Content of the article: "What to do about players that constantly recognise and call out narrative tropes?"
I wasn’t sure how to phrase the question so my apologies if the title is not very good. I’ve been having a bit of an issue with my players recently recognising and calling out the common narrative tropes that storytellers use to make a story good. I have one player in particular who is very into movies, games and tv shows and he knows all the typical devices a storyteller can use and always calls them out when he sees them. It’s usually not to be mean, he just thinks its funny to notice these things or he does it to complain.
What annoys me about this is that there are only so many ways to write a half decent story, and beyond becoming a world class writer on top of studying for my maths and IT degree, there is no way to write a decent story without falling into one trope or another. I tried to make it super complex and surprising at the start but quickly realised that writing a campaign isn’t like writing a movie. The characters don’t do what you want them to do and your big reveal will never happen how you wanted it.
This constant meta talk completely breaks any hope of getting some sort of suspension of disbelief and brings all immersion crashing to the ground. As I’m writing this I’m realising I should just talk to them about it but since I’ve already written this post do you guys (and girls) have any extra experience/advice on this?
There are some other things that are getting on my nerves. Our dnd group are also a group best friends and we like to joke around but the jokes have started to get less funny and more frequent. Now any time someone does anything we get at least 3 people chiming in with their own variations of what they think should happen. Sometimes they do have a really funny idea but more often than not it just slows the game down and annoys me and one of my friends who has grown sick of it too.
The group has also taken to jokingly trying to call me out when I may be pulling some strings behind the scenes. I wanted all the players to be there for the final boss fight so when the players tried to take a shortcut by breaking a wall that they didn’t know would lead them to the boss room. Before the session I predicted they’d do this so I had the wall enchanted by the boss to be relatively unbreakable. Of course, when the paladin hit the wall and it grew stronger, they all went “ahhh of course, this is the boss room.” Sometimes I have them get misleading information, sometimes naturally but sometimes retroactively to cover up mistakes that I made. Anything like this is more likely than not to get called out by the players as well. It’s all in a joking sense and they mean well but it still annoys me.
I kind of did it to myself by being too open with my players at first when I started dming and admitting every time I made mistakes (which was very often). Now they just look for them.
One of the players left and we had a plan for her character so I took over her character as an npc. I liked the character she had made so I actually roleplayed as her, occasionally using her to speak as myself (ie. she reminds the party that they don’t have much time). The group instantly started trash talking the character, usually in a completely unfair way. They do this with almost every NPC that they spend any amount of time with.
Again, I should probably just talk to them but I’m kinda torn. On one hand it’s started really getting on my nerves and I want to tell them to have some respect for the time I put in to the campaign. On the other hand though I know that the whole purpose of dnd is to have fun. A DM’s fun comes from his players having fun. I never planned on running an uber serious campaign anyway. Any ideas?
- As a newbie DM at the time I just finished my first ever campaign. From level 1-30. Took 4.5 years of weekly 3-4 hour sessions. Only missing a handful. My thoughts, what I learned and mini ama.
- I got a call from “That Guy” in my game, and he apologized!
- On why it’s hard playing D&D being a woman
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