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Annoying Gamers

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 6 months ago

Cat Piss Man and Other Annoying Gamers

 

There are many kinds of unpleasant gamers. No-one in gaming can agree on whether weirdoes congregate in roleplaying or whether they're everywhere. But it doesn't really matter. Whether there's more or less of them in our hobby than elsewhere doesn't matter. We don't want any. They scare away current players, and they act as a big ugly wall for new players to scale.

 

Cat Piss Man is perhaps just a Nerd Urban Legend, it's hard to say. Many gaming stores seem to have a big greasy hairy unwashed fellow who smells of cat piss, and hangs around for hours at the store harassing the staff and leering suggestively at anything female that walks in. Sometimes this guy, if challenged, will claim that cleanliness and neatness are oppressive capitalist-materialist middle class oppressive values. "I'm not filthy, I'm a rebel." No, you're filthy.

 

These guys don't help the hobby overcome its nerdy image. Just think of Cat Piss Man as the "Achtung! Minen!" sign for roleplayers. When people see it, they don't go that way, it looks too dangerous. The solution to them is to insist on cleanliness.

 

The other kind of Annoying Person is Mr Unready. Whatever time you tell him to show, he'll be at least an hour late; he always has some excuse. When he does show, he won't have a pencil, paper, dice, and certainly not his character sheet. There's not much you can do with this guy – just play on without him. Never make him central to the plot, he might not be present for it.

 

There's also Mr Super Enthused (Not). Beware him. Often, the more noise about how much they want to play, and how enthused they are, the less likely they are to show up regularly. The authour knew one guy who said, “name the time and place, and I’ll be there!” He then missed four out of the next five appointments, and the authour gave up on him.

 

Let's not forget Mr Freeloader. This guy never brings munchies, never has cash for pizza, and whenever he suggests you should go out for drinks after the game – you'll be springing for his imported beers. Unless charity to the unworthy brings a glow to your soul, beware this man.

 

Of course there's Mr Distracted. This is the guy who reads a comic, or book, or turns on the TV or fiddles with the radio. Sometimes this is the GM's fault, because the GM's let the party split up and is dealing with the dramas of one of the players for hours on end. But often it's just a player who's a sort of mental Mr Freeloader. He doesn't want to make any effort, he just wants to consume. Get his attention, or get him out.

 

But be cautious with the attention. Sometimes, you'll meet an Attention Junkie. They want all the GM's and the party's time and attention. Sometimes they do this by being a glory hound - that can advance the plot, or utterly ruin it. Sometimes they do this by spotting the plot, and running like hell from it. Why? Because then the GM has to roleplay one-on-one with them. Either the character running away from the plot stays away, in which case they end up with their own private one-on-one game, or the GM manages to drag them back into the plot, in which case, they've had an hour or two of private GM attention. However, the Attention Junkie is never sated. He always wants more. You can also spot him by the fact that anything his character's concerned with, he expects to be dealt with in copious and tedious detail; anything another character's concerned with, he's saying, "come on, guys, let's get on with the adventure."

 

Obviously, the Attention Junkie's very disruptive. Either the GM and group gives him the attention, in which case one of the other players or the GM get annoyed and leave; or the AJ doesn't get the attention they want, in which case they either leave the group, or, worse, hang around and do their level best to derail the plot by starting pointless combats, and so on.

 

 

There are a zillion ways for players and GMs to annoy each-other. Many of them are simply clashes of game style, the sorts of things discussed by the Player Preferences Questionnaire. That's easily dealt with, and rarely breaks up the group. But some players are just annoying people, and these clashes are what really kill groups. Some players take malicious delight in annoying other players. They think it's hilarious. They find a sensitive spot on another player and poke at it, again and again and again and again. The end result is violence, or the annoyed player leaving the group.

 

That's right – the annoyed player leaves, and the annoying person stays. This isn't the best result for the group. The classic instance of this is the player who deliberately designs an annoying character, acts annoying with it, and then when someone complains, he exclaims innocently, "But I'm only playing in character!" Yes, that's right, Annoying Gamer (AG) wants you to praise him for his "true-to-life" roleplaying. He's deliberately annoying everyone, and wants to be thanked for it. He proclaims his innocence, like everyone who's in prison, but he planned it from the start. Don't underestimate the planning that he's put into this.

 

Aside from murdering him, which might be morally right but is legally wrong, the thing to do is for the GM to supervise this guy very closely during character creation. "I'll take Kleptomania as some Bad Stuff," says Annoying Gamer. The proper response is "No." Instead, the GM should insist he take positive character traits like "loyalty", and "honesty", and "good manners." Sometimes AG will manage to warp these positive character traits into negative ones. The GM should ensure his character suffers horribly for this. If you have to, just boot him out. He's no loss. Someone who's annoying you is taking away from the game. If you boot him, the game rises, it improves. Of course, if he's your friend, you can't boot him, but there's no advice here for people who choose to be friends with annoying people.

 

All these are reasons groups fall apart. The way to counter them is to have some Minimum standards.

 

When nothing works anymore...

 

People do get in a rut, and assume theirs is the only game group in existence. "If I leave this group, I'll never game again!" But it's not true. Game groups are like jobs – the new one will accept you more quickly if you already have one, but it's hard for you to find "time" to search for the new one if you're still busy with the old one; and you also don't have the same sense of urgency. If you're bored, and see no hope of improving things, just leave.

 

There are always more groups. There are always more gamers. If you're unhappy, leave.

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