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Conflicts and how to avoid them

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Adamo1618

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« on: <01-05-15/1427:12> »
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.

Sternenwind

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« Reply #1 on: <01-05-15/1510:26> »
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.
« Last Edit: <01-07-15/1658:07> by Sternenwind »

Spooky

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« Reply #2 on: <01-05-15/1849:37> »
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.
Spooky, what do you do this pass? Shoot him with my thunderstruck gauss rifle. (Rolls)  8 hits. Does that blow his head off?

Herr Brackhaus

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« Reply #3 on: <01-05-15/2032:27> »
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.

Reaver

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« Reply #4 on: <01-05-15/2114:32> »
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.
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Lethal Joke

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« Reply #5 on: <01-05-15/2344:06> »
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.

Wavefire

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« Reply #6 on: <01-06-15/0707:53> »
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.

Darzil

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« Reply #7 on: <01-06-15/0722:34> »
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.

FastJack

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« Reply #8 on: <01-06-15/0744:10> »
A lot of this advice could go a loooong way towards how you post on the boards as well.

silentninjadesu

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« Reply #9 on: <01-06-15/1539:16> »
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!

Adamo1618

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« Reply #10 on: <01-07-15/1441:47> »
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!

All4BigGuns

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« Reply #11 on: <01-07-15/1447:49> »
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.
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« Reply #12 on: <01-07-15/1521:19> »
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).
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All4BigGuns

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« Reply #13 on: <01-07-15/1541:35> »
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.
« Last Edit: <01-07-15/1544:30> by All4BigGuns »
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« Reply #14 on: <01-07-15/1626:33> »
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.
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