Saturday, March 31, 2012

Be A Better Player 10 - No you can't play that.

Player one – Hey I found this really good prestige class and I was wondering if you would let me try it.

GM – Well I'm trying to just stick with the base stuff out of the core books. Not wanting to branch out into to many other sources.

Player one – Awww, c'mon it's the 'Undead Slayer' prestige class it looks like it rocks.

Player two – Undead Slayer? We haven't even seen anything undead in this entire campaign.

GM – Yeah I'm not using undead in the current campaign at all, it doesn't fit whats going on in the least.

Player one – But it's really cool, just read it and you will say yes.

Player three – So how are you going to become and undead slayer when there are no undead to slay?

Player four – That would be some trick wouldn't it.

Player one – You guys are assholes, just don't want anybody to have any fun except for yourselves!

GM – What? How do you come to that conclusion just because I won't let you use a prestige class that's not from any of the books that I said we are using?

This is something that can happen in just about any game line where they have released a pretty extensive amount of material. Any edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the World of Darkness books, Shadowrun, and many more. Sometimes there is simply to much material to keep track of in your head. But when you try to limit it down to just a few books somebody just can't stand the idea of it.

I cannot say enough in these articles that most GM's put a lot of effort into the games they run. They have plot lines, lists of things that are going to happen, time schedules, lists of NPC's. It's no small chore. So when they try to make things a bit easier to control by limiting the scope of their game it's usually because there is more than they can handle otherwise. So they aren't out to stop you from having fun by not letting you play your current flavor of the month character type, they are trying to insure themselves that they will also have fun planning out and running the game.

Many times I've been a player in games where there were limitations on what we could choose from. It just made me be more creative with my selections. Also it never hurts to ask if you can use something, especially if you have a valid reason for it, the worst they can do is say no. If they do say no don't get pissy about it and move on.

Also don't let the discussion of this halt game play or carry a simple character creation session into an hours long ordeal. Asking about it should be fine and rather quick, but trying to get a full on discussion about why you should get to play a Lasombra in a Camarilla only vampire session can get really old real fast. Not just for the GM but also for those others who are wanting to play.


  1. I agree. Such discussions have their place, and can be useful, but shouldn't delay game or character creation.
    Once the GM sets the parameters, the PCs should work within them.

  2. I have seen players fall out of favor with teamwork recently. It seems anytime I game with anyone it turns into a bunch of solo adventurers and girlfriend simulators. How about a game where the band of intrepid adventurers watch each other's back, stop evil, and develop kinship?

    1. Sadly that's true.
      I really like to play teamwork guys, but you need a team for teamwork.

  3. Teamwork? That's madness I say! Madness!

    I think I may need to do an article covering this as well in the near future. I'll add it to the list along the other suggestion I got tonight on doing one about Metagaming/out-of-character knowledge.

  4. It's a weird player reaction- like some expectation that you're trying to screw them by limiting their options. Many times when I've seen that go on it has pointed at a social power struggle going on between player and GM. The player's being deliberately obtuse- and signalling that they don't care about the set up or material the GM's come up with.

    The worst I saw was one evening many years ago when I volunteered to run a Champions one shot since our regular game was bumped. I set the limits in terms of OCV/DCV and Dice per turn. Everyone sketched their characters quickly, and one of the players made a character well outside those guidelines. I told the player that the character wouldn't work given the limits we'd decided to go with and he should adjust those values. The player became furious, got up and left. It was weird and probably pointed more to other things going on in his life rather than that particular situation.

  5. A lot of times I've seen this from players who have either played with an actual bad GM who does try to screw the players over or those who have never actually tried to be a GM themselves. There was one person who ran games around here who was known for limiting the gear the characters could have and then throwing them into no-win situations. So when players migrated from his table to mine I would see this problem pop up from time to time. Some of my regulars would usually convince them that I'm nothing like him and they would be okay.

  6. Yeah, with some of my players who've been burned before I have to sit them down and go: "It's me. Remember me? You've gamed with me for how many years? I do my best to say 'yes', so just trust me when I say 'no'."

  7. It all falls to your respect level for you DM and PCs as long as there is mutual respect the no shouldn't be a real issue. Unfortunately in the gamers life it's still life and we have troublemakers that like to make a scene instead of go with the flow of things already put into place (which you silently agreed on when you agreed to play said game) so in conclusion respect the DMs call that already is regardless what you think should be.