Shadowrun

Shadowrun Play => Gamemasters' Lounge => Topic started by: Adamo1618 on (14:27:12/01-05-15)

Title: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Adamo1618 on (14:27:12/01-05-15)
Just recently I decided to end my campaign I had been running for a while, because my short temper in combination with conflicts within the group and a generally disrespectful behaviour towards me as the GM. My group has a history of protesting the GM's various decisions and burst out in rules discussions in the middle of the game. I was very clear as I volounteered that I wouldn't tolerate any heated, pointless or ill-founded discussions about rules or characters. For example, before discussing rules we were forced to look them up, and they could not interfere unless it was very important.

Sadly, all these things happened and reached a crescendo a few days ago, when people literally started screaming over me setting a Treshold of 3 and a -4 modifier on a Pistols Test to hit an apple on a person's head. My attempts to remain objective and calm didn't do any good and we had to call the game off. A day later I informed them that the campaign was cancelled and they were sent home. Now I'm quite sad and I wonder if this is common among gaming groups, what I could have done differently, and if someone could give me a few comforting words. I sure as hell need it.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Sternenwind on (15:10:26/01-05-15)
There are thousand ways how somepony can write that you are right and your players are idiots, and a thousand ways how anypony can write how you are totally wrong and something bad and your players are right. We werenít there.
I tend to relent in this kind of situation, but sometime I donít give a fuck and go all in. The thing is, in this situation it isnít about the game anymore. And to do the right thing is all about knowing the person on the other side and yourself.

About your short temper, just go out and walk around. This may look strange but is better than saying the wrong things at the wrong time to the wrong people.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Spooky on (18:49:37/01-05-15)
Have to agree with sternenwind. If you know you have a short temper, learn to recognize what sets you off, and when you see them, step out for a couple of minutes, and take some deep breaths. As soon as you are calm (ish) go back in and attempt to be reasonable with the person/people/thing/situation that is setting you off. Repeat as needed. If you find that you are getting no gaming done during your session because of this, then A) you are not cut out to be that group's GM, or B) your players are not mature enough to have you as GM. Either way, it is time to step aside from GM for that group. Remaining a part of that group is debatable, and would need further thought. Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Herr Brackhaus on (20:32:27/01-05-15)
To be fair to you, Adamo1618, I think it's also important to recognize that the game is supposed to be about having fun. If you're not having fun because your players are constantly second-guessing you and you've tried to talk to them about it in a civilized manner, I can't fault you for taking the actions you did.

Ultimately, I think roleplaying games can be a good opportunity for personal growth; you learn to put yourself in other roles and if you're the least bit introspective you can gain insights into how your own behaviour affects the environment around you, whether that is your natural, and I hesitate to use this term, "true" self, or an affected persona.

Either way, to my mind you did the right thing by cancelling a game that clearly wasn't fun for you. Now all you can do is revisit your choices and think about how you can do better in the future.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Reaver on (21:14:32/01-05-15)
Not everybody can sit together either.

Due to conflicts in personality, sometimes a group just doesn't work. It happens.

I guess the bigger question is, do you still wish to play with these people, or try to find an other group? If you liked the group, then it might be worth giving it another try. If it felt more like 'a day at the office' then a relaxing social game, then it may be time to find a new batch of gaming buddies.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Lethal Joke on (23:44:06/01-05-15)
Well, I've ended a campaign before. My group's prior GM (now a player as he hated being the GM) ended several - well, more like never carried any past two sessions.

In the end, everyone has to be having fun. If you weren't, ending it was a valid choice. In my case, I was bored due to the limitations the type of game I had designed. It was a zombie game (All Flesh Must Be Eaten) in which the players were playing representations of themselves. As a result I couldn't kill my players PCs (no replacing yourself) and the threats I could throw at them were limited even with the kid gloves I found myself wearing.

They weren't happy I ended it. But I started my Shadowrun 5th campaign and both they and I are quite happy - two of my players even prefer the Shadowrun game because it came with a challenge I couldn't give them with the zombies.

As to the arguments, it depends if you can see a way to keep them from nitpicking. I would start by double-checking what you're doing to them via the rules before they ever get near it. If that fails, try and talk to your players - individually, if possible - about how you're feeling badgered and annoyed by their rules-lawyering. Most players want to keep the game going, and may go easier.

If they aren't the type, then end it. Someone else can GM whether you want to remain part of the group or not.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Wavefire on (07:07:53/01-06-15)
A few things:
1.  Are these your friends out of game or just a group you picked up at school or similar?
2.  Is the problem all the players or just 1-2?
3.  Are there any personal issues between you and any of the players?

If you're friends you need to sit down and talk this through cause I'm willing to guarantee that your players aren't having fun either. If it's just a group you found you should perhaps not play together. RPGs take trust. You are trusting them to treat your efforts with respect and they are trusting you not to waste their time.

If it's just 1-2 players causing issues talk to them and if you can't reach a compromise ask them to leave the group. If it is all of them you need to look at your own behaviour and ask your players why they dislike your style of GM'ing.

If there are unresolvable personal issues you should probably not play together. Trust needed and all.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Darzil on (07:22:34/01-06-15)
Also, it's worth GM and Players being on the same page on what to expect.

Some people are very rules focussed, some play RPGs as GM vs Players, some are more into consensual storytelling. It helps a lot if you are all on (roughly) the same page, or at least are willing to be.

Our table is fairly relaxed, so doesn't have to be quite as on the same page. We tend to be fairly non-munchkin, but with enough rules understanding to be good, occasionally get sidetracked into rules/background discussion, but are all willing to back off when asked by anyone.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: FastJack on (07:44:10/01-06-15)
A lot of this advice could go a loooong way towards how you post on the boards as well.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: silentninjadesu on (15:39:16/01-06-15)
I took a quick peek at your profile, and saw you were a bit young. I assume that most/all of your players are also teenagers? If that's the case then some of these issues will probably get better as everyone matures a bit. Unfortunately our favorite hobby does tend to attract people who don't always have the best social skills, and I've played in games where 30 year olds threw books at each over rules issues. But it's not impossible! My group right now gets along great and is really harmonious.

Specific advice for you: You can only control your actions. First and foremost learn how to control your temper. Even if someone is yelling at you don't yell back. If you feel angry take a deep breath and count to 10. Call a break and get lunch/snacks. Seriously, sometimes people are just getting cranky because they're hungry and have played too long. As the GM you set the tone at the table.

Select who you play with carefully! Try to meet a bunch of gamers at stores and in online groups and talk to a bunch of people to find 4 or so that you actually like, and who are reasonably acting adults.

Have patience! The best of friends sometimes still fight, and the key to a good group is patience, forgiveness and learning how to fight well while still respecting each other.

I highly recommend that you just have a standing policy that in-game there are zero rules discussions. You are the GM, your word is law. If someone disagrees with your ruling they should write down their concern and talk about it with you afterwards. (If this person is particularly aggressive about it, tell them to e-mail you, written communication takes away a ton of tension.) This keeps the game flowing and fun for everyone.

I hope some of this helps!
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Adamo1618 on (14:41:47/01-07-15)
Wow, thanks for a lot of helpful advice, guys! ^^

Some of it I have tried already, like trying to be on the same "level" as the players, as well as keeping food within arm's reach. Other things were new, such as group dynamics. It's a tiny bit embarrasing that I didn't even think about it, but it makes sense now. It tends to go way better playing with a small number of people from the group, and also when I play with only specific people. I can't blame myself entirely for this but I know I have a part in it. Exactly what to do is tricky to figure out, since I detest excluding people. I guess this is very individual but if anyone has any general tips they are most welcome.

I took a quick peek at your profile, and saw you were a bit young. I assume that most/all of your players are also teenagers? If that's the case then some of these issues will probably get better as everyone matures a bit. Unfortunately our favorite hobby does tend to attract people who don't always have the best social skills, and I've played in games where 30 year olds threw books at each over rules issues. But it's not impossible! My group right now gets along great and is really harmonious.

That is true, most of us are either in high school or recently graduated from it, so we are around 18-19. I wasn't actually aware of the fact that tabletop rpg's are quite uncommon in our generation but I recalled shows like Community or The Gamers which feature more mature players. I'm going to equip myself with patience and focus on surviving University.

I appreciate all of your responses and will take them to my heart. Thanks again!
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: All4BigGuns on (14:47:49/01-07-15)
Sadly, all these things happened and reached a crescendo a few days ago, when people literally started screaming over me setting a Treshold of 3 and a -4 modifier on a Pistols Test to hit an apple on a person's head.

I do have to say that you did go overboard here. Either the Threshold 3 or the -4 penalty to the test would have been sufficient on their own, but unless the person with the apple on their head was speeding down the freeway on a motorcycle, having both is overkill, IMO.

They shouldn't have screamed, but emotions run high with some people and those people go from "Vulcan" to screaming in the blink of an eye.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Namikaze on (15:21:19/01-07-15)
I do have to say that you did go overboard here. Either the Threshold 3 or the -4 penalty to the test would have been sufficient on their own, but unless the person with the apple on their head was speeding down the freeway on a motorcycle, having both is overkill, IMO.

No surprise here, but I disagree.  I think the threshold is appropriate as the test is certainly harder than "Average" (pg 45, core book).  The penalty is a little much, given the size optional rule from Run & Gun.  I would have put it at -2 just for size, and any additional modifiers would apply (lighting, wind, range).
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: All4BigGuns on (15:41:35/01-07-15)
I do have to say that you did go overboard here. Either the Threshold 3 or the -4 penalty to the test would have been sufficient on their own, but unless the person with the apple on their head was speeding down the freeway on a motorcycle, having both is overkill, IMO.

No surprise here, but I disagree.  I think the threshold is appropriate as the test is certainly harder than "Average" (pg 45, core book).  The penalty is a little much, given the size optional rule from Run & Gun.  I would have put it at -2 just for size, and any additional modifiers would apply (lighting, wind, range).

Remember, I said that either on their own would be fine, but that both together was too much.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Namikaze on (16:26:33/01-07-15)
Remember, I said that either on their own would be fine, but that both together was too much.

And I think that the penalty + the threshold is fine.  I just think the only thing that was too much was the penalty, which should be somewhere around -2.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Reaver on (17:33:17/01-07-15)
meh, just like 10,000 other calls GMs make every day, Adamo made a call. Was it right? was it wrong?

Doesn't really matter as we don't know the full circumstances, but the point is, a conflict broke out and he is looking for advice on how to stop an other one.

Every day, GMs make calls, and sometimes they are the right one, and sometimes they are the wrong one... that's life, but it doesn't excuse poor behavior from all at the table.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Namikaze on (19:09:34/01-07-15)
Every day, GMs make calls, and sometimes they are the right one, and sometimes they are the wrong one... that's life, but it doesn't excuse poor behavior from all at the table.

That is certainly true.  I have had players disagree with me at my table, but we reserve the fighting for after the game is over.  Then, if the issue is still hot for that player we'll try to find a resolution so that it doesn't happen next time.  Maybe the issue is that the player disagrees with my decision to impose a penalty, or the severity of the penalty.  I'll usually explain it to them, and we'll try to make something consistent as a result.  Immature players are the ones that scream at the table because they aren't getting their way.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Reaver on (20:52:40/01-07-15)
I know GMs I play with have made called that I wouldn't have. And yes, some of those calls down right angered me. But, as you said, the table is not the time to throw a hissy fit. That comes after :D

No, seriously, Part of the GMs job is to make those calls. It comes with the job description (along with a host of other responsibilities as well), As players, you can make a point that you disagree with a GM call, but ultimately, you got to "roll with the punches" and accept the call, for now. After the game is done, revisit the issue in a calm manner. Explain why you feel the call was wrong and listen openly to what the GM has to say back.

As a GM, part of your job is to make sure that you are applying the rules fairly  to all. A bad call is a bad call, but can be mitigated somewhat if you applying the same call to NPCs as well. (if this is possible, sometimes, PCs do whacky things that are beyond the common sense of NPCs :D ). After the game is over, openly listen to what your PCs are saying. They very well could have a point! And, at the very least it gives you an incite into your player's head. Don't be afraid to admit you made a bad call either. The rules are complex, and it is easy to get confused in the heat of the moment.

Next game, sit down tell the group you made a bad call, and state for everyone how that call should have been made, that way you are all on the same page the next time something similar happens. And sometimes, that Bad call has lead to something really nasty happening.... well, if everyone is in agreement, replay the game from the point of that bad call.... yea the out come will vary dramatically, but that's not the point. the point is you are all having fun.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Adamo1618 on (03:09:26/01-13-15)
Part of the GMs job is to make those calls. It comes with the job description (along with a host of other responsibilities as well), As players, you can make a point that you disagree with a GM call, but ultimately, you got to "roll with the punches" and accept the call, for now. After the game is done, revisit the issue in a calm manner. Explain why you feel the call was wrong and listen openly to what the GM has to say back.

I can agree on the fact that it was a harsh penalty but it was made in the heat of the moment. All of my players have at least some experience of GMing, so I'd expect them to have some manners or at least understanding. Problem is that we don't have a replacement GM, so we'll see what I do. Would you guys recommend excluding the loudest players from the group and give it another shot?
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Lethal Joke on (03:33:26/01-13-15)
Part of the GMs job is to make those calls. It comes with the job description (along with a host of other responsibilities as well), As players, you can make a point that you disagree with a GM call, but ultimately, you got to "roll with the punches" and accept the call, for now. After the game is done, revisit the issue in a calm manner. Explain why you feel the call was wrong and listen openly to what the GM has to say back.

I can agree on the fact that it was a harsh penalty but it was made in the heat of the moment. All of my players have at least some experience of GMing, so I'd expect them to have some manners or at least understanding. Problem is that we don't have a replacement GM, so we'll see what I do. Would you guys recommend excluding the loudest players from the group and give it another shot?
Suppose that depends on how many players you've got. Personally I couldn't because there's only 3 players and myself. If you have a larger group that is a solution. I would recommend finding a tactful way of doing so, and discussing it with those you aren't throwing out before actually doing so.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Namikaze on (11:36:24/01-13-15)
Excluding loud players gets a little tricky.  It's possible that this guy is really passionate about the game, which can be a really good thing.  You have to determine if this guy's outburst was a one-time thing, or if it might happen again.  To do that, I'd suggest sitting down with him and asking him why he thought it was appropriate to act this way.  If he can acknowledge that it was not appropriate, then I think there's a chance for redemption.  If he cannot or will not acknowledge his inappropriate behavior, then I'd suggest telling him to find a new game.  Rationalizing inappropriate behavior would also result in him not being at my game next time.

The essence of what I'm saying is that passionate, mature players are rare, and should be nurtured.  Passionate, immature players are unfortunately common and should only be nurtured if you have the time and patience to do so.  Players that are just flat out assholes are also rare, and should be avoided at all costs.

I live in a city with a LOT of military personnel - we have 6 military bases in our vicinity.  In fact, every one of my players has been in one branch or another, and this is the way it's been for my group for many years.  I ran a demo game that attracted a bunch of very young soldiers, who were very passionate about the game but played it in a very immature fashion.  Called shot to the testicles, called shot to the taint, etc.  It was fun for a demo game, because I didn't care about how it would play out in the long run.  Then I met an air force cadet that came in at the last minute and blew me away by acting smart, taking things more seriously, and not trying to just fart around for giggles.  The soldiers would make fine additions to someone else's game, but they aren't my type.  The air force cadet is now one of the best players I've had in my group in a long time.

The soldiers, who were fun to play with, didn't take anything seriously and were certainly immature.  I just don't have the time or patience to deal with teaching them maturity - that's what their NCO is for.  The cadet on the other hand took things very seriously and acts with a high degree of maturity.  So if this was an accurate sample size, 25% of the community I have to play with here are going to be the kind of people I want to play with.  You have to learn to recognize when it's worth playing with a person and when it's not.  Unfortunately, I don't think any of us here can give you that answer.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Shaidar on (12:25:27/01-13-15)
Remember, Age doesn't guaranty Maturity.  I've played with 30 & 40 year-olds at my local gaming store, kind of a pick-up game, and there were a few Immature Adults.
Title: Re: Conflicts and how to avoid them
Post by: Reaver on (16:48:13/01-13-15)
I always leave banning a player as the last possible option. But that is me, and you have to do what you think is best of your situation.