D&D 5E Deal Breakers - Or woah, that is just too much


Man, I envy your experiences. Mine, sadly were not like that, even with people who were otherwise mature. Avoiding groups like I mentioned has saved no small amount of frustration.

By the way, are you the same Ari Marmell who wrote the Fall of Lhael book?!

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First Post
I don't see it as any different from playing cards or engaging in a board game with your significant other. Some couples handle it perfectly fine, and some over compensate in one direction or another (either helping each other or hurting each other).


I don't see it as any different from playing cards or engaging in a board game with your significant other. Some couples handle it perfectly fine, and some over compensate in one direction or another (either helping each other or hurting each other).
I agree with that.

I've seen all sorts of significant other-related issues in games over the years; The player that brings a non-playing significant other which causes distractions (one time it wasn't even the player you would expect to be distracted, but the entire rest of the group being distracted because they were too caught up on the idea of the one player being distracted that they didn't realize play would've been going fine if not for their antics); The player that forces a play group to choose sides when they break up with another player in the group (and then acts like a real jerk because everybody chose not the side of the ultimatum-levying player because they levied an ultimatum and the other person didn't); The significant other that expected me to play favorites for her (and broke up with me because I wouldn't agree to that); and the most amusing to me, a player that expected their significant other who joined the group to receive special treatment from me because of a misguided sense of chivalry (I kid you not, this player said to me "Go easy on her, she's a girl," with absolute sincerity).

I find, however, that if a DM/ST is simply willing to say "I want to treat all of my players fairly, regardless of their other roles in my life, so please point out if it ever seems I'm not doing so," that any number of significant others can occupy the table and everyone involved have an enjoyable and productive experience. Of course, it probably helps if the significant others involved are genuinely interested in playing the games, and not at the table for other less-productive reasons like not being able to spend a few hours apart from their others.

Myself and three other players (that's four out of five) walked from a recent 5e campaign after every game turning into a DMPC session. The first game we were captured and thrown in prison. We broke out thanks to a DMPC. Our captors were killed while we were in prison, thanks to a DMPC. One of the PCs was a noble, because the DM changed his background. When we returned to his manor it was destroyed. BUT WAIT! A DMPC shows up and gives us money, clothes, horses, a place to stay.

I'm really just scratching the surface on a terrible, terrible DM.


First Post
Is it because they get preferential treatment if their partner is the DM? Because other than that, I'd think it was a good thing that someone new wants to try out the game, if they are genuinely interested.

I am referring to the scenario where a non-gamer boy/girlfriend joins the session in order to spend time with his or her significant other, but makes no effort to learn the rules and has little/no intention of staying in the game beyond a session or two.

My gripe applies when any non-gamer joins a group, but it generally happens in the context of a significant other.

While I don't have any real deal breakers, I do have pet peeves.

I like RAW and not house rules. Part of this is my inner rules lawyer. But mostly it's that I know what to expect. It's the only real control I have in the game, especially with 5e. I love 5e because the rules are so simple that anyone can pretty much have system mastery after a little while. This is what I control vs. everything else the DM controls. To sit at the table ten sessions in and be told, "No, that's not the way that Force power works in MY universe" irks me. Thank you, DM, for invalidating my entire character.

As for Sage Advice, I have philosophical problems with it. Your job was to put together a coherent, clear rules source so that all I need when I sit down at the table is my PHB and some dice. I shouldn't need to memorize 3 million tweets and 30 pages of errata and FAQ in order to play. That just means you failed in the job you were paid to do. So Crawford and Mearls can give all the sage advice they want, but I'm not following them on twitter or checking the website each day for just what other rules they messed up. Adventure League doesn't even consider Sage Advice to be legal. They just had a thread over there crapping all over his recent Cutting Words ruling.
That's why I think it's enough to only check Sage Advice when a question comes up. If you don't have a cleric/druid multiclass in your group you don't need to know the Disciple of Life/Goodberry ruling. At the point you have a cleric/druid that casts goodberry and you realize there are two possible interpretation on how that would work, you can still look up Sage Advice for rulings related to goodberry. Maybe you even have a player who remembers the ruling, then you won't even have to look it up.

In general? Sure. But we're not talking about in general. We're talking about a specific scenario where (I feel) the DM was too strict. The DM could have laughed it off and warned about the importance of paying attention to your hands in the future. Instead he took a hard line with the rules then and there, spent some of his goodwill, and gained nothing in return.
It's not that easy for a DM, because the way you adjudicate as DM directly influences the way all your players are playing. You are kind of like a teacher in that regard. If you laugh it off once, your players will not pay attention the next time either. If you want them to take care you have to make them learn it the hard way. If they almost died because they didn't take care of it, you can bet they'll be sure to strategically think about who holds the torch the next time.

It all depends on how you want your players to play like. You can steer them into a direction you enjoy DMing the most pretty well, if you know what you are doing. Of course if you don't care about these rules at all, just don't check for them, your players will adjust accordingly.

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