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How much time do you give to break in brand new players?

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Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
I just started running a DnD 5e game. Third session is coming up in a little over a week.

At the recommendation of a friend that's playing, we have a guy that joined that's never played before. And I really don't have the feeling that he's going to work out. But I do want to give him a fair shot before pulling him aside and having the, "This isn't working out" talk.

I can say that part of the problem here is me. The guy has a speech impediment, and a lot of the times I have trouble understanding what he's saying or asking. But the majority of his questions are so bizarre and out of left field, that it seems clear to me that he's not grasping the rules at all, nor the flow of the narrative. And just about every time he asks one of those questions, it totally derails the narrative, the mood, and the flow of the game. And to be entirely honest, I just don't have the kind of patience I had twenty five years ago when I first started playing.

But I don't want to be a dick. So I'm trying to get a feel for what the "normal" amount of time you've seen given to new people at your table before sending someone on their way as having failed to integrate into your group/table.
 

Nate_MI

Formerly 'Raveled'
Validated User
If he's not getting the narrative of the game, then maybe it's worthwhile to talk to him outside of the table and get his version of what's going on. Maybe you have some big, intricate political plot in your head but he's seeing it as a bunch of disconnected missions to go here and kill this thing, go there and kill that thing. As for not getting the rules... Maybe run a couple of practice fights outside the game? Talk through literally every step and see where the problem lays?

I've never had to boot someone for not fitting the "feel" of a table. Usually it's only a few sessions before they decide that a game isn't for them, or similar if they consistently fail to turn up.
 

FamousWerewolf

Registered User
Validated User
I mean, if you're already plotting how long you can politely wait before booting him, why allow him in in the first place? If you don't want to game with him, don't game with him - life's too short. It sounds like you're already fully aware of a problem between the two of you - more time isn't going to make it magically go away. Are you just worried that, because of his speech impediment, asking him to leave will seem like a dick move? Or is this a case where the rest of the group is really keen to include him?
 

TheMouse

garmonbozia
Validated User
I'm going to give an honest but kind of shitty answer: My patience with a new player corresponds directly to how much I like them as a person and how much I enjoy being around them. If I think they're awesome, and just being in the room with them brings a smile to my face, I'll put up with stupid shit all day long. If not, then not so much.
 

Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
Well, I want to give him a fair shake to see if things improve. But if I do end up giving him the boot, it's going to seem like a dick move since the guy's in a wheelchair.
 

Willy Elektrix

Registered User
Validated User
I have a player exactly like this. In my case, the player has some sort of cognitive disability and as well as a speech impediment. However, I let him keep playing because kicking out a person for behaviors they can't help seemed like a dick move (I'm not judging you or your situation though). After a while, he became the best player at my table. His ideas often come out of left field and surprise everyone, and he's very enthusiastic. It took a long time for him to figure out the flow of the game, but it eventually worked.

In my opinion, spending some extra time with the player is the right thing to do.
 

miedvied

Registered User
Validated User
🚫 Three Day Ban Behavior indistinguishable from an attack
Well, I want to give him a fair shake to see if things improve. But if I do end up giving him the boot, it's going to seem like a dick move since the guy's in a wheelchair.

So I'm going to be blunt. At some point in this bluntness you might think you're being attacked. You're not; you're really not. I'm just not going to do that thing where I play along and pretend to believe that this guy doesn't make you uncomfortable. Unless you've got a kid with cerebral palsy, or have spent a good chunk of time working in stroke rehab, or have some other reason to have spent a goodly amount of time around various people with significant disabilities... you're a human being, and most likely discomfited at your first significant and extended interaction with something with significant disabilities.

I've worked with a lot of disabled patients, and they know how people look at them, and they've never been grateful at people pretending it's not a thing.

I'm assuming that his difficulties here are non-cognitive, since so far you've only described motor deficits, and motor deficits without cognitive deficits are reasonably common in folks with cerebral palsy (which your story suggests is the most likely thing under discussion here. I could easily be wrong, of course.)

So, let's just run down the options in as candid a manner as possible:

1) IF you're kicking him because he's in a wheelchair, you are a dick. The other players probably won't think you're a dick, since they are also likely at least a little discomfited, and also don't want to be discomfited, so the cognitive dissonance will let them all buy whatever explanation you give. Odds are good he'll think you're a dick, though, since it's highly unlikely you're hiding your discomfort as well as you think you are, and he's been spotting it all along. You state that you do not believe you're trying to get rid of this guy just because he's in a wheelchair; I believe you.

2) IF you're kicking him because he's got a speech impediment and that makes it difficult to understand him, plus or minus some under-the-radar discomfort at having a disabled person at the table, then you're an entirely good normal person ... which in this case means reasonably dickish, but not as much as #1.

Normal good people without any exposure to the disabled are usually discomfited, and usually have a lot of cognitive dissonance and shame attached to that feeling, because they know they absolutely shouldn't be. The "difficult to understand" thing becomes a sort of acceptable way of channeling the "I'm discomfited by the highly disabled dude" feelings - not to us, but to you, because of the cognitive dissonance that comes with "but I'm not the sort of person just to be made uncomfortable by significant disability." Yeah you are. Pretty much all of us are. The only folks who aren't are the ones who spend a lot of time around the disabled, more or less. You'll get to understand him much better with time, same as with a seriously thick accent. He also knows he's difficult to understand, and you're unlikely to offend him by asking whether there's anything he and/or you can do together to enable better communication. You wouldn't kick a guy out for having a really thick accent.

3) IF you're kicking him because he doesn't seem to be getting the game, and the rest of the stuff has nothing to do with it and you just mentioned it all because you're afraid of looking like a dick but his disability isn't involved in this in any way at all, really: then it's time to revisit how you've communicated the game setting and goals, right? Because you're playing an RPG, not building a nuclear reactor - pretty much everyone gets it if it's communicated with reasonable clarity and thoroughness.

But just so we're clear: unless you've omitted a fair amount of information (which, you may have - it's just an rpg.net post, after all), it's #2.5. It's pretty much always #2.5. It's "I'm uncomfortable with this, but I can't be uncomfortable with this because I know only a dick would be uncomfortable with this, so ... it's really a problem with X, of course it's a problem with X." X is real, of course, but if it wasn't for the disability, you'd be talking about how to fix it, not planning how long you put up with the player until you kick them out, and looking for public reinforcement on the decision.
 

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
Validated User
I am fairly happy to let people play, it can take about 6 sessions for someone in a new game to get how things work, so I would generally make some kind of assessment at that point, and see if we need to change things about their character's position in the game, if there's any adaptions that can be made etc. then play for another 6 sessions, and if it hasn't improved, do something else with them. The game itself may be over by then anyway, depending on what happens.

On the other hand, I'd probably tune who I invite people to according to how well I know them, playing three months with someone I don't know that well is perfectly fine if it's a game where they aren't a plot-bearing pillar, like a mission driven game, or a sandbox one, or just something where there isn't too much story interlacing, but if I'm playing a game with two friends, we're really invested in some concept and we're thinking of adding the third player, that's probably going to be someone we've already gamed with before.
 

wyldone

Registered User
Validated User
If I were in your situation I'd talk to him privately so as not to make him be uncomfortable. If it's just an issue of him not grasping the rules and he seems to be trying and not being purposely obtuse, I'd go as far as to run some one on one encounters focusing on their trouble areas. You mention him saying weird things. If it's a remark here and there I'd let it slide, like people who quote movies during the game. If it's constant strange chatter we're back to the private talk. What I have little tolerance for are players who show any number of traits that make everyone upset such as being a murder hobo or who derail the game because they can. In your situation I might talk to the other players seperately and see if anyone else is put off by the individual. Give everyone a fair shot, for some people gaming might be their only way to socialize and it would be a shame to take that from them. On the other hand you need to keep everyone at the table as comfortable as possible and if an individual is ruining the dynamics of the group you got to let them go.
 

Stattick

Electronic Thing
Validated User
🚫 Two Day Ban
So I'm going to be blunt. At some point in this bluntness you might think you're being attacked. You're not; you're really not. I'm just not going to do that thing where I play along and pretend to believe that this guy doesn't make you uncomfortable. Unless you've got a kid with cerebral palsy, or have spent a good chunk of time working in stroke rehab, or have some other reason to have spent a goodly amount of time around various people with significant disabilities... you're a human being, and most likely discomfited at your first significant and extended interaction with something with significant disabilities.

I've worked with a lot of disabled patients, and they know how people look at them, and they've never been grateful at people pretending it's not a thing.

I'm assuming that his difficulties here are non-cognitive, since so far you've only described motor deficits, and motor deficits without cognitive deficits are reasonably common in folks with cerebral palsy (which your story suggests is the most likely thing under discussion here. I could easily be wrong, of course.)

So, let's just run down the options in as candid a manner as possible:

1) IF you're kicking him because he's in a wheelchair, you are a dick. The other players probably won't think you're a dick, since they are also likely at least a little discomfited, and also don't want to be discomfited, so the cognitive dissonance will let them all buy whatever explanation you give. Odds are good he'll think you're a dick, though, since it's highly unlikely you're hiding your discomfort as well as you think you are, and he's been spotting it all along. You state that you do not believe you're trying to get rid of this guy just because he's in a wheelchair; I believe you.

2) IF you're kicking him because he's got a speech impediment and that makes it difficult to understand him, plus or minus some under-the-radar discomfort at having a disabled person at the table, then you're an entirely good normal person ... which in this case means reasonably dickish, but not as much as #1.

Normal good people without any exposure to the disabled are usually discomfited, and usually have a lot of cognitive dissonance and shame attached to that feeling, because they know they absolutely shouldn't be. The "difficult to understand" thing becomes a sort of acceptable way of channeling the "I'm discomfited by the highly disabled dude" feelings - not to us, but to you, because of the cognitive dissonance that comes with "but I'm not the sort of person just to be made uncomfortable by significant disability." Yeah you are. Pretty much all of us are. The only folks who aren't are the ones who spend a lot of time around the disabled, more or less. You'll get to understand him much better with time, same as with a seriously thick accent. He also knows he's difficult to understand, and you're unlikely to offend him by asking whether there's anything he and/or you can do together to enable better communication. You wouldn't kick a guy out for having a really thick accent.

3) IF you're kicking him because he doesn't seem to be getting the game, and the rest of the stuff has nothing to do with it and you just mentioned it all because you're afraid of looking like a dick but his disability isn't involved in this in any way at all, really: then it's time to revisit how you've communicated the game setting and goals, right? Because you're playing an RPG, not building a nuclear reactor - pretty much everyone gets it if it's communicated with reasonable clarity and thoroughness.

But just so we're clear: unless you've omitted a fair amount of information (which, you may have - it's just an rpg.net post, after all), it's #2.5. It's pretty much always #2.5. It's "I'm uncomfortable with this, but I can't be uncomfortable with this because I know only a dick would be uncomfortable with this, so ... it's really a problem with X, of course it's a problem with X." X is real, of course, but if it wasn't for the disability, you'd be talking about how to fix it, not planning how long you put up with the player until you kick them out, and looking for public reinforcement on the decision.
You know what? If the problem was the fucking wheelchair, I'd say it's the fucking wheelchair. The wheelchair isn't a fucking a problem. The wheelchair guy showing up to the first session reeking of body odor was a problem. But he wasn't the only one. Two other people who'd I'd also never played with, also showed reeking of BO and ass. But they decided to play in someone else's game, so thankfully, they're no longer my problem.

As to the hygiene thing, I made an announcement between games, and we didn't have a problem during the second session.

As to your post, if you aren't going to engage in the fucking question, what's the point in answering? Nothing you wrote is helpful to me. You've merely wasted my time, and yours.

To reiterate, how many sessions is appropriate to give new players before giving up on them?
 
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