchman scores a crappy hit? Unless it’s a solo campaign, I really think the game is much better when players control nothing other than their players…

2. Start A Fight At Every Opportunity

We get it. You’re a real tough guy. Everyone should be quaking in their boots the minute your half orc barbarian walks into the tavern with his two handed axe. You’ve written “quick to anger” on your character sheet just to make sure that it’s perfectly ok to start a fight at every single opportunity… except it isn’t. It’s really fucking dull, and it negates any opportunity for people with actual roleplaying skills to negotiate, charm, deceive, flirt, banter, or beguile with NPCs – which you may not realise it, is what some people actually most enjoy about D&D. Just because you’ve built a character for combat doesn’t mean you should reduce every D&D encounter to a combat situation as soon as possible (nor does it make you real world tough by the way, just in case you’re confused). For one thing it’s plain ridiculous. Even in more lawless times very few people drew swords the moment an insult was exchanged… and if they did they wouldn’t live very long. Nor would your character if I was DM. For another thing it is just plain downright selfish to those PCs with non combat skills. In every adventure I’ve ever played in 75% of encounters are combat anyway, so there’s really no need to bring the remaining 25% down to your level.

3. Usurp Others’ Jobs

Since the very beginning D&D was engineered to be a team game, with each player bringing something to the table, dictated to a large extent by which character class they choose to play. For sneaking around and disarming traps there’s the rogue, for healing and turning undead the cleric, for mass damage and special effects there’s the wizard, and for hand to hand combat and sucking up damage there’s the fighter. It’s part of what makes D&D so much fun, because – at least in a well-balanced adventure – every character gets their moment(s) in the spotlight. There are few things more frustrating then than the player who insists on performing multiple roles, especially if in doing so they tread on the feet of the other PCs. If you’re the party’s fighter don’t try to be the guy that sneaks round the back to take out the guard, even if you have Stealth proficiency: let the rogue do his job. Similarly if you’re a barbarian with Intelligence 8 don’t take advantage of the game mechanics and declare “I roll Arcana” the moment magic happens… let the sorcerer or warlock have their moment in the sun. Bear this in mind especially if / when you start multiclassing. I for example currently play an assassin / wizard, and whilst I do have fireball in my spellbook, unless I’m predicting a particularly tough day in the office, I rarely prepare it, because doing mass damage to a rank of foes is the sorcerer’s job in our party. Rather I use my spells to enhance my character’s role as the Rogue.

4. Constantly Call For A Roll (Especially At The Wrong Time)

This one annoys me both as a player and as a DM… a player interrupts proceedings to loudly shout “I roll Insight / Arcana / History” and then clatters his dice over the table with the expectancy of being told something on a high roll. First of all a player should never declare he is rolling, they are not the games master… they should start by asking the DM if it’s appropriate to roll a skills check. But first of all they should wait as long as possible to allow the roleplaying in question to pan out. If for example the DM, speaking as an NPC, is acting out a conversation with another PC in your party, then let them talk it out as much as possible and see if this NPC seems trustworthy by, you know, roleplaying. Rolling dice and demanding answers is the crudest way to play your characters, and certainly should never interrupt gameplay.

5. Don’t Accept That Shit Can Happen To Them

This annoys me more when I’m the DM, but it can come into effect as a player too if refusal to accept a bad outcome ends up in a lengthy argument between PC and DM that wastes gameplay time. If bad shit happens to your character accept it without too much fuss. Speaking from my personal experience, it can be really irritating when it happens to you, especially if you feel the DM hasn’t judged the situation well or enforced the rules properly, but ultimately a large part of the fun of D&D is the risk of your character dying, so certainly things like being injured, maimed or weakened should be water off your feathered back. If you want a narrative where your character succeeds every time at everything and is all powerful then stay at home and play with yourself. Certainly don’t get in a sulk and a protracted argument with the DM that wastes everyone else’s time.

6. Play Disruptive Characters (Then Justify It As “Roleplaying”)

If your favourite alignment is Chaotic Neutral then no need to wonder who the dick on the table is… it’s you. Chaotic Neutral is the alignment the worst type of players invariably choose because it allows them to do what the fuck they want whenever they want, without doing anything as difficult as roleplaying a realistic character. Instead they can just respond on a whim to situations in order to get the best advantage of themselves without abiding by any consistency of behaviour. In fact many Chaotic Neutral players will insist that their character’s dick moves are in fact testament to their brilliant roleplaying because stealing the ally’s magical weapons or starting a bar fight for no reason is exactly what a Chaotic Neutral person would do. What they fail to see is that manufacturing a character in order to give themselves carte blanche to be a dick is even worse than just being a dick. In general PCs that are disruptive to the the rest of the party’s goals are incredibly frustrating for fellow players and DMs, usually selfishly choosing their own sense of what’s entertaining at the expense of everyone else’s.

(Castles and Cooks say it best: you don’t have to pickpocket every NPC. The inn is perfectly fine without you setting it on fire. It doesn’t matter how “cool it sounds”… Betraying your fellow adventurers for the fun of it does not make you awesome. The name for this behavior is Chaotic Stupid, and it sucks).

7. Powergame

Powergaming is of course the practice of min. / maxing all your attributes, and selecting your skills and feats to be as powerful as possible, especially in combat. Whilst a little powergaming is rarely too damaging in itself, it’s often symptomatic of someone who is going to try to steal the limelight and do everything themselves. Someone who is trying “to win D&D” as if it were a board game. The real danger here is if someone, whilst sharing the same level as other PCs in the group, has managed to make their character grossly overpowered, then it may leave other players with less to do or feeling redundant. If you catch yourself powergaming either in the character creation process, or as you level up, then start to focus instead on who your character is instead, and determine your attributes and skills based on their personality and life story, not what is going to give you the best possible damage modifier in combat.

8. Cheat (By Actively Metagaming)

Metagaming, as I’m sure you know (if you read any roleplaying blogs), is when you act on your personal knowledge of the game’s rules and mechanics, above and beyond what your character knows. It’s almost inevitable to some extent, and it can actually be tedious not to metagame at times (for example it’s usually much easier to assume that something an NPC tells one PC in private gets relayed to the rest of the party than have to act out the charade every time it happens), but it can also be abused. What I would call “active Metagaming” should be strongly discouraged. This could be doing something illogical or outrageously out of character because it confers an advantage, when you know something your character doesn’t, or for example deliberately checking the Monster Manual in between sessions to find out a foe’s prepared spells or weaknesses. It is basically cheating and can take a lot of fun out of the game for everyone – including the person that does it.

9. Get Drunk / Wasted

(I have a feeling this one just applies only to my specific group of hedonists in Barcelona! Take note guys!). Just like playing football with someone who is struggling to control the ball quickly becomes really tedious, so is roleplaying with someone who’s crossed the line of being tipsy into drunk. Communication slows down, situations have to be explained again and again, there’s a lot of shouting over one another, and arguing with the DM, as well as a lot of reckless decisions that don’t make any sense in the context of the game and break the illusion of reality you have tried to create as a group. Tea on the other hand is awesome.

10. Mistake Themselves For The Dungeon Master

This often happens when one or more players know the rules better than the Dungeon Master in session, and therefore they constantly intervene to contradict and overrule said DM’s decisions. It’s perfectly ok to point out the rules from time to time, but often a DM makes a decision based on his judgement of the scenario that effect A causes effect B to happen, and trying to argue it doesn’t because you haven’t used your Bonus Action yet is all a bit petty and trite. A sense of logic and realism is always more important that the wording of the rules and, even if you don’t agree with the DM, it’s definitely not your job to arbitrate what happens, rulebook in hand. Furthermore players who constantly badger and petition the DM for breaks or situational advantages are almost certainly doing so to the detriment of the rest of the party, who are operating under the same circumstances but are polite enough not to spend the whole session whining / arguing about it.

No, no, and thrice no…

11. Take Forever On Their Turn

You know the scenario. Goblin arrows are raining from the sky, orcs are piling over the parapet, and a monstrous ettin is bearing down on the party, spiked club in hand. The heat of battle is furnace-like in its intensity, the time for action is now – there’s no time to think. Only one player is leafing through the Player’s Handbook for the best possible spell to utilise. No not this one. Maybe this one. What’s the range again? Then he suddenly remembers his new feat could come in handy. Or is it a 5th level character ability? I’ll just look it up. Cue eyerolls. You know what instead of a normal attack action I’m going to use Acrobatics to [insert outrageously improbable trick] and appear behind the ettin so I get advantage on my roll. Just to get it over with the DM consents and the player’s turn is finally over… surely? Wait, I still have half of my movement left and my bonus action! Please God, make it stop! Ok and now it’s my warhorse’s turn. He breaks free of his reins in the stables and bursts into the courtyard and tramples on the nearest orcs as he makes his way towards me…. If you recognise yourself reading this, please change yourself! Whilst considering your options in combat is one of the fun dilemmas of any D&D session, there needs to be some respect for time both in terms of realism (snap decisions!) and basic respect for your fellow gamers. Meanwhile memorising your commonly used spells and abilities can save a lot of faffing around during the time-limited Sunday sessions you and your friends have to play D&D.

Agree with this list? What other annoying things do characters on your table do? What is the best way to discourage them from doing them in future?

Apart from avoiding the above, I’ll be back with a list of awesome things you should do to make yourself a better gamer very soon! Update… it’s live.

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23 Comments

  1. Shannon String

    If you are a good DM you can counter act any these problems by story. If the person like to fight everything then write it in the adventure( maybe someone you beat up or killed has high powered family that seeks revenge ?) . Familiars is not a cop out give them quirks or make them a part of the story ( ex : maybe the hawk is a spirit of a imprison maiden? ) I think most younger DM’s make the mistake of thinking its “their ” game, when really it belongs to the players as well.

    • duncan

      Hi Shannon, you’re right in that D&D is a space for players to express themselves, and DMs should allow them to do so as much as possible… provided that in doing so they don’t monopolise the game and impeach on other people’s fun by taking up an unreasonable amount of playing time.

      The problem with familiars is they, almost without fail, lead to one person taking twice as long, which is unfair on other players. It is even worse when it performs a task that a player could have done. Standing around watching Jerry the Gerbil stealth down the corridor when you’re a rogue is pretty much as depressing as it gets in terms of playing D&D. No one wants to be usurped by an NPC rodent.

      By the way, most of the complaints here are voiced from a player perspective, not a DM’s perspective.

      Regarding a player who wants to fight everything… should four people have to accommodate their (dumbed down, IMHO) version of the game? DM David has some good advice on this matter…

      https://dmdavid.com/tag/what-to-do-when-a-player-interrupts-a-role-playing-scene-to-start-a-battle/

  2. Brian

    Excellent list! There was one issue that I had, however.

    “First of all a player should never declare he is rolling, they are not the games master… they should start by asking the DM if it’s appropriate to roll a skills check.”

    I disagree with this completely. As you said in this very article, a sense of logic and realism should triumph, so what is actually stopping a PC from attempting a skill whenever they want? Looking at it realistically, when I decide I want to attempt something in real life, do I first have to look to the sky and ask God if this an appropriate time to attempt one of my skills before I’m allowed to try it?

    As a DM, I always encourage my players to take initiative when it comes to making skill checks, but that doesn’t mean I never call for them myself. Of course, I’m careful to temper this as well. In the majority of cases, any skill checks made that aren’t called for will be “dead rolls”, or rolls that won’t produce anything of value, even on a nat 20, and I make this known beforehand. Sometimes skill checks just aren’t appropriate, or there simply isn’t anything there to see, hear, know, etc. However, they’re still allowed to make them, since there isn’t anything that could realistically stop them.

    In my experience, I don’t normally have the problem with players spamming skill checks all of the time, whether it’s because they know they’ll tend to be worthless or for some other reason. I just don’t want to tell a PC that they can’t do something that they realistically should be able to do.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • duncan

      Hi Brian, hmmm, fair enough… this became something of a pet peeve of mine when a friend I played with would constantly interrupt the DM to say “I roll insight” or whatever, breaking the narrative as the other PCs tried to listen and let the situation unfold. Out of politeness if nothing else.

      For me it’s still jars even at the appropriate time, just as I don’t feel it’s good gaming etiquette. I think it’s better to say. “Can I roll insight to see if he’s lying?” Or otherwise describe what you’d like to do, eg.:

      PC: I want to check the letter to see if I can spot if it’s been tampered with or there is a hidden message.

      DM: Ok, make an Investigation check.

      NOT

      PC: I roll Perception to see if the letter has been tampered with *clatters dice on table*.

      In the former example the PC also knows if they have the DM’s attention and that they are using the right skill for the check… in the latter the DM might be listening to someone else, not paying attention to the roll (meaning the PC may be tempted to gather up the dice if they don’t like the roll), or they might feel another skill is required.

      I see what you mean about player agency, but I guess the point is… yes you should be able to try anything your PC is capable of trying, but you should wait until the DM is paying attention, and I also prefer to let the DM call the nature of the skill check – and set the DC, when appropriate.

      Cheers!

      d

    • Sean

      Brian, I respectfully disagree. This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves and I’m a PC, not a DM. Nothing is stopping someone from saying “I check the room for traps or secret doors”, anyone can do that. It is up to the DM to decide what happens next. If requested, a roll is to determine if anything is identified (not to determine if you actually look around the room). The DM may decide not to request a roll because their is no point, or there is something that the DM does not want the players to find, for whatever reason. The way I see it, the PC should never request a roll of anything. You simply play the game and rolls will be requested of you depending on the situation, as the DM is the one aware of the game mechanics and has access to the information that the player is seeking. Just my opinion on it.

  3. Brant

    It’s frustrating playing a wizard with great area-of-effect spells and then watching other party members charge into melee in the same area you want to target.

    • duncan

      haha, yeah I can imagine. You could discuss some battle strategies before your next combat, or if the rest of your party are dead set on charging in the minute the bad guys show up, then you could take the Alert feat. Plus 5 to initiative is usually enough to make sure you go first more often than not!

  4. Nightshade

    We have a player in our group who is “the strategist”. Before battle begins he’s always talking for 20 minutes about the best strategy, even if this is technically the surprise round. If the resulting plan works well, he’s brilliant; if it fails, it’s our fault somehow. Worse, he’s also #1 — he always plays a spellcaster, and if his class doesn’t get Find Familiar, you bet he’s getting Ritual Caster and adding that spell to his list. In one game he made it his entire motivation to find the materials required to cast this spell (and then, in an ironic turn of events, got frustrated with his character and committed suicide during the following session).

    My only thought on how to deal with this guy is to get a minute hourglass and use it. Everyone has *one minute* on their turn (or during the surprise round as a whole) to figure out what to do, and if they haven’t taken their turns, they don’t get one.

    This is largely a decision based in frustration as both my husband and I are DnD veterans (12 years playing) and our group is entirely new. We met them just a few months ago and they’re still learning. At one point we were in a party of 8 and it took 20 minutes for a single round of battle. My husband and I, though? Our turns were over in 30 seconds or so, because we know what we’re doing and can get it done.

    • duncan

      Oh no! Sounds like a bit of a ‘mare. New players of course need some time to work these kind of things out, but I do think an hourglass / egg timer is a decent idea… I was close to buying one myself for a problem player in our group. If you do go that route then try to broke the situation gently as possible, so as not to ruffle feathers or make a player feel victimised.

      In general I feel the DM has to take the final responsibility of keeping players on point, and you could also have a quiet word with them about your concerns that a lot of game time is being used up unnecessarily.

      Hopefully with a bit of diplomacy and discussion you can move forward to a better game experience for all!

      d

  5. Nice post ! You choosing the excellent list about annoying players in D&D dice games. Because most of the players should never declare they are rolling or not during playing.

    • duncan

      That’s my feeling Anthony, although you’ll notice Brian (in the comments above) did have an interesting counterpoint.

  6. Vlad Taltos

    I play a rogue who is CN and has the back story to justify his actions. Doing my own thing is the only option in a campaign where the other players do nothing but rush into rooms to kill anything that moves. It makes my skills useless so occasionally I will head off in another direction looking for treasure or something else to do. I played this exact same character in another campaign and was actually used as a supporting member of the party. CN is not stupid, it just allows you to be a narcissistic sociopath. If you do it right it can be beneficial, and other times you can be annoying. Every alignment has its place. Do you think LG is fun to have in a party?

    • duncan

      Hi Vlad, I think Lawful Good is one of the most interesting alignments, if not the most interesting, because it forces you to roleplay… having LG PCs creates dilemmas and interesting situations. You could cast fireball on the thief, but you might kill an innocent bystander. You are about to thrust your sword through the heart of the arch villain when he begs for mercy… is it still ethical to kill him? LG characters have a code that demands playing in character, which is the definition of roleplaying after all. Chaotic Neutral allows you to basically do whatever you want, ie. skip the whole roleplaying aspect of the game, and just act on a whim to achieve the most obvious and nearest attainable goals (murdering bad guys and grabbing loot). It doesn’t sound like your party are really looking for roleplaying opportunities anyway, so maybe CN character doesn’t make any difference, but if someone turns up to play a heroic campaign where the party is supposed to be motivated to do good deeds and someone wants to play a CN character, that person is almost certainly going to have a negative impact on everyone else’s fun. The exception might be those who like in-party fighting and struggles of will with characters of different alignments, but I find such struggles exceptionally tedious for the most part. Usually only the CN character seems to get off on them.

  7. Firstanold

    I’m in a group right now with a healer who has never once healed anyone without being prompted and who is always the first to charge in, ruining any chance the rogue had at doing any stealth. As well as a fighter who has used her specializations to focus on crossbow, treading on the ranger’s role. This also often leaves us without two vital roles filled: tank and healer. We all frequently come close to death and I’ve been catching myself powergaming and taking too long on my turns just because I like my character and don’t want him to die due to something moronic my team mates get up to.
    Last round the healer (druid) charmed a wolf and instead of ordering it to attack had it come to her so she could baby it. It just never occurs to her that we’re in combat and healing or dealing damage might be a good idea.
    The fighter also came in new and I’m usually very patient with new players but we frequently have to re-teach her the same rules every round–not every session, she isn’t just forgetting in the days between sessions but in the minutes between rounds.

    We’ve also got a someone who is a great player but CONSTANTLY talks about the game-side of things and does not engage in any role-playing at all. It thoroughly ruins the immersion.

    • duncan

      Arghhhh! Lots of sympathy here Firstanold. In my experience it’s very hard to ask players to play better (essentially), without coming across as a bit of an ass and them resenting your comments.

      A open dialogue during a session zero could be useful, although a bit late for your situation I guess.

      Maybe a chat with your DM, who is perhaps the best person to address these issues diplomatically with the others.

      As well maybe you need to compromise your vision and try to enjoy this crazy, unorthodox party? Maybe you could even build that into the roleplay… play your character as a grumpy seasoned adventurer, who gets frustrated with these zany impetuous kids who are unable to concentrate on the job at hand?

      One thing I tried, which didn’t actually go down that well, was share this video with my party.

      I think they felt I was being patronising (although the video was for me as much as anyone else)… on the other hand, I think we have improved our game, so maybe it was worth it!?

  8. Laptus

    I love this game, but where I live, I rarely get a chance to play.
    I found a local shop that runs D&D recently, and got my fix going (I also brought a bunch of D&D 5th edition materials for DMing, currently writing a sandbox and trying to drag my brothers and a friend into it).

    So far I’ve checked off several boxes on this list, a player in our game has the positive version of one of them, and another one is a sad typical example of another.

    Controlling familiars:
    The group I play with has two older members. They are the best part of this group, and handle themselves excellently. Both of these guys take the lead when it comes to decisions and RPing with important individuals [e.g quest givers, bbeg]. They need to, because us other members of the party are young and flustered when it comes to serious roleplaying. We roleplay, but we goof around a lot and try to be funny. So it’s important to have these more experienced players take the lead in roleplay interactions, and keep things serious.
    One of the older men has an owl familiar. He uses it to look ahead, to hunt down npcs, ect.
    It is never abused by him, technically. Considering our younger less experienced nature, it helps us out a lot when he uses it, and keeps the flow going when we’re stuck.

    Call for a roll (when it’s not needed or disruptive):
    I do this all the time. I kinda panic in a situation. I know alot about the game, I read up on it all the time, I just have so little experience actually playing.
    Every group is different on how they handle things. I know that at least. But this is still something I have to work out myself. Knowing what skill is appropriate, and when it is the right time to try and apply it, or wait and be asked for it.

    Play a Disruptive character:
    Of course, there is one. And he’s mid-level type of bad too.
    He plays the Paladin, but he also has a long backstory about how his parents where killed by vampires, so he gets triggered by vampires [or anyone of the undead class]. It doesn’t help that our BBEG is a vampire. He also has PTSD because of this backstory, so his character is technically insane. To top it off, he is, as a person, obnoxious.
    He constantly roleplays outside of the Lawful Good nature that a Paladin is required to have, and to a ridiculous stupid level. He act selfishly, violently, and doesn’t hold have any moral values (he smartly stays clear of breaking the Paladin rules outright, but he’s always on the border). When challenged, he always points out that his character is insane.
    We all are paying for fun. The DM has let us get off with bad decisions, so that we can have a laugh learn from our mistakes, and continue on without rolling up new characters.
    Thankfully, the DM has been leaning harder and harder on him, and the other layers will call him on his bullshit. Last I played, he almost got us killed at the gates of a city because he shot his mouth off at the guards without realizing the situation of the campaign. Long story short; horror campaign, guards are paranoid about anything weird or supernatural. He’s a Tyfling Paladin, so, magic divine demon creature that acts like a psycho. He’s got to get his shit together. He can be genuinely funny, but he keeps relying on this uncreative and selfish style that is apparent to anyone who has experience with D&D.
    For a good example of a “chaotic” character that doesn’t disrupt the experience much, and actually brings a lot of laughs and entertainment. I highly HIGHLY recommend Dusty from the Party Roll podcast. He has a very weird, creative, and colorful sense of humor that makes you hold your head dying from laughter. He’s a perfect example of how to play a crazy PC, without deriding the experience, and only adding to it. The perfect “Chaotic Neutral” type player.

    Powergaming:
    Once again, I’m the example here.
    I grew up on and still heavily play video games, and I do my research and try to play the best way I can, outside of a few particular types of games.
    n D&D, I always have a basic idea for a character with personality and color. But I find it incredibly hard to resist maxing out my class potential. It’s like a separate management game to me, outside of the main game.
    It’s tough, because my current group shuns powergaming and metagaming, but they will mock you for fucking up rolls. It’s all in good fun, but it can feel schizophrenic.
    At the end of the day, it’s all based on a roll of the die. Making the best stats guarantee nothing. If you’re like me, you mid-maxed your Rouge, and then ate shit with the rolls and got made fun of for it anyway.

    Just have fun. Learn how to treat people, and grow as a person by meeting new people and doing your best to be cool.

  9. Ian

    Solid Post!

    The one discussion point I would raise against aspects of it though, is what I call ‘the warcraft effect’ – where parties seemingly must be built with and for specific roles (as if to prep for the perfect 5-man raiding party.) So the risk becomes that only a life cleric perfectly generated and only with specific spells can be a healer, or a rogue with a specific set of skills can be a rogue, etc. This to me is as great a risk as any in the list.

    It’s perfectly possible – and often a better game when roles are no longer slotted, or roles are not aligned to pre-disposed character types…

    One of my best teams ever was back in 3e, where the players came into the party without any foreknowledge of each other. The four of us partied from level 1 through 14 before our first death, and consisted of three wizards of differing schools, and a single rogue. no tank, no healer, nadda… and the play style was epic – diplomatic intrigue ruled the day, followed by blindingly fast fights of control/damage spells; that if a boss lasted past the second round, we were screwed.

    In my current 5e campaign, it’s about the RP; and its why my squishy sorcerer has multi-classed out into a fairly surprisingly successful sorcerer/blood-hunter (mutant) spec class…

    I think one of the joys of 5e is the ability for the same role to cross multiple, or all classes, and be found/managed by each in fairly surprising and creative ways…

  10. Cory

    I’m a pretty new player (only done about a dozen sessions with a single group), and I’ve been trying to research how to be the best player I can be, and I agree with a lot of the points you make, but I’m surprised to see that you get upset when someone says they roll without asking first… during combat, when my DM tells me I’m on deck, I look at what I’m about to do, and I do my necessary rolls ahead of time to streamline my turn.

    I find it odd that a DM would want me to ask if it’s okay if I try to attack the monster in front of me with my sword before rolling to see if I’m successful. Of course, I have enough dice to leave my rolls all visible on the table, and I would completely accept if I said “Okay, so I’m gonna try to swing my sword into the right leg of the goblin, and I rolled a 19 for attack, does that-” and the DM said “Actually, I’m going to have you reroll because you need to state your intent first, and then roll.”, I would completely go along with it, I would just find it odd and wonder if the DM believes I’m being dishonest.

    Also, I see no harm in someone saying “I roll insight!”, interrupting the flow of the game, and the DM chuckling and saying “Actually, it doesn’t matter what you roll, you are suddenly overtaken by weariness and fall asleep, unable to perceive anything external for the remainder of this conversation.” Or “Hah, okay, but roll with disadvantage because you’re too busy trying to watch his facial expressions so you miss the words he’s speaking.” Or “You can’t really tell if he’s honest or not, he hasn’t spoken enough to leave an impression on you, also, please plug your ears for the rest of this conversation, you’re too busy trying to insight to pay attention to the content of the conversation.”

    The DM is basically God. If a player is being annoying, there is no shortage of in-universe ways of handling it. If I’m playing the game the wrong way and annoying everyone, I fully expect my character to suffer consequences.

  11. Amanda

    Im a new DM and I’ve recently been faced with the PC that thinks they’re the DM. I’m kind of at a loss with how to deal with them to be honest. He’s constantly pulling out the handbook to double check the effects of other character’s spells or the specifics of someone else’s feats. Even when I’m familiar with the spell or feat or have the book out in front of me, he double checks anyway. It’s getting to the point where it’s slowing down the pacing and starting to tick off the other players. Not to mention it completely undermines my position as the DM. At this point I either need a creative solution to turn his attention towards something else, or I need to be upfront and tell him to stop.

    • duncan

      I would suggest you be upfront and say, “hey, appreciate your attention to getting the rules right, but it is slowing down the game (plus it makes me uncomfortable as it undermines me as the DM). I think the best solution would be to put the Player’s Handbook down during the session, and then between sessions if you want to double check something or you feel we have misinterpreted the rules, then we can correct ourselves for the next session, or make a house rule that everyone is happy with.”

      Let me know how it goes!

  12. Johan

    Some of these I agree with, but others I think are problems with your DMing, and perhaps even an inherent problem with D&D’s system (i.e., essentialized alignment being one of the most boring and juvenile game mechanics).

    You shouldn’t be complaining about people wanting to play with familiars or trying to force people into specific roles with no overlap. This “balanced party” insistence is a mindset that comes from video games, not from tabletop play. I’ve played in all-mage campaigns, because everyone wanted to play one, so the DM just worked an adventure that was focused around that, and everyone had a blast. If you have two people who want to fill the thief role, or a jack-of-all trades, you just create scenarios where you’re going to need multiple people do those tasks.

    Sometimes (but not always) players doing shitty things that wreck the party are a simply a sign of their lack of experience or boredom. If they are guilty of playing a CN character the way its described in the rules, then the problem is the rules, not the player. Why D&D still insists on this asinine alignment system after 5 editions is beyond me. Other times, the DM might be paying too much attention to one player, or ignoring someone, so they act out by causing some havoc, because no one wants to sit around for hours listening to other people talk about their characters.

    Other issues are things that occur in every group setting, and just are more personality issues, rather than role playing ettiquette per se.

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