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Sticking with the wrong group for longer than you should.


It's tough. Conflict among friends is especially tough.

I try to make the type of game I'm running very clear up front. I telegraph my intentions if you will. I also say that it's a distinct style and that it is not for everyone and there will be no hard feelings if someone decides to leave. I don't get a lot of leavers but I think that is more about how well known I am among the people who'd want to play in my games. Few come in surprised.

As for interpersonal conflicts between players, I've had a few. One piece of advice. Don't allow "guest" players on special occasions. These "guest" players are not as invested in the campaign or their characters as your regulars are.

Personally, when I attend a convention, I don't expect much. I play to learn rules and meet other players. I am not even 1% invested in the game. It's a one off and it's got zero depth. I focus on what I came there to learn about the game.

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That is why there is just no reason to tolerate a bad DM or set of players, and why it behooves every DM and every player to put in the effort to improve themselves. In the old days, you could end up pretty much stuck with what you had, because you didn't know anyone else. These days, to misquote Walter Sobchak:

You want a new player? I can get you a player, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a player by 3 o'clock this afternoon...

Online has changed everything. Folks are no longer stuck in tiny towns with a shallow pool of gamers.


Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
That is why there is just no reason to tolerate a bad DM or set of players, and why it behooves every DM and every player to put in the effort to improve themselves. In the old days, you could end up pretty much stuck with what you had, because you didn't know anyone else.
Ah. Those were the good old days ...

Also, it's worth noting that "bad" should probably be taken to include "is a bad fit." Just because someone isn't a bad player doesn't mean I want to share a table with them.


Swamp Cryptid
I had kind of the opposite experience; the rest of the group got along fine, and I was definitely the odd one out.
My first regular RPG group wasn't a great fit for me. I loved the story, and my character, but the rest of the group used the sessions as an opportunity to get wasted and be... well, gross doesn't quite cover it, and I never felt like I could speak up. In addition, they crapped on my character every chance they got; we played together for years and they never even got my character's name right. :\
I spent several years trying my best to tough it out and just finish the campaign because I wanted to see my character through, and planned to tap out when the campaign finished. But I didn't even get to do that. One of the players decided we would do the finale at a timeshare over the weekend before midterms, and I couldn't attend. I had midterms. So I went through all of that mess for basically nothing.
What puzzled me was that the group wanted me to come back, despite all that. They spent a lot of the next campaign asking the DM "when I was going to come back," and I finally had to write a long-winded email explaining the depths of my nope. I ran a one-shot for them a while back as a birthday gift to their DM, and the first session was really fun. Then the second session helped me remember why I was never going to play with them again.
The worst part of it all was that this experience almost soured me on gaming. I'd had a few false starts with other groups and just never quite felt welcome. My very first DM started me out with a 1st-level character in a group that was 10th-level and headed into a boss fight. You can guess how long I lasted. I tried DMing, and never found a group that I really got along with. So after that campaign, I gave up on gaming for a while, figuring it just wasn't for me. As cliché as it's become, Critical Role and the rise of tabletop streaming got me back in. I saw that there were other groups out there, other playstyles, and other stories. My last campaign didn't survive the start of the pandemic, but I'm still doing worldbuilding, still learning, and I love the hobby. I'm really looking forward to getting back around the table in a few months.
My advice: get out if the group isn't a good fit for you. There are so many groups out there with play styles and players you'll enjoy spending time with. Don't expect a group to change for you, and don't subject yourself to that amount of frustration in the name of an activity that is - after all - supposed to be fun.

I definitely think there are puzzle pieces that just don't fit. The dating analogy is solid. But, much like a first date, it can be deceiving. You might have an awkward time, but then it becomes more natural or vice-a-versa.

I can say it is not worth anyone's time to stay where you are uncomfortable. Just finish the session and tell them that it's not the right fit. That said, if anyone is not uncomfortable, and the table plays differently than what you are used to, I would encourage anyone to stick it out for awhile. Things can grow on a person.

I have said it a million times on this forum, but I have almost always had good experiences. I feel very lucky after reading some horror stories - particularly the Smith Family above. That said, there were instances I played one session with people, then never returned. But that was because they weren't my cup of tea, not because they were crazy.

Now, you want to talk conventions! ;)


Rotten DM
Back around 2002 my signature was "no gaming is better than bad gaming". Ok I use to be addicted to D&D and bought into the bs. D&Ders are SMART, accepting, etch. But after a while I was having more bad games than fun for various reasons. Some players I back channeled and told them I they were not welcomed at my house. My last group in 2004, I just quit showing up. They were hitting a lot of my buttons. And then when I had to become a parent to my parents, gaming and most other activities went out the door. Some stories. Monks take no damage on a saving throw that group was about 20 to 22 minutes. 6 inch binder I am smarter than Gary. Crazy Coporal. And others.


WTF is happening in this anecdote? I have no idea whether that was a creative writing exercise or a cry for help.
I'm not sure where you are coming from. I was responding to the "I want to be an Airborne-Ranger" cadence, since I was an Airborne-Ranger- not during Viet-Nam like the original, but during Iraq. I was originally going to respond initially another way but did not want to escalate the back and forth since the poster sounded upset about the cadence.


I played with a guy for probably four or five years. In hindsight, it’s obvious that he was a toxic player and GM, but I didn’t see it at the time. When he ran games, they would run out of steam due to hemorrhaging players. Again, it was like: oh those people just can’t or don’t play anymore. The reality is he was antagonistic towards the players and a bully. He wasn’t any better as a player. He would be annoying pedantic and do things like correct how you pronounced “melee”. What finally pushed me over the edge was a 4e session where he complained about the tactics I used in a fight. He would go on about using proper tactics, but he hated when his character wasn’t able to do his optimal thing. I announced I was done, and that ended the group. A few of us got back together and started up a Pathfinder campaign with some other people we know. We’ve been playing with that group ever since (for over ten years now). I have a very short list of people not welcome at my table. That guy is the only one on it.

I've been pretty lucky in this regard over the years. I won't say there's been no toxic players, there's been a couple. But the groups have never been overtaken by toxicity. People have come and gone over the years as life has happened but none because another person was a douche. (We have occasionally had to kick out a douche.) And my current groups are just awesome. Everyone in both my current gaming groups is a gem.

Sorry, I know this is the internet and positive experiences and opinions are not required, but I had to share.


Three game sesions, though often just one is my limit. I don't stick with anything, not just RPGs, for long if I'm not having fun. I've seen plenty of horror stories of people that trap themselves in a group.....I could never do that.

There are tons of red flags for me: Does the group act like idiots for several hours and then sort of drop one d20 and say "wow we are playing D&D awesome good!"? Is the DM a weak push over that lets the players just do whatever they want? Does the group even use the rules(we don't keep track of character HP in the game")? Is the game all combat? Is the game boring?

My break up is easy enough: just delete the group (mostly just the DM off my phone) and life goes on.

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