D&D: “I Piss On The Corpse”

Thoughts on player-character dynamics in D&D.


Some role-players like to get a little ridiculous sometimes. It’s a fun outlet and an interesting scenario; in no other life-simulating environment can someone get away with actions that are so incredulous and, well, silly. The idea of a living, breathing world all but invites the bored and carefree gamer to wreak havoc in the environment. They await the consequences to their actions on the edge of their seat. The idea of some being breaking the social norm and acting in a way that no one ever truly would in any given encounter is thrilling.

So we understand why this happens. It is cheap fun, and I’m all for having fun at any expense, but why is this behavior not okay sometimes? Let’s explore that a little bit.

Verisimilitude is a huge deal to a lot of TRPGers, understandably. You come every week to invest your time into a world of imagining between friends, and you grow attached to that world. Someone acting out of order can be quite a turn off. It can be sobering, bringing you back to reality, tearing down the walls of believability that you, the DM, and the other players have so painstakingly constructed over time. This is the answer that most people come to when they find that a certain player isn’t quite meshing with the group. But there is another reason.

The 'offending’, obstructing player argues that his character truly does act in these ways, whether they be idiotic, sociopathic, or otherwise. He just likes to piss on the bodies. It’s funny to him.

While this is all good and fine for that player, the problem arises in the fact that the other player’s characters are present during these seemingly ridiculous scenarios, and because of the awkwardness of it, they are forced to simply deal with it.

This is completely unfair for those players. They know that, in game, they would never stand for such nonsense, but because of the nature of D&D in that it is a group-oriented experience, they can say nothing to the offending character in the way of confrontation- or, they wouldn’t, at least. Trust me, I’ve tried it. It’s just awkward. It is better to deal with such issues out-of-character, and to remember that the PCs, above all, must find some way to trust each other. It just will not work (believably) otherwise.

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