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I've recently started a campaign with one particular player who seems to be taking up most of the screen time and unilaterally setting the direction of the party. He's an extroverted person playing an extroverted character (the other players, including me, are more introverted), and the game so far has mostly consisted of him having detailed conversations with various NPCs while we stand around and watch, occasionally trying to interrupt and getting dimissed or shushed. The PC in question is socially-oriented with modest combat abilities, and thus prefers peaceful NPC interactions and avoiding combat whenever possible; in fact, I was yelled at out-of-character for escalating a social confrontation into a combat one. The group dynamics seem to have settled into a situation where he's become the de facto leader of the party and the rest of us are his lackeys. Given the introversion of the rest of the party, though, I seem to be the only person who objects to this.

This situation can't be uncommon in RPGs; I've even encountered it in some past games I've played in, though I haven't found a solution to the underlying problem. Is this just an inherent problem in group role-playing games, or is there is something useful I can do as a player?

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    \$\begingroup\$ are others unhappy with the dynamic, or is it just you? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 25 '15 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably just me, as far as I can tell. That seems to be the case here, and I was definitely the case in the situations I mentioned from earlier, different games. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Aug 25 '15 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Joninean: Ran across that earlier, but despite its title, it's more about a player who needs hand-holding and prodding from the GM. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Aug 25 '15 at 16:27
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Talk to your DM about it

From the sounds of things, especially the extra information in the comment to the other answer, you have enjoyed playing with everyone but the extroverted player, and the extroverted player is new to the group. It sounds like the extrovert is not a good fit for your group. From a GM perspective, the best way to handle this is to talk to the player in question to see if they can change their behavior, and to kick them out if that doesn't help.

Making sure everyone has an enjoyable time is one of the duties of the GM of the game. If you have a problem with another player, talk to your GM privately, outside of the game. Tell him that you feel that the new player is not a good fit, and that he is trouncing everyone else. Tell him that you're not enjoying the game as is, and that you feel the new player is the cause of this, and ask him to talk to the new player. Remember that you might not be alone in feeling this way, especially since the other original players are all introverted. Also, show him the next part of this answer.

Advice for your GM

One of your players has a problem with another player. As the GM, it falls on you to resolve conflicts like this. The problem seems to be that you have a group of introverted players, and you introduced an extroverted player who is now taking the focus away from the other players. There is nothing wrong with introducing new players, but it appears that this particular player is not a good fit for the existing group. So, how do you resolve this?

Start off by talking to the new player about this. He is most likely not doing it on purpose, and likely doesn't even notice. Bring it up by saying that "some players" are feeling that he is hogging the spotlight, and ask him to let the other players have spotlight time as well. Make sure that you do not mention who voiced the concern, as this may lead to bad blood between these players. Concerns about other players has to be anonymous. Leave it at that for now, and see how it goes.

I would also make it clear, if you haven't already, that you are willing to listen to feedback. Let them know that they can feel safe voicing concerns to you.

Now, if talking to the new player doesn't help the situation (ask the players who raised concerns!), kick out the new player from the group. The new player is having fun at the expense of your other players, and this is not something you want. If this continues for too long, you risk losing your other players. Losing one player can sometimes lead to a chain reaction, as people realize that they can leave the game at any time.

If this doesn't work, walk away

If your GM doesn't talk to the other player (or remove him), it may be best for you to walk away from this game. This doesn't necessarily mean walking away from the group, though. Tell people that you're not having fun as is, and that you'd prefer not playing in this campaign (if that is actually the case). If you're the only one that feels this way, the problem is solved for the group, and everyone is having fun. If other players feel the same way you do, it is not unlikely that they will walk away from the game as well. If the game collapses, talk to your GM about a new game without the problem player, or even picking up where you left off.

Keep in mind that this last part should only be done if the other methods don't work.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree, the GM is the arbiter of equal play time for all of his players. +1 from me. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Aug 25 '15 at 12:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I wound up sending an email to the GM saying that I had a problem with the player (and included details and examples that would be impolitic to post on a public board), but didn't suggest or request any particular course of action. I do plan to walk away if the matter isn't resolved to my satisfaction, but I'll give resolving the matter one more try before taking that option. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Aug 25 '15 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're very welcome. I hope it ends well, both for you, and the rest of the group. Do feel free to post what ends up happening. \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Aug 25 '15 at 22:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xanderh: Follow-up: We had another player drop the campaign (though I don't know the exact circumstances behind it), but things to be going much more smoothly. I spoke to the GM and had him to speak to the player in question, and--- at least in the short term--- the game has been much more relaxed, cooperative, and engaging. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Sep 9 '15 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to hear things are going better. I hope it lasts! \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Sep 9 '15 at 18:22
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As i see t there a two challenges here:

One is you are all introverts, he is extrovert. This is a difficult constellation.

Your group should play a few weeks without him, so you all can work your shyness.

Your "friend" "who yells at" and "dismisses and shushes" you, sounds like a spoiled brat, maybe you should rethink what friendship means. Friends should show respect for each other, this sounds more like bullying.

A RPG is an group experience, if you feel like you are his lackeys or do things you dont want to, like talking instead of fighting, you're not having fun, so you might as well quit that.

He needs to understand that it's not always his birthday, he has to share gametime, or find a new group.

Second is you have different playing goals.

If you resolve problem one, this is cake. Talk about what each of you expect and try to give everyone at least one spotlight per session.

Example: A Social Encounter with the Baroness for him. A Battle with her Guards for you, maybe at the same time?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've run an entire campaign with the other players and the current GM. It went quite smoothly, and we were all quite happy with it. The player in question is not my friend (I'm not sure why that's in quotes; I never used the word in my post), and I would prefer that he leave the game entirely. It's not my campaign, though, and I like the other players and the GM enough that summarily quitting is a steep price to pay. It may be necessary, but it's still steep. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Aug 25 '15 at 7:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right about the friend thing, i misinterpreted that. however, i think i'll let this stand as it is. Also, you say, playing with the other folks was positive, then i think you know he is the problem. @Xanderh has good points, especially the GMs duty of making sure everyone has a good time. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Christian Aug 25 '15 at 9:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think some more emphasis on the GM's responsibility to all sitting at his table entails. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Aug 25 '15 at 12:45
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While the DM certainly has a role in keeping the sessions interesting and fun for everyone, it's also important to remember that in any game, it's just a group of people playing together. Have you considered just having a conversation directly with the extrovert in question?

It would be best to frame your conversation about your experience, instead of trying to directly correct their behavior. So, instead of, "You're ruining the game for all of us" (which also presumes that you know everyone else's feelings), you might say, "I feel frustrated and a bit bored when your character and an NPC spend 15 minutes in a conversation."

Pause here and let them answer. Do they seem to give a rip that your evening is less enjoyable because of what they're doing? You may also help draw them out by guessing their experience. "I can tell you really like the role-playing part, and I think the GM likes getting to engage with you, too."

If they seem interested in changing your experience at all, try to talk about solutions together. "Is there a way I could let you know that the conversation is running long for me?"

At the end of the day, if the player isn't willing to change, it's not about being an extrovert of not. It's whether they can put their own needs on hold long enough to recognize that other people have them, too.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Given that the last run involved him yelling at me out-of-character because my character apparently did something that he didn't like, I'm beyond the point where I'm willing to take a more conciliatory approach to the problem. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Aug 26 '15 at 6:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Um, yeah. Agree 100%. Sorry to hear it, but at least you can be clear about who's worth your time. \$\endgroup\$ – GuidoInLFP Aug 26 '15 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. I'm fine with just about any sort of plot, style, setting, mechanics, etc. in games, but I'm adamant about not playing with people who are rude to me or other players. In my own games, I can kick offenders out; in other people's, I'm stuck either asking the GM to resolve the matter or leaving on my own. \$\endgroup\$ – anomaly Aug 26 '15 at 20:44

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