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Thread: The Types of D&D Player

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    Barbarian in the Playground
    Frathe's Avatar

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    Dec 2012

    Default The Types of D&D Player

    From what I can tell from observation of my gaming group and this forum, there are three seven ways of playing D&D:

    1. The Gamer: This person sees D&D as a game that needs to be balanced, just as any board game would. The imbalance of the classes bothers them, hence the invention of the "Tier" system; to them, you might as well start chess with an uneven number of pieces. Their focus is on optimization, and they might ask questions like "Why would anyone play a class that isn't Tier 1?"
    Subtype: The Wargamer thinks D&D is a game, but a different kind of game: instead of trying to optimize their character, they just love attacking enemies and moving figures around on a grid. They tune out and barely participate in roleplay encounters and can't wait for the next combat. This is the kind of person D&D Miniatures was made for.

    2. The Storyteller: To this person, the point of the game is collaborative storytelling. A Storyteller DM would do things that would be unthinkable to the strict Gamer: fudge dicerolls to advance the story; introduce questionably balanced homebrew NPCs because they fit a character concept; and allow or disallow actions on a "Rule of Cool" basis. The Storyteller wants to play the game, but cares far more about flavor than mechanical optimization. They will choose to play a low Tier class if it better fits their concept for a character.
    Subtype: The Complicator is a Storyteller player who sees DM schemes where there are really just straightforward dungeons. They can add interest and depth to the game, especially when the DM decides to use their "ideas", but they can also sidetrack the party for minutes or sessions.

    3. The Friend: This person is barely participating during non-combat encounters; they're just there to hang out with their friends. The sign of a true Friend is someone who, after several months of playing, still doesn't know basic information like which modifier you add to your melee attack. While there's nothing wrong with wanting to hang out with friends, be warned that this person's main objective is having a fun time, not playing, and they may slow down the game for the rest of the group. However, the more imaginative Friend may sometimes contribute random bursts of humor or roleplaying.
    Subtype: The Chemically Enhanced is there as an excuse to get drunk/high, or to have something to do while drunk/high. They're a Friend with fewer inhibitions.

    4. The Newbie: Still too new to the game to have settled on a style of play, the Newbie in their early stages may not be distinguishable from the Friend.

    5. The Novelist: This person is similar to the Storyteller, with one major difference: a major de-emphasis on the collaborative aspect. Instead, the Novelist strives to make their characters powerful, interesting and distinctive, even if they clash with the flavor of the setting or derail the campaign in doing so. As a player, if they are refused their unusual character concept, they may cause trouble in other ways, such as trying to kill the character they were forced to play with. As DM, they tend to railroad players and become upset if things go off plan. They want to be the ones telling the story, and won't let others get in their way.
    Subtype: The Realist is a Novelist player who has a single action that they consider essential predefined in their mind, and when they fail their roll, in order to advance the plot in the way they want, they try to argue that their action made logical, physical, real-world sense, and should have succeeded on that basis.

    6. The Rule-Keeper: Unlike the Gamer, this person is concerned with whether the game is doing what it is "supposed" to do to create the "correct experience". They serve as a check on the Storyteller, keeping them from fudging things in ways that make the other players feel excluded, or introducing Rule of Cool if the game is "supposed" to be serious. They are likely to take an approach resembling improv, and to maintain that you should "Roll only when there is a disagreement". Unlike the Gamer, the Rule-Keeper is interested not in rebalancing the game as a whole, but in making sure that the current game "runs as it should".

    7. The Organizer: This person volunteers to keep the loot log and brings a binder, laptop or notebook to every session, but isn't especially involved in the roleplaying or optimization aspects of the game.
    Subtype: The Court Recorder writes down everything, including good dice rolls, useless loot, and ten-page reports with every detail of the story.

    Do these ring true? Does anyone have further classifications to add?

    I'm a Storyteller/Complicator.

    Edit: Added another.
    Edit: And another.
    Edit: Thanks, Urpriest! The Rule-Keeper is your Theorist renamed
    Edit: Thanks, nedz! The Organizer is your Manager renamed
    Edit: Thanks, Guizonde! The Newbie is pretty much yours.
    Edir: Thanks, Raven777! The Wargamer is your Brawler renamed and slightly recategorized
    Edit: Thanks, Certified! The Complicator is your Sideways Errant renamed
    Edit: Thanks, Shaynythyryas! The Court Recorder is your Scribe renamed
    Edit: Thanks, Zubrowka74! The Chemically Enhanced is your Stoner renamed
    Edit: Thanks, Shaynythyryas! The Realist is your Realistic (a.k.a "Catgirls killer") renamed
    Last edited by Frathe; 2013-01-09 at 06:22 PM.