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I actually have two situations but they are interconnected. Our group is currently playing a Dresden game. The GM and one of the players are married. Along with that, he is a new member to the group. I can understand her (the GM) wanting to make him feel welcome but it has gone into the the realm of blatant favoritism. A few examples:

  • Every idea he has is deemed fantastic, wonderful, awesome and is always successful. Most of the time he doesn't have to roll to see if he succeeds; he just does.
  • After a series of major setbacks to the other player's characters, I joked that her husband was the only one left to mess with. Her answer to that was that she would absolutely not be messing with him in the game. He and his character were safe from that.
  • In the last session, he and another player had to make the same roll using the same skill for the same information. He needed a fair to succeed. The other player needed a great. Not the first time that has happened.

The second part of this has to do with him as well. As I said, he is new to the group. When we were discussing a game to play, it was made clear that it would be cooperative. We would all be working together to a common end. However, he will not- I mean ever- share any information with the rest of the group. No matter how vital or needed that information is to advance the story, he just smiles and says he's got nothing. To try and get around this problem, a group aspect was created. That way if a situation or information that everybody needed to know came up, a fate chip could be played and anyone who wanted to be a part of it could be present. He is totally abusing it. Now, instead of just not telling us anything, he adds give me a fate chip and maybe I'll tell you something. It's like he is trying to beat us at the game and that is not the way it was set up.

So, the question to these two situations is what do I do? How do I handle this in a rational and sensitive way? To complicate things further, the GM is my best friend. He is her husband. I don't want to put her in the middle but I am about ready to quit the game. I am tired of it being his game and everyone else being bit players. Should I talk to her or should I talk to him? If anyone has had experience with this, any advice would be appreciated.

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Player Revolt/Intervention

You must, in an out-of-character context, talk about this with your GM. There is no rule in the world that will solve player favoritism. This conversation needs to include, bluntly

  • That this behavior is making the game unfun for you
  • That this behavior is making the game unfun for your table-mates
  • That the behavior must end

Feelings will be hurt, if it has already gone this far.

After-Action

  • Do not let either party of the couple be the GM. If they are both at the table, they must be players.
  • Or, Remove one of them from the group
  • Or, Remove both of them from the group

It is already too late if it has come to asking strangers on the internet.

Addendum

If you catch this earlier, the answer is much different. If you catch this early, you still have the out of character conversation, and you still do not sugar coat anything, but there is no ultimatum. You come up with a mutually agreeable solution. sometimes that is strict adherence to the rules (which may require a change in system), and sometimes that means asking her not to bring her husband. Feelings need not be bruised then. In your case, sadly, there will be hurt feelings. The cardinal rule of the hobby "these are your friends, don't be a jerk", has already been broken.

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I don't know that this is quite at ultimatum level yet - from your description, it's not clear to me whether you've privately raised this issue with the GM yet in a serious way. It probably should have been clear to her from your joking about it that it bothered you, but if you and she are best friends, you should be able to pull her aside and raise your concerns in a non-confrontational way. She may have thought that you guys wouldn't mind her coddling him, since it sounds like he might be a novice player and the rest of you sound like you're experienced. If she denies that she's doing it, or says something along the lines of 'it's not a big deal, just get used to it', then you know it's probably not going to change, and you can decide to tough it out or quit with full information. If this is what happens, I'd agree that the only way to play pleasantly with this couple in the future will be to have someone else GM.

I would avoid raising the husband's annoying play style in the same conversation, but I would experiment with imposing in-game consequences on his character for this behavior. I'm not saying that you all should gang up on his character or anything (this would likely end very poorly), but maybe if his character has a habit of holding things back and demanding to be bargained with for information, it would make sense for other characters to start regarding him with suspicion and being similarly uninterested in helping him unless there's something in it for them. I know you signed up for a co-op game, but see if you and the rest of the group can continue working together and treat him as an untrustworthy-but-useful contact. React to him the way you would to an NPC. He might get tired of being so difficult if it means going it alone most of the time.

If the GM is designing the game so that this is impossible, I'd try just asking him out of game some time why he does that and expressing that it's not really how you thought the game was going to be played. I'm a big fan of communicating politely but directly with people when they're bothering you; if they get angry, then you probably don't want to spend hours playing with them on a regular basis anyway.

One thing you might ask the GM and/or the other players to do is to have some kind of meta conversation about what they like about rpgs and hope to get out of the game. I've seen a lot of recommendations floating around for the Same-Page Tool as a good way of structuring that discussion. It may be that he has no idea how to play this kind of rpg and needs some nudging to understand what cooperation means, or it may be that he just really doesn't want to play that way and when that's out in the open, will get the idea that he should look for a gaming group that suits his needs better.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "I'm a big fan of communicating politely but directly with people when they're bothering you" \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Nov 11 '14 at 21:38
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I hate to sound crass here, OP, but there's a reason that you don't date your fellow players, and you're discovering it. Love tends to make one see something in another that other people don't, just by its very nature. This means that even if you're best friends with someone, they might end up being in love with someone you despise, even though that seems bizarre. Not to mention people tend to treat games differently. Your friend's husband obviously doesn't understand the point of the game, or doesn't care.

The lack of perspective from the "innocent" member of the couple is what creates the rift in the table. You have to discuss this right now and as directly as possible before negative sentiments become more deep-seated and someone explodes. You will not get lucky and have your GM divorce her husband suddenly or something equally unlikely. The worst case scenario is that you leave the table quietly, but your friendship will remain intact, while a full-table drama episode could end up with everyone hating each other.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This attitude is condescending and toxic. Every couple I've ever gamed with has been terrified that their very existence could ruin the game, to the point that they impose pointless handicaps and limitations on their gaming habits. Couples have never been a problem in any of my groups, but this attitude toward them has. This querent's problem is a challenge faced by individuals, not an inevitable result of couples gaming. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Nov 4 '14 at 23:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Right, because couples having interests in common and hobbies they can share is a bad thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 4 '14 at 23:07

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