D&D General Times You've Wanted to Kill Your Players

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So, I have a question. Can someone answer this if they didn't stop at "wanted to"? Just out of curiosity of course.


Patron Badass
So, I have a question. Can someone answer this if they didn't stop at "wanted to"? Just out of curiosity of course.
Absolutely. Now, I can't guarantee what you say here won't be used in any court you find yourself in, but I'm also not a snitch so I won't go out of my way to report it.


Jack. Jack was the kind of player that would be disruptive just to be disruptive, did stupid things with his PC just to see if I'd kill them and so on. He thought it was the height of hilarity when I would dangle a plot hook specifically for his PC he would reject it. He'd literally gloat and laugh about how he had made me waste time prepping for something. Nowadays I would have had a chat with him after the game and probably kicked him out, but this was a while back when I still thought I had to be the right DM for every player.

It got to the point were I would just make plot hooks to see how he would twist himself into knots on how to avoid it. Eventually I just killed off his PC and after a few more sessions he quit. His problem with my campaign? He thought I always had things planned out when I'm just good at improv and he wanted to have games where the PCs would sit around a tavern and "things would happen". Not sure what things, he couldn't give me any examples. Just "things".

Only really ever had two situations like this, and both were pretty tame.

One was a player (new to TTRPGs, younger than the other players) going full gung-ho "kill things, no talking, no waiting, just go in axes blazing." Had to have a serious sit-down and say "hey man, I know you're here for the thrill and rush, but that's not cool. You'll get your moments, I promise."

The other was a different player, also quite young, who had...ceased giving the game its due. I found out later, he was doing things like playing Heroes of the Storm or multiplayer shooters during session, which is why he couldn't pay attention and kept not catching things. Had to have a very stern conversation about that one, but the player shaped up and has slowly improved.


He / Him
I once had a player, we will call them X, who would always roll their dice during other people's turns. It wasn't too disruptive, but that constant clatter, that rolling sound, over time... Well, it drove me a little mad.

I buried X's body under the floorboards in the gaming room, and for a time I was happy. The weekly D&D game went on without them, and it was much quieter and more peaceful.

But I could still hear the dice being rolled beneath the floor!

And even worse, as time went on, the rolling of the dice became louder and louder. I could hardly call for a Saving Throw without being interrupted by that infernal racket!

Finally during one game the rolling got so loud that I stood up and shouted, "Players! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here! Here! It is the rolling of his hideous dice!"

Anyways, that's the only time I've wanted to kill a player.


In 40+ years of D&D, I can't recall being mad at a player in one of my games when they are at the table. There are four primary reasons (off the top of my head):

1.) I generally vet new players pretty well. I've often used the statement, "I don't think you'd be a good fit for this group, but I'll keep you in mind for the next. You're too (positive trait - funny, skilled, serious, etc...) for this group, and I think it might not sit well with some of the established group becaue (XXXX)." We all make mistakes when vetting players, but puting effort into it helps create better tables.

2.) I've been disappointed in people a lot. Sometimes it is them not knowing rules or not paying attention. At other times it is them not investing in the storyline. At others it is them exhibiting unaccpetable behavior against another player, including leering, inappropriate words, taking control of the game, and many other things. As the DM, I'll take them aside (immediately if it is an immediate issue, but preferably between sessions) and talk it through. We lay it outthe options, and then let them choose how to proceed within the acceptable options. If the issue can't be fixed, I talk to the impacted individuals and then we put into place a solution that will work ... which could be kicking that person out, although it is rarely required. I should note that I take a queue from impacted people and look to see if they'd rather deal with the issue themself - as a DM, the buck stops with me, but if someone else wants to start the buck and they seem capable of handling it, I step out of the way of their bucking. Note that some of the disappointing things players do are not inappropriate and I eat my disappointment: If I think they're going to enter a dungeon and I spent 20 hours over 5 weeks crafting it - and they decide to walk away and never explore it, it sucks for me - but that is part of being a DM. I can save it for a future campaign with some tweaking.

3.) While it is my favorite game by a long shot, it is just a game. If you're getting emotionally angry at people playing the game, you need to assess how you're playing it.

4.) When I'm frustrated, my first step is to try to put myself in their shoes. I try to think about the situation from their perspective. I try to find a bridge between the current situation and something that will make me happier that is an evolution of their situation that they'll want to consider developing. I don't try to yank them off their path - I try to adjust the terrain ahead to get them on a path that works better for everyone.

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