Our current group is a diverse one. We have a very experienced DM (playing and DMing for ~30 years), 2 slightly less experienced players, who have experience DMing (~5 to 10 years) and therefore have a good understanding of the rules, 2 more players that have been playing for a year (myself included), and a greenhorn.

The balance is good. If one of us has a question, there is someone who will have the answer, even if the DM is busy. However, there is one member, of the 2 experienced players, that keeps playing the "assistant DM". The only problem is, his attitude is not always the greatest. When someone asks a question that seems to hold up the game (how to calculate a roll/what bonuses to add, do I get a skill back after a short rest/long rest etc.) he gets a bit "snappy".

At other times, we're trailing off a bit, having a good chat, getting side tracked, then someone wants to move the game forward suggestively by maybe re capping who's turn it was, or by asking for a description of the area etc, he doesn't always follow the flow - that is, if he's enjoying the conversation, he'll continue it, even when others want to get back to the game. Then on the other side of the coin, when he feels we're getting side tracked, he'll get snappy - "Come on guys, we're getting side tracked. Let's get back into the game!".

While his actions don't hinder the game (too much), his attitude does damage the mood a fair bit. How can we manage this/what can we do to overcome this?


2 Answers 2


The usual advice is talk to the player in the first instance, or to the DM if you are uncomfortable with approaching the player directly.

At the end of the day it is the DM's responsibility to ensure everyone is having fun, but they often need a prompt from the players to recognize that something has crossed the line from "slightly annoying" to "morale-sapping".

As a DM, the first step is to approach the player and have a word. Often the player simply doesn't realize they've been causing friction (maybe they're bad at picking up nonverbal cues, for example).

The next step is to adjust the game flow to reduce how often such a situation comes up - whether it's actively monitoring and reining in the player, printing out cheat sheets for situations that often hold up the game, or setting some sort of limit on out-of-game chatter (personally I use a "take five" rule with a little timer at regular intervals).

If the DM is unable or unwilling to address the problem (maybe they're cutting a close friend too much slack, maybe the problem player doesn't take them seriously, etc) you should consider having a group discussion. Often this is a prelude to the player leaving (or being asked to leave), so diplomacy and tact are important especially if all you want is for someone to cultivate a tiny bit more patience!

One constructive way to channel his frustration might be to get him writing the cheat sheet for the questions that annoy him. When you're an expert at something it can be hard to remember how much there is for a beginner to learn.


Talk to him. Make sure you are civil-- polite and non-accusatorial-- when having this conversation. If he's been RPGing for 10 years he should be used to having conversation about the metagame, and this will be easily resolved. If you talk with him and he becomes immediately hostile, try to have a conversation with the group (including him) about it. If he won't listen to anyone and becomes hostile whenever someone suggests his behavior might be problematic (extremely unlikely), you'll probably need to boot him from the game.

In the most extreme case, the top answer to Players playing weird characters breaking the immersion of my group provides good advice, as do the top answers to How do I deal with a player who takes things personally?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Let me know if you need further advice on how to talk to someone-- or, better, read through the various questions tagged problem-player \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10, 2015 at 3:13

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