Dire elephant at the game table

Once a week we invite everyone over into our home to play D&D. Everyone just walks right on in, takes their shoes off and we sit down together for a good friendly game – hell my players don’t even knock. My gaming group has remained the same for some time now; my wife, my best friend, his fiance, his dad and his fiance’s dad whom both have been playing since their teenage years. More often than not on game night we provide food and beverages for everyone, and most of the time someone brings beer or something else to drink or eat, it’s communal and no one keeps tabs or anything and there’s never been a problem.

Everyone really gets along swimmingly and the party plays well together – they always manage to find a less than obvious way around things and I’m never prepared however good times always ensue. I prepare our campaign with heart and soul each week, I have no co-dm and I¬†painstakingly set up our game to be as fun as efficient as possible, and I’m always looking for ways to bring the experience to a new level. I attempt to cater to my players needs and wants to achieve maximum fun for all.

I wish all of the above said was true, which actually it is mostly with the exception of one of those players. They are downright rude there’s no other way to put it, at first their demeanor was a minor snag in the flow of our game sessions. I can put up with a few comments here and there or shrug off the inappropriate mentions of my wifes breasts. Or even when comments are made about our parenting, or when my wife is told how she should speak to me based on the opinion of an otherwise near total stranger. Granted I have little patience for my kids at times and yeah if anyone has the right to get frustrated with them it’s my wife or I – not this person and they’re downright shitty to my son at times and only have to see him 4 times a month! They are generally loud(which I don’t mind, except after my daughter finally falls asleep), opinionated, and manage to argue to the death about moot points or anything in regards to negative effects on their character. To top it all off they make for a piss poor house guest and always leave wrappers and empty bottles laying all around after the game.

It has come to a point after our last session that my wife no longer wants to play the game (with him) because she can’t enjoy it. Between multitasking a teething 13 month old, a rambunctious 3 year old and putting up with this shit on a weekly basis it’s the straw that’s breaking the camels back. On a day that’s supposed to be a stress reliever and a break from the norm, throw this in and it’s just another frustrating day. I try to remain neutral as possible being a GM in situations like this, especially when coming up in game but this last session I was so upset my hands were shaking behind the DM screen I almost broke my dungeonmasters code of neutrality to explode on him – but I didn’t, my wife beat me to it. I’m nearly positive everyone else feels the tension he brings to the table, however due to social implications no one is really going to say anything about it for fear of hurt feelings or the group breaking up (we all NEED our D&D fix).

So what is one to do when faced with a blatantly disrupting, rude, loud and generally inappropriate person at the game table? This particular player of mine happens be related to another, so just sayin “hey buddy don’t come back” isn’t exactly an option in this situation. It’s a very delicate matter at hand here and I’d hate to have any friendships strained in the process, however something has to happen. I don’t think there is any lighthearted way to go about saying something’s gotta give but I won’t enjoy myself knowing all the tension exists on top of the thought of losing my number 1 gaming partner if she were to sit out on game night. What’s a DM to do?

Coming up later this week: Playing cowardly – what to do when your players always take ‘the safe route’, and a review of Steve Jacksons Zombie Dice

5 Comments

  1. Maybe the solution is to chat with the other relative. Talk to the more reasonable one about the disruption the player is creating. Then hopefully see if they can talk about it off game in a way that is not going to create more of a disruption so the world will be at peace. Of course there are always going to be those times that makes things a pain in the backside. Hope your game becomes more fun.

    -B. Lynn

  2. Hi, big fan of your blog, first time posting.

    People need consequences for their actions. If a player is rude, disrespectful and disruptive, kick them out of the group. If their feelings are hurt, that’s a good thing, maybe they will finally seek some inner reflection and start trying to act decent around other people. You seem like a really nice guy, this is a hobby you love and something you share with the woman you love, don’t let some toolbox ruin that for you and your wife.

    • Thank you for reading, and commenting! I feel the same way, I’ve just gotta grow the cahoneys to tell him. I’ve just been cancelling our games since this incident…

      • Hey just discovered your blog, this is actually the first post I’ve read. Been in a group where similar crap has gone down. The only way around it is confrontation. Now Confrontation doesn’t have to be hostile. Calling the guy up middle of the week and going for a beer and talking it out can work. If you’re worried that it’s gonna effect your friendship with the other player, give them a heads up I need to talk to your relative about some issues – I’m gonna try to keep it calm and cool, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Then start out with The biggest issues – The ones that absolutely have to stop, this way if he starts to tune you out you get the major points out first. If this doesn’t work, I’d say email your group each in a private thread and find out if anyone is having any issues with the game or group. Because sometimes it’s not just you, sometimes there are other players that want to say something that just don’t feel it’s their place. But that’s just my two cents. I really don’t care who I piss off in my own home (well other than my wife I have to sleep sometime and I’d prefer to do it in my bed not on the couch), I’ve told my own family to get the hell out and don’t darken my doorstep if they don’t like my rules.
        Hope things get settled for you in a good manner – I know what it’s like to go without your Gaming Fix – Since moving out to BFE I’ve maybe gotten a chance like 5 or 6 times in 4 years It’s hell.

  3. Ultimately, one person is ruining the game that you and your family/friends love and spoiling the precious time you all somehow manage to schedule together. I play a regular game with family, and find it’s a unique bonding experience that I would hate to see spoiled. A quick phone call or email to kick the guy out is your best bet. If you think he’ll freak out and are concerned about his feelings (even though he doesn’t seem to be about yours / your wife’s), talk to him in person with the relative there (to help keep control, and they probably know him better).

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