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Archebius

Greeting New Players - By Shooting At Them

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So, you know how sometimes, you get those guys who use, "That's just what my character would do!" as an excuse for whatever they feel like doing? And you know how sometimes you have to add new players into the game at an awkward moment, and you just have to hope that your existing players will gloss over it and be cool?

Sometimes those two things collide in unpleasant ways.

 

There we were, on a planet of my own creation, one in which a binary-planet system has created such frequent darkness across the planet that the plant life has developed a variety of methods - such as carnivorous tendencies, and bioluminescence to attract things - to deal with it. My brother and sister are both out of college, and wanting to join up for a few sessions, but the other players are already down on the planet. Easy, right? Stumble across them in a clearing, do some introductions, bam. Everything's cool.

Except that it was Mr. Angry who stumbles across them. So he radios to the other two, telling them to hurry over to this clearing, while he takes out his big rifle and watches them. He waits until the other two get there, and then he - without saying anything - fires off a warning shot. Then he tells my siblings to lay down arms. Well, neither of them are particularly accommodating. They look at each other, and then they start running towards him, guns blazing. Mr. Angry isn't too worried, though - he's got a big gun, and there are three of them. They roll for initiative.

 

Mr. Angry, and my other current players, all roll terribly. My brother and sister roll really, really well. And that was a pretty good omen for how the rest of this encounter would go. 

 

My sister is playing a tiny character, and my brother is playing a huge one. My sister decides that she's going to ride on my brother's back. They charge across the clearing like some sort of weird chicken fight. Both decide to fire at Mr. Angry, since he started it. So I ask my brother, stun, right? And my brother asks, is Mr. Angry using stun?

 

Mr. Angry was not using stun, because he's a jerk. So my brother said he wouldn't, either. Rolls a great hit. I ask my sister if she's going to use stun. She just looks at me and says "Heck no." Rolls. Misses.

 

All my current players roll. The other two, thankfully, use stun settings. Mr. Angry does not. He rolls them up. Whiffs. 

 

My brother misses, my sister hits. Mr. Angry is at half health. The other two miss. Mr. Angry flips a destiny point to upgrade his dice pool. It doesn't help him - he still whiffs. He's starting to get kind of mad. 

 

My brother hits. Mr. Angry is at one health. The other two finally peg my brother pretty good, so he's almost at his strain threshold. Mr. Angry fires, misses again. He's really starting to get mad. 

 

My brother and sister both miss. The other two finally bring my brother down. Mr. Angry finally gets a hit on my sister.

 

My sister rolls a hard agility check to try to dismount gracefully - and nails it. She leaps off of him, hits the ground, rolls, comes up, cuts Mr. Angry down. He rolls for his critical - rolls a 96. He's ticked off. He keeps yelling about how unfair I'm being, though mostly in good fun. The other two, sensibly, decide to tie my brother and sister up until they get a chance to talk to them. They cart Mr. Angry back off to the base, where an NPC gives him a stimpack and wakes him back up.

 

The other two, who understand that I'm just trying to get my new players to meet the group and join up so that we can get on to more important things, try to talk the other two down. He's not a bad guy, we're looking for this stuff here in the jungle, you guys want to help, it'll be fun, etc. My brother and sister agree, sign up, exchange names, shake hands. 

 

Meanwhile, Mr. Angry has woken up, and decided to march back to the clearing. He arrives just after everyone's made nice (I was hoping that he wouldn't do anything rash if they were all working together). He immediately pulls out his gun, again, points it at my brother, and tells him to drop his weapon. My brother says, "I put a hand on his shoulder, all comforting like... and then I slap him."

 

Mr. Angry punches him. He manages to do some stun damage, and with my brother recently knocked out, he's still almost at his stun threshold. The punch is enough to knock him out. My sister is about ready to shoot Mr. Angry again, but my brother says, "As my last conscious act - I fall forward, and try to crush him."

 

Mr. Angry rolls a normal agility check, and fails. My brother falls on top of him and crushes him. 

I've had meetings go better.

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I was introduced to a game in a similar manner. 1st ed AD&D game. I waved to the strangers, and three shot me with bows and crossbows, killing my character. I promptly left the table, left the house, and drove home. The guy who invited me to play later asked me why, and I said "It's clear your players aren't interested in changing the status quo. And, by the way, your friends are assholes."

Edited by Alekzanter

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Did Mr Angry really have a good reason to shoot first? If yes, then not all following will apply, but some is still valid.

 

Few thoughts. Are your players using narrative system properly or are they they in D20 mindset (I'm asking this because AFAIK shooting should not be PCs first reaction to almost anything in EotE)? Does Mr. Angry always act as moron in game / out of game? Is he always hardcore in-character player who always discards out of character information? If not then than was just being bully. Talk to Mr. Angry. Ask him "Why did you try to ruin enjoyment of other players? I'm asking because I need to understand why because I don't want that kind of behaviour in my game." Also, ask what other players thought about situation. After all, their observations might prove you wrong or right. Also ask your group: "If you join new rpg group, how do you want to be welcomed?" And "How should we welcome new players?" Talk about table rules. Make it clear that goal of the game is that all are having fun, and if someone undermines enjoyment of other players and he/she is an problem with whom you don't want to play with. Also, if anytime you notice any kind of bullying or harassment, immediately stop the game and intervene. It is you job as GM. (I'm not saying that happened in your game.)

 

If that would happen in my group I would ask to talk Mr Angry privately and say: "Is there something wrong? Can I help you in someway? I'm asking this because you acted like total ******* with new players. Did you realize that?" I would also take the matter as discussion topic with other players. Did they enjoy that, did they feel what happened was optimal to every players enjoyment. And if it would turn out Mr Angry is just asshat, then I'd say "maybe it would be best for you to find a new group. I require my players to have enough brains to welcome other players and and have fun together with them." But this would be last option and used only if Mr Angry is too often acting adversely. Sometimes pruning is the best option,even though it may be painful.

 

When you feel that thing may go the way they went in your story, change narrative. Don't introduce new player in game, introduce them out of game, without giving other PCs having possibility to react to their appearance. At the beginning of session tell, "You encountered these new characters at wilderness and you found out helping each other improve changes of all of you to survive and thrive." i.e. have something happen of screen. Take a way the PCs change to react violently. After all, how many movies have had main characters bump to each other and then form a group. It happens in Force Awakens multiple times. I think there is even an trope for this in tv tropes, but I can't remember its name or the fact does it really exist. If your player react negatively to you taking a away their control for a moment, just say: "I want this to be enjoyable moment for everyone, including these two new players. Last time I introduced new players you ****** it up, so now I'm doing it differently. If things go smoothly enough then next time we may do it the old way again.". Then next time assess the situation and make your own decision. You have no obligation to players to introduce new players in certain way.

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Yeah... You know how they always say not to take away player agency?  Do it.  When Mr. Angry starts shooting at the new players, go ahead and say, "No you don't.  Don't be a jerk at my table."

If he persists, "Rocks fall. You die."

 

Or if he persists, upgrade his all difficulties at least once. "Why? Because you know you are doing something wrong." Make fog fall out and provide cover to everyone. Make it thick fog, worth at least 2 setback dice. If Mr Angry still shoots, use destiny points to upgrade his difficulty. For every threat give him strain. If the rolls despair, make him shoot wildly upwards and cut a branch of a tree (or similar) which falls to his head and deals him strain equal to his strain threshold. GM can always take player out easily, within game rules (Anyway, EotE is more about narrative than rules). It just requires little thought, and may be quite hard to do on a fly.

 

BTW, Order 66 Podcast (maybe episode 22) had a good episode about GMing tips and how to handle problematic players. 

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Except that it was Mr. Angry who stumbles across them. So he radios to the other two, telling them to hurry over to this clearing, while he takes out his big rifle and watches them. He waits until the other two get there, and then he - without saying anything - fires off a warning shot. Then he tells my siblings to lay down arms.

 

The next words out of my GM mouth would be "No. We're not starting the game off with PVP."

 

"But that's what my character would do!"

 

"I don't care. Perhaps I did not make myself clear - we are not introducing new players to the table and instantly be dicks to them, Come up with some other form of introducing yourself. We're not doing this."

 

(Also, if for some reason this was allowed to progress this far and I was the player? "They cart Mr. Angry back off to the base, where an NPC gives him a stimpack and wakes him back up." would become "They spend the next half hour trying to find Mr. Angry's head in the underbrush.")

Edited by Desslok

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Mr Angry should be sent on a mission by himself to an Imperial garrison. When over a hundred Stormtroopers open fire, and he finds himself facing AT-STs and AT-ATs while Tie fighters swoop overhead you can pause for a moment and ask:

Now how could you have handled that better? :)

If he gets the point and isn't so stupid, he can stay. If he continues to live up to his name, continue the action and show no mercy. When his character dies with dozens of holes in him, show the player the door.

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I don't actually have too much of a problem with the scene as happened. I know it seems a rough welcome to new players ( and if they are first time rp'ers then it is a bit to ****). The thing that needs to happen is the fallout. Boundaries should have been drawn, d***s waved, now Mr Angry needs to @ least begrudgingly work with the new guys. If this becomes a problem then you need a word with him.

I have something a little similar happening @ my table

My group are half way through act 1 and have angered the local law enforcement when I need to introduce a new player.

as the planet is 99% a specific race they are hiding with a guerrilla group. New player comes in and the Guerrillas dump her in with the players... "she is also not native so she better hide with you" the Act concludes and players receive the reward. she was looking for it because x they were adding it to a former reward to follow the plot.

Now they do not yet trust her, so at the moment the former reward (a holocron) does not get mentioned around her, and her reward has basically gone missing. It will take a little time for the Group to bring her in, until then it offers small RP opportunities of "hide the holocron"

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"As my last conscious act - I fall forward, and try to crush him."

 

Mr. Angry rolls a normal agility check, and fails. My brother falls on top of him and crushes him. 

At this point your sister should have switched her blaster to stun, walked up to Mr. Angry while he was pinned, said something witty and bludgeoned him repeatedly in the face with her blaster until he was unconscious.

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This wasn't my game, but in someone else's game they did a rewrite of the adventure to work in a new player. The new player had made a gambler/face type, but it didn't really fit in with the Rebellion game, but the GM had made it work. What does the new player do? He immediately turned over the Rebel PCs to Darth Vader and the Empire! The Smuggler PC got frozen and sent off to the crime boss (that character was leaving for semester abroad), but still... kind of a messy way to introduce a new character.

Humor aside, in the future I would second both Grand Falloon and Kkuja. If you're trying to introduce new players and one of the players is intentionally attempting to wreck that, under whatever guise, then you as the GM should just not allow that, and then ask the Angry player why he feels he must derail this game. "It's what my character would do." Well, ask him if he thinks every decision made by your NPCs was really what they would do, or if he thinks the GM occasionally swings things in the PC's favor. Like taking a chance on an unknown crew. Ask him if he thinks characters would really stick around someone who fires at unsuspecting strangers. "It's what they would do." could work the other way, and soon he'd find himself being left behind.

It shouldn't get to that point though. Just talk to him and explain that you're all there to have fun.

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There has to come a time when "that is what my Charcater would do" has to go away. This is a game about real people interacting with each other at a real table, or a virtual table over the Internet. To paraphrase Woody, This a game, a child's plaything. But if people are going to act like toddlers, I will treat them like toddlers, and put them in a corner in time out.

Again, the primary we reason we do this is to get together and have a human interaction, not sit on our video game machines and play a game alone, but to be with other people. If we aren't going to allow others to play, what is the point?

I agree with with the others that say "Rocks fall, you die." Sounds to me like you to hit meetup.com and find some new players.

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I was introduced to a game in a similar manner. 1st ed AD&D game. I waved to the strangers, and three shot me with bows and crossbows, killing my character. I promptly left the table, left the house, and drove home. The guy who invited me to play later asked me why, and I said "It's clear your players aren't interested in changing the status quo. And, by the way, your friends are assholes."

 

Yup. Was playing the swedish version of AD&D back when I was a teenager, and I got invited to another group that I knew superficially through one of my childhood friends.

First thing that happens is one of the members challenge me to a duel.

I accept, terms being no weapons.

Magician sets up some sort of force field so nobody can interfere from outside.

Aaaaaand the guy had smuggled in a magic knife.

Stabs me and kills me and I just get up and leave.

Bunch of a-holes.

Never played with any of them again, despite one of them being a friend from early childhood.

 

EDIT: That said, I think a GM can just up and stop a player trying to do this if it's clear the rest of the party or the new player(s) don't like it.

But if they are game for it, let it run through, but don't kill anyone.

Just tell them that they get close to death or knocked out or whatever, but after that, remind them that they have to work together to get things done, no matter what they think of eachother.

Edited by OddballE8

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One very organic way to handle it, especially in the setting you provided, is to bust out one of my favorite old chestnuts,  "Summon Bigger Fish". As soon as the combative player started twitching his trigger finger, in storms a giant monster/squad of baddies/natural disaster that threatens all the players. Flip a Destiny Point if you have to.

There's an exciting encounter, the new guys get to show off, and no PCs end up shooting each other. What's more, you can accomplish all this while not having to put the brakes on to speak the DIVINE WORD OF GM which, while necessary at times, is usually my last resort.

 

Although, unless you've invented a time machine, none of that advice helps you right now. Thankfully, the whole scene played out about as well as it could have, and created a very cinematic moment. The important thing now is to manage the fallout. IC, Does Mr Angry now have at least a grudging respect for the newbies? OOC, does he realize that he was being unwelcoming to new players? Make sure there's no hard feelings OOC, and helps smooth over any that crop up. Pull Angry away from the table and let him know that getting into character is great, but that we all still have to play at the same table.

 

Then Summon Bigger Fish. Nothing helps group cohesion like killing a rancor together.

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As much as Mr. Angry, was responsible for instigating the situation, I hate to say that your siblings were just as responsible for escalating it.

 

Is it ok, for them to have been drawn on, it depends.  If it was in the wilderness, they would have a right to be wary and draw on them to cover then while approaching and firing a warning shot would also be acceptable, as Mr. Angry, would think he was not spotted.  Your siblings would seem to have escalated it at that point by NOT walking in closer with their hands up so they could talk.

 

Was Mr. Angry wrong?  yes but so were your siblings.

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So, I tend to be all about "it's what my character would do". One of the things I really enjoy about RPGs is trying to write and stick to interesting characters. I primarily play in play-by-post format, often in groups that think tend to think of it as much as writing a collaborative story as they do playing a game. That said, it is also a game, and a cooperative one at that; it's your responsibility as a decent human being sitting down to write a character to do so in a way that very specifically doesn't trap you in situations like this.

 

If you've written a character whose only response can be unreasonable belligerence, then you've either written the wrong character or at least not put enough thought into a fleshed-out character to be able to make any claims about it being "what your character does". That isn't to say the only acceptable RPG characters are trusting do-gooders, but a fleshed out character should have even a number of options at their disposal that are both fitting and reasonable. There are fully detailed and interesting characters that don't have that, true, but I think you need to sit back and think about why you're writing a character like that for a group game. All other characters should have some other tool - even if it expresses mistrust, paranoia, or aggression, there has to be some way to not alienate or completely hinder other players.

 

Can you fire a warning shot? Ok, maybe... you've kind of backed everyone in a corner with an ultimatum, but I could see it. But by putting everyone in that situation, you're in charge of it. If the other party starts to escalate, you need to find an in-character way to deescalate it. If there really is no way out of a situation like that - no prosocial way to respond to someone basically calling your bluff - then perhaps you shouldn't have done it in the first place. Or, if it's something you really want, then you need to work it out with the other players beforehand. Make it clear that your character is a bit... difficult. Talk about how they might come across, and clue the other players into the best way to handle that kind of situation. If they come back and say "my character would absolutely shoot you in the face", respect their character the way you want them to respect yours and draft a different situation...

 

Point is, people saying "it's just what my character would do!" isn't a problem... people doing it wrong is.

 

Of course, none of that really helps you as the GM, unless you want to share that talk with them. To that point, the above answers are correct: if people can't handle their character, you need to find a way that's comfortable to you to resolve the situation for them, remembering that by putting everyone in a terrible quagmire they've basically lost all say over how they get out.

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I've had meetings go better.

From what I read, that seemed like a very cinematic introduction, and pretty much all the bad things happened to Mr. Angry that should have.

I think the one thing I might have suggested to the other players is that they tie Mr. Angry up before they apply the stimpacks, and take away his weapons. When he wakes up, he either gets to make nice, or he can walk out into the jungle by himself — still tied up and no weapons.

And I think I definitely would have started flipping destiny points to upgrade the difficulty of the rolls Mr. Angry was making, and explaining to him each time that he’s getting this feeling that maybe these two people are important to his future and that maybe he shouldn’t be shooting at them — not just flipping the DPs, but actually bringing the Force into the picture in a more specific way.

However, TBH, it seems to me like Mr. Angry is a player that has caused plenty of problems in the past, and if he’s not willing to change his ways then maybe it might be time to say goodbye to him and recruit for a new player to replace him.

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I'm assuming that in the case of your eclipse darkened world, the bro & sis team weren't carrying luminescent items that could mistake them as a predator as part of your created world's environment? This could possibly justify Mr Angry's initial decision to suspect a threat and shoot first, ask later... But even then after the first warning shot, when the target replies with blaster fire back at the Mr Angry, they are clearly not a natural predator (unless your predators can shoot blaster bolts...eep!).

 

Yeah, definitely an idiot. If he was so paranoid about meeting other sentients, then he could stay in a firing position covering any challenge/conversation made by the less psychotic members of the group with these new people.

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   "That's what my character would do!" is a cop-out.  Nobody has to pull that line when the Paladin refuses the reward after saving the village.  The Rogue might protest, but they both know the argument.  In every example I've seen, "But that's what my character would do!" is used when someone is just trying to derail the campaign and ruin people's fun.  Initiating PVP, picking the king's pocket, all the actions of a jackass who doesn't have to consider the consequences.  He does this to piss off the other players and the GM, making them dance around his stupid actions, trying to keep the campaign rolling after he should have just gotten everyone killed.  Because he knows he might get killed in a cave full of goblins, but he also knows the GM isn't going to have the King's guards beat him into unconsciousness and drag him to the dungeon, because the GM has a story to tell, and doesn't want to seem like he's arbitrarily killing a PC.

   Well, it's time for it to stop.  Bring the hammer down, y'all.  When the player says, "That's what my character would do!" feel free to say, "Fine.  As you reach into the King's purse, your entire body goes rigid.  The court wizard emerges from the shadows, his wand pointed at you, his magic holding you in a very incriminating position.  'What say you, heroes?' snarls the King, 'Is this thieving scoundrel a tag-a-long treasure seeker, or a bosom companion, whose fate you've sworn to share?'"  I'm willing to bet that the other players say, "Yeah, we barely know that guy!"  The rest of the characters can begin the quest while he rolls a new toon.  I mean, unless he really wants to play a rogue with no hands, because that's probably the best his old character can hope for.

Edited by The Grand Falloon

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