At its heart, roleplaying is a cooperative gaming experience made richer and more enjoyable by the people with whom you play. In an ideal world, the experience would be a harmonious one, but inevitably arguments occur.
Arguments suck enjoyment out of the game, create bad feelings and – in extreme cases – end up ruining friendships, ending campaigns or breaking up gaming groups. Knowing the causes of arguments helps you avoid them.
- Not Being Prepared: Turn up on-time and ready. Arriving late and then realising you don’t have your character sheet or still need to level is not going to go down well.
- Rules Lawyering: Some players love arguing rules, but a GM’s word is final; don’t try and eek out every little advantage from bizarre or “extreme” rule interpretations. As long as you don’t die or expend considerable resources because of the GM’s ruling it’s all good.
- Not Paying Attention: Forcing people to repeat themselves (repeatedly) or making bad tactical choices because you don’t know what is going on is bad form. Pay attention.
- Putting A Character’s Needs Above A Player’s: This is huge, for me. If you put your (pretend) character’s needs above those of a (real life) player, you won’t get a seat at my table.
- Not Knowing The Rules: Know the rules – if you enjoy the game enough to play it, invest the time to learn the rules.
- Not Knowing Your Character: Know what your character can do. For example, if you can cast spells, know their effects. Better yet, have the relevant text available when you need it.
- Not Being a Team Player: Everyone acts in their own self-interest on occasion, but deliberately acting contrary to the party’s goal or ethos is just asking for trouble. For example, creating an assassin PC for a group that already has a paladin is inevitably going to create arguments.
Help Fellow Gamers!
The above flashpoints are the main causes of arguments at the game table I’ve seen. Did I miss any? Let us know in the comments below and help your fellow gamers dodge pointless, time-consuming arguments!