Saturday, July 9, 2011

Be A Better Player Seven - Enough jokes already!

GM – Okay guys enough jokes for a bit let's get back on track here.

Player 1 – heh heh... yeah okay you're right.

Player 3 – Sorry bout that.

GM – Okay now back to where we were. Your party finally makes it way through the rubble up to opening of the cave. There are the remains of a few previous adventurers like yourself lying about near the entrance.

Player 2 – Oh shit watch out for rabbits around here.

Player 3- hehe oh hell I didn't think about that.

Player 2 – “That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!”

GM – No that's not what....

Player 2 - “Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!”

Player 3 – Oh damn my sides hurting I'm laughing so hard.

Player 1 – I should have known better than to trust the gm to NOT pull out the rabbit.

GM – groan...

Okay I'll admit a little humor at the game table is welcome when I'm running a game. Getting a good chuckle over something while in the middle of some number crunching makes the numbers flow a little better it seems. HOWEVER... you have to stop at some point. You may have the best joke in the world suddenly on your lips, but there are times when you need to just shut the fuck up.

First thing it can throw off the enjoyment of others. Some people are there to play the game and not sit around for three hours playing amateur comedy club night. You need to understand that they are there to invest their time into something and you may be keeping them from doing that. These are also the kinds of players that a lot of gamemasters like and if it comes time to cut somebody they won't be the first on the list and will probably be whispering about who they would like to see gone.

Second thing is that all this joking stops gameplay. So if there is an 'stop point' planned for the night you are pushing it further and further away. Maybe even past the point to which the players are willing to stay for. When game play stops like this it has a tendency to stop dead in it's tracks and takes some time to get rolling again.

Third is the complete destruction of the mood. Not all games are dungeon romps through perfectly made corridors and shop keepers that are merely vending machines for arrows and rations. In nearly any sort of horror scenario the mood becomes very important. The intent is to keep the players themselves on the edges of their seats to try and make them feel a bit of what their PC's are experiencing. Suddenly busting out a song of 'Knights of the Round Table' when you find a dining room with a circular table can throw all that right out the window. In a high action game the mood is for fast thinking and quick decisions, making everyone giggle every two minutes destroys that as well.

Forth thing, well lets just face it, usually you are never even half as funny as you think you are. So not only is everyone else getting belted with jokes but they are bad jokes at that. You are not a professional comedian, if you were you would probably be up on stage at a club on Saturday night getting paid instead of at the gaming table. We've also seen The Holy Grail about a dozen times and can repeat the lines as we watch it, we don't need your refresher course.

So watch for the subtle signs. The gamemaster or other players glaring at you, the lack of anybody but you laughing and everyone suddenly having to 'other things' come up. Being to much of a disruption is a sure fire way to not be told that the game night is switching to Fridays starting next week.


  1. The worst kind of jokes at rpg tables are mmo jokes or comparisons.
    We have a lot of those and it sux.
    When I'm GMing I really don't like it when someone asks if any of the npcs a a questionmark above the head. Or jokes about the color of monsters/quests relating to their difficulty.

    Playing mmos is a nice hobby. Bujt it doesn't mix well with pen and paper rpg.

    1. Agreed! You want to know the difficulty? *passes book* what color is it? 23? Hmm looks like you have to learn your ab3s again (ab3s was intentional) but point I highly agree

  2. Nicely put! Playing d&d and randomly a dbz reference comes up... How did you get that from im tieing a rope to the tree to get into a dark hole without taking damage. I think that or random pokems references are the most annoying while trying to be serious for a 4-5 hour game. I mean don't get me wrong jokes about in game all for it, but references that have nothing to do with game at hand is like "do you want an arrow in the chest or an axe in the face?"