Role playing to the detriment of the game


Indeed. Sounds like the DM was unable to simply say "ok, since you cannot fly you were sent by bus, in advance, so you arrive on time with the rest". Like, you know, people do all the time when planning a trip.

IMO it's perfectly reasonable and fair for the GM to say "Tell me how your PC arrives" and accept any semi-reasonable answer. The GM has to deal with several PCs, the player has to deal with one.

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Exactly. Problems can crop up though of the PCs are rude to begin with, and the NPC answers in kind.

If the PCs are looking for a fight, I'll run with it. If that derails the planned adventure, I'm happy to improvise rather than railroad or end the session. However if I want to run a particular adventure I'll more likely begin with "OK, your PCs are working for the King, investigating the evil lurking in the ancient ruins. As evening falls you arrive at a village 5 miles north of the ruins. The locals tell you a shepherd-boy is missing..." - and I'll have told the players in advance that I'm running an heroic campaign. If at that point the PCs massacre the village, that's really not my fault - I'll run an outlaws campaign, probably brief but possibly a lot of fun. Later on if the PCs meet the King and decide to kill him and take his stuff, I'll run with that too. The campaign exists for the PCs, not vice-versa.


First Post
I agree with KM very much here, though I wonder about the party dynamics in #2, #3, and maybe a little in #4:

in #2, you'd think the rest of the party would join in, cajoling with visions of treasure-chests, or reminding the PC about the time they saved their bacon from the whatsit with the poisonous bite, or whatever

in #3, yeah, really, they're just going to let one of their number (a cohort counts!) go raving about in the countryside? Was there a fire in the dungeon they had to put out?

in #4, well, it just seems like a Stereotypical Party Drill:

Stereotypical Ranger: Nooooo! Bimpy is DEEEEEEAAAD! Avenge! RAAAR

Stereotypical Cleric: Sun God does not teach us to grieve in this fashion!

Stereotypical Rogue: Great, Grievance Boy's gonna bring the whole dungeon after us. Screw this, I'm outta here.

Stereotypical Wizard: Crude as he may be Stereotypical Rogue has a point.

Stereotypical Cleric: We cannot just compound a death in the party with another death!

Stereotypical Wizard: Hmm. How about I turn Stereotypical Rogue invisible, he cold-cocks 'im, and we beat feet for the time being?

Stereotypical Rogue: ...fine, but you're the one gets to pay for all the ales Stereotypical Ranger's gonna be crying over for the next week.

Stereotypical Wizard: Sheesh, stereotypical rogues!


My DM quick rule is: Roll with it unless players are not having fun.

If one player has a character that is being disruptive that character will have a very short life span. It's easy to make someone disappear when your in charge of reality. :D


First Post
The no-show-at-mansion player was a poor player, since they were rejecting the premise of the game, that their PCs showed up at the mansion. Often this kind of thing is done by attention-hog players who want their anti-social PC spotlighted with the GM forced to improvise a whole sub-plot around them. I think of it as the "Wolverine Syndrome".

The cases of the cohort (definitely) and the raging ranger (marginally) I find forgivable though; though I agree that TPKs resulting from "I'm just playing my character" are rarely much fun.
Yes, it's often done to emulate lone wolves like Wolverine, but I always say to those players "Wolverine is a lone wolf, but even he is still a part of a group, so if Wolverine can find a reason to stay with the X-Men, your character can certainly find a reason to stay with the other PCs".

Yes, it's often done to emulate lone wolves like Wolverine, but I always say to those players "Wolverine is a lone wolf, but even he is still a part of a group, so if Wolverine can find a reason to stay with the X-Men, your character can certainly find a reason to stay with the other PCs".
If you said to me "Wolverine is a lone wolf" I'd be laughing too much to hear the rest of the sentence :)


Wow, a lot of 'It's the DM's problem' here, isn't there? The players have an obligation to the game as well as to their own inner Drizzt.

Orryn Emrys

Roleplaying Etiquette

A strange concept for the purists, I admit. And I submit to you that my personal experiences have provided a great deal of perspective on the matter. I have several purists, hardcore roleplayers who would certainly be offended by any expectation that would require them to compromise their characters' personalities and/or behavioral tendencies for metagame scenarios, amongst my players. Learning how to work with such players has been a challenging and ultimately very rewarding experience for me as a Dungeon Master, and I consequentially strive to run a game that challenges and rewards their focus on character depth.

That being said, there are a couple of priorities which absolutely must be enforced to make such a game feasible. One is a matter of simply clarifying certain expectations at my gaming table. If you play in my game, it is expected that you will strive to enjoy the game and help provide, and more importantly try never to prohibit, the enjoyment of the game by everyone involved. This isn't always as simple as it sounds, but as long as you make the fun of the game a clear priority, and learn to enjoy the experience as a group, it becomes a fairly self-perpetuating expectation.

The second represents a sort of loose contract between the roleplayers and the game master. I will do everything I can to facilitate the viability of roleplaying a character in the manner that you desire, but I expect you in turn to help me find ways to integrate your needs into the campaigns. I enjoy the way my players react to the fact that I can read their characters so well and often predict their actions in response to the stimuli I provide, but I have been known to approach a player between sessions and ask for their advice on how best to deal with a peculiarity that's cropped up that may interfere with the character's involvement in the plot.

In short, the "line" is definitely there, but I don't think it has to be a question of roleplaying purity. All of the problems presented by the OP could have been addressed and/or avoided by simply creating an understanding between the player(s) and the GM, without ever comprosing the realistic reactions and involvement of their characters.


First Post
I can say that I've played in games that went the other way. When you're in a group of 6, but only 2 people are willing to roleplay, that tends to suck just as much.
It does occur to me that I have played with someone who played her character "too well". We were playing an Underdark campaign using the New World of Darkness rules. She played a Drow Scout. Her virtue and flaw were Charity/Greed respectively. She did a surprisingly good job pulling that off for a while. Eventually, though, it got to the point where her character was arguing about the most ridiculous things and saying, "My character wouldn't do that." Which was true. But when you're in a game that includes combat, and you're not willing to fight, you're playing the wrong character.
I definitely think that there's a line that can be crossed. That line, as others have said, is when one character becomes an unwanted focus. While railroading is bad, there should be a certain understanding when it comes to the players and the game. In the game that I DM, I call it "Our Game", not "Mark's Game". I have an overarching plot, I gave them the initial stuff that I wanted them to do and timelines, but I also told them that they could go off range and do whatever they wanted to complete the goal. They knew what the game was about when they sat down to play as a group, and they decided to play with the understanding that there were certain things that they should do.
If someone new comes in, makes a character, and then tells me that that character wouldn't leave the town to join the other people, I would have that player make a character who would and thank them for the NPC that they just created. If they wanted to have 2 separate characters, one for in town and one for adventuring, I'd be fine with that. For a character to go off range and go raging about a dungeon, or refuse to have the character show up somewhere, is bad form. They're saying, "I care more about this individual aspect than about anything/anyone else."

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
Yeah, this seems more like a DM problem -- you need to clearly communicate what characters are "appropriate," or be faced with the prospect of actually doing some work to get a character in.

The important thing to remember, IMO, is that the DM has much more ability to be flexible and adjust their plot than the character has to adjust their character. The DM, after all, can control the entire world, and only a certain part of it should really matter to them. The player only controls a character, and it's not unreasonable for them to have most every part of a character matter to them.

So, for example:

One guy, whose PC was a teenage girl from California commented that there was no way his family could fly her all the way to the east coast. While I started the introductions as each PC arrived, this Player willingly sat at the table without having his character introduced.
Why didn't the DM do something simple? Like say "The school has offered to cover all transportation expenses." Or have her teenage girl the recipient of some money from the discovery of her powers? Or any one of a million other ways to get her in? This is a simple problem, with a simple solution.

What's the DM's problem?

In a D&D game, (in which I was a Player, not the DM), a Player had his PC refuse to go on the adventure because an NPC was rude to him.
Why would someone design an adventure with a bottleneck like that? Every quest should provide multiple motivations. If the lure can overcome potential death and destruction, then it can probably overcome "rudeness," the idea is to have the appropriate lure.

Why did the DM only consider things so narrowly?

We set to go back into the dungeon without the cohort. But the PC (leader of the cohort) decided to stay loyal to his cohort and not leave him outside alone
Why did everyone leave the cohort for dead? Why didn't they care about what that PC evidently did?

Until they managed to take the PC out, I had visions of a TPK. I was stressing out that the raging PC was going to die and take the whole party with.
That sounds like a bucket of fun to me. :)

I dunno, maybe my expectations from the game are different than yours, but I see this as an extension of the "say yes" rule. Yes, I will make your character motivated, yes I will let you do dumb things that are in character, yes I will let you be the character you think they are.

Ultimately, if it's too big of an issue, it boils down to "yes I will let you retire that character and make a new one that is more appropriate to this adventure."

In general, as long as they make characters within the bonds that I set forward as a DM, it's up to them how to play it, and it's up to me to work with that. I do not expect, nor do I want, complicit box-checkers who do what they're supposed to. It's very boring to me.

I agree with this 100%. I wish I could have been this articulate about the OP. This absolutely hits the nail on the head.

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