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Thread: Etiquette on removing a player

  1. #1
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    Etiquette on removing a player

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    I'm currently running a game that's half old friends, half people met online, and am trying to decide what to do about one of the players. Everyone I've drafted for the game has been excellent players, with one exception. This player, while not overly disruptive or immature, is unimaginative, hasn't contributed significantly to the story or background, can't make it on time, acts cowardly in combat to the expense of teamwork, and is generally annoying and not very smart.

    What's the etiquette on handling a situation like this? We've got plenty of players (and more ask to join every few days), so it's not like I'm hurting for people. I think the worst thing is that I'm turning away people that would obviously be more fun to play with. I don't want a rep from my other players as being a hard-***, but I can't help but think that the rest of the table is as annoyed as I am.

    So, how would you handle this? Send the person a message that politely says "stop coming"? Have the remaining players vote, and go with the consensus? Looking for the best respectful, honest, out-of-game solution here.
    Last edited by Valdar; 07-07-2008 at 07:26 PM.

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    Most elegant, maybe not, but most effective I've seen:

    Kill character. In the case I've seen, death by giant bee...repeated crit stings until very, very dead. Possibly rather entertaining to players if they feel exactly the same way and have an odd sense of humor (seems common in gamers). Inform player of 'long standing rule' (made up in the previous 5 seconds) that once a character dies they go to the back of the waiting list for players and they'll be contacted when they can come back. In the case I saw the player was anoying enough that they were told of the other 'long standing rule' that no spectators were allowed and they'd have to leave the area.

    The GM could definitely be a jerk when he wanted to, but in this case the guy really was that anoying. Also clueless enough that he really didn't get that the GM hated him within 5 minutes of meeting him (he really wasn't doing anything to keep that hidden). All of the players were greatly entertained by how the whole situation played out (all shared the GM's feelings for the guy, we just weren't blatantly obvious about it)

    Now for polite, I'd say a call or talk after a game saying it's really not working out and wishing him luck finding another group. Email also works, but always felt bad news should be delivered more personally. Nothing wrong with it, some personalities just don't mesh and you just don't want his style around while you're GM. If the other players like him they can seek out games with him seperately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by praksis View Post
    Kill character. In the case I've seen, death by giant bee...repeated crit stings until very, very dead. Possibly rather entertaining to players if they feel exactly the same way and have an odd sense of humor (seems common in gamers). Inform player of 'long standing rule' (made up in the previous 5 seconds) that once a character dies they go to the back of the waiting list for players and they'll be contacted when they can come back. In the case I saw the player was anoying enough that they were told of the other 'long standing rule' that no spectators were allowed and they'd have to leave the area.
    Wow- yeah, if I were inclined to do something like that, I guess I wouldn't be in this position

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    So, how would you handle this? Send the person a message that politely says "stop coming"? Have the remaining players vote, and go with the consensus? Looking for the best respectful, honest, out-of-game solution here.
    I had a similar situation with in my group. First, talk all of the other players, hopefully in private, about this player. If the consensus is that they're dragging the group down you can tell them their uninvited or give them a chance to change their ways. With new players I'd suggest making SURE they know that they are on probation when they come into the game, they could just not work out.

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    Always difficult.

    I had one guy I will admit I outright lied to. But he impressed me as someone that might end up in a tower with a rifle. I don't recommend lying about it. I mention it because it wasn't my proudest moment.

    I personally would treat it like a job. Fire them. They are frequently tardy, they are not holding up their end of the social contact to play the game and dragging the rest of the group down. Offer them an opportunity to seek a group that better fits they scheduling and play style needs.

    Don't do it in game. Handle it person to person. E-mail is fine. Be polite, be concise, be firm. It sucks to fire anyone, but sometimes you have to do it.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

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    First, I would talk to the rest of the group and find out if they would prefer that this particular player be cut loose. You never know, they may want the person to stay. If the consensous is to have the player leave then I would agree with tesral in not doing it in the game, especially since you said that you have a waiting list of players. The replacement player could possibly take over that particular PC.


    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Always difficult.

    I had one guy I will admit I outright lied to. But he impressed me as someone that might end up in a tower with a rifle. I don't recommend lying about it. I mention it because it wasn't my proudest moment.

    I personally would treat it like a job. Fire them. They are frequently tardy, they are not holding up their end of the social contact to play the game and dragging the rest of the group down. Offer them an opportunity to seek a group that better fits they scheduling and play style needs.

    Don't do it in game. Handle it person to person. E-mail is fine. Be polite, be concise, be firm. It sucks to fire anyone, but sometimes you have to do it.


    I also agree with tesral that you should do it person to person, preferably without the other players there at the time. Yes, be polite about it and firm.

    If you're looking for a way to maybe let that player still play and try to better their gaming skills, you could maybe suggest that the player "runs" one of the NPC's that the party encounters. This will however take a lot of coaching on your part, but it might be just the training that's needed.



    [An aside to tesral: if you ever need, let me know, I'll cover your back]

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    I had an issue in the past, quite different from the original post but with a definitive exclusion nonetheless. The guy wasn't a bad player per se. The issue was about his behavior out of game actually. He was a pathological liar. He would make stories every now and then. How he was a champion at this, how he could get a copy of that... Most of the time my bunch and I would take it with humor. We would wink at one another whenever he would make up another of his stories. If it was only about fake stories , it would have been ok. But more than once he promised stuff to some of us and nothing would ensue. And more excuses and denials...

    At some point he promised to help performer friends with printing and DVD burning (way back when very few people had DVD burners). My friends mentioned it was very important to not let them down because it was about their portfolio, and if he couldn't manage they should start finding another way to make the printing and DVDs. But he promised, once more. And they ended in losing contracts, like they didn't already have a hard time paying their bills...

    That was the last straw for me. When he called next, about what time would be the next game session, I displayed a very cold case of repressed anger and told him firmly that he wasn't welcome anymore. It wasn't planned, more of an impulsive burst. And it made me feel guilty because he wasn't a disruptive player otherwise. I even liked the guy in general. Nobody expressed disapproving at my table, and our games went on without further troubles. Still I'm not proud about it. My only consolation is that, from what I heard from common friends, he started working on his baron von Munchausen problem.
    Au gibet noir, manchot aimable, dansent, dansent les paladins
    Les maigres paladins du diable les squelettes de Saladins.

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    I know that liar from our game in high school! His family had a stradavarius(-sp) in the basement and his dad mixed toxic chemicals all day which he would steal and bring to a game to show us! He once brought a vial of water with green food coloring which our two football players threatened to make him drink and broke on the floor while wrestling it away from him.

    Okay sorry about the off topic, Valdar. I second the honest phone call. If you have reason to see any potential then I would talk to the group and then him privately about another chance. If not and you have not confidant in the group then I would skip the group (unless someone has an extended relation to the guy) and just call him and firmly but politely fire him.
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
    - Noam Chomsky

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    Quote Originally Posted by boulet View Post
    My only consolation is that, from what I heard from common friends, he started working on his baron von Munchausen problem.
    I know one of those. You discount 80% of what they say and 20% is outright lies. I understand that our local case is getting better as well. He's a nice guy, easy to get along with, but you cannot depend on daylight if he says the sun is up.

    I didn't have to fire him, he wandered off.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

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    Well, here's how I do it.

    I call the person during the week to chat over coffee. I explain that I am not excited about their play style and neither is the group. I explain that I believe it's better to be honest than have people not be happy at doing something that's supposed to be fun for everyone. I ask them to please find another game with a group that fits them better.

    Usually, they admit that we weren't a good fit and we're going to leave anyway. Most just need a gentle nudge.

    If you are sincere and honest, you are more than likely going to just get an "ok". Some get a little miffed, but it passes quickly.

    If they get raging pissed, just calmly explain that this behavior is one of the reasons they are NOT a good fit. I personally despise melodrama and personal land mines (you can read my social contract on my website for details on a "personal land mine"), so when someone freaks out on me for being honest, I know I made the right decision to ask them to leave.

    P.S. Ever notice how we spend all this time worrying about the bad players and then take the good ones for granted? Kind of works like this at school, work, LIFE. Just saying...

    YMMV, but I think we make this way more complicated than it needs to be. (in other words... JUST TELL 'EM !!)

    Just my two cents...
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
    Bard, Dreamer & RPG Enthusiast
    October Northwest

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Always difficult.

    I had one guy I will admit I outright lied to. But he impressed me as someone that might end up in a tower with a rifle. I don't recommend lying about it. I mention it because it wasn't my proudest moment.

    I personally would treat it like a job. Fire them. They are frequently tardy, they are not holding up their end of the social contact to play the game and dragging the rest of the group down. Offer them an opportunity to seek a group that better fits they scheduling and play style needs.

    Don't do it in game. Handle it person to person. E-mail is fine. Be polite, be concise, be firm. It sucks to fire anyone, but sometimes you have to do it.
    I'm going to have to side with tesral on this one. Sure, firing may seem harsh, but in the long run, it is the most respectful. Tell him he's fired for creative differences, then "Offer them an opportunity to seek a group that better fits they scheduling and play style needs." Quoted from tesral.

    Thoth-Amon

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    The only thing I would suggest before letting him go is to have a nice chat with him about his play style. He may just be a bit uncomfortable for some reason, like he's naturally introverted. Let him know that it's a problem, and he needs to resolve it. Offer to help him do so.This chat could also reveal that this was his character concept (admittedly, a bad one) and he's capable of doing better.

    You don't say how long you've known this person, or how long you've been playing with him. If this isn't your first campaign with him, and he's usually like this, then it's obviously not a character concept. Personally, I think removing a player from the game should be the last resort after all other avenues have been persued. It could just be a lack of understanding, and this guy could become a fantastic role player if given the right tools.

    YMMV obviously.

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    Thanks all- this has been a great help.

    I've gone ahead and dropped the ax on this player in as civilized a manner as possible- I haven't gotten a response, but I think that's the best-case scenario really.

    I had thought about removing the player in-game, and glad I didn't (note: when you downlevel a monster, you don't reduce certain aspects of it, so a downleveled Gelatinous Cube will be completely impossible for a Lv 1 character to notice before getting engulfed and dragged off, with the party none the wiser... ) In-game solutions for out of game problems and all that.

    Had the thought of "tell the offending player the game has been cancelled", but also glad I didn't. More for my conscience than respect for the other person.

    And I did like trechriron's suggestion of, if there's a blowup, saying "now, this is what I'm talking about."

    Also thought about asking the other players- but you know, it's my job to be the bad guy sometimes (ok, all the time), so I need to step up. In addition, I've come to recognize that I'm behind the screen to have fun, not to please my friends (or for that matter to run an outreach program for socially disadvantaged gamers), so anything that improves my experience is a good thing. Selfish, but things work out best when each of us looks after their own interests.

    And, no worries about off-topic- Off-topic posts are usually just as interesting (unless it's the same off-topic each time...)
    Last edited by Valdar; 07-08-2008 at 12:38 PM.

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    Well crap. I just got fired from my game. Anyone playing?

    Too little too late, but you could have referred him to PnP and told him to check out your latest post lol.
    "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." - JFK

    "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
    - Noam Chomsky

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    tact isnt my long suit. i ususally just tell them, "um, this isnt working out, dont come next time..."
    "well, g'night! dont let the flesh eating demon bed babies bite!!"
    facebook.com/houstonderek

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