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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 56 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Departing gracefully  (Read 1215 times)
RaconteurX
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Posts: 262


« on: October 01, 2003, 05:03:18 PM »

From my own experience, I can tell you that departing gracefully is often a more powerful tool of rebuke than making a scene. Faced with a similar situation, I thanked the assembled group for their time and company, expressed regret that our play-styles proved incompatible, and left with a smile on my face. After all, sometimes things just don't work out for the best.

My decency shamed the others in the group into the realization that their gamemaster and his wife were bullies. A month or so later, I heard from a friend that they had staged a coup, ejected the gamemaster and his wife, and wanted to get back in touch with me. I contacted them, which lead to a brief but otherwise enjoyable association before I moved on for good.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2003, 05:34:46 PM »

Michael originally posted to Help me keep Brian from doing something regrettable. I have to say, it was a very appropriate post although the thread is now no longer active.

I think a lot of good stories like this exist out there. I also think we need to publicize them and discuss them, as they serve for models for people who are struggling with the common conundrum of friends/role-players and disagreements.

Best,
Ron
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AnyaTheBlue
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2003, 05:59:06 PM »

I think a lot of this kind of trouble comes from people in a group having different things they like, and trying to make all the play be exactly that way, because doing it other ways isn't fun.  Sometimes it's more of a control/power trip thing, since the GM (historically) has had a certain concentration of social power in the gaming group.  But you can have similar scuffles for "who is going to be the leader" between players.

I think the trick is doing the kinds of things Michael did.  Bring it up and talk about it, or simply agree to disagree and move on.  It's hard to do that sometimes, because people's feelings get hurt.  The trick for me is to try and remember that we're all just trying to have fun, and my fun may be tedious to other people.  And I try to help them see the same thing about their fun.

It usually works, but not always.  I find, sometimes, that it's harder to do with a group of people you know well and are friends outside the game group.  They sometimes feel hurt that 'their buddy' is disagreeing with them, or taking a different side, or whatever.

I don't think there's an easy way around it.  Setting out boundaries and talking about play styles during the 'pre-game roundtable' period of the game can help.  Many gamers don't understand the need, though.  "Let's just play!"  Grrr.
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Dana Johnson
Note that I'm heavily medicated and something of a flake.  Please take anything I say with a grain of salt.
RaconteurX
Member

Posts: 262


« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2003, 06:26:25 PM »

As another example, I once clashed badly with a new player who had just joined a long-running campaign in which I was participating, and chose to depart rather than make waves. After all, I had played in the campaign for five years and I thought the group might benefit from the new blood.

Within a session's time (we played monthly), my former fellows asked me to return to the game but left the task of ousting the new player to me. I was very diplomatic, explained to him that it was a simple case of incompatible personalities, and apologized. He accepted my apology, thanked me for my consideration, and moved on.

I still see him periodically around town, and even played a boardgame with him a while back. Social dynamics are always a difficult variable to predict, but I have found that tact and courtesy usually do the trick. No solution is perfect but, to me at least, belligerent confrontation is a last resort.
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JamesDJIII
Member

Posts: 201


« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2003, 04:20:00 AM »

I don't think I've ever seen this happen. In fact, almost every "split" I've been witness too involved nastiness and hard feelings. And, mind you, these were all adults.

At what point do you mke the decision to bow out? How long do you hang on, trying to negotiate a place where eveyone has fun? A week? A month? A year?

And when you make your exit, or eject a player, how many of you, besides RaconteurX, found courtesy to work out? (Is this post another thread?)

I will say that I once participated in a series of Diplomacy by email games. The first game was quite fun and I entertained myself immensely with a lot odd email and "press" (Diplomacy term for propaganda). I found out subsequent games that this wasn't really what most Diplomacy players did in games. I found out that by and large Diplomacy games fell along very rigid lines: if X and Y, then you must do Z, and if not, no one speaks to you, having been written off as a loon not worth the time of day.

I played for the unpredictable "characters" of the game and the interactions between every one. The other players were looking for a, heck would we call this a Gamist experience? I told the person who judged the games that I didn't think Diplomacy was offering what I was looking for and passed on further invites.

The thing is that those games were not our only means of social fun. We (for the most part) still talk to each other when we can (we are geographically dispersed). We also gamed together in the RPG sense for many many years before.

So here's my next question: do things get nasty when the game IS the social venue?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2003, 05:06:35 AM »

Hello,

James, you asked,

Quote
do things get nasty when the game IS the social venue?


... and my answer is an unqualified "Yes." I have rarely, if ever, seen a role-playing situation in which the "we play together" box holds the "we get along" box, which yielded satisfaction. I think the only things that keep such groups going are a perceived sense of isolation from a larger social group, adrenaline highs based on frustration and argument, and habit - in the neurotic sense of "keep pushing the button and maybe it'll feel good this time."

To be absolutely clear regarding a common misunderstanding of this point, I don't think that role-players must socialize with one another outside of the game. But the nature of the interactions, to be healthy, need to be consistent with the behavior that they could. In other words, if you would be uncomfortable hanging out with so-and-so, do not play with this person. If you would like to, and just happen not to very often (or not yet), then that's fine.

I first posted about these issues in Social Context, one of the Infamous Five threads from last year.

Michael apparently wields considerable skill at making a game-oriented interaction into a real-social interaction, which is something worth striving for, in my view.

Best,
Ron
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JamesDJIII
Member

Posts: 201


« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2003, 08:02:09 AM »

Quote
Ron: I have rarely, if ever, seen a role-playing situation in which the "we play together" box holds the "we get along" box, which yielded satisfaction.


<cocks eyebrow>
Fascinating.

That explains a lot.
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RaconteurX
Member

Posts: 262


« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2003, 05:20:47 PM »

Quote from: JamesDJIII
Do things get nasty when the game IS the social venue?


When it is the sole social venue, perhaps, but not necessarily. Depends upon the maturity of the individuals, I suppose. I am currently playing Star Trek with a group of folks who were long-time regular customers of mine back when I ran the games department at one of the local hobby stores. While our schedules afford us no other time to socialize, by and large, we do have the benefit of years of casual association. There have been some tensions, such as when I ejected the daughter of two of the group from a nascent Pendragon campaign for behavior I did not consider appropriate, but for the most part we are communicative and open when there are problems.

I recently announced that I required a break from the campaign, partly because I wanted a little "alone time" and partly because, pesky Method Actor that I am, I had reached an impasse in my character's progress. In brief, he no longer has any motivation to continue in his assigned role as Chief Engineer, short of mere duty, and I have been struggling to find a new purpose for him. It may simply be time to retire this character, send him into obscurity and the Great Backstory. My fellow players resisted my departure, and felt initially that I was somehow dissatisfied with the game or the group. I explained my rationales in depth, promised that I would be back, and everyone was assuaged.

Could it have been messy? Yes. But we are all well-educated, articulate people and are able to express ourselves clearly and succinctly. We also bother to ask one another about troubles which might exist, rather than expect the worst and work from that assumption. There is also very little in the way of competing ego (mine is probably the largest, only because everyone insists on constantly telling me how fabulous a time they have when I am playing... I just chew the scenery better and more often than most) as everyone knows it is the combined effort which makes the story so memorable.

The price of all this good experience? I sometimes go for years between campaigns, because I am very selective when it comes to the people with whom I play. I run (and play in) events at conventions, but my tastes there run toward the obscure simply because those games tend to attract better players. So I'd choose HeroQuest over D&D3.5e, Sorceror over Mage, Theatrix over... uh... never mind. Diceless and more traditional games really can't be compared.
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RaconteurX
Member

Posts: 262


« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2003, 05:35:45 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Michael apparently wields considerable skill at making a game-oriented interaction into a real-social interaction, which is something worth striving for, in my view.


All it really comes down to is a willingness to communicate, sympathy for and sensitivity to the feelings of others, and the ability to express oneself with a modicum of tact and politeness. It all comes down to the Golden Rule, one of the few useful artifacts of Catholicism which I retain from my youth (before I knew that abstaining from institutionalized religion was a  far wiser course): "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In common parlance, treat people the way you would like them to treat you. That sadly seems to be lacking in society these days, as a whole, though gamers can just seem more socially maladjusted than so-called ordinary folk.
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