RPG gaming groups are a lot like other relationships in life. At one time or another, you’ll realize that certain groups of people are just not meant for you. Whether it be play style, odious personal habits, or even some of the other’s personalities, you’ll have to make a decision for yourself.
There was an interesting article on “Five Geek Social Fallacies” floating about in the internet that pretty much hammers in a lot of things that gamers should consider. This is doubly stressed in the case of the Philippine Gamer since we still have to consider that we adhere to the Asian concepts of “Face” or “Hiya.” Breaking with a given group because you don’t find any fun might be seen as rude or that you don’t have a sense of taking one for the team.
Of course, as the folks of RPG.net say, “Not gaming is always better than Bad Gaming.” I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, after all, life’s too short to waste on bad gaming when you can have more fun reading a good book, going out with non-gaming friends or even just watching a movie.
One way to avoid getting stuck in a situation where you have to break up with a group is to find out what kind of games people like to play before you hop in. My advice is to take the initiative and ask. Some good questions to start off would be:
- What system/edition will be used in the game?
- Are there any other house rules that we should be aware of?
- What kind of play style is the group used to? Are we looking at a game that centers on hack-and-slash, politics or introspective reflection?
- What character concepts are acceptable in this campaign?
These questions will give you an idea of the framework that the campaign is based on. Even if the GM doesn’t think about these when he starts off, your prompting will bring it into sharper focus for him as well.
Once you’re in the game, pay attention to yourself. If you’re constantly frustrated, or if other players (including the GM) are running roughshod over your concepts or background, bring it up. Step one should always be to go and speak to the GM or the group in a neutral setting. Air out your concerns and be ready to negotiate.
Finally if stuff doesn’t look like it’s about to come a to a decent resolution, handle it with maturity. Either e-mail or talk to the GM directly and inform him of your decision to leave and your reasons for why. Don’t make this an opportunity to sling mud into the other player’s faces. Treat it like an exit interview of a job if need be. Remember to thank the GM or the other players (if you guys are still in speaking terms) and move on.
After all, if all else fails, you can start your own gaming group, right?