Despite their rep for being associated with the nerdiest and most unwashed of basement dwellers, tabletop RPGs can be really, really fun. However, just as with any hobby there are always a few things – or people – that can ruin it for everyone. Here you will find a few of the most irritating; be sure to avoid committing these cardinal sins yourself.
Rules lawyers are, as their nickname implies, obsessed with the rules, placing their enforcement above all else (especially fun). Granted, having somebody that knows all the rules really well is pretty damn useful. However, when anyone takes them to this level of extreme it’s never a good thing. The best way to combat this sticks in the mud is to point out that a number of RPG handbooks specifically point out that the rules can be bent and even broken if it makes for a better story (which is, at the end of the day, what most good RPGs are about).
There are multiple things that can result in somebody being graced with the title of That Guy (technically any of those on this list could subsequently result in someone being classed as one, for example). However, perhaps one of the most common ones is the somewhat generic accusation of ‘being creepy’. Whether this manifests itself as in or out of character behaviour (often it’s just as bad having someone leer over your character as it is leering over you), it’s rarely pleasant. It’s not really a surprise that That Guys are the ones most often forcefully ejected from RPG groups.
These can be relatively harmless, but also incredibly annoying. A lot of Mary Sues’ problems (sometimes both in and out of character) originate in their backstories, with tragic tales of woe resulting in a stereotypically ‘broken’ character (and such characters are rarely realistically portrayed). Another subtype of Mary Sue is the beautiful, friendly, helpful one who everybody is supposed to like (which, among a party who can see a Mary Sue coming a mile away, rarely happens). Gently try and educate them on what makes a good character; if they storm out, they were clearly beyond saving.
A little like Rules Lawyers and That Guys rolled into one, powergamers are essentially trying to win… at a game wherein winning isn’t really the main focus. They to created horrifically statted munchkin monstrosities whose capability somehow exceeds that of the other party members threefold. The best way to deal with powergamers is to beat them at their own game: create something horrific, send it after them and then ensure that they good a taste of their own medicine as your avenge your unfortunately felled NPCs.
Ella has encountered all of these and lived to tell the tale. Following the most recent incident, her fellow party members found solace in Nottingham takeaway.