D&D Newbie Mistakes: 7 Things You Should Never Do When Playing D&D

When you sit down with a group to take part in a game of D&D, whether it be in person or online, there are some things you should never do.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a game that’s all about cooperating with your fellow players (for the most part, at least). Sure, you and your character have your own motivations, but hopefully, those motivations line up with the rest of the party.

When you sit down with a group to take part in a game of D&D, whether it be in person or online, there are some things you should never do. It’s all about etiquette, and while D&D is certainly a game that’s about having a good time, it’s also a game where your fellow players have certain expectations.

1. Only Relying on Combat

Dungeons & Dragons is a role-playing game. A huge part of getting into a role is actually talking as your character. That means that every interaction brought forth by the DM doesn’t need to end in a pool of blood. Try your hand at talking your way out of a situation. Creatively using your words to convince an enemy not to fight can be just as fun as actually engaging in the fight.

2. Playing a Disruptive Character

DMs and other players hate it when a player decides that their goal is simply to mess with the game for their own amusement. Does D&D have ways for you to steal from other members of your party? Yes. Should you? Unless it’s clearly established that it’s the type of game where that is acceptable, no, you shouldn’t. Can you run into a room and fight the enemies without scouting or using your head at all? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do or that it’s fun for other players. When you’re going to do something, just take a second to think about whether it impedes on the other players’ fun. If it does, maybe do something else.

3. Metagaming

Metagaming is using the information you have as a player to impact the decisions of your character. You may have figured out that enemy as an armor class of 14, but does your character know that? Sure, you memorized the Monster Manual and you know that the monster you’re fighting is weak to fire, but is there a reason your character knows that? You’ve have heard the DM say something to your party member who rolled a 20 on perception, but if your character wasn’t meant to hear it, you shouldn’t use that information. Remember that you’re role-playing with the goal of having fun, and metagaming isn’t fun for you or anyone else at the table.

4. Arguing With the DM

You need to remember that DM is not only responsible for telling the story and moving the adventure forward, but they’re also the arbiter of the rules. Can you point out a rule mistake the DM made? Sure, as long as you do it respectfully. The important thing is to avoid arguing with the DM. You have to remember that when it comes down to the rules, the DM is right and you have to work with that.

5. Spacing Out, Not Paying Attention

Whether you’re playing online or in-person, one of the most disrespectful things you can do while playing D&D is to not pay attention. The DM probably spent hours preparing the adventure that you’re running, and if you’re looking at your phone or just not listening, you’re negating all the hard work your DM put in. You signed up to play D&D, so have some respect and pay attention. Not only is it the right thing to you do, but you’ll have a lot more fun when you actually know the backstory or the adventure.

6. Hogging the Spotlight

Dungeons & Dragons is a game where you step into the role of a character and act as that character. You probably spent a lot of time working on your character and you want as much time to develop that character as possible. However, the other players at the table are in the same boat. That means you need to share the spotlight. Don’t take excessively long on your turns. Don’t interrupt other players during role-playing. You’ll get your time in the spotlight, so let the other players have theirs.

7. Cheating

Metagaming is a form of cheating, but outright cheating can be so much worse. For example, you might lie about your dice rolls to create a more favorable. You might lie about your character’s stats to help yourself succeed in your goal. Sometimes, failing can be the most interesting part of the game, as it can lead the story down unexpected roads. If you cheat, you miss out on those opportunities. Be honest and everyone will have a better time at the table.

More D&D Newbie Tips

Playing D&D soon? Check out our free cheat sheet with 12 essential tips for D&D beginners, complete with common mistakes and etiquette pointers to ensure you (and everyone else at the table) have the best D&D experience every time:
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