Dungeons & Dragons Online

My players are awesome but refuse to learn the rules

Content of the article: "My players are awesome but refuse to learn the rules"

So, we are three sessions in now, I'm DMing for the first time, and all my players are new except for one, which has only played another campaign (in which I also play) where the DM's ruling tend to be quite uncertain (But we all have fun so it's ok, it's his table and I'm not going to question him as a DM in front of anyone), so even this "more experienced" one doesn't really know how to play.

What's going on in my game, though, is that most of my players still haven't opened the PHB and rely on my to remember all their class features, how their spells work, and all the general basic rules.

And this is pissing me off, because I like these guys (and gals). Playing with them is fun and their characters and their interactions are just awesome, and I don't wanna create drama, or break up the group, or get angry at them. Thing is, I want to have fun with them but I also want to feel like I'm not the only one actively working to run this whole thing. There are a few things that players can do, like knowing how their character works.

What I did was telling them that they needed to step up their game (because there is always room for improvement and the more we know what our character can do the more creative we can be all that stuff DMs should tell new players to motivate them), and told them the essential PHB pages they needed to know, to start reading their class features and to level up their sheets from level one to level two on their own. They had two weeks to do so. Next session is tomorrow.

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What I intend to do, from the next session on, if I see that they didn't do what is asked them, is to stop helping them: if they don't remember how a feature works, they'll have to look it up themselves. If they forget to apply a bonus, they won't get it. If they forget to disengage, dodge and taking other actions that aren't the basic "move, attack, end turn", I won't remind them of that possibility.

Of course I do not intend to be antagonistic in any way: I'll correct if they apply rules incorrectly, and I'll help then remember the correct one. After all, if you try to apply a rule it means you're trying to learn it, and even if you fail I don't see a reason to not encourage this.

Just, if they are visibly ignorant of basic rules they should know by now such as their class features or basic concepts such as how actions work, I'll stop helping them, since they're not helping me in helping them.

Am I being too harsh? Is there a better way to show them that learning the rules has good consequences, while not learning them does not? How do you deal with these kind of situations?

Source: reddit.com

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