I finally put on my robe and wizard hat — I mean, my robe and GM hat.
I’ve been table-top roleplaying for about a year and half now, and I’m just now starting my first campaign.
WO — who’s run a few games since arriving in Charlotte — found himself desperate to play in a good game. Those are damned hard to find here in Charlotte. They were — to my surprise, in reflection — a dime a dozen at Rose.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself longing for my old Palladium and D & D companions. (My visit to an old GM’s blog prompted this post, in fact.)
I mean, I did post about the “nigga knife” incident, right? Right.
So I said, “Sure! I’ll run you a game!” He already GMs a game with me in which I play the five player characters. I can do the same for him.
I limited him to 4 characters and let him go wild. He made great characters, of course. Very fun.
But being in the GM seat is odd. I don’t quite know what I’m doing yet, but I will say that think I’ll always be very picky about who I have in my games. I’ve played with folks here in Charlotte who go out of their way to fuck up a GM’s plans. Not just doing creative stuff — which is fine and I’d better be prepared for — but doing stuff that’s completely out of character, deliberately playing to the GM’s weaknesses with malicious intent, etc.
I think there’s a time and place for that sort of play, but by and large, to have a fun, long-term campaign, there is a social contract between the GM and the players. It’s probably implicit, but it’s there anyway. I’ve always been mindful of that contract as a player. It might be that you try to trip up the GM, but usually it’s more cooperative.
I’m especially interested in those people who don’t understand or care about that contract. I tend to think that a lack of understanding of that is a demonstration of a weak theory of mind — the person can’t put themselves in someone else’s shoes enough to really empathize with other peoples’ annoyance or dislike of his/her behavior. They don’t understand why isn’t not a problem. Or, they can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes enough to role-play consistently, possibly resulting in similar behavior.
For those that don’t care… Well, there may be some reformed assholes — I mean, brave counterculturals who regularly exclaim, “Fuck the man!” — who can chime in here, but I wonder if that sort of mindset (which often seems to extend to other facets of their lives) isn’t indicative in some way of bona fide psychopathy. I don’t mean in-game silliness here, or having cartoonish qualities in a character, or anything so simple or harmless. I mean that deep, ingrained, destructive thinking process that leads people to work very damned hard to destroy the fun — and more importantly, the carefully, group-constructed story — around them.
Some people seem to like to break shit, no matter whose it is or what the consequences.
I want to know what’s going on those folks’ minds. What self-justification/reasoning/unreasoning makes that cool or fun?