Friday, January 22, 2010
Gaming with Lunatics
Sometimes, in the search for new players, you have to go to extreme lengths to fill seats at your table. And by extreme lengths, I mean hang up an ad at the local game store.
"Big deal", you say, "DMs and players have been connecting with each other via tattered, poorly spelled ads hanging on a pin board in the dusty back corner of my game shop of choice for decades!"
But what you have forgotten, my friend, is that that ad is visible to anyone who goes into the store. Have you seen the people that go in there sometimes? Don't get me wrong, I've met more extremely nice people in game stores than I can possibly convey to you accurately. But then again, there are those days when you walk in, innocently, for set of dice or a mini for your new gnome thief, and all of a sudden you're in frickin' Innsmouth! All you can really do is grab the dice and run before they tie your hands behind your back and drag you up to the attic where grandma has been getting hungry ever since the full moon...
Anyways, I get an email responding to my ad one day, and the guy seems really amped to play an old-school game. He says he hasn't played since 2E because he just never could wrap his head around 3E. He says he's forty-something, employed, no smoking, no drinking. Now, no drinking should have set off alarms, but we really want to get more than four people at the table, so I invite the guy.
Fast forward to game night. New Guy seems nice enough, if a little socially awkward, but our hobby does socially awkward often enough that its no big deal. New Guy chit chats a little before the game starts, about his job working night security. At a chemical waste facility.
He's brought a fresh new 1st level character with him, and hands it to me for review. Its a female elf named Shadow-something-or-other. Now, if you're a 3-or-4E player, dudes running chick characters isn't a big deal or even unusual, an attitude that no doubt stems from playing console games like Tomb Raider. But here in old-school land, dudes running chick PCs is still... weird.
So we get down to gaming and New Guy really gets into running Shadow-whatever. Really gets into running her. And not in the immersive way that makes you say "I'm running a great game, this guy's really getting into it!", but rather, "I'm running away as soon as possible, because this guy probably has explosives taped to his chest." I mean, he's describing how he (she) is smearing orc blood across his (her) naked elven breasts... He (she) licks various things, talks to himself in different accents, crumples up his character sheet in silent rage each time a to-hit roll goes awry, and slowly tears a soft drink cup into little. tiny. pieces.
So I spend the rest of the session wondering how I'm going to explain to the guy he's not invited back next time. But the other players have had enough by mid-session or so, and start in on the guy mercilessly. Needless to say, he never came back.