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Gulstaff
2009-11-30, 01:36 PM
Iíve been GMing for about 12 years and Iíve come across a player that I find very puzzling. This person was invited to the group (Star Wars Saga) via the internet about three months ago. Her online profile stated she has been role playing for many years and enjoyed story based games with more role playing them combat. She proceeds to write up a multiclass Jedi and Scoundrel. The first few games went well; I found her lack of true role playing to be strange coming from a person that claimed to be doing it for a while. I know that there isnít a wrong way to role play but the way I look at it there are two different ways to role play.

#1 is the way most my other players do it. For example one guy would say, ďI hold my knife to the captives throat and demand to know the location of the secret rebel base!Ē Ok, roll intimidation. This girl would simply do method #2 which is, I roll my intimidation. The guys in the group would look around waiting for more and this is all she would do. I expected more from a person that claims to have role played twice as many years as I have. I tried to put her in situations where she would come out of her shell, but it one time it took her 45 minutes just to describe what her character looked like.

This really wasnít a major problem just more of an annoyance. The annoying part would be the temper tantrums. I want to use Jedi Mind trick to make the enemy to do XYZ. In the rules it clearly states you canít make the target do something that would endanger their lives. She tosses her dice across the table and starts to complain about how stupid the system is. She starts complaining that her character isnít built for combat. I admit to have some games where there would be a lot of combat, it happens. I suggest she take block or the deflect talent so she can move in closer in combat. She ignored my suggestion and took adept negotiator, which wonít make her any better in combat it makes others worse. Ok it wonít help HER in combat which was the point of my suggestion. She still would continue about not being useful in combat. At this point I decided to adjust my games to her. The last few games were five to six pure hours of just role playing with one hour at the most of combat. During those five to six hours she would complain about her dice rolls being low and once again complaining about the system and once again the dice go across the table. Then sheíd accuse me of railroading the game when her low rolls had no major change in the story and storm out of the game (Three times mind you). Then proceed to complain on other message forums (where we both go) about having a game master that is always railroading. She would never talk to me about it, I found out after reading it on another forum.

So I figured maybe a change in system would be a good idea. So we then started up a game of vampire. Her character was being hunted by a group of vampire hunters, a rather standard story plot. So we decided to throw a ball room dance to lure out the would be assailants. She refused to wear a gown to the ball saying her character is too bad ass to wear one. It took her an hour to describe what her character was wearing instead. As the game master I decided that since she didnít wear the gown the people hunting her didnít attack her outright cause she appeared to be dressed with her weapons clearly visible. The hunters waited for a distraction and attacked and gained a surprise round and knocked her on her ass. She then stands up as the attackers ask for her surrender (a good chance to role play) she says, my character is going to pull out her gun and shoot them for my surprise round. I stated, um you canít surprise them, they are right in front of you and watching you, and hostile movement on your part will allow them to react in order of initiative. She then stands up throws the dice again, packs up her stuff, accusing me of railroading again, then leaves.

This was about two weeks ago, nothing has happened since the holidays.

What should I do?

Fenix_of_Doom
2009-11-30, 01:43 PM
Assuming she isn't the only one in the group
1. ask the other players how they feel about your and her beheviour
2. depending on the outcome, change your behaviour and if you think you can now game peacefully with her, continue to do so.
if not 3. never play with her again and continue to play with the old group.

Gnaeus
2009-11-30, 01:51 PM
Drop her. Throwing tantrums over and over again in game is not OK. Bitching about your behavior on open forums is not an indication that things are likely to get better. The fact that she has been gaming for 20+ years means that her behavior is not likely to change as a result of anything you do, and anything you say will likely to be met with more tantrums or complaints.

"I'm sorry, I don't feel that our roleplaying styles mesh well. I hope you find another group." works well.

Alternately, for the more deceitful or less conflict prone...
"Fred just got a new job, Sarah is having a baby, and my girlfriend is giving me #*!% about doing too much gaming, so we are going on hiatus for a while. I'll give you a call when we start gaming regularly again. Maybe in a few years..."

AtwasAwamps
2009-11-30, 01:51 PM
Kill it.

With fire.

nyarlathotep
2009-11-30, 01:56 PM
I second the motion to drop her, as that sort of behavior (dice throwing and storming off) is unacceptable. The real advice I an give besides that is to remain polite about the whole thing so you can maintain the moral high ground.

The Dark Fiddler
2009-11-30, 01:57 PM
Myself, I'd probably just not tell her about the next session.

FoE
2009-11-30, 02:02 PM
Are the other players complaining about your railroading? If yes, stop GMing. If not, drop her like a hot potato.

Gulstaff
2009-11-30, 02:05 PM
I've lost two other players since she has started. Those were disagreements about power gaming and purposely trying to derail any story I was trying to create. Those players have been replaced and I've had no complaints since the other two left. Quite the opposite actually.

valadil
2009-11-30, 03:00 PM
Can you ask her what she enjoys in a game? We've only heard about her rolling dice and being miserable. I think you should straight up ask her why she keeps coming to game if it always ends up with her having a tantrum.

I had issues with one player a while back. He was bored by combat and claimed to like roleplaying, but never actually did any of it. When we all sat down to figure out who was getting what out of the game, it came out that he really just liked to watch. For him, the GM was a story teller. Story happened when there was roleplay and not when there was combat. Knowing this, we stopped putting him in roleplaying situations and instead let others do the talking. It would have bored any other player at the table, but this was where this guy was happiest.

I have a couple sneaking suspicions about your player. I don't think she has the same idea of roleplaying as you. She probably uses the term for anything that is not combat. She doesn't seem interested in combat in any way. Because she gets frustrated when things don't go her way, my suspicion is that she is the "buttkicker" type of player. Usually these players want to beat up the monsters and feel like they won something, without actually being challenged. Only difference is that she wants it outside of combat.

I've dealt with a similar player who always wanted to be the cool, sexy, popular chick. This player used gaming to get validation where she wasn't getting it in real life. She irritated me to no end until I figured this out. Once I saw what she wanted out of game, I was happy to give it to her. When other players "made a successful tumble check" she "danced across the battlefield, distracting all foes from the fight with her sexy wiles." Or something like that. It didn't change anything in the game - just told her that her character had more coolness flavor than the other players.

I don't know if you'll need to give the player more flair this way. But you do need to find out what pleasure they get out of the game. If it's not something you can give, drop the player.

DonEsteban
2009-11-30, 03:59 PM
Very good suggestions, valadil.

Putting it shortly: Before dropping her, as others suggested, talk to her (and maybe the rest of the group)! Try to find out what she expects and explain to her what you expect or how you feel about her behaviour.

If you come to an agreement, fine. If not, then drop her (or find someone else to GM ;)

horseboy
2009-11-30, 04:02 PM
What was she allegedly playing for those 20 years? Was it mainly free form or something? I'm not really sure how you can actively game for 20 years and not understand how to use mechanics. I'd have to say there's a good chance you're going to have to let her go, in fact I probably would have disinvited her after she stormed out the second time.

There's just no excuse for rude behavior.

Zeta Kai
2009-11-30, 04:14 PM
You have:

Made non-binding suggestions on how to improve her character.
Attempted to coax her out of her shell & engage in RPing.
Changed your DMing style for her.
Geared situations in her favor.
Offered her multiple opportunities to RP well.
Changed the game that you are playing for her.

She has:

Misrepresented her playing style.
Complained loudly & often about luck, the game, & you.
Thrown temper tantrums & disrupted games.
Badmouthed you behind your back.
Left abruptly multiple times with little provocation.

If all that's true, then she's unbearable. You've bent over backwards for her, & she spitting in your face. Ditch her, & don't look back.

ErrantX
2009-11-30, 04:22 PM
I have to 2nd Zeta Kai's points.

You've done far more than you needed to for this player, and really, you're getting nothing but grief for your effort. It sucks, but I'd suggest you drop her from the group or retire as the group GM. If she's unbearable to the other players too (because she would be to me, how awkward would that make it?) then most definitely drop her.

-X

Kylarra
2009-11-30, 04:25 PM
Well, as always, talk to the other players about how they feel first, but I'm feeling a strong "drop her" vibe from this one.

Tiki Snakes
2009-11-30, 04:25 PM
I don't really want to second Zeta Kai's points, but to be quite honest he does present a pretty good argument.
I'd probably compromise on having a word with her, or next time she kicks off in a tantrum, simply tell her that if she isn't enjoying the games you run, she's free to leave any time she likes.

But if she's genuinely being that disruptive and disrespectful, it may be simply best to drop her like a hot potato after-all.

Gnaeus
2009-11-30, 04:34 PM
I have a couple sneaking suspicions about your player. I don't think she has the same idea of roleplaying as you. She probably uses the term for anything that is not combat. She doesn't seem interested in combat in any way. Because she gets frustrated when things don't go her way, my suspicion is that she is the "buttkicker" type of player. Usually these players want to beat up the monsters and feel like they won something, without actually being challenged. Only difference is that she wants it outside of combat.

That could be. My experiences with this kind of behavior during games often stemmed from the player dealing with either physical or mental illness. One player's problem stemmed from uncontrolled diabetes. He would go to a game, eat some junk food and wash it down with some Mountain Dew, then when his blood sugar went haywire he would pitch a fit over nothing. Some mental conditions can also lead to some of the behaviors you described. I had one friend who sometimes gamed on hard drugs. He had some pretty bad moments. When I say there isn't anything you can do, I mean exactly that. A visit to her doctor or shrink might help her.

On the other hand, she could just be a jerk. This happens also. You don't know her well enough to want to wade into her drama, so flee.

Ianuagonde
2009-11-30, 04:38 PM
You have done very well, and offered this person lots of chances to improve. She chose to ignore all of them. Wish her well with her new group.

Optimystik
2009-11-30, 04:43 PM
You have:

Made non-binding suggestions on how to improve her character.
Attempted to coax her out of her shell & engage in RPing.
Changed your DMing style for her.
Geared situations in her favor.
Offered her multiple opportunities to RP well.
Changed the game that you are playing for her.

She has:

Misrepresented her playing style.
Complained loudly & often about luck, the game, & you.
Thrown temper tantrums & disrupted games.
Badmouthed you behind your back.
Left abruptly multiple times with little provocation.

If all that's true, then she's unbearable. You've bent over backwards for her, & she spitting in your face. Ditch her, & don't look back.

I feel compelled to wonder if they would have gone to such lengths had she been a he.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-30, 04:43 PM
Kill it.

With fire.

Beat me to it. I'm tolerant of differing gaming styles to a very large degree, but this just sounds terrible. Fire solves everything.

Anonymouswizard
2009-11-30, 04:44 PM
From the way I see it you have two options that stand out: 1 drop her. Or if you're feeling malevolent: 2 ask her if she would like to GM, say she can GM any system that she wants, and then just agree about it, and do basically everything she's done to you. These options should hopefully only be used after talking to her.

If you go with option two I see one of two outcomes happening: 1: she wises up and stops complaining; or 2: she leaves of her own accord. Only do this option if you are truly evil, and yes, Lawful Evil does count, it suits this more that CN or SE.

Delwugor
2009-12-02, 01:06 AM
"I'm sorry, I don't feel that our roleplaying styles mesh well. I hope you find another group." works well.
Unfortunately this is exactly what I had to tell a new group this year, but from the player perspective not a GM.
So maybe I can shed a different light on how I felt in a similar situation this year. Similar story, even with SWSE (but a Jedi/Noble) and Marvel (not vampire).
I've gamed for over 25 years (and GMd from time to time) and strongly prefer role-playing my characters within the context of the group and campaign. The GM said he preferred to run sessions with stories instead of heavy combat.
My mistake was that story telling does not always mean role-playing. And so the disconnect started.

I almost wrote a long dissertation on the situations but didn't wnat to bore everyone so I'll just mention what I felt went wrong and why I couldn't role-play as I love to.

The GM stories where right out of TV shows and movies that he liked. Including a night of Roadhouse bar fights and running Marvel in the Goonies town (Astoria?) include running through the cave.
The GMs story took precedence over all of the player's characters. Didn't matter if we played well or not because we had no effect on the story.
Episodic sessions where we followed along and where told where to go and when to fight. Can't do much role-play like that.
GMPCs who where more important to the story than the rest of the characters.
GMPCs who where several levels above the party. Hi Mary Sue.
Two GMPCs that got into an argument with my character and told him to leave the party. Was informed that the male GMPC had to back up the female GMPC because they where having a relationship.
Constant complaing by the GM that players where ruining his story by doing things that he interpreted as power gaming and munchkin-ism.
Incident where my character would have saved the group but by GM fiat the bad robot wasn't destroyed and my character captured - all to do the super heroe capture and bad guy rave scene. Can't win because the story said we failed scenario.
A real role-playing situation where after 3-4 hours of investigation we actually failed but GM fiat and NPC profecy won they day. We couldn't fail because the story said we succeed scenario.
Not one session did the characters actually overcome any challenge by themselves.
GM getting upset when I'd actually role the dice in his role-playing situations. Neither SWSE nor Marvel are story telling systems so dice are used to resolve things.
The GM ignoring other players when they complained about railroading - even argued back.

The last point convinced me that the problem wasn't just me but was a product of poor GMing skills. And an unwillingness to pay attention to the characters and players instead of his story. Note: I'm not accusing Gulstaf of that.

That very week the GM got into a forums argument with 2 other players. One of them almost said the above exactly as I just did. He ended kicking them out of the group. 3 out of 5-6 players gone in a weeks time and he went down to 2-3.

Only once did I not attempt to role-play a situation because it was for selling a ship, no real impact to even *his story*.

Twice I ended up doing something I have never done in my years of gaming. I walked out of a session before completed. I consider this rude and very bad behavior but some of the sessions where that bad. I will never do that again and I am somewhat ashamed of myself for it.

My bad part was that towards the end I was suffering from weeks of insomnia and was very irritable especially at 1:30 am. I could easily see others seeing my frustration coming across as Gulstaff's player came across. Being annoying and throwing temper tampers looks bad but sometimes it is a reaction to something else (like poor GMing) than a bad person.

My other dilemma is that I liked the group a lot and really liked the GM. Heck I still IM him once a week or so.
I kept putting off what I knew would have to be done. But eventually I followed the well known advice of "No gaming is better than bad gaming". Well not exactly no gaming since this was my secondary group, my main group I've been with for almost 15 years now.

I don't regret playing with that group and I really don't hold any ill will towards the GM. When I left I didn't say anything more then you're a good bunch of people but the gaming is not clicking.


I've lost two other players since she has started. Those were disagreements about power gaming and purposely trying to derail any story I was trying to create.
In my experience one player is a problem handled by the GM, the group or asked to leave.
Two players may indicate there is a real problem for the group and the GM to handle.
Three players means there are real problems and they better be handled before the group and the game fall apart.


Those players have been replaced and I've had no complaints since the other two left. Quite the opposite actually.
After something bad happens I often ask my self "Was it worth it?". Gulstaff if I have this right you lost 3 players in 3 months period? I'm not accusing our deriding you but would suggest that you ask yourself that very question - Was it worth it?
If the answer is yes - then have fun and I hope you get the players you want to replace those that are gone.
If the answer is no - then find out the reason it went bad and try to fix it.

Final suggestion for what it's worth. Have a talk with this lady and find out what the problems are and try to work them out; let her decide whether to come back or say good-bye. Maybe even the other two players.

Sorry for the very long post but sometimes on internet forums it is too easy to see just the OPs side of things. From my own unfortunate experinces I know that there are two or three sides to every problem and group issue. Usually no one is completely right nor completely wrong.