The plan is for this to be an ongoing series of posts to help the various types of DnD players that sit at the table and drive the other players crazy. I debated on starting with the Meta Gamer, but decided at the last minute to go with the Narcissist. A great article from the GM perspective an be found here - https://thedmstavern.com/10-types-dnd-players/. As always, feedback is welcome.
Noun - a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves
Let’s start by saying that no one likes a narcissist in real life. When one is at your table, they can take the air out of a game by stifling the creativity of the others around them. But what if you are the Narcissist. Well, first off, you probably don’t realize that you are one, and unless you are approached by the other people at the table, you may think that the game is running smoothly and everything is all good.
Signs that you are the Narcissist
You often self-proclaim yourself as the leader of the party.
When someone disagrees with you, you become upset by someone challenging your authority over the group. You are the leader after all.
You think everyone else’s ideas are stupid, or could use more of your insight.
You feel the need to be the entertainer at the table, even when you aren’t a bard.
Instead of listening to others, you just wait to speak.
The most interesting and easiest one to look at is #5. While you may not notice that you are talking more than everyone else at the table, take a hard look at your behavior when you aren’t talking. Are you actually listening to what someone else is saying? Are you reading through the spells you want to take next level while others are planning? Are you playing on your phone when others are talking to the GM? Be honest with yourself - which is hard because you may be a narcissist.
What you can do.
Acknowledgement is the first step.
Maybe you’ve come to the realization by yourself (small chance of that happening), or maybe someone has called you out. For whatever reason, this is the time you actually listened instead of getting upset and fighting back, and that’s a good first step!
Like many problems in life, once you can admit you have a problem, you can work towards fixing the problem. The other people at the table will probably feel a sense of relief that you are coming to this realization and you are working on your behavior. This gives them a chance to feel like they can spread their wings a bit more and have even more fun at the table with you!
A great starting point is to start asking others what they want to do. You want the other players to feel like they can have some control at the table, instead of being dragged along by you.
This is a huge step for better party cohesion, and it’s all about asking the others what they think the party should or can do. Its natural to get frustrated if they don’t know off the bat. They may not be used to being asked their opinions!
If you and the party find yourself at an impasse, suggest your ideas and don’t try to cram them down the party’s throat. Questions like, “What are your thoughts?” or “What do you guys think we should do?” go a long way to creating cohesion. Where as: “This is what we are going to do” comes across as being a narcissist. And no one wants to play with a narcissist. Language is powerful, you have to remember to use it wisely.
Another thing to help you become a better player is to be genuinely interested in what other people have to say.
This means once you start asking questions, listen. I mean really listen. It’s going to be hard. When people ask questions or give their suggestions, don’t talk over them. Try to hear them out until they have completed their train of thought. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything everyone has to say. Constructive criticism is a helpful tool at the table (not to mention life). Ask thoughtful questions about what they mean if you don’t understand the plan, even though it may hard expressing an idea when they are scared of negative reactions. By asking those questions, people will see that you were paying attention to what they were saying.
This is not an all-inclusive guide on making you not a narcissist, rather quick steps to help you become a better player at the table. Whether it’s someone else, or, god forbid, it’s you, the narcissist can drag everyone down. It’s a team game. Try to play it that way.