D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Day 19

Day 19: First gamer who just annoyed the crap out of you.

Luckily, almost everyone who has ever joined one of my games has been someone I knew well before RPGs ever came up. Members of my groups have almost entirely consisted of very close friends or family members, so the ones who have annoyed me were annoying for other reasons. I mean, really... is there anyone who has regularly played a game with a sibling and not been annoyed? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Beyond the natural and forgivable annoyances of friends and family, there have been a few gamers who have gotten under my skin. The first one was a kid that my little brother brought home from school. It was the early days of 3.0, and my brother started talking about a friend he had met on the bus who played D&D. We hadn't played in what seemed like forever, and we were excited about the opportunity, so we rushed to make it happen. As it turned out, we were probably a little too eager to play.

This kid literally started trying to take over the game. I'm not talking about one player trying to steal the limelight... more like a player stealing the role of the DM and trying to dictate how the environment interacted with the PCs rather than the other way around. In particular, I recall a puzzle in a dungeon room that the players were stumped on. There were other ways to get to the objective, and the answer was right in front of them, but they were stuck anyway. He announced that his character had found something in a pile of hay (which itself may or may not have been in the description of the room). I can't remember if it was a magical key, another clue, or what, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. We played a little while longer while I tried to figure out if the game was salvageable, but we ended up cutting it short. Maybe he was just accustomed to a more freeform style. Maybe I was a teenage DM on a power trip. Maybe it was some combination of the two. Regardless, our conflicting views on how a game should be run turned that campaign into a one-shot adventure on the spot. Back then games were scarce, and having one go down in flames was a huge disappointment.

I've encountered plenty of annoying people at Magic tournaments, but D&D has been more of a safe haven for me as far as annoying gamers go. You don't have much control over who you play against in a tournament, but I have absolute control over who gets invited to game night at my house. Since that guy, it has been an unwritten (until now, I guess) rule that anyone who comes to game night needs to be briefed at least some on the group dynamics, and any new player has to get a unanimous "OK to play" vote in order to be invited back again.

To this day, my brother will occasionally mention something about "finding something in the hay." I roll my eyes, he laughs at me, and we both say thankya big big for having more discriminating taste when choosing who we game with.
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