Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Not Having Fun Anymore

The other night I ran a game of 5e for a group of almost entirely new players, and for the first time ever had a player get visibly upset and quit the game. I admit I wasn't at the top of my game since I don't play 5e and I find the official material to be virtually unusable at the table, but I was trying my best. I was annoyed mostly because he couldn't explain what I had done wrong. I'm a big boy and I remember sitting through countless critique days and having my paintings/drawings/prints torn apart by my peers. It takes a lot to get to me when it comes to my art, but what really gets under my skin is people not being able to articulate their criticism.

He eventually apologized, and while I think it would totally inappropriate to quote his apology word for word, it came down to expectations. When you watch Critical Role or listen to podcasts, the game appears one way. When you finally play it, it may end up wildly different.

It's something I understand on a personal level. I originally became interested in D&D when I was looking for difficult games to play. Of course there were the Souls games, the Dodonpachis of the world, and countless roguelikes--but what I was looking for was the feeling my father described when recounting D&D games he had played during his time in the Navy. The sense of danger lurking around every corner, poking every goddamn thing with a stick just in case, and going through entire packs of cigarettes out of stress.

When I finally joined a D&D game, of course it was nothing like that. The DM had cooked up pages and pages of plot and theatrics. I was compelled to build my character a certain way or be 'fucked' (his words). I'm not bashing that style in particular because I know some people live for that, but it wasn't what I was about.

Anyway, I'm not excusing said player's shitty behavior. He ruined my fucking night and killed a decently good buzz we had going. This whole thing has just been on my mind for a while. With a lot of people being introduced to roleplaying via streams and podcasts comes a whole new set of attitudes and expectations, and I look forward to more awkward confrontations in the future.

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