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Different RPG Player Types

There are many different types or styles of Players. Some change it up based on the characters they are are playing, type of campaign they are in (1 shot vs. long campaign), or who they are playing. (ongoing friends vs. convention strangers).

Diversity of Players

As in all things in life, diversity is important. If you are a racist fascist, pls piss off now as we will not engage in a debate on diversity. Diversity can be styles of play, age, work background, gender type, ethnicity, novice or experienced. Game groups oftentimes are friend groups before becoming a game group so probably have some commonalities already. However, making sure there is diversity in different areas of the group will make the game more interesting and carry the story line better. More diversity gives more possible solutions to solving problems, coming up with new options, new and different looks to the same situation.

Not all games are hack and slash. However, with a diversity of players in the game, it can bring out ideas that you would have never have considered. Eg. Should we befriend this hobgoblin blacksmith or just kill him like the murder hobos that we are?  It has helped our game in balancing out the decisions of the party as well as in areas outside of the RPG. Eg. Setting up a Discord server when COVID hit. The lead DMs in our several RPG tabletop games don’t play modern video games so having some other players that knew Discord and could set up a server quickly for us was great.

Types of Players

These are some styles of play or roles that people perform that I have observed in game.

** Lead – this person can summarize the party decisions for the DM. Can also be the traditional leader of the party and initiate all the shot calls and decision proposals. Needs to be balanced to be sure all party members are heard.

** Scribe – the note taker of the party. Tracking party loot, mapping, locations, logistics etc.

** Support – typically quiet during game but does provide sharp perspective when needed. may also play character in more support background type of role until needed. A DM may need to ask questions directly to these players to make sure they are included and not drowned out by others.

** Guest – drop in player that maybe infrequent player; character maybe NPC most games

** Problem Solver – player helps figure out solutions and generates multiple options to the problem at hand. If there is only one problem solver or a problem solver with a loud voice, it will be important for DM to again ask other players for their thoughts.

** Decision Driver – this person drives to making a choice or decision. Could be after a long discussion or when party can’t seem to make a decision. Can also help frame the options or decision to be made.

** Heavy Role Player – this person stays in character the whole game and gets into the character details. This needs to be balanced by below trouble players. Too much attention to detail that doesn’t drive the group game forward may create a Ball Hog or Actor as detailed in next section.

Trouble Player types

** Power Gamer – we all know this type. These players create a super monster character with no weaknesses or low stats. They are good at everything, have all high attribute scores, and have the best of everything. DM needs to set ground rules and review stats during character creation.

** Super Munchkin – these players try to stack and max out everything on their character. Best stats, best magic, best items, best boots etc.  They will create a monster character and try to grab all the best items and treasures. Checking stats during character creation is one way slowing down this behaviour. Having players make back stories to include some ‘weaknesses’ can also work. Reward other players that do actual role play in character vs. grabbing everything in sight.

** Super Specialist – also a version of the super munchkin. These players min/max out their character to become super specialized in one area. Eg. Dealing lotta damage with 1 strike. They may try to push the game to their areas of strength (see Kill’em All below). I was in one 5E campaign where there was a character that could do like 40-50 points of damage with 1 strike at like level 3 by combining all their special skills/feats/bonuses into that one strike etc. All the other characters were doing no more than 8-15 pts of damage per strike. Enemy bosses were getting wiped in 1 strike. It is difficult to balance a game like that with 1 character being a super fighter and everyone else performing at normal level. Best to catch this type during character creation.

** Rules Lawyer – we all know this person as well. They know the rules forwards/ backwards and in another language. They will try to use the rules to their character’s advantage usually (vs. benefit of party or other characters). Ground rules need to be set upfront. DM has final call in their game no matter what is in the rulebooks. Luckily, most OSR systems are rules light vs. like Pathfinder or systems that have a lot of supplements and rules.

** Actor – this player gets into too much detail on their character or events and has to act out or describe every detail of what their character is doing in the moment. This can turn a 1 minute mundane encounter into a 10 min drawn out fully detailed out to the last toenail tapestry. It maybe ok if there are only like 1-2 players, but it can get slow the game down when there is a larger party at play and be unfair to other players.

** Ball Hog – This one is somewhat similar to the Actor. this player does all the talking, talks over other players, keeps action centered around their character, only cares what is happening to their character, becomes impatient during other player / character activity. A selfish wanker. DM needs to ensure all players are included in each action or event.

** Kill’em All – this player’s default is roll for initiative at any encounter. Doesn’t matter if it’s a gang of kobolds in a cave or a maiden in the forest or an angry store keep. They tend to attack first and figure out consequences later. This can result in building a bad reputation for the character and for the party. Ie. May result in bounty hunters coming for their characters and party or hostile reactions from NPCs.