THE TOP FIVE REASONS_
_WHY A GROUP FRACTURES_



THE CIRCLE AND THE REST

     Often enough, a GM does not invite players into his group; a group would invite more players.  However, this may create a wall between the new players and the old.  Another symptom is when a group of close friend start getting tight and the remaining players start to be pushed back.  This is not a major problem, unless the GM is involved.  When 95% of the of a group’s role playing falls to only 3 members of a six member group, problems will arise.  The inner circle forms a bond and soon the slightly unpopular Players find themselves lacking weapons, money, and role-playing time.  Novice and Experienced Players will come across this.  If a player sees this circle forming, chances are, they are not the only one.  Discuss it with the other outcasted player, but not with anyone in the inner circle.  If they concur with your findings, discuss it with the group.
     However, a really tight group will be difficult to break and the end of this group is soon at hand…check that.  The Inner circle will still play, chances are, by themselves.  Now don’t confuse this inner circle with an experience group letting in new players.  There will always be a settling-in period where the new player/s get used to the their surroundings and vice-versa.  I am referring to the games that go on for months or that start with a large group only to have a few members suddenly having all the fun.

     Pathfinder never really had an inner circle but I will admit that Craig got the most role-playing time.  For one, his character was made a full three months before anyone else, during the time the game was being created itself.  In fact, the first RPG session had passed before we both agree this game required a larger group.  Two years later, after Craig had moved south, everyone else had settled.  However, our resident female player, Carron was a devout role player in a game that did throw in the odd gunfight now and then.  As a result, I will admit her character didn’t have as many moments as the others.  However, I was never trying to intentionally exclude her even though some other players had grown to dislike her character.  I refused, however, to cut her out.
     It was a different story however in Derrick’s game.  After I was pushed out of the group, the circle had formed between the GM and three other players, leaving Carron and Tamara on the side.  It wasn’t long before they both were reciting to me later their own stories of being suddenly delegating to singing back up.  Both admitted that the game became less and less fun.  Both admitted that the only reason they stayed was because of the company of the other.
 
Brown:  "The only time he opens his mouth is to change feet."

INTER-GROUP DATING

     Now, I am not referring to those who Role Play with their significant others.  We have all heard those horror stories of two players who get a bit too close and the resulting stress shatters the group up.  What if they break up?  What if there is jealousy?  What if, what if, what if.  Point is unless two people are rock solid, a role playing game is great grounds for separation.  Anxiety, for those who take the game too seriously, rise from the paranoia of how someone reacts if their loved one’s character being attacked by another.  People in relationships have a tendency of falling out of character a tad bit too quickly.  Dating players also adds anxiety for the GM, as it limits his ability t create situations freely without getting flack for the opposing mate.  Now, all of these examples stem from mostly novice players.  Experience Role Player that can separate life and fantasy usually don’t have problems…but the whole group must fall into this category.  The only thing worse than two Players dating is one Player pursuing another.  If they were dating previous to the game, at least folks are used to it and the game can adapt.
 
Max:  "Jesse, there is a purple blinking icon heading your way."

     I have seen two games in my time fall apart because of one Player’s pursuit of another.  I must admit almost falling victim to this.  However, my deep friendship with the player (female to those who need obvious pointing out) kept us from feeling uncomfortable after a quick cooling off.  Someone I knew in another group met someone through role-playing and they are engaged now.  They are exceptions…but remember…I know of two games personally that fell…
 
Bjorn:  "We're all human." Rio:  "I'm not." Bjorn:  "You're not…" Rio:  "Just a very close facsimile of one."

TAKING EVERYTHING TOO PERSONALLY

     Notorious with novice players, especially Slashers.  Some Players simply have trouble distinguishing a personal attack from a character attack.  This is most common when mixing experienced role players with novice ones or when mixing players that don’t have a personal history with other players   outside the group.  Suddenly doubt is raised whether or not the inflammatory actions of the character really originate from motives of the player.  The fault here does not fall to the player being misunderstood, despite what others may say.  The fall first lays with the GM, for not reading the warning signs before the group formed.  If the group is split down the middle over the situation, or if the people taking the situation personally sits in the minority, usually the group stays together.
     It’s when the group gangs up on the sole player, usually an experience Role Player.  This is compounded if the GM is also inexperienced and/or sides with the others.  This hardly ever happens with a group of friends who have been playing for years.  Often it happens when this group lets in someone new without practical experience with the group.

     We weren’t sure if Carron’s character was just an echo of herself.  Several other players expressed disliking the game because of her.  However, since I never felt she was reducing Pathfinder’s enjoyment, I would not have kicked her out.  Since the game dropped Charles when he moved south (and he expressed joy with Carron), I began worrying of the group’s situation.  In fact, Charles expressed dissatisfaction to the point of leaving the group at the end of the season.  One day, Carron arrived with matching denim jackets for all to wear with our group’s insignia on the breast.  No one spoke against Carron’s involvement again.  Charles admited that he had misjudged her.
 
        <Two PCs run out of a building, into a cab> 
Evans:  "Quick, to the barracks!!" 
Howell:  "But that where you are?" 
Evans:  "@#$%...Out of the cab!!" 
     <The two PC exit the cab and run back into the building>

MIXING SLASHERS WITH ROLE-PLAYERS

     This depends entirely on the game at hand.  However, often enough, a group of dominant role players will often pick on the minority Slashers and vice versa.  Since many Slashers are inexperienced, they will often exert qualities above and take it personally.  The biggest problem simply lies with the fact that Role Players have a tendency of banding together, as do Slashers and often enough; a line draws in the sand.  A worse case scenario finds the two parties soon fighting each other.  Friends or not, if there is a Slasher in the group brandishing firearms like so many reproductive organs, Role Players band together and often play against the unwanted fighter.  Of course, the opposite also occurs but more than teaming up, the minority role players often find themselves isolated and the opportunities for excitement and fun reduce.
     This only really applies to larger groups.  A Two-player group with one Slasher and one Role Player don’t often fail and conflicts seldom occur.

     As I mentioned before Joe was a Slasher in Pathfinder surrounded by mostly Role Players.  He discovered himself outcasted quickly.  I found myself in a similar situation in Daniel’s game, sides reversed.  I was trying to create a deep character  (an ex-cop with a past, yadda, yadda, yadda) but everyone else focused their skills in weapons rather than the miscellaneous.  One day, an explosion ripped through a major battle, injuring many PC, forcing a hospital race.  I was the most severely injured.  A good example of the other PC disdain for my character, they left me in the hospital alone, strapped in the ICU.  But before they left, another player wrote down where the group would be on a post-it note and stuck on my character’s forehead.  My PC made a point to slugging that character in mouth the next time I saw him.  I designed a more gun-orientated character (a hitman) and replaced the character and found greater success.
 
Bryce:  “I'm going to church.” 
Rio:  “Church? “
Bryce:  “Isn't that the place where they give you a cracker and a shot of wine.” 
Rio:  “A four day old trisquit and a shot of Baby duck.” 
Bryce:  “Sounds like a very cheap strip joint.” 
Rio:  “I hope when I die, get nailed to a tree, you'll all do the same…” 
Bryce:  “Yeah, you'll get a sip of coke and a Dorito."

INEXPERIENCE

     A GM’s frustration increases tenfold when he/she creates a game, runs it, and must face with the fact that not a single player knows what to do.  Soon, the GM head spills blood from banging on the desk too hard.  Players wander around like chickens with their head cut off, unsure how to play or what to do.  A group of inexperienced players in a true story-orientated role playing game can often get lost and meander off into no-man’s land.  The GM wonders why in the world he/she spent so much work developing an in-depth game, only to have it destroyed by immature, inexperienced players.  The same happens opposite side of the mirror.  Like the example I gave way above with Bill’s game, a group of experience Role players with a green GM can spell disaster quickly as the GM cannot anticipate the actions of his or her players and soon the game meanders in different directions until finally, in both situations, coming to a grinding halt.

     Ivan was a good friend but a bad GM.  Derrick and I role-played in his game for more than six months.  However, I had difficulty finding anything close to a plot since Derrick kept vital plot points from me.  Since the GM made no attempt to create much role-playing, my PC found himself quickly without anything to do.  And nothing I did…four three months.  The game became a PC living, not gaming as the other Player did all the work.  The game ended with a whisper rather than a hurrah.  To this day, I am still not exactly sure what the last three months were about and if I was in the game a little older than I was, I would have left after three months.
 
Rio:  "@#$%…" 
Max:  "What's that?" 
Rio:  "That's the “you are dumb” light.  Its going to take me a lot longer to figure this out."