We look at the primary reported mistakes people make that get them removed from their TTRPG group.
We’ve all heard the stories online. TTRPG group members lament about having to kick someone out of the game because of consistent difficult behavior. We also have heard it from the other side, about the player or GM feeling “blindsided” by the decision. So why is that? Is this something that could happen to you? Here we take a look at common problems that come up, and how to ensure you aren’t making them so that yourself, and everyone else at the table, is happy!
Do You Control Others’ Actions?
A major part of improv for a TTRPG game is “yes and”. Whatever people say and do at the table is allowed to happen, and then you see what happens next. It doesn’t necessarily mean your own character has to be okay with another character’s actions. But there is a right and wrong way to approach this.
If you find yourself often saying things like “I don’t let them do that” or “I stop that before it happens”, then you are going a step too far and trying to control another’s actions. By negating something from happening in the game, nothing happens at all, and the story doesn’t go anywhere. It also makes the other player feel like they don’t have autonomy over their own actions.
Do You Ignore the Story When it Isn’t Focused on You?
Whenever your character is not in a “scene”, do you often turn to your phone or talk to another player out of character? Not only does this take away from the intimate character moments others at the table experience, but it is also disrespectful to those currently engaged. Try to remain quiet and attentive when your character is not in a scene, because the story is still progressing and it is still something that should be respected.
Are You Always the Last to Arrive?
Life happens. Schedules happen. Everyone understands. But if you are always consistently the last one to arrive and find everyone waiting for you, it sends the message that your time is more important than theirs. This can be frustrating for those who arrive early or on-time because the game is important to them. It can quickly turn everyone against you, and you might not even realize it.
Are You Good at “Sharing the Spotlight?”
There is a time for your character to shine. And there is a time for other characters to shine. What makes a great player at the table is knowing how to share the spotlight. If a scene has been focused on your character for awhile, when it is over try sitting back quietly and letting others now have their turn to talk and take action. Allow the focus to shift. But pay equal attention to them as they paid to you.
Do You Infringe on Others’ Boundaries?
It’s time to grow up a bit here and realize not everyone has the same sense of humor as you, the same life experiences as you, and the same childhood as you. It shouldn’t have to be said to avoid racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, or any other discriminatory jokes at the table. The TTRPG table should be a place where everyone has fun and feels comfortable. If you also try to take in-character actions that make others uncomfortable, you can quickly find yourself out of the game. Using “it’s what my character would do” isn’t going to carry you far when you have no game to play this character as.
And for GM’s out there, consider the actions of NPC’s and the world on the characters. Sexual content, slavery, abuse, and other situations should only be approached to your players’ level of comfort. Keep a culture of open communication so everyone feels comfortable expressing what they don’t like even before the campaign begins. Otherwise you will find yourself with no players.
Does Your Vibe Not Match the Group’s?
One of the biggest pieces of advice we can give is to find a group whose “vibes” match yours. Everyone has a different style of playing, and want something different from the game. If you find that yours doesn’t vibe with the other players, it is probably best to find a new TTRPG game. That way you will be happier all around.