Saturday, May 14, 2011

We're here to play, right?

Disclaimer: This is not directed at anyone in particular.  But I recently joined an online PbP game on RPOL, and this situation sorta popped up to remind me how much it annoys me.

What is it with players these days, who get together to play an RPG, but then bog things down by forcing the other players and the GM to have to convince that player's character to go along on the adventure?  It sure happens quite a lot, in my experience.

The players gather, hear a report of some monsters rampaging or of huge piles of gold just lying around in some dank, nasty dungeon.  All the PCs are ready to go.  Except that one.  That one needs to be convinced eight ways from Sunday why it's worth his/her time to bother with fighting the gnolls, or why they should bother travelling to the Lands of Doom to try to find the Emerald Crown of Emperor Colwyn.  And anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour will be wasted just because that one player's got a bug up his/her ass about needing to be convinced to come.

And the other players never seem to just say, "OK, sit this one out.  We'll manage without a [class X] this time."

Have you seen The Gamers?  Remember that scene where the M-U bites it, the player rolls up a new character, and a couple scenes later in the game you get:
Magic-User: "It looks like your party could use a mage."
Fighter: "You seem trustworthy.  Get into marching order."

I've got no problems with that.

I realize a lot of people have fun getting so deep into the head of their PC that they want to evaluate every decision as the PC would.  But why oh why can't they ever create a PC whose mentality is to just get on with the show and bust some orc heads and loot some tombs?  Why is that so hard?


  1. This, yes, I'm gonna use that one from now on.

  2. It's not even really a case of PC motivations. You've signed up to a game, so why would you actively try to stop the game from going ahead? Let's all just assume your character has agreed to go on the quest, and you can start the roleplaying from that point.

    Like you, I am baffled by such an attitude.

  3. I agree. Now, truth be told, I've been one of those guys in the past. As I get older, I find that the games we play tend to bog down when the crunch starts flying anyway, and I don't have the patience for a slow game any more. I want and need forward motion in a game. If I can't get that, then it's time for me to find a new game. A little give and take to make someone feel self-important is okay, because I remember being there myself back in the day, but at some point, I wrap up a session having made the decision that I'm not coming back. I won't push someone to play in a way they don't want to, but I also value my time enough to find a group that will support the kind of game I want to play in.

    But That's Me,

  4. Woooeeee that makes me nuts... mostly because I think its a pretty narcissistic behavior "No, we are not playing Dungeons & Dragons, we are playing a game called 'You guys try to convince me to play along while I make you jump through hoops in the context of the game and grin my shit-eating grin at you and say, "Well, I'm just playing my character."' when what I am really doing is fucking with you and trying to make myself the center of attention."
    I had to drop out of one game a while ago just because there were 2 people in it who BOTH wanted to be the center of attention and BOTH of them were always throwing up impromptu 'roadblocks' towards getting anything accomplished in the game.
    I guess its a difference of philosophies. Some people (like me) think the 'roleplaying' is more fun when we imagine ourselves in the role of the adventurer and make choices based on what is presented to us by the DM and the other players. Other people think 'roleplaying' is designing a personality and then making everything in the game about that personality. I'm not saying the latter approach is invalid, but the proponents of the game driven by 'personalities in conflict' always seem to play characters who behave like jerks and assholes --- people I would avoid in real life --- so, if I WERE an adventurer, why would I choose to accompany such people on dangerous quests? I think next time I will just play my "character" by simply saying, "OK, this fuckwad does not want to adventure with us. Let's go on without him. If he insists on cockblocking us, we'll kill him, loot the corpse and toss it into the nearest pit full of green slime. If anyone asks, a troll ate him. Happens all of the time."

  5. I'm a firm believer in the no-hassle, zap-you're-back (or your replaced new character) with absolutely no explanation.

    As far as the roleplaying, I'd prefer it happen in game, in adventure, rather than sitting at a bar. I almost always handwave the "you meet in a bar" deal. The new players to my table will get briefed by the experienced players on the mission of the game, but it's usually as they're heading out.

  6. If you're quick enough on your feet you can get over this hump pretty easily.

    "The gnoll shaman has the secret cure to the disease that is slowly killing you. Oh, by the way, mark of one point of [prime stat] since your condition is worsening."

    If the same PC tries to pull the same crap next adventure, the party can remind him how they all risked their necks to save his sorry butt.

  7. I gamed with that guy once.

    "Why am I even with the other PCs!?"

    He asked this question for three sessions in a row before I kicked him out of the group. All of us showed up to play and he was just there to be a turd.

  8. I think this rolls with your "what's my motivation?" post earlier which I so liked. Don't bother convincing them simple ask them to create a motivation for their character to go adventuring. Doing this ahead of time can be a huge time saver. I always ran into the LE character that just would not help those defenseless villagers. But then make it a thing of honor and...
    What's cool is if you have that motivation UP FRONT, and agree upon by the player, these Character issue can be handled before they stop game play.


    Here is the link. For some people a lot of the enjoyment of the game is fleshing out their characters, not understanding their motivation gets in the way of that, but with a bit of foreknowledge, you can avoid strong-arming the player into joining the adventure.

  10. Oh and while you don't have a problem with a mysterious MU just suddenly appearing in a dungeon to replace a fallen team-member, I sort of do.
    What I have come up with in the past is have the appearing character be related to one of the existing characters, which gives at least some plausibility to their quick acceptance. I've come up with other solutions too, yet the family member is the quickest least pre-work necessary I've come up with so far.