[RPG] How to deal with players not taking things seriously


As both a player and GM I play with my group of players (and close friends) on multiple occasions and they will often make fun of either my characters, NPC or a specific situation and won't stop punning it. For example I played a Minotaur Paladin (I loved that character concept a LOT) and players just made fun of it all the time calling me a cow at the table.

They do this also when I'm the GM. Sometimes the name of an NPC will be turned against me (the GM not the NPC itself) and I find it annoying because now I have to watch both my character concepts for their game and also my NPC name because they'll just make fun of it all the time.

So how do you deal with immature players? How do you make them understand that their humor is a form of metagaming (by this I mean…you know that I won't start a PvP combat, but your character sees a Minotaur ready for combat and you insult him all the time).

As another example: one of my player insulted a Drow Matron and it basically brought all the attention to him and he died because the Matron decided it was enough and wanted him dead. The player whined for 2 weeks that I (the DM) killed his character. So when you insult a Chaotic Evil NPC level 12 you expect to live to tell the tale?

Best Answer

I see several options here:

  • Get over it

  • Embrace it

  • Talk about it

  • Change it

Most likely you will have to implement several of these methods to come up with a true solution, but here are my recommendations for each:

  • Get Over It As a player (but more a GM) you're putting yourself out there a bit. Yes it'd be nice if your players respected your NPCs a bit more, but if you are enjoying the game why is it a big deal? You may need to examine your expectations here. Maybe your group is looking for a lighter play style than you are.

  • Embrace It Pun it up, make your NPCs fit their puns. Make your ridiculous character all the more ridiculous. This may not work if you're looking at a more serious play style, but even those have room for humor. Or maybe your Minotaur has a complex...Maybe it's no metagaming, maybe it's really an insult. Maybe your character really is a cow?

  • Talk about it This is the hardest of my recommendations, but is probably the most useful. Most likely your group doesn't see an issue. You've got to actually dialogue about how your expectations are different from what plays out at the table and talk about how you guys can come to a solution. This is cooperative gaming, it should also be about cooperating to have a good time so everyone can have fun. This is especially important if you feel offended or if the jokes have crossed the line. There is no reason to sit and stew when if you asked them to stop they would likely stop.

  • Change it Come up with a different character concept, do a better job roleplaying/naming/characterizing your NPCs. This isn't to say that you're not doing fine right now, just that if it's bothering you, use it as motivation to get better.

It sounds to me like your expectations and your groups' expectations are kind of on a different page. Really most of this boils down to aligning those and continuing on. If you're group is looking for beer and peanuts to relax after work and you're looking for serious theater, you might have to all adjust your expectations and find different outlets for the sentiments that are no longer welcome at the table.

Personally I think it's important to have fun at the gaming table and if something is impinging on your fun you should let your group know. I'm pretty sure they'd be happy to help you fix it, even if it means they have to pass on the cow jokes.