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Ender07

Transitioning GM to a player...

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With the Ghosts of Dathomir possibly making its way to the US (again...) I am thinking of transitioning as my groups primary forever-GM to a player who actually bought the book to run the module.

I am glad to experience playing as a PC in this game as I have always been the GM spanning all the campaigns we have had since we started 3 years ago...however I have a few hang-ups about it.

Since I have been the only GM, I alone have had creative control over the direction of the story (to what extent a GM can have control) and giving that up gives me pause. The other factor is that the player who wants to GM has never GM'ed before in his life and has been a problem child in my game from very early on...but with communication and being friends outside of the game, we have been able to move through most of our issues in-game. Mostly he likes to min-max, played as a dark side evil Jedi among a group of light side Jedi and actively didn't try to redeem himself, has a very PC vs. GM mentality, plays to win, and up until the past year he has always tried to mess with me to throw a monkey wrench in my plans.

I am worried that even though he has played as a player all of these years he will revert to his player mindset and not that of a GM. I also know that he doesn't like reading that much, so I am concerned he is going to make rulings based on how he has thought I should (but usually didn't due to RAW). I am not sure he fully understands the concept of GM'ing and I don't want the group to end up either falling apart or getting killed because he makes questionable decisions as the GM that I could no longer overrule.

I may be thinking too much into this because I am very invested in the game and my players, but I think some of my concerns are valid. What do you think, am I being crazy and controlling? Should I just get us to a point to transition then hand over the reigns? Do I need to setup some guidelines before I pass it off? :wacko::blink::unsure:

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A few thoughts:

Don't count on Ghosts of Dathomir arriving any time soon, if the past has taught us anything.

If you miss GMing, this may be of interest: https://app.roll20.net/forum/post/5595081/lfgm-lfp-the-settlement-of-cophrigin-v-a-star-wars-rpg/?pageforid=5595081#post-5595081

Does he have to be a GM? Perhaps select a different player for GM duties? The thing is, if he has had a player vs. GM mentality as a player, he will likely take that over to his GM duties. And a GM with the goal of beating the players will indeed beat the players. I think you need to have a nice, long, talk with him before you do anything, to be honest.

 

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28 minutes ago, Ender07 said:

I am worried that even though he has played as a player all of these years he will revert to his player mindset and not that of a GM.

First, does he have to run this module?  Does he have to run it in your campaign?  Maybe let him design his own session first, or pick something short like one of the GM shield adventures, or even tell him he has to run a beginner box session with the included PCs.  He should get a taste of what GMing is before he jumps into running something complicated (I would expect Ghosts to be on the tougher side), and the other PCs might enjoy a one-off with new characters.

But otherwise, without knowing the person or your group, in general I'd say you just have to let it play out.  If he messes it up with his controlling nature, celebrates foiling what he imagines are the PC's plans, or can't handle it when the PCs stray from his railroady expectations, then it's entirely on him.  (Just my narrow, and admittedly limited, experience...people who are antagonistic players are often the most rigid GMs, unable to cope with the PCs doing the unexpected.)

This is possibly a moment for him to clue in to the kinds of things you have to deal with, or the rest of the party to decide he's not the person they want running sessions.  I'd sit back and let it run, try to be neutral about it, and (key point) offer advice only if he asks.

Eventually baby birds have to fly.  If they flutter into a fox's mouth...Darwin!

Then again, there's always the slim chance he'll provide everyone with a better experience than you do... :ph34r::P:lol:

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I am going to be GM'ing for the next few sessions at the very least. If anything this will probably transition somewhere at the beginning of next year so we can finish out this story arc.

I know of one of my players who I feel would probably be a more fair minded GM since he does enjoy reading and likes to RP...but that is also because the player who wants to take over has the "play to win, GM vs. Player, min-max" mentality and I like to play more roleplay heavy games where the story is the most important part, not the loot or gear.

An example I have for doubting this particular player involves his newer character...like I mentioned, he wanted to fall to the dark side with his old character even though he was in a light side game. I allowed this per RAW and advised him that if he doesn't actively try to redeem himself then his fellow players will notice that he is dark and will probably not want him around anymore. I gave him 6 months to rise up and he never did, he said he didn't see any way to do so, but I gave him multiple ways to save people while risking his own life, being selfless, and things of that nature but he always took the easy route which lead to more conflict, meaning he stayed on the dark side. I spoke with the other players and they saw that I was giving him opportunities but when I explained them to him afterwards he always used the excuse that "his brain doesn't work like mine so he didn't see the situations that way."

Now I would understand that if he was new to the game, or if no one else at the table saw it, but everyone did but him and I think that doesn't bode well for a GM. However that wasn't even my main point to this story, the real issue is that he created a new character because we talked and decided to kill off his old dark character as he couldn't figure out how to redeem himself. Once he created the new character, with some restrictions (non-combative to start out), and some help with the background, we got him up and running. When I would ask him any questions about his characters, likes/dislikes, what he would do in certain situations, he would say he didn't know because the character is too new and he needs to figure him out first...to me that feels like a cop out. While you may not be able to delve deeply into a backstory and give exact answers for everything you should be able to answer some easy questions about your character right off the bat because you are the one who created it. I feel that if he can't even answer basic backstory questions and what his motivations are, then how is he going to create NPC's on the fly and embody them rather than make them the exact carbon copy every time...?

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5 minutes ago, whafrog said:

First, does he have to run this module?  Does he have to run it in your campaign?  Maybe let him design his own session first, or pick something short like one of the GM shield adventures, or even tell him he has to run a beginner box session with the included PCs.  He should get a taste of what GMing is before he jumps into running something complicated (I would expect Ghosts to be on the tougher side), and the other PCs might enjoy a one-off with new characters.

But otherwise, without knowing the person or your group, in general I'd say you just have to let it play out.  If he messes it up with his controlling nature, celebrates foiling what he imagines are the PC's plans, or can't handle it when the PCs stray from his railroady expectations, then it's entirely on him.  (Just my narrow, and admittedly limited, experience...people who are antagonistic players are often the most rigid GMs, unable to cope with the PCs doing the unexpected.)

This is possibly a moment for him to clue in to the kinds of things you have to deal with, or the rest of the party to decide he's not the person they want running sessions.  I'd sit back and let it run, try to be neutral about it, and (key point) offer advice only if he asks.

Eventually baby birds have to fly.  If they flutter into a fox's mouth...Darwin!

Then again, there's always the slim chance he'll provide everyone with a better experience than you do... :ph34r::P:lol:

I was thinking about some of these questions myself and I am not sure my group would want to start new characters and play in a game where their main PC's are not receiving the experience. I could definitely ask them to see if they would be interested in creating some new ones to make this a mini-vacation from our regular campaign so it doesn't interfere. We only play once a month so it may be hard to convince them to replace that with this new game, but maybe we could find time to do it alongside it separately...

My main goal is to make sure the players are having fun yet are challenged, so if he can do that better than I...well I may just hand over the reigns for the campaign too! :D

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I don't think you're being crazy, some people are not good at GM-ing. But if the group wants to give him a chance then maybe set him up with a one session adventure, rather than starting with something that will take multiple sessions to run.

 

In my group we had a player who wanted to GM, who I thought they wouldn't be very good at it. When they ran their adventure the first part was very shaky, but parts of it were fun. The thing was, is that the players moved very quickly away from the story that they had prepared, so they didn't enjoy the improvisation that GM-ing requires. Since it sounds like if you let him try he may not like GM-ing.

The fact that he has the GM vs. player mentality, may mean he will have trouble letting certain things through, but more concerning in my book is that it sounds like he'll ignore the rules, or just not read them. I've played non-RPG's with people like that, and they just do whatever makes sense to them, to the detriment of everyone else's enjoyment, since you think you know something but then they change it on you half way through, and it leads to argument after argument. 

 

I would say, run it by your group if they want to give him a chance, maybe say he can run a one to two session adventure, and see how it works out.

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Maybe he should run a Dark sided campaign?  "Evil" campaigns can be fun if everyone agrees to this before hand (all players buy in). But from my experience those campaigns tend to be shorter and fairly chaotic with very little coherent plot and requires a good GM who can roll with whatever evil deed the PCs come up with.  On second thought maybe its not a great idea for a new GM, but since playing evil clearly speaks to this player who knows.

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I would be worried about this too, as the person who is taking over sounds like someone with a very Gamist approach. In my experience people who play RPS's to win can be very hard for Sim or Narrativist people to take because RPGs are really story games, but once you focus on the win conditions a lot of things fall apart. This guy may not be all the way in the Killer GM category, but he will probably view the success of the players in some combination of the following:

1) He may decide that for him to win, you have to lose. This will result in a game that is basically a strategy game in which the GM has all the resources. The rules will be followed but he can conjure up infinite adversity so in the end he will win.

2) He will view the players' success in the terms that he views success, namely: power (Stats, Gear, Money), rebelling against the group or expectations, and getting easy wins. Sometimes min maxers will be of the worst sort where they will take the most powerful character they can make and then proceed to be completely risk averse. This is often why they prefer Evil charcaters because they can screw people over to keep themselves safe and also can use others as mine detectors. 

Your loss of control will also likely be a problem, because as a player it is rude to second guess, prompt, and otherwise challenge the GM on a frequent basis. The guy not being a fan of reading is also troublesome, because it will ikely bother you when he chooses to hand wave out of ignorance of the rules. 

I wish I could be positive about this but I think that would be a lie. Another player in your group might be a better choice for your successor. 

 

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*Update*

After my last session I talked to the player in question for a couple hours regarding some things that bothered me during the game as well as his overall gamist mindset with RPG's. We eventually came to find that our mentality about RPG's are fundamentally different, I like to run my RPG's as a collaborative storytelling game, he thinks of it more as a video game and always has to win.

I pretty much knew this going in, but after talking it out for awhile it solidified everything. I told him I had a problem with him running a game with this mentality and he ended up agreeing that he would probably not be the best GM and would probably end up trying to screw with the players.

At this point I have 2 options, kick him out of our monthly game, or transition the mantle of GM to another person and see if it's just me and him butting heads. I spoke to my entire group and of the 3 other players, 2 were fine with either decision and 1 person said they would rather not kick him out if we had another option. At this point I think I will end our current campaign in the coming months and transition from GM to player and pass the GM mantle on to another player I feel comfortable doing so with.

I am honestly not too hopeful that this will make much of a difference as the person I would be transitioning GM to said that the particular player would probably always be the "problem child" regardless of who GM's due to his mindset. I know this is probably true, but it will be nice not always being the bad guy for once, and if we see that it continues with someone else at the helm then we know for sure it's not just me. Hopefully we will be able to figure it all out, maybe the problem player will eventually not play on his own accord, idk...but at least after transitioning to another GM I won't have to stress about it as much anymore.

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4 hours ago, Ender07 said:

We eventually came to find that our mentality about RPG's are fundamentally different, I like to run my RPG's as a collaborative storytelling game, he thinks of it more as a video game and always has to win.

What's weird to me is, it kind of sounds like he understands the issue.  But if he's aware of his tendency, and also understands it can be a problem, why does he keep doing it?

At this point I wouldn't even ask anybody else, I'd just part ways.  Those two mentalities can't coexist at the same table without frustration all around.  Everybody else is probably waffling because they don't want to be the bad guy, but they'll probably be relieved if you make a decision.

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1 minute ago, whafrog said:

What's weird to me is, it kind of sounds like he understands the issue.  But if he's aware of his tendency, and also understands it can be a problem, why does he keep doing it?

At this point I wouldn't even ask anybody else, I'd just part ways.  Those two mentalities can't coexist at the same table without frustration all around.  Everybody else is probably waffling because they don't want to be the bad guy, but they'll probably be relieved if you make a decision.

I know... And that's my problem, I really don't want to be"that guy." The group of us normally only get together once a month to play for about 6 hours. We see each other online and occasionally IRL, but mostly this is our one time a month that we are physically around a table hanging out.

This player even told me that he shows up mostly to just hang out with us, not because he enjoys playing the game. I really don't want to boot him out of the group when we get together so infrequently.

On top of that he is one of my best friends and even though we have differing styles in gaming, we still have a bunch in common and like hanging out outside of RPGs. I think kicking him out would put a strain on our relationship as well as the entire group, even if it would be better for the game.

I'm torn.

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8 minutes ago, Ender07 said:

On top of that he is one of my best friends...

No offence to your friend, but it just doesn't seem very friendly to not be able to chill out while playing in your game.  If he hosted a murder-hobo game and you insisted on talking to and protecting every NPC, it would be just as out-of-sync.

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17 minutes ago, whafrog said:

No offence to your friend, but it just doesn't seem very friendly to not be able to chill out while playing in your game.  If he hosted a murder-hobo game and you insisted on talking to and protecting every NPC, it would be just as out-of-sync.

True, I could tell him that he could come over to hang out but not play...but I have a feeling that would probably be even more boring for him since he couldn't interact with the story at all.

I don't know...I realize the right answer for the group is to kick him but I can't bring myself to do it. I have 2 of the other 3 players saying they are fine with either kicking him or starting with a new GM, so I do have the majority in favor of whatever I decide, and I really don't want him to do this to my successor who would be a "brand new" GM for all intents and purposes.

So the conundrum is we either keep him around because we are friends and that's the only day a month we hang out, or kick him out so we can finally play a game with everyone on the same page but risk him holding a grudge and being mad about the decision.

Life can kinda suck sometimes, I don't want to adult right now. :unsure:

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sorry, have not figured out how to make the video window smaller. whilst there is nothing groundbreaking in the video it is nice sometimes to listen to the stuff like this to get your GM-thoughts and GM-feelings straight just by knowing that the others have jsut the same issues as you do :)))

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10 hours ago, Ender07 said:

True, I could tell him that he could come over to hang out but not play...but I have a feeling that would probably be even more boring for him since he couldn't interact with the story at all.

I don't know...I realize the right answer for the group is to kick him but I can't bring myself to do it. I have 2 of the other 3 players saying they are fine with either kicking him or starting with a new GM, so I do have the majority in favor of whatever I decide, and I really don't want him to do this to my successor who would be a "brand new" GM for all intents and purposes.

So the conundrum is we either keep him around because we are friends and that's the only day a month we hang out, or kick him out so we can finally play a game with everyone on the same page but risk him holding a grudge and being mad about the decision.

Life can kinda suck sometimes, I don't want to adult right now. :unsure:

You should tell your friends that are fine with what you decide that you decided they should make their own decision, not just waffle and use yours. Then you should tell the problem player that he MUST change his play style or he is not invited and either the game goes away or he does. Then dont put up with his antics. If he does something evil, just say a sniper shot him dead, make a new character. If he challenges you as the GM, say a Star Destroyer just bombarded him, and only him, from orbit, make a new character. And dont argue with him, or even interact at all when that happens. Just tell him he can step away from the table until his new character is done and go back to playing. If he gets pissed about that, tell him that is how you feel about him screwing your game, after your play session is done. He needs to be taught to play the game, not against the GM.

The one qualifier is that it sounds like the other players have alot less of a problem with your problem gamer than you do. If this is the case, then the problem isnt really the problem gamer

 

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16 hours ago, Ender07 said:

True, I could tell him that he could come over to hang out but not play...

Btw, by "chill out", I didn't mean "not play", I meant, if he's actually a friend why can't he change his "style" to be more in tune with the group?

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17 hours ago, thesaviour said:

sorry, have not figured out how to make the video window smaller. whilst there is nothing groundbreaking in the video it is nice sometimes to listen to the stuff like this to get your GM-thoughts and GM-feelings straight just by knowing that the others have jsut the same issues as you do :)))

I actually watched this back when it came out, but it does make some good points. Unfortunately for my situation it is more that the player in question seems he would rather be playing a video game rather than an RPG and it disrupts the table, both players and me (the GM) alike.

10 hours ago, korjik said:

You should tell your friends that are fine with what you decide that you decided they should make their own decision, not just waffle and use yours. Then you should tell the problem player that he MUST change his play style or he is not invited and either the game goes away or he does. Then dont put up with his antics. If he does something evil, just say a sniper shot him dead, make a new character. If he challenges you as the GM, say a Star Destroyer just bombarded him, and only him, from orbit, make a new character. And dont argue with him, or even interact at all when that happens. Just tell him he can step away from the table until his new character is done and go back to playing. If he gets pissed about that, tell him that is how you feel about him screwing your game, after your play session is done. He needs to be taught to play the game, not against the GM.

The one qualifier is that it sounds like the other players have alot less of a problem with your problem gamer than you do. If this is the case, then the problem isnt really the problem gamer

 

I have read about being the passive-aggressive d**k GM and doing this, but I feel that it doesn't really solve the problem. Yes, he might find out how I feel about his messing around and differing attitude, but ultimately I look like more like the "bad guy" because I keep killing him off.

3 hours ago, whafrog said:

Btw, by "chill out", I didn't mean "not play", I meant, if he's actually a friend why can't he change his "style" to be more in tune with the group?

I guess I read that wrong...however after 3+ years of playing with him and talking to him about his play-style and mindset multiple times it feels like his version of "chilling out" is that he doesn't mess with my story as much anymore, but therefore he doesn't tend to participate as much and gets bored. It tends to be one extreme or the other, either he plays and screws with me (with the PC vs GM mindest) and HAS to win, or he goes very passive and then goofs off because he doesn't have anything to do because he is not engaging. I honestly just don't think my version of RPG's (or maybe RPG's in general) are for him IMHO.

3 hours ago, MonCal said:

I would suggest he reads the dungeon world GM guide. It talks about more collaborative approaches to GM

I'll have to read that myself...I think it might be lost on him though. We've come this far and his mindset hasn't changed.

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53 minutes ago, Ender07 said:

I guess I read that wrong...however after 3+ years of playing with him and talking to him about his play-style and mindset multiple times it feels like his version of "chilling out" is that he doesn't mess with my story as much anymore, but therefore he doesn't tend to participate as much and gets bored. It tends to be one extreme or the other, either he plays and screws with me (with the PC vs GM mindest) and HAS to win, or he goes very passive and then goofs off because he doesn't have anything to do because he is not engaging. I honestly just don't think my version of RPG's (or maybe RPG's in general) are for him IMHO.

Three years? you're a saint. After all this time and no change, I don't see it likely that any further discussion, guides, tips, or viewing of videos for him will change his opinion. 

I think you might be correct that other than a straight muderhobo game, RPGs might not really be for him. 

 

Side note: If you still want to spend time with him why not try to organize a board game night?  The game can be co-op or competitive, but no one has to prep anything, and he can live out his "need to win" mindset.

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I wasnt saying that you need to be passive aggressive with him, I was saying you should be actively aggressive with him. Be the bad guy. When he starts screwing with you and the game, and not what is in the game, then stop the game and tell him his behavior is unacceptable and then if he challenges you, kill his character in the most 'dont screw with the GM' way possible. The point is to get him to play the game you are running or to not play. The drama is supposed to be between the PCs and the NPCs, not you and the player.

The hard part is keeping it at the table and not taking things personally, both on your side and his. You need to remember that he is supposed to be a friend, and that means having enough empathy for a friend to at least try to not destroy your fun. The fact that this thread exists says that you have some problems, and the fact that you have permission to boot him says this is a fairly serious problem.

For me, he is way past the 'get the heck away from my table' point. If he is unwilling or unable to put forth some effort to play the game you want to play, then he is screwing with your fun, which is not being nice. Dont be nice back, all that does is give you problems, not him. 

The best result is his learning how to play in the group, but after '3+ years of playing with him and talking to him about his play-style and mindset multiple times' its time to stop being nice about it. 

p.s. If he 'HAS to win' when playing and RPG, especially when he is playing against the GM, I dont think he understands what an RPG is. You cant win an RPG, all you can do is have fun. 

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