D&D Parenting, Part 2: The Players

DDFigurinesLooking for Part 1? Read “The Supplies.”

What role do you fill among your friends? In your job? In your family?

How about your partner and each of your kids? What roles do they play in your group dynamic?

If you’re still following this blog after last week, that means I didn’t scare you away with all my nerd talk of Dungeons and Dragons. Great! Let’s do it again, shall we?

So we’ve gone over the supplies needed for D&D and how they tie in to adventure of parenting. Now let’s discuss your group dynamic. As the Dungeon Master’s guide states:

Understanding player motivations … and what makes them happiest … helps you build a harmonious group of players.

Knowing the benefits (and risks) you each bring to the table can be used to the advantage of the whole group. Wield this knowledge wisely.


Actors enjoy engaging with the rest of the group and using their imaginations. They often prefer social experiences to individual challenges.

  • Do: Facilitate their creativity, openness, and desire to express themselves. Recruit them to help plan imaginative group adventures.
  • Don’t: Let them make it all about them, to the detriment of the group.


Explorers crave news places, new challenges, and new knowledge. They press for details and seek out new experiences.

  • Do: Use cool tools, maps, and props to explain things. Don’t just instruct them; learn from them, too. Recruit them to help teach everyone.
  • Don’t: Let them use their knowledge to manipulate or bore their teammates.


It’s never a dull moment with these risk takers around. They thrive in a challenge and dislike being bored. They push boundaries.

  • Do: Encourage experimentation and provide a safe environment for working through a wide variety of outcomes.
  • Don’t: Let them get themselves (or the group) in danger or let them antagonize others just to see what happens.

Power Gamers

They thrive on “leveling up.” They want to win, conquer, and succeed. Creativity takes a back seat to action and strategy with this type.

  • Do: Honor their ambition with challenging, thoughtful experiences. Reward them for achieving the greater good.
  • Don’t: Let them take more than their fair share of attention.


“Slayers” are physical types that like to take bold action. They’re thrill seekers, though they may pick simple options to get to the action quicker.

  • Do: Provide physical challenges to keep them from being bored and disruptive. Mix in goals that require brains and brawn.
  • Don’t: Let them go overboard … or get over bored. Show them that social and tactical challenges can be fun, too.


Storytellers are creative team players. They appreciate drama and social interplay. They prefer encounters with meaning.

  • Do: Use their knowledge to help plan activities that will engage the whole group. Recruit them to help record important, meaningful events.
  • Don’t: Make them the center of attention or let them dictate the group’s actions.


Thinkers carefully plan for the best possible result, with the least possible risk and consequence. Sound tactics take precedence over social dynamics or bold action.

  • Do: Offer group experiences that reward planning and strategy. Recruit them to help develop family adventures that will delight and challenge all the players in your crew.
  • Don’t: Let them constantly tell the other players what to do or grind decisions to a halt.


Watchers are friends, comrades, and peace-makers. They enjoy being a part of the group, but don’t care much for assertiveness or details.

  • Do: Accept their involvement comfort zone, but encourage participation through the allure of teamwork.
  • Don’t: Let them distract others from the goal or bow out when things get difficult.

Which one are you? Your partner? Your kids? Your coworkers? Does this help you better understand the dynamics of your group?

D&D Parenting, Part 1: The Supplies

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