Visiting the Archives: Roleplaying Pitfalls pt. 2: Hogging The Spotlight

2008 October 27
by Vanir

Today we bring you the second installment of Vanir’s Roleplaying Pitfalls opus, where he details spotlight hogging and how to manage that urge!

Originally posted on 10/10/2007 by Vanir

I’m SO guilty of this one: you have concocted a brilliant idea that puts your character in the spotlight and provides hours of roleplaying opportunities – for you.

Enjoy your time in the spotlight, but don’t hog it every week. If your group spends more time on hastily-constructed side quests that you caused (or worse, watching you complete them alone) than they do on the actual plot, you might want to back off a little bit.

If You Must Hog The Spotlight

Make sure it’s worth it! In our group, we usually set aside some time every campaign for some PC-specific stuff, which is a lot of fun. So when it’s not my character’s turn and I decide to do something completely off the map, I usually try to do something to further the story in my own way.

A good example of this is the time I thought everybody in our party had been captured aside from Bat Loaf and I decided to convince a bunch of low level wizardry students to help me rescue my comrades by showing them how to score with the ladies. Off the tracks: you bet. Hogging the spotlight: check. Well-received by the party: well, nobody threw anything at me (even the Stupid Ranger!) and it was entertaining enough that everybody seemed to be having a good time!

An even better solution would be, if possible, to convince your compatriots to join you on your crazy mission. Your GM’s head might explode, but at least you’ve involved everyone AND you still get to do what you wanted.

Metagame (Slightly)

There’s a certain point where you just need to shut up and go with the party. Yeah, I know it’s not what your character wants to do and he totally would just leave them and do his own thing in this case. Usually, a D&D campaign is based around the fact that the party has a common goal and is willing to work together to reach it. There’s some leeway there, but by and large that’s how this game works. As I frequently say on this blog, there are other people at the table, and they probably want to play too. Would you rather play D&D with your friends or continue to play in your sandbox by yourself?

Like so many other things, being in the spotlight is best when done in moderation. A little can be entertaining, too much isn’t fun for anyone. Keep the lines of communication open with your group, and you’ll find the right balance. Until next time!

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Doug Hagler permalink
    October 10, 2007

    I definitely agree with the last metagame comment. Few things frustrate me more than when a player has their character do something to derail the game because its “in character”. That’s crap, IMO. The character is under the player’s complete control, and there’s no situation that can be interpreted just one way. I think that its always everyone’s job to provide fun for everyone else. Its always the player’s job to have only fun and interesting options be “in character”.

    A good example is when I played a Paladin in a Midnight game a few years ago. Everyone groaned when a new player joined the game and they found out I was playing a Pallie. After a session, though, I’d made a place for myself in the group because I only chose “in character” actions that made the game more fun. Paladin is definitely a class that gets played too often as “rules-obsessed self-righteous jerk”, and its too bad, because the “knight” is a fantasy archetype that doesn’t have to kill all the fun…

    Anyway, rant over.

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