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Well, I don't know whose responsibility is, but I'll tell you the whole problem.

I only have one player, and we've been playing for a while together; I live in a country where role playing is very uncommon, and I feel a little awkward when I play with people older than me (I'm 21). The only player I have has my age and though we get along well, we have the tendency to invest our values and morals in our role playing games.

He's a very explosive guy and the kind of person that blames the GM and flips a table when his character is below 10% health. It's quite difficult to create challenges and traps for someone that takes it so seriously as to basically want to punch you.

Last night, we were making a character for a new game. His race is known as "demikin", a demon-like humanoids who have no feelings towards strangers, thus they are able to kill without feeling any sort of joy or remorse. In Savage Worlds terms, the race has the Bloodthirsty hindrance, and since they don't really value life the only outcome of conflict they know is killing. With his other starting hindrance choices he decided to make him more violent and have a worse attitude by adding Heartless, so he could be sadistic when killing enemies.

I am a very... sensible kind of GM, and I'm not saying that's a good thing... I have a tendency to act on injustice, and when a character does something like stealing or killing I actively seek to punish them until they learn their lesson. I'm capable of focusing a whole story session on guards pursuing them for miles, or on the gods taking something away from a character. I just can't stand characters who try to look "badass" by being villainous and sadistic, and that's something I've told my player before; being the only player I have it's tough to participate in the adventures of a guy that laughs when he shoots a bandit in the head while they're begging for mercy. Plus he expects his PC to have an almost comical romantic life without his attitude getting on the way. He's the kind of player who wants to do things without consequences, and the fact that when his characters are about to die he goes berserk made me realize letting him pick that race was a mistake.

I told him that I had the tendency to be a little excited with the pursuit of justice, and that if I ever became "power mad" he should kindly let me know. Then he frowned and said he'd change the hindrance, in a bad way... I started explaining why I thought a violent character was a problem and he exploded again, saying stuff as "Thanks for ruining my whole night" or "you're guilty of making me so angry".

So I've been thinking... was it really my fault? Or is it him?

In any case, what should I do? Should I just give up on playing with him and find a website where I can find roleplayers around my age?

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closed as off-topic by Jack Lesnie, Joshua Aslan Smith, okeefe, MadMAxJr, SevenSidedDie Jul 2 at 5:35

  • This question does not appear to be about role-playing games within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I'm not totally clear that this question is on topic for RPG.SE. You have a friend with an anger problem but behave codependently with him. If you replace "RPG" with "poker" or "soccer" you have the same basic interpersonal issue. –  mxyzplk Aug 14 '13 at 15:04
    
Also, possible duplicate of rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1447/… –  mxyzplk Aug 14 '13 at 19:25
3  
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about weird interpersonal problems unrelated to rpgs. –  Jack Lesnie Jul 1 at 16:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

It sounds like there's a strong difference between your attitudes towards roleplaying. I'm not sure if you've heard of GNS theory (Wikipedia has a surprisingly good article on it), but it basically says there are three different spectrums for roleplaying: the Gamist, the Narrativist, and the Simulationist. While the details of conflicts between G, N, and S are not as important (as they form broad classifications which are not indicative of unique playstyles), it is a good place to begin thinking about the relationships of playstyles between the players and GM.

This is particularly important in your position where your style vastly differs from your player's.

An important point to remember in your sitution is that you're not punishing the player nor the character for their actions; rather, actions have consequences, and if you build the world in a complex and engaging way, those consequences will come back to bite the PC in their behind.

Maybe that child they killed was the bastard son of the king, and now the king wants him dead? While I don't personally believe in karma in religion, I think it accurately reflects how we engage the world: If we are nice to others, they are nice to us. If we heartlessly plunder and splurge on ourselves, other people are not nearly as friendly.

The player was certainly interfering with your ability to have a good session, but such conflicts are never one-sided. I would advise that you start by assuming you're going to succeed and be a good GM; saying otherwise sets the tone for the table.

Here's my general advice about potentially making this work, though. This is in descending order for what you should try first:

  • Start by trying the Same Page Tool. The Same Page Tool will bring you and your player onto... the same page, for lack of a better phrase, about why it is you're playing the game.
  • Get your player to pick an alignment on the moral compass, and as a GM, push them gently to stick to it. Consider the implications of their choice. If they're behaving strongly against their alignment, get them to reconsider it. Force them to recognize evil behavior as evil and good behavior as good.
  • Embrace the character, and simply force the character to live with the consequences of his actions. This can actually become a powerful tool in-game to show the character that being a cold-hearted jerk really doesn't get you anywhere. See: "How do you deal with a player that's determined to play the game in a way that is detrimental..."
  • Find ways to deal with the player's response to their losses.
  • Make sure most NPCs he meets know and have interacted with at least one other character. That gives justification for people to be extremely upset about his actions.
  • Encourage your player to create a more varied character; remember, if any one person in real life were solely determined to kill other people, they would be dead or in jail rather quickly. The same is true in medieval times, and frankly in most settings.
  • Remember that actions have consequences, and if your player absolutely insists on being an evil, cold-hearted person, then you need to play the world in response to that. People will fear him, he will not be able to do business anywhere, and many people will want him dead.
  • Accept that you play a different game than your player, and that your two views may not be compatible.

Additionally, take a look at How do I deal with these crazy PCs?

There may be other pieces of advice I haven't thought of, but this situation calls for broad advice. I'll edit more in as I think of it.

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It sounds like you already know the answer to your first two questions. His temper is getting in the way of your enjoyment of the game, and you deserve to enjoy the game you're running. Finding other players will probably help put your conflicts with him into perspective, and you'll likely find other gamers who are more closely aligned with your play style.

I created a page with links to various sites that might help you find a gaming group.

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Your player has choosen a race that is used to solve their problems through violence. I'd start asking myself how would the other people of his race fare in this world. Are they at least trying to be smart and kill things when nobody can see them? Do they live in a separate country where their behavior is not against the law but it's the right way to do things?

If you don't want to play in such a game, then it's your problem, because the wish to play a character that has no problems with the usual quarries of punishment for evil acts is perfectly legit (while bringing the problem to real life, threatening you with his behavior, is not so much).

While it is sad to say (and makes me look like the Internet Tough Guy I'm not) it's probably better if you two stop roleplaying togheter, because one of you having fun means the other is sacrificing his part of fun. Or you need to find games you both want to play the same way.

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