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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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  #21  
Old January 25th, 2018, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ghost View Post
What solutions have you tried?
A certain amount of "rules lawyering" is expected as a sign that the players are engaged and interested in the game. However, it does slow the game down. We have a "five minute rule" about rules interpretation disputes. We discuss it for 5 minutes (at most), the GM makes a call. That call is final for that game. After that, the player can discuss it with the GM afterwards if they feel strongly about it.

Other kinds of disruptive behavior (or persistent rules arguing - where they're arguing a rule more than three times a session) are handled in other ways, usually in the form of a talking to after the game session is over. This talking to is usually sufficient to get the problem out of the open.

If it's something like a player who has his characters "always looking for an angle" including (or perhaps especially) exploiting the other players, usually they're told we don't play like that. We don't know what it's like in other gaming groups or in that player's past experience, but we're "requesting" that player to change that attitude.

Often it's simply that the player is bored with the game so they're finding other ways to entertain themselves. At that point they get the "well change the attitude or we'll call you when the vote for the next game comes up."

As for vetting new players for a group, we usually have the first few sessions at a game store (we have them locally thankfully). Once we determine if we're okay with this person coming into someone's house, we move the game (back) to someone's house. Or we did in the past - these days we just keep it at the game store these days because it's easier for everyone to gather there.
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  #22  
Old January 25th, 2018, 05:08 PM
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a player who has his characters "always looking for an angle" including (or perhaps especially) exploiting the other players
in what way?
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  #23  
Old January 26th, 2018, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
in what way?
There was a fellow we tolerated for a while before we decided he just wasn't a very good match for the group.

Let's see about highlights.

* In a D&D game, after a bad encounter, we all decide to flee. He's in the back (he's a wizard), so he casts Rock to Mud in our path so that the monsters will eat us so he can get away. At the time we thought it was funny (a lot of our D&D games are pretty "beer and pretzels" dungeon crawls without much roleplaying anyway) so we didn't think much of it.

* The players are hired by a patron to deal with a local Ine Givar cell. I get a note (really a message on my cellphone) saying he goes and meets with Ine Givar cell in question to see how much they'd pay him for information on what the other players are doing. They offer him 1 million credits. He accepts, and lets the Ine Givar track them. This obviously led the players to fail and one of the players to be blown up by a bomb left in his room. (Obviously, the Ine Givar didn't have a million credits to pay, so they didn't).

* There was another game where the players came upon a "mercenary camp." The players were pretty sure it was actually Sword Worlders with some Zhodani advisors (the game was in the run-up to the 5th FW) about to do some sort of mischief. The player thought it was a bad idea. The party wanted to approach using some likely excuse (we were traveling under the guise of being a few big game hunters along with their guides/assistants/assorted hangers-on aboard the Safari Ship The Mutual of Oriflamme). The party overruled him but the party told him he could go back to the ship if scared. He does so. But then he passes me a note that says "I slash the tires of the party's vehicles on my way so they can't get away." So much for an ex-Imperial Marine 5 terms with a SEH. When negotiations start going well (the party had a slick talker) he asks me if he can hack the gunnery system to fire the missile launcher at the camp. I let him hack the computer (he has computer skill) but then tell him as he has no ship's gunnery skills he has no idea how to repurpose the missiles intended to hit starships in space for ground targeting to which he says I'm just nitpicking and that it should be easy.

* It was basically normal for him to do things like promise to other people that another (wealthier) player would pay some debt. For instance, the group goes shopping for equipment. He buys a Air/Raft, a hostile environment suit, and a bunch of other equipment. His character at the time had a reasonable sum of money, so I didn't think anything of it. Later in the game, he goes to a casino and tries to bet 100 000 Cr on something. I ask him where he has the money because he shouldn't have that kind of money left after buying all that earlier equipment. He claims that the noble character in our party (who was rich) paid for it all. The noble player replies, "This is the first time I heard about that." Then: "Oh, then I'd have just found his bank account number while we were on ship and taken the money to pay for it."

* Eventually he played the Scout who got a Scout ship mustering out and he said he'd be the transportation for the group. Of course, anything, literally anything involved the line "what's in it for me?" and that the rest of the party should pay him (not just cover costs) for use of his ship. Then he'd want to also come along on any jobs and assumed he'd get an equal portion of the pay.

Those are the incidents that come to mind. I think that if it was just one character that acted like this, it'd be annoying but perhaps memorable and nothing would have come of it. That it was something he did across all of his characters despite talkings to and so on made him eventually a persona non grata.
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  #24  
Old January 26th, 2018, 09:03 PM
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Here's an idea for refs that might discourage between session or party backstabbing shenanigans:

Require the player to blue book it (or do it through e-mail, etc.). He has to write it out in character, just the way he'd play it in a solo session. Make him come up with a written plan how he'll go about antics. Throw some obstacles in his way. The ref does all the rolls. Make him work for it. Make him justify in writing why his character is betraying the group. Greed? Revenge over some trivial slight in a starport hotel lounge? If it doesn't make sense, and the character wasn't established as having a pretty bad mental problem during character generation, then the ref should just deny it. Not good enough. Your character has no reason to screw the group over. Nobody bumped his girlfriend and he's not insane, so GM fiat, he doesn't do that. Hopefully the extra work will convince the player to stop being a knucklehead. If the player keeps on with it, then declare it an OOC player issue (which it obviously is) and require him to knock it off or leave the game. If necessary, the ref can even roll back time and say the last betrayal didn't happen.

Just some off the cuff thoughts for refs who might have a similar issue.
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  #25  
Old January 27th, 2018, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keklas Rekobah View Post
Problem Players?

Give them what they want.

In fact, give them EXACTLY what they want, which is usually attention.

"Okay, you wake up inside a featureless, white cube with no memory of how you got there. You are wearing a pocket-less Spandex onesie, ballet slippers, and nothing else. The air is breathable, and the gravity seems to be about 9.8 metres per second per second. Suddenly, you hear a pleasant female voice emanating from every direction, saying 'Welcome. You have been randomly selected to participate in a survey. You have exactly five of your minutes to explain why you should not be exterminated. Each question you ask will subtract 15 seconds from the remainder of your time. If you have reached the end of your time without successfully defending yourself, your existence will be painlessly and irrevocably terminated. Please be truthful and concise. Your time begins ... NOW.'"

Pull out a stopwatch or other time-piece that measures seconds. Keep track of the penalty times. At the end of the five minutes (or less), take the player's character sheet and run it through a paper shredder. Tell the player that he or she can roll up another character at the next session.

Repeat as needed.

I have had to resort to this only once; but it worked very well. Answering every one of the player's questions in the most evasive manner is recommended . . .

Q: "Where am I?"
A: "In the survey chamber."

Q: "Where is the survey chamber?"
A: "It is all around you."

Q: "How did I get here?"
A: "Please define 'here'."

Q: "Who are you?"
A: "I am Me."

Q: "What is your name?"
A: "Me."

Q: "How much time do I have left?"
A: "Less than when you started."

Q: "Is this for real?"
A: "As real as you are."

Q: "How do I get out?"
A: "Successfully defend your existence."

Q: "Why me?"
A: "You were chosen at random."

(At this point, the player has used up 135 seconds out of 300 ...)
Guru; You may ask me three questions.
Homer; Are you really the head of the Kwik-E-Mart?
Guru; Yes.
Homer; Really?
Guru; Yes.
Homer; You?
Guru; Yes. I hope this has been enlightening for you.
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  #26  
Old January 27th, 2018, 02:28 AM
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Those are the incidents that come to mind.
actually all those examples sound like great role-playing (except the last of course which just sounds like simple presumption excuse). it's just that the other players may not like it - strictly a meta-game thing.

Quote:
Your character has no reason to screw the group over.
well strictly speaking a reason is not necessary. "your character wouldn't act that way" isn't valid - that's for the player to decide.
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  #27  
Old January 27th, 2018, 04:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
"your character wouldn't act that way" isn't valid - that's for the player to decide.
Lots of players at the table play out of character. And so do their characters. Best to just not let them in your group.
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  #28  
Old January 27th, 2018, 07:09 PM
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Lots of players at the table play out of character.
almost all do, to the point that there is (was) a game style of "yourself with better stats" as the character, to accomodate this almost universal tendency. observe how playing a character as a projection of oneself often is considered "roleplaying" and playing a character as delineated by the rules and setting often is NOT considered "roleplaying" but merely "rollplaying".

but in point of fact the player decides what is "in character" for the character, not the other players or the referee.

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so he casts Rock to Mud in our path so that the monsters will eat us so he can get away.
(laugh - "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun YOU") good role-playing. not good meta-gaming, of course, but well within character.
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  #29  
Old January 27th, 2018, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
actually all those examples sound like great role-playing (except the last of course which just sounds like simple presumption excuse). it's just that the other players may not like it - strictly a meta-game thing.



well strictly speaking a reason is not necessary. "your character wouldn't act that way" isn't valid - that's for the player to decide.

Of course it's the player's decision. Telling a troublemaker that his character wouldn't do something as a justification for refusing to implement his session-disrupting destructive actions is a perfectly valid technique for troublemaker control (not for normal GMing).
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Old January 27th, 2018, 11:00 PM
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(not for normal GMing)
well that's the whole point really. problem players should be handled outside the game.
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