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Blond Gamer Girl

Shouldn’t Gamers Be Open Minded?

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I want to preface by saying that I think for the most part they are but some not so much. Being in any sort of fandom is an invitation for the public to criticize. At least that is what I have found. The reason this topic has come up for me personally is due to a recent disappointment. All this is regards to recruitment and belonging to a group.

  1. Within the pool of gamers out there, first you just gotta get a group/players that can meet with your schedule. That many times eliminates quite a bunch.
  2. Next is the genre. Realistically speaking, if the first one is met, I think if someone is looking for Pathfinder that they should be open to D&D. Folks shouldn’t so hung up on a system. Swords and sorcery in a middle ages type setting – that would be what I would call a realistic expectation.
  3. Location – Expecting that you will find a group fitting 1 and 2 that is only five minutes away from you seems a little unrealistic to me. If you live in a metropolitan area, it might be better but out in the boonies is unrealistic.
  4. Next is the compatibility. This falls into three sub-categories:
    1. Combat/Roleplay ratios – Let’s face it the 100% Combat wouldn’t be compatible with the 100% RP. Getting five folks together that agree on that in addition to 1-3 is a challenge.
    2. Maturity – While I am NOT age prejudiced, let’s face it the older you are the harder it is to find gamers your own age. Getting past college, the player pool shrinks.
    3. Reliability – For some not important but others it is

  5. The Intrinsic Qualities
    1. Plot – Very hard to define – For me a dungeon crawl won’t do. I want/give complicated politics/intrigue/mystery. The more you stump me as a player the more I will bow to your GM greatness. If you blind-side me with the unexpected, I might just kiss you for it.
    2. Characters – If you work my background into a plot, I do a happy dance. So many GMs ignore it. Augment it if you must to work it in better. I do (with that in mind though, I do NOT change it. I just add some seasoning.)
    3. Fairness – While it is true that you get what you put into it, I’ve experienced GMs who play favorites to the point of OMG get a grip. Realistically, it is entirely NOT possible to have 5 players who get exactly 20% of game, plot and GM attention for every session. One should strive for it but there are so many factors that it is nearly impossible. Gross favoritism however, it not acceptable to me or by me.

Once all the hurdles listed above have been cleared and you finally have that group where everyone has met with 1 through 4, isn’t that an accomplishment? To me adding number 5 is icing on the cake and as a player, there is so much latitude with that. Actually, there’s some latitude on any of the numbers if the others are met. Since 5 is so hard to quantify, I always as a player, give it three sessions to see how it goes.

Well, here’s my tale of woe…

Background: We are in the middle of a campaign with an encompassing political plot with many individual missions that are most of the time separate. There is an NPC who is very important to that plot but none of the players know it or how much. At first, he is aloof. Gradually they warm up with little tokens and gestures of friendship. He’s done a lot for them. A woman shatters his heart.

Situation: I had a new player who seemed entirely compatible on ALL (1-5) of the above. Everyone liked him. I spend several hours going over his character and all. All seems well. I give him our adventure logs which are quite extensive and detailed.

He joins in a short session as in he could only be there for a third of it. For one hour, folks are arriving, going over points, and talking to the new guy before we jump in. Begin actual session: The NPC noted above drinks away his heartache in a bad part of town. The PCs decide to rescue him. As a drunk, he is Sam Kennison to the ladies but ok with the fellows. Folks get into the roleplay big time and the antics are hilarious. The males join in and drink except the new guy. They get home and sober up. The NPC apologizes the next morning and lets them keep an extremely expensive liquor he found, sends the women roses and apologizes and thanks them. New guy who plays a guy BTW now has to leave.

Four more hours of roleplay: The NPC gives the PCs lots of info and helps them on their mission as a thank you. They complete a mission that they started last session. End Session. NPC has even more info to give and now if things keep going well will give it.

In RL, after all that and compatibility on seemingly points 1-5 above, new player resigns because he didn’t like that NPC, thought it was a waste of time and wanted to kill him but didn’t because the other players might have gotten upset.

As a GM I was livid after all that work I put into this guy. Further, I have played a lot of long term campaigns that I have thoroughly enjoyed BUT I can’t say that every single session of those campaigns sat with me 100%. There’s no way to please all of the players all of the time. Further, I have been in situations where 1-4 criteria were met but I must say, I give three sessions before I make a judgment. Even then if something bugged me, I would have a chat with the GM as an adult instead of resigning and being insulting in that resignation.

Why do you all think of the situation? Do you think that was small minded?

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Updated 12-17-2010 at 04:47 PM by Blond Gamer Girl



  1. Malruhn's Avatar
    Unfortunately, what I see here is a case of "Proximity Blindness" - You are too close to the situation. YOU know all about this NPC and where you want to take it, and your group had at least a small idea of the same.

    Turn it around.

    This new guy shows up and runs into a drunk misogynist that sounds like a stereotype of every abusive male ever described (abuses, then apologizes with gifts, saying that it will never happen again). Don't forget that it happened on the FIRST time the group met him! The rest of the group seemed to be totally fine with this NPC's actions (meaning that they support it).

    You don't know where this new player came from. You may have been role-playing his very own FATHER... who drank heavily, beat Mom and then attempted to bribe her and the rest of the family to like him again afterward - you'll never know. Unfortunately, this was the one AND ONLY time he has gamed with you guys, and you seem to have enjoyed the actions of this NPC. This is like Hollywood and politics - perception is reality. You can't think about what YOU wanted to have happen - you have to think about what he may have PERCEIVED.

    With over 30 years of gaming, I've seen this repeatedly - heck, I've DONE it repeatedly. I've found that the more into the NPC's I've been, the less I've been able to see their REAL affect on the group. If I say "A", but the NPC MEANS, "B" - and I know it, I have to keep in mind that all the group heard was, "A".

    Unfortunately, you'll have to accept the fact that your group is a bunch of wife-beating, drunken, woman-haters - or at least that's what this kid may think - and be done with it. Find a new person to round out the group, and be a little sensitive with that first session and what they witness.
  2. Gailen's Avatar
    Sorry, I don't buy it. There is a certain amount of responsibility that lies with the player. If he doesn't bring his brain, his eyes, and his ears,... then he's no use to you anyway. I've seen way too much of this kind of RPG Gamer snobbery. "Oh I love your story, but I hate the house rules." Or worse, the guy leaves with no reason, no explanation and no "ki$$ my a$$".

    This is a fantasy. Its a game. Its an escape from the real world for a few hours on a weekend afternoon, but in a social event that allows like minded people to share that escape, making it even more precious. Having it spoiled by game mechanics/lawyers, purists, and puerile tantrum throwers destroys the whole purpose.

    As far as sensitivity, that's a psychological fault I make sure I weed out in the gamer selection process. And I tell them up front,... "people who are easily offended, need to be, as often as possible". My core crew are all friends, have been for many years, some more than 25 years. If someone can't handle the language and the banter around the game table,... there's the door. I will not destroy the very natural and open interaction between long time friends because the new guy is too sensitive to handle it.

    Now your problem didn't sound like a sensitivity issue. It sounded more like a player hung up on how he thinks people should act in the world, and how others should respond to that. Perhaps he thinks that the society should be allowed to stifle the behavior of free men. Seeing as this is a fantasy RPG, and probably medieval based, what the society's norms might have been for proper behavior versus what this NPC actually did is not clear. Did the NPC actually hit anybody? Did he just get drunk and make improper advances (verbal only)? Was their a stereotypical bar brawl?

    Applying today's "politically correct" nonsense to a medieval society's codes of behavior is ludicrous at best. Yet some players have been so programmed with this upside-down mindset that they can't leave it at the door.
  3. Blond Gamer Girl's Avatar
    Actually, the NPC right at the beginning got nearly disowned and took a strike by his parents for standing up to them over a female PC at the beginning of the day. His drunken ramblings were vocal not physical. He warned the males that females only break your heart. It's a violent future world.

    I do give warning that I run an adult game. 100% agreement on the medieval worlds and all.

    Here's the question: Which is worse - getting drunk and mouthing off (NPC) OR burning someone alive while they sleep (PC)?

    I appreciate the moral support.
  4. Malruhn's Avatar
    After re-re-reading the original blog post, it may just be incompatible playing styles - something I am dealing with in my campaign right now. This kid MAY have been used to, "If it speaks about evil, it must be evil, so kill it," playing, and this NPC was sounding "evil"... at least toward women.

    Just because your crew knows that you play an adult game, did this new guy? Did he REALLY know it was an adult game? Did he know what YOUR definition of "adult" was? I've played some "adult" games where the PC's were expected to draw swords and KILL the bad guys for doing their heinous crimes... and some "adult" games where female slaves licked you clean after you went potty... and everything in between. He MAY have been used to nerfed campaigns that were all Care-Bear - and his definition was killing bad guys. The NPC MAY have sounded "bad" to him.

    And as for your question about which is worse... I would have to say that it depends on the situation. Was it a PC that was burned alive? How is this different from a fireball from an unseen opponent?

    This kid MAY have seen the NPC getting drunk and mouthing off as "evil" while the PC that was burned alive "deserved it." Just today in my game, the group captured a bandit, and a CG character told him that he had a choice - talk or die... so the guy talked. Then, after he spilled his guts, the CG character announced that he would let him live - that he would cut the bandit's hands off and cut out his tongue - all so he could make a new start of life. Yes, he was serious. In the past, I've seen LG characters that attempted to rationalize the purging of future Orc armies by killing the females and Orc kids. Definitions of "evil" varies - and when WE are doing it, since WE are on the "good" side, anything we do may well be justified if we describe it properly.

    The kid may have seen what he thought was "evil" and wanted to kill it - and quit out of frustration.

    Hey, when I've had players that wanted to kill the princess they were rescuing because they couldn't be positively sure it was a real princess and not a Demon Lord - and still expected to receive the reward offered for recovering her body - yeah, there are some VERY different definitions of "evil"...
  5. SDJThorin's Avatar
    Hey BGG,

    I've had a few of that ilk, count yourself lucky that he didn't stay longer and potentially ruin your game.

    It can happen... it did to me... twice! Once our group bent over backwards trying to adjust our style, but after a dozen games we weren't having fun anymore and the newbie was still complaining... goodbye to him and back to the way the others enjoyed gaming.

    Now a days I try for a few games, but I'm with Gailen, if you don't like it, leave.

    I also understand Malruhn's point and when introducing newbies I try to keep things clear, but I don't always manage it.

    And I know I've got blind spots -- which is why I constantly pester my players for feedback and suggestions.

    Just keep at it and don't sweat the small stuff
  6. Otakar's Avatar
    I always think my storyline is the best thing going and am quite perplexed when my players don't enjoy it as much as I do.

    I think it's quite a credit to the DM when she can weave in a character's backstory into the campaign. I don't ignore it either and sometimes it really bugs me. I want the story to go one way but my players choose a different road.

    I feel your pain. With as much effort as you put into this story I hope that turkey at least chipped in for your pizza.

    Nothing puts a hair up my nose like planning and running a good adventure and the group can't even pick up my pizza tab.

    Keep the faith, BGG. They should be lining up to join your game!
  7. Sascha's Avatar
    Malruhn's pretty spot-on (though I'd replace "playing styles" with "social contract"). And yeah, it's a player's responsibility to gauge if they're willing to agree to an existing social contract, and bow out respectfully if they're not. Sorry to hear this wasn't the case.
  8. Blond Gamer Girl's Avatar
    Thank you guys for the thoughts. This guy was in his 40's which is why I guess I was so disappointed. Older folks I guess I expect more adult reactions from - at least out of game.

    BIG THANKS - I went to the hospital last night after throwing out my back. Got a pain killer that knocked me out for 12 hours. So this was nice to read now that I am conscious again.

    Now I'm working on my game now. Should be interesting being on pain killers.
    Updated 12-19-2010 at 12:48 PM by Blond Gamer Girl
  9. SDJThorin's Avatar
    LOL - A "through the looking glass" or "down the rabbit hole" game eh!
  10. templeorder's Avatar
    Do NOT beat yourself over something like this. In 30 years i've had it happen enough to know that it simply will no matter what i do. Maybe its a bad day to start and you threw fire on some though they were mulling, maybe daddy abused them, maybe they got a headache. If this works for you 90% of the time keep doing it. I love GM's who provide great NPC's - even if its sometimes confrontational, awkward or annoy's me - then you're doing your job well. I have a level of gaming etiquette and personal maturity to take up something outside the game, or if its uncomfortable enough inside the game i'll just throw it out there -"Hey! This seems very distracting - can we move forward?". In short, "its not you, its them".