D&D 5E Caution in Too Much Fun

Asisreo

Patron Badass
I would like to start a thread discussion about the dangers of "too much fun."

But how can someone have "too much fun?" Especially when "fun" is the primary goal of the game? I think people make a point of macimizing/optimizing fun for both themselves and other players/DMs in the game. While a noble cause, I believe instantaneously thinking about maximizing fun could lead to disappointment later down the road.

Even if you absolutely adore what you do and your players are having a blast session-by-session, if that kind of fun is unsustainable, you'll end up crashing and burning in more than one way.

I think it's best to not come into the game with the mindset that you must "maximize" or "optimize" fun, but rather moderate the fun and boring moments in your game to a tolerable degree.

Sometimes, your shopping session needs to take 4 hours even if the player that loves combat has to wait. Sometimes, you need to have a combat slog on for a round or two longer. Sometimes, your players need their agency removed. Sometimes, your DM has to sit through your character searching every corner in the room.

Not to intentionally make your players/DM feel bad or to reign superiority over them. But because these duller moments serve purposes under the surface to make the fun more sustainable.

That 4 hour shopping session might give the DM enough time to get that plothook entwined with your characters. That long boring combat might let a player who isn't quite familiar with their character start to understand their battle strategy without being overwhelmed. The time your character is mind-controlled or involved in a sudden unfortunate event might be needed to keep a cool narrative pacing. Your player searching every corner might have them actually find that secret door you worked on that was hidden.

Yes, there are ways to avoid these situations and it is usually favorable to do so. But hobbyists needn't obsess over it, get burnt out, or find themselves unable to keep up. Just relax and enjoy your fun responsibly.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
There is no chance I will accept myself or any player in my game having a boring time. It is against the goals of play of the game and is the opposite of what I want out of playing games for fun in my valuable spare time.

If I am running a 4-hour shopping session, it will be done ironically and it will be awesome and I will only do it once. (I actually wrote an adventure like this because I could not understand why people shopped so much in D&D.) I will not do it because by somehow boring the heck out of my combat-focused player it might have some future payoff in fun maybe. That's totally unnecessary in my view and disrespectful of my players' time.

Every single one of my sessions is going to be turned up to 11. Years and years of experience doing this tells me this is fully sustainable and desirable.
 


It is a regular occurrence on Critical Role.
Again, mild hyperbole, but yeah, the shopping RP is the most tedious part of the show.
I would argue that, when we talk about pacing, no singular sort of RP experience should be four hours at a stretch. For example, even if it was the epic conclusion to an entire, years long campaign, I would not have a combat lasting 4 full hours in a single shot.
 




iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It is a regular occurrence on Critical Role.
Flip on any random stream and there's a pretty good chance the players will be shopping. My theory is many players do it when they lack direction or goals and many DMs don't mind it because they think it's the height of "RP," particularly if the DM or group thinks they need to play out practically every instance of the PCs' day. (Plus it pads out a session when the DM is short on content to present.)
 




Jer

Legend
Supporter
The game that gives Rolemaster a run for its money in terms of achingly earnest complexity? Not so much, no.
I remember finally getting my hands on Champions after being told that if I wanted a "real" superhero RPG I needed to play Champions and not TSR's Marvel RPG, which was a baby game for babies. And then making up some characters and running a session where we couldn't even finish the first battle before everyone had to go home.

We switched back to FASERIP and resigned ourselves to playing a baby game for babies. I tried playing again in college once and have played convention scenarios a few times since (and bless the GMs who can fit a Champions game into a 4 hour convention slot - and the ones who know they can't and advertise it with a 6 hour slot instead).
 

Flip on any random stream and there's a pretty good chance the players will be shopping. My theory is many players do it when they lack direction or goals and many DMs don't mind it because they think it's the height of "RP," particularly if the DM or group thinks they need to play out practically every instance of the PCs' day. (Plus it pads out a session when the DM is short on content to present.)
i have found it to be (in good moderation) a good downtime activity that shows you what the characters are interested in... "Hey the mage is trying to buy a scroll of stone skin, and the barbarian boots of flying... now I know what they are into" is direct, but "Mid talking to the shop keeper I dropped a throw away line about dragons teeth necklaces and the whole table perked up" is a little less so.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
There is no chance I will accept myself or any player in my game having a boring time. It is against the goals of play of the game and is the opposite of what I want out of playing games for fun in my valuable spare time.

If I am running a 4-hour shopping session, it will be done ironically and it will be awesome and I will only do it once. (I actually wrote an adventure like this because I could not understand why people shopped so much in D&D.) I will not do it because by somehow boring the heck out of my combat-focused player it might have some future payoff in fun maybe. That's totally unnecessary in my view and disrespectful of my players' time.

Every single one of my sessions is going to be turned up to 11. Years and years of experience doing this tells me this is fully sustainable and desirable.
Again, I do not mean to say that you should intentionally bore your players or DM. But if you happen to bore someone sometimes, it's okay. It isn't indicative of bad DM'ing or bad playing.

Sometimes, a player or two gets really excited because they had big plans on how they were going to spend their money and they really wanted to feel like coming back home from poverty with a veritable fortune. Time flies and you realize a player in the back might have been a bit out of the session.

And that's okay. You can't expect yourself to be perfect. You may run a fantasy game, but we can't expect to live in one.

Sometimes, there's nothing you can reasonably do to avoid or prevent a boring scenario. Even with open communication, things can't be perfect.

I just don't think people should try flying too high on an expectation of fun, because expectations too high can't always be fulfilled realistically.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Flip on any random stream and there's a pretty good chance the players will be shopping. My theory is many players do it when they lack direction or goals and many DMs don't mind it because they think it's the height of "RP," particularly if the DM or group thinks they need to play out practically every instance of the PCs' day. (Plus it pads out a session when the DM is short on content to present.)
My theory is that the folks in those streams are primarily actors acting for an audience. And shopping is an easily improvised activity that gives them spotlight time where they can act their hearts out in character without having to worry about being the guy that is dominating the plot and also allows the other actors some downtime to rest before their next time in the spotlight.

Many of the odd choices that are made in AP streams/podcasts make sense if you think of them as a troupe of actors playing roles in an improvised story rather than players in a game.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
i have found it to be (in good moderation) a good downtime activity that shows you what the characters are interested in... "Hey the mage is trying to buy a scroll of stone skin, and the barbarian boots of flying... now I know what they are into" is direct, but "Mid talking to the shop keeper I dropped a throw away line about dragons teeth necklaces and the whole table perked up" is a little less so.
Sure, but those things can be resolved in about 30 seconds.
 

Again, I do not mean to say that you should intentionally bore your players or DM. But if you happen to bore someone sometimes, it's okay. It isn't indicative of bad DM'ing or bad playing.

Sometimes, a player or two gets really excited because they had big plans on how they were going to spend their money and they really wanted to feel like coming back home from poverty with a veritable fortune. Time flies and you realize a player in the back might have been a bit out of the session.

And that's okay. You can't expect yourself to be perfect. You may run a fantasy game, but we can't expect to live in one.

Sometimes, there's nothing you can reasonably do to avoid or prevent a boring scenario. Even with open communication, things can't be perfect.

I just don't think people should try flying too high on an expectation of fun, because expectations too high can't always be fulfilled realistically.

These are good points. No activity at your table will please everyone at all times.
An after action report, even just asking for simple feedback, can help identify what sorts of game activities draw in the people at your table.
More my point was, unless everyone at the table enjoys a given aspect of RP, switch things up to spread the love.
 


iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Again, I do not mean to say that you should intentionally bore your players or DM. But if you happen to bore someone sometimes, it's okay. It isn't indicative of bad DM'ing or bad playing.

Sometimes, a player or two gets really excited because they had big plans on how they were going to spend their money and they really wanted to feel like coming back home from poverty with a veritable fortune. Time flies and you realize a player in the back might have been a bit out of the session.

And that's okay. You can't expect yourself to be perfect. You may run a fantasy game, but we can't expect to live in one.

Sometimes, there's nothing you can reasonably do to avoid or prevent a boring scenario. Even with open communication, things can't be perfect.

I just don't think people should try flying too high on an expectation of fun, because expectations too high can't always be fulfilled realistically.
I would say it's not okay to bore someone anytime. Nobody's perfect, sure, but read the room as a player and DM and change gears if something is boring the pants off even one person. Let's not make boredom a thing to put up with in D&D.
 

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