_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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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