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.

Thank god.


  1. Yeah, that's just not right. I've run into these folks myself. I once watched a game at a local shop where the DM - a self-promoting, self-indulgeant fellow - had gathered an entire group of such people. I'm sorry to say it but it was like visiting the freak show at the circus.

    As to playing female characters, I know what you mean, because I have always run them. My reason for doing so was that nobody ever seemed to play them but they were always out there in the stories, movies, comics, etc. I wanted to bring something to the table that wasn't there. I did not go over the top like that fellow.

    As an aside, I also tend to play humans for similar reasons - nobody in my groups ever wanted to.


  2. This is one of the main reasons I like to game in neutral locations. I don't want these guys to know where I live.

  3. Amen to the neutral locations. After a few games, when the group solidifies, then we can move it elsewhere. Until then...

    And if you think random encounters at the FLGS can be random, try working at one!

  4. that's where Cousin Jeffrey ended up, is it?

    Seriously, well done Al - you've found 2010's version of That Guy.

    The key words in this post are "Chemical Waste Facility" where That Guy has clearly been sampling the merchandise.

  5. Bummer - better luck next time. Being selective though is good in the long run.

  6. And this type of horror story stops me from hanging up ads...Innsmouth! Sheeesh!

  7. I was put off by people who didn't bother to bathe before coming to D&D day at my FLGS.

    But this one beats that by a MILE.

    /at least!

  8. Yup, had a similar experience with That Guy as well thanks to an Internet ad. Of course, the upside is that as long as he doesn't come back and murder you in your sleep, you end up with a fun little anecdote to amuse your friends with for years to come.

    Also, don't lump all us teetotalers in with the loonies. Now I'm off to feed grandma her fish heads...

  9. @ Mhensley et al, yep neutral locations are certainly best, at least until everyone knows each other well. Even then, well, I'll have to tell the story about the fist fight some day...

    @ Daddy Grognard: Strangely enough, this was *not* the first gamer I've met who has stood nightwatch over chemical waste...

    @ sirlarkins Re teetotalers: there's good (as in "it doesn't agree with me", "I've beat my addiction", and "I'm health conscious") but then there's bad (as in "It's a violation of my parole" and "I always wake up the next day covered in blood"). I suspect this gentleman was in the latter category. ;)

  10. I recently met an entirely new group of gamers from Needless to say I was nervous as hell. I've run into those gamers with the goat blood and severed chicken foot. The strange thing is, we've shuffled though about 15 players before settling on a solid group and not a single one of them is weird! well, by weird I mean, not going to knock you unconscious, take you to an abandoned warehouse by the docks and sacrifice you to mighty Cthulhu.

  11. By the way...the Fishman video is awesome!
    : )

  12. This does not bode well. I'm in a new country and looking for local gamers... ugh.

  13. @Daddy: Thanks, you made my day!

  14. One time years back there was this fellow who came to my game that gave me a major creepo vibe. After a brief bit of chit chat he revealed he was a weapons expert and hand dozens of swords wrapped in plastic buried in his back yard...
    later after the game he hung around for some coffee (not to bad I don't mind, we played late in those days) He hands me a write up of this race he created, a cat/tiger man with ridiculous munchkin stats and abilities, which he discussed with me in lavish detail, and he gave me permission to use the race in my campaigns.

    Well, he never played with us again and I'm pretty sure the write-up was used as circular file filler in quick order.

  15. "Strangely enough, this was *not* the first gamer I've met who has stood nightwatch over chemical waste."

    That's because you live in Rochester sucker, where you can develop photographs in the river!

  16. Wait, I thought he lived in Buffalo? Either way, as one born in Rochester, I sympathize with anyone who might live near the Genesee R.! Love the green beer of the same name though. :P

  17. My mistake, I just saw "toxic waste" and I assumed Rochester.

  18. Close enough! We do have Love Canal nearby, among other wonderful sites... The captain of a fishing boat my office chartered on Lake Ontario advised us not to eat more than one of our salmon each week;)

  19. All the more reason to game from a VTT (virtual table top) heh

  20. The water must be improving there Al - When I lived there, I'm pretty sure it was once a month! At least Erie doesn't catch on fire any more.



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