I had never played D&D before, but a friend of mine had access to a ton of source material on D&DBeyond, and shared it with me and some friends, letting us make characters for fun. It was enjoyable, but then the characters would just sit around doing nothing, so I finally asked if I could play with this same friend’s D&D group. She said yes, and that she would be DM’ing a new short campaign that would only take a few sessions to complete, so I could hop in and learn the ropes.
Our DM had been playing D&D for a few years before me. The table was a total of 6 people, including myself, and we would be playing on a Discord server. We were either people like me, who’d only started playing in the last year, or people who had been playing for years. I was also close friends with another player, who I’ll call Zen.
The oldest and most experienced player, however, I’ll name Terra. Terra was an old friend of our DM’s, and if there was anything our DM wasn’t too sure about, she’d usually defer to him. Almost as soon as we met, I got an off feeling from his voice. Bear in mind, we’re all playing over Discord’s Voice Chat and chat room functions. Terra had a tendency to derail the game by talking for several minutes at a time about vaguely-related things and someone else would have to wrangle him back to the game. It felt more like he wanted to hang out on his own terms than play the game that we had all gathered to play. But, whatever. I knew this was a group of old friends and it was probably not fair to complain that we weren’t playing enough of the game to my liking, so I didn’t say anything.
As we kept playing, though, more problems peeked out from behind this “experienced player’s” mask. Whenever another player would make a move to do anything, such as make a skill check, 9 times out of 10 Terra would interrupt them to say something like “Let my character do that instead; I have higher stats than you!” While I understand trying to guide or help a new player or maybe keep a player from making a REALLY bad decision, Terra did this so often that it felt more like he wanted to play the game for us instead of with us.
When we entered combat, Terra would continue this behavior and he would take forever on his turns. He was some sort of homebrew class that I think was a gun-toting ranger. He had to constantly double-check and cross-reference material that none of us could see (again, Discord server) meaning that he could essentially make up whatever he wanted. His character rarely failed at anything he did, meaning he either fudged his dice rolls or min-maxed to the point where he was invulnerable.
At one point during the game, when I asked if what he was about to do was a smart idea, he basically said, “It’s okay, I’m an immortal werewolf; I can’t die so I’ll be fine!” It was at this point that I finally realized what this guy was: he was that kid on the playground who kept making stuff up during playground pretend-fights so that he could never lose.
I later found out that Zen really hated Terra because he would flirt with her out of character, even when she had made it abundantly clear that she was not interested or comfortable with his advances.
This all finally came to a head just a few days later when we were discussing what we wanted to do after the quick campaign was over. Our DM brought up plans that she had been working on for weeks to make a nautical mercantile campaign where we would play as crewmembers on a ship trading goods between cities and whatever adventures we would get up to along the way. The DM hadn’t even fully explained the campaign’s idea before Terra exclaims “I wanna be captain of the ship!”
Zen and I immediately said “NO!”
Before he could argue, the DM explained that the ship already had a captain, and we’d have to pick our role on the ship.
As soon as he learned it was a nautical campaign, Terra began talking about what we need for it. We’ll need a certain kind of boat. The kind of boat our DM had planned for us to use wasn’t the best for what we were going to do. We needed a certain amount of cannons. We needed a certain amount of crew members. We needed this, that, and the other, all to his specifications. He just kept babbling about the things he wanted. I honestly don’t even recall half of what was said; my eyes glazed over because it was sucking the fun and creativity out of the idea.
Finally, I say one line to him: “You have a talent for making everything boring.”
His response: “You have a talent for being insulting.”
“Thank you. Glad you noticed.”
Terra and the DM got quiet, so I kept talking with Zen for a bit about ideas for characters until she suddenly got quiet too, and at some point, Terra left the chat server entirely. Apparently, calling him boring was enough to completely shatter his ego.
After the others came back, I found out that Terra and our DM were arguing in the private messages. Our DM was so upset that her friends were fighting with each other that Zen had to talk her down from throwing out all of the work she’d put into the nautical campaign.
Terra never came back into the server. After it was all over, our DM came to the conclusion that Terra wasn’t a good fit for this campaign or the group as a whole. The nautical campaign is on hiatus at the moment, but we’re currently hoping to bring it back with more responsive and respectful friends, including myself and Zen.
Oh, and Terra’s immortal werewolf ranger was retconned as having been thrown off a cliff to his death by Zen’s lizardfolk barbarian.