Content of the article: "How Do I Stop a Rules Lawyer?"
TL;DR: One of my players is constantly stopping the flow of combat to correct any ruling errors he sees. How do I stop this?
I’ve been running my first long-term campaign every week for about a year now, and my players seem to really be enjoying themselves. They’re really getting into the role play aspect of things and developing their characters, but during combat there is a major problem that is creeping up more and more as the campaign continues. One player at the table is becoming a rules lawyer and power gamer. Their character designs are becoming more based on a series of niche ruling interactions and this player consistently interrupts the flow of an encounter to point out any error I make with the rules in combat. I understand where this player, and dear friend, is coming from with their interruptions; in the beginning of the campaign I encouraged all the players to remind me of any ruling inconsistencies so the game could function as intended, but these friendly reminders are turning into bothersome interruptions that break the immersion and slow down the already slow nature of 5e combat. He does this by looking up the applicable rules on his phone when it’s not his turn in combat if he thinks something is amiss, and then proceeds to get my attention and tell the table what is incorrect in the given circumstance. This problem is growing to the point where I feel the other members of the party becoming annoyed with these interruptions, and grow bored of the entire campaign as a result. How do I stop this over-emphasis on the RAW content and allow the game to run with fewer interruptions in combat? I don’t want to kick this player from the table. Outside of combat, he’s a wonderful role player and he’s also a good friend, I just don’t want his keen eye for the exact wording of the rules to slow down the game or even potentially break some of the other players immersion.
Some potential solutions I’ve thought of:
- No longer allow the use of phones or other resources at the table other than the player’s character sheet.
- Encourage all corrections to be discussed after the session.
Any and all advice would be appreciated!
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