Have you ever driven a player from a game?

Jeff Wilder

First Post
The question is mostly self-explanatory, but I will clarify that I mostly have in mind "a largely unobjectionable player," with the implication that your behavior was ... not ideal.

This will come as a universal shock to the reader (you may want to be seated), but I can be an abrasive guy. Often intentionally, sometimes not, and even sometimes when my intent is just the opposite. So I'm sure that there are situations besides the three below in which players have left games because of me. These are just those I know for sure, and the ones where it wasn't my intention to drive the player away.

The first 3E campaign I was in, there was this tall Asian dude playing a halfling. I kinda liked the guy ... he was laid back, low-key, and somewhat shy, but he also actively participated in the game. But, using my 12 ranks in Social Backfiring, I alienated him by remarking -- as a true observation, meant in fun and meant to help him feel included -- on the length of his fingers. (And man, I am serious. The dude's fingers were freakishly long. Like 25 percent longer than mine, and I have large hands.)

Now, there are a lot of people who respond well to this behavior of mine -- inclusive teasing -- whatever merits it has or lacks, objectively, as a behavior. But this guy wasn't one of them; he didn't show for the next session, and the DM (who is now a very good friend) let me know two years later than I was the reason he disappeared.

Same campaign, maybe six months later, we had this guy playing a bard. Gay dude, kinda flamboyant, with a serious streak of cheesy dramatist in him. His go-to schtick for being intimidating was casting pyrotechnics and fingering his rapier while staring at the victim menacingly. At probably around the fifth occurrrence of this exact same script, I started making meta-gamey half-IC/half-OOC comments. They started gently, but escalated with each occurrence. Eventually he got seriously pissed and quit the game. (I honestly wasn't trying to drive him away. He's a nice enough guy. He's just ... cheesy, and I was -- admittedly passive-aggressively -- trying to get him to stop. But he went from seeming oblivious to my attempts to being absolutely furious in the sppace of about 0.7 seconds.)

Years later, I'm DMing a brutal published module detailing an orc stronghold. Newish player, who I largely liked because of his engagement with the game, went prone during a combat while surrounded by orcs. On his turn, he stated he was standing up. I pointed out that he had few HP left, and that the orcs would all get AoOs at +4 to hit, so standing up might not be a good idea. I even suggested, "You could, for example, try to fake unconsciousness." The other players chimed in, more or less echoing my warning.

But he stood up, and was hacked to pieces. He got really pissed. But he seemed to calm down, and started on a new character. Between sessions, we corresponded via email, and he repeatedly tried to talk me into allowing him to take Craft Magic Arms and Armor at 3rd level, though the requirement was 5th level. I repeatedly turned him down, telling him that I wasn't comfortable with him being able to start his new character with self-crafted magic items at 5th level (the level of the party), when if he were working up from 1st level he wouldn't be able to do it until he was 6th level. The exchanges were civil, if tedious, and his character was otherwise a good one. (He really was into the game, engaged as a player and prone to submersion.)

But the next thing I knew, he was sending me email that he and his SO were withdrawing from the game. I asked why, and told him (sincerely) that I'd miss him as a player, but he didn't respond to me, instead responding to ... all the other players about how unfair it was that his PC had died, and how unfair it was that I wouldn't bend the Craft Arms and Armor rules for him. He ran me down impressively, in about a six-page email.

My other players (almost all of whom are good friends now) had a good laugh over it ... mostly at him, but they understandably like to see me discomfited now and then.

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Diamond Cross

No, but there is this one guy I just can't game with anymore. He is constantly playing pranks on people's characters and doing what he can to humiliate them. He's been talked to about it before, and some of the other players have even gotten into fist fights with him, but all he says is "that he's just role playing and helping people build character" and just will not stop. So I at least will never game with him again. And many of the other players are going to ask him to leave the group as well.

Essentially this guy thinks that any RPG is just a means to mess with people's heads, and he really loves seeing people squirm when he does it.

We've even tried to get back at him in character. One player played several pranks on him to get him to understand that he should stop. But instead he had that character killed by pushing him off a cliff. His character was killed for that, then he started building his characters to be the strongest character of the group so he could continue to be able to humiliate people without them being able to do anything about it. Because he sees himself as the alpha male.

So I simply can not and will not game with him ever again. Under any circumstances.

He is incapable of understanding why and acts surprised and like he's really hurt by it.


First Post
Yeah it's not usually that enjoy taking away the experience of RPGs from some one. But there was this guy who was sort of a friend of a brother in law. He was youngish(early 20s), had been in the millitary gotten injured, now mooched off of his parents not working(nor for the year and the 1/2 since I had known him)...which is fine thats you, but don't expect the group to ALWAYS buy you lunch/dinner, cigarettes, and if we have decide to have some brewski's no you are not entitled them.

Back to the table. Decent knowledge of the game, 0 ranks in role playing skill. Habitual liar...."No I really don't believe you that the air force accidentally fired on you from an F22 Raptor while you were in a training excercise"..."No I don't believe you put 6 army rangers in the hospital when you won't even box spar with me with all the protective gear". Made the same character over and over and over. Moon Elf Warmage/Sorcerer. No emersion no originality, no care of the game. The guy was literally wasting space at the table. If his character would die "I don't care. I'll just make another one"

Over three long term campaigns, and numerous shorties and one shots, I literally grew to detest, nay loathe seeing him at the table. Others shared my sentiments.

On a beer and pretzels night(Mostly beer for me) it came to a head. I made a Moon Elf Warmage. I did and said exactly what he did for three hours straight.

He never returned. That was 5 years ago, as far as I know he still lives in his parents basement with a collection of character sheets that read "Moon Elf Warmage"


"a largely unobjectionable player," with the implication that your behavior was ... not ideal.

Dude, what is with the players in the Bay Area? I have dealt with many players just like you describe down here. I'd like to contact them all and have them meet each other. I'm sure I could form some very nice D&D groups among them (myself not included).

Anyway, I've ran plenty of players from the group. Most of it was intentional because I don't have the patience anymore to DM problem players. I don't hesitate to let annoying players know that it may be best if they bail out of the game.

But I'm sure a few times players left because they didn't like my style of DMing or maybe my personality. We're pretty laid back people, and I know a lot of gamers can't relate to when people are being sarcastic or teasing as a form of camaraderie & humor. Maybe they thought I/we were too abrasive, who knows. There were a couple of guys that left that I would have liked to game & hang out with.

Jeff Wilder

First Post
Dude, what is with the players in the Bay Area?
Assuming this question isn't 100 percent rhetorical ...

(1) I think it's mostly the same everywhere. Back in Kentucky, there were good players, bad players, creepy players, obsessive players, laid back players, and on and on. It's the same out here.

(2) This is obliquely contradictory to (1), above, but to a large extent i wouldn't know. I've been RPing for a long, long time, but the truth is that I didn't fully "mature" (scare quotes intentional) into my current personality and preferred gaming style until I had already moved out here to finish law school. (I am, for instance, much more laid back and less belligerent than I used to be. (Stop laughing.)) So in a very real sense, Bay Area players are the only players I've ever known really well from a well-remembered perspective.

(If you are looking for players or for a group, BTW, shoot me a PM with your contact info. I have a few friends in South Bay who like to play but can't make the regular trip up north to our hosted games.)

Jeff Wilder

First Post
Maybe they thought I/we were too abrasive, who knows. There were a couple of guys that left that I would have liked to game & hang out with.
BTW, I'm actually sort of at peace with this. I feel pangs of regret sometimes, but mostly I'm philosophical about it, because it almost seems Darwinist ... the people who survive, thrive, and give back the sort of casual (but genuinely friendly) antagonism are the ones that end up making the best real friends.

That may be a rationalization, but I'm still okay with it at this point.


Can't say I've ever run someone out of a game. I'm just not that passive-aggressive. If someone isn't a fit, and isn't working out, the group (sans the person we're discussing) talks it over. If the consensus is yes, this guy/gal is weird/not for us/not fitting in/whatever, I send them an email and give them the boot. I've done it three times, and I don't mind doing it.

I'm not abrasive with them either, just honest. The one guy was really secretive about his personal life (like...weirdly so - I'm all for protecting yourself from revealing too much strangers, but the due up and got married and went on his honeymoon without letting anyone in the group know.), and a bit more of a powergamer than we wanted, so I just told him he wasn't working out, and recommended some other gamers I knew who might be a better fit for him.

Another guy was just flat-out weird. Mumbling to himself, staring far too intently at people at the table, not blinking (you can't appreciate how weird that is until you experience it). The group also has a standing policy - you show up to game night with $5.00 for pizza. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. He knew the rule, said he was cool with it, and either didn't pay at all (and still ate!) or paid in NICKELS (and not the full $5.00, either). Plus, he weirded out my wife. He got told a...modified version of the truth. I just told him he wasn't fitting in with the group and that we were happier with the size of the group before he joined us.

Crazy Jerome

First Post
I've only had this happen once, and my only regret was that I don't know to this day what I did wrong. Or rather, I know several things that I did that the players might have taken as wrong, but since none of them would ever give me a reason, I didn't even get the benefit of the feedback.

Of course, given that it was a new game system, new location, new table of players, and me trying to navigate that, and they all knew it, they might have decided that the whole thing was doomed to trainwreck and bailed on general principles. Or maybe they just didn't want to hurt my feelings. Which is funny, since the only part that bothered me was not knowing. :)


well a couple. Mostly I asked them to leave, or I ended the game and started a new campaign without them. I don't think any left without nudging.

Smarmy Guy - no regrets.
Little brother.
3.5 only guy.
Married couple with 2 kids under 4
Mr. Once-a-month
No RP/No immersion chick.
The Sitter.
1-in-5 sessions guy, no explanations for the last 2 absences.

After playing along time with friends, I had to start over, and we went through a bunch of people who weren't quite right. I still have 1 bad player in the group, terrible at tactics and not much for RP. I would boot him if another good player came along.


The first 3E campaign I was in, there was this tall Asian dude playing a halfling... I alienated him by remarking -- as a true observation, meant in fun and meant to help him feel included -- on the length of his fingers. (And man, I am serious. The dude's fingers were freakishly long. Like 25 percent longer than mine, and I have large hands.)
Not that backseat diagnoses mean a damn thing, but he may have had Marfan Syndrome. If so, he could have been very sensitive about it.
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Jeff Wilder

First Post
Not that backseat diagnoses mean a damn thing, but me may have had Marfan Syndrome. If so, he could have been very sensitive about it.
That's really interesting, and certainly fits his physique. (Not that there was anything unattractive or disgusting about him, at all. Just those damned spidery fingers. I do remember that one of my remarks was to the effect that I bet he'd make some kinda world-class pianist, able to play a dual-level keyboard without moving his hands ... ) It seems an odd thing to be "sensitive" about, but I suppose I can grok it.


First Post
Well, I've had two or three "booted" characters, but the thing is, I'm friends with two of the three still. And I don't think any of them ever felt like they were "booted"

The first was a guy who would often not show up. He loved playing, he was immersed when he got there, and all that. Now, some of the other players made fun of him a bit, but that's my group - we tease each other, constantly. And he just never fought back. Turns out he was (is) suffering from depression, which was why he'd miss games. I wound up telling him "I'm not comfortable with you using the games as a vehicle for you dealing with outside problems. If you can't make regular apperances, it screws things up for everyone. The table's always open to you, once you can make the regular session time, but right now, your absences are hurting the entire party." He left on good terms, never came back. And, to the best of my knowledge, still hasn't taken any steps to deal with his depression. :p

Second was similar to the first - a guy that would drop in, play a few sessions, and then leave with no explanation. And then do it again. Usually, I'd have no idea he was gonna show up until he was there, rolling up a PC. His brother (a regular at my table) would just invite him, knowing I liked him. But it was a pain in the butt to just deal with. I finally just said "hey, if you can't make it every session, could you not show up? It's sort of a strain on everyone else". The guy hated 4e anyway, so it worked out well. He sometimes talks about joining the next campaign I run that isn't 4e, which sounds good. he's a fun player.

Finally, there was a guy who joined our Savage Tide campaign. Had fun, although he was a "voice actor" whereas the rest of the table generally prefers third person communication with NPCs. Our general attitudes - and the fact that we were a more beer and pretzels game and less focused on the fantasy world than he preferred - convinced him to leave. Which was fine, because I was getting annoyed with his fake flirting with my girlfriend at the time. And then, after the girlfriend and I broke up, I found him sending him all sorts of messages on facebook (he was supposedly my friend, and that's just bad "bro code"). He doesn't know it, but he's not allowed back at my table.


A Wicked Kendragon
One player I've been driving from our game most nights for the past.. oh, I see what you meant. :p

Another guy was just flat-out weird. Mumbling to himself, staring far too intently at people at the table, not blinking (you can't appreciate how weird that is until you experience it).
Early warning signs of schizophrenia? Or maybe just chronic dry eye. Yeah, I'm no expert.

As for kicking someone out, sure, there have been those. Worst one I can recall got thrown out when he started hitting on a players mom. As in, inappropriate touching. And after he was gone she noticed he'd stolen some of her underwear.

Then there was this girl who drew with a red marker all over manuals, answered every question with "what!", and liked to bring her not-at-all-housetrained dog over.


I DMed for a homosexual male gamer who kept forgetting to respect other male gamers personal space. He was talked to several times by me. He kept doing it to varying degrees. He also would bring his laptop to the table (not a big deal) but would get really really distracted by it 3 out of 4 sessions. Those, among other more minor reasons, led me to drop an ultimatum about said behaviors. He didn't come back.


First Post
We were more direct. It was easier to just outright kick someone out of the game, than to drive them away.

Other times I just told the DM I wasn't coming back, and immediately walked away.


First Post
Ha. One weird player I had that I never booted (never got the chance to) but that deserves mention here:

An old friend of mine from high school, who unfortunately began doing WAY too many drugs. I grew up in an old logging town in BC, where most everyone did drugs (out my grad class of around 150, I was one of the five or six who had never touched marijuana... think about that)... and this kid was considered as "the drug kid".

At first, it was okay, and he was really into the games, knew the rules, and was never a disturbance. I had a "no drugs" rule at my table (due to an unfortunate event a year or two earlier), and he'd always show up fine. He was actually one of my favourite players to GM for. And then he got bad.

As in, the drugs messed him up bad. He'd start talking at random about how he had invented a phaser based off schematics he got off the internet. And he would never, ever blink. He'd just stare at you, with this weird smirk always on his face that was really creepy.

And yeah, he had personal space issues with everyone. He wouldn't stop touching people! It was definitely creepy. Any of my female friends who were gamers would play once, and then leave, because he would just stare at them with his creepy grin. I mean, he did it to EVERYONE, but it really made the women uncomfortable, for probably obvious reasons.

We'd game without him, for the most part, but sometimes someone would just BRING him to the table. We all felt sorry for him, since we knew how only a few years earlier he was a relatively normal guy, so we'd let him play. But they were always weird sessions.

Then he started bragging about how the government was giving him money because he had done too many drugs and couldn't get a job (which was true, he was getting disability cheques due to his perma-fried status). At around that point he went to the skate park, started telling a fifteen year old girl that he was "watching her" and the things he was "going to do to" her, and then followed her as she walked home (she wound up finding a block parent and hid in there until they called the cops).

We patently avoided him from then on. The few times I see him, I've learned to make plans "next week sometime", knowing there's no way in hell he'll remember to show up (not that he knows where to show up, of course - he never thinks to ask).


Have had players leave/be asked to leave on rare occasions re: playstyle differences, just not gelling with the group etc.

Had an odd one about 2(3?) years ago where a player found us through this board, showed up and seemed to have a great time for about 3/4 sessions. Then, despite a "see you next session" comment, never heard from him again (I even e-mailed him to make sure everything was ok because he seemed so enthusiastic about the game; but never received a response).

Mark Hope

I've never done so intentionally. And I'm not aware of anyone who has left my game/groups I'm in saying "man, that Mark guy is a real jerk!" Or if they have, I've never heard about it later, lol.

I am sure, however, that I have driven players from the game through sheer boredom in my early years, or because they decided that my DMing (or just gaming) wasn't for them.

Oh. Wait. First proper group I ever ran a game for, we were all new to the hobby. First session of the campaign. I was DMing Keep on the Borderlands. One guy's character was killed by a spider (failed his save). I made him hand over his character sheet, ripped it up and threw it in the bin. He never came back. So, yeah. I guess that counts. Oh well. We remained friends out of the game. Never made that mistake again, though, heh :).


5ever, or until 2024
Oh, I have had plenty of turn-over over the years. In general I blame Real Life and not myself.

I have noticed a few things:

-Players (I have known) are god-awfull at communicating what is really bothering them. This has led more to rising tensions then outright quitting (well, I guess, see statement on RL), but its actually a pretty major probelm.

-Breaks in the game, for whatever reason, can lead to players reflecting and deciding that its not for them, or I should say the next (stage of the) game is not for them. In general campaigns thrive off momentum. And of course, these players do not share these reflections efectively (see previous point).

-I have been recently recruiting new players. 3 have stuck and 2 have not. Again, RL was cited...but both the leavers were into WoW wereas none of the stayers play it. I do wonder if this is such a convient alternative that it makes TT play seem like to much of a hastle.

In any case, the ones I have recruited have been great, and more are on the way. So as far as the quitters are concerned, :):):):) em.

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