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Author Topic: My Conflict With My GM & One Other Player (And What Should I Do?)  (Read 2458 times)
SentientAfro
Member

Posts: 4


« on: May 20, 2012, 08:37:46 AM »

I'm currently engaged (so to speak) in a Pathfinder campaign written by one of my friends (the GM).
Now, his setting was extremely cool. I was fully interested in the setting.
But I have a problem: he already wrote the PCs' goals, the storyline, and the setting makes it so that the PCs cannot do what they want (if PCs stray from the set storyline, they risk death, divine punishment, or worse, hoards of high-level enemies). And due to the nature of the story, all of the characters are pretty much required to have some good in them.

I tried explaining to him why I do not find this particularly enjoyable and would like him to change something up a bit. He insisted that he does not limit the PC's choices, but I told him that the way he presented the information led the players to believe that we HAVE to do this thing. He refused to listen to me. Some of the time, he chooses actions for the player. His "story" is also filled to the brim with combat encounters, in which my character (and others) are completely useless.

And then we have another player. This player is a RPG "Veteran", who has played many many games over the years. He's stuck in a very "we have to WIN" mindset. Why is this a problem? My character does a lot of things that hinder the story. And anytime I(my character) does a action that I think would make for some interesting drama, he talks down to me and calls me an idiot for "ruining it".

The other players don't roleplay at all because the think roleplaying is limited to dialogue. And the kind of character they REALLY want to play would "ruin it". So I'm singled out as the "problem player" because I'm actually playing my character.

Another problem: my GM has a "Roleplaying MVP" award that the players vote for at the end of the session. Now, I'm not arrogant or anything, but the last few sessions, I was the ONLY one who deserved that. I played my character PERFECTLY. But because I "ruined it", I never win it.

So, I come to you, Forge, to ask you:
What should/can I do to at least try to get across to them that I'm not enjoying it at all?

And I know what you're saying, "Why don't you just quit?" Well, I have before. And I tried playing with another group. They were worse. And I really want to play an RPG. And none of my other friends know how to GM, so if I want to play The Burning Wheel with them, I'm stuck GMing when I want to play.
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Name's Adam :3
Larry L.
Member

Posts: 639

aka Miskatonic


« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 09:19:27 AM »

Hi,

Welcome to the Forge.

Are you playing Pathfinder or Burning Wheel? I'm missing something.
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SentientAfro
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 09:58:06 AM »

Oh, it's Pathfinder. I just tried to get a Burning Wheel game going and it failed. Sorry for the confusion :)
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Name's Adam :3
czipeter
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 11:53:27 PM »

Hi and welcome, SentientAfro!

Most Forge advice looks as you described. Leave their game. Try gaming with them with a rulebook which encourages your wanted play style more. Or ideally join a group already playing a game based on such rules. Habits are so strong--they can be your worst enemies and best allies. I am convinced these can work as I have read accounts giving credit to them and I myself experienced these to a degree.

But I think, fighting a rulebook and group habits is not much harder then the above mentioned methods. I will talk about this one from now on. In short, keeping "ruining it" is one of the best things you can do, so I think you're on the right path. If you want to experience meaningful choices, thus dramatic action, then winning some gamable thingie is a secondary, temporary objective at most. Your action by which you want to create moments of drama can be also seen as "ruining it", as "striving for it" and everything in between by people who have the goal of achieving a fixed goal within relatively fixed rules / conditions. Though it's uncomfortable to be called an idiot but if your goal is not on that level (i. e. the goal of fulfilling the need of peer appreciation by being called a master tactician), I think, you can cope with it. You must accept that those who want to think in an us vs. the GM mindset and doesn't understand and accept your goals, won't applaud you for throwing curveballs at their characters and at yours. They will do it when your move puts the "enemy" in a bad position, but their motives will still differ from yours. My opinion is that you don't have to be convinced by their reactions if you understand and accept their motivation but do not defer to it yourself. Or at least this is the thought guiding my intents in my groups at the moment.

I wish, I was not far off with my assumptions and this helps a bit.

By the way, what's your real name? Could you include it in your signature, please?
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My real name is Peter.
JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 500

also known as Josh W


« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 06:31:16 AM »

First off, perhaps you don't want to play with an existing group, but you do want to play with certain people in those groups.

What do I mean? Well I don't know your local situation, but in my experience often there can be set group dynamics that get in the way of a certain kind of fun, but that various players in different groups, if they banded together, would actually quite like this kind of play.

This can have social issues, if you set up "competitor" groups, "poach" players etc. One way round this social problem is to play a game that is really left field, that obviously doesn't replace the existing games, but complements them by doing what they do not.

For example, if there is heavy GM ownership of games, play something with a very light GMing structure, if there is high competitiveness, play something which nulifies "playing to win" entirely. This way, hopefully, people can consider the integrity of their group to be still "intact" while players do various different things.

But all of this depends on what you actually want!

You've said that you don't tend to get rewards for "roleplaying", how important is that element of performance to you? And also, do you want to be rewarded by other players for playing your character perfectly correctly? How are they supposed to know what correctness is as far as your character is concerned?

It would help to hear a description of what you think good play looks like, on the players side, and also the responces you would expect from other players. And after that, what happens that gets in the way of that.
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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 08:37:11 AM »

Hi,

Welcome to the Forge!

One of the biggest historical problems for rpg culture is the idea that all styles of game play can fit together.  It's like "Let's play cards!" and one person is playing Go Fish, someone else is playing Blackjack, and another person is playing Spades...   Even if you all want to play together, it's not going to work.

Here's something I wrote awhile back, which points out non-compatible styles:
http://bankuei.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/the-same-page-tool/

Here's a flowchart my friend Jono made which describes what happens when you try to figure that out through trial and error instead of agreeing up front:
http://www.evilbrainjono.net/blog?permalink=864

It's clear you want to play a different game than what he's running - so it makes sense that you should stop playing and look for some other group that's closer to what you want.

Chris
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SentientAfro
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 09:18:08 AM »

Thanks for the replies guys!

Leave their game. Try gaming with them with a rulebook which encourages your wanted play style more. Or ideally join a group already playing a game based on such rules.
Unfortunately, there's a few problems with that.
1. These guys have really tight schedules. Any game I tried to get together has fallen through because they don't have time to play with me.
2. There are no groups around here playing with any rules that facilitate a more co-op-storytelling game/
I would LOVE to death to get a Burning Wheel, Dogs In The Vineyard, Shock, or Fiasco game going, but my friends either A) Don't want to play or B) Don't have time. :(

But I think, fighting a rulebook and group habits is not much harder then the above mentioned methods. I will talk about this one from now on. In short, keeping "ruining it" is one of the best things you can do, so I think you're on the right path. If you want to experience meaningful choices, thus dramatic action, then winning some gamable thingie is a secondary, temporary objective at most. Your action by which you want to create moments of drama can be also seen as "ruining it", as "striving for it" and everything in between by people who have the goal of achieving a fixed goal within relatively fixed rules / conditions. Though it's uncomfortable to be called an idiot but if your goal is not on that level (i. e. the goal of fulfilling the need of peer appreciation by being called a master tactician), I think, you can cope with it. You must accept that those who want to think in an us vs. the GM mindset and doesn't understand and accept your goals, won't applaud you for throwing curveballs at their characters and at yours. They will do it when your move puts the "enemy" in a bad position, but their motives will still differ from yours. My opinion is that you don't have to be convinced by their reactions if you understand and accept their motivation but do not defer to it yourself. Or at least this is the thought guiding my intents in my groups at the moment.
That's probably my best bet, but these are my good friends, and they get really mad when I screw something up. In fact, sometimes, the GM doesn't allow my actions because they would cause so much drama and he hadn't planned for it.

[quote}I wish, I was not far off with my assumptions and this helps a bit.
By the way, what's your real name? Could you include it in your signature, please?[/quote]
Thanks :) Oh, and I don't know how to change my signature. :(

First off, perhaps you don't want to play with an existing group, but you do want to play with certain people in those groups.

What do I mean? Well I don't know your local situation, but in my experience often there can be set group dynamics that get in the way of a certain kind of fun, but that various players in different groups, if they banded together, would actually quite like this kind of play.

This can have social issues, if you set up "competitor" groups, "poach" players etc. One way round this social problem is to play a game that is really left field, that obviously doesn't replace the existing games, but complements them by doing what they do not.

For example, if there is heavy GM ownership of games, play something with a very light GMing structure, if there is high competitiveness, play something which nulifies "playing to win" entirely. This way, hopefully, people can consider the integrity of their group to be still "intact" while players do various different things.
That would be great. But, there's only one group I know around here. And like I said above, their schedule is tight.

You've said that you don't tend to get rewards for "roleplaying", how important is that element of performance to you? And also, do you want to be rewarded by other players for playing your character perfectly correctly? How are they supposed to know what correctness is as far as your character is concerned?
I don't really want to be rewarded, it was just the fact that there was a system in play and I lost it to someone who didn't deserve it. The GM is trying to facilitate RP, but it's really hurting those that actually DO RP.

It would help to hear a description of what you think good play looks like, on the players side, and also the responces you would expect from other players. And after that, what happens that gets in the way of that.
The way I see good play is this:
The group creates an interesting setting, characters, and story together. The players proactively drive the story along, making choices in the name of drama rather than "winning". The GM facilitates the story and reacts according to the players' choices. And both the players and the GM are working together to make a good story, with both sides contributing ideas and thoughts. The other players in the group would help each other out in creating drama involving their characters.
I think some of the other players in my current group would MUCH prefer this to the traditional "GM-as-storyteller/Players-as-Actors" setup.

But what gets in the way of this is that there are only two players who are willing to GM: Me, and the current GM. And he thrives on writing EVERYTHING down before play starts and LOVES railroading the PCs. So, if I want to be a player, I have to suffer being railroaded.

Also, what game systems would you recommend that I can use for short one-session games rather than month-long games?

One of the biggest historical problems for rpg culture is the idea that all styles of game play can fit together.  It's like "Let's play cards!" and one person is playing Go Fish, someone else is playing Blackjack, and another person is playing Spades...   Even if you all want to play together, it's not going to work.

Here's something I wrote awhile back, which points out non-compatible styles:
http://bankuei.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/the-same-page-tool/

Here's a flowchart my friend Jono made which describes what happens when you try to figure that out through trial and error instead of agreeing up front:
http://www.evilbrainjono.net/blog?permalink=864
Oh, hey! I love your blog! I've read all the posts :3
Thanks for the info!
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Name's Adam :3
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 07:40:44 PM »

Hi,

Probably one question I'd ask is, if you had some sort of other group where your roleplaying worked out, would you play with this group (on a regular basis, or at all)? If the answer is no, then really you don't actually want to roleplay with these guys.

It's a bit non traditional to suggest, but perhaps consider play sessions where a player steps up and GMs in the second half of the session and the first GM plays. It's just legacy design that if someone GM's, they have to GM the whole session. It might help you out, if you break out of the legacy design box. There are options like play by post online, for example.

Quote
it was just the fact that there was a system in play and I lost it to someone who didn't deserve it. The GM is trying to facilitate RP, but it's really hurting those that actually DO RP.
Mind you don't slip into a habit where only roleplay that meets your personal criteria, is roleplay. If your not a bit flexible on what constitutes roleplay, then your as inflexible as this GM wanting you to 'play it right' is.
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SentientAfro
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 09:09:07 PM »

To your first question: Not everyone in the group. Only a few from it. Maybe that is a problem.

About the roleplaying-criteria thing, I try not to make sure I impose my criteria on everyone. But, my biggest problem with that system was that people weren't Roleplaying, they were... um... I don't know if there is a term for it, but they were basically playing a set of stats and nothing more. Their characters had no personality or anything. The guy who kept winning's character had absolutely NO personality, and the only reason he keeps winning is because he is the most valuable character in combat.
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Name's Adam :3
Mael
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 05:22:46 AM »

Hi,

As you probably know, there are many games that would fit your preferences - you mentioned some of them.
Honestly, I think you should try some these games with players willing to try something different.
It's not a problem even if you can't convince many people, there are many games around there suited for two players, and some are even designed that way. And some of them don't even need a GM!

One example: S/Lay W/me by Ron Edwards.
The link on Adept Press seems to be dead right now, but you can find it here : http://theunstore.com/index.php/unstore/game/64

If you can gather 3 or 4 players, I would also highly recommand InSpectres for an introdution to another way of playing.

Try to pick a game you would like to test, and talk about it to the people that you think might be interested.
At this point, one piece of advice: do not explain all the narrativism stuff in detail to these players - they will probably freak out if they think you're taking the whole thing too seriously (the usual reaction is "come on man, it's just a game!" - I'm talking from experience here).
Instead, have them read the book if you can - or if that's not possible, meet with them and do a quick summary of the rules right before you play.


Also, I think you didn't really get Callan's point about "roleplaying-criteria". In fact, many games very different in nature use the "roleplay" term, so it doesn't have a single definition - you should avoid to focus on that concept, pick a game that clearly explains how it is supposed to be played, and just do that.


PS: If you want to update your signature, you can do that in your profile (you can access to it using the link on the top, and then go into the "Forum Profile Information" section). Or you could also just tell us your name ;)
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