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Multiple Play Styles


Registered User
I've been reading a lot on the boards about play-styles and find that I enjoy two different play styles when I play D&D.

When I run games I like rules light, character driven stories, with an emphasis on character development and making the characters part of the world.

When I play in games I like rules heavy, tactical games with little to no story and little character development.

The only similarity between the two is that I'm not a fan of over-the-top antics.

Anyone else like different modes of play based on whether they're DMing or Playing?


Lover of things you hate
Oh yea, absolutely. I love crunch more when I play then when I DM. I like to give the players time to think things over when I DM, but I love to just go, go, go when I'm a player. I wonder how much is my own preference and how much is I've just internalized my group's cues.


when I'm DMing I enjoy extending options to the players (in addition to the characters) to shape the world, narrative, and personal fortune. Whimsy Cards, faction control, area design, and co-DMing are a few of the options I've offered.

When I'm playing D&D I want to control the actions of my single character and see what my choices for action mean for the character and what the character can accomplish in the world. I don't want to shape the world, narrative, or personal fortune from the outside. If I'm doing that I might as well DM.
I like to play characters that have background and motivation and a place in the world and all that stuff, but really shine when they're kicking ass, killing monsters/bad guys and taking their stuff.

As a DM, I like to create a somewhat realistic situation, with villains who have motivations and backgrounds, and a short history of what happened and why, but when push comes to shove, I want to have some interesting battles and give my PC's a bunch of "oh, crap"-moments.

So, no, I generally DM the adventures I would love to play in. Unless my PC's demand some more roleplaying (that literally happened).

Li Shenron

When I run games I like rules light, character driven stories, with an emphasis on character development and making the characters part of the world.

When I play in games I like rules heavy, tactical games with little to no story and little character development.
I like both these, plus also "old school" games with high lethality and consequently frequent character rotation.

However I don't think I prefer one over the other particularly when playing or DMing... I would play and DM all of these :)


I like different modes of play depending on what day of the week it is.

But yes, I think the DM is more invested in the world, and I definitely find myself caring more about the NPCs and large-scale plot events as a DM, and caring more about the achievements of my character as a player.


Well as a player I enjoy many different playstyles, but the only one I like to play that I don't like to also run is very tactical games, you know big set piece encounters with lots of tactical and strategical planning and cinematic action. They are very entertaining, but always find them a nightmare to run, there is just too much to keep track off. I'm used to DM fast and loose, improvising, reacting to player input and handwaving the fiddly stuff. Challenges, puzzles, story quests, exploration those are things I like to DM about, I also like rules heavy games, but just not when it comes to combat. (Short form: As a DM I favor more exploration, story or hack and slash games, set piece encounters not so much)

On the other hand I enjoy tactical games as a player, (among others) have no problem keeping track of my PC and the enemies I affect, or reacting, really it is very fun and rewarding (Analysis Paralyisis? is it a thing?). However DMing that stuff is very tiring and consuming. (It takes me less time to homebrew a new monster than keeping track of all of the big stuff between rounds).


As a player and a GM I enjoy deeply personal stories of triumph and defeat that end up surprising all participants. The value of setting, adversaries and situation is entirely rooted in how it effects and reflects the personal narratives of the PCs. I'm pretty heavily influenced by the likes of Buffy, Angel, The X-Men, Spiderman, Shakespeare (particularly Othello), and Greek Myth.

As a player I'm more flexible on system if play allows me to pursue my agenda even if I need to subvert the system (not the play group). I do enjoy rich mechanical play though, and am relatively uncompromising on what I'm willing to run.

Elf Witch

I am the same as both a player and a DM I like a world filled with mystery mixed with political intrigue and character interaction and role playing over killing things. As a player and a DM I dislike long dungeon crawls unless there is an opportunity for more than clearing rooms. I played in one dungeon crawl where the DM had made an interactive world with both good and evil socities fighting it out for survival he managed to put in classic room clearing with political intrigue great story development and a big mystery.