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I am a new D&D player and was having a blast playing with my friends. We are all new to this, including our GM, and it's been so much fun. When we do critical hits, he plays a Power Ranger-like song and we all celebrate with this silly dance.

Anyway, I liked it so much that I reached out for a new group so I could play more. I did find a new one that was currently in progress and the story that was presented to me as a brief discord pinned text was something like: there's a church order that exist to maintain order in the world and fight against evil.

Seeing this description and that the group that I was entering (there are like, 3 groups that share a common world) had no healing source, I decided to make a cleric to heal them. My boyfriend, who is also new to the game, made an Elf wizard.

The GM then gave me an important letter to deliver to some city and to stop by in a small village that the other players happen to be there. I was attacked and eventually we all met each other. Long story short, they were two tieflings and a barbarian. My boyfriend dropped unconscious and the barbarian stole his items, the tieflings despised me for being anti-christ or something like that, almost tried to kill me. The DM then made a demon appear on some church and told the other players that all that fight was happening because of something that I was carrying, which was the letter that I had to send to the other city. The barbarian took the letter from me and read that the church was going to kill those who were not pure blood in the church or something like that. I actually thought that was a cool way to put the story together, from the game perspective. The demon then asked if they would join their side which they accepted without much hesitation.

Now, please, enlighten me.
My first reflection was that those guys were playing selfishly. My boyfriend did get healed by one of them but he didn't got his stolen crossbow back. They even stole his robe. We all just met that day and maybe I was expecting more... group behaviour, you know? I had this assumption that we were bonding as a group and should do stuff together.

Anyway, should I have just told something like "you know what? forget that I'm actually good and let's just go to the demon side, even though I'm only alive because of the church" and tell my bf just to put those acts of stealing all in the past, that we should move on to carry on with the group.

I even tried to stop them from stealing from him, but they threw an axe next to me and they were all lvl 3.

There were 2 DMS, one was watching so he could help the group later. After the session, they kinda congratulated the barbarian because of her roleplay. I felt I was in a harsh position for my character to do anything at all and I just couldn't imagine get going after what they did to my BF. He seemed actually less upset than myself but I found that extremely disrespectful. How we are supposed to play in a group if we are not a group? Two of the players were new to the game as well.

I couldn't actually look at them with the same eyes after the session too. I mean, to some degree (and most of it) you ARE your character, right?

Needless to say I got really frustrated by this experience and thought that RPG was just fun because I was doing with my friends in the first place... we all share loot, gold, experience... on my first group, we had to feed people to a demon and there's a girl who is good and she couldn't stand it so she just didn't look, because it was our only way of leaving the dungeon.

I am pretty confused right now... would you guys kindly give me some clarification?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se! I'm really sorry to hear you had such a rough session. Hopefully we can give you some advice to help the situation or help understand what is going on. When you get a chance, feel free to take our tour to learn a bit more about the site. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 2 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some related reading: "How do I deal with a member of my party who attacks me whenever I cast a spell?" and "What is "My Guy Syndrome"?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 2 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks guys, appreciate it. Will do the recommended reading. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Dorum Dec 2 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @J.Wagner Yes to both. Partial answers often attract down votes. Sure you can offer one, but you are aware that they don't get well received. (Granted, I have seen a few answers now and again that, up front, address part of the question. But better answers address the whole thing. Answering in comments is not an accepted norm on this SE. Some of the SEs are kinda sloppy about that, though. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast 2 days ago
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    \$\begingroup\$ So one thing I wanna touch here, even if you are correct that this is not okay. And you are not overreacting... but "you are mostly your character".... hmmm... no. I often roleplay people who are anathema to me, just to play on the morals. Of course, you don't do this in your first or second game, but I love exploring the psyche of someone that isn't me :). best of luck with this though! \$\endgroup\$ – Patrice yesterday
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You are not overreacting.

Your reaction is normal. If you are used to a team-based RPG, and you encounter a "every PC for themselves" party, and are not aware that this is the basic tone of that group, it can be frustrating and off-putting.

You have three courses of action available.

  1. Let the group know that you are not interested in a group that does not play as a team. And if they don't care then walk. Not all groups of people are a great fit, as each person may get their fun in a different way. (I tend to be more of the "we are a team" player). It will be worth your while, before the next play session, to contact the other players and let them know that your experience has been team play, and that you found the lack of team play a buzz kill. See how they respond.
  2. Embrace the jerkness and give as good as you got. Now that you know what the group norms are, you can adapt your play style and, when the opportunity presents itself, do as was done to you and your BF.
  3. Form an alliance with your BF and have each other's back

    Your BF was apparently not as upset as you were, and if playing with your BF is the key attraction to this, then option 2 or option 3 is the course of action you have available. If your BF is also willing to walk, then it is possible that you can both find another play group that is more to your taste.

You are playing with players who are not team-oriented players. Now that you know, only you can decide if it is worth your time, or not, to spend time with them.

Discuss the way ahead with your BF.

They are the best sounding board for this situation, as they are in it, and we, the strangers on the internet, are not.

About In Character and Out of Character behavior

I couldn't actually look at them with the same eyes after the session too. I mean, to some degree (and most of it) you ARE your character, right?

Yes and no.

  1. On the one hand, a character cannot do anything unless a player makes a choice and has their character do {a thing} during play. This article about making the tough decisions may be useful background for you. As Medix2 pointed out in a comment under your question, there is also the matter of "My Guy Syndrome" that crops up from time to time.

    • Quite frankly, I find players who do stuff like what you ran into toxic to play with and I no longer put up with that. But when I first started (back in the 70's) I ran into it a lot. At some tables, that kind of player-character on player-character action was done in a spirit of fun, and it worked out. At other tables, it led to person-on-person confrontation and conflict, and frequently led to the game ending due to people not getting along. How that plays out, the level to which PCs do or don't get along or work together, really depends on the people playing, their relationships, and their maturity. It can either work out or end the group's playing together.
  2. On the other hand, depending on the social contract at a given table, the role player takes on the role of someone who is not them, and can do good or evil as the character without the player being someone who is evil. For example, I have role played an assassin in an RPG although I am not one IRL. I have also made decisions with a different set of moral baselines as an evil PC than I do as a real person. The ability to compartmentalize between the Character and the Player, and the amount of immersion each player cares for, varies from player to player.

In all sincerity, this is a separate topic in its own right about which much has been written.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A small thing, you say that they are playing with self-centered players but this is not necessarily the case. It could just be how the group agreed to RP/play at a session zero that, if it existed, either did not include the OP or did not address this aspect \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 2 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 My experience with PC's stealing from other PCs, particularly from the new player in the group, in D&D, tells me otherwise. YMMV. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 2 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: Medix2's comment, that's potentially also something that can be rolled into point 1 (since that seems to be the "talk with the other players" option); also, good point (re: your reply comment to Medix2), the fact that these are new players does change the context significantly... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 2 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast - hope you don't mind, edited "player on player action" to "player-character on player-character action" to make the player/PC distinction clearer - obviously feel free to revert/change if this edit isn't to your liking - great answer btw. \$\endgroup\$ – G0BLiN yesterday
  • \$\begingroup\$ @G0BLiN I don't think it harms the answer, so thanks. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast yesterday
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Your feelings are justified

Any session with new players - especially if the Session 0 (campaign discussion and playstyle negotiations) was cut short or lackluster - should be handled with care. While a player versus player playstyle isn't unheard of, this kind of thing should ideally be discussed beforehand or, at the very least, when it comes up. From your description, this didn't happen.

However, it might not be as bad as it looks

D&D is fundamentally a team game - working together to overcome challenges is at the core of the game as intended. That being said, how you get from a random bunch of strangers to a coherent team is left to the players, and some players place a greater emphasis on roleplaying this transition than others. Dropping new characters into an ongoing campaign complicates this further.

To play devil's advocate for a moment: From the details you provided (multiple groups sharing a campaign world, lots of intrigue and subterfuge in your first session), at least some of the players/GMs seem reasonably experienced. They've probably been through their fair share of character introductions and "you meet in a tavern and become fast friends" scenarios. There might be a silent understanding that, while the characters start out in an indifferent or even antagonistic position, those differences will be resolved in time.

Concerning the way they treated your bf, it is possible that they mostly paid attention to his reaction and, since he seemed okay with it, assumed that everything was fine.

How to go forward

Roleplaying can be a very personal and emotionally charged hobby, especially as a new player, and playing with strangers. It took me quite a while before I was fully comfortable with joining random sessions at conventions, for example. My takeaway from this experience was

  • to give everyone at least a second chance
  • to first process my feelings and, if necessary, discuss them after the session

So, personally, I'd shoot the GM a quick message (you mentioned Discord) and make them aware of how you feel. Depending on their reaction, you can decide whether this group is worth investing more effort and emotional processing into.

If you feel like you can't trust or become friends with these people, find a different group to play with. Be upfront about your expectations and ask the same of whoever you're going to play with next.

If you want to give this group another shot, try to get to know the other players out of game, even if it's just for ten minutes of smalltalk. In my experience, if someone's well natured out of game, it's only a matter of time and getting to know them before we click in game as well. If they're a jerk out of game as well, that's strike two and reason enough to walk.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point noting that the players were probably reacting to the player. It's entirely possible that they would be willing to do things differently if the player said something or reacted negatively. \$\endgroup\$ – jgn Dec 3 at 2:34

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