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How I Play D&D – and Why It’s Fun (Part Two)

Written by Michael Perry - Published on November 18, 2014

Part Two: The Butt Kicking Begins – So, Too, Does the Fun

e6pklI haaaaated (loathed) the DM and he wasn’t much of a fan of mine, either. He was boring, lackluster, couldn’t out act Tommy Wiseau, and never prepared in advance – instead choosing to read from a dungeon guide at the table. I would be bored beyond my wits, look at my watch, realize that only an hour had passed in a four hour long game session, and pray for a quick death.

Despite how it made me look unfavorable, though, I decided that the most important thing was to play my label, the, “idiot”, perfectly.

I poured through the Spell Compendium and made sure to pick up Chain Lightning. Then, in the midst of a room crowded with books, PC’s, and a nasty Vampire, I attached a Chain Lightning spell to an arrow, shot it at the Vampire and wreaked pure havoc. Because my Caster Level was so high (level 12), I was able to roll 12d6, plus whatever damage the bow did (I think it was 2d8). Trust me on this – I roll well – that Vampire was toast and if anyone at the table had rolled poorly in their attempts to dodge the arc from my spell, they would have suffered the same fate.

I could have slapped a single-target lightning spell on the arrow instead, but that would’ve defeated the purpose. I was supposed to be an, “idiot”, so I did something idiotic. I laugh about it because it took everyone by surprise.

I continued to make foolish moves throughout the time I played – from shooting spells at dark pits and unidentified objects to tackling walls head first and uncovering hidden treasure. Each time, because of good checks via the lucky rolling of a d20, I completely undermined the DM’s plans because he didn’t see it coming – and all I was doing was playing my character, having fun, come what may, while everyone else was too afraid to make a move and too afraid of facing consequences.

How did it all end? Simple – the DM waylaid us with unidentified monsters. The penalty for failing to dodge their onslaught was a literal loss of an entire character level. Ouch.

But this, “idiot”, was the only PC that was too swift for the monsters at hand. The DM was furious as a result and quit at night’s end.


Because I was a newbie and made dumb decisions, I had a blast. These were the actions that the type of character that I was playing dictated.

When you play a game of D&D, you’re whomever you choose to be! If you have the option of doing something crazy, don’t be afraid to do it. There’s nothing more lame than a chaotic evil character being as bland as a turkey sandwich and as evil as indigestion. Take some risks!

In short, I always make sure to:

  1. Be my character
  2. Take risks
  3. Roll with the punches
  4. Have fun

To me, that is the essence of play.

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Written by Michael Perry

Michael Perry

My hobbies include: writing, music composition, singing, and, of course, playing games. I also enjoy reading quite a bit and am very interested in theoretical physics and astronomy.

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7 Responses to “How I Play D&D – and Why It’s Fun (Part Two)”
  1. Christopher Mathieu says:

    This is exactly how I handle things when I’m at the playing side of the screen. Particularly in combat, I take my time between turns to answer the question, “What is the craziest thing I can do next turn?”

    Granted, there are times where I’ve followed the sensible path, taking the safe route when it was clear that the rest of the group needed me there. But if they had a handle on their own business, I would create chaos. My prior gaming group was totally baffled by this.

    The first time I played in a 4th-edition D&D game, I made a halfling rogue aiming for the Daggermaster template. I took the weakest weapon in the game and turned it into a precision instrument of impromptu surgery. This was partly because I took absolutely crazy risks. I’d run directly through a crowded fight, risking attacks all the way, just to get to someone in the back who was vulnerable. I’d sacrifice damage-dealing on a turn just to count coup on an enemy.

    Every successful roll was a triumph. Every failed roll was turned into an amusing bit of slapstick.

    No one else at the table was able to match me on this, ever.

  2. Michael Perry says:

    I’m glad that you appreciate that way of play, too. I couldn’t imagine playing any other way, personally. That’s one of the reasons why I almost always choose a chaotic neutral alignment.

  3. MythicParty says:

    Chaotic Neutral is Captain Jack Sparrow, & everything that comes along with that. The zany/wacky/unpredictable character is fun for the player playing it, but is that really fun for the other players? Especially night after night?

    “Don’t be a dick” applies to both sides of the table. Something to keep in mind.

  4. Michael Perry says:

    But, mate…

    I’m Captain Jack Sparrow!

    In all seriousness, though, I try not to be a dick when I play. It’s OK to be CN, but everything has its limits and you shouldn’t do things just to make people angry.

  5. Liack says:

    From what I read, in the defence of the DM, preparing for stuff is utterlessly useless, with the shenanigans you’re pulling… The only issue I would have with such a character at my table (either on the DM or player side) is if his fun is at the expense of other players. You don’t want to become a Leeroy Jenkins…

  6. Michael Perry says:

    Well, remember – the DM was one of the ones who labeled me an, “idiot” to begin with. If he didn’t want me doing stupid stuff, he shouldn’t have been so insulting.

  7. Jason Street says:

    Mike, you are the player I love to have at my table. ..FUN! A player that plays like you keeps a DM on their toes, and the rest of the party too. As has been said already, if you aren’t having fun you are doing it wrong.

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