RTFM

No matter how much effort you put into writing guides, manuals or character info there will always be someone who simply refuses to read the info they’re given.1

I’ve been that person, but I’ve been on the receiving end often enough that I try to respect the GM’s handouts.

It’s only been a real problem when said miscreant has thrown a fit in the game because they don’t understand. It’s a very human response–games with any kind of competitive leaning are designed to be stressful. But it’s also disruptive.

I could blame the player. But I don’t want to cast a bad vibe over the session. So the alternative is to adapt. This is why I favour games as simple as possible that stick to familiar tropes. Cut down on the background to two paragraphs maximum; make all of the dice rolls really obvious; and make sure the character sheet helps the player differentiate between what they’re good at and what they’re not.2

But… what if I did refuse to explain anything? Just ignore any protests, requests for clarification, and so on. Give them a character sheet that is deliberately arcane, with confusing or contradictory information. Since I’m treating all players equally, no-one gets singled out or made to feel stupid. It could work. Or I could get lynched.

My provisional title is What?


  1. I also get this at work, where I have less patience, but am forced to have better manners.

  2. My respect for LOTFP grows. D&D already telegraphs player strengths through the class system, and LOTFP leverages this beautifully while adding its own tweaks.

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  • Sounds good, I’d play that! Nice to save on the required effort of RTFMing-in-detail that I wouldn’t actually bother doing.