July 10, 2014
You Will Not Like Me When I Am Angry
There are lots of things you should not do while you are angry, and it should come as no surprise that running a game for your friends is one of them. This is especially true when one or more of said friends are the source/cause of said anger.
It is the role of the Gamemaster to create a fun and dramatic story for the players to engage in, but what comes with these responsibilities is a vastly infinite well of power and authority to draw from. There is a gamer joke that exists, talking about when player characters get a bit too out of hand, that the Gamemaster just gives up and says “rocks fall from the sky. You are dead.” It’s completely contrived, but well within the power of the Gamemaster to do so. The thing is, while a Gamemaster can do these sorts of things, they should not. Unfortunately, we Gamemasters tend to be – or at least think of ourselves — as a dreadfully clever lot. When upset with someone, we would not imagine being so direct. Not when there are so many other devious ways of getting back at them.
Few things will derail a game as quickly as a Gamemaster being spiteful towards one or more of the players. Players tend to get defensive when they feel that the Gamemaster has it out for them, and rightly so. The Gamemaster has control over what sorts of opponents the player characters face, which enemies attack which character, what loot is found, who the non-player characters choose to address, and many more things, which is why it can be easy to feel as though you have earned your Gamemaster’s ire when you start being the target of all the antagonists’ aggression.
This is why, when it comes to gaming, I try to have a “leave your problems at the door” policy. Whatever issues you might have with other players or the Gamemaster, they serve no place at the game-table. If they are so bad that you do not feel comfortable gaming with that person or person, then why are you there in the first place? Even so, there is one other solution that I will pose that, in my opinion, has the greatest chance to alleviate all of the unwanted drama that can come from a Gamemaster or other players having it out for you. Want to know what it is?
Talk to each other. Before a game is preferable, somewhere where you can speak your mind — though I ask that you be respectful towards one another – without an audience. Do not try to gang up on someone. Do not be accusatory or demeaning. Just talk. It’s possible they feel wronged by you in some way that you did not mean, and if so then it is something that needs discussed. Game groups, at their heart, are groups friends. Friends fight sometimes, it happens. To put it bluntly, it sucks but it’s best to handle it now and then forget about it. Do not let some slight ruin an evening, or evenings, or everybody.
Remember, Gamemasters are people, too. We get angry. We get sad. We get upset. Most of all, we are human. We can be bitter. Petty. We can make mistakes. Hopefully, we can also realize this and get the game back on track before our not-so-nice side ruins the gaming experience for everyone around our table.
As always, thanks for reading I wish you all good gaming.
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