Hello Gentle Entities and Alkaline Enemies! I am so pleased to return for calling hours at Hipsters of the Coast so we might continue our cozy chats. We at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated life forms would like to take a moment to wish our sleek sentient siblings a Splendid National Serpent Day!

As this is our sixth column, we at Mizz Mizzet’s School for Complicated Lifeforms would like to remind you that we answer 3 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.

Dear Mizz Mizzet,

 I am not apolitical. Politics are a regular part of my life.  But I do not want to discuss politics when I am in a Magic the Gathering Tournament. Is there a polite way to tell an opponent to stop sharing politics while we are playing?

Exhausted Elocutor

My Dear Elocutor,

For a complete stranger at a competitive event there is no sporting or cultural etiquette rule requiring polite attention to the political leanings of one’s opponent. Should such a conversation begin, it is best to end it quickly by establishing polite but firm boundaries.

Opponent :  “I can’t believe they are following X’s covid policy here…”

You: “This is my time off from the outside world – I’d prefer to only discuss game matters during this round. Thanks for understanding.”

This has the benefit of being a fully apolitical statement that doesn’t require you to identify any aspect of your personal belief system. It also has the advantage of being usable for ANY topic you would rather not discuss at the gaming table.

In most cases this should be sufficient for your opponent to switch subjects. However, it may inspire substandard competitors to believe they have found a strategic advantage by continuing the conversation you have asked to end.  Very often draconic caregivers have to simultaneously encourage ruthless competition while reinforcing proper behavior.  We feel it fair to warn whelps pressing illicit advantage in the following manner, which you may find helpful with a recalcitrant opponent.

i.e.  “While I appreciate the attempt to win with all tools available, this is unsporting conduct and I am asking you politely a second time to stop, or I will have to call a judge. Let’s just finish the round.”

The infraction for Magic the Gathering competitions would be IPG 4.1 Unsporting Conduct Minor. You may read about it here.

Regardless of whether or not it requires a judge in your opinion, the continuation of such a conversational topic after being asked to desist is quite rude, and in some localities you may be within your rights to eat your opponent. However most human run planes require solutions outside of ingestion of the impolite, so it is wise to check with a judge rather than allow the situation to continue.

May all your future conversations be unadjudicated.


Dear Mizz Mizzet, 

My role-playing group meets mostly online and we go on vacation twice a year for a “gaming getaway” , usually renting an AirBnB somewhere we can all hang out. We stopped because of Covid, but it looks like we’re going to start up again. I think one of our friends is trying to go even though they can’t afford it because of the recent tech layoffs. Would it be rude to offer to pay their way for the pleasure of their company? Is there any way to do this without it looking like charity? I’ve never been in the more secure financial position before and I’m not sure what to do. 

More the Merrier

Delicious Merrier,

How delightfully generous of you! And what a lovely concerned friend you are. It is kind of you to notice and be concerned for your friend in this time of instability.

Some thoughts occur – you say that this is your role playing group, and while all forms of companionship and fellow feeling  are valid, in many cultures, discussions of money are saved for close friends and direct business associates. Particularly where the plane contains capitalism. You do not indicate that this person is a close friend, but if they are I suggest what humans call a “heart to heart” when alone together. You must be careful not to intrude or judge when inquiring if a friend needs support for anything, although in this case we are specifically talking about legal tender.

Very often solutions-based lifeforms do not see how direct inquiry can be offensive . Therefore they may not anticipate the need for etiquette, or be familiar with how to apply the methodology of local etiquette instead of just asking. Close friends will know each other well. These bonds of caring are stronger than rulesets. If you are very close with someone you will often have established the degree of trust needed to simply ask.  “I know you are making this plan while overlords are waging war in your southern quarter. Would you like me to send a few vassals who happen to be water engineers your way in case they siege?” and your friend will be touched that you are thinking of them and sharing resources.

Unfortunately in things like land management, wars and finances there are some social traps in a direct inquiry. Instead of seeing the offer of help an entity might see it as a critique of their ability to plan, protect or execute a strategy. They might also think that you are offering help now transactionally in exchange for repayment or a future favor. This will not be because of you, but due to their past experiences with others who offered gifts but expected something in return. And finally, they may be personally embarrassed by the need for help and thus disinclined to accept an offer of direct help.

So what is a well-intentioned Merry Friend to do?

If you are concerned about your friend overextending, you may simply pay for some of the specific parts of the trip as a birthday or friendship gift.  You might also be able to gift some of the trip as a “thank you” if the person in question has helped you out in the past. Perhaps they helped you move your hoard to your new domicile. Perhaps they have helped watch hatchlings. Pay the portion of your friend’s accommodation share to the organizer of the trip before the collection begins in earnest. This is the gift least likely to disrupt your friend’s existing plans or reservations.

Write a heartfelt missive inside a greeting card if you are on the same plane as Hipsters of the Coast, whisper it to a fire spirit if you are in Kamigawa, sit in a circle of Redcapped Mushrooms after singing to the Faere Raide if you are in Algotha. Have your missive delivered to your friend written with some variant of:

“Dear Comrade in Arms, I wish you a Happy Moment of Celebration day! In honor of your friendship/assistance/natal anniversary, I have paid your accommodations for Gamers Getaway in April. You are an important person to me and I really look forward to these times together so please accept this token of my appreciation. Thank you for being my friend.”

May the dice roll ever in your favor.


Dear Mizz Mizzet;

When is it okay to challenge professional superiors to unarmed combat?

Agitated Underling

Dear Underling:

When you are prepared to change professions. Sadly, unless one is a knight on a quest or a usurper to the throne, challenging one’s superiors to unarmed combat is a generally career limiting move.

Even if they deserved it.

I wish you well in finding alternative conflict resolution strategies.


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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