Pull up a chair kids, it’s time for Old Man Nerdy to tell you a few stories from my gaming history. Today we are going to talk about the three worst instances / experiences gaming which have caused me to become….very very particular about who I game with and what games I play.
First, for many of you long time followers, the Blue Magic Incident. I did a video about this one, which you can view here. It is NOT safe for work in the slightest, and I get very angry about it. Even thinking about it infuriates me.
But that is only one cause. There are in fact two more. So let’s dig a little deeper.
The first of the remaining two occurred about 6 months after the Blue Magic Incident. I had met a few people at work who invited me to come play in their long running 3rd Edition DND game. They were high level, so I would need to come over during one of their sessions (they tended to play bi-weekly for 8 hours at a time, ahhhh youth!) to create a character. At the time, I had only played Clerics in 3rd Ed, so I decided to play a Druid.
I spent a good 4-5 hours creating this new character. They were level 13ish or so, so this meant I had to pick treasure based on my level, build up feats and spells and all sorts of things. In 3rd Ed building characters higher than 1st level, especially when you are new to the system AND class can take a while.
The DM introduced me in the night, and since they were in the wilderness I started by coming out of the forest in Wild Shape (Bear) form, only to shift out and greet the party. The response I got was “ENEMY!” from the Troll Fighter who then leapt across the fire they had and stabbed me. The rest of the party joined in and before I could escape (I rolled SHITE on initiative) I was dead. I stared at the group as they laughed, and it was explained that this was their way of “hazing the new guy” and that they expected the Troll Fighter (who called HIMSELF an Asshole) to do something like this to me. I was quiet, left that night, and never went back to play with them.
Now, that’s bad enough right? You can see why those two above instances might scare a person and make them reticent to play with unknowns? Well guess what?
IT HAPPENED AGAIN! THE SAME HAZING! WITH COMPLETELY NEW PEOPLE IN A NEW TOWN A FEW YEARS AFTER THE FIRST!
The third and final event happened when a guy I knew at my first pharmacy call center job invited me to come join his RIFTS game. Now at this point I had been learning 4th Ed, and running my own games in it. RIFTS was a system I knew nothing about, but it sounded kinda wild. So I checked with my wife, she was fine with it, so away I went to join his game. Again, I spent hours while the group played trying to learn the system and understand all these OCC and weird concepts (I mean seriously, wtf game!) and creating a character. I joined up, and within minutes am dead because the party decided to haze the new guy, distrust him, and destroy him. This time however the DM was at least apologetic and tried to get me to come back but at that point I was like “I am good”.
Mind you, these are only the Tabletop RPG focused stories. I have had issues when I tried to get into Warmachine and Hordes in my local scene years ago which eventually pushed me out of that, and I dealt with numerous poor sports in the Magic the Gathering scene when I played THAT. My town, its…iffy when it comes to other players 0_o. I had good experiences as well, don’t get me wrong. I played Magic casually for a good year or two, and Warmachine for a good two years and even blogged about it, but the bad just left such a taste in my mouth that eventually I got tired of putting up with it.
So why am I telling you all this? What is the point?
Well first the point is to entertain. While these are horrible stories and I would not wish these experiences on anyone they are also kinda funny in retrospect. But more than that, I wanted to share these as examples of what NOT to do to new players.
When you know someone is new to the hobby, when they are wide eyed and interested in joining your group, don’t “haze” them. Don’t do horrible things to them. Make sure to welcome them and let them get their footing. They may be a great player in the future! Doing things like this, mean spirited “jokes” towards them does nothing but breed resentment. Because of these 3 events and the other stuff, I now refuse to play with people who are strangers to me. My Patron One Shots are about as close as I get, and those are a 1 Strike and you are OUT kind of thing and are well outside my comfort zone.
If someone new is joining your group, be welcoming and friendly. If you are at a Con game, same thing! Don’t be insulting, dehumanizing, or demeaning. It helps no one and only serves to close the hobby off from new blood. And we need new blood to grow and stay relevant. We WANT new players, new DMs, new participants in the hobby.
At least I do.
As always thanks for reading! Get those Crits, Take those Hits, Keep Pushing Through and STAY NERDY!