Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Little Heart to Heart

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

I am not a big believer in this particular holiday, but I will never back down from a chance to celebrate love. I love the idea of love, peace, happiness, and togetherness. Whatever else this day stands and whatever else is connected to it, I am personally going to embrace the idea that is stands for love and that's all there is to it. 

Monday was my birthday, and in absolutely perfect fashion, I received lots and lots of well wishes but no one made a big deal about it or got overly sentimental. I appreciated that very much. I often get really down on my birthday and it gets worse when people gush. A nice, quiet day, a good dinner, and a beer were more than enough. 

The one exception was the preceding Saturday, where the teachers and students at the tutoring center I work at game me a little party. That was super sweet (as was the ice cream cake) and it made me feel pretty good. 

So what's on my mind?


I am in a funk still and one of my players is only making it worse. He keeps trying to undo all the stupidity he generated in a previous game by trying to make basically the exact same character again for a new campaign in the same setting. 

What makes it really frustrating is that he still doesn't understand how and why he messed up the first time. He has all these ideas that we're in the game. His memory of the details are all wrong. Since I know him pretty well I know he's trying to adjust things to his advantage and get all the good parts of the old character while trying to make the botched events more palatable. 

It's really annoying and just so draining. It's the kind of thing I don't want to be a part of what I do in any way when I game. It honestly makes me not want to do it. 

In addition, I recently learned some truly double edged news. One of my players and best buds, who's been between jobs, has just recently been picked up for a new stint. He's working again and that's awesome, but there is a dark lining to this silver cloud. His new schedule will prevent him from being in our games for the foreseeable future. 

This sucks. No ifs, ands, or buts. True industrial strength suckage folks. 

With these two situations weighing heavy on my mind right now, I am feeling a little lost as to what I am going to run next long term. 

I am definitely going to be running [my version of ] D&D this weekend, but my enthusiasm for running a long term Traveller game has waned. 


I also have other game ideas in my head - ideas that don't fit my current group, especially if one of my key players isn't there. 

Is February over yet? No? Oh well.

Let's talk about something else...after all, it's Valentines Day and I have a great girlfriend. 

I guess I'm feeling OK after all. 

Barking Alien


  1. Based on what you wrote, I wonder...Could you have a no BS/honest positive chat with the player? Explore his strengths in the game and discuss how to direct it in a mutually beneficial way?

    I know how tough it is, Ive had to have that talk with a couple players over the many years of my DMIng.

    BTW, Ive been running a very popular long term DC Heroes RPG campaign. It starts at the DC Invasion series, but updated to modern times.
    Your wise sage advice and sharing your experience in your Superheroes entries have been so helpful and have helped make this a big success.
    Thank you!

    1. Yes, try talking like grownups! This is a game. It is supposed to be fun. If someone is doing something that is ruining your fun, it is OK to talk about different ways to play together.

    2. I would love to hear more about your DC Heroes campaign. It sounds awesome! Glad I could help in some way.

      I have had chats with the player. Numerous chats. He always stats out fine, but he can't help but escalate as he goes. Its in his nature. I love the guy, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a pain in a**.

      Which leads me to...

    3. Scott, are you under the impression we don't talk like grownups? Did something lead you to that assessment?

      Nothing against you personally, or even your comment, but I always find responses like this both humorous and unhelpful. It's like saying, "You have a problem? Have you tried fixing it?"

      Um...yes. Yes I have. ~_~

      Is there something about my site, posts, and over 40 years of game experience leads you to think I don't talk to my players?

    4. Take no offense. What's keeping you two from getting on the same page?

  2. Just curious as to the setting/system you're using for the new campaign. Perhaps its the game that lends itself to abuse?

    I'm not sure if you're actually looking for advice, but it's rare that I've had actual game-related problems at the table that couldn't be worked out in-game. And even then (I can only recall one instance of such an occurrence) it was easy enough to outlaw a certain, game-breaking feat that threatened to munchkinize a game.

    But maybe you're game/system isn't built that way. Is it Traveller? I could assume (since there seems to be a correlation between your "draining" experience and your "waning" enthusiasm for the game). The original edition of the game made it difficult to game character creation due to the inherent mortality of the system...but even in later editions, you could ban certain careers from the table or make it difficult (or impossible) for players to start with full battle dress and plasma cannons. I mean, just spitballing I said, maybe you're not even asking advice.

    1. Its less the system and more the player and unfortunately, how I let him get to me. It doesn't matter what the system is. He does this in practically every game.

      You see, one of the reasons my players seem to enjoy my games (according to them btw) is that I do not immediately say no to their crazy ideas and wild concepts. I like characters that are a bit unusual (depending on the setting and genre of course).

      However, some people will try to take a mile if you are willing to give them an inch. Some people are cool with that inch, and I am cool with giving two, or even three if its a good story. This one player will see that and want two miles then, no make it five.

  3. I know this sounds bad, but you have to put your foot down. It will cause friction. It will fuel some resentment. But from everything I've read in your previous comments, I think it is unavoidable.
    I'm a female GM and that means I have to hold my ground against the guys a lot.

    My long time players know what I need from them and they meet me half way. I always compromise and sometimes we have to revise.
    But a few male players (I swear, I'm not picking on men) over my many years of GMing have tried to run over me with their cool and game breaking ideas.
    Foot. Comes. Down. Also, I am not above using guilt as a weapon.

    I always work hard to make character shine and be the coolest they can be. But if it overshadows the Table, it has to be pulled back.

    I have a hunch we GM in a similar fashion. Neither of us want to interfere with players ideas. I always want to blend everybody's ideas. I GM as much from the players as the written adventure.
    But occasionally a player consciously or maybe subconsciously traps me in a corner.
    The overpowered, rules loopholes and character concepts that leave no room for the GM or other players to interact with are the main culprits.

    It always takes me a while to realize there is no civil way out. :-)
    Didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. I always keep it positive at the Table.