Hello all, players and DMs alike,
I've been pondering on this topic for sometime after observing my players and their actions in game. Nobody likes to lose a character, at least not typically. However, have you also been the same person that checks every single corner, won't walk without a 10 foot pole in front of you, or check every magic item you come across with such religious fervor you'd think the paladin's god commanded you to scrub it for some hidden curse?
I think most of us have been here in one fashion or another, and I think it's smart to be in this position: a complacent party is an unprepared one, and an unprepared party is likely to die. That's just adventuring 101.
However, I've noticed a little quirk among my more experienced players: there is no risk taking whatsoever. If my players come across even the slightest bit of danger, it's met with them either tiptoing around it and overpreparing in the most insane ways possible, or they just flat out ignore it.
This is what I'm calling " Mimic Syndrome ": the effect of a player being so afraid of danger coming to their characters that they think even the most basic of stuff is out to get them.
Perhaps your wizard won't even touch a cursed item without lead gloves and a hazmat suit. Maybe your fighter refuses to take jobs about slaying giants because "those clubs are pretty big, someone could get hurt". Your bard may not even speak up during the meeting with the king because he doesn't want to even take a risk that a word will land him in jail.
These are all just vague examples, but I think you get my point. The reason I call it mimic syndrome is because after a new player finds out that a chest of all things can kill you, what's to say the entire world isn't going to kill you. This attitude then progresses into basic adventuring. Players stop taking risks because they become deathly afraid of their characters' mortality.
Perhaps you as a DM have run into them.
If I can offer any advice on solving this issue, it's to bring the danger to your players. If they refuse to engage with the world, then perhaps bringing the world to the players is the next best thing to get them to play the game they signed up for.
I just wanted to make this post to perhaps put a name to this phenomenon that I think is a lot more widespread that just my table, and perhaps you fellow DMs want to share (or vent) about some instances where your players gave into this Mimic Syndrome!
- 1. My players just want to be murder hobos 2. They just goof off while playing and not focus on the game and 3. They don’t understand that they are meant to be playing a character, not themselves!
- Encouraging Players to Conserve Resources without Being a Jerk
- Mimics as a PC
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "When players become paranoid of everything, and trust nothing, or “mimic syndrome”" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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