Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remember, Don't Be A Dick

Last week, I talked about the traits I look for in a good player. While I believe all five things I listed are important and any good player should possess them, there is one trait that I feel I should emphasize more because it's a trait that can cause the most problems in a group if not dealt with. It's a trait that can be boiled down to four simple words:

"Don't Be A Dick."

There is nothing more annoying than a player or GM who decides to ruin everyone else's fun by acting like a complete and utter dick at the table. Roleplaying games are supposed to be about gathering with your friends and having a fun time telling a shared story, not dealing with one or more people who decide being a dick is the only way they can enjoy themselves and only their enjoyment is important, so everyone else can go screw themselves. As we get older, it gets harder and harder to schedule these games, making time a valuable thing. I can't be the only one who wants to spend that time with people whose company I enjoy and don't just want to punch in the face.

So, with all that being said, I thought I'd post a few ways to tell if you or someone else is being a dick at the table so you can identify it and deal with it before things get out of hand. The most obvious sign is if someone has their player do something horrible or like a complete asshole and their defense for these actions is, "I'm just playing my character." You're not just playing your character, you are using your character to act like a dick and then putting the blame onto an imaginary person.

Another sign is if the player is constantly making choices that go against the rest of the party or are counter-productive to the adventure. For example, the rest of the party has decided to go explore this strange cave that has been bellowing out green mist on a nightly basis and that one player says, "Guys, I'm not going to that cave. I'm going to stay in the tavern." The majority of the party has decided to do this, but that one player has decided to through a monkey wrench into the cogs and usually makes the excuse, "My character just wouldn't go on that adventure."

Finally, the easiest way to tell if someone at the table is just being a dick is if they constantly start fights with other party members for no real good reason. While some inter-party conflict can be interesting and lead to some nice character development, it will spell death for a campaign and gaming group if its a constant occurrence. Like I said before, we are here to have fun, not to fight and be at each others throats.

As I've said again and again, no one really wants to deal with a dick. If you see any of the above things happening, you should probably try to find a way to nip it in the butt before things explode. Hopefully you can handle it and get back to playing and having a good time. However, sometimes the only way to deal with a dick is to take the dick out of the picture. While kicking a player out of a group is never easy, sometimes its the only thing you can do to keep your gaming group healthy and for everyone else to have a good time.