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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Confessions of an a*****e player  (Read 1253 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« on: February 04, 2003, 01:43:01 PM »

This goes along with the Protagonization, and what happens when it doesn't happen thread where I illustrate some recent revelations about my own recent play experience and the problems I have had with my play group. In that thread, I kind of put the blame on the GM. In this thread, the blame belongs squarely on me. Well, sort of. I'll try to explain.
Quote from: Ron Edwards
The whole-group problem is that individually-conducted character creation often produces differing conclusions about the point of play from player to player, which is to say, the characters are fully plausible and created by the rules, but are also manifestly incapable of interacting in terms of any one person's desired genre/setting. The classic example in fantasy-adventure play is the party including a paladin and an assassin; the one in superhero play is the super-team that includes both a Spider-Man clone and a Wolverine clone.

That's me, you see, sort of. That is, the group is playing Paladin the RPG and I create an Assassin character or we're playing Spider-Man the RPG and I create a Wolverine or, worse, Evil Ernie character. (Yeah that was the best example I could think of)

This has been going on for a number of years now. A few years ago, the GM ran a game set in Willingham's Ironwood. This won't make sense to anyone not familiar with that comic, but the group was playing elves and I was a memeber of the Church of Jesus Christ Avenger. They really don't go together.

In the last game, which is still going on, just without me, I attempted to make a Sorcerer character in his Sim/Gamist game. It really didn't go along with the idea of the players as heroes, a character who had, at least this one, summoned an unnatural thing for personal gain. Unfortunately, or fortunately I had developed the turtle-like play tactics described at the end of the GNS article and I did absolutely nothing in the game until I finally stopped.

Actually, this was kind of weird. It had to do with the GM's view of real life morality when playing a game. I had tried to show him kill puppies for satan because I thought he would find it funny, but the last time I asked him if he had read it he said something about not allowing players to play evil characters ever with much head shaking as if to say "how dare you, Jack. I'm very disappointed in you." or something to that effect. I think I tried to make a Sorcerer character to try to "show him" which upon reflection was stupid in the extreme. I shouldn't've wasted my time playing or making up a character in the first place since I had zero interest in what he was doing in his game and would rather be playing something else which he and the other had no interest in playing.

As it stands, I count quitting the game as one of the smartest moves of my young life. I wasn't enjoying myself and I sure as hell wasn't contributing to the enjoyment of the others. They still don't understand why I quit. I had showed my GM the GNS stuff (I print all that stuff out) but he didn't get it, really. Mostly he felt put on the defensive, I guess. That's what he said. But it doesn't matter if they understand. What matters is I am not longer the asshole player sitting there with some weird agenda that will most likely ruin the game for everyone else. Thanks.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2003, 03:22:58 PM »

Arguably, that is the most validating post I have ever seen regarding all of our efforts at the Gaming Outpost and here at the Forge.

Best,
Ron
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Bankuei
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2003, 11:51:58 PM »

Quote
That's me, you see, sort of. That is, the group is playing Paladin the RPG and I create an Assassin character or we're playing Spider-Man the RPG and I create a Wolverine or, worse, Evil Ernie character. (Yeah that was the best example I could think of)


I think that this illustrates a very interesting phenomenon that I've been looking at, the Focus of Play(consider it a piece of premise and Social Contract).  When you have the group coming to gether to play Paladin, the Focus is to fight evil and/or make moral decisions that involve falling to, resisting, or redeeming oneself.  When you make the assassin character, the Focus shifts from the conflict between the players and the moral decisions and onto the conflict between players.

Now, if you're playing a game where it's understood that the Focus of Play is going to be between players(Paranoia, Vampire LARP, Rune), then its all fun and backstabbing.  If you're playing a game that encourages a different sort of Focus, interplayer conflict can cause a shift in Focus, which may not be what everyone came to do.

Chris
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2003, 11:35:55 AM »

Addition:

Another thing which was brought into sharp relief by the Simulationist essay in particular the examples in Shit! I'm playing Narrativist

Before play had actually began, I had expressed an extreme lack of desire to, well, create a character. My GM is using his own house rules which are heavily influenced by GURPS, Hero, Rolemaster, Cyberpunk, Fuzion, and several other such games. I had argued how I disliked having to roll for personality/psychology traits in play nor wanted to be restricted by that. He argued back that he "never" forces a player to play such things unless they do something completely out of character, in which case he has them make a roll. It wasn't until after reading the essay that I realised that he was talking about exactly the same thing, he was just making it sound better somehow. He had the character psychology/personality element held as a box to work within, and breaking it required a roll of some kind. I wanted the testing of those elements to be the point of play. So having to "make a roll" to break them completely underminded what I wanted to do.

Just an interesting addendum. I look forward with much impatience for the next two essays.
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2003, 12:53:19 PM »

I can tell you Jack that you are not alone in this sort of thing. YEars ago, before acknowledging I was tired of Hack n Slash etc I was playing with a group of friends. We were playing AD&D2nd Edition. I was playing a Chaotic Neutral priest who was a complete nut, one minute he was good and one minute evil, he was also completely insane.  Well he also did not fit in with the party at all and annoyed everyone.  

Well I continued on with this pattern into the Palladium Fantasy game. Again I was "Captain Caveman" just running in and now I am pretty much marked as far as gaming with those friends. I realised that in pursuit of a more narrativist game, one that was less Killl kill kill and more think etc I was actually being a destructive force on the games themselves. I was pretty much destroying everyone's fun and blaming them for it.

So although I did not quit my friends, I am not anymore making undue expectations out of the games I am involved in.  Yet they still assume Captain Caveman will rear his ugly head...

Sean
ADGBoss
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