Last night, I joined a D&D 3.5e campaign. The two other characters in the party were on their way to a grove, inhabited by friendly druids, when they discovered it had been converted to a quarry. Upon closer investigation, they were led into a trap and imprisoned by the mercenaries that were (supposedly) hired to protect the miners. There they met my character who had been imprisoned for months and was on the brink of starvation. Fortunately, the guard didn't think to take their weapons. I convinced one of the other players to let me use their rapier to break open a locker in the cell, which (conveniently) held my greataxe. I then proceeded to smash down the wooden door.

We exited the cell and didn't see any guards. At that point, the DM described our surroundings - there was a bunch of rocks, some common metals and minerals, and one other door - and asked "What do you want to do?" The other players wanted to investigate the mine, starting with the other door. I said "I'm getting the hell out of here!" and was met with blank stares. The other players hadn't even considered that option, and I don't think the DM had either. I wanted to role play so I argued a little bit, saying "Are you kidding me? We just broke out of jail and barely escaped being enslaved, and I'm starving. Let's leave!" The other players were really only interested in hack-n-slashing their way through the mine, so I conceded that - because my character is chaotic good - my desire for revenge trumped my desire for survival and we headed into the mine where (surprise) lots of combat awaited.

My question: Did I handle this the right way? Being the newest member of the group, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade. If the other players are not interested in role playing and would rather just roll dice and kill stuff, I'm okay with that. We had fun, after all. Obviously the focus in this campaign is not on story telling, so should I just go with the flow and hope we'll do a different style some other time?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, for every campaign that is trying to go in a more realistic direction (see rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/37374/… rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/3548/… rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/22140/…) there's other ones where "it's on the board kill it" is the order of the day. You are doing the right thing, good luck! \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you know the DM and other players aren't interested in role playing? It might be that the other characters have backgrounds and motivations that makes them want to explore the mine. For example they could be searching for that druid. I don't see how your proposed solution of getting out of there is advancing the story of what really happened to that grove. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tobold
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 7:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just from this one story I can say I wish my players were more like you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 5:33

2 Answers 2


You Handled the Situation Perfectly

You're new to the table. You role-played your character then justified your way into the DM's plot. I don't know what more a DM could ask for. I applaud you.

"Obviously the focus in this campaign is not on story telling..."

That's a little unfair. It was one session. Maybe the session is the start of an intricate plot. That is a pretty good set-up by the DM for future long-range campaign developments. Don't discount even an apparently hack-and-slash DM's ability to surprise you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This, a thousand times this. @Koveras, you successfully decided to react differently, even without prompting or being sure it was the right thing, and that deserves applause. The linked article is one I consider required-reading at my table, and it’s to encourage my players to behave exactly as you did. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 2:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ That was a neat article. I'm surprised some people would get so hung up on their characters' internal consistency that they would actually end the game! \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 12, 2014 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree, the reaction was perfectly reasonable. If I'd been stuck in this mine for months, the last thing I'd want to do when I got broken out is spend more time here and risk re-imprisonment or worse. Now this is more on the DM than you, but the DM should've had a meta discussion about your character's introduction with you, where things like your character wanting to GTFO would've come up and the DM could've been prepared for that reaction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doktor J
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 15:25

That Game Does Not Suit Your Play-Style

You want to roleplay a realistic character in a realistic setting. They are interested in a game with more metagame assumptions.

This is a really common situation. People enter into games expecting high drama and storytelling, and instead get a wargaming/diablo meta. Often these people do not have a gaming/crpg background, and so aren't inoculated to expect 'dungeons' and 'grinding' in their storytelling experience.

Diablo style games are much easier to run than games with realistic settings and storylines, and large amounts of the player base (especially for Dungeons and Dragons) have expectations of it to the degree that if you run a realistic campaign, they will cause problems for you, and stubbornly apply that meta regardless of attempts by the GM to get them to act more realistically (many questions on this site from GMs trying to address this).

My Advice

Don't expect a high level of realism or storytelling from this group. They are going to want to 'kill the monsters' and 'collect the loot'. There will be a story, but it will largely be the purview of the GM and not the players - choices are unlikely to be meaningful, and from the player reaction to your injection of realism, that's the way they want it.

What You See Is What You're Gonna Get, basically.

If you want to find another game group more interested in realism, i'd start by looking for people (ask at your local game store, look for groups of gamers that meet up, check out a convention) playing a game other than Dungeons and Dragons. Although I personally love combining the associated-rules-heavy nature of DnD 3.5e and Pathfinder with realistic character portrayal and choices to create gritty 'The World Is Dark And Scary, But You're Badass' games, the vast majority of players and GMs are playing Diablo games and only want to play Diablo games. Finding DnD players who like gritty realistic games is quite hard. Generally they will accrete into a group, but finding that group in the noise is very hard.

People playing FATE, Dogs in the Vineyard, Deniable, Rapture, Unisystem, Paranoia, Truth and Justice, Rogue Trader, Shadowrun, so forth, will be more likely to have a more realistic storytelling style that you will prefer. They will at least know people who play in that style, and you'll likely be able to find a DnD group that uses that style through them.

People Saying You Are Wrong And Bad

Many people are very defensive about playing Diablo style games and insist they aren't while still doing it. This is due to a lot of factors. Be aware they will do this, try to avoid getting involved in any debates on the subject. It is not an argument you can win, much like those involving religion, or politics.

'The OP might be wrong about the group' 'The OP shouldn't write off the group'

No. There are lots of groups like this in the roleplaying community. There are more of them than there are any other kind. It is unlikely that he is wrong after observing them and given the % of groups like this.

There is a large feeling in the roleplaying community that you should 'do what the group wants' and 'stick with the group' growing partially out of how hard it is to find a roleplaying group, and partially because people assume anyone with a different expectation or style is 'That Guy'. The OP is clearly not 'That Guy', and we know nothing about his whereabouts or ability to find other groups.

Clearly, if this is the only group for hundreds of miles and he cannot ever have another group, he will simply have to decide if he's still enjoying it enough to stick around.

But in my experience, most gamers who ever get a group tend to live in metropolitan areas with more than one gaming group available. Also, they tend to stay with the same group due to uncertainty and the aforementioned community attitudes, and therefore miss out on their preferred playstyle.

I have found, by talking to people who I introduced to roleplaying who later stopped doing it, that by far the largest cause of them leaving the hobby was the group/a group that played a different style than they did, and a lack of confidence in looking for another group with the same play style as them.

Play style, the style of the game, is incredibly important. If people are not on the same page as you, you will not have as much fun.

Having the confidence to go out and find a group of people you will have fun with is paramount, and advice to 'stick with it', while sounding very upright and community-minded, is about the worst thing you can ever do in terms of the individual getting enough out of it to justify pigeonholing a weekly time for the game.

Sources: Playing a variety of game systems with literally hundreds of different people, in a variety of styles (including diablo-style hack'n'slash, which I quite enjoy), witnessing this specific phenomenon, working with others to create style preferences and guide people to groups that support their gaming style.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you are reading a lot into a description of a single scenario received second-hand. It might turn out, as a gut reaction, to be correct. But equally it may not, and I'd give most groups and DMs more than one sample, especially as there are not two single opposing playstyles here, but a spectrum of them going from one extreme to another. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2014 at 20:20

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