My character was conceived as a druid who is unusually calm, even in stressful situations (in fact he has the trait). He's supposed to have his own grand plans about protecting the balance between good and evil and all that, but because of his laconic, reclusive personality and unemotional manner, these are meant to be very hard to read. He has high wisdom, above average charisma, and... Well, Int is my dump stat. I also added the repressed bloodlust trait, since I figured it would represent him getting a taste for violence after being exposed to the inevitably bloody campaign.

Initially this seemed like an easy character to play, and that's part of why I went with it. But in practice I ran into some issues.

I'm not new to DnD or roleplaying but the other players are inexperienced. I know the crunch much better: What spells are good for what, what skills overcome an obstacle more effectively, what combat tactics work, and so on. I have a big advantage when it comes to making plans that involve mechanics (be it skill checks, actual combat, or any sort of non-ad hoc dice rolling). I feel like I should be acting as a sort of part-time tour guide and help the other players get the hang of the game mechanics. However, I don't want to just give them tips OOC, since it feels like that would be a bit more meta-gamey than what we are going for. So instead I try to have my character take the lead when there seems to be confusion about how to approach a problem (especially a problem that most groups would consider straightforward).

I don't go barking orders left and right, I just dispassionately propose my plan and let the other players decide for themselves if they want to do it. Usually, because they are reasonable and my plans are sensible, they go with it. Every so often they (or their characters) decide they know better and I acquiesce without much protest, but most often we end up doing my plan.

There's the first problem: If I'm supposed to be this stoic, mysterious man of few words with a permanent poker face, how come I'm always the one speaking up and rousing the gang to action? It doesn't help that I'm pretty much the opposite of my character: If I have an idea, I just have to let everyone know about it, and I never shut up. INTJ player, ISFP character, you might say. I can play the role, or I can guide the party, but it's hard to do both at once.

Second problem is that as the campaign progressed, we began going through dungeon crawls. Kick down the door, bash in skulls, collect loot, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't offer much roleplaying opportunity -- it's been a hell of a long time since the last time I acted like anything besides an inhuman robot with perfectly optimized tactical decision-making software.

  • My main motivation is my quest to foil a secret evil plot. But my character would avoid bringing it up until the others manage to worm it out of me, which they haven't yet. Can't do much there.
  • My secondary motivation is the druidly obsession with nature and neutrality (TN character). But I'm in an abandoned ruin, killing random mooks. We are too low level for the mooks to be offensive to nature just by their very being. Presumably my druid's opinion of the ruins is "meh", since a bunch of crumbling stone isn't that unnatural. I could keep whining about how I miss frolicking in ye emeralde foreste, but we actually have to beat the dungeon to move the plot, and we all want to move the plot, so it's not like I actually want my character to ditch it and go hang in the woods.
  • The earlier issue with taking a planning role goes off the charts: I end up acting more like Lieutenant Richmond Wilmington, esquire than wandering hermit.
  • Half the time I'm shaped into a bear anyhow, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I can at least roleplay: I get to pretend I'm a seemingly docile bear who minds his own business, and explodes into vicious fury and mauls everyone without warning. It works with the growing bloodlust part of the character. But a bear isn't terribly personable, so it doesn't really develop anything else.
  • There's always the cheap option of taking the limelight to do some ,~*`Roleplaying™`*~,. Say, I could shape into a sneaky animal and scout. But honestly none of this is more effective than "let's everyone charge and go for the jugular", and constantly taking over, being a large ham and chewing scenery seems like it would annoy everyone else. It also doesn't really fit the character.

To be sure, I don't think anybody minds how I play my character and we all know how quickly the most thespian intentions can degenerate into "I hit it with my axe for 17 slashing damage!" anyway. But, I personally feel like I would enjoy the game more if I roleplayed a bit better, except that I'm a bit stuck as to how to accomplish it, given my circumstances. I can't tell if that's just how dungeon crawls are and I should hang in there until we get more social encounters, or if it's something I can help.

If you want to rip apart my character concept, play style, and other such things, please feel free to do so (*takes cover*). I would appreciate some kind of suggestion on how to fix the problems, though.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It's hard to tell what the problem is here: are any of the other participants expressly not enjoying the de facto "character" of your character? Is it that you're roleplaying wrong in a no-roleplaying campaign? What would the best answer look like, here? \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Apr 30 '15 at 10:14
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Seems to me the question is clear though not written with a question mark: The two main sentences are " Initially this seemed like an easy character to play, and that's part of why I went with it. But in practice I ran into some issues." And "But, I personally feel like I would enjoy the game more if I roleplayed a bit better, except that I'm a bit stuck as to how to accomplish it, given my circumstances." \$\endgroup\$ – GMNoob Apr 30 '15 at 12:07
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be describing a large number of not-really-related issues: A campaign style that you feel denies you opportunities to roleplay, a character personality that doesn't fit with the role you find yourself playing in the party, adventures that don't fit the motivations you have established for the character... Each of these is a different problem with a different solution. If you could ask separate questions for each, they would be easier for us to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe May 1 '15 at 3:49

I have twice now ran into the same problem.

I have solved the problem in two ways. (Granted, one of these was in a play by post game, so it was easier to hold myself back a bit.)

  1. Have the character start acting without speaking. Instead of proposing a solution to the group, tell the DM/Group "My character is going to do X, Y and Z, unless somebody stops her." Another option is to say something along the lines of, "My character assumes the fighter is going to do X, the cleric Y, and Rogue Z based on past experience, and unless informed otherwise, will do Q." Since the character has high wisdom and/or charisma you should be able to pull this off.

  2. Have the character reveal information in a roundabout way. I had a char with high wisdom , low int and average charisma, who would declare very stupid reasons for his otherwise wise actions. For example, if the best course of action would be to sneak around to flank an opponent, I might have my character declare, "Hey, that goblin looks thirsty, I'll go check to see if it has a drink on his back." For a stoic druid, you might be able to find a way to make concise druidic statements to give advice. Such as in the same scenario, when you want to remind players of the lack of flanking rules, you might say, "In nature, you only surround your prey to stop them from running, but it doesn't make it easier to take them down."

As for your second problem, I think that is just the way dungeon crawls go. You can always try to make unwise decisions, and that is supposed to be the purpose of the "inspiration mechanic", so that you do mistakes your character would make, rather than going in as an automaton. However, I agree, that efficient dungeon clearing often is more fun and a better use of time than getting the inspiration die.

| improve this answer | |

What you have here is a golden opportunity!

The Reluctant Leader

There is an inherent conflict between the personality of the character and the necessities of the circumstances in which they find themselves. A laconic and disinterested person forced into a leadership role against there better judgement. There should be a meme about it.

Leaders do not have to be orators - I don't recall Aragorn as being a big one for speeches, the Black Gate is about it (which as a rousing speech trope fits the mold anyway). Leaders lead - they don't have to ask the followers to follow.

Laconic doesn't mean Doormat

You have a burning passion you are reluctant to talk about? OK, then do something about it. (Note: Prep your DM on this beforehand)

"Guys, after we go back to the village, I'm not coming back here again." Party asks "Why?" Now you can tell them.

I smell a Railroad

"... but we actually have to beat the dungeon to move the plot, and we all want to move the plot, ..."

Whose plot is this? The DM's or the group's?

Why do you have to "beat" the dungeon? What is in there that is vital? If its information then you can seek this elsewhere. If it is a "thing" then go in there and get the "thing", just like special operations soldiers do. You have an objective so go do it - don't get distracted.

There can be lots of good reasons why you (as a character) are doing something you don't enjoy - you are slogging through the Swamp of Despair (which your character hates) in order to reach the Goblet of Awesomeness (which your character thinks is really awesome). No pain no gain, right?

Why do you have to do something you (as a player) don't want to do to advance the plot? You (as a player) are not enjoying the Swamps of Despair? Tell your DM that you are not enjoying this route to the "endgame" - a good DM should be enabling player agency and give you several ways of getting where you want to go.

| improve this answer | |

You seem to have a disconnect between your perceived character image, the rest of the party, and the type of game the DM is running (all hack n'slash instead of character driven non-combat moments and such). Either reboot your character (you say this is still early in the campaign and you are low level) or do something else that will satisfy your need for role play but still serve the campaign everyone else is having fun playing. Perhaps adopt a theatrical tone, yoda-like speech patterns, or whatever so you can have fun but still impart your OOC player wisdom.

Perhaps talk with the DM privately about the frustration you are having and develop a solution together. Sounds like you are currently the alpha player, dictating the actions of the rest of the party. Being thrust into the position of party leader (IC) may make your character have to deal with his normal reluctance to place himself in the limelight, require bonds of trust between him and his party, and get him to open up. The DM can have a few "skins of wine 'round the campfire" scenes where you can open up to the rest of the party about your secret plans. If the other players (much less their characters) have no idea about your secret goals, how can they know to ask about them? This could enable you to grow your character in a way that is both satisfying to you as a player and consistent with the in world experience.

Ultimately you may be wanting to play a fundamentally different game than the rest. You can withdraw from the game, alter your expectations to a more "beer n'pretzels" level, or try to coax the other players into participating in actions you want to do (with the help of the DM of course). If the DM starts rewarding IC non-combat activities it may encourage the less experienced players to participate in them more.

EDIT- I'd recommend the use of inspiration for solid IC role play as the first carrot the DM can use. In my games of 5e (both as DM and as a player) inspiration seems to be VERY underutilized as a motivating tool to the point where it is virtually forgotten.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.