Hello Gentle Entities and Piquant Enemies! I am so pleased to return for calling hours at Hipsters of the Coast so we might continue our cozy chats. I see it is a blustery holiday time here on this plane, where folk are scurrying about to commemorate solstices, revel in revolutionary resistances, and celebrate various natal and necromantic events.

I am particularly enthralled with how many human traditions involve fire! So pleasing and festive. Chock full of ritual energy. Junior Mages, please remember while celebrating at this time of year, that if you invite a fire salamander or elemental into your home, it is a full commitment until the spring equinox. Thus it is your responsibility as host to keep them properly fed, and reciprocally contracted, so they will not cause unpleasant or unplanned property damage to you or your neighbors. Assessing risk and reward for yourself is fine, but it is rude to impose on others – especially if you are unsure of what your invocation insurance policy covers.

I’d also like to remind our whelps and hatchlings that efreet are sentient beings, not sustenance. Nor are they pets, even though they are adorable. It is rude to gift sentient creatures. Do NOT catch and gift them to each other.

The wizards at Hipsters have introduced me to electronic creatures in boxed planes called Pokémon – perhaps these are better for sharing at play based celebrations?

As this is our second column, we at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated Lifeforms would like to remind you that we answer three letters from our interrogative entities across the multiverse each week. If you missed our initial column, you may peruse it at your leisure at this location.

Content Warnings

Mizz Mizzet’s Guide to Magical Manners is pleased to provide Content Warnings, given that solving bad behavior often means describing bad behavior. Today’s column will share concerns about unsolicited decklist advice and religion in the workplace. It shall be noted immediately in front that missive and response, so you may enjoy the others and skip the delicate one. 

Across the planes it is a challenge to introduce new things:

Dear Mizz Mizzet,

How do you convince your regular DnD group to try a different game system? I’m so tired of playing standard Dungeons and Dragons 5e, but I’m having trouble getting anyone to move out of their known-game-system.

Seasoned Dungeoneer

Dear Dungeoneer,

How delightful that you want to explore other realms of play and imagination. This is more a question of  “How can I entice my playgroup in a way that excites, and doesn’t insult them?”  The feelings of fellowship created by shared expectations often creates a desire to protect the circumstances of pleasant company and known social rules. New rules might disrupt existing social comfort.

So I shall begin by saying, we here at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated Lifeforms like to say that in order to be well mannered, one must be willing to both research, and observe.

A playgroup is a delicate organism and committing to a play system in human lands takes time, trust, compromise and compatibility. The fear of changing something that works comfortably is an understandable reaction from recreational cohorts. So you must closely observe your group and determine:

  • What do they like about their current system – can you choose a new game that will allow them to do more of what they like to try?
  • Who will be doing the work of making them comfortable with a different game?
  • How do you increase the ability for them to participate in a new thing without criticizing or endangering the old thing?

Choose something to introduce to your group that is based on what you have observed. Most social groups in my experience are afraid if they do a new thing it will take over or replace the current thing and they LIKE the current thing.

You will have to reassure your prey they are safe before you lure them into your intended outcome.

Thus I offer you a light suggestion. If you are not regularly the person who runs or hosts the regular game – host a party! Or a light tea. Or a small intimate ritual sacrifice – whichever works best for your playgroup.

If you are not a person who runs things, acquire someone who is. Invite or hire a guest game master to run as “party entertainment.” Remember the goal is the comfort and entertainment of your guests so they are free from the pressures that are associated with trying new things.

If you take on the work of making it a special or separate celebratory event in which a new game or setting is tried without subtracting from hard-won established time from the comfortable clime of your existing game it should be met with more enthusiasm (“it’s for my natal celebration – don’t bring presents, just yourself!”).

Think of it as a gaming aperitif, not a full course meal. Just a tiny sample of the thing you’d like to try.

And then of course the next aspect is “reciprocity.” If your tea time trial of a new thing goes well, you can offer to host a similar one-off party for an event/game that the others might like to try – once again without usurping your established game times. Then, like starter in a sourdough, your group might naturally become more experimental and you will be trusted as a source to introduce new things compatible with your group.

If *you* are already the DM and you are burning out – you must of course be honest with your group that you would like to try new things, but you are open to one of your playgroup cohorts DM’ing the regular 5e game if they would like to and still offer to host a once-a-month event to try new things together so that you can return fresh. The “it’s a party” tactic works equally well if you regularly are the host as well to keep it from looking as though it were a critique of the thing they enjoy with you already.

But may I also suggest if you are system-curious, introduce yourself to people who already play the things you’d like to try. Gaming groups do not require monogamy – and many games have single session versions. Try it with others before introducing a new thing to your broodmates – you might simply end up with more delicious friends!


Deck Discussions

Dear Mizz Mizzet,

How do you tell someone who lent you a deck that you don’t like the deck, and/or that you have suggestions on how to improve it, without offending them? 

Inspired Tinkerer

Dear Tinkerer:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a TCG player in possession of a deck, must be in want of improvements for that deck. However little known the feelings or views of such a player may be on their first entering a game, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding players, that players are considered as rightful property or identified by their deck’s archetypes.

The well mannered individual should of course first be extending proper thanks for the gracious loan of the deck so they could participate. But understand that uninvited deck critique is rude under any circumstances. But this does not mean the deck cannot be discussed!

The discussion of your experience playing the deck is an opportunity for you to describe what worked or didn’t in game-play for YOU, and how YOU might build a variant deck of your own INSPIRED by the experience without critiquing your Generous Friend’s deck as lacking. You might also discuss others you have encountered playing similar decks. Then you and your co-competitor might happily discuss match-ups and brewing without insults or insinuation:

You: Thank you, if you hadn’t loaned me this deck I would not have been able to play tonight, and I learned a lot about playing (insert deck principle here).

Your Generous Friend: “You’re welcome, I’m glad you were able to come tonight.”

You: “Have you heard that Martin Jůza is playing a similar deck to this….” and then the nonjudgmental joy of comparing and contrasting cards may be deeply indulged.

You might fear a second offer of the deck and wish to politely prevent a recurrence.

Things you might say instead of “I do not like your deck”:

“I  would never have tried this deck on my own. Thank you.”

“I believe I am more of an Izzet Mage than an Azorius but thank you for letting me borrow your deck”

“I really learned a lot about myself as a player by playing this deck. Thank you”

“Next time we get together, I’ll loan you one of my decks, so I might return the favor.

And the always appropriate – not mentioning it.

If your friend offers it to you on a second occasion you might say, “I learned that this isn’t a good deck for me,” and leave input aside unless asked directly.

As a general rule, do not offer deck or play advice without asking if your compatriot desires conversation and feedback. Unsolicited advice can be perceived as condescending, which would be rude and thus make you eligible as edible.

May you and your friend share both your brews in merriment.


We have received some inter-planar missives, and as promised we shall answer questions from all well-intentioned entities regardless of their ability to planeswalk.

CW: This question is specifically about the etiquette of personal religious ethics in the workplace.

Dear Mizz Mizzet,

Recently I have taken up with a mercenary company that has contracts to retrieve artifacts in the multitude of the Seven Hecks. The direct supervisor is a fair woman, but has been reprimanding me for trying to convert the denizens of said planes. Is it considered poor manners to ask Palindor, Sovereign of the Morning (Blessings flow from their light) to withhold their blessing from my captain?

Mitagatoric Mercenary

Dear Mercenary,

First allow me to compliment you on your most excellent initials.

Your letter describes a personal religious conflict in the workplace based on discontent with constraints on your assignments. If I understand correctly, your specific job is as a hired bit of beef to protect the acquisitions experts in an area where one can see that your religious identity might provide subject matter expertise in the Seven Hecks, and thus is an integral part of why you were chosen for your position. You might be surprised to learn there are generic, rather than specific, business etiquette rules on which we can base the answer to your question.

I am delighted to inform you that as a mercenary in a militaristic undertaking the only proper etiquette is to follow the instructions of your commanding officer. Aside from unasked for proselytization being unbearably rude, there are numerous nonsectarian reasons such activities would endanger the other members of your company, and as such, your direct supervisor must be listened to for workplace safety. Proselytizing is not a stealth activity. I am sure the Sovereign of the Morning, since they have called you to militaristic action, fully understands that you must fulfill your mercenary obligations in order to serve their divinity.

It is possible that you are a professional villain! In which case unasked for proselytization is part of your overall villany. What then?

Workplace etiquette remains consistent and would still insist on refraining from proselytizing while under your mercenary contract. You would have to wait until you have the means to lead a missionary raid on the Seven Hecks under your own command. However, you may NOT put your current co-workers at risk for optional religious observances and still be considered a polite, or well mannered villain.

If this conflict is too far from your personal practice, it is perfectly acceptable to no longer take mercenary work in the future and find a combative cohort more compatible with your religious practice.

However, the question you asked me is whether it is poor manners to actively petition your deity to withhold blessings from your direct supervisor because of a request she made to prioritize workplace safety over zealous elocution. Manners and etiquette are not the same. You do not mention if she is also a member of your religion, but it does not matter because withholding benefits in a working team because of a reasonable request, is indeed, ill mannered.

While I have not personally met Palindor, I might also suggest that they might be miffed to be called upon, or catch you out  for pettiness. You might be at personal risk of smiting for involving divinity in a workplace squabble. There is a local lad who was in a similar situation, and his patron deity bodily assumed him to a spiritual plane and has forced him to attend every birth ritual and spring feast of his people until he accepts that gentlefolk might be allowed to have varying priorities. The earthbound folk tell me he’s still being forced to visit every baby born for the last 5 millenia. Quite stubborn on both sides I think, but he is invited. His people always have a chair or a cup for him. You might not be risking this. Some gods are simply amused.

Rather than ruminate I suggest respecting the culture and agency of the mercenaries, and the denizens of the Seven Hecks, finding subtler ways to promote the positives of service to Palindor. One suggestion is to simply be a positive role model in your everyday actions. Then when entities ask you about yourself, you will have the opportunity to share the belief system that informs your pleasant demeanor in a well mannered non-coercive way.

Good luck with your artifact acquisition!


Thank you to Adrienne Reynolds, for her interplanar transcription services.
Mizz Mizzet Portrait by Andres Garcia

Delightful Readers, Please Submit Your Questions to Mizz Mizzet.

You may submit your questions to Mizz Mizzet using this form.

New Mizz Mizzet columns are posted every Wednesday right here as well as in Hipsters of the Coast‘s weekly email newsletter. You are also encouraged to follow her at @MizzMizzet on Twitter.

Any questions answered publicly will be made anonymous, and noms de plume will be created to represent any parties mentioned.

Born a perfect dragon in an imperfect multiverse, Mizz Mizzet (she/her) is the pioneer broodmother of today’s multiplanar civility movement.  She is now working to persuade Planeswalkers to participate in it.

Her tireless efforts to expand the understanding and exercise of etiquette beyond the stereotypical terror of too many pieces of silverware, and whether to use poisons or explosives at celebratory conquest dinners, have not escaped official notice.

She specializes as a consultant in seating arrangements for inter and intra planar political events as long as contracts include the option to eat the rude.

Out of respect for her relative’s delicate sensibilities regarding draconic rank, she does not reside on the plane of Ravnica.

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