Thursday, February 13, 2014

Be A Better Player 17 Stop derailing the game... jackhole

GM - “Alright here is the map that the old man gave you give it a good look over.”

Player 1 - “Oh this looks nice. This covers most of the old city even the part that is partially underground now.”

Player 2 - “Hey did you make this using that program I told you about?”

GM - “Yeah been messing with it quite a bit over the last few days.”

Player 3 - “Looks like you're using it right this map is pretty good.”

Player 2 - “Did you check out that link I sent you last night? Some guy has made up hundreds of maps and put them up on his site for anyone to use.”

GM - “Really? I hadn't checked that out yet, sounds like something I can steal from in the future.”

Player 2 - “Yeah plus he has lots of tutorials on various functions, even a few addons he's done himself.”

GM - “Man I know I could use a tutorial of the reticulating spline set up. I've been banging my head into that a few times.”

Player 2 - “Oh it has several on that. Here fire up your laptop really quick and I'll show you where they are at. Plus his site is a bit of a mess so I can show you how to find stuff quicker.”

GM - “Sure cool okay.”

Player 4 - “Um... weren't we gaming just a few minutes ago?”

It's game night, you're at the table and things are starting to get going. Then something somebody says, usually the GM, catches your attention about something else. So you just have to bring it up at the table right then. Buying wine at the tavern reminds you about some tours the local winery has going. An adventure hook sounds like one for a game you played in three months ago so you need to tell everyone about that game. Oh and that other thing that was said reminds you of that one movie, be sure to point out the resemblance, in detail, and make sure they know what that movie was really about.

This is called 'Derailing'. For the other players involved it really, really sucks. It completely destroys any pacing and mood that had been set up. Plus it interrupts what is going on, what most of the others showed up for in the first place. It's like going up to a person while they are playing a video gaming and standing in front of the television screen while they are trying to play the game. For the folks who are there for only a certain amount of time it becomes increasingly aggravating.

Usually when I'm a player I only have so long at the table. Work is coming the next morning or I have to go home and take care of my kids after a certain time. So spending part of that time listening to you ramble on about a game you played at a con a year ago, complete with dramatic pauses, bad voice imitations and talking slowly, isn't exactly on my 'How I Want To Spend My Time' list. When I'm the GM I'll nip this shit in the bud and tell you to bring it up later and get back to the game.

That being said I've been guilty of doing it before. Along with being guilty of letting it happen. But y'know what? I recognized the problem that I was causing and corrected myself. Please, do the same with yourself.


  1. I canned a game based on this one primarily. Social chit-chat was fine but irregular attendance (including irregular times folks rocked up) plus a dire need to socialise crippled the game. If you want to spend all of your time talking OOC, why not, y'know, do a game about that? Like a boardgame?

    1. Or if they want to spend all their time OOC then why are they even showing up for a game? Sometimes people just need to go find their time to socialize somewhere else besides at the game table.