Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Enemy Within

I originally posted this much early today but I was in a hurry to get to work at the Learning Center and I don't feel I got to say what I meant to say. As such, I am updating and reposting this entry. Thank you for indulging me.

I know, I know, my next post was supposed to be a recap of yesterday's quite excellent Hunter X Hunter game run by my good friend Ray. And it was excellent I must say. The players, Dave, Lee and myself, and our respective characters, were also pretty cool, although I'll confess that I don't know if I 'got' Lee's character 100%. In this instance however, I'll attribute that to his PC being a mysterious sort with a dark secret that I don't yet know, instead of my usual inability to comprehend what it is Lee is thinking or doing.

I'll try to do that recap tonight but I had this burning need to take a moment and say something else first.

My next game will be Star Trek. I am not sure when or how and it's very possible I will only get two players out of the four in the group but that's OK with me. If I am right in considering the two people I have in mind, I would rather have those two than a dozen players who just aren't into it.

The realization I have come to is that the one person who is really preventing me from running Star Trek is me. I came to that realization some time ago. Why am I bringing it up now?

After the Hunter X Hunter game the group started discussing various approaches to running a campaign and I realized that no matter how I tried, now matter what approach or angle on my arguement I took, my friend Lee just didn't understand the core of what I was addressing at one point. Try as he might, he couldn't get me to understand his point of view. It was not a question of agreement and disagreement. It was like I was talking about how to brew the perfect pot of coffee in Japanese and he was responding to the subject of turn of the century architecture in Italian.

This happens a lot and it frustrates me to no end and, I have to suppose, it frustrates him as well.

The problem is I keep trying. I keep trying when, at some point, you'd think I would know better and simply drop it or just barrel on ahead without waiting for that moment of confirmation that would tell me he comprehended what I was talking about.

I tend to adjust my style of play and my content to accomodate this player and honestly, any other player who I am having trouble gelling with. I alter what I would normally do and how I would normally think about adventures. My campaigns have been catering to the players in my group who aren't used to my more story driven, fast paced, don't-worry-about-the-rules-worry-about-what's-happening nature.

Considering this I have come to an epiphany. This sucks.

Not only I am not pleasing myself but I am not pleasing the players who do get into the game, who can keep up and who add a great deal to the campaign in the form of story ideas, drama and action. Making it easier for one, as an example, makes it feel far too easy and unchallenging for the rest of the crew that handle more. Why should a majority suffer an inferior game because one or two people can't keep up? They shouldn't. You can't please everybody and I certainly feel that in the case of my last few games, I didn't completely please me and I am an important customer. I mean, I've been with me 43 years now.

The final analysis on this is as simple as it is difficult for me to accept. I can not please everyone, no matter how hard I try or how much I tweak things. In the end, even if I do manage to adapt the game to the likes of players who don't get me, I end up alienating the gamer I am closest to.


More on this in the near future. For now, I am off to teach a class and play Superheroes with a bunch of young kids. Life is good.

Barking Alien


  1. I think you're awesome too.

    For the record, none of the rest of you need to feel that you have to respond in the same manner.

    Though I certainly wouldn't stop you...

  2. Replies
    1. Awww Matt, if I wasn't so dedicated to the teachings of Surak and Vulcan philosophy I would be all warm and fuzzy.

      Wait! I'm not Vulcan, I'm ANDORIAN! Great, now I have to spend the next Terran day so overcome with feelings of platonic affection I won't be able to get anything done.

      Curse you!

      Heh, just kidding. Thanks buddy.