The following is a folk rule that my friend added to the game of Dungeons and Dragons. We both went to school together in Oregon, from middle school through high school so I’ve known him for a while. He had been the DM for a group for around three years. My friend is still at home so I asked him to explain some of the homebrew rules he has while I recorded him. This is a direct transcribed script of what was said in the story, with the various “umm’s” and “uhh’s” omitted.
“Okay so you just want me to talk about homebrew stuff we use?”
Me: Ya, but things that you took from other places. Like from Critical Role.
“Ohh, okay. I guess one of the bigger things that we use when we play is the phrase ‘how do you want to do this?’ We pretty much stole this directly from Matt Mercer (the DM on the youtube show Critical Role) except lately we put our own twist on it. Instead of saying… “
Me: Wait, hold on, say what it is first, like what you do when that comes up.
“Ya that’s fine, interrupt me. Okay, so when you’re in combat in D&D, and everyone is super hurt from the fight and the monster is about to kill everyone and that player lands that final killing blow that you see as a DM, you don’t want to just say ‘it dies.’ That’s boring. So Matt Mercer, and now we do it and a bunch of other DM’s, we say ‘how do you want to do this?’ Then the player that killed it gets to epically describe how they kill the monster. So what we do, instead of just stealing it from Matt… well I play Mortal Kombat a lot, and they have a thing where when you win you can do a fatality, which is like to embarrass your opponent. And the game has this deep voice go ‘Finish Him’ and then you do the thing which is super gory and stuff and you kill the guy. So we’ve started saying ‘Finish Him’ instead of ‘how do you want to do this’ because for us that’s more epic I guess. And then one of you goes and says your whole spiel on how you behead or whatever the monster.”
This explanation was quite interesting to me, even though I already knew about it. As he said, this thing only comes up every so often when a big monster gets killed while we are playing D&D. Homebrew rules like this one should definitely be considered as folklore because of how they get passed along and changed to better fit specific groups. I am not sure if the line ‘how do you want to do this’ originated from Matt Mercer or not, but I know many groups like ours take the idea and build on it.
The game of D&D is a great base for spreading folklore because of its very loose rules. In the Dungeon Master’s Guide, it even says that what the DM says goes, allowing for the game’s fundamental rules to change along with the groups playstyle. This often appears in D&D as homebrew, which is generally anything used in the game that isn’t explicitly in the rules. DM’s share their homebrew online leading it to be taken and changed in many different games across the world. ‘How do you want to do this’ is just one example of the various folk-rule changes implemented in the game of D&D.