As I talked about before, I have criteria for picking players. Avoiding bad players can be just as challenging as finding good player. As discussed in my previous post, I have criteria for finding good players. The reverse of that is also true – I flat out avoid those with certain traits.
Spotlight Hog: One of the worst sins a player can commit against his fellow players is to soak up all the GM’s time during a game. Constantly interrupting other players when they try to interact with the GM and/or the campaign world is like a boil – it should be lanced and drained quickly.
Rules Lawyer: I. Do. Not. Like. Rules. Lawyers. Bending the game system to suit your personal needs as a player or to interrupt the game is unconscionable. I have a zero-tolerance policy. If I feel for a second a player is trying to pretzel the rules they are done. I eject them from the game and they won’t ever be invited back. Since I make this highly clear in the social contract I don’t even remotely feel bad about this. Also, I don’t mind someone bringing up a rule I may have missed if it’s fast and they know it. That is not rules lawyering and it’s useful. If your player has system mastery you’d be a fool not to pay attention – but when you swing the GM hammer it’s done. No matter what the rules might say.
Slothful: Players that are just sort of “at the table” are not helping anyone. You want to hang out? Cool – but do something. Try. If you can’t do that you probably don’t have a spot at my table.
Tangeteering: “Hey did you guys hear about the thing that so and so did?” Nope. And I don’t care right now. I’m gaming. This is why I like to have a 15-60 minute “warm up” before each game if I can. Let’s the players chat and socialize and then we get down to brass tacks. Tangeteers don’t really care about gaming so much as having a captive audience.
Picking Over the Bones
Notice again how I didn’t have any notes on lack of rules knowledge? Good. Because I don’t usually care for the most part as long as you don’t have any of these tendencies. And that concludes this two-parter.
What traits do you avoid in a player as a GM? Anything specific? Disagree with anything I’ve said here? If so, why?