D&D WITH ERIC THE DM #33: Player Problems!
Eric the DM
Greetings adventurers! I hope you are all well! Have you all been out exploring fantastic realms? What wonders have you encountered? Come sit next to my fire and let’s talk about it for a while!
I just arrived from fighting off a horde of kobold with some friends! It seems there is conflict wherever you go. But conflict for adventurers is to be expected! We go out and right wrongs (and sometimes collect a bit of coin in the process heh heh) But what do you do when you have conflict outside of the game?
It’s a fact of life that conflict will arise even between friends from time to time. Maybe you or someone in your group is going through some kind of hard times, or maybe the dice are just not rolling in your teams favor one night. Frustration and life can sometimes ruin otherwise good attitudes. So, what can you do to help resolve these problems so you can get back to adventuring peacefully?
One thing you can do is be aware of yourself. Before you start each adventure take an inventory of yourself. Are you ready to play or did something happen today or this week that is affecting you? Is it something that you can set aside during game or do you need to talk to someone about it? Your fellow gamers can be a great sounding board for you! Talk to them about it! Many adventuring groups open each game with a 10 minute or so “chat session” where everyone can vent about their day or even just let each other know what you have been up too. These chat sessions can be very helpful and really set the tone for the upcoming adventure. If you would rather talk to someone 1 on 1 maybe let a friend know you would like to meet early or talk after the adventure. I think you will find your adventuring friends will be happy to talk with you! And the truth is any DM that has been gaming long enough has seen their share of conflict and probably counseled many a player before you. Reach out to your DM and ask them if they could spare some time to talk with you. Sharing your problems with others helps lighten the load!
If things have escalated quickly during a game and there is now shouting or bad feelings boiling over it may be time to pause the game and take an inventory. What happened? What specifically is causing the problem? Often by just identifying the core problem you can work together for an easy resolution. Is it something that can be talked about after game? Just like many groups have a pregame chat session most also have a “cooldown” talk after each game. This time is specifically for conflict resolution. DMs should take this time very seriously and really listen to any grievances their players have. Players should also listen with care and try to be active in any solution offered to help better the game. A quick fix for many problems that arise in game is to remember the old adage, “Because I’m the DM.” If the DM is trying to table a conflict, they may make a command decision so the game can continue. The decision may not be popular at the time, but the DMs word is law. If players respect that choice for the time being the game can move forward. But OF COURSE, when that game is over the DM and everyone involved should be prepared to talk about it during the cooldown talk. No one leaves the table until the problems are totally talked out. Compassion and kindness are the keys to having a healthy and fun gaming group.
The main thing to realize is every person in your group is human with real life struggles of their own. Everyone has a bad day sometimes. By lending an ear and a kind word we can all help each other to have a better day! 😊
Besides the pregame and postgame chats there are other things you can do to help preemptively take care of problems that could arise. Done wait for problems to boil over. If you are sensing conflict or see a problem forming address it before it arises. A small problem is easier to fix than a big one. Do small kind things for your group every once in a while. Kind gestures go a long way to maintaining morale! Bring and extra 2 liters of soda, some nice snacks, draw a picture of someone’s character or steed. The examples go on and on. And when someone else surprises your group with something nice thank them! It’s the circle of life after all!OK adventurers I hope this has been helpful! A gaming group is a family, support each other and you will all go far and do great things! With that I believe I’ll take my leave. I have many more adventures to go on! And you do too! What are you waiting for? Take up that sword and gather your friends! Its time to head back to the battle! Have fun out there and KEEP ROLLING THOSE DICE!!!