I have a member of my D&D group who (for much of the time we play) constantly calls out people for not following the rules in the manual to the letter and (much worse) calls out people on not following their lore, or their lore being good enough. It's the worst when we allow custom races or custom classes into the game, where this person's selection of class/race is perfect but everyone else's needs to be criticized.

If this person considers you to be breaking the rules or lore, you will constantly be called a murderhobo. Is there any comparable word to throw back at this person just to stop this bickering?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NobleUplift Because answering in comments is not allowed on this stack. Comments are for improving/clarifying the question. Comments not doing that get flagged and deleted. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would encourage @NobleUplift to post a separate question about how to handle this situation, since many of the answers seek to hit on this point, and yet no new answer can be made to attend to this point without coming up with a better name than those already given first (if one exists). If you don't I will eventually :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 0:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov Let me see what happens after our next session. I also have to catch up on all these new answers. Surprised to see so many double digits! \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 14:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm assuming "fun vampire" isn't productive enough for this discussion. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 21:36

7 Answers 7


Rules lawyer/Back-seat DM are pretty close

Rules lawyer is the term for someone who constantly enforces the precise letter of the rules in games even going so far as to correct and try to argue with DMs and other players.

Back-seat DM is similar, but they often try to control other things like adherence to lore and over-stepping with unsolicited suggestions about how the game should be run including: how NPCs should be acting, what should be happening in plot, etc. Basically they try to be the DM and control DM things when they are not the DM.

It sounds like this player could be described as both or a mixture of the two terms.

Sidenote: That isn't even what murderhobo means

I'm not sure this player understands what the term murderhobo means, but they appear to be using it incorrectly.

From Wiktionary:

A player character who wanders the game world widely, has no ties or obligations, and approaches most obstacles violently.

So this doesn't really mean anything about breaking rules or ignoring lore at all.

Calling names is not going to solve this issue

You are asking here for a way to stop this bickering, calling this person names is not going to help the situation at all regardless if the name is "rules-lawyer" or "back-seat DM" or "zorkmorking clorbag". If calling names doesn't escalate the situation (likely) it will simply do nothing. Many such people wear such names as badges of honor.

No, your solution is going to have to come from addressing the social contract at your table and it will have to be lead by your DM. Talk to your DM privately and tell them how this player is affecting your and the other players' enjoyment of the game and ask them to try to address it.

It is important to note that since this player is new, maybe the expectation that they not do this was not made clear and maybe it was a different way at the last tables they played at.

If the DM agrees that it is an issue that they want to address, the DM can then clearly lay down the expectation that the DM is in charge of rules and lore at the table and that, small corrections aside, any major objections should be brought to their attention after the game where they can be addressed without interrupting the game or affecting enjoyment.

We have lots of questions that address this issue. See this and this to start.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My read on why “murderhobo” came to this player’s mind gives me a picture of someone who thinks their standard of roleplaying and lore-adherence is the minimum to count, and anything less is lip service and being a munchkin, but they got “munchkin” and “murderhobo” mixed up, or don’t see a difference. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29, 2018 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I think his misuse stems from attributing certain behaviors that, while not indicative of a murder hobo, is certainly something a murder hobo would do. It hardly matters I guess \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov That seems likely to me! And yeah, doesn’t matter much, unless Rubiksmoose wants to write a bit on that idea in that section. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 4:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer, but especially +1 for the Teen Titans reference :D \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Zorkmorking clorbag" will definetely be the name of my next evil goblin wizard. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 20:02

Back-seat DM

Lore and Rules both come under the purview of the DM. This player is taking it upon him/herself to enforce these things. Thus, they are trying to DM a game that they aren't running, just like a back-seat driver will call out everything a driver does 'wrong'.

This won't solve the bickering

As awesome as it can be to throw out scathing insults, most people (I would bet on all people) don't back down when someone insults them, they double-down on their behaviour instead. While it can be useful to have a well defined term for the player you have a problem with, you'll get the best results from talking to your DM, your group, and the player in question and reasoning out a solution.


One common term isn't game specific: know-it-all

But don't throw it back at them, since an insult war is unlikely to improve the mood at the table. I will suggest that you use a different approach to demonstrate your unhappiness with this crossing of boundaries.

The next time it happens, and it will:

  • "We already have one DM, we don't need two. Kindly stay in your lane"

    You can smile when you say it, but you don't have to. Make sure to be direct and clear about whom you are addressing.

If the behavior continues, which it probably will, a follow up goes about like this:

  • "Last time I checked, you are not the DM of this game. Unless you are in the DM's chair, I don't want to hear it."

    A different way to say the same thing (@SevenSidedDie kindly offered this):

  • "Last time I checked, Karen was the DM of this game. I only want to hear it if it’s coming from the person in the DM’s chair.”
    In terms of tone and emphasis, this style deconfliction / compliance technique changes directly-addressed negative grammar to indirectly-addressed positive grammar.

    I've used variations on the above a number of times. It is not uncommon for multiple people to be the DM for different gaming sessions; sometimes players forget to take off the DM hat. Some years back, I had a very clear message along the above lines directed at me by a fellow player. 8^P

If you and your fellow players are all equally frustrated with this behavior, vote the annoying player off the island for a few sessions. A ban is not necessarily required; your group's other social dynamics will govern how little or how much you want to be around this person.


Since you have not described the levels of social dynamics involved with all players here (this player is your rich uncle's son, or this player is related to your spouse, or this player is a family member of a fellow player ...) you'll need to apply some tailoring to how you get this message across.

Make your displeasure clear without starting an insult war. (And if need be, bite your lip ... it only hurts a little while)

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    \$\begingroup\$ One proven deconfliction/compliance technique could be applied to the second sample dialogue above, changing directly-addressed negative grammar to indirectly-addressed positive grammar: “Last time I checked, Karen was the DM of this game. I only want to hear it if it’s coming from the person in the DM’s chair.” \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29, 2018 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Good option, I'll add that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29, 2018 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Despite recommending against responding with insults, your suggested phrasing still seems pretty hostile (...not sure if that's the word I'm looking for). While it's true that the prior insults by the other player were also hostile/accusatory, I'm not sure taking this tone is really the solution to the problem... It's an important message to get across; I just don't know if that's the best way to do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 20:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast If you want to stop something, simply doing what you are now doing won't work. You have to clearly communicate what it is you are not happy about, or you cannot expect any change. Interpersonal skills, 101. Plus, please read my whole answer. you'll need to apply some tailoring to how you get this message across Also, I point to experience based how it got across on multiple occasions, to include it being sent to me by another player. It is not by default hostile, by any definition of the word in English, to speak truthfully and clearly to another person. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29, 2018 at 20:16

The closest term I am aware of is a Rules Lawyer, someone who insists of enforcing the letter of the law, ignoring its spirit etc, often to the detriment of others enjoyment of the game. However this doesn't cover the criticism of other player characters' lore.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Rules Loreyer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 15:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Axoren Now that's funny. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 29, 2018 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Axoren How do we get Rules Loreyer into the lexicon of RPG terms? Neologisms are fun. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Use it. A lot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 18:14

"Rules lawyer" is a well-known term dating back at least to the early 80s to refer to players who argue minutiae of the rules and their exact wording.

By extension, I've seen "setting lawyer" used in several places for people who nitpick the setting or its lore, but it's definitely a newer term and doesn't seem to be used as widely.


No fancy terminology needed. Sounds like a “jerk” to me.

Is there a particular reason this person needs to be in your game? As a rule I try to play with people I like. I would say something along the lines of:

“Everyone else here seems to be enjoying the game, and you seem determined to spoil that. Play the game as presented or go somewhere else, but please stop telling other players that we’re having fun wrong.”

  • \$\begingroup\$ Funnily enough we had a falling out last year during the pandemic, so that's one problem I never have to deal with again :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 16:42

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) uses:

Authenticity Police

The SCA is like a LARP type group but instead of actually playing an RPG they just dress up and play roles. Members create personae that are intended to authentically represent life during the Middle Ages in Europe. Some of the members of the group are sticklers for historically accurate detail and will call out other members for violating what is plausible -- they have been known as "authenticity police." (For many years, there has been considerable overlap between SCA members and RPGs).

Or, if the term does not offend those involved (in whatever particular game and/or campaign thereof), we could always go with --

Dungeon Nazi

Like the idea of the "Grammar Nazi" -- someone who is a stickler for correct grammar, spelling, etc. and points out the errors whenever they get a chance. The "Dungeon Nazi" insists that everything be according to the lores and the rules down to the last letter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What's the SCA? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 14:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Society for Creative Anachronism — basically people who do medieval re-enactment for fun \$\endgroup\$
    – Stephen R
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 17:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the term authenticity police a lot—it's neat with some actual backing in the role-playing arena. However, as I do when the word Nazi is thrown around in other contexts, I find this answer's casual use of the term off-putting and minimizing. Call me hypersensitive—and you're, of course, welcome to suggest whatever new coinage you want—, but I think the authenticity police part of this answer stands well enough on its own without urging for a new—and, among some players, divisive—term. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would lead with the related term from SCA, and perhaps suggest the Dungeon Nazi (I like it) as a proposed 'fit for purpose' term of art. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 30, 2018 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan yes, well, the term "grammar nazi" is older than today's colorful and factually deficient repurposing of the word, I agree. (I really like the play on words going around "don't call me grammar nazi, I'm alt-write" -- or somesuch -- though; find it funny. :D ) \$\endgroup\$
    – code-sushi
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 19:52

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