Role playing V.S. Enjoyment

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So me and my friends we on our 4th meeting of playing D&D together. We were all having a blast, our DM was going a wonderful job, there were laughs to spare and enjoyment was bountiful. So on and so forth we played (and I will skip the specifics) but one of our players decided to try something nearly impossible that would cost half of our adventuring group to fall many turns behind. He attempted and failed even after we asked him multiple times to not do it and even used diplomacy checks to try to convince our NPC to stop him. They checks failed and he failed as well. So after this he got onto his laptop and got onto Facebook and stopped talking. We ignored the fact that he was fuming and continued on with the adventure. He said nothing but he took his turns regardless. Then when we had finally caught up one of our friends was at 1 HP on top of a giant moving stone beast. No you could currently help him but Mr. Silence. But he had another plan. He was going to go to the otherside and try to climb up instead of healing Mr. About to Die. So I said he is going to die if you dont heal him. He then proceeded to throw his stuff off the table shut his laptop and rush out without saying anything except, "I am done!" The rest of us were talking about it afterwards and one of our adventurers and our DM sided with Mr. Silence saying that he was role playing over gaming. Here is where the question lies. Role playing V.S. Enjoyment. As soon as he made that mistake he began fuming and the entire mode changed from laughter to akward silence. Then as it continued on it stayed the same. Then he again wanted to put our group further behind and we tried to stop him. Now they were saying he was roleplaying and that we should have let it be. But my roleplaying was, "Hey! Don't let our friend die!" So how was me asking him to help out our group wrong? Wasn't I just roleplaying? Or should we stop sacrifice a portion of the game so that we can continue to enjoy the fun that we are having? So that is it. Role playing V.S. Enjoyment. I really don't know which one should be of higher importance in the world of D&D so that is why I am asking.
 
Enjoyment... f**k roleplaying if its not enjoyable. Besides tell your friend to stop acting like a little b**ch. Seriously..pack up and go home for that incident?
Playing dnd together or watching movie, drinking, hanging out..its all same.  There is no special social expextation or exception. 
Some fools thinks if its dnd all behavior should be acceptable.  That only applys IN game, not out on table, wierd a** morons. 
While Ghost is certainly accurate, I would like to repeat his point somewhat less colorfully:

Rich Burlew (author of award-winning D&D webcomic The Order of the Stick) wrote an article here that I really like for the stories he uses to showcase his two major points, the second of which is far more important in this case:

Throw Caution to the Wind: 
Show
One of the most common problems I see is when a player thinks of "roleplaying" as what you do during a diplomacy scene, completely separated from what you do during combat. Bzzz! Wrong answer. Everything you do, when talking or when swinging your sword, is roleplaying. A well-developed character will have a fighting style that extends beyond his selection of feats, and will have a consistent and believable response to any obstacle they encounter. If you turn off your character's personality just because the dice come out, you are missing out on a whole range of roleplaying possibilities that would add depth to your character.

A good place to start when thinking about your character's combat roleplaying style is to consider what your character thinks of as an "acceptable loss." Does your character balk at the thought of being wounded, running to the cleric whenever he's hit, or does he stand in melee long after he probably should have withdrawn? Is his focus on staying alive at all costs, or defeating the enemy no matter what? This could partly be determined by alignment, but a particularly stubborn character might fight to the bitter end despite being Neutral.

Another choice concerns how willing he is to use renewable (or nonrenewable) resources, such as spells, potions, scrolls, wand charges, rage uses, etc. He may have a cavalier attitude, feeling the party will always be able to rest or restock, or he might never use any resource if he can win a fight without it. A barbarian, for example, might rage as soon as he sees a tough band of foes, or he might wait until he is wounded and could use the extra hit points. The choice reflects his personality: if he saves his rage, he might be a cautious pessimist who knows that things always get worse, but if he rages right away, he may be saying that he is confident that the heroes will win quickly. If he's a spellcaster, does he liberally burn a spell every round, even in an easy battle, or does he miserly save his spells for desperate situations? A sorcerer who revels in his magic and flaunts it at every opportunity probably falls into the former category, while a greedy wizard who covets all magical knowledge might be the latter.

What these issues boil down to is how cautious the character is. Caution is at once very important and entirely overrated. It is important for players to be interested in the imaginary world and be invested in their characters' lives. But at the same time, too often players let caution overwhelm them, spending hours carefully proceeding in a calculated manner that may well belay their characters' stated personalities. The key, then, is to forget about succeeding. Your goal as a player in a roleplaying game is not to succeed; your goal is to have fun. An entertaining defeat is better than a boring victory, so let go of the need to always take the most effective route every time, and try taking the route your character would, even at great cost to that character.

Obviously, that's hard to do. There's a natural desire to do well, and really, your character does want to succeed every time. The key is to separate in your mind what your character thinks from what you think. That's how you add texture, by giving your character views on how to proceed in battle that are different than your views. Your character will take every advantage that he or she perceives, but you, as the player, have the benefit of determining what sort of advantages are within your character's perception.

Some examples might help. I recently finished a year-long campaign playing a samurai. On the very first adventure, the child the samurai was supposed to guard was kidnapped, and as one might expect, Isawa Shojo was willing to sacrifice anything to get him back. Now, the DM had set up this long series of tunnels that were trapped repeatedly. I ran right into the first trap, because we didn't know any better. Once we knew the tunnel was trapped, the prevailing opinion was to slow down and have the party rogue search for traps. At this point, though, I made a decision that would more or less define my character's reaction to danger: I kept running down the hall, knowing that there were more traps. As a player, I knew this was probably a Bad Idea, but I decided that my honorable samurai felt that getting hit with the trap was acceptable when weighed against the need to hurry. He reasoned that even if the traps killed him, he would have sprung the traps and allowed his allies to get to the end safely. By having him react without caution, I was able to show that he was a man who was willing to sacrifice his life for his duty. As the campaign continued, Isawa often ran headfirst into danger, not because he was foolish, but because he was willing to die if it meant success for his team.

A caveat, however: if you decide to play a character who takes risks or acts rashly, you should let yourself get talked out of it from time to time by the more level-headed characters. Isawa, for example, often suggested wildly inappropriate courses of action, which the far more cautious paladin Adhemar would convince me to not enact. Throwing caution to the wind is fun once in a while, but if done during every encounter, it gets annoying to the other players.

Decide to React Differently:
Show
Have you ever had a party break down into fighting over the actions of one of their members? Has a character ever threatened repeatedly to leave the party? Often, intraparty fighting boils down to one player declaring, "That's how my character would react." Heck, often you'll be the one saying it; it's a common reaction when alignments or codes of ethics clash.

However, it also creates a logjam where neither side wants to back down. The key to resolving this problem is to decide to react differently. You are not your character, and your character is not a separate entity with reactions that you cannot control. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a player state that their character's actions are not under their control. Every decision your character makes is your decision first. It is possible and even preferable for you to craft a personality that is consistent but also accommodating of the characters the other players wish to play.

When you think about a situation, ask yourself, "Is this the only way my character can react to this?" Chances are, the answer is, "No." Try to refine your character so that you can deal with situations that conflict with your alignment/ethos without resorting to ultimatums, threats, etc. This will often mean thinking in terms of compromise and concession to your fellow players, or at the very least an agreement to disagree.

Here's another example: In a campaign I DM'd, the party's bard lifted a magical sword behind the back of the party's Lawful Good monk. The monk had basically decided that the bodies of several fallen knights would be buried without looting, and rather than argue, the bard just grabbed the sword. The bad news was, the sword was cursed; it was the blade that had belonged to a ghost that roamed the castle, and whenever the bard drew it, the ghost materialized and attacked him (and only him). Eventually, the bard 'fessed up that he had stolen the sword. The monk (and the monk's player) became furious, and declared that he could no longer travel with the bard. Either the bard had to leave, or he would. It became a huge argument between characters and players, and it was entirely unnecessary. The monk did not have to react with an ultimatum; the monk did not even have to be angry, no matter what his alignment was. The bard had already suffered the misfortune of having his Charisma drained by the ghost repeatedly; the monk could have chosen (for example) to lecture the bard on how his theft had brought him nothing but misery. He chose to create player conflict when it was just as easy to not.

Personally, I blame the paladin for this. The original paladin class created the precedent for one player thinking he has the right to dictate the morality of other players. That drives me nuts. Ever since, players who select a Lawful Good character automatically assume it is up to them to police the rest of the party, and too often, the rest of the party lets them. As far as I'm concerned, no player has the right to tell another player how to act. Lawful Good is not the "right" way to be, and it is unacceptable to push your character's ideals on other players whether they want them or not.

Another useful application of this concept involves accepting story hooks your DM gives to you. Try to never just say, "My character isn't interested in that adventure." A lot of people mistake this for good roleplaying, because you are asserting your character's personality. Wrong. Good roleplaying should never bring the game to a screeching halt. One of your jobs as a player is to come up with a reason why your character would be interested in a plot. After all, your personality is entirely in your hands, not the DM's. Come up with a reason why the adventure (or the reward) might appeal to you, no matter how esoteric or roundabout the reasoning.

If the paladin is to blame for the last problem, this one belongs to the druid. Druids have such a specific set of principles that players often mistake them for being a free pass to demand that each adventure revolve around their goals. Raiding a dungeon for gold doesn't appeal to the druid mindset, so what are you to do if you play one and are presented with that goal? You improvise. Maybe the gold will enable you to purchase magic items that will let you protect the wilderness. Maybe the ruins contain unnatural monsters that need to be killed regardless of the treasure. Maybe, just maybe, the other PCs are your friends and you are willing to help them just because. Too often that last part is forgotten; I don't think anyone reading this has never spent the night doing something they'd rather not because a friend asked.

So if you're really paying attention, you may be thinking, "Hey, don't those two points contradict one another? First he says to separate what your character thinks from what you think, but then he says your character doesn't have its own reactions." Well, no. Separate your character's thoughts from your own thoughts, but don't forget who is in control of both personalities. The division between your personality and that of your character only goes so far as it helps the game; once it begins becoming a disruption, a player has a responsibility to alter his or her character's decisions in the interest of the group. In the end, your relationships with the people you are sitting in someone's living room with are more important than your character's internal consistency.
 

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

It's poor taste to use "role-playing" as an excuse to go against the party's wishes. However, even role-playing doesn't excuse his temper tantrum. It sounds like he constantly wanted to do his own thing despite the party's wishes and then got mad when he didn't get his own way, even if the GM stated what he was trying was nigh-impossible.

That behavior's just going to lead to more trouble in the future unless you nip it in the bud now.
Besides tell your friend to stop acting like a little b**ch. Seriously..pack up and go home for that incident?



Agreed. There is one, maybe one, excuse I can see for acting like that, and it involves the GM insta-killing your PC and then dancing about it.
Okay. So now that we have decided which side to take the next question to answer is what is the solution? This guy is our friend. We can't toss him. Our frienships don't stop at D&D so what do we do?
 
1. If he is an immature brat, how much of a friend is he? We all blind ourselves from the flaws of others, but this kind of episode is not Role-Playing over Gaming. He is being a jerk.

His actions were not in-game malice, but out of game malice. Role Playing occurs in game, what he did is out of game.

None of you seemed wrong in my eyes to not want him to take a course of action, but I would advise that instead of "role-playing" this in game, that you handle it out of game. Look at him and explain your reasons and listen to his. When you "roll a dice to try to make him not do something" you are attempting to use in-game factors (the rolls) to influence his out of game decision, which would provoke him into his fit. You aren't at fault, but when you have a friend that is immature, you should try to consider that whenever you have disagreements and try not to say anything that would give them a reason to think they should be petty.

In the moment he went rage, maybe he should have been given a time out. He should have been asked immediately if he wanted to be done for a while to cool down and let his character fade into the background and return later when he rejoins with a cool head. I wouldn't have someone at my table "RL Raging" and stop talking to get on facebook. That isn't role-playing, or in-game whatever; that is bad table manners.

I would wait and let the emotional tension calm down and assert calmly and politely to your friend the group expectation of behavior. You should also offer that you will never again "try to use the dice to nullify his desired actions" (Blocking him). You should also express interest in resolving these disagreements in a fair way; this way he will feel motivated to change his behavior and hopefully trust that you are working toward being understanding and having a mature resolution.

I hope you can salvage this situation, and while I cannot condone your players actions, trying to understand the reasons for someones bad behavior can help you appeal to something that will satisfy the person and end that behavior.

Within; Without.

The more I play DnD the more I realise how much power the healer/leader exerts. Specifically in these sort of situations, or the "dont do X or I won't heal you." It's the player blackmail, not character blackmail. It can be semi justified as "in character roleplaying," but I think most would agree in an actual life-or-death situation a minor petty thing a few hours ago in character would be forgotten if your party member was about to permanently die.

Overall, I say it is out of character revenge, not in character role playing. I don't the specifics, but that is how it seems.

As the course to fix it, a gentle talk about it is probably best. If you start the conversation with accusations, very defensively or very aggressively, chances are he will respond in kind. I know I would if someone said "argh you're defending wrong you a** you totally tried to to save the wizard instead of me!"
So on and so forth we played (and I will skip the specifics) but one of our players decided to try something nearly impossible that would cost half of our adventuring group to fall many turns behind. He attempted and failed even after we asked him multiple times to not do it and even used diplomacy checks to try to convince our NPC to stop him. They checks failed and he failed as well. So after this he got onto his laptop and got onto Facebook and stopped talking. We ignored the fact that he was fuming and continued on with the adventure. He said nothing but he took his turns regardless.

Is it possible that you both failed to communicate about this? If he had a cool idea for what his character could do to make the game more interesting, and everybody else at the table rules-lawyered excuses to make him stop, then he might have been mad at you guys for being immature about railroading him instead of letting him contribute to the sgtory in a new, creative way, even though he followed up by blowing the whole thing completely out of proportion (I am not saying that he wasn't, and I am not defending his response).

In that case, he might have had a legitimate complaint before he responded so strongly that it wasn't legitimate anymore. Maybe he's on the "What's a Player to Do?" board "When the Dm Just Won't Go Along with the Clever Player Solution" thread right now.

Rule 0: the rulebooks are just highly tentative suggestions, the DM and players are ultimately in charge, and if they want to do something but the rulebook says something else, then they are supposed to throw the rulebook away (preferably into a supernova, in accordance with Rule Doctor). If he had an idea that could've actually made the game more interesting under different rules, but the only reason why everybody else ganged up on him was that the rulebooks said to do it in a boring waste-of-time way, then they should've just ignored the rulebook and found a more interesting way to make the idea happen. Looking for excuses to make cool ideas happen is a lot less boring than coming up with excuses not to.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

None of this is to say that it is your fault for not accommodating him instead of the other way around.

On the "What's a DM to Do?" board (where you are), you sometimes get people asking "What am I doing wrong?" and sometimes you get people asking "How do I stop a player from doing something wrong?" Asking if it's possible that both people miscomminicated does make it look like the person is completely blaming the DM on grounds that they are not completely blaming the player.

On the "What's a Player to Do?" board (where he might be), you sometimes get people asking "What am I doing wrong?" and sometimes you get people asking "How do I stop the DM from doing something wrong?" Asking if it's possible that both people miscomminicated does make it look like the person is completely blaming the player on grounds that they are not completely blaming the DM.

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

So me and my friends we on our 4th meeting of playing D&D together. We were all having a blast, our DM was going a wonderful job, there were laughs to spare and enjoyment was bountiful. So on and so forth we played (and I will skip the specifics) but one of our players decided to try something nearly impossible that would cost half of our adventuring group to fall many turns behind. He attempted and failed even after we asked him multiple times to not do it and even used diplomacy checks to try to convince our NPC to stop him. They checks failed and he failed as well.



You failed by trying to block him. The best response to a stated action by another player that isn't itself blocking is, "Yes, and..."

As in, "Yes, and this looks risky and dangerous, so I'd like to help you as much  possible by..." then suggesting a supportive course of action (with or without supporting mechanics, as appropriate).

So after this he got onto his laptop and got onto Facebook and stopped talking. We ignored the fact that he was fuming and continued on with the adventure. He said nothing but he took his turns regardless.



Here, the game should have stopped to resolve the dispute, immediately.

Then when we had finally caught up one of our friends was at 1 HP on top of a giant moving stone beast. No you could currently help him but Mr. Silence. But he had another plan. He was going to go to the otherside and try to climb up instead of healing Mr. About to Die. So I said he is going to die if you dont heal him.



Here he failed by blocking you. He might have said, "Yes, and after I heal our comrade, I drive my axe into this stone beast!"

He then proceeded to throw his stuff off the table shut his laptop and rush out without saying anything except, "I am done!"



Further immature behavior. This is out-of-game discussion fodder.

The rest of us were talking about it afterwards and one of our adventurers and our DM sided with Mr. Silence saying that he was role playing over gaming. Here is where the question lies. Role playing V.S. Enjoyment. As soon as he made that mistake he began fuming and the entire mode changed from laughter to akward silence. Then as it continued on it stayed the same. Then he again wanted to put our group further behind and we tried to stop him. Now they were saying he was roleplaying and that we should have let it be. But my roleplaying was, "Hey! Don't let our friend die!" So how was me asking him to help out our group wrong? Wasn't I just roleplaying? Or should we stop sacrifice a portion of the game so that we can continue to enjoy the fun that we are having? So that is it. Role playing V.S. Enjoyment. I really don't know which one should be of higher importance in the world of D&D so that is why I am asking. 



Not surprisingly, it sounds like this dispute started with blocking and ended with blocking. This is what can happen when players negate each others ideas instead of supporting and adding onto them.

Check these out and consider passing them around your group:

11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer

You Are Not Your Character

Yes, And...

And good luck.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Lots of blocking going on here. It's not clear whose idea should be given precedence.

The DM didn't need to give the PCs' plan a low chance of failure and an unpleasant failure mode. If the DM had made failure interesting, then the other players would not have felt as much need to try to block the player.

I don't feel he was necessarily blocking to not heal the guy. Again, not healing the NPC should have had an acceptable failure mode, such that it's not game rattling for the player to make another choice. I don't know how this played out, but if the group agreed ahead of time to heal the NPC, the player probably should have stuck with that. If that player went first and got to declare his actions before anyone else, then his choice should have been backed up.

Some people really do not like it when they're told how to play their character. They can feel like their choices are being taken away. So, if you can't kick the guy, stop telling him what he should do and start backing his plays instead of blocking him. Talk to him about this approach out of game, but don't do it expecting him to give you the same consideration, do it because it's a nice thing to do and will build trust. Also talk to your DM about ways to keep the game fun even if "mistakes" are made. Have him come here to learn about interesting failure and "Yes, and..."

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Now that I'm actually actively looking for "blocking", it kind of surprises me just how often it is right at the heart of most, if not all, bitter tabletop RPG disagreements - and probably most (if not all) other disagreements as well.

And, as pointed out above, it's strongly evident here, too, based on the information provided, that there was blocking from several different directions, in addition to out-of-game problems being directed in-game and so on.


The DM and rest of the group could have said "yes" and found an interesting way to make the detour from the main tracks work.

The player in question could have changed his mind and said "yes" and found an interesting way to make the rest of the group's decision work.

But instead, you've got every side of the argument steadfastly saying "no" to any option but their own side of it.  If you can't find an acceptible tie-breaker (such as a dice-roll) when that happens, then the only way things are going to move forward is for one side or the other to escalate the problem until someone backs down.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
Now that I'm actually actively looking for "blocking", it kind of surprises me just how often it is right at the heart of most, if not all, bitter tabletop RPG disagreements - and probably most (if not all) other disagreements as well.



EXACTLY!

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Now that I'm actually actively looking for "blocking", it kind of surprises me just how often it is right at the heart of most, if not all, bitter tabletop RPG disagreements - and probably most (if not all) other disagreements as well.

EXACTLY!

And underneat the blocking is the fact that not everyone agrees what would constitute fun, or what the priorities for generating fun should be. Sometimes the group doesn't respect the enjoyment of its individuals and then what's the point? The individuals will start not respecting the enjoyment of the group and then no one is having fun.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy


Not surprisingly, it sounds like this dispute started with blocking and ended with blocking. This is what can happen when players negate each others ideas instead of supporting and adding onto them.

Check these out and consider passing them around your group:

11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer

You Are Not Your Character

Yes, And...

And good luck.



QFT.
The "Yes, and..."/"Yes, but..." strategy of improve theater has radically changed the way I think about role-playing. Even right out of session zero my players are looking quite happy and excited.
If he had an idea that could've actually made the game more interesting under different rules, but the only reason why everybody else ganged up on him was that the rulebooks said to do it in a boring waste-of-time way, then they should've just ignored the rulebook and found a more interesting way to make the idea happen. Looking for excuses to make cool ideas happen is a lot less boring than coming up with excuses not to.

Alternatively, he could have had an idea that was either very selfishly motivated, or one that was bad because it failed to consider other important factors ('lets kill the king' he cries, forgetting momentarily that they want his approval to learn the secret of the chest).

RE: Blocking
I think the concept of blocking only works when the entire group has committed to the same plan, or on the same goals at session zero. I think a lot of groups would agree that this is not always the case. For instance, in our group where I play the wizard in particular tends to be impulsive and selfish, often threatening other people's "quest NPCs" or background characters for his own self-gratification. The fighter has a slug that has a resemblance to him? "I magic missile it."

Now the DM there had two main choice (I wasn't DM) he could block the player and say "no, you don't. Don't be a jerk" or he could say "yes, and as it is a slug and has 1 HP and magic missile can't miss. You destroy the slug that was going to metamorph into a magic item."

I guess what I'm trying to say is that blocking is not always an evil thing. It can be, I definately agree, but in games where there are 'trouble players' or just someone who has an impulsive moment a moment of 'yes and' could set the party back hours of work for a semi-interesting failure or a new diversionary plot. 'You wanted to know the secret of the chest? Too bad! Spend 5 hours finding the ritual to speak to his ghost, or drop the 75% done quest for another idea.'

Although I often argue against blocking, I think it is a valid concept. I just think that it needs to be taken in moderation, rather than the blind adherence in ALL games, regardless of surrounding DMing styles, that some are suggesting.

There is a difference between blocking under an out-of-game premise; and one player at the table attempting to make actions to sabotage the other players. Now, sometimes a player wants to do something everyone but that player thinks is stupid. There is a difference between doing what is good for yourself versus doing what you think is good for yourself even if it isn't, and others doing something for you or forcing you to do something good for you even if you think it isn't. The one problem with these lines of reasoning is that immature people "never get it" and when trying to have fun, the only thing that person sees is their idea not coming to fruition.

They only see their own ideas getting shot down by their friends. If the player doesn't care or has malicious intent, scrap the player. Sometimes, you can be better friends with someone by not having them involved in everything that you do. It makes the things you choose to do with that person more valuable to both parties. If they don't have bad intent, they should be open to reason.

That said, you just can't reason with someone who is fuming mad, and on facebook. You can either exclude them and resume the game, or if the mood is already ruined, suspend the game and give the player a time out to cool their head.

Hopefully you can solve this.

Within; Without.


I think the concept of blocking only works when the entire group has committed to the same plan, or on the same goals at session zero. I think a lot of groups would agree that this is not always the case. For instance, in our group where I play the wizard in particular tends to be impulsive and selfish, often threatening other people's "quest NPCs" or background characters for his own self-gratification. The fighter has a slug that has a resemblance to him? "I magic missile it."



How do you deal with this kind of thing if a character has, say, a Wisdom score of 8. It makes no more sense to roleplay this character as always doing sensible, appropriate things than it would portraying a character with low Strength as being able to bend steel bars.

Clearly that's less important than everybody having fun, and the solution is getting everybody on the same page, but - how do you approach that process of getting everybody on the same page?

I think that sometimes blocking comes as a response to the “tyranny of the majority.” The social contract for tRPG’s has gradually developed into the expectation of 100% cooperation. This is an impossible ideal because players have different agenda’s and ideas of what is fun. This is well illustrated in the OP.


 My theory is that we need less cooperation, and some rules for handling competition between players. Mechanics that would allow a single player to attempt to take control of events in a way that other players would be obliged to support. They could of course when their turns came up try to take control and move the story back in the direction that they want to move in.


 But this idea that players will always work together, with no rules support for when they don’t, will continue to lead to these sorts of difficulties.


 To address the OP’s situation specifically; talk to your buddy oog. Figure out what his plan was and how he would have liked you to respond. Let him know that you were swept away in the current trend and are sorry for not considering his ideas. It sounds like just a clash of ideas that will sort itself out as long as no one gets all defensive or onewayist.


 Talk to the table about possible ways to resolve disagreements mechanically, you could roll dice to see who “wins” or give each player a number of “narrative counters” anyone can turn one in at any time to force the party to take a group direction for a set time, say 15 minutes. There could be a cool side game of trading the narrative counters for in game items and favors. 


There’s plenty of options for that kind of thing online, just pick one or two and stick to them. The idea of a self contained rules system for RPG’s is kind of a philosophers stone, don’t be afraid to make use of other mechanics to get the game where you want it. 


Best of luck =-)


How do you deal with this kind of thing if a character has, say, a Wisdom score of 8. It makes no more sense to roleplay this character as always doing sensible, appropriate things than it would portraying a character with low Strength as being able to bend steel bars.

Clearly that's less important than everybody having fun, and the solution is getting everybody on the same page, but - how do you approach that process of getting everybody on the same page?



In "Mouse Guard" you get tokens for playing your char according to its weaknesses. These tokens allow you to do things latter on. They are a great way to get people to play their characters as they appear on the sheet, with all their foibles and quirks and flaws.

Alternatively, he could have had an idea that was either very selfishly motivated, or one that was bad because it failed to consider other important factors ('lets kill the king' he cries, forgetting momentarily that they want his approval to learn the secret of the chest).



Negating or ignoring established fiction is blocking. If your players have agreed not to block, then this sort of stuff simply doesn't happen. Problem solved... if you know what blocking is and agree not to do it as a group.

RE: Blocking
I think the concept of blocking only works when the entire group has committed to the same plan, or on the same goals at session zero.



And if they didn't, they shouldn't be playing together in my opinion. I see no point to playing a game we don't all agree on.

I think a lot of groups would agree that this is not always the case. For instance, in our group where I play the wizard in particular tends to be impulsive and selfish, often threatening other people's "quest NPCs" or background characters for his own self-gratification. The fighter has a slug that has a resemblance to him? "I magic missile it."Now the DM there had two main choice (I wasn't DM) he could block the player and say "no, you don't. Don't be a jerk" or he could say "yes, and as it is a slug and has 1 HP and magic missile can't miss. You destroy the slug that was going to metamorph into a magic item." 



In a group like ours, you can do all of that as long as you're not blocking. If you are blocking, it's not blocking for the DM to tell you "no." His "No, don't be a jerk" is outside the context of the game.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that blocking is not always an evil thing. It can be, I definately agree, but in games where there are 'trouble players' or just someone who has an impulsive moment a moment of 'yes and' could set the party back hours of work for a semi-interesting failure or a new diversionary plot. 'You wanted to know the secret of the chest? Too bad! Spend 5 hours finding the ritual to speak to his ghost, or drop the 75% done quest for another idea.'



Why is anyone playing with "trouble players" in the first place? I don't know what the rest of this above meant, but you can play an impulsive character that doesn't negate or ignore existing fiction and moves things forward.

Although I often argue against blocking, I think it is a valid concept. I just think that it needs to be taken in moderation, rather than the blind adherence in ALL games, regardless of surrounding DMing styles, that some are suggesting.



Sure. Just be prepared for conflict like the OP has had. Or games where you talk about how to do something for 30 minutes. Or games where people steal the spotlight. Or... well, suffice it to say it eliminates a lot of common problems reported on these forums and elsewhere.

How do you deal with this kind of thing if a character has, say, a Wisdom score of 8. It makes no more sense to roleplay this character as always doing sensible, appropriate things than it would portraying a character with low Strength as being able to bend steel bars.



Your ability scores impact how you make your character act only as much as you choose to.

Clearly that's less important than everybody having fun, and the solution is getting everybody on the same page, but - how do you approach that process of getting everybody on the same page?



You talk to them and come to agreement.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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How do you deal with this kind of thing if a character has, say, a Wisdom score of 8. It makes no more sense to roleplay this character as always doing sensible, appropriate things than it would portraying a character with low Strength as being able to bend steel bars.


While reading "Lamentations of the Flame Princess" lately, the author stated his idea about ability scores where ability scores are ONLY used for game resolution mechanics and have NOTHING to do with how you RP your character.  In other words, just because you have an INT of 6 doesn't mean you have to pretend to be stupid, it just means you're going to suck at INT related tasks that require rolling the dice and adding an ability modifier, and that you won't know many languages and that you pretty much fail at spells.  Sure, if you have a 6 STR you can say your character looks and acts like Conan all you want, and that can be fun, but you still can't haul more than a light load and you're going to suck with melee weapons.  If your Diplomacy is low, you can speak as glibly as you like and make it fun for everyone at the table, but when you roll it's going to still be pretty hard to convince the King to open up his treasury to you. The converse is true too.  If you have high ability scores, that doesn't mean you can't behave like a blithering idiot or play a weak, snivelling, sickly, man-child, if you like that sort of thing.  If your Diplomacy is high, you can still play a socially awkward jerk who never bothers to even attempt to be diplomatic with people.  So if you find characters with flaws fun to play, this is great for you too since you can go right ahead and play them like that, without worrying what your ability scores are.

In other words, you don't have to fail mechanically or optimization-wise, in order to have a character that has interesting weaknesses and flaws.  And just because you might have crappy ability scores in INT or WIS doesn't mean you have to act like a moron or a fool, unless you want to.

I love this idea, and I try to explain it and what I believe are its benefits to people, especially folks who for some reason insist on having character with crappy ability scores (usually because they insist on rolling them) because that makes them "more interesting."  The lesson is that "more interesting" is how you play it, not what your scores are, and you DON'T have to play a character according to its ability scores if you don't want to.  Don't worry, the rules are still the rules so you're not going to get any crazy advantages or disadvantages from roleplaying in a manner that doesn't necessarily match what's on your character sheet.  But on the other hand, it may make things more interesting and fun for you and the other players.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

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"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

@ RedSiegfried: It's a simulationist vs. narrativist thing again. Mechanics and fluff aren't separable to a simulationist. I've seen people on this very forum argue that an Int 8 is an 80 IQ and that's how you should act. (Of course, when I asked what that entailed, they couldn't or wouldn't tell me. Probably because they knew it would be seen as offensive no matter what.) Narrativists don't have a problem with what you're suggesting at all. Play the more simulationist 3.X edition or Pathfinder and you may be expected to play as FinestGreen says. Play the more narrativist 4e and it doesn't make one lick of sense.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Even in the simulationist mode, how would you RP a character with an IQ 100pts higher than your own? Makes about as much sense.
Well, that's the thing. The approach is fine if everyone buys in and enjoys it, but to me it breaks down very easily under too much scrutiny. Plenty of words can be and have been used to try to justify it though.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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@ RedSiegfried: It's a simulationist vs. narrativist thing again. Mechanics and fluff aren't separable to a simulationist.



Hm. If I'm primarily interested in building a compelling narrative, I wouldn't be very interested in a story about a character described as immensely strong or intelligent but who repeatedly failed when called upon to demonstrate it. 

I've seen people on this very forum argue that an Int 8 is an 80 IQ and that's how you should act. (Of course, when I asked what that entailed, they couldn't or wouldn't tell me. Probably because they knew it would be seen as offensive no matter what.)



How about "relatively poor at abstract reasoning and learning new concepts, likely to be more successful with intuitive approaches to problem solving than complex logic"? There's almost certainly some holes in that specific definition, but I don't think it's difficult (or necessarily offensive) to either simulate or build a narrative around.
Don't worry, the rules are still the rules so you're not going to get any crazy advantages or disadvantages from roleplaying in a manner that doesn't necessarily match what's on your character sheet.  But on the other hand, it may make things more interesting and fun for you and the other players.



Your post is full of great stuff, but I wanted to highlight this.

What I see in a lot of these games are DMs that allow themselves to be gamed. If they perceive a player offering up a rare moment of character interaction and creativity, they will often gain a bonus for that in the form of modifiers to the roll, a lower DC, or an outright success. Now, imagine that I've just come up with a brilliant idea to deal with a dramatic situation that the DM loves and decides I succeed, straight up, because I successfully gamed that DM. Johnny Grognard next to me looks at my sheet and sees Int 8. "WHAT?! How can this be? Dimwit over here can't be that smart. C'mon, that's totally unrealistic."

Is he objecting because I didn't "roleplay" my Int 8 correctly? Or is he really objecting to DM bias, but doesn't know it because that's what he's used to? An unbiased DM would likely have called for a roll (or some appropriate mechanic) to adjudicate the player's idea. It that mechanic drew upon Int, then chances are my brilliant idea just doesn't work. That happens sometimes. Just not in a game where you can game the DM...

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Hm. If I'm primarily interested in building a compelling narrative, I wouldn't be very interested in a story about a character described as immensely strong or intelligent but who repeatedly failed when called upon to demonstrate it.



To each their own. I'm not saying you have to like something you don't like.

How about "relatively poor at abstract reasoning and learning new concepts, likely to be more successful with intuitive approaches to problem solving than complex logic"? There's almost certainly some holes in that specific definition, but I don't think it's difficult (or necessarily offensive) to either simulate or build a narrative around.



How about ignoring what you think INT 8 means (or what 3.X or PF RAW says about Int) altogether? What's the drawback? What if I played my INT 20 wizard as an ignorant buffoon?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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While reading "Lamentations of the Flame Princess" lately, the author stated his idea about ability scores where ability scores are ONLY used for game resolution mechanics and have NOTHING to do with how you RP your character. ....




Lamentations is incredibly "clean". Especially considering how James Raggi managed to include all the traditional D&D specs; ability scores, ST, HP, AC, etc.


It is currently my favorite system just because of how well the minimalist rules set can be applied to alternative scenarios, and how easy it is to port in alternate ideas or procedures if you see something in another game that you really like.

"Clean" is a good way to describe it, and I'd apply the same descriptor to Dungeon World which I love for the same reason.

I love 4e, but could not in good faith call it "clean." It still clings in some ways to the D&D simulationist past. It just takes one look at the rules for jumping to see that.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I don't get to play very often, but every now and again a friend runs a 4E game and I play a high-intelligence, low-charisma spellsword.

During the first game the other players started to ask why my guy was "ugly," because he had such a low charisma. I stated he wasn't ugly, in fact he was a good looking guy, smart, dashing a real go getter. But have you ever met one of those people who were beautiful until they opened their mouth, the kind who were absolutely oblivious as to how rude and off-putting they were? That's my guy.

We've had a blast with that. Every session my guy puts his foot in his mouth, and the other more charismatic characters cover for him or play clean up to his messes. Think Sherlock Holmes at his bitchiest and with a drink being thrown in his face because he is too smart for his own good.

So while everyone at first thought low charisma = ugly, I was able to play the character in a way that was much more fun for everyone, not just "I hide in the shadows while you talk to people."
I don't get to play very often, but every now and again a friend runs a 4E game and I play a high-intelligence, low-charisma spellsword.

During the first game the other players started to ask why my guy was "ugly," because he had such a low charisma. I stated he wasn't ugly, in fact he was a good looking guy, smart, dashing a real go getter. But have you ever met one of those people who were beautiful until they opened their mouth, the kind who were absolutely oblivious as to how rude and off-putting they were? That's my guy.

We've had a blast with that. Every session my guy puts his foot in his mouth, and the other more charismatic characters cover for him or play clean up to his messes. Think Sherlock Holmes at his bitchiest and with a drink being thrown in his face because he is too smart for his own good.

So while everyone at first thought low charisma = ugly, I was able to play the character in a way that was much more fun for everyone, not just "I hide in the shadows while you talk to people."



I like playing different aspects of an NPC (or when I play the PC) ability scores. If something is particularly high or low I ask "Why is this, what upbringing or event made it this way?" I had to eject one player because he was just a rude person with horrible table manners who said "but I have a low charisma and I am just playing my character." - Yup, you could see the end of the sentenced inscribed before even reading it.

When an unpleasant character is played correctly, it can be a very fun contribution to the game. Doctor House, anyone?

Within; Without.

It's funny you mention House, that's one of the people I sought to emulate.

Also as a note, my character is rude to NPCs, not PCs. I never use "playing my character" as an excuse to get passive aggressive with someone at the table. I would consider that breaking Wheaton's Law.

Funny side note, my now wife was playing my character's girlfriend, a statuesque Eladrin who was maxed out on Charisma. At first she couldn't figure out how her character would be attracted to a jerk like mine. After a few minutes of talking about it, we all decided she came from courtly life where everyone spoke in flowery tones and hid insults behind masks of politeness. A guy being upfront to the point of rudeness is hillarious to her.

Think Jessica Rabbit: "He makes me laugh."
What I see in a lot of these games are DMs that allow themselves to be gamed. If they perceive a player offering up a rare moment of character interaction and creativity, they will often gain a bonus for that in the form of modifiers to the roll, a lower DC, or an outright success. Now, imagine that I've just come up with a brilliant idea to deal with a dramatic situation that the DM loves and decides I succeed, straight up, because I successfully gamed that DM. Johnny Grognard next to me looks at my sheet and sees Int 8. "WHAT?! How can this be? Dimwit over here can't be that smart. C'mon, that's totally unrealistic."

An easy way out of this quandry ... in real life, the player who has the character with an 8 INT came up with the idea, and that's great and shows how clever he is, but maybe IN GAME the OTHER character who has a 20 INT was the one who came up with the idea.  That way the clever player doesn't get penalized for having a dumb character and the other player with the clever character gets to say his character used his brains to save the day ... both get to have fun, and the clever idea gets used instead of discarded. 

In the game, maybe the smart character just can't come up with a solution, but then the dumb character says something dumb ... but inspiring.  "YOU'RE BRILLIANT!" says the smart guy.  "JUST REVERSE THE POLARITY OF THE NEUTRON FLOW!  IT WAS SO OBVIOUS!"

"Derp ... it was?  Duh .... ah ... okay."  (dumb guy drools and grins)

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

It is pretty simple to justify/explain/storify anything you want to do. The problem is usually when a player or DM becomes convinced that is a wrong way to play. I think being flexible and a willingness to handwave some of the details make the games that much better, because you spend more time doing fun things and less time worrying about how it would look as a published novel, which it is not.
That is a solid approach, but of course at many tables would not be appropriate, especially as it relates to character ownership and what some perceive as "using the metagame." In a "Yes, and..." group, it's a no-brainer.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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...in real life, the player who has the character with an 8 INT came up with the idea, and that's great and shows how clever he is, but maybe IN GAME the OTHER character who has a 20 INT was the one who came up with the idea.  ...





I love this idea, I am henceforth going to allow players to attempt to steal good ideas with a successful competition of ability scores.

RE: Blocking
I think the concept of blocking only works when the entire group has committed to the same plan, or on the same goals at session zero.

That's part of it. If everyone agreed to something about the game and someone unilaterally decides to do something else counter to it, that's blocking. That would be like everyone agreeing to perform Richard I and one person deciding to launch into King Lear. But the more common form of blocking is when no one has suggested anything yet and the first person to suggest something is told, "No," or "Yes, but..." and has their idea prevented or partially negated. That's more like the improv form of blocking in which the players are on stage and someone starts of the scene and someone else negates or blocks what that person presented. That person is now much less likely to want to start a scene, because having your idea shot down is embarassing and disheartening. On top of that, they're more likely to block the ideas of others now, too. But the scene can't move forward until someone presents and idea and the others accept it and add on to it, so why not accept the first idea. Any idea can be made to work. This is all true in roleplaying as well.

I think a lot of groups would agree that this is not always the case. For instance, in our group where I play the wizard in particular tends to be impulsive and selfish, often threatening other people's "quest NPCs" or background characters for his own self-gratification. The fighter has a slug that has a resemblance to him? "I magic missile it."

Now the DM there had two main choice (I wasn't DM) he could block the player and say "no, you don't. Don't be a jerk" or he could say "yes, and as it is a slug and has 1 HP and magic missile can't miss. You destroy the slug that was going to metamorph into a magic item."

Those aren't the only two options. For me, this falls under an attack on another player's character, in which the target describes the outcome. It's the fighter's possession, so the fighter describes what happens. Hit points don't need to enter into it. Sure the magic missile "hits", but "hits" can mean a lot of things, including simple stress. And anyway, this slug is obviously special, and can take a magic missile hit, before hiding somewhere on the fighter.

The wizard's action is not blocked. It is accepted and added on to. If the wizard just said "I kill the slug," I guess I would ask for the details, and then move into the "target decides the outcome mode." If I don't see a way to accept and add on to what a player wants to do, though, I pause the game and we talk about it. I make it clear that I don't want to block them, but I need ideas.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that blocking is not always an evil thing. It can be, I definately agree, but in games where there are 'trouble players' or just someone who has an impulsive moment a moment of 'yes and' could set the party back hours of work for a semi-interesting failure or a new diversionary plot. 'You wanted to know the secret of the chest? Too bad! Spend 5 hours finding the ritual to speak to his ghost, or drop the 75% done quest for another idea.'

Then the DM works with the players to ensure that the work isn't set back, or that the new action that would need to be taken is just as interesting.

Trouble players, as in the original example, are often acting out against something at the table. Blocking them, and I think we've all probably seen, will just make them act out more, in ways that are less easily blocked, or to the point at which the DM just gives up.

What often isn't considered in these discussions is the "and." "Yes," by itself is nothing without the "and," in improv or D&D. The story has to go somewhere from what just happened. In improv, that can often be some madcap direction that gets a laugh. In D&D everyone might want it to be more serious, but the setting is such that anything can be made to work as a jumping off point for the next interesting part of the scenario. When everyone is working toward figuring that out, instead of just the DM, it's usually quite easy and often surprising for everyone.

In other words, if you don't like an idea as stated, you don't have to accept it as stated. But don't block it. Add to it. Make it your idea as well as the other person's. If everyone does this, everyone will have something about an idea that they like, and everyone will want to see it work.

Although I often argue against blocking, I think it is a valid concept. I just think that it needs to be taken in moderation, rather than the blind adherence in ALL games, regardless of surrounding DMing styles, that some are suggesting.

The problem is that blocking does not moderate itself. It only stops when someone decides to accept, and it's only worth accepting if you're going to add on to it. Why not accept and add onto the first idea, whether you're a player or a DM, and whether it was a player or DM who offered it? Any idea can be made to work, and it often takes more creativity to block an idea than to accept and add on to it. Use that creativity to build trust, rather than erode it.

Try it for a session or two. Many people who are exposed to the concept and see how it allows the game to flow and grow rather than bog down in argument.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

What I see in a lot of these games are DMs that allow themselves to be gamed. If they perceive a player offering up a rare moment of character interaction and creativity, they will often gain a bonus for that in the form of modifiers to the roll, a lower DC, or an outright success. Now, imagine that I've just come up with a brilliant idea to deal with a dramatic situation that the DM loves and decides I succeed, straight up, because I successfully gamed that DM. Johnny Grognard next to me looks at my sheet and sees Int 8. "WHAT?! How can this be? Dimwit over here can't be that smart. C'mon, that's totally unrealistic."

An easy way out of this quandry ... in real life, the player who has the character with an 8 INT came up with the idea, and that's great and shows how clever he is, but maybe IN GAME the OTHER character who has a 20 INT was the one who came up with the idea.  That way the clever player doesn't get penalized for having a dumb character and the other player with the clever character gets to say his character used his brains to save the day ... both get to have fun, and the clever idea gets used instead of discarded. 

In the game, maybe the smart character just can't come up with a solution, but then the dumb character says something dumb ... but inspiring.  "YOU'RE BRILLIANT!" says the smart guy.  "JUST REVERSE THE POLARITY OF THE NEUTRON FLOW!  IT WAS SO OBVIOUS!"

"Derp ... it was?  Duh .... ah ... okay."  (dumb guy drools and grins)

Or we can finally realize that there's no DC for coming up with a good idea and not bat an eye when someone with a low score does it. That's a different thread, though.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

...

I think a lot of groups would agree that this is not always the case. For instance, in our group where I play the wizard in particular tends to be impulsive and selfish, often threatening other people's "quest NPCs" or background characters for his own self-gratification. The fighter has a slug that has a resemblance to him? "I magic missile it."

Now the DM there had two main choice (I wasn't DM) he could block the player and say "no, you don't. Don't be a jerk" or he could say "yes, and as it is a slug and has 1 HP and magic missile can't miss. You destroy the slug that was going to metamorph into a magic item."

Those aren't the only two options. For me, this falls under an attack on another player's character, in which the target describes the outcome. It's the fighter's possession, so the fighter describes what happens. ....


This doesn't sit well with me for some reason. It seems like a form of fiat that strips the wizard of his agency in order to prevent an escalation in response by the fighter who's slug was killed. 

If the frames around the characters are so weak that the player of the fighter can't laugh at the loss of his slug and figure out an interesting response then the problem may be with framing. Disempowering the wizard so that the frames can be kept weak is just not the option that I would want to go with. 

I would work towards getting the fighter back to the status of "game piece" and away from "extension of the player", thereby strengthening the frame of the fighter character and reducing emotional feedback to a more enjoyable/manageable level.