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Victim

Registered User
Validated User
I don't buy this idea that the loss of one player will prevent a group from playing a game that everyone else wants to play..
I think that depends a lot of how exactly a group is set up. A drop in/out club game seems likely to launch games, even if it means having a lower than normal party size. OTOH, a friends type group may not want to essentially kick someone out every other week for months, and may not be able to schedule an additional game.

So then it is basically is a matter of not RPGing, versus one person either sacrificing a lot by playing in a game they probably won't like sometimes versus everyone else always sacrificing a little to accommodate them.

I sometimes hear people on forums talk about having or needing contracts for RPG groups. That always sounded strange to me. But if the contracts required everyone to specify their utility functions I might get on board with that. For the novelty if nothing else. ;)
It'd be novel to just see what I, and other people, really want instead of needing to guess at it.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
When is this magical time? If you have one person interested in running a game and one person who is willing to play, you can run a game.
Are you seriously suggesting here that every GM ever is willing to run games with one or two players? Because I can promise that's not the case.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
I've seen what you've been writing but I don't buy this idea that the loss of one player will prevent a group from playing a game that everyone else wants to play. It seems like you are trying to push this idea that people should put up with someone trying to hold the game hostage because, if they leave, your game will fail (despite having people who still want to play).
Not at all. I'm saying, whether you care to believe it or not, that in practice, some groups will only be run with a certain minimum number of players, whether because of the GM, because of the players, or because the game of choice is poorly set up with too small a set of characters to cover the ground (as a number of niche-protection games are). And I'm saying that, in practice, whether the player wants to or not, he effectively is holding the game hostage simply by his preferences. That, however, does not oblige him to change those preferences.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
And I have tried repeatedly to run games for single players, and it has always ended in frustration. In addition to that, I have campaign concepts which don't work with less than 3 people, or which don't work with more than 4.
Yeah, I've been accused of projecting in this thread, but I'm starting to see more signs of this from people who will play with any number of players from 1-N that everyone else is, or should be like that, and I've got to bluntly suggest that's a million miles from universal.
 

rstites

Active member
Validated User
Not at all. I'm saying, whether you care to believe it or not, that in practice, some groups will only be run with a certain minimum number of players, whether because of the GM, because of the players, or because the game of choice is poorly set up with too small a set of characters to cover the ground (as a number of niche-protection games are). And I'm saying that, in practice, whether the player wants to or not, he effectively is holding the game hostage simply by his preferences. That, however, does not oblige him to change those preferences.
Hell, I've almost always played with a group of friends. We don't pick and choose a game and then recruit to the game. We get together and agree by consensus whatever we're going to run next. If anyone ever said they wouldn't play game X and "would just sit it out", we'd immediately drop game X and play something else. I can't see a situation that I've ever been in where we'd opt to go forward with a game without one of the regular players of the group.

I never thought of it as holding a game hostage, but I guess it really does boil down to that in a way. In actual practice, that just means most of us take turns playing something we aren't thrilled with, but the social time with friends sets higher than the specific game we play. This does manifest itself at times in (unintentional, I've always assumed) behavior that undermines a game, but never to the point that we've stopped on it and called anyone out forcefully.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Hell, I've almost always played with a group of friends. We don't pick and choose a game and then recruit to the game. We get together and agree by consensus whatever we're going to run next. If anyone ever said they wouldn't play game X and "would just sit it out", we'd immediately drop game X and play something else. I can't see a situation that I've ever been in where we'd opt to go forward with a game without one of the regular players of the group.
Well, to be fair to the other participants, this is in the context of a player who has a particular narrow character type they like to play, which ends up also ends up constraining the campaign options to one degree or another (from modestly, like the one poster who identified with this, to severely like a couple examples that came up). That's a somewhat more difficult dynamic than just having players who don't want to play certain kinds of things.

I never thought of it as holding a game hostage, but I guess it really does boil down to that in a way. In actual practice, that just means most of us take turns playing something we aren't thrilled with, but the social time with friends sets higher than the specific game we play. This does manifest itself at times in (unintentional, I've always assumed) behavior that undermines a game, but never to the point that we've stopped on it and called anyone out forcefully.
It can certainly add up to an effective veto in some cases; I've got at least one campaign I'd like to run that's effectively a nonstarter with both of my two groups, in one case just because of one player; but I'm pretty much unwilling to do the necessary lifting to deal with the loss of one or more players in either group to run it (even though, like an idiot, I did a bunch of work on it before finding out it was a nonstarter).
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Everyone has their own preferences.
Of course. But my point was never to suggest this would happen all the time, with every group and every GM. I merely noted that it can be an issue even if the player involved is not trying to be obstructionist; that simply his desire to sit it out can passively kill a game.

Given that specific statement, some of the counter-arguments seem to require that this never happens, ever. And I think that's a pretty strong claim.
 

Suicide_King

Registered User
Validated User
Happily, we seem all to be arguing in good faith. I think we can agree that the whole being forced to play something you do not enjoy, in order to keep the group "alive", is a undesireable situation for all included.

Likewise, I have experienced people who blocked the next thing because they did not want to do it, but did not provide an alternative, but still did not offer to leave the group and clearly expected the group to accomodate them... like a player who intentionally sabotaged my attempt to run Ars Magica 20 years ago, because he wanted us to play D&D instead. He was an asshole (these days he is an ok guy and a good father, but back then... eh).

Similarly, I am currently in a D&D game where I only participate due to social obligation. I ran a campaign for that group, now another guy has taken over... and sucks as a gm, both due to inexperience (which I try to help with without stepping on his toes), but also... the game is just uninteresting. Vanilla, zero-to-heroes in forgotten realms, no interesting hook other than "be adventurers" and so on. Not my game at all. But I am there, dutifully faking enthusiasm. So far I'm people are buying it. I am doing it because it is the first game he is running... but also because the group might collapse if I left.

But this is something I am doing completely to myself and I am not sure it's the right thing. Perhaps I should respect my own time/energy more... who knows. I do balk at the reductive extreme - that you have an obligation to spend your "speaking in silly voices and pretending to be an elf" time doing something you aren't really interested in, just to keep a group alive or to ensure someone can run a game. The important part is that the player isn't an asshole about it - if you don't want to play the game offered, you compromise, offer to run something yourself or bow out in a nice way. Like I think all in this thread would.
 

BlackSpike

Registered User
Validated User
My main group is 5 good friends, that meet weekly.
We pitch for games months before our last one ends (we're currently in that stage), and we'll go back and forth until we find something that suits everyone.
We really don't want any of the players to sit one out, unless it is a 1-2 session One-Off. (We did Universalis over Xmas, while players' attendance was dodgy ... ended up with a player missing a session he could have made, but isn't a fan of that game).

One of our group has a game he wants to run, but I will not play in it (Patients at an Asylum, as a prelude to a Cthulu-type game he wants to run for another group). I'm actually blocking TWO games with my refusal, but I'll not be playing that premise.
It complicates matters that we game at my house, (shared. The other resident is also part of our group, so they can still play here)
I have offered to sit out, if it is a short game. Unfortunately, he wants it to be 6-8 sessions, and none of us are happy for me to miss two months of gaming.

We have plenty of other games queued up, so we're not missing gaming time, but one of our group is missing a game he wants to run (and it is having a ripple-effect, due to why he wants to run it!)

Hopefully he will find a situation to run his game.
 
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