Campaign Killers

by Peter Flanagan

Art by andi jones

Some Gamemasters are fortunate. They have groups of players who understand the need for cooperation to make the adventure run smoothly. Still, even in the best groups, troubles can arise. A new player can disrupt the game flow without intending to, or an experienced member might let other frustrations leak into their character.

In addition, most GMs aren't so lucky. They don't have to be bad people to be troublesome players, but they can still wreak havoc on a campaign or a gaming group. The Power Gamer. The Rules Lawyer. The Nihilist. The Wallflower. The Combat Monster. Many Gamemasters dread seeing any of these player types enter the game, but they can often go unrecognized until the Combat Monster has blown away the diplomat the party was supposed to guard or the Rules Lawyer interrupts the climactic dogfight to argue turn ratios, and then the GM has to clean up the mess. If possible. But it helps to remember a few things.

First of all, a person whose playing style involves one of the classic extremes above doesn't even have to be a bad player per se. The problem lies in the extremity, not the style. So maybe, especially with a new player, a simple talk can smooth things over. But if it doesn't, it becomes necessary to deal with the situation. Fortunately, the situations aren't as hard to deal with as they sometimes seem, given the chance to think them over.

At this point, analyze the situation. The "problem" gamers may . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: January 7, 2000

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