4 rewording for clarity
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"My Guy" behavior is busted because you, the person at the table, are the one actually making decisions. Always. You always have the option not to pursue a path that'll be bad fornegatively impact you and your friends' enjoyment of the game as a whole. You may feel compelled to act a certain way out of a sense of fidelity to established characterization, or you may be worried about losing a character (or a character losing face, which can be just as ego-bruising). But, well, the health of the game is in your hands, not in the hands of a fictional character.

"My Guy" behavior is busted because you, the person at the table, are the one actually making decisions. Always. You always have the option not to pursue a path that'll be bad for the game as a whole. You may feel compelled to act a certain way out of a sense of fidelity to established characterization, or you may be worried about losing a character (or a character losing face, which can be just as ego-bruising). But, well, the health of the game is in your hands, not in the hands of a fictional character.

"My Guy" behavior is busted because you, the person at the table, are the one actually making decisions. Always. You always have the option not to pursue a path that'll negatively impact you and your friends' enjoyment of the game as a whole. You may feel compelled to act a certain way out of a sense of fidelity to established characterization, or you may be worried about losing a character (or a character losing face, which can be just as ego-bruising). But, well, the health of the game is in your hands, not in the hands of a fictional character.

3 Edited for language
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So here's a practical example from the halcyon days of My Guyness and me.

d6 Star Wars. I was playing a trigger-happy demolitions expert. We were going onto an enemy ship in order to get the bad guy.

I say, "I have enough explosives, you know what? We don't even need to sneak onto the ship. I'll just plant the explosives below the engine exhaust."

Jedi player: "Dude, don't do that, I want to have my guy face off with the evil bastard in a big lightsaber fight."

Me: "But it's what my guy would do, it's the most effective way to take him out with the least chance of getting caught or hurt."

Alien diplomat player: "But I really wanted to find out what his plan was!"

Me: "It's what my guy would do, who cares what his plan was if he's dead?"

After some back-and-forth, the following transpired, which REALLY shows how much the well can be poisoned:

Jedi player: "Damn, well, you're right, it's what your character would do, go ahead."

Alien diplomat player: "Crap on a stick, yeah, go ahead. It's what your guy would do."

Me: "Sorry guys."

GM: "Roll 'em."

And I blew up the ship and the campaign was over and we won and all the players, myself and the GM included, had a miserable time.

Who's fault was this?

Sure as hell wasn't "my guy's" fault. (Or the designer or the GM.) It was MY fault.

And yet I felt absolutely no responsibility at all, and my fellow players didn't think it was my responsibility, and perversely, they often said, "I guess it was good roleplaying..." in campaign postmortems. Good roleplaying?? Damn, if good roleplaying means "everyone is fucking miserable and thinks it's stupid", let me go find another hobby like getting beaten with sticks.

Even though I had designed the character to make that decision, and the GM had set up the general situation, and I had evaluated the specific situation, somehow an inanimate piece of paper became a token by which we could disclaim all responsibility for our own miserableness. We didn't even say "hey next time we should make sure our characters end up doing things that make us here in the real world happy and fulfilled". We just went and made the same mistake again. Why? Because I didn't do it, "it was what my guy would do". Pfui. I shall never do that bullshit again. Knock on wood.

So here's a practical example from the halcyon days of My Guyness and me.

d6 Star Wars. I was playing a trigger-happy demolitions expert. We were going onto an enemy ship in order to get the bad guy.

I say, "I have enough explosives, you know what? We don't even need to sneak onto the ship. I'll just plant the explosives below the engine exhaust."

Jedi player: "Dude, don't do that, I want to have my guy face off with the evil bastard in a big lightsaber fight."

Me: "But it's what my guy would do, it's the most effective way to take him out with the least chance of getting caught or hurt."

Alien diplomat player: "But I really wanted to find out what his plan was!"

Me: "It's what my guy would do, who cares what his plan was if he's dead?"

After some back-and-forth, the following transpired, which REALLY shows how much the well can be poisoned:

Jedi player: "Damn, well, you're right, it's what your character would do, go ahead."

Alien diplomat player: "Crap on a stick, yeah, go ahead. It's what your guy would do."

Me: "Sorry guys."

GM: "Roll 'em."

And I blew up the ship and the campaign was over and we won and all the players, myself and the GM included, had a miserable time.

Who's fault was this?

Sure as hell wasn't "my guy's" fault. (Or the designer or the GM.) It was MY fault.

And yet I felt absolutely no responsibility at all, and my fellow players didn't think it was my responsibility, and perversely, they often said, "I guess it was good roleplaying..." in campaign postmortems. Good roleplaying?? Damn, if good roleplaying means "everyone is fucking miserable and thinks it's stupid", let me go find another hobby like getting beaten with sticks.

Even though I had designed the character to make that decision, and the GM had set up the general situation, and I had evaluated the specific situation, somehow an inanimate piece of paper became a token by which we could disclaim all responsibility for our own miserableness. We didn't even say "hey next time we should make sure our characters end up doing things that make us here in the real world happy and fulfilled". We just went and made the same mistake again. Why? Because I didn't do it, "it was what my guy would do". Pfui. I shall never do that bullshit again. Knock on wood.

So here's a practical example from the halcyon days of My Guyness and me.

d6 Star Wars. I was playing a trigger-happy demolitions expert. We were going onto an enemy ship in order to get the bad guy.

I say, "I have enough explosives, you know what? We don't even need to sneak onto the ship. I'll just plant the explosives below the engine exhaust."

Jedi player: "Dude, don't do that, I want to have my guy face off with the evil bastard in a big lightsaber fight."

Me: "But it's what my guy would do, it's the most effective way to take him out with the least chance of getting caught or hurt."

Alien diplomat player: "But I really wanted to find out what his plan was!"

Me: "It's what my guy would do, who cares what his plan was if he's dead?"

After some back-and-forth, the following transpired, which REALLY shows how much the well can be poisoned:

Jedi player: "Damn, well, you're right, it's what your character would do, go ahead."

Alien diplomat player: "Crap on a stick, yeah, go ahead. It's what your guy would do."

Me: "Sorry guys."

GM: "Roll 'em."

And I blew up the ship and the campaign was over and we won and all the players, myself and the GM included, had a miserable time.

Who's fault was this?

Sure as hell wasn't "my guy's" fault. (Or the designer or the GM.) It was MY fault.

And yet I felt absolutely no responsibility at all, and my fellow players didn't think it was my responsibility, and perversely, they often said, "I guess it was good roleplaying..." in campaign postmortems. Good roleplaying?? Damn, if good roleplaying means "everyone is miserable and thinks it's stupid", let me go find another hobby like getting beaten with sticks.

Even though I had designed the character to make that decision, and the GM had set up the general situation, and I had evaluated the specific situation, somehow an inanimate piece of paper became a token by which we could disclaim all responsibility for our own miserableness. We didn't even say "hey next time we should make sure our characters end up doing things that make us here in the real world happy and fulfilled". We just went and made the same mistake again. Why? Because I didn't do it, "it was what my guy would do". Pfui. I shall never do that bullshit again. Knock on wood.

2 Can't the GM just fix it? Frankly, no.
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Dealing with "My Guy" is pretty easy once you're aware of it, really: don't hide behind "It's what my guy would do," and don't accept it for an answer. Instead, communicate and engage with each other as people at the table.

Just, like, say what's really on your mind. If something makes you uncomfortable, say "This makes me uncomfortable." If something seems out-of-character for the kind of game you're trying to run or play, say that.

As the player making a decision, look beyond "My Guy" to "Our Game." Are you doing something that you, as a player, actually want to see happen in play? Is it fun for you? Is it fun but only at the expense of someone else's fun?

Rich Burlew's article "Making the Tough Decisions" ismay be a useful guide, especially for traditional adventure RPGs like D&D:

Another good resource to look at is Same Page Tool, which helps you establish goals and structure for the game you're playingyou establish goals and structure for the game you're playing — if you do this ahead of time, you know have something concrete to talk about when a confusing issue happens in play.


Wait, can't the GM just fix it?

Kinda sorta, sometimes. But mostly no. Here's the thing: you can't really make something happen despite the other players and have it be the same as something happening because of them.

There's a world of difference between a game where the PCs naturally follow the genre-based (e.g. "Star Wars!") or structural (e.g. "2-3 fair fights a session") conceits and one where they don't but the GM tries to "backdoor" them in somehow. It's the difference between all building towards something together and one person having to expect extra effort just to block and twist what another player is doing.

Also, fundamentally, the protagonists define the fiction. You're not going to be able to create the experience you want (e.g. "Star Wars!") without having all the players at the table play their characters in a suitable way. There's no way to force the genre onto the PCs if the players aren't playing along.

Dealing with "My Guy" is pretty easy once you're aware of it, really: don't hide behind "It's what my guy would do," and don't accept it for an answer.

Rich Burlew's article "Making the Tough Decisions" is a useful guide, especially for traditional adventure RPGs like D&D:

Another good resource to look at is Same Page Tool, which helps you establish goals and structure for the game you're playing — if you do this ahead of time, you know have something concrete to talk about when a confusing issue happens in play.

Dealing with "My Guy" is pretty easy once you're aware of it, really: don't hide behind "It's what my guy would do," and don't accept it for an answer. Instead, communicate and engage with each other as people at the table.

Just, like, say what's really on your mind. If something makes you uncomfortable, say "This makes me uncomfortable." If something seems out-of-character for the kind of game you're trying to run or play, say that.

As the player making a decision, look beyond "My Guy" to "Our Game." Are you doing something that you, as a player, actually want to see happen in play? Is it fun for you? Is it fun but only at the expense of someone else's fun?

Rich Burlew's article "Making the Tough Decisions" may be a useful guide, especially for traditional adventure RPGs like D&D:

Another good resource to look at is Same Page Tool, which helps you establish goals and structure for the game you're playing — if you do this ahead of time, you know have something concrete to talk about when a confusing issue happens in play.


Wait, can't the GM just fix it?

Kinda sorta, sometimes. But mostly no. Here's the thing: you can't really make something happen despite the other players and have it be the same as something happening because of them.

There's a world of difference between a game where the PCs naturally follow the genre-based (e.g. "Star Wars!") or structural (e.g. "2-3 fair fights a session") conceits and one where they don't but the GM tries to "backdoor" them in somehow. It's the difference between all building towards something together and one person having to expect extra effort just to block and twist what another player is doing.

Also, fundamentally, the protagonists define the fiction. You're not going to be able to create the experience you want (e.g. "Star Wars!") without having all the players at the table play their characters in a suitable way. There's no way to force the genre onto the PCs if the players aren't playing along.

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