Attacking on Sight, and Oh How I Hate Those Who Do

2007 August 20
by Vanir

Ever have this happen on D&D night? You get a player whose character’s parents/friend/pet cat were killed by orcs. As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the party encounters a bunch of orcs twice the size of the party and three times as tough. They are all standing around minding their own business and they haven’t even seen the PC’s yet. And at this time, our intrepid hero bravely adjusts the helmet atop his pointed little head and declares “ORCS! I ATTACK ON SIGHT!” and proceeds to charge the orcs in a manner that would do Leeroy Jenkins proud. This usually results in at least one character death and possibly even a player death, usually via bludgeoning with a PHB.

For the sake of your continued survival, please don’t be this guy. This player has clearly not given any thought to anything other than the fact that his character hates orcs. Anything. Survival, his friends’ survival, the DM sharpening a meat cleaver under the table, anything. His abysmal intelligence and social skills aside, this player’s problem with his PC is that he isn’t roleplaying his character. He is roleplaying the sentence “I hate orcs and will attack on sight.” No sane person, much less a seasoned adventurer, would charge a war party of orcs by himself as soon as he saw them. He would probably get out of sight and form a battle plan with his party. This battle plan could (and in this case probably should) include running as fast as their little imaginary legs could carry them.

This is basically the D&D equivalent of going to play tennis with your friends, except instead of playing tennis, you set yourself on fire and run screaming headlong into the net. You die, but sadly that doesn’t give anyone any joy whatsoever since the net is burned and the cops are coming. Congratulations — you’ve just ruined the whole game!

If this sounds like something you might do on D&D night, please know that our spy satellites are watching. And they have lasers.

One Response leave one →
  1. Yax permalink
    August 20, 2007

    Hilarious post. I know the feeling.

    I saw this tendency a few times in my players. After a few adventures and a few level-ups they feel they are invincible. I like to warn them before a game that they have been very daring and pushing the odds. I will do absolutely to keep them alive in the next few games – even in a situation that would usually require some rule-bending.

    It usually brings back a sense of vulnerability, everyone is careful, they all have more fun and nobody loses a level.

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