It’s been suggested to me that I do a short series on players that make it difficult for others to enjoy the game. I might do the same for GM’s if there’s enough material (and there probably is). Suffice to say, I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings here, but this sort of thing happens. It’s not like others aren’t talking about it. We’re gamers. We’re not all movie actors, politicians and other highly charismatic people. There are some poorly adjusted souls among our brethren.

The real issue comes in when you have to decide if those of our ilk who are not as socially adjusted interact with us, usually in situations where we can’t so easily walk away. To keep this probably well-discussed topic fresh, my plan is to speak mostly to my experience in this area.

I have played in many groups over the years and run a few others through various games. The conclusion I personally have arrived at, especially at my present age, is that I can only game with friends who are gamers. There are a host of odd personalities amongst my gaming friends, but they all fall within the tolerable norms I’ve come to expect from people. Through trial and error, I have encountered many that fell well beyond the pale of acceptability.

I was going to add that I wasn’t some snob when it came to gaming, but basically I guess I am. The experience is meant to be enjoyed and if you’re around someone who irritates you to the point of nausea, how exactly are you going to fulfill that whole “fun” goal?

It is easiest to discuss the first and most obvious problem gamer for most of us and that’s the “friend of a friend“. This could also be a relative of one of your group. These people were brought in, mostly when I was younger, as someone who “wanted to try gaming out”. Blessedly most of these gamers were one shots. They’d come in, make their character and play ineptly, then leave. Of course I’m not saying this was always the case. Many successful new gamers got their start in just this fashion, but a substantial number were crash n’ burns.

A most notable example for me, and I have to be careful because some of my friends who brought those people read this blog, was very early in my gaming days. One of my players brought a friend who completely wasn’t in to gaming, but he wanted to hang out with his friend. So…he came. Even rolled up a character. Then he promptly proceeded to trash the whole endeavor for the next couple of hours, calling it about anything negative he could think of and ultimately pissing me and the other players off in the process. We ended early, then reconvened later without our now pariah of a friend and finished that module, but it would always color my unease about adding new players.

Then there’s the stealth jerk. Oh wow. I have no problem talking about these morons. They join your group either through association or routing through your FNGS (friendly neighborhood gaming store) like on a bulletin board. They seem a little “odd”, but who isn’t? They are a little extra geeky, but we are playing games right? Then not long into your association with them, the stealth jackass lets loose his volleys. It’s yet to be a her in my experience.

The volleys can have multiple warheads. These could be closet rules lawyers, have serious personal hygiene issues, grating personality disorders or machinations on one of the other players’ significant others or wives. YES, I’ve seen all those. In each case the condition was inoperable and if left unchecked fatal to that individual campaign.

The worst of my experiences were combos of these. One was a wonderful fellow who reveled in his lack of hygiene. He would take off his socks at some point during play and throw them at the wall. They’d stick. He bent rules to the point of bending them over, creating ridiculous characters that made it difficult for anyone else to actually enjoy the adventure. Oh, and he macked on every single damn girl in the group trying to lure them away from their current significant others. He eventually got one, only because of issues in her primary relationship, but I’m still at a loss as to why she picked him. Things must’ve been worse than any of us could have imagined for her to leave her sometimes dick of a husband for this gem. The only bright spot of that issue was…it finally got him to leave the group and move out of state. This was one of my early steps on the path back to believing that there was indeed a God.

And with that small bit of anonymous libel, I’ll cut this post to continue it in Part II, where we will discuss the girlfriend gamers, oddballs and the most dreaded fiends of all…Con gamers. I hope to even discusss a bit more in depth how to survive these “individuals”. Stay tuned!