Ask the Game Master: How do I handle rudeness on an open table?

Got a gaming question? Ask the Game Master to make a ruling, provide advice or referee your gaming troubles. Send your questions to [email protected]. This week, we’re talking about how to handle jerks.

I love the D&D Adventurer’s League, and I run a table at my FLGS. As you’d expect, I have a lot of regular players as well as random people who drop in from time to time.

The regulars are great, we’ve been playing together for awhile and we’re becoming closer as friends. The randoms are typically very nice people as well. But occasionally, we get incredibly rude people who sit at the table. Some are old gamers who are “set in their ways,” but others are kids who don’t understand how to play games cooperatively.

How do I handle these rude players? It’s open play, so I don’t want to ruin anyone’s D&D experience or cause them not to want to play ever again.

I’ve always found it interesting that games where you can try on different hats and play a variety of races, genders and identities would attract such complete jerks.

And a lot of us grew up as nerds who weren’t exactly accepted, so why would players be further unaccepting of others?

I don’t know why, but it happens.

First off, any racism, sexism, homophobia or really anything disrespectful to anyone shouldn’t be tolerated. Period.

If you hear anything like falls in those categories, you should tell the player to stop immediately. If it continues, pull them aside and explain what they’re saying is inappropriate. If they still continue, boot them from your table. Tell them in no uncertain terms that they’re not allowed to play with you. Also be sure to tell the manager at your FLGS.

At my FLGS, where I played D&D Encounters (the precursor to AL) for years, we had a guy say disrespectful crap and talk down to women constantly. He was warned once, and then he was permanently banned from the store. The store owner even apologized. That’s exactly how it should be.

Some people make jokes they think are innocent. Some don’t realize they’re being such a jerk. Old players think they can tell a DM how a rule should be. Young players can think they’re in a video game and only their character matters.

As it says in official material from Wizards, “D&D Adventurers League play is meant to be fun and inclusive.”

And you’re the Dungeon Master, so it’s your table, your rules.

If that turns someone off from D&D, fine. They’re not meant to be playing anyway.



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