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Interpersonal Game Wierdness

 
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Hiram McDaniels
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Joined: 15 Sep 2014
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject: Interpersonal Game Wierdness Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So I had a gaming group dissolve a while ago over interpersonal issues, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it.

It pretty much boils down to the DM (we'll call him Jeb) developing an unhealthy infatuation with a player (we'll call her Hilary) to the point where she no longer felt comfortable being in the game.

I've known Jeb for a few years now, and he's had relationships come and go throughout that time. His significant others have always played with us, but they never really seemed invested when they were at the table. Jeb always built their characters for them, and often took over their characters during the action-y parts of the game that required actual mechanics. I had assumed at the time that his SO's were interested and wanted to be included, but hadn't yet learned how to wrap their minds around the rules minutiae. In retrospect though, I realize that they were in a state of indentured D&D servitude...Jeb just wouldn't accept that they had no interest in playing.

The other thing about Jeb was that it didn't really seem to matter who was at the table or not; the campaign was the campaign and it chugged along regardless of who was behind the character sheets. The group had sort of a revolving door with life forcing some people to drop out and new people often cycling through. When I first joined, it was in the middle of a long running campaign where I learned that the entire initial cast of characters had cycled out and no one in the party had been there from the beginning. Imagine a band that slowly replaces one member after another until none of the original ensemble remained. There were times that only a couple people of the usual five or six could make the game, and he would just run the missing players characters himself.

So Hilary joined the game shortly after Jeb and his lady had called it quits. Hilary had been playing since Jr. High and was glad to find a group since she had moved to town and didn't really know anyone outside of work. She loved her some tabletop gaming. She even married a medieval historian and they had a renfaire style wedding. Jeb suggested that the husband join the game, but she informed us that despite his love of the dark ages and genre fiction, he wasn't really into table top games. I get that. You get that. However, this completely reformatted Jeb's fucking matrix.

After a time, Jeb became convinced that HE was the right person for Hilary, not her HUSBAND, based solely on their mutual love of tabletop games. He didn't say as much in the beginning, but when she wasn't around he would go on at length about how it was weird that they were together because they had nothing in common (I've hung out with Hilary and Bill; they have A LOT in common). Jeb started "courting" Hilary, with romantic overtures disguised as game stuff. At one point int he game, her character became separated from the group and he started running her portions one-on-one until she could be reunited with the rest of the group. It was during this time that he decided to go all in and make a pass at her, which I only heard about after the fact when she texted the rest of us and said she had to leave the group. She didn't specify a reason in the group text, but told me personally because by this time my wife and I became friends with Hilary and Bill.

Jeb didn't turn creepy stalker or anything, and no legal actions were necessary. Hilary simply let him down under no uncertain terms and removed herself from the group, and he didn't try and contact her after that. Still, that's a pretty egregious disregard of personal boundaries. The thing that strikes me is that Jeb is so completely enshrouded in his cocoon of all things D&D that he convinced himself to go after a married woman simply because her husband isn't a gamer. Jeb was similarly confused when my wife got into playing RPG's completely independent of me, because it was part of ladies night with her girlfriends. I left the group shortly after this along with another longtime member, mostly because this incident opened our eyes to the fact that Jeb doesn't really see D&D as a social outlet, but as an entity unto itself wherein the actual people sitting at the table are completely irrelevant.
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Krusk
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 496

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Not super uncommon unfortunatly. At least in my experience.

Lots of dms view themselves as the "lead nerd" and cant seperate "i arbitrate rules in a game" with "i am the best and coolest and am in charge of everything". Ive seen this translate to thinking that every player of their prefered sex should want to be with them, and if you arent their prefered gender, your partner who is should be prepped to leave you for them at a moments notice. I think its part of he whole "many nerds are bad at social stuff" challenge.

Translates to things like "hey i forgot my money, whoever spots me for the movies gets bonus xp" And shit.

Similar scenario. Wife and i play a lot of dnd. Our good friend of 25, and 15 years respectively, does not. Her dirtbag shitty husband does. He cannot understand why she doesnt enjoy the times he makes her play. To the point that they have had real fights about it. "I like it, and am the coolest, ergo you must like it"
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Hiram McDaniels
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Joined: 15 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Krusk wrote:
Not super uncommon unfortunatly. At least in my experience.

Lots of dms view themselves as the "lead nerd" and cant seperate "i arbitrate rules in a game" with "i am the best and coolest and am in charge of everything". Ive seen this translate to thinking that every player of their prefered sex should want to be with them, and if you arent their prefered gender, your partner who is should be prepped to leave you for them at a moments notice. I think its part of he whole "many nerds are bad at social stuff" challenge.

Translates to things like "hey i forgot my money, whoever spots me for the movies gets bonus xp" And shit.

Similar scenario. Wife and i play a lot of dnd. Our good friend of 25, and 15 years respectively, does not. Her dirtbag shitty husband does. He cannot understand why she doesnt enjoy the times he makes her play. To the point that they have had real fights about it. "I like it, and am the coolest, ergo you must like it"


I never really got that line of reasoning. If being the DM is such a vaunted and enviable position, then why does nobody ever want to do it? I think that DM's who have that mentality are the same types who loved being hall monitors in grade school.

I love D&D, but it's not for everyone. I don't get why you would want to browbeat someone into playing when they have no interest. Then again, my wife drags me to the theater for every new Woody Allen movie that comes out : (
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JonSetanta
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This. This is why women avoid TTRPGs.
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radthemad4
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Joined: 18 Nov 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
I love D&D, but it's not for everyone. I don't get why you would want to browbeat someone into playing when they have no interest. Then again, my wife drags me to the theater for every new Woody Allen movie that comes out : (

My guess is because the game requires players (and is usually more fun with more) and/or that they simply don't get how someone can not be into it. I took a while to learn to not do this myself. Sigh... I feel like confessing about my own experiences trying to force people to play.

Shortly after I had discovered D&D (HOLY CRAP!! THIS IS LIKE A VIDEOGAME EXCEPT YOU CAN LIKE DO WHATEVER AND HAVE TONS OF BRANCHING PATHS AND TRY CRAZY SHIT AND THERE ARE INFINITE OPTIONS ON THE CONVERSATION WHEEL AND THE NPCS HAVE DECENT AI AND THERE'S LIKE WAY MORE STORY BRANCHING AND AGENCY! HOW ARE YOU GUYS NOT INTRIGUED BY THIS?), I was really really eager to get my meatspace friends into it. I managed to sell the idea to some of them, who sort of half heartedly agreed to give it a shot. Pretty much every time we got together, this happened. I was really enthusiastic about gaming and kept failing miserably to get any of them particularly into it. There was this one friend who flat out told me early on that he didn't want to play. I was annoyed with him at the time, but stopped bothering him about it. Everyone else sort of seemed to agree to come to sessions and stuff to appease me but I failed to notice it at first. I'll admit, I'm not a good DM (and was much worse back then). My rules mastery was very shaky and I'd very often have to look stuff up in game time (which annoyed them as it took me pretty long back then due to not knowing where different rules are and not thinking to just google it instead), and I didn't do very well at preparation, improvisation, module running, playing NPCs, etc. At some point, I decided to give up on trying to convince them to appear for more sessions till I could do better. I did a lot of rule reading, found the den, got some actual play experience (thanks guys, it's been great Big Grin), and at some point felt ready to try again in meatspace. Now, my players are unwilling to read anything, leaving me to handle creating their characters as well. One of my earlier mistakes was chargen at game time. I figured, okay fine, send me a vague character concept whenever it's convenient for you. No one does. I poke them a bit more. They do. I do a bit of research and send them some links to some classes and some links to some feats that help the concept as well as some thoughts on those and tell them to pick. No one does. I consider prodding them further, but then at some point I give up. I realized that I was trying too hard to get them to do something none of them really wanted to do and that they only agreed to it because I pressured them so much, so I stopped. We're all still friends. Though, right now, I really appreciate that one guy who stated early on that he wasn't interested as he didn't waste my time like everyone else. So yeah, I was a dick. I got too into the game itself and lost sight of seeing if my players actually wanted to play.


Last edited by radthemad4 on Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:52 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Krusk
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Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 496

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hiram McDaniels wrote:

I never really got that line of reasoning. If being the DM is such a vaunted and enviable position, then why does nobody ever want to do it?


A ton of reasons.
I'm not good enough/hes so cool, only he can DM.
The existing DM won't let anyone else DM (I see this all the time)
Wandering DMs looking for groups.
DMs that start games and disappear. (look at most PBP games)

Quote:
I think that DM's who have that mentality are the same types who loved being hall monitors in grade school.


Agreed.
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