Let’s face it – we’ve all lied before. Novel idea, I know, but it is a truth of our society that we tend to not address. I lie about being athletic, that I am too busy to go out, or that I am definitely still on that diet. But when it comes to lying around the people you know, things can get personal and out of hand. Specifically, I am talking about group activities that involve dice (not gambling, but lying with that can lead to worse fates).
Now for some people, this article is a no-brainer. Why would you lie while playing a game? People play to enjoy getting away from some of the world’s tough love, and fibbing in their fantasy can remind others of the real world. But this article is more than just the 33% of Dungeons and Dragons that actually has mechanical rules involved. This is a mindset amongst peers and an article on lying to your own brain. Let’s get into some “lies” we have in our games, and how we can fix them.
Lie #1: I Must Play to Win
D&D is not a game where you win. It is a choice simulation that gives consequences based on the actions you, the player/party, take. While it is definitely possible to lose a combat encounter, it’s impossible to win or lose a story. There is no winning or losing in the story, as the Dungeon Master is leading you on a heroic journey. No matter what you do, the DM wants for you to complete the story they crafted, and they want you to feel satisfied after playing. Which brings me to my next point-
Lie #2: The DM is Killing You
Despite anyone saying anything, unless they tell you themselves, the Dungeon Master has no intention of destroying everything you have built and ripping your character from your tender care. I hate killing party members, but the threat of character death is necessary to convey the realism of the game.
The primary objective of a DM should be to build a believable fantasy for everyone to participate in. This includes giving credence to certain threats – making monsters react in a believable and meaningful way. It should never be a personal thing. Imagine yourself in the monster’s shoes; if you are being killed by this ragtag group of adventurers, you will most likely want to kill them back.
(However, some DMs do bring personal issues into the game world, and other DMs believe it’s their prime directive to kill off their players. If you think that your DM is targeting you specifically, bring it up with them in private. They might not even be aware of what they’re doing wrong.)
Lie #3: The Dice Rule the Game
Now we speak of mechanics – the Dungeon Master is fully capable of adding or ignoring dice rolls to a situation. However tempting it might be to get that 18 or higher, your world will not crash and burn if it does not succeed. This brings up the point of something you can control as your player: embrace your dice rolls. I ask you to never, I repeat, never lie about your dice. It is not worth the win, and certainly not worth jeopardizing your friendships. I’ll write more in the DM Advice on this, where we talk about lying to your players.
These are just a few of the misconceptions, I may do another article on more misconceptions later. Keep these in mind next time you play, and let us know your thoughts on more in the comments!