I've been DMing with my friends for a couple of sessions on the starter set of D&D 5e. Our first time, I tried to incorporate more role playing, like having people call each other by their character names, and when doing commands, some would sorta shout out to each other in character. This quickly fell apart, and by our second session there was very little. We still have lots of fun, but some players want to have more role play, while others want none. Some would still use their character's name, while others would want to "deflower" dead goblins and slap a ghost's backside.

I don't necessarily want to get anyone to RP any more or any less, but I do want to have these different types all enjoy my game together. What ways have you found to work to let these kinds of players coexist happily?

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    \$\begingroup\$ A couple reminders. 1. You must answer questions here with backup from experience or references - NOT random untested opinions. Don't give advice you haven't tried, seen tried, or read about working. 2. Don't just say "Same page tool" - go read the same page tool, I'm not sure it really even addresses different levels of RP. If you cite it, explain exactly how that has helped you with this (see point #1). Community members are encouraged to downvote and delete-flag answers that don't meet these criteria - this isn't a discussion forum. If you want to talk out your butt go to reddit. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 10, 2016 at 22:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the age group of your players, and how old are you? I ask because I found the approaches to this different depending upon the maturity level of the playing group. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2016 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


Throw each kind of player a bone - and don't forget about your own fun

Every player has certain things that really turn them on about gaming, and what makes the whole thing work is that almost everyone will happily go along with all the 'boring' stuff as long as they get their 'fix' at least once or twice each session. Some players love a tactical combat, so if you have one or more like that, make sure you have at least one complex, interesting encounter. Some players love to act things out in character, so for them make sure each session has some sort of social encounter. Some players love elaborate backstories and melodramatic themes, so give them a suitable plot to enjoy. At any given moment you might have one player intensely interested and three others stacking dice. That's normal, and your group will do fine as long as no one is always stacking dice.

Along the way, do not hesitate to lay out the groundrules for your own enjoyment. Personally, players who get too silly or too gross (seriously, raping goblin corpses?) interfere with my ability to run the game well. It's your prerogative to say, "Tone it down, guys. Let's keep the game on track." If the tactical types are taking too much time in combat, you are allowed to say, "You're up - tell me what you do right now." Most players understand that DMing is a tough job, and if the DM isn't having fun, no one will be having fun.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The "ground rules" point is spot on - and that's not just for the DM. If some players' idea of role-play is abuse of corpses, it should be no surprise other players don't want any part of that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Grant
    Jun 11, 2016 at 11:23

Inspiration is your friend.

In general, the answer is usually to talk to your players. However, if you want to work this through in-game behavior, you need to provide in-game incentives.

Fortunately, 5e has a built-in mechanic expressly for this problem. If someone role plays an interaction, give them Inspiration. It is expressly there as a reward for good role play. It is granted when you:

...play out your personality traits, give in to the drawbacks presented by a flaw or bond, and otherwise portray your character in a compelling way.

Do this often and generously for the players who are exhibiting this sort of behavior. Hopefully the others will get the hint. If not, make a point of saying exactly why you are awarding it.

If this doesn't work, explain to them why you are not enjoying the game as much as you could. The Dungeonmaster does a lot of work to make an enjoyable game for the others. They should be willing to pitch in and meet you half way.


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