It took me a while to understand that there are various ways to play Dungeons and Dragons, any tabletop role playing game really. I always thought my rp heavy playing balanced with fights and dungeons crawls was the best way. And it is, for me. It wasn’t until a ran my first game that I understood what my husband, our regular DM, had been trying to explain.
Every type of gameplay is the right one. That’s the wonder of role playing games. The only real issue or hold up is that some of the play styles do clash. The trick is not to make everyone conform to your gameplay but finding people who want to play the same way you do. Trying to force the issues will only create fractures in the table, in the friendships that were formed there.
There are the players who just want to fight. Dungeon crawls, battles and wars are their bread and butter. They seek the thrill of combat so staying for days in a town, playing at buying imaginary things, might not be as fun as battling a band of raging Orcs. The murder hobo is a legitimate way of playing. You probably want to find other murder hobos to murder hobo with. It’s always more fun playing with people who are on the same page.
There are players who really immerse themselves in the role playing aspect of the game. That can be a little intimidating for players who are new or are just uncomfortable acting like that. Playing with someone who is a heavy rp’er can also make a player feel like they can’t make meaningful contributions because they don’t have an accent or speak in the “I” instead of “my character does this..” As someone who loves to rp, I try to make sure others at our table don’t feel like they have to act a certain way to play.
Our table is a weird amalgamation of different players. We make it work because our DM makes a good balance between fighting and role playing. We have two players who love to fight and get into trouble, two players who love to rp heavily, and a rules lawyer. We have our little squabbles but we always manage to come together as a team. This is because were all good friends, we get along naturally and go out of our way to temper some of the more confrontative tendencies we have.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, be kind to each other. We all have different ways we like to do things. Even I would think that my way was the best way to play. You never know how different people are until you look from the outside in. Differences exist but we can always work together to see past things that might irk us and find out that there are some things we do that irk others.
If a table isn’t working out, getting angry will only make things worse. The best thing is to find a table that accepts you and your gameplay style. We can try to make things work but when it is clear we can’t, we need to remove ourselves. This isn’t just for the better of the table but for yourself. Staying in a place, any place, where you are not comfortable isn’t good for anyone.
At the end of the day it is all about having fun, about making lasting memories with groups of friends. Having a right way to play is completely valid but we also have to acknowledge that every other player also thinks that the way they play is the right way. Find something that works and appreciate it in all it’s ephemeral glory.