Dealing With "That Guy" In Your Role Playing Group

At some point in your role playing career, you will encounter "that guy". It is inevitable as rain or bad news. Ask anyone who has been gaming for awhile and they'll sit there and rattle off a few doozies with a thousand yard stare.

So who is "that guy"?

There is no exact definition or parameter of behavior. It's typically someone at your table who is disruptive, disrespectful, argumentative, hasn't bathed, hogging the spotlight or flat out being creepy. My personal "that guy" story involves one of my table mates, a less than pleasant smelling fellow, holding up a traced hentai picture and declaring that this is what his character looked like and that he wanted to have sex with me.

Yeah. Fun night.

Now here's the thing, he didn't mean for it to be serious and he wasn't intentionally trying to creep me out. He was playing a character from the Book of Erotic Fantasy, a Dungeons & Dragons supplement, and he was just trying to play his character, but he was just too enthusiastic about it and made a faux pas. We all made crude jokes and remarks around the table, this just happened to be aimed directly at another player. We talked it over and he saw the error of his ways. Kinda.

The reason I bring this all up is because this is a common occurence amongst role playing groups. Someone is acting out or disrupting the group and the other players are unsure of what to do about it. On one hand, the person is probably their friend and they don't want to hurt their feelings or embarrass them. On the other hand, everyone is getting together to have a good time and it isn't right to allow one or two people to ruin it for everyone else. Compound that with the fact that many gamers happen to be socially awkward people and you can have a real mess on your hands.

In the end though, there is only one real way to deal with this situation: sitting the person down and talking to them like an adult. It may be uncomfortable and there will probably be some friction, but it really is the best way. First things first though, is deciding what the group wants to do about it.

The group, sans the problem person, should talk and agree on a course of action. Do they want to give the person another shot or perhaps ask them to leave the group? Maybe changing systems would help? What's important is that the group comes to a consensus about what should be done first, before any action is taken. The last thing you want is to unintentially anger or offend another group member.

After the group makes up their minds, someone has to bite the bullet and deliver the news. In most cases this is the GM (Game Master or person running the game). Typically they are the one who brought everyone together so they tend to bear the burden of keeping the group civil. This may not be the case for every group though. It may be smarter to have the person's closest friend or the whole group speak to the person in question. Decide as a group and follow through.

The last bit of advice is critical; keep things calm and don't get emotional. More than likely the problem person is going to be upset. They probably don't view their behavior as negative or disruptive and will more than likely be angry and argumentative. Don't get riled up yourself, it will only make things worse. Its much easier to be angry at someone who is yelling and upset than a person who is calm and simply stating facts.

I'm not going to lie, unless the person is a real ass, you're going to feel bad about this. Its neither easy or fun to turn someone away, but it really is better for everyone in the long run. It doesn't have to be permanent and it doesn't have to result in the loss of a friendship either, but if it is that big of a problem, it should be handled.

Good luck.

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  • Very good read again, but what in the world does "rattle off a few doozies" mean? Google was of absolutely no help, I'm just more confused!

    As for "that guy", I admit I've never played long enough with a fixed group to see that problem emerging. Maybe I was "that guy" but since I never stick around too long, I hope I'm not so much a nuisance as a recurring player.

  • Wow, there is SERIOUSLY a Book of Erotic Fantasy, a Dungeons & Dragons supplement? surprised Where does one even find supplements like that? Is there like a geek section of the local seedy porn store? As to "rattle off a few doozies", it is an expression that basically means listing a bunch of big or extreme examples. A suggestion when researching phrases like that in google, separate the words and look up individual meanings an attempt to string them together and hope it works. i did that, and i got the definition to rattle off, and the definition of doozy. admittedly it helps that i knew what the phrase meant to begin with lol

  • I'd like to invoke the Rule 34 on that matter. For those who don't know it yet, it states that "pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject". Dungeons and Dragons included. And you can find the Book of Erotic Fantasy on Amazon sourire

    About my initial search, that's what I did, I knew what rattling meant as making rapid noises, so I looked for doozies, but as "something outstanding or unique of its kind" it didn't really fit. I admit I didn't know what "rattling off" meant specifically so I threw myself off track. After that I looked for the whole phrase and it didn't yield any explanations, only uses of the expression.

    Anyway, thanks for the explanation smile

  • So I wanted your opinion, and started to type a comment, but it became a huge body of text due mainly because I did not know if you, Ver_Spot knew of the Dresden Files RPG and how to play. So to save time, first can I ask if you know the rule set, and then if so, I can just post my question, or if not, I would further elaborate.

  • I've read through the Dresden Files RPG, read the books and am pretty well versed in Fate.If you have a question about it, feel free to ask.

  • Well the question is regarding my concern playing in a group, and feeling I am butting heads with the DM. So wondering what you think is the best way to resolve this, and do you think this is valid, or could I be "that guy" and just not be realizing it. I am currently in a group for the Dresden Files RPG. I was given the impression that the story is group created and run, with the DM as a guiding force. The game I am currently in however does not feel that way. When we sat down as a group, the DM continually shot down our ideas. Then when we came up to character creation, every concept we came up with got a "well.....why don't you do the template instead" or "well.....the book puts monster and player powers all together....and that feels like a monster power to me".

    One player wanted to have his character to be a shapechanger. The DM said to use the changeling template, the player replied but he is not a changeling/fey, he is a focused shapechanger and the DM kept pushing till he relented and pasted the changeling template on the top of his page. I ended up having to have three separate ideas shot down before I bold faced said to him "so please tell us what abilities we CAN'T use, so then I can know which ones I CAN use". His response: "but I don't want to feel like I am limiting you." I ended up giving up on my ideas, and just doing a white court virgin like he kept hinting at. Then when I took a power that felt right for the character, I got yet again "well....".

    So this has gone on for most of the game. I feel if the DM had been upfront from the beginning and stated "I want to run the Dresden Files, but I have a specific story I want to run, and would like you all the play pre-gen characters" I would be fine with that. But every time I feel like I try to collaborate with him and meet in the middle I get brick walled. The current problem is his friend keeps missing the game and we need a wizard. I asked the group if they would be ok with me changing characters. Everyone said sure. The DM then started to push this NPC villain wizard for me to play. I told him I already had in mind an idea I was very excited about but I asked for the information on the villain to see if I would be interested. I wasn't and told him why, and then presented my character to ask his thoughts.

    He ignored my character and continued to push the NPC. I finally dug in my heels and ignored his email and asked again his thoughts on the character. He said he liked it, but kept being non-committal. I tried to work with him on keeping the personality of the character but use his story hook like he wanted to in order to include her, again to collaborate, but he largely avoids my emails. I have had to prod him repeatedly in order to get any reply, trying to resolve this before the day of the game so we could all be prepared to play.

    We ended up playing since I initially asked you this question, and I felt it was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand he did include my new character pretty early to let me play her, which I was grateful for, but on the other hand the way he tied the character in so he could use his monsters didn't make sense to me. So in the end it did not turn out too bad, but I am concerned this issue will be a trend. I am sorry for the incredibly long post. I understand this is skewed from my perspective, but am I being a difficult player? Is it just me? And if not, what would you suggest I do? I don't want to just leave the game, but this is starting to frustrate me.

  • I understand your frustration buddy.

    Firstly, you are not the problem in this situation and from what you've told me, you have done a good job of keeping the peace between you and your GM. So no Pathfinder, you are not the problem player, your GM is.

    From someone who runs a lot of story driven games, I understand what your GM is doing. He has a grand design and doesn't want to see it changed too much. The problem with this approach to GMing is that it doesn't totally work. Role playing games incorporate multiple storytellers, ensuring that no one player's vision is going to be the final result, especially the GM's. This can be hard for some people to accept and they tend to railroad the other players because of it. This may not be exactly what's happening, but thats what it sounds like to me.

    In all honesty, you did the right thing. You talked to your GM multiple times and tried to meet him in the middle. My advice would be to talk to him about his goals for the campaign. Ask him how much of it has been plotted out, if you should be expecting surprises, etc. Get a good idea of what's going on in his head. If it sounds like your just playing in his fan fiction you might want to consider alternatives. I'm not saying leave the game mind you, but you can always offer him some type of deal like "I'll keep playing, but the next campaign has to be more open..." or "I'll play this character, but your going to have to let me do...". If he still won't budge, you might want to leave the game, but its best to explain why so that he understands. He may not be realizing what he's doing and I'm pretty sure you don't want to burn any bridges.

    Hoped this helped Pathfinder. Good luck.

  • Thanks for the info! I realize being a DM is difficult, and certainly not a skill I have (the few times I have, I struggled with it), but at the same time as a player I want to enjoy the game. I will give your suggestions a shot!

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