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I have a little problem. One of the guys I'm playing with does not like roleplay. What I do now is like:

I'm talking to the dog:

Good dog, good dog

Reciting it as a hypnotizing mantra

And I point to the "bardic music: fascinate" on my character sheet so our DM knows what it is, mechanically.

What he is trying to make me do is to just say:

I'm using bardic music to fascinate this dog.

Simpler and faster? Maybe. But no satisfaction in it for me.

I'm just using Bard class to represent non-bardic character concept (scholar boy with not quite enough power to be a wizard or sorcerer). Repeating "bard" again and again would be against roleplaying.

Any way to make him accept roleplaying, or maybe roleplay a bit himself?

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Could you tag this with the system (and edition) you all are playing? This can have implications for the advice we'd give you. –  Grubermensch Aug 5 at 12:01
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@Grubermensch That seems highly irrelevant for a problem that is only incidentally mentioning mechanics. The problem is social, and is unchanged by edition and most systems. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 5 at 16:09
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One important detail: does the GM quickly understand what you are doing or does he need time to look at your character sheet, read it and understand? In other words, is your method slowing the game too much? Also, is the GM and the rest of players ok with your method? –  Flamma Aug 6 at 11:09
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I think there needs to be a tiny bit of clarification to pick the right answer, because there seem to be two distinct views on the subject (whether you need to change or he does). Is this situation severely complicating the game to where people aren't having fun? I would assume yes, but you pose the question politely so it's hard to tell. What is the player concerned about exactly? Is he uncomfortable with your style, or is he frustrated by it, etc? Are you unique in this style in this group? Is compromise an option for one/both of you, or must it be one way or the other? –  thanby Aug 6 at 19:48
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He doesn't role-play? Never? When his PC interacts with something, is in always indirect speech (I'm asking barkeep about the bounty, wanting to know A B and C)? –  LIttle Ancient Forest Kami Aug 7 at 8:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 58 down vote accepted

It sounds like your fellow roleplayer just wants you to be verbally clear about what exactly you're doing, mechanically, without just pointing to a thing on your character sheet. It doesn't sound like their problem is necessary that you're roleplaying at all - I'd be pretty surprised if they disliked flavourful descriptions of how people do things.

It's pretty easy to verbally express what you're doing mechanically, and what you're doing flavourfully, side by side. Doing one doesn't preclude doing the other. You could just say something like this:

I walk up to the dog, and I'm going to use bardic music to fascinate it. I say good dog, good dog... as a repeating mantra.

Then your DM knows what's going on both in terms of mechanics and roleplay, and your fellow player does too, and nobody has to squint at your character sheet or have it held up to them whenever you do something for them to know what's going on.

Repeating "bard" again and again would be against roleplaying.

This isn't "against roleplaying." it's just good communication. I roleplay regularly in my own games - I just say what I'm doing mechanically at the same time. You're hardly repeating "bard" again and again, you're just stating "bardic music", so that's a straw man argument - but if it's the name that bothers you, you could rename it to something you find more satisfying, like Fascinating Voice.

Maybe your specific brand of roleplaying involves avoiding any verbal mechanical description, but you should understand that's going to be frustrating to some people.

Think of it this way: people are pretty bad at focusing on multiple things at once. Your fellow players can either focus on listening to you and watching you, or they can focus on looking at your character sheet and trying to read what you're pointing at, but they can't do both very well. Ever been to a talk where the presenter had a dozen bullet points on their slide, and if you tried to read them you'd realise you weren't absorbing what the presenter was saying? It's going to be like that.

So really, just verbally stating what you're mechanically doing allows your players to focus entirely on watching and listening to you, so they can follow everything you're doing easily. That supports roleplaying and makes it easier for you and everyone else. Not doing this is probably "against roleplaying," because it makes it hard for people to understand you.

You could talk with them and find out what will help accommodate them, but really, I suggest you just accommodate your fellow player and take this as a lesson on communication.

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@Mołot - if the term "Bard" is setting you off - just rename the ability - agree with your group that although you are using the mechanics of "Bardic Music: Fascinate", you'll refer to it as "Fascinating Voice" or whatever you find suitable. I completely disagree that it goes against roleplaying, but with such a simple solution available, there's no real need for me to convince you... @doppelgreener: I'm commenting under your answer as I thought you may wish to add this to it... –  G0BLiN Aug 5 at 11:15
    
@GoBLiN That's fair, thanks - I've added it and made mention of you in the edit summary. –  doppelgreener Aug 5 at 11:18
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I disagree with this answer. Not stopping the dialogue for expressing mechanical details creates a lot more immersion, IMO. If the GM has no problem understanding the action when he points the CS, I think it's a smart solution. If the game stops each time the GM has to read what the player is pointing at, the immersion has failed. I think the group has to talk about which way of roleplaying is preferred, and if no consensus is possible, and the GM is not heavily against it, each player should roleplay as he likes better. –  Flamma Aug 5 at 12:12
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@Flamma That sounds like the beginning of a decent answer, which I'd be pleased to read. –  doppelgreener Aug 5 at 12:16
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If, as @Flamma said, the part about "pointing at the CS" to get what's going on is what bothers your fellow player and not your roleplaying itself, wouldn't it be easier to get a few library-sized cards and write in big, bold letters the "Bardic Music: Fascinate", along the bare-boned facts (DC, duration, etc...) so you can show that to everyone while you keep going as you've been so far? That'd mean less squinting for everyone =P –  Cryptangel Aug 5 at 15:04

Split the Difference

Unless your table has an "always in-character" attitude (and even if they do) chances are you've developed some understanding of when something is in character and when it's out of character. You could always try something like:

I'm using my fascination ability on the dog.

Good dog. Gooood dog. Goooood Doooooog.

As a bonus, since you're not using your hands and eyes to find and point something out on your character sheet you can focus on really selling the RP using non-verbal cues, such as pretending to pet the dog or implied eye contact. It might even help draw the other player into the narrative since now he has a better idea of what's going on.

Of course, he also still might not be entirely happy (especially since you apparently haven't had a conversation about why he wants you to stop doing this) but if the other players like the way you're doing things then there's only so far you should bend. At some point, your group might have to have that uncomfortable conversation about play-styles.

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I like this suggestions for its intuitive blend of the mechanical and roleplay aspects. Combine this with the renaming of abilities suggested by GoBLiN (incorporated into dopplegreener's answer) and things could roleplay very smoothly the way the OP wants. However, the fact that the OP isn't asking for how to accommodate the player, rather change the player, leads me to suspect the latter part of your answer may end up being the case. –  thanby Aug 7 at 11:57

I strongly support the prior answers on how to blend mechanics and role-playing in a way that supports immersion, and makes it easy for the DM and other players to play the game. Stating what you're doing and then role-playing it is very efficient.

If you want to promote further role-playing in your group in general, I suggest starting with strategy meetings. Chat with the players. When you initiate conversations, do it in character.

"Paladin, I've found a way to get to the slave pits through the sewers. The gunslinger, and rogue prefer not to get their boots dirty. Will you accompany me?"

This prompts people to reply in character. They may choose not to, but the prompt gives them an opportunity and reason to. Pick the people who most want to role-play, and have conversations with them. That and flavor text is where role-playing shines in D&D.

I clap the barbarian on the back, look him in the eye, and say, "Sarenrae's light cleanses your pain and disease." You get 12 HP.

Remember, everyone has different role-playing styles, and it's a group effort. Trying to reach a point where everyone's having a good time is the goal, and that includes the person who needs to see the mechanics to enjoy D&D.

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You posed two slightly different questions:

  • A fellow player does not want me to roleplay, what do I do?

    • Short answer: Compromise, see other answers for details.
  • Any way to make him accept roleplaying, or maybe roleplay a bit himself?

    • Short answer:

      Step 1: Deescalate.
      Step 2: Ask the group.
      Step 3: Carefully question his approach, but don't push it.

I will answer the latter question in more detail. That is, I won't concentrate on how you can compromise to satisfy his curiosity.

First, I'm assuming it is curiosity. It might also be some deeper intersocial problem. He might be trusting neither you nor the DM. If the reason is "untrust", your group has a serious problem to be answered in a different question. If it's a trust problem, I'd expect the "problem"-player to actively play the rules lawyer. In this case, he should know what the ability you're pointing at does. He would also start at the DM like "That ability doesn't work like that."

I'll further assume the DM and other players are fine with descriptively roleplaying your actions and silently pointing out the intended mechanics. You explicitly said "One of the guys [...] does not like" it. I also assume that your DM thinks pointing is a very clear communication of mechanics and will tell you, if the mechanics do not apply in the way you intend.

Step 1: Deescalate.

I'd politely tell the disagreeing player: "Sorry, but your character has no in game knowledge of my character's underlying abilities. He is welcome to ask, what my character has done or can do. If so, I will answer in place of my character. To not actively encourage metagaming, I will leave it up to you to figure out, what mechanics I'm using. If you think it's important to know in all detail, you're welcome to look, what I'm pointing at."

To stick with your example, your character could answer, if asked: "I've always been good with animals. Now that I think of, I'm with most people, too. Must be my charming personality, don't you think?"

The thing is, you two don't need to agree on each and every aspect of the game. That is as long as any discussion is short enough, to not disturb the game for everyone else. To get to this point, I'd give the same short explanation once every gaming session, if the issue arises. I'd ignore any further comments on this issue. Not saying anything usually ends discussions the quickest. After all, you don't want to argue. At this point in time you're satisfied, when your gaming style is tolerated. In turn, you should tolerate his gaming style without questioning it or explicitly saying so. Don't say things like "I don't critisize your style!", because that would actually be aggressive.

See how things develop. Probably he stops asking for mechanics, as he gets bored of getting the same answer. Maybe he will start to see the advantage of immersion, but that's unlikely. Take a while (some sessions, depending on the development of situation) before you proceed with:

Step 2: Ask the group.

Well, ask your DM, how he thinks. Ask the group. I'd vote to do it before or after the gaming session. In my group we start with ordering pizza, so I'd discuss it after everyone had the first few bites. Hungry people are dissatisfied people and not to be argued with.

  • If your group agrees with his reasoning: Compromise, see other answers,
  • If your group is undecided: Try to achieve an explicit mutual acceptance that different gaming styles exist and can be played within your group. If "mutual acceptance" is not enough to strike a deal and constant conflict makes playing unfun, you can try to find a compromise. Maybe printed cards with your abilities in big bold letters (as suggested in a comment of Cryptangel) could be such a compromise. Don't do step 3.
  • If a majority of your group (that is not just the loudest or last to speak) shows explicit support for your gaming style, proceed with:

Step 3: Carefully question his approach

So after all, one question remains: Are you (and the rest of the group) ok with the other player's gaming style? Presumably he makes calls like "I use Charge and Cleave on target B!" If he does so, ask what that means. I personally have no clue what movements are involved to "Cleave" and how to combine it with rushing at the enemy. And which one was target B? Is it the goblin, who I hit over the head? Or is it the goblin's dog that lunged itself at the cleric?

I'd vote for tolerance of both approaches as long as everyone has fun. However, if one approach is questioned by a minority, why not question the other, if a majority opposes it?

Don't push it! He does not like your gaming style. Maybe he will never like it. However he should tolerate it. For a mutual agreement you should tolerate his gaming style, too.

Summary

In summary, I proposed the following details to "handle the situation well":

  • be polite, invite to in game discussion and offer an alternative to get the exact same info
  • keep discussions short to not disturb the rest of the group, although this means not having the last word, which can be quite hard for some people
  • mutually tolerate different gaming styles

(Can someone think up a way to lessen any negative impact under the requirement that OP may stick to his gaming style?)

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Not a downvoter, but I read the other two answers as being in favor of clear communication rather than compromise for its own sake. If someone thinks you're communicating poorly, then finding a way to communicate more clearly is a better solution than digging in your heels and saying "Your character knows nothing about me, so I don't have to be clear about what I'm doing." –  Dave Sherohman Aug 5 at 9:31
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I was the downvoter. I did it because yeah, getting all defensive and effectively saying "I don't have to communicate with you well!" isn't going to go well. There are lots of issues at play here. –  doppelgreener Aug 5 at 10:19
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@doppelgreener To be fair, this post actually answers the question. The question was about making other player accept his roleplay, and the other answers instead says "No, you're the one who is doing it wrong". –  Flamma Aug 5 at 12:18
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+1. The other two answers may or may not be advocating "compromise for its own sake" but they are definitely advocating compromise; I've played in plenty of groups where "what powers are on your character sheet" is none of anyone else's business (but the GM). You are NOT required to change your style because one player is extra nosy. –  mxyzplk Aug 5 at 12:40
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@mxyzplk The title question was "A fellow player does not want me to roleplay, what do I do?" and the in-line question was "Any way to make him accept roleplaying, or maybe roleplay a bit himself?" Both of the other answers, answers both these questions. This answer doesn't address the in-line question at all. Instead it advocates ignoring the problem followed by alienating the other player. This isn't helping the player "accept" it; it's forcing the other player to tolerate it. –  Wesley Obenshain Aug 5 at 22:04

You need to come up with a way to indicate, non-subtly, the out-of-character actions you are taking, and to distinguish them from in-character acting.

The other answers have given some good suggestions, and ways to bring this up to the other players. What I would suggest to help distinguish the two, rather than pointing at your character sheet, is using a simple hand signal to distinguish OOC action/speech from IC. Something as simple as holding up your hand and crossing your fingers would work.

This allows you to declare the action your character is taking, and then flow directly into the narrative of the character itself without having to indicate verbally that you are speaking OOC.

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The problem is that OP specifically does not want to mention OOC actions (presumably for immersion reasons), while the other player does want him to. –  TimLymington Aug 8 at 10:55

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