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


Dragon Lord
Can't think of a circumstance in which I would "walk out." I'm not a child and have a fairly high level of patience. I can wait until the session is over and not come back...or I can have some inkling about what I'm about to get into and "take a pass" on an offer (as few and far between, to play, they are).

So, things that will click on the "Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe next time." for me would include, in no particular order, for 5e:
  • Using Multiclassing.
  • Using Feats.
  • Any inkling of a "powergaming" focus/preference by more than...I guess, a single other player. Coming from the DM is an immediate, "no thanks."
  • Any tactical/miniature/grid game focus/preference.
  • Evil campaigns.
  • "Snowflake campaigns." Here's the story of a dragonborn, tiefling, drow -paladin of the sun god of course!, and a couple of gnoll siblings...in the heart of the human kingdom capitol...or better yet...entering a simple [human] farming village. "This is great! I was hoping for a thri-keen PC in there! You can be one of those!" Uhhhh, no. No, I can't. Thanks.
  • Evil characters within a non-evil/alleged-to-be-"heroic" campaign. Automatically disruptive to the group dynamic. I've seen it attempted several times. I've never seen it pulled off well (or the player basically just forgets they're "evil" most of the time until it's convenient). Yu can be edgy and emo and all "anti-hero." Oooo, you're sooooo unique and counter-culture. *eye roll* Pass.
  • Abundant or obsessive "Rules-lawyering," from the DM or more than a player or two, on the regular. If every damned combat or plan or RP opportunity devolves into debates (or arguments) over what someone should/should NOT be allowed to do "because page XX says..." Fools who want to intentionally warp the meaning or deliberately "not understand" what's written to break common sense, disrupt plot flow, and/or pull the whole group out of immersion. Not fun. No thanks.

    I recall one group, long time ago, every damned initiative (or shortly thereafter) the same player opened his mouth and the rest of the group would just, collectively, groan because we knew a half-hour [minimum!] was just shot as he would obsess over minutia or a slight slant (or blatant stretch) of definitions to "prove" his way was the "right" way to rule and he was GOING to make the DM (and everyone else) agree with him and his [perceived/subjective] "logic." [Eventually, his myriad social and psychological disorders kept him from returning. Thank gods.]

    Somewhat related, I suppose:
  • "Entitled Players" More than one or two players who are going to whine about everything. "You have to let me X." "I deserve to get Z." Whining and whinging about things not being "fair" or an unhealthy focus on "balance" ("Well, you're letting the half-orc paladin do it! Why can't my halfling thief with a 6 Str?!" I'm too old/not dealing with that noise. If not known/immediately given a pass, would shortly not be returned to.

Ummm...there's probably more.

  • A game with firearms. Gun violence is a scourge on our society. I don't need/want any of that mess in my game of make-believe magic gumdrop elves. Immediate pass.
  • A steam-punk setting or mixed/advanced technologies. Immediate pass. There are games/settings that do that fine and I'll play those. If I'm sitting down for "Dungeons" and "Dragons" I'm not interested in cars and missile-launchers or ray guns and warp drives. And before anyone starts, yes, I am aware of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Even own a copy. Not interested in a whole world/campaign about/around/including that.
  • "No Magic" games. Along the same lines as above. Games that are SO gritty/low magic that there is no magic allowed for the PCs. No thanks. I'm playing a fantasy game. I want magic -or psionics or alchemy or something that is supernatural/magical going on and accessible to players- in the world.

[EDIT TO ADD] I would think it was self-evident, but I see it appearing on a number of people's lists, so I'll include/add it...
  • Yes, excessive Fudging or outright Cheating/Lying is an obvious no-no. I'm not interested in playing with cheaters.

I guess that's the bulk of the biggies.

Now get off my lawn, all'a ya!

*walks all over steeldragons lawn armed to the teeth*

Just for fun.

I forgot to add. I'm also half-thrikreen and half-elvish with laser pistols and a lightsaber riding a small flying saucer instead of a flying carpet.

I want to play D&D with you.
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First Post
Now, for some of these that have to do with how DM's run the game, is any dispensation given to newby-DM's? I will endure a terrible game for the sake of a new DM. If he or she has potential, they'll ask for constructive criticism, and I will be in a position to give it.


First Post
For me no feats are huge deal breaker, just ASI is too boring and not interesting enough. Secondly I'm not a big fan of adversarial DM's, seriously I don't play too counter my DM I play to be challenged, there's a difference. Another dealbreaker for me is lack of player agency, it just makes me go "Nope.". I suppose the final dealbreaker for me would be if my concept was not allowed by a DM. I put a lot of ideas and energy into it, only for it to be shot down due to DM fiat? No thanks, I'll just find another group that'll let me play my concept, I won't make a fuss.


It is hard to tell since my group has been going strong for so long now, but I would imagine that these would be red flags for me.:

DM Mary Sues

DM favouring one Player

No Magic Marts

No Warforged
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XP rewards for bribes WTF?
Also, houserules are something I can't stand.
No house rules? Damn, strict player!
Oh yeah and DMs that ignore Sage Advice and nerf good strategies just because they think they are OP. Like DMs that don't allow Disciple of Life stack with Goodberry even after Sage Advice clarified that works.
Man hates house rules so much he said it twice. :p
games where actual play is very different from the original pitch aka bait and switch
Haha the used car salesman DM.


I'll try anything once or twice. There is really nothing that would be a deal breaker except for lack of enthusiasm by players and DM. As long as everyone is relatively positive and invested in the game, I'll endure nearly anything. If players are not all in, I'll stop playing or DMing. I like commitment over anything else.

Interesting. This is a completely different perspective to mine, and one that is not the default in 5e.

Are people in your area matching this playstyle enough that it isn't usually a problem?
I have yet to find a DM I enjoy playing with. It's hard to find a DM that sticks strictly to the rules and sage advice. (Finding a DM that prefer dungeons and combat over talking is easier, though.)

If I DM myself, it's not a problem. When I look for players I directly explain them what kind of DM I am and so only players join that enjoy that kind of playing. And there are plenty of those. So, pretty easy to find players.

Do you play 5e because other games are harder to find? Do you find the combat in 5e to be superior to other games? I am quite curious as to why play the game, not judging. I played 3.x for years despite the fundamental premise going against the kind of games I like.
I haven't played earlier editions. The wall of learning they required was just too much for myself to get into them. So I can't really compare combat with 5e. Before 5e, I wrote my own rulesets, trying to develop a very easy to understand ruleset that still allows for complex strategies.
Then I read about how 5e is much easier and checked out the basic rules and before knowing it, I've read through them completely and was good to go. Now I really like it and don't feel like bothering trying out other rulesets.

Also, I think 5e works just fine for combat/dungeon focused games. If you stick to the 6-8 battles per day with 2 short rests, then it's quite a well balanced challenge.
Note that with combat-focused, I don't mean people should only say "I attack X" all the time and not roleplay. I do enjoy it when they think of clever strategies and the rules leave me enough room to adjudicate the ideas into some kind of advantage, so that works just fine. I just dislike conversations.

No house rules? Damn, strict player!

Man hates house rules so much he said it twice. :p
Some people claim that going against Sage Advice isn't a houserule, but yeah, I hate them this much.
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It's funny how many people equate "DM has a story to tell" with "railroading or not letting the PCs have any impact." I don't think those necessarily go together, though they very easily can.
Yeah, several replies here makes me wonder what people mean exactly when they say railroading is a dealbreaker.

If I start Lost Mine of Phandelver and the first thing they do is decide to return to Neverwinter and steal the goods on the wagon and I'm not allowing that, is that already railroading and bad?
If through narration I make it pretty clear where they NEED to go, without giving them much of a choice, but when they are there still give them the choice e.g. if they take the main entrance or look for a secret passage or even allow them to think of their own ideas (like climbing the building and destroying the ceiling and jump in), is that railroading?

I wonder the same thing about what "Too strict" means. If a player want to sheathe his sword, draw a bow and shoot in the same turn and I say it's not allowed per rules, is that already so strict that it's a dealbreaker? Or does that refer more to DMs that are unable to adjudicate good ideas of players into advantage through existing rules? (Many of the ideas can be interpreted as "Help" action even though narrated completely different, or simply as granting advantage/disadvantage, which the DM is free to give at any time, so that's perfectly within the rules.)

Would be cool to see example of "Too much railroading" and "Too strict on the rules" that made players really stand up and quit.


First Post
Would be cool to see example of "Too much railroading" and "Too strict on the rules" that made players really stand up and quit.
There is only one solution to the problem. If you come up with a intelligent solution I hadn't thought of, I will come up with fiat reason why it won't work. It might not even make sense, but whatever; you need to solve the problem the way I intended. Also, when you are done with that, you are definitely going to Townburg across the way. Any attempt to do otherwise will meet with frustration and failure. Eventually you'll come around and go the way you're supposed to.

Also, once you get to Townburg, you're going to get thrown into prison. It's in the script.


Would be cool to see example of "Too much railroading" and "Too strict on the rules" that made players really stand up and quit.
Here is an example of the rules being too strict that is based on a true story. The Sword & Board fighter gets into his first encounter of the day. He says that he sets aside his torch right before we go into a non-surprise battle. Initative is rolled.

DM: Alright, these guys beat your initative. One of them shoots at your ally.
Fighter: I use my Protection ability to impose disadvantage!
DM: You need a shield to use that ability.
Fighter: I'm... using a shield.
DM: You never said you were equipping your shield.
Fighter: What? I'm a Sword & Board fighter.
DM: But you are holding a torch and your sword.
Fighter: Yeah, but I set the torch down right before the fight.
DM: No, we rolled initative and they beat you.
Fighter: Okay, I still have a shield on my arm.
DM: No, you need a free hand to wield the shield.
Fighter: It's strapped to my arm!
DM: You can't hold a shield and a torch at the same time, so your shield is not equipped. They rolled a 17. You are Hit.
Fighter: My AC is 18.
DM: Not without the shield.
Fighter: @#@*^@#
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