Bad Playership - Vent

edited April 2009 in Actual Play
Ugh, he's signed up for my game again.

Let me start from the beginning. Three times a year, there is a Gameday sponsored by the people who frequent the ENWorld and Circus Maximus forums at NC State. Eclectic games are run, people come from all over, it's (almost) always a ton of fun.

A while back, I ran a game with The Shadow of Yesterday which I was inspired by cribbed off of stole from Jason Morningstar to see if a dungeon crawl could make it as a TSOY scenario. I've run it multiple times and it can be fun, but itches - like a cool sweater you got that's made of something you're allergic to.

He signed up for my game. I'd been told by others that he was a game wrecker. I felt it best to give him a chance. I treated him like all my other players, and he nearly ruined the game with his ... cheating.

So, let me back track again. I had these cool coins from a game called Runebound and I set them in the middle. I explained that the copper coins were 1 XP, the silver coins were 5 XP, and the gold coins were 10 XP. Please evaluate what level of XP you've earned when you earn it and take the XP out of the center of the table. I'm not going to slow down the game by evaluating your contributions and handing out XP. Please be a good person about it.

He took 5 XP every single time for each Key, except that he always hit two Keys, so 10 XP kept being taken. I wasn't watching, because I make continuous eye contact during a game, trying to maintain good engagement in the events. Now, I know that the game is self correcting and he should have been written out of the story rather quickly. But that's not what the others saw. They kept on looking at his sheet where he ended up getting two Grand Master Abilities and didn't act because they knew that he'd just do what he wanted and the dice would back him up.

There are more than one problem here. I wasn't watching closely and could have intervened. I should have pushed for him to use those Abilities and be written out of the story.

But, I come away with this: he willingly acted in an uncool way. Everyone complained that his actions were a downer for them and for the game itself. I don't want to be at the same table with him again.

Next Gameday is late this month in April. He's signed up for my game again. I have built up such ill will since I last saw him that I don't know if I could run a good game even if he'd completely rehabilitated himself. I fucking hate it, but I'm asking the organizer to either contact him or let me contact him to have himself unregister for my game. I fucking hate it, but I've backed out of a game I want to play because he's signed up for it, too.

RAWR!! I shout at the heavens with frustration!


  • edited April 2009
    I think it's strong, but perfectly acceptable, to insist someone not play your game. You're not getting paid, so you're allowed to ensure you have a good time too.

  • I think you are handling it correctly. Its better to remove him from the game (or ask him to remove himself) than to allow in someone you are not going to get along with. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it. He acted like a dick, and you are being professional and maintaining the fun for everyone else involved. Sounds like the other people you played with would have agreed with you.

    His fault. His problem.

  • Yeah, check with Rel to see if the signup mechanism can have a "sorry, we're full" button that a GM could press to basically not allow players in (or an "allow" button to press to allow folks in).

  • Well, there is sort of a way. I'd have to personally recruit each player instead of allowing free signup and list the game as Restricted. Currently there is no kick/ban button or invisible to member A feature.

    The problem is, every change a GM makes to their listed game forces Rel to reapprove the game. Games go completely offline during that period.

    Still, though, I want to use upfrontness and honesty. One batch of this should prevent all such games in the future.
  • Hey Mark, I'm sorry I acted that way at your table. I won't be a dick this time.


    Anyway, Andy is right, you should talk to Rel and those guys and see if you can get him booted, and if not, boot him yourself. You don't have to play with any scum that washes in - it's your time, your energy, your fun.

    That said, I just want to be crystal clear that he was, in fact, being a dick. I trust that he was, but your write-up doesn't really spell that out. I could easily imagine a situation where his behavior was perfectly reasonable, or at least the result of a misunderstanding about the tenor and nature of the game and your expectations.
  • I'm curious as to why you didn't write him out? That's not to say that I disagree with anything anyone's posted so far.
  • Just now, I've asked him to email me so we can discuss things. I'm not even sure he remembers the game, and I wasn't able to give him feedback at the table - so I'm certain he doesn't know about my apprehension.
  • edited April 2009
    Posted By: JDCorleyI'm curious as to why you didn't write him out? That's not to say that I disagree with anything anyone's posted so far.
    Jason, it's hard to fully encapsulate my feelings at the time. Some of the things I can look back and see now are:

    One, I was partially blind to the affect he was having on others. Two, I was running under the idea of "big finale with the strengths of all the characters coming to bear". Three, using a game mechanic to try to force a social issue isn't my style.
  • I agree it wouldn't have affected the social issue. Doing in-game things never ever do. But it seemed like a "learning moment" for the whole group with a mechanic that is (in my experience) pretty rarely used and fairly unique. I get it, though, feeling-wise. Anyway, best of luck.
  • That sucks. On an unrelated note, using those runebound coins as TSOY experience points is a stroke of genius! I'll have to use that in my games.
  • Mark, no matter how odious this guy is there are likely to be social repercussions. In the past when I've excluded disruptive people, I've lost the opportunity to play with a lot more good people who have social ties to the disruptive person. I wouldn't change the advice you are being given, but want to make sure you see the whole picture.
  • Life's too short to play games with people you can't stand playing games with. I see no problem with firmly, but politely, insisting he not play in your game.
  • You can always be diplomatic about it. "Look, I think we've got different things we want from a game, and I'm going to be running this in a very specific way - I'm pretty sure you won't like it, to be honest. I suggest you register for a different game".
  • edited April 2009
    I sent the email last night and asked him to leave my game. He did so. My statements were terse but as polite as I could make them. He isn't happy because he feels like I should have talked to him when it happened and because I'm one of the few people who has any slots open at this point.

    There's only one more hurdle left - if he chooses to confront me at the Gameday.

    Thanks for letting me vent, everybody. It led to a better conversation than I might have engaged in if I'd solely used internal dialogue to suss this out.
  • It sounds like you handled it well, Mark. Hopefully it'll all go smoothly on Game Day. Regardless, don't let him interfere with your fun!
  • Mark, good show having the stones to talk to the dude directly. Sounds like you're able to keep your cool in a situation many would just avoid or be passive-aggressive in trying to handle it. I wouldn't worry too much about if he gives you hassle on gameday; you can be firm and have a chance to talk about it without its becoming some immature shouting match--unless he decides to take it there. And that is his business alone, not your responsibility.

  • Posted By: Mark CauseyI sent the email last night and asked him to leave my game. He did so. My statements were terse but as polite as I could make them. He isn't happy because he feels like I should have talked to him when it happened and because I'm one of the few people who has any slots open at this point.
    Would you say he feels... cheated?

    Analysis of irony left as an exercise for the reader.
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