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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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you tag this with the system (and edition) you all are playing? This can have implications for the advice we'd give you. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @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. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 16:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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? \$\endgroup\$
    – Flamma
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 11:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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? \$\endgroup\$
    – thanby
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 8:43

4 Answers 4


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 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 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. Let's not misrepresent what will be happening: you're not going to be repeating “bard” again and again, you'll just be stating “bardic music” when that's what you're using. If the name bothers you then 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 make things difficult and frustrating for 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, verbally stating what you're mechanically doing allows your players to focus entirely on watching and listening to you, meaning they can follow everything you're doing easily. That supports roleplaying and makes it easier for you and everyone else. Not doing this is more likely “against roleplaying” since it makes it harder 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.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When I do this I usually do the roleplaying first, then explain the mechanic. That way the table is waiting for me to explain what I'm trying to do, instead of hearing "I use X" and then ignoring the rest. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 12:51

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.


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.


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.


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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