GM’s Jam 2010 – Socializing is hard for nerds…

2010 August 16
by Dante

I was asked to again join the GM’s Jam panel at GenCon. This annual event is put on by Zack at RPG Blog 2 and is one of my favorite things to do each year. It seems that the opportunity to have Q&A with some seasoned Dungeon Masters is an interesting thing, Zack has a pretty full room each time.

This is my second year participating and I found it interesting that there were common trends from last year. It seems that the social aspect of the game still perplexes many, and we fielded more questions that fell on the “people skills” side of the equation than anything else about how to run the game.

Speaking generally, nerds have been stereotyped as socially awkward and unable to manage normal social relationships. I think this is not explicitly true, but it is close. The thing that most people don’t latch on to is how loyal your average roleplaying group is to both gaming group and game itself. This seems to cause many to suffer “problem players” just because they are currently in your group, or even worse just because they have been a friend for a long time.

Ultimately, one has to ask what it is that one wants from their game. If it is purely a reason to get together and socialize, maybe you need to engineer some time for that before or after the game. If a “problem player” takes too much enjoyment away from the group (or from running the game) then you may need to have some unpleasant discussions with that person about how you expect folks to behave when playing the game. If no corrective action is taken by that person, you may have to ask them to leave the group. In our gaming groups, we work hard to ensure that others are brought into the group based on consensus, and the same goes for ejecting a player.

These topics are tough, but ultimately just as our characters can level up and learn new skills, so can we as players. Just work with your group to put a few more ranks in diplomacy! If this comes difficultly to you, don’t worry. Dealing with people is a tough.

Just as always, you can ask anything you want us to answer in the comments, and you may find your topic featured in a post soon! If public comments aren’t your thing, you can always contact us via email and we can give you some personal attention.

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