Pronouns, the DM, and the Party

10 March, 2010

A combination of this post and reviewing over a previous game sparked me to write this post. Except in this case, ‘losing control’ refers to the PCs getting controlled, taking unnecessary damage, and leaving holes in the tactical line. In the last two 4e games, and last three combat encounters I ran, the PCs were absolutely wrecked.

I’ve noticed, since then, when I’d talk to players, I’d be inconsistent in using pronouns. I try to refer to the player group as “our party”. I’m the DM. Ultimately, I’m on the player’s side. I want to see PCs develop and learn, so I can keep throwing more and more ridiculous challenges at them.

You look ridiculous. But as long as you're happy, in the next room there's three 4d10+8 magic-seeking adamantine rust-boulders of mummy rot, ridden by nude kobolds with sneak attack.

Sometimes, I catch myself saying, “your party”, “the party”, or “you guys” when speaking. I’m not really sure which one is most accepted…

But, if my goal is to promote the ‘us against the world’ ideal, why do I so naturally slip back to referring to my esteemed colleagues in the second and third person?

I learned something about this way back in College Psyc-101. I tried to wiki it, but couldn’t find the name, so I’ll just restate the gist.

People will identify themselves with success and successful people.

Happens a lot with sports teams. Listen to this sentence and realize how silly it is. “Oh, about our team? Yeah, we were doing well, we got to the playoffs, then they lost.”

So what am I trying to say? To speak candidly, my PCs suck. I hope they do better next week. That way, I can identify with them again, without having to try so hard.



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