Some people in this world are real go- getters. They are generally seen by others to be classy, efficient, thoughtful, confident and decisive. They’re the type of person who can’t be happy unless they are planning a fantastic vacation, juggling 2 perfect jobs and maneuvering for their retirement with the millions they’ve made on the stock market. When role-playing, these people are the same type of gamer who perfectly navigates a complex storyline with well thought out and efficient actions, all the while making clever remarks and bonding the party together in ways that DM’s can only dream. Fuck them. I’m here to tell you, reader, to embrace your lazy, haphazard and self-doubting side. Here are 4 ways to not accomplish anything in role-playing.
1 Plan every action in agonizing detail
Statistically you need to minimize your chance of failure, by planning, planning, arguing and then planning some more. You’ll notice that the perfect gamers will likely join you for a short session of planning, but their weakness is that they don’t see it through to its dragged out, discouraging and frustrating end. The good gamers plan for a while and then seem to arbitrarily decide on one clear, logical and decisive action. Don’t get sucked in. You can hold up the group for hours by asking “what if” questions, and humming and hawing about possible consequences. A bad gamer will remember to imagine the worst-case scenario every time someone suggests a course of action, but never offer possible solutions. After all, it is waaaay easier to tell someone what not to do, than it is to encourage him or her to do something they want to. The tendency to find faults in logical planning is nature’s way of telling you to slow down the pace of decisions being made in the game. With practice, you can stretch the planning stage out until everyone is good and uncomfortable and willing to half-heartedly commit to any old course of action, just to do something. Despite the naysayers you will hear in response to this tip, boring and bogged-down-in-details is how role-playing was meant to be.
Ok, so the plan is that the rogue looks left, THEN right, as the warrior peeks through the keyhole for 1.3 seconds and slowly opens the door 2.7 inches, so as not to trip any wire that may or may not be hidden, meanwhile…
2 Be a dick
Nothing breaks up party cohesion more than one character being a royal ass-hat. Sure the party loves the cool guy who introduces his character as a brash and uncouth scoundrel, but ultimately is someone with some endearing traits that the party can work with. This is where these “quality” characters go wrong. My advice for getting nothing done in role-playing is to make sure that your character is impossible to work with. Keep all your character motivations hidden, with not even a suggestion about what might be going on in their head. Roll your eyes often (both in and out of game), and tell other characters that their plans are stupid. You don’t need to explain more than that, but if they insist you do, drag up shit that happened like 3 years ago and be super vague about it, with maybe the odd really specific (and ideally minor) instance sprinkled in. If the party is in chaos, they can’t expect to make logical and confident decisions now, can they?
Ok ok ok so I killed everyone in the tavern because I overheard someone say that something smelled rotten. I can’t help it if that’s my sleeper agent phrase! Great, now you all know my secret sleeper agent phrase. Ugh!
3 Be passive aggressive
I can’t help but wonder if I’m being passive aggressive by vaguely complaining about other people’s passive aggression. Oh well. When in game, don’t communicate with your fellow gamers clearly or directly. If you try to be nice and clear then you run the risk of your party actually accomplishing cool shit. By continuing to be maddeningly unhelpful and whiney, you can almost guarantee confusion, frustration, anxiety and a certain degree of hopelessness in the party. They may even just give up their current quest- all because of the stink you made about someone getting all the magic items your character wanted (and was best suited for!) from the treasure chamber. But it’s fine! Whatever! Be visibly upset, but refuse to acknowledge it with anything more than a fake smile, and changing the subject. If you do this step right, people will become more focused on not setting you off, then they will on accomplishing any cohesive group goals.
I’m not passive aggressive…unlike some people I know
4 Don’t fall for the DM’s hooks
Too many perfectly rotten gamers spoil a good waste of time by grabbing on to every little plot hook the DM throws their way. Yeah, it progresses a cohesive storyline, sure it brings the party to new places, and introduces them to new folk. But trust me, your own haphazard leaps from goblin fight to kobold fight back to goblin fight will get a lot less done in terms of worthwhile storylines. A word to the wise is to beware of DMs trying one of their wily tricks to insidiously have the party build momentum and story arcs. A famous trick many DM’s will use is having an NPC befriend the party. The solution, my terrible gamer, is simple: kill this puppet tout suite. Nip that sentimental shit in the bud, and claim that you had a reason to believe they were going to screw the party over. Build on the party’s fears, nurture their paranoia, and they may even take out a few of these blabbermouths themselves!
Don’t forget to sense motive when you look in the mirror each morning
So there you have it. A quick and dirty guide to limiting the effectiveness of any RPG group. It’s applicable to all levels of gamer experience, from rookie to cagey veteran, and it’s translatable across all gaming systems. If you follow these rules, you will greatly reduce the fun and epic-ness of your gaming group…although I can’t guarantee that you won’t get kicked out of the group shortly thereafter…
Until next time, don’t look up what effect your spells have, or the components they require, until everyone’s eyes are turned on you and waiting…
I aim to disappoint.
Dustinopolis is actually a fairly nice villain. He enjoys walks on sharp-rocked beaches, eating rare and disgusting things, and traveling the world on a budget. You shouldn’t follow him on twitter (@devourcheese) as his posts really aren’t that interesting, and following him will only serve to inflate his ego.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.