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How do I deal with problem players?

In a sense, a role-playing game is an endeavor of hope as well as entertainment. The GM offers their carefully crafted world background, plot ideas, and NPCs for the players to inter-relate with. The players bring their enthusiasm and various viewpoints, as expressed through their player characters, for the GM to have the world react to. Each person involved is doing the best they can to help make this new game a fun and entertaining place to share.

It is that very sense of optimism and excitement that this article hopes to assist. All too often small, unimportant issues can get overblown into huge, game- and friendship-shattering stumbling blocks. If steps can be taken early on when misunderstanding first occurs, perhaps the small issues can be dealt with immediately, and never be allowed to grow into something destructive.

Individual issues should be dealt with individually, of course, and we will make some suggestions on how to deal with some of the most common ones later. However, the one thing which seems most important in situations like this, at least to us, is that communication actually occur between people. It sounds simple... but all too often what you think you said is not what someone else heard.

How to talk to your fellow players

  • Role-playing gaming isn't about winning or losing against your fellow players. Treat them the way you'd like to be treated -- as friends rather than opponents.

  • Pause before you speak. Would what you're about to say hurt your feelings if it was said to you? If so... don't say it to someone else. Being kind to people you're supposed to like isn't really that hard.

  • Don't assume you perfectly understand, or are understood. Ask questions sometimes so people can clarify their points to you.

  • If you're getting angry about an issue, take a ten minute cool-down break. There's very little in life that can't wait another ten minutes.

  • If you're still angry, consider this -- very few issues are worth breaking up a friendship. Is that really what you want to do?

  • Statistics suggest you cannot always be right -- sometimes other folks have good points too. Simple courtesy would suggest you let them have their way sometimes too.

  • If an argumentation technique wouldn't work for you (i.e. calling names, making demands), why do you think it'll work for anyone else?

  • If it's not fun... why are you doing it?

Back to the GMing FAQ page.

Last modified: 2002-Apr-13 01:52:07

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