I've been in a D&D 5e group with some people from my high school for a few weeks. The group started with a simple starter campaign (A Most Potent Brew) and continued with a homebrew campaign created by the DM.

The problem I'm having is that parts of the group are very heavy on roleplay that seems like it means nothing to the story or campaign. For example, in the last session, three or four of the characters spent an hour of real time in an inn, seducing the bartenders/other bar attendees/each other and having a party. After this, there was about 15 minutes of story building and progress, with some mild story related roleplay (I found this interesting) and then more roleplay about romantic relationships between characters.

To clarify, I don't inherently dislike in character roleplay. For example, there was an interaction between one character and an NPC that I was very interested in. I just feel like the focus in roleplay should be roleplay that's actually helping to advance the story of the campaign in some way. I also don't have a problem with small amount of this kind of stuff, I just don't like it taking over the entire campaign.

I tried to bring this up with the group. The responses I got were "Your character isn't developed enough" (true, but irrelevant), "you're ruining the fun", "maybe you should try it, you might like it", and "this is what D&D is supposed to be like" (all direct quotes).

Is there a way out of a scenario like this that isn't just leaving the group?


5 Answers 5


Since you stated 'parts of the group are very heavy on roleplay,' I'm assuming you are not the sole dissenter of the group. If you are, some of the options below won't apply.

Try the irrelevant roleplaying

Give it a shot. While it may not necessarily be your cup of tea, you may find yourself enjoying it more than you might think. Sometimes, random and perhaps somewhat pointless roleplaying in character can be an enjoyable process.

Talk to other players

With 3-4 players involved in the heavy roleplay that is not relevant to the campaign, the other players in the group should also share similar feelings as you do. Are the irrelevant roleplayers hogging the DM's time and giving them no chance to shine?

Ask them if they are happy with the current situation. If they are not, then you can approach the next step with better hopes for a successful outcome.

Talk to your DM

Like all problems in a campaign, you should discuss this with your DM. Your DM is the one running the campaign. Is he happy with the progress of the party? Or is he more concerned about how the heavy roleplay is stalling the campaign?

If he is happy, then you can only suggest that you and perhaps other players would like to see the campaign progress faster. Perhaps he can integrate the non-relevant roleplay and make it relevant somehow. For example, a character romance could be interrupted by a rich and mysterious playboy/girl who is secretly the villain boss/henchperson aiming to disrupt party cohesion so their schemes succeed.

Alternately, you could ask to do other things while the roleplayers are having their fun. Are they carousing with the barmaids and innkeeper? How about checking out the kitchen or innkeeper's room? Or perhaps the innkeep's son or daughter has a quest for you? Do other solo actions. This isn't the best option, but it may be the only one available.

If the DM is not happy, then you have the strongest ally on your side. Suggest ways to progress the campaign to areas with less irrelevant roleplay, like dungeons. Yes, character romances can continue here, but when trolls attack for the fifth time while the party bard is serenading their love, it will probably send the right message: the party is in a dangerous area - focus or die.

Are you having fun?

At the end of the day, we spend hours on this game to have fun. If you aren't, then try the above to ensure you are. If that still doesn't work, then yes, you should consider leaving the group.

This should only be the case when the DM is content with the situation, the other players are enjoying their time or not keen to rock the boat, and you find yourself feeling unhappy and unable to do anything about it. Otherwise, talking is your best option.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This answer seems to assume that the OP doesn't currently heavily engage in roleplaying within their RPGs. The OP makes clear that they do, in fact, do this (they don't want to engage in a primarily character-based game, v.s. a primarily narrative-based game. Narrative rp is still rp, as opposed to e.g. a puzzle-based or combat-based game). \$\endgroup\$ Mar 29, 2018 at 6:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @the dark wanderer Edited to account for this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tenryu
    Mar 29, 2018 at 10:50

Perhaps this frustration can be turned to advantage by roleplaying the frustrations through your character. Perhaps he (or she) is itching to get on with the quest because he needs the cash reward to pay off a dangerous hoodlum? Or someone is looking form him in this town and he's keen to get going quickly so he's not found? Or some other motivating reason for the character that makes him frustrated and chivvy the others, but is not your personal frustration. Share the secret with the DM, then when the others find out the "real" (character) reason you've been nagging them to stop flirting with the barmaids they will admire your roleplaying. :-)


I don't think any role-playing is "irrelevant" afterall it is the name of the genre in which this game resides. It may be a simple difference in play styles but it might not be.

Try solving it in character, the most important thing to remember is that you are a part of it. Your character is witnessing all this frivolity when there is stuff to get done, right? If you and 3 - 4 other people had a group project due for class and you were at a coffee shop supposedly preparing and they all started trying to seduce the barista would you not call them out for it?

Yes, this type of role-play can be fun and memorable, I have tons of stories over the decades but your character can do anything they can do as well. You can go to the library and research for your mission, talk to potential contacts, rob them, etc etc.

One thing you may not realize is that you can move away from the group at times to further your character's own goals, or at least should be able to. Some DMs discourage this and that would be an issue in and of itself which, if is the case, you would need to discuss the issues out of character with the whole group.

The DM is not there to lead players by the nose, the players drive the story as much or more than the DM if it is done well.


As DM, if someone came to me and was worried the story wasn't progressing enough or that they weren't having fun anymore, I'd start to look into it and definitely try and make the role play itself a little bit more focused. So I'd talk with the DM first to see what they think about it, if they are having fun with nothing happening, it might not be quite the right group for you.

As a player, what you might be able to do, since you are part of the group doing all of this role play, but not getting what you want, start taking the things that you're role playing, and twisting it back on the story. If you are trying to seduce the bartender, use it to get information. Maybe during the party that is starting, use that as a chance to sneak off and investigate while everyone in the town in distracted. Turn the role playing you're already doing into something to help drive the plot. Also, take your turn, obviously role play isn't turn based, but interject not only when you can or when there is a lull but in the middle of things. This goes back to the party scenario that you gave the example of. When the DM starts to play a patron or bartender as tipsy, use that as your chance to strike and investigate or interrogate. If that doesn't seem to be progressing the story like you'd want, go back to the first point and talk with the DM and let them know what you're trying to do. If you get buy-in from them, it'll open up more opportunity for you to do things that drive the plot forward while the goofy role playing is going on as well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Scando, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange! Check out our tour to see how we work here, and when you reach 20 rep, you're welcome to join us in Role-playing Games Chat. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6, 2018 at 20:27

Blame to DM


If anything happens that isn't advancing the main story, or some sub-plot then your DM has lost control. It isn't even about styles at this point.

Whatever is happening should be something that your DM builds into a story, RP for the sake of RP removes the G from RPG. It isn't badwrongfun, but it doesn't require everyone to get round a table and have organised rules and a DM.

You need to speak to the DM and ask him to initiate something that progresses the adventure, or turn this RP into part of the adventure. Maybe that barmaid gives some information on a quest or her husband bursts in saying their kids have gone missing (Or charges in with his mates to beat up the PC flirting with his missus), something to take for focus back to the game.

If your DM is trying to run a game where the plot is secondary to the RP then you are in the wrong game.


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