Really, this is less of a post and more of an excuse for me to relate the most hilariously awful gaming experience of my life. Its been forever since I wrote anything (even for the Starcraft Diaries, though I have TONS of material) so I'm hoping to get the brain juices flowing once more. Alrighty. So, there's a group that meets every other Saturday at my preferred game store to play Pathfinder. I love me some Pathfinder, so I decided to join one of the open tables. When I got there I realized that every species of gamer that I enjoy playing with the least was present: the metagamer, the rules-obsessed cretin, the queen bee, the "party leader", and the strange older person who likes to play child characters. That last one is pretty self-explanatory. The group had this guy who must have been in his sixties and was playing TWO characters who were both children and were betrothed to each other. I didn't know him well enough to do so, but I feel as though someone should have taken him aside and gently explained the creep factor. Ok, on to the rest of the archetypes that are death to good role-playing experiences.
The metagamer. I understand the allure of using your encyclopedic knowledge of the rules to build a character that is far more powerful than it should be at a given level. One that knows the elemental weaknesses of hordes of mythical beasts even though they've been living on a farm for most of their life. Or how to combine magic items so that they're rolling an entire mug of dice for damage. I actually think it would be awesome to build a character that is either so intelligent or so hopped-up nuts that they realize their lives are being controlled by a bunch of Dew-swilling nerds, thereby allowing one to role-play the metagame. I'm sure that's been thought of before, but it bears repeating and now I want my next character to be that nutjob. Other than that, metagamers drive me up the wall. I spent two hours creating a character for this game with the goal of being balanced, realistic, and not over-powered. I thought that swanning in with a character as powerful as Galactus would be a bad thing, but apparently not. I knew I was in trouble when people started asking me what magic items my character had. My girl was a ninja, raised it the forest - +4 charisma belts weren't exactly growing on trees. Anyway, it turned out that my character was completely useless when the battle finally happened, because the other characters were so powerful that the DM just threw a bunch of white dragons at us. What good is a ninja against efffing DRAGONS? I ask you.
So, the "Party Leader and SRS gamer". This is a person who's been gaming for so long they believe they know what the best course of action is. Forever. Any ideas they don't like will be argued and argued to death until the person with the offending idea just gives up. Their character must always be baddass and always portrayed in the best light. If they fail a save they will spend the next five minutes describing that the character only failed the save because of some outside influence. My favorite character of all time was a half-dragon/tielfling combat druid who was lawful neutral and took herself very seriously. At one point the party was attacked by giant spiders who tried to trap them with their sticky spider-spit. Every single member of the party made their reflex save to avoid the attack except my druid - her reflex save was rubbish. Even her animal companion (a bear who was one size category above her) made his save and there she was stuck in a cocoon of spider-spit looking extremely foolish. Yes, I felt the urge to get all shirty about it and argue that it was a very dignified cocoon but what was the damn point of that? Always insisting your character is badass and resplendent is annoying for everyone around you.
The Rule-Obsessed Cretin. This person will pick apart the gamemaster's every move with their knowledge of the rules, especially when doing so will give their character an advantage. They don't care if it interrupts the narrative, bores other people to tears, or makes a certain person (me) want to stab them in the neck with a mechanical pencil. They will whinge and complain if they aren't allowed all the magic items they feel they should have before a mission because they're in the book even though you're stuck in the middle of the forest. Does that passing deer have an extensive pawning business? They will also nitpick to death that they should be able to get their griffon's armor on before the dragons arrive because donning armor hastily reduces the time. I'm sure the griffon was being super-cooperative about everything too, lifting his arms up so you can pull the chain shirt over his head. Its an EFFING GRIFFON - its going to take more than three rounds to get its armor on.
So I spent most of this game session being incredibly irritated, tweeting about being irritated, and wishing I hadn't gotten myself into it in the first place. The game started at 1pm and was supposed to end at midnight. I didn't make it that long, and made the excuse of having to get up early and fled. Every attempt to role-play was met with out-of-character bemusement so eventually I stopped talking altogether. Every idea I had was shot down, most of the time before I could even finish, by the "Party Leader". The side conversations made it impossible to concentrate, and I could not get the thought out of my head that I was playing with a man in his 50's or 60's who liked to play children.
Oh, I forgot one. The Queen Bee. I'm a girl, and I game. I don't assume that the corollary of those two things existing together in my person means I deserve all the attention in the room - I try to earn it by thinking about what I say, contributing to conversation, and not interrupting people while they're talking. You know, manners. The Queen Bee does not think this way. She deserves all the attention and when she doesn't get it the game will not move forward. Its horrifying, and maybe that's where some of the bad press we ladies have been getting lately has been coming from. But you know what? Attention whores can be of either gender. I've met both - I don't like it and I don't like them. I probably have more to say on the subject but I'll have to think about it more first.