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The open-for-all on-line play-by-post RPG runs well for about two years. Then, out of nowhere, an army of trolls (the internet version, not the fantasy one) appears (examples defamiliarized):

  • one keeps posting literally "shit"

  • one makes bad suggestions that they themselves say are bad suggestions

  • nonsensical purchases are made, e.g. "Armor -1" instead of half as expensive "Armor +1" because a troll thinks it's nicer

  • things are bought "to look at" without the intention of using them

  • for the quest, in which an air-plane has to be flown, the five-year-old with a fear of flying is chosen instead of the available test pilot (reason: prevent to get XP)

  • planning: "If we intentionally waste as many XP per quest as we win, we can prevent to level ever again. Hooray!" Unfortunately, future quests are not based on the factual experience level, but on what the PCs should have achieved.

  • Things are suggested for which the effects are unknown, which could be learned more about beforehand, and which are obviously not part of the main quest and additionally cost resources.

  • "Have you read the rules?" Troll, proud: "Never looked at them!"

  • Troll receives an explanation, several times from different experienced people: ignores all of them

  • Troll claims not to read other people's posts anyway

The trolls are in the majority. So far: character death, monetary loss (in-game, not irl), bad inventory, loss of XP.

The only solution I could see is to reset the game to the state it was in before the troll invasion and to issue accounts (the DM knows the usernames and e-mails of the participants).

However, the DM does not even want to acknowledge that there might be any kind of a troll issue and prevents discussion about it.

Several players have rage-quitted or just disappeared.

What other options (for a player) are there apart from also rage-quitting? (Just witnessing the ongoing train-wreck is not an option for me, neither is participating in the house demolition by the trolls.)

Communications: "play-by-post" means, that one posts a comment on-line and the comment with the most votes determines the action, if it is an action-comment and not a meta-comment.

To answer questions form comments:

it's the "open for all" part that isn't clear to me. How does that work, exactly?

It is like rpg.stackexchange.com: Everybody can join in and post/upvote/downvote - except that rpg.stackexchange.com requires an account to do this, thus you would need several accounts to be able to place several votes, and SE would try to catch the sock-puppets and delete them.

do people know each other?

Nope.

Are they strangers?

Yes. Well, the trolls might know each other, which would explain why so many of them appeared at once.

How many players, even?

Unknown. Really active players: once upon a time there were about 7, but their activity has declined. Trolls: about 5 different nick names actively doing something, some further nicks encouraging them, and lots of upvotes.

Do you all control the same individual or group?

We all control(led) the same group.

System: homebrewed

A game system where people vote in a "Twitch plays Pokémon" style is worth explaining.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitch_Plays_Pok%C3%A9mon Yes, like that! It is not a video game but played by text posts, but it is the same mechanics.

Is there an XP gain just by posting, or is the player that spams "shit" just annoying?

The characters gain XP, not the players, for achieving quests, and yes, the one repeating the word "shit" is just annoying.

How is the boy piloting a plane preventing to gain XP, and whose XP are we talking about?

In the example: The boy cannot start the plane, thus the quest fails, thus no XP for anybody.

How long has this game been going on before the trolls' invasion?

Nearly two years, but looking at the time invested to put a backdoor into some tarball recently - Time Is Not Important, Only Life Is.

I can't wrap my head around it.

Me neither. Maybe the DM's verbal abuse of the players was not meant to be joking but serious.

Unionize. Arrange with all the other players to threaten to all leave

The only contact we players have is by the game, and in-game discussion about the issue has been forbidden by the DM. So, no unionizing.

If the GM doesn't kick the problem player, they won't have a game.

There are still the trolls, and the DM is expecting the players to fail further or later anyway and, if that does not happen, announced to end the game in one or two years. No game is no issue for them.

You also want to contact former players to arrange for them to return if the problem player is ejected.

It is not possible to contact any player outside of the game, and it is not one problem player but several (or a very active one?) and the majority of the votes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the stack Burgmeister! Take the tour when you have a moment, and feel free to peruse the help center for more in-depth info about the site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Commented Apr 6 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could the downvoter please provide a comment and help me to improve my question? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6 at 18:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not one of the downvoters (you have more than one, and also some counterbalancing upvotes) but at a guess: There's a lot of detail on the trolls' bad behavior, but not a lot of detail about the the mechanics of the game, communication and otherwise. Any solution other than the obvious (and there is no guarantee one exists) runs through those mechanics. Otherwise, it's rage-quit or have the GM fix it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Apr 6 at 18:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Burgmeister, if this game is an "open-for-all on-line play-by-post RPG", you might consider just telling us where to find the game. Not sure it will help, but unless potential answerers are clear on what the game is, I just don't think you're going to get any game-specific answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Commented Apr 7 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds to me like forum questing -- one explainer you might like is forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/intro-to-questing.12494. I am not sure if this is covered under our mandate but it's nothing like a video game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Commented Apr 8 at 23:45

3 Answers 3

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Your only current option is leaving calmly. State to the GM "I am not having fun anymore, and if you don't want to do anything about the people ruining my fun, I'm out."

And then if they don't do anything, you leave.

The GM is in charge of the game; if you don't like the way they run the game, you tell them. If they are unwilling to change to accommodate you, you leave. That's how it goes at a real table, that's how it goes in an online group.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, I did that now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8 at 15:20
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You Seem To Have No Options

Even after clarifications, I don't fully understand this game. But I think I understand enough to know that the GM has clamped down on every avenue for dissent or redress:

  • You can't discuss it with the GM, because they don't acknowledge the problem

  • You can't discuss it in public, because the GM prevents it

  • You can't discuss it in private, because the players have no means of contacting each other.

I don't understand the mindset of the GM at all.

But you seem to have no option other than quitting, with or without the courtesies of a public explanation (which may get suppressed) or a private explanation (which will likely be ignored.)

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Unionize.

Arrange with all the other players to threaten to all leave, unless the troll is kicked from the game. Collective bargaining. If the GM doesn't kick the problem player, they won't have a game.

The only alternatives are to accept the problem player, which seems to be untenable, or to quit the game. Worst case scenario, the GM refuses, and you quit the game anyway. However, collective quitting is still better than singular quitting, because the GM may concede later. You also want to contact former players to arrange for them to return if the problem player is ejected.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It appears there are multiple problem players-- more than non-problem ones. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Apr 7 at 1:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak: Yes, that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 7 at 12:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is more than one troll. Players appear to have been unwise enough not to share contact info with each other. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 8 at 20:41

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