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Recently my boyfriend, his friends and I started a game of Palladium. The night we all were rolling for our character stats and creating our characters was a lot of fun. This was my first RPG and I was super excited to get it started. My character was an anarchist mercenary, and I was hopeful about the opportunities to create this mysterious character. Stats-wise, she's a very average character. She has some good hand-to-hand skills but not much else worth noting. Normally, I wouldn't have been bothered, since I expected her to progress, but in our group of five there is also a very OP wolfen mind mage and an elf with almost limitless charm and beauty who can get anything she wants. My boyfriend's character is also very average in stats, but the nature of his character makes him able to interact in a lot of interesting ways that gives him a lot of play time.

Our first game was extremely discouraging, to say the least. The GM set it up so that it's basically centered around the wolfen (no surprise), who enlists the help of the elf. So the first game was about 5+ hours of just the wolfen and the elf. I got to say a couple words only because my character was in close proximity for a moment. I left that night feeling forgotten about and pessimistic about future games.

Our second game didn't go much differently. It was basically: Wolfen and Elf, feat. a Mage and a Soldier... (oh also there as a mercenary for a second there). Our characters defeated a demon together, but despite that I still had no time to explore my character. Everything I said as both a character and as a player would go ignored and lost in the babble of everyone else.

I don't even know the other players very well. They're my boyfriend's friends and it's already draining enough that I have to spend so much energy trying to be kind and likable, but when I have to sit there watching everyone else have fun for 5+ hours it just depresses me. The player whose character is the elf is annoying and constantly is trying to derail the game by making out-of-character chaotic decisions, so she hogs the GM's attention and everyone else's time constantly. All of us are annoyed by it, but they still get time for themselves so they deal with it.

I ultimately made the decision to drop out. I know this would seem inconsiderate to the GM, but even he admitted that he hadn't even planned anything out for my character yet so it wouldn't make a difference (which also confirms that no one is interested in my character at all). Our last two games were held at the annoying player's house, with her three-year-old running around and being disruptive, which was the final straw for me.

I guess my question is, was my decision to drop out too hasty? Am I being too pessimistic? I hate the fact that I've already spent 11+ hours feeling left out as both a character and a player. I leave every game feeling drained. I was so hopeful for this game, as it was my first. Now I just feel disappointed.

I should probably mention exactly how my time had been wasted our first two games. The Elf spent about 3 hours in our first game wandering around town, forcing men in the tavern to fight each other for no reason, trying to coerce a lord to buying a sword for her and throwing a fit when her charm didn't work on him, and forcing a stable boy to follow her around for no reason other than the fact that he was enamored with her. Her exchanges with the wolfen have been out of character and have taken far more time than they should have. In our second game, the Elf broke away from our party to investigate a waning campfire 30+ miles away, against every character's advice not to. She left us stranded because she was the only one who knew the location of the demon we were on our way to fight. It's beyond frustrating, especially because she loves the fact that all attention is on her as she wastes everyone's time.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by MikeQ, Oblivious Sage, mxyzplk Apr 18 '18 at 3:16

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. One of big thing to keep in mind about RPGs is No gaming is better than bad gaming. (That's not a stealth answer, by the way, but something that even longtime gamers need to be reminded of on occasion, and I thought it might make you feel better.) Although I hope it isn't, I'm concerned that this question might be closed as primarily opinion-based; I think that others who have been in a similar position and either dropped out or stuck it out can answer this expertly. No matter what though, look around, have fun, and—please!—try it with another group! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 17 '18 at 18:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ While we sympathize with your problem, this isn't really a good question (at least not in its current form) for stackexchange. You could try joining us in Role-playing Games Chat to discuss this in a more open setting, or explore some other forum-style sites. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Apr 17 '18 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan We are using 2nd edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Ava Apr 17 '18 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 I'm not seeing any problem with this question — it looks like a pretty typical example of group interaction problems that we do handle. What are you seeing that I'm overlooking? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 18 '18 at 1:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ This could be cast as an answerable question, but in the end "was I too hasty" or "should I have dropped out" is 100% subjective. "How do I try to get more spotlight time," etc. is answerable from experience. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 18 '18 at 3:18
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That group might be a loss

It's unfortunate, but it sounds like that group's dynamics were less than ideal, both for you and possibly for some of the other players. There's still a chance you could turn it around, but it sounds like beyond just the game itself you also found the location unideal.

I had a similar problem at my table where a player came to me feeling left out. Despite the initial sting of being accused of favoritism I swallowed my pride and handled it and we're a much better group for it now.

What follows here is a couple different avenues you could explore to see if you can make this group work for you, based on what my player talked to me about and what I did to fix it. If all the sections don't fix your problem, don't forget about the last one; don't give up on gaming!

Talk to the GM

It sounds like you brought up at least some of your concerns to your GM, based on your comment that ;

even [the GM] admitted that he hadn't even planned anything out for my character yet

However, I wonder what that conversation was actually like. Did you talk to him right after a session, on a different day, by himself or in front of the other players? It might be worth to outline your concerns more concretely and bring them up to him in a one-on-one conversation. Try to have it away from the table. Something like;

Hey GM, I feel like I was being left out of the game because of [reason x and y]. Is this something you think we could work on together? I'm really interested in playing more but right now I'm not having as much fun as I hoped to.

Because everyone's human, this conversation will go a lot better if you try to keep from blaming or pointing fingers at anyone in particular. Bringing up what the problem player is doing to annoy you and how you think the GM isn't giving you enough time in the limelight will put him on the defensive. You're more likely to get a positive response if you don't phrase it as an accusation.

What I personally found the most helpful was that my player came to me with concrete examples of the behavior they found frustrating, and ideas of how those sections could have gone better. By modeling my DMing after their suggestions I ended up with much more balanced gameplay.

Talk to the other players

You mentioned that

All of us are annoyed by [the behavior of the problem player], but they still get time for themselves so they deal with it.

Have you spoken to your boyfriend and the other players about this problem player? If they actually all do find the problem player to be a problem, this is when you can go to your GM and put the onus on him to find a solution. If, however, they all shrug and just say it's fine, that might be a sign that it was time for you to get out of the game.

Ask for a Session 0

Let's say that you've spoken to both the GM and the other players, and you think you're ready to get back into the game and try again. Before you jump into the actual game, you should all sit down for a session 0.

A session 0 is something recommended to be had by every gaming group. It's essentially a chance to get everyone on the same page and make sure that you're all in the game for the same reasons. You can lay out some basic "rules" and expectations, like "we won't depict torture scenes" or "we are more interested in role play than combat".

We ended up having a session 0 something like 9 sessions into the campaign, where instead of playing we just made an effort to talk it out and get on the same page.

This is where you can voice your interest in developing your character more and getting more of a chance to grow. You also might be able to talk about rotating who hosts so you're not always subjected to the disruptive three-year-old.

Don't give up on gaming!

If all else fails and this group doesn't work out, don't give up on gaming! There are other groups out there that will align more with your personal style and interests, you just need to find one. Maybe you can even talk your boyfriend into joining one with you!

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's important that answers to this question stem from experiences similar to what the asker experienced. Can this answer include those? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 17 '18 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I followed this general flow (minus the boyfriend angle, as I don't have one) myself to negotiate an unideal group as the DM, but it felt really clunky shouldering in experience that didn't exactly line up with the OP's since I was on the other side of the table... is that really worth adding in? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Apr 17 '18 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, I think your experience should be included. The presence of your experiences in the answer will demonstrate actual, firsthand knowledge of the problem. Absent your experiences, this answer can be seen as generally good advice but without any backing proving that the advice works. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 17 '18 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Edited, better? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Apr 17 '18 at 18:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes! Thank you. (I'd normally at this point delete my comments, but, if you don't mind, I'd like to leave them here so that others that come along later and are considering answering the question can use them as guideposts. However, if you think they detract from your answer, I'm happy to delete them.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 17 '18 at 18:59
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The Problem

There is a difference between table top RPGs and video game RPGs. That is, in a table top people specialize in skills, this can happen because a group of specialists can support each other when not in their element. In video game RPGs players try to be proficient in as many skills as possible, this is because there is no one else to do those other skills.

It sounds like the other players in your group specialized without remembering to help you, the new player. There are two suggestions I can make.

A Reroll

Game masters can allow a character to be rebuilt at almost any time if the character you are playing is not quiet right. This is your best solution as you have at least seen your issue and can attempt to fix it as if nothing was lost but your own time.

There may be conditions to it, speak with your game master on this issue.

Lead

Players with dominate personalities can take over some table top groups, which is normally an issue instead of a solution. Although with a weaker character the player will need to make up the difference to be relevant.

You mentioned your character is decent at hand to hand combat, this is a good place to start. Whenever hand to hand combat is a viable solution have your character act up in order to solve the problem. It doe not matter if your character is the best or not, just that they try to take the lead when they can.

This solution will require speaking up and may not be ideal if that is more difficult for you as a person.

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That can be tough, before you drop out, there are probably a few things that you can try if there is a next time.

Talk with the GM

Talk about it first. There's a chance that they haven't noticed or are trying to figure out a way to deal with a spotlight hog already. Instead of just quitting talk about it with them. RPG's are supposed to be fun for everyone, and instead of quitting because you're not having fun, see if the GM can help you have more fun. Now, that won't mean that you're always in the spotlight, which is probably cool, but maybe they can throw you a story bone. I primarily run games and I'll try and some sessions form time to time (which we record for a podcast) to recap what has happened and to find out what players are liking/disliking etc. Even if I don't do that, it's been helpful in a lot of games to see what people liked, wanted more of, or what they were having issues with, because that's a lot of my job is making sure everyone has fun, now that includes myself, but in some ways that's easier.

Talk with your Boyfriend

If you don't feel comfortable going to the GM, explain what issues you're having to your boyfriend. And explain that you were excited to play and that you still want to play, but you aren't having as much fun as you had hoped. Explain that it's a lot of energy for you and you're wondering if he could talk to the GM to see if your character can be more involved. Most likely, like the first, it's a situation where the GM might not have even noticed that something was going on, and if you don't know them well enough to talk to them or feel like you boyfriend should, ask. This is something that I've had to do, not specifically, but to talk with people who weren't as comfortable talking with the group. We had issues with scheduling and people dropping out at the last second and it was annoying for everyone involved, so I became the go-between for some people. Some of that was because I was the GM, but also because I knew all the parties involved. In this case, that's your boyfriend who can be that intermediary as need be.

Do your own crazy thing

It sounds like you're not trying to step on anyone's toes and that you are trying to get to know these people and not seem to out of place and different. Let your character be that. It sounds like crazy things are already happening in the game, so push your character into the craziness. Keep it in game, seems like the elf is having an issue with that, but do something different, unique. Find something in your backstory that you can latch onto that you want to do, and try and bring it up in game and see what happens.


Now, since you've dropped out already, it might not have been the right time/situation for you to be playing. If you're still interested in RPG's (I'm assuming so since you're asking here), there are some things that you can try to get more prepared and used to playing them.

Find an Adventurers League or Pathfinder Society

These are less commitment and while they might seem higher pressure, get your boyfriend to come along and try them with you. It's a good way to find a group that might work better for you as well.

Try Legacy of Dragonholt

This cam you can just play with your boyfriend and it will be simple and easy. It's a light role playing, more choose your own adventure book, but you can have some fun with it and try out some role playing chops with it. I've had a lot of fun with this game and highly recommend it. It's a good way to get more comfortable slipping into character without much pressure.

And if you want to try and play with this group again sometime:

Work with you Boyfriend on the Right Schedule

Obviously with a three year old around one of the houses, it probably is going to be played at their place most of the time. But work with your boyfriend and possibly even join back in, if you can get shorter sessions, if you can get more into the story, etc. stuff that might make it easier to start playing an RPG. I know when I run, I generally run for about three hours and that's the max time. There's a game that runs longer, but I shoot for several intentional breaks so that it's easier on the players and newer players. And maybe, if they want to do those longer sessions, you can even host once in a while so that you're playing somewhere without a kid running around but also somewhere that is your domain and might seem more comfortable. This is one of the biggest ones, I've seen major differences in where people play and how they play as I've run games and play in games. I primarily run games, but my wife who has played at both conventions and in our home game is much more willing to role play and engage in the story at home than at conventions because the setting is more familiar.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Tossed in some examples to my post as to where I've used these things. Not all of them are things I've directly done but know that they've been successful for others whom I game with. \$\endgroup\$ – The Scando Apr 17 '18 at 19:07
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Was Your Decision To Drop Out Too Hasty?

Ultimately, this is a question I think only you can answer. I've thought about it for a few hours and gone through all my various exits from games, game re-shufflings, etc. If it's really been a problem game (as opposed to a resource problem, usually lack of time or inability to coordinate) the one truly common factor in all of them has been this: I didn't feel comfortable with one or more other players (most often the GM) and didn't think they had my best interests as a gamer at heart, i.e., my fun was subordinate to someone else's. Or everyone else's.

Sometimes there are tell-tale signs in anecdotes that make it clear, other times it just comes down to a gut feel. But there are two things in this situation that stuck out for me, one (potentially) negative and one (potentially) positive.

First, the negative, the problematic Elf character and (seemingly) chief time-waster: Think about whether the GM was in some sense swept along with the antics, or if the GM was positively encouraging them. To a lesser degree, the same question for the overpowered Wolfen. If the GM is, for whatever reason, into just a small subset of the characters or is a fan of certain characters, that is a problem I have personally never found a solution to. If the GM is just getting swept along, well, that's still a problem but it's a different one.

Second, the positive: The GM said he had nothing planned for your character yet. To my mind, "yet" is an important and hopeful qualifier, if it is meant in earnest. It strongly implies that he's planning or going to plan something for your character. I can attest that as a GM, it does take a little time. Sometimes I've had my creative well run dry for a player, too. Now, that said, even if something is in the works, you are entirely within your rights to ask, pointedly, when that's going to materialize and you shouldn't be feeling like you've wasted five hours each session and you'll never get them back.

But those are just what jump out to me. Ultimately it boils down to: Do you feel like a prop in someone else's story? Do you feel like the other players and especially the GM actually give a damn, at least once you point things out... or do you feel dismissed? You should never feel like a prop or an extra, and you should never feel dismissed.

Sometimes just one session is enough to tell.

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