member, 715 posts
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 03:26
Players not playing in character 'correctly'
I have something that is sort of a mix between a rant and a question that I have struggled with in some of the games I have played.  I'll keep it vague, but I wanted to see how you all deal with players not playing in character 'correctly.'  I say it that way, because I am well aware that what is correct in this matter is pretty up for debate.

But to give a little more specific of an example, I'll use D&D.  One problem I see all the time is players not really playing their characters as id they are afraid of anything.  They always seem certain they are invulnerable, that they can defeat the people around them.  The worst instances lead up to them being jerks to kings in their own courtrooms because they believe they are high enough level that they can't be harmed, or relying on out of character knowledge of an enemy to decide they can easily kill them using something specific, so they don't really hesitate to leap into what would look like a deadly situation.

This applies to other games.  Where players never admit they are wrong, never act in fear or doubt, always seeming to be cool.  I know often people play games to try to be something they can't be in real life, but it really takes the drama out of situations when they just refuse to even consider the idea that their characters may not be as brave as they want them to be.

Or, if they have modern earth values in a game where those values make no sense, but constantly judge the setting by those modern values.  It really makes it hard to get immersed in a setting when players never even consider that people in the game world might not be 21st century westerners.

I don't know if this is just to vague to make any sense, but how do you deal with it?  Do you think it is wrong to privately advise, or even reprimand, a player if they do this sort of thing?  or is it just something you have to accept as part of playing role playing games?
 member, 289 posts
 Join Date:
 Thu, 28 Nov, 2013
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 03:51
Players not playing in character 'correctly'
As a GM, I'm familiar with this sort of thing. Primarily players insulting the person hiring them, or the leader of the guard, or the queen, or what-have-you. How do I handle that? Simple: they don't get paid as much, or don't get the job. If I were to outright insult my prospective boss in an interview (which is basically what the old man in the tavern is doing: interviewing you), I'm fairly certain I won't get the job. I hold true to that in D&D. Insult the queen's weight? Why should she hire you? There's plenty of other adventurers to hire. If there is no-one else they can hire, or they're desperate? The job's pay just dropped, and the Persuasion/Negotiation/whatever check to raise the pay just got tougher. This is usually followed by the person hiring the PCs making some comment about it; "I'm certain a man with a mouth like yours can find better work elsewhere", or "a hundred gold is more than enough for the soap your tongue needs".

If a PC uses OOC knowledge to get an advantage, and I catch them in the act, I reprimand them or punish them. I'll either call it out (which usually results in an apology), or I'll silently change the stats and tell them after. Mention that you can keep back-peddling from the zombies and kill them with ranged weapons because they have a lower movement rate than you? I just increased it so you're even. That last one did happen. When the plan failed and the zombies easily caught them again, the offending player asked how they could move so fast when the Monster Manual gave their movement as lower than they had moved. I pointed out that looking up the zombies in the Monster Manual is metagaming, and so I changed the stats as punishment. The player hasn't done it since.

As for PCs never being afraid of things, I can't control that as a GM so easily. D&D 5e has Inspiration, which allows me to reward those who play their character, but some characters are the typical Captain America-types who never surrender/back-down/flinch. I'd be interested to hear if someone has a solution for those characters, other than OOC saying "no".