"Remember me? I mooned for rebuttal!" — Homer J. Simpson

2008 January 22
by Dante

This classic quote, from the well known Simpson’s episode “The Way We Was“, reminds me very much of what my good buddy Vanir was describing in his last epic post. Oftentimes when I think about this particular episode of The Simpsons, I don’t remember too much about the rest of the plot but being an ex-debater myself I distinctly remember that quote and Homer dropping trou to win his argument.

But it’s irreverent!

Yes, it is. However, it is distinctive moments of color like those that go on to live fondly in the memory of everyone that beholds them. Several years from now when we recall our favorite moments from our D&D campaigns, I can pretty much guarantee that the trump card that will come out of Vanir’s mouth will be “Oh yeah? Well Bat Loaf humped on the Tarrasque.” And much laugher will be had by all.

It is pretty much for this reason and this reason alone that I embrace letting people be a little nuts like this and introduce crazy, obscene, or otherwise hilarious elements to our plot. For the record, I am fairly certain my co-DM would’ve lynched me on the spot should he have actually been there but that is a story best left for another time.

You too can unclench your butt-cheeks and enjoy this kind of fun!

I can respect wanting to keep some elements of your campaign “by the numbers” and keep the characters focused on the dramatic scenes, but I would like everyone to keep in mind that even epic tales of heroism and valor like The Lord of the Rings had their own comedic elements in Tom Bombadil (book) and Merry/Pippin (film).

The trick is to just let your characters be themselves. Let them take liberties however far they want to during certain times in the campaign, and quiet them down and focus them in others. The trade-off will work in your favor: if the players are allowed to have irreverent fun like Vanir outlined, they’ll be much more receptive to being asked to “tune in” during more serious moments in the campaign.

I find it helps to have a “serious look” that you can shoot offending players when you want to quell the silliness. It is much akin to The Look that Stupid Ranger possesses to quiet me down, and anyone else that is married to a human female will have a corollary upon which to draw.

So relax! Have fun! Don’t take things so seriously all the time, you may find that some memorable moments will be created in the process.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Vanir permalink
    January 23, 2008

    You need two things when you have players (like me) who like to go a little nuts sometimes.

    1. A DM who will give the “serious look” when it’s time to be on task.

    2. Players who will HEED the serious look.

    If I attempted to do nothing but act goofy and do outrageous things 100% of the time I was at the D&D table, I would wholeheartedly support Dante’s impaling me on the end of one of the decorative swords in his basement.

    It’s hard sometimes (and occasionally I fail), but I try to make sure I’m not excessively hogging the spotlight or ruining the fun for everybody else. It takes effort!

    Forget this not when you tap into the dark eldritch energies of Ernie Keebler.

  2. Mike permalink
    January 24, 2008

    This reminds me of some of the quotes my group got out of one particular fighter, Darren The Daring (not played by me). Suffice to say he ended up being played with more machismo and bravado than you could stuff into a clown car, and he was hilarious.
    The one phrase I remember most occurred when the party mage asked if she should prepare expeditious retreat. “Darren” said this little gem: “Wait, that’s for running away! We don’t have TIME for defeatist magic!”

  3. Dave The Game permalink
    January 24, 2008

    Note to self: supply EL Fudge cookies for game this weekend.

    Sadly, those kinds of moments happen less often in a big group. The one I ran with about half the group (4 players) was filled with irreverent hilarity.

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