Containing the Disaster

So… I have a problem.

I have been very fortunate over the 20 years I’ve been a GameMaster to have no shortage of players.  Through this hobby, I have met some truly fantastic people and spent innumerable hours immersed in alternate universes, laughing and telling stories of the fantastic.

I’m finally getting traction under my feet again on the creative side, working on a massive campaign that could take years to complete.  Plus, I endeavor to keep my GM for Hire business running, to explore new avenues for creativity.

All of that said, an old problem is rearing its ugly head again:  group in-fighting.  The last time this came up, I lost several players, including my wife, whom I love gaming with.  Now I’m faced with a group of players who are unhappy with how events unfold at the table and I’m once again faced with the very real possibility of losing very good players.

Ultimately, some boils down to personality conflict, which is almost unavoidable to varying degrees.  Differing expectations at the table in what players want from their games is also a factor and I try to balance that when I develop my material.  One thing that comes up and has for a long while is what some have come to refer as “alpha gaming”; where one or more players try to direct the action for the whole group.

I will admit that I’ve been complicit in this to a certain degree… years ago, I got extremely frustrated with my games never finishing due to players going way off-track.  I enlisted my players at the time to try to help crack the whip to keep things moving forward.  Now I think some of that “prodding to progress the story” has led to a habit of directing.

New (or quieter) players, rather than being allowed to ask for help, are now simply being told what to do.  Because I’m used to how things are, I’ve grown blind to it and I’ve done nothing to prevent it from happening.  With the GM missing the signs of discontent, I’ve now got a fractured group of players…

So for the GMs out there, or even players who have witnessed this sort of thing… what kind of active measures can you suggest be implemented at the table so that the quieter players get their fair say, without muting the dominant voices.  Taking into consideration that Captain Oblivious (me) may not notice players getting frustrated… combat timers, weighted rewards for spotlight hoggers… have you seen anything that works?

~ by 1nsomniac on May 23, 2018.

One Response to “Containing the Disaster”

  1. Make certain to ask each player what they want their character to do. Definitely easier in turn by turn combat, but give each character’s skills a chance to shine in the rp/non combat portions.

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