Stinkers (part one)

I promised a list of the “stinker” games as well…

[MaBNote — OK, I know I’m not done with the current list, but while I think I’ve chosen numbers four and five from the vast group of awesome games I’ve played (as opposed to ran – that’s another list) I’ve got this big caveat on number four that I’m having trouble pushing through, so I’m just going to start the next group rather than slow posting anymore than it already has.]

So, the stinkers. The only player you’re going to know in the stinkers category is myself, and everything else should be fairly anonymous unless you were there. Heck, in this first game, I don’t remember the names [PC or player] of anyone else except for the person who invited me, so that should make it easier, right? I’m putting it behind the veil of sorts, because you should only need to see the horror because you asked for it.

Ground Glass and GM Punishment

So, I’m really lucky that I don’t have a lot of those stories where being of the female gender has really been a major issue in the play of the game. Of course, I do have the odd departure from this rule, and I did a couple posts a while back on what (years and years later) I really see as the issues of being a woman at the table. I don’t need to hit the highlights of that again, except to say that this game was the closest I ever got to the stereotype. The gender issue wasn’t the problem. (For example, most of the males at the table seemed similarly disturbed.)

I think I mentioned how my Dad got me that button about “the GM has more hit points than you can imagine.” Well, far from thinking myself frail, that annoyed me because it seemed like it was setting up this ridiculous animosity. If your GM is against you, the game isn’t likely to be fair. (There are good exceptions to this rule, but it is a warning sign.) The GM shouldn’t be punishing you, the GM is just as hard-pressed to not use OOC information, and really, if you annoy the GM it should be because you’ve done something fantastically clever, and the GM is just kicking his- or herself because that was just too cool.

Conversely, my Dad had taught me that the way to deal with an annoying player was to let them reap the consequences rather than insist on any further attempts to amend their ways. In our Family Dungeon, one of the young hanger-ons (this was a sort-of-son of a sort-of-friend, I believe, but I somehow inherited his module collection so I ought to offer him some grace in fairness) decided to be a pest. We ended up leaving him at the enchanted fountain, thoroughly expecting him to someday turn into a fish.

The game in question was a… 2nd edition AD&D game. Yeah. No blame to the system. And really, in some ways, the player was asking for it. See, the guy was one of Them. You know, the people who have to game the game, and in this case, he needed the attention of letting us all know when his character had a potty break. I didn’t think of it as that at the time – at the time I just thought it was annoying oversharing about challenges he really didn’t need to make for himself.1

The adventuring was pretty solid. Find an enemy, concoct some strategy, destroy it to the last hitpoint. But this guy slowed us down. “Wait, my horse is having a bodily function. He won’t gallop during that.” I mean, literally, too, but it was that kind of irrelevant issue that just broke any kind of momentum. So yeah, I was annoyed, but sometimes it was funny, and hey, we were just hanging out, right?

It really, really annoyed the DM.

So, we show up one night before the guy, and the DM says, “I’ve got my revenge.”

I blinked. I remember blinking.

“It’s from these books,” and he referenced some silly light tortureporn bits from a series I knew of but haven’t read. I shrugged, glanced at my invite, and he shook his head.

“No, really, I wrote this whole scene.” He made it sound like he’d spent the week before between games slaving over a scene, so, I remained pretty noncommittal, but sure. I was game.

I don’t remember all the details, but the character was taken, tortured rather uncreatively in what was something like an hour monologue and then we were able to play a “rescue.” Except it was too late, and I had fallen asleep, I think. I vaguely remember that the fellow just “didn’t get it.” He was still doing his little asides during the torture scene.

I didn’t go back.

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