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Wil Wheaton's Role-playing "Dickery" (warning, PG-13+)

by admin published Jun 02, 2015 01:40 AM, last modified Nov 13, 2015 03:02 PM
ROLEPLAYING DICKERY, by Wil Wheaton, (first written 8/4/2010, modified 7/2011 and 10/2011) Wil Wheaton's other tag line is typically "Don't be a dick".

"Dickery" is the term I use for the act of a player or GM doing something that just sucks the fun out of a game for everyone but themselves. So far as I can tell, there are fourteen forms of dickery. I have made a type of roleplayer out of each form of dickery.

Many of the following types of roleplayers overlap in some ways, but I've separated them to be as deeply convicting as possible.

This is a player who is out to win, period. They see everything as an obstacle to overcome, a challenge to defeat, a riddle to solve, etc. That's all well and good when appropriate, but the athlete is such a bundle of kinetic energy that they make a session very tense, and they never want to stop and "smell the roses." They don't know how to slow down or be calm or... just have fun.

This is the player or GM who takes part in the session but barely, having a very "whatever" attitude. They're bored, and they tend to steal the life of a session like a sort of black hole.

This is the player or GM who can't seem to take anything seriously and it's downright disruptive to the intended mood or immersion.

The competitor is the player who can only have fun if he doesn't feel inferior in some way to the other players, or, God forbid, the GM. Therefore he's always somehow competing. This doesn't have to obvious: it can be very subtle and the player doesn't even have to know they're doing it!

The dandy player is vain, one who does anything they can to keep the spotlight on themselves. In addition to being vain while playing, often the vain player will create a stupidly or inappropriately exotic character and then do everything they can to accentuate that exoticness.

A dominating player does anything they can to try and control the session even though they're not the GM. On the other hand, a dominating GM totally "railroads" the players, barely giving them even the illusion of freedom (if that).

A jerk is a player or GM who is just being obnoxious in some miscellaneous way and knows it. Often a player or GM becomes a jerk as a form of revenge.

This is a player who is obsessed with loot and tends to try and swipe anything and everything he can for no truly good reason. Two reasons that never count as truly worthy: we might need it, we might be able to sell it.

Nobody likes a know-it-all, especially if they're right. The know-it-all is someone vain about how much they know and they tend to try and control a session through that knowledge, never seeming to allow freedom or suspension of disbelief, always coming up with what are often very rational reasons for why certain things should or shouldn't happen. Both players and GMs can be know-it-alls, but it's primarily a player problem.

Legalist / Rules Lawyer
This is the player or GM who puts rules in front of reason, is utterly inflexible when it comes to them, and isn't above using them as a weapon against others. To the legalist, roleplaying is a means to rules rather than the other way around.

This is a player who is not a team player either within the character group or the player group, and it's mostly or entirely intentional, often to the extent of being downright selfish and disruptive.

Twink / Munchkin
This is an old roleplaying term that means "power gamer". The twink is a player who just wants to feel powerful, so much so that they tend to forget about roleplaying and context and appropriateness and create the most bad-ass character they can get away with creating, and are focused entirely on making him stronger. There are many different kinds of "twinked" characters, all of them stupid-powerful in some way: martial prowess, magic, wealth, political power, etc. These things in themselves are not things a character cannot have, what matters is the spirit behind wanting them.

This is a player issue, and refers to a player whose whole mission in a session seems to be mucking up the GM's plans or the plans of other players. The saboteur often finds it wildly amusing whenever he is successful.

This is the player who likes to use a fantasy world as an excuse to have fun doing bad, evil things that would (hopefully) make them feel guilty or afraid if they did them in real life.






Last modified Feb 24, 2013 12:58 PM


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