Dungeons & Dragons Online

Your DM should not have to convince your character to go on an adventure

Howdy all,

I'm an avid DM, and have been DMing for lots and lots of groups for both friends and complete strangers especially recently and I just had an experience with a group that I've unfortunately had too often.

It's something I'm sure everyone has seen at least a few times. You get to the doors of the dungeon, you reach the mouth of the cave, you come under attack. Danger is afoot. But at least one character does not want to go in, refuses to adventure any further, has cold feet, gets scared, anything, and twenty minutes that should be spent on the exciting gameplay is instead given to 'convince' that character(s) to move forward. The fact that this is still so common after years of playing leads me to believe that a lot of players don't approach their characters as Heroes, and it's worth addressing.

When you play a character with a class, they are considered Heroic. Sometimes they are even called adventurers outright. You may still be playing a green, fresh character, but that doesn't mean they should actively avoid the trials ahead of them. These people are supposed to be extraordinary, they are supposed to be able to enter crypts and dungeons and dark woods – maybe WHILE being scared – and come out the other side. Your dungeon master should not have to divert their attention to your character to specifically 'make' them go, they shouldn't feel more compelled to abandon ship and run for home.

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Other players tend to dislike having these sorts of characters in the party. At best, it's a gimmick, and one that gets tiring fast. It's okay to play a cowardly character, or a character with flaws in general, but it becomes a problem when your character is dragging the party and refusing to participate. It's also important to remember that most flaws are best tackled with the expectation that your character will overcome them; if that flaw is them being dreadfully scared, it doesn't make sense for them to still have that trait as a level 15 Paladin.

I should clarify that I do not mean adventure hooks. Obviously your characters should have a reason to walk into the dungeon. Additionally, if the entire party is resistant to moving forward, then the issue likely comes from the DM in some way, probably because the adventure isn't engaging. I'm talking about the very existence of danger immediately making your character dig their heels in and refuse to move any further. The more this happens the less and less forgiving I'm starting to be about it, especially if it is a lone actor, and it makes me question why you would sit down at the table and refuse to play.

TLDR; When making a character, please consider creating them from the angle that they are an adventurer, and would likely want/have to be wherever they are. If your character is a coward, it's much more interesting for that character to have to confront that cowardice to save the world/save a friend/find some gold/do anything, then it is for them to have to be strung along the moment things get hairy.

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