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Thread: The Ten RPG Player Types
Monday, 12th November, 2012, 04:04 AM #1
The Ten RPG Player Types
As a GM and game designer, I think it’s laughable that you could ever separate people into different personality types, let alone gamers. However, since I have to write another article, why not? Yes, today I’ll be pigeon-holing all gamers into several broad, vague, and inaccurate ‘types’ with no hint of useful information anywhere in sight.
In fact, this article’s sole purpose can be said to allow the reader to shove it under his friend’s noses and say, “Ha! You’re a XXX.” Have fun. I hope you have a laptop.
1. Hard-core Non-Gamer: These are the nuts that sometimes wind up in your games even though they (and you) don’t want them there. They’re the kind of people who will discuss salmon runs for 10 hours in the middle of a game, wander off to watch T.V., and don’t understand the most basic of game conventions such as: Shut up when the GM is talking.
Remedy: Ban them from your games.
2. Ultimate Power-Gamer: You know these guys. These are the guys you’ve been gaming with for the last 20 years. The ones that, despite having real lives now, never cease to delight in trampling your finest adventure into diamond dust. If you hand these guys a set of dice and a rulebook they’ll walk all over the campaign world, stuff it in a bag of holding, and rule the world in short order.
Remedy: Destroy them. Then, back up the truck and do it again, just in case.
3. Casual Gamer: These are the people who vaguely remember gaming once ten years ago. They didn’t care for it enough to actually learn what they’re doing, but they don’t mind showing up and interfering with your games once every blue moon. The casual gamers tend to get bullied into playing by their friends/boyfriends/the GM and then muck things up. Sometimes they even do well-meaning things, but with such incompetence and vagueness that the whole game (or their character) wastes away into dragon compost.
Remedy: Turn them to the Dark Side.
4. Experienced Rules-Lawyer: These players are often former (or current) GMs who think the rules of the game are actually there for a reason. The difference between a rules-lawyer and a powergamer is that powergamers think rules get in the way and rules-lawyers actually like them. These players often have a thorough understanding of the rules, but with a complete lack of ability to implement them properly in their own games.
Remedy: Ignore the rules.
5. Role-Player: Next to non-existent, role-players are among the few of an endangered species which actually has their head screwed on straight and play RPGs to role-play. When they’re young, they tend to get trampled by the power-gamers. When they’re old, they tend to have lives and better things to do. Because of their proper judgement and common sense, they make great world leaders and poor long-term gamers. Such players will often complain about the antics of the other players while missing 95% of the campaign because of work and other priorities.
Remedy: Force them to roll the dice occasionally, and fight things. Otherwise, there’s not much you can do with them.
6. Game Crushers: These players don’t so much play games as abuse them. While a powergamer seeks power to dominate the game and then role-play happily, a game crusher frantically seeks power and ways to abuse the system with no clear end goal in sight except perhaps to finish off the campaign universe and tell it as a war story. These players often tend to brag about loopholes in famous computer/video/RPG/card games to the same extent normal people often shake their heads at them. Game Crushers like convoluted systems and would probably rather be beating you 15 times in a row with a broken magic card deck than playing an RPG.
Remedy: Return the favor. You’re the GM so you should have no trouble crushing them.
7. Sticklers: These guys are like rules-lawyers but with no clear agenda. While a rules-lawyer seeks loopholes like a crooked lawyer, a stickler simply supports rules like a jumped-up traffic cop.
Remedy: Quit the game and GM your own. If they’re players, simply overrule them.
8. Realists: These players think the more realistic a game system is, the better. They often never get tired of promoting their favorite ‘realistic’ system with all its varied merits. However, they completely miss the ballpark on the grounds that RPGs are a load of hokum and that’s the way most of us like it. You’re playing a game, for cripes sakes, it’s not real life! These kind of players would argue that Mario can jump too high to be realistic and he should suffer more ‘wounds’ for falling.
Remedy: Point to the little plastic/metal men and say very slowly, “N-O-T…R-E-A-L.”
9. Authors/Actors: These players and GMs think they’re creating a ‘world’ with lifelike ‘characters’. They think their setting is better than anything on the published market and their acting ability is up there with Johnny Depp. When not embarrassing the group with cheap theatrics, they’re building their awesome ‘worlds’ complete with elaborate backgrounds they force on you. While having good acting and writing skills can improve your games no end, taking things too far can quickly suck the life out of a ‘game’. Did you hear me, GAME, not novel, not screenplay, GAME.
Remedy: None. Just try to remind them this is a ‘game’ they’re playing even if they are writing a novel or planning to star in Transformers 10.
10. Hard-core ?: Some players aren’t powergamers. They’re not actors or novelists either. They’re certainly not casual gamers because they’ve been showing up to your games for weeks without problems. These players are scattered across the board from: guy who sits in the corner saying nothing, girl who makes stacks of d4s, to the ever-present guy who always plays a wizard, and of course there’s always the gal who likes to play a magic item crafter even when you’re playing a hard sci-fi game set in the year 4015. These are the players that make gaming great. You can’t fit them into a ready pigeon hole. They’re a blend of everything and nothing at the same time. They do weird things and that’s why we love them. Really we’re all a bit of a…?
Remedy: None. Don’t try to fix people. They’ll just hit you over the head with a giant, fluffy, d6.
Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 12th November, 2012 at 02:10 PM.--David L. Dostaler: Author, Challenger RPG
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