Anatomy of a Roleplaying Group.

I’ve spent an inordinate amounts of time with Role-playing Groups in the capacity of GM over the years. Every group is different, and yet at the same time every group is somewhat similar.

So in this post I’m going to add a few of my observances.

Nb: I do not claim to have invented any of these terms (although I think some might be new) so some of this might reiterate things you have seen before. These are just the categories I have spotted and filed players in over the years. Please note that most players fall into more than one category and usually that means the various bits balance each other out, it’s when someone starts strongly leaning into one category that the problems start.

Starting with anatomy.

Normally I run with 6 players which does skew the dynamic somewhat. With 6 players there is enough leeway for Archetypes such as the “quiet one” or the “beta planner” to flourish, which in smaller groups sometimes there isn’t. Also the “splitter” becomes a MUCH larger problem in a large group.

Finally please note that some of you might recognize yourselves in these descriptions. Everyone tends to fall under a few of these headings, don’t worry about it. If you have started to be a problem no doubt the rest of the players will let you know (presumably by killing you and rolling you under the bush nearby!)

Planner:

First let me say that it’s usually GOOD to have a planner in the group. I personally tend to gravitate to either this role or that of Beta Planner (I’m an engineer, problem solving is in my make-up . Planners do just that, they plan. In an RPG this might be the person who comes up with a way to get the party into the building, work out the getaway, or work out how to assassinate the guy who otherwise would punch the clock of the entire team.

Having someone who can drive the part forward is a good thing, it means that (usually at least) the group won’t be left flailing with no idea how to push forward.

There are however a few issues with planners. They tend to ride somewhat roughshod over other members of the group especially “quiet ones” as they have come up with the plan which presumably has the other players featured in it. These players need to do their part in the plan for it to succeed which dependent on the level of planning involved can leave the other players little to do other than say “And then I do my thing”, most planners will try and avoid this however. Planners can get quite despondent if their plans keep getting shot down (see the antiplanner below)

Planners also get frustrated if their plans get negated by a previously unforeseen occurance. Especially an occurance that they have had no inkling of in the run up to putting the plan into operation. Usually this is due to incomplete reconnaissance  but there is nothing more likely to frustrate a Planner than finding out two seconds too late that the guy they just shot in the face is a vampire…

Planners can be overcautious, preferring to have a plan rather than just getting stuck in and risking it. This can slow the tempo of a campaign and frustrate the GM but by the same token it’s usually due to having learned lessons the hard way. If you have a planner and you keep springing things on the group, or hitting them with unexpected things, don’t be surprised when the plans get steadily more “surprise proof”!

Finally Planners aren’t always the best at improvising. They will quickly be reduced to flailing if the plan suffers catastrophic damage… See the Traitor and the Silly One below.

 Beta Planner

Much like the planner above the beta planner is a problem solver, but unlike the Planner they aren’t confident/determined enough to make plans for all the other players. Instead they busy themselves by suggesting alterations to the plans come up with by the planner.

This is usually a good thing. It allows the other players to get alterations into the plans as usually they suggest things to the Beta planner and they get them into the final plan. This is a good thing and if your planner and beta planner get on well this makes for a very good driving force for the group.

The issue comes more if the planner and beta planner disagree, or the planner hasn’t learned to involve others in the planning process. Then the beta planner may well antagonise the planner with their alterations. Worse still if the two disagree then it can go horribly wrong, at worst arguments  at best the group who may by that time have come to rely on their planners might be left paralysed.

 Mad Planner

The mad planner can be a dangerous breed, as although entertaining, if the campaign isn’t set up to deal with mad plans it can be incredibly disruptive.

The Mad Planner tends to be more charismatic than the more normal planners, able to convince the other players to go along with his plans. This is the trick you see, because the mad planner masquerades as a normal planner… Right up until people realise, that they have no idea how the thing they are doing with the Eels is supposed to help them break into a bank vault.

In a comedy game this is usually not a problem, plan fails, usually in a comedically disastrous manner, the players and GM share a laugh and you push on. In a serious game it will usually result in annoying the GM who (quite rightly) thinks the players aren’t taking the game seriously, and probably annoys some of the players when the plan gets them killed.

That’s not to say that the Mad Planners plans are always stupid, they are just wildly out of left field, which for new GMs can be more than a little problematic, as they have to work out if shoving an eel into an electrical circuit would actually open the vault door or not. If it’s a comedy or pulp game they are usually an asset.. but they are death to any attempt at a serious game, and like kryptonite to building the tension of horror.

 Antiplanner

There is NOTHING more certain to annoy a Planner than the Antiplanner, and unlike the mad planner they don’t actually add much to a group, except they can sometimes shoot down a mad planners plan before they get started, or expose issues in a more normal plan.

That’s what they do, they pick holes in plans, coming up with reasons why they wouldn’t work and drawing attention to the dangers of said plans. Sometimes they even reveal holes that the GM hadn’t spotted and it is in this that they are dangerous, effectively wrecking the groups plans and showing the GM how they could be countered. Now admittedly a good GM would have thought of some of them, and wouldn’t take on the other suggestions unless they were logical.

The worst part of the antiplanner however is that they NEVER offer fixes to the plan or come up with plans of their own (which would make them a beta planner), they just shoot down plans one after another without adding anything. Sometimes it’s because they are fed up of the planner calling the shots, or they would prefer just to jump in and see what happens (see the Rusher below), but usually it’s more that they can’t stop themselves.

 Splitter

“Don’t Split The Party” is a gaming axiom for several reasons but from a GMing reason it’s simple. If the group splits you are effectively running two groups at the same time and the overhead increases by that amount. Added to this is the problem of making sure both groups get equal amounts of play.

The Splitter uses this to their advantage. They almost always ensure that they split off on their own, and they usually split off to do something both important to the plot, so it can’t be ignored, and complicated, so the GM has to actually concentrate on running it.

A really good example of this would be the person who goes off on their own to “Scout the enemy hideout” and ends up breaking in to hear the enemy plans.

In some games the party splitting is unavoidable, Cyberpunk 2020 for example will usually have the netrunner off doing their own thing. The splitter however engineers it so that such occurrences occur.

Why do they do this? It’s actually quite simple. The GM has to give them his full attention. They are not only in the spotlight, but they are the sole focus and no one else can break in. The splitter by doing this can monopolise the GM’s time.

You might have noticed from my tone that I REALLY hate repeat splitters. Now and again it makes sense for a character to go off on their own, and I have no problem with that, but when splitting off becomes a habit, and that habit harms the experience of the other players I get annoyed. One good way of dealing with this is to say “OK well I will continue to deal with the main group and email you the results”. Funnily enough they tend to learn pretty quick.

 Quiet One

Quiet One’s are not usually a problem for a group directly, but they can be if they are playing an important character type in the game. The Librarian or Antiquarian in Call of Cthulhu is a good example of a character type who has to be fairly active in the game asking to make rolls and giving out the information they glean from them.

If played by a Quiet One the entire party is going to get eaten by Shantaks.

It’s not that they are uninterested in the game, far from it, from my experience of Quiet One’s they have a great deal of fun in the games. It’s just they aren’t exactly proactive, much like the fighter (below) they come alive when certain things occur (healing for example is a surprisingly common Quiet One character type) but the rest of the time they stay silent, letting the rest of the group drive the game forward.

Quite apart from the problem of them getting information they don’t pass on, or failing to get information because they don’t think to make checks the main problem with Quiet One’s is in the mind of the GM. It’s really hard for a GM to tell the difference between a bored player and a quiet player. Also Quiet One’s don’t drive the group forward, so a group with a lot of them might either lose impetus, or get dominated by a Planner.

Usually however this is a self fixing issue, Quiet One’s tend to be newer role players and as they gain confidence they get more vocal

 Fighter

A sub species of the quiet one is the Fighter. During investigation they are silent, during stealth missions they are silent (usually sat in the car ready for the get away), during social sections the Fighter is silent.

The moment combat occurs however they spring to life! Daring escapades, swinging from chandeliers, dazzling repartee, then the moment combat ends… Silence.

The fighter has much the same problems as the Quiet One, in that the GM may think they aren’t engaging them enough and that the fighter is bored. This isn’t usually the case, it’s usually more that the player is not so confident in the setting or the group and so doesn’t want to do something that may cause issues (for contrast see the Silly One) so waits for the bit of the game they do understand… Combat. You stick the pointy end in the other person is easy to understand as for the most part combat in RPG’s runs like a bit of a Tactical Subgame.

Fighters aren’t usually a problem, they are quite useful in their area of expertise and usually ensure that the fights go with a bang. The only issue with them is if combat isn’t the best answer or indeed an answer at all, as they might take steps to ensure it occurs. To a fighter every problem can be solved with fighting, not great if you are running an 18th century courtly intrigue game…

 Juggernaut of Destruction.

I’ve been guilty of this one as well. Although in my defence I did at least leave my weaknesses in!

The Juggernaut of Destruction (JoD) makes a character who is good at fighting. Not just good but phenomenally good, in fact not just phenomenally good but stupidly ridiculously good at fighting. So good that they skew the bar somewhat for the other players.

There are a number of problems with this, other fighters might be left with nothing to do as the JoD kills everything in the first turn, which can quickly become frustrating for them. The flip side of this is that the group can also come to rely on the JoD and then one week when they aren’t there… run face first into something they cannot handle.

The final problem is on the GM side in that to deal with the Lethality of the JoD they have to up the stakes in the opponent side of things. Resulting in opponents that can threaten the JoD, but that the rest of the party can’t touch.

There are two sub divisions among JoD’s, good JoD’s will have characters who excel in their fields, but who suck in others and who have weaknesses that can be exploited by canny enemies. Bad JoD’s will negate all such weaknesses but at that point they are starting to shade into the next category

 Power Gamer

Every GM has seen it… The character that has been tweaked and primed, polished and tested, until although on paper it looks like any other when it’s actually in the game it turns out that THAT particular combination of abilities and racial traits is unstoppable.

There have been many systems that have been bad for this, but I think D&D 3.5 with it’s plethora of prestige classes may have been the “worst”. I actually saw forums dedicated to working out the most optimum skills and feats to create a character, and it is this that the power gamer does.

Please note the power gamer doesn’t cheat. They don’t even use the games rules against themselves (see the RulesMasher and the Rules Lawyer), they just put together bits of the system to ensure that their character can dominate.

Now there is an argument to be made that the JoD is just a specialised power gamer  but usually JoD’s stumble into their position rather than setting out to create a character optimised for it. It’s this intent that separates them from the power gamer, the power gamer KNOWS exactly where his experience points are going to be spent from the moment the character is created. Their characters race will have been selected solely to provide a bonus of some form (or negate a drawback). The power gamer for example will never ever buy a skill because it’s IC for them to do so.

The Power gamer has a similar problem to the JoD in that they are so good that they can leave the other players feeling something like passengers, but unlike the JoD they aren’t always aimed at combat. It’s common to see Power gamers set up for social conflict, or burglary or something else. The other difference is that although a JoD shines in combat they tend to be lacklustre in other areas, a Power gamer will have gone out of their way to negate or at least ameliorate their weaknesses.

Power gamers can be very annoying to GM’s as they usually have an answer to everything BUT they do at least restrict themselves to working within the rules.

 RulesMasher

I’ll admit it, I hate RulesMasher players. Not as much as Rules Lawyers admittedly but I really truly hate RulesMasher players, it’s just they don’t get to stay in my games as long.

A RulesMasher is someone who will look at the rules to a system, see where they break down and use them to ensure they dominate the game. A good sign of this is when you see a 3.5 character with four different prestige classes, you can almost guarantee that they interact in an interesting way to ensure that the character can shoot maximum damage fireballs from his arse every round without chance of failure… Or something similar.

Much like their war gaming equivalent, if something works the RulesMasher will take it to it’s obvious absurd maximum. It is for RulesMasher players that most games have rules on layering armour, as otherwise they would just pack 4 suits on top of each other and become immune to damage. They are the sorts of player that if you a using a Square grid will ensure they always move diagonally (sit and look at it and you’ll realise what I mean).

The worst thing though is their method of using the rules… and this is where they differ from the Rules Lawyer. RulesMashers Cheat.

Badly worded rules are the RulesMashers bread and butter, if the Rules as Intended (RAI) and the Rules as Written (RAW) are not exactly the same they will take advantage of this as much as possible. If a game system does not say something is impossible directly in the rules then they will use it and hope no one spots it. All of their characters seemingly have amazing luck when being rolled up, a good to see if someone is a RulesMasher is if they turn up with a pre rolled character and you tell them that you prefer to supervise character creation to head off any balance issues wait two seconds. Normal players will say “Oh shame.. Ok well I’ll re roll then” and then try and create the same character. A RulesMasher will get really annoyed, claim that you are impugning their honour, and possibly challenge you to a duel.

They also tend to be dice scoopers, throwing their dice down and very swiftly scooping them up and declaring what they got. Strangely they never seem to fail.

More annoying is the fact that when you spot the loopholes they are using and move to fill them they will be the first to denounce “House rules” that penalise them unfairly. I actually once had a player argue with me that I shouldn’t use an official Errata because it only penalised his character.

RulesMashers are a colossal problem for both GM’s and Players, nothing engenders more bad feeling than someone cheating the system and getting away with it. In my case, RulesMashers find their loopholes closed, and if they keep it up they get to leave the game.

 Rules Lawyer

“Sorry according to the rules that should work, and so I kill the dragon”

The above, which is actually a quote from a player I had the misfortune to run for once, is the epitome of a rules lawyers methods . The Rules lawyer actually uses the Rules against the game. Their knowledge of the rules is total but more importantly they are able to quote chapter and verse on each and every rule.

Which means like a poker player laying 4 aces down they are able to explain exactly why the combination of actions they just took will kill the big enemy you have been building up to for the last eight months of your campaign in the first round of combat. In the case above it was the fact that the dragons mouth was a large enough space to summon into as the rules lawyer had used a spell so they could see inside it’s mouth, then they summoned 50 voracious boreworms into it…as they pointed out dragons do not get their armour from inside their scales, and boreworms deal automatic damage and so on and so on. Here’s the thing though, it’s not an In Character action that has defeated the dragon, it’s the wording and combination of certain rules and the rules lawyers use of them that has defeated the dragon. The rest of the players either (if they are good players) sit there grumbling about an anti climax or (if they are not good players) cheer and start arguing over the loot.

The other problem with rules lawyers is that they insist on the game being run EXACTLY as the rules as written say it should. Which would be fine if every single game was absolutely perfectly balanced, and every potential NPC could be generated using the rules. The reason for this should be obvious, the Rules Lawyers own brand of “winning” only works if the GM is willing to allow the rules to be used in that fashion. In a common sense world, the dragon above would chew once and the problem would be solved, but the rules don’t say that so the rules lawyer would argue that it can’t.

I personally am willing to fudge things a bit when running a game, especially if I spot something obviously broken, or someone gets massively unlucky. However this approach is anathema to a rules lawyer.

Rules lawyers can be a real problem, mainly due to frustration on the part of the GM and occasionally the other players, as it tends to lead to the game getting bogged down in rules rather than the game. Push them towards a looser stance however and everything gets much better.

Encyclopaedia AKA the Brian (Knights of the Dinner Table reference)

This really is a subset of the rules lawyer but they don’t really look for the loopholes in the rules or winning combinations, instead they stick to the rules and use their knowledge of them against you. The Encyclopaedia knows every rule, in every expansion, and all the errata. Most of the time they won’t mention them however, Encyclopaedias like to hold onto their rules knowledge until it is both unexpected and more importantly will benefit the Encyclopaedia greatly. They won’t point them out if it helps the NPC’s though, I have had an Encyclopaedia “remind” me of a rule that related to an action they were taking, when they had just survived a similar action by an NPC that they would not have survived if exactly the same rule they had just “remembered” had been applied.

It’s very much like being beaten slowly to death with the rule book.

As a GM this means that you need to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the rules as well, and I’m not sure about you but I REALLY cannot put the time in to do that any more. Nor do I have the memory for it (mainly as I have probably 50 or so systems in my head now).If you don’t however you better get used to the Encyclopaedia repeatedly out manoeuvring you. Of course the fiftieth time this happens you might awake as the red haze recedes to find you have inserted your gaming table into one of their orifices…

One way of dealing with this however is to let them do their thing. Remember exactly what they did. Then use it against them. More importantly do not feel guilty about it. I as a GM have a tendency to pull my blows with the NPC’s occasionally, not using the best tactics that would make sense for them. If you are using something an Encyclopaedia has previously revealed however I suddenly don’t feel so apologetic!

If Brian was one of my players… I would have killed him long ago.

The Forgetter

The group comes up with a plan, the planner forges it, the Betaplanner adjusts it, and everyone shouts the Antiplanner down. The Fighter has agreed to the plan and everyone is ready, the plan is put into action.

Then, ten seconds in, the Forgetter says “What am I supposed to do? Oh well I suppose I shoot this dude” and promptly shoots the guy in the face when they were actually planning to knock him out so they could interrogate him.

They almost always kill him as well, although I’m not sure why, I assume the gods of bad gaming just love sticking it to gaming groups. The Forgetter doesn’t even always have the excuse of not paying attention, they just suddenly seem to suffer a brain reset, and anything resembling the plan just flies out of their heads.

They do at least tend not to do it on purpose.

 The Silly One

Absolutely guaranteed to throw a spanner in the works of any plan however is the silly one. The Silly ones really just cannot tell the difference between something that is a good idea, and something that is a stunningly unbelievably silly idea.

We’re talking handing an angry and distraught father a rucksack full of his dead daughter levels of bad idea here. Before you ask, yes that is a direct example from a campaign I ran! It might be an impulse control issue, it could just as easily be a lack of common sense, but no matter what it is if the Silly one see’s an opportunity that seems like a good one they will take it. Usually over the screams of the other players telling them not to.

On first glance silly one’s look like vague amusements, which can occasionally throw a spanner in the works of the players plans. For most this is true, but sometimes you will have a player that keeps throwing spanners into the works, and that can cause a campaign to smash to a halt. For example taking the plot of the Lord of the Rings as an example what would have happened if Merry had taken the ring and hurled it down into the depths of Moria to “hide” it. I can tell you what would have happened, the players and the GM would have sat there for 5 minutes with their jaws on the floor, then the GM would have begun a month long re-write of the campaign.

This is the issue with Silly ones, they cannot seem to see the consequences of their actions, and although most of the time the consequences will be small, some times they will be campaign wrecking!

 The Traitor

Whereas the silly one does things against the party by accident, the traitor is always on the lookout for ways to screw the party over. Literally any chance they get to swap sides they will take it, up to and including passing information to the enemy. Now there are times when that makes sense, Dark Heresy or Conspiracy X for example (or Paranoia obviously), such actions are both in character and make somewhat sense. Less so for games like D&D or BESM.

The problem with this sort of player is that it is certain that the other players will realise fairly early on, but probably won’t do anything straight away. The “We are all a Team” mindset drives non-traitor players to give them the benefit of the doubt, and try not to resort to violence to solve the problem. Eventually however an enemies “miraculous” escape (again), or unfortunate collateral damage against the parties healer in a fight, or even the fact that the enemies know your exact plan again, will drive them over the edge and inter-party conflict occurs.

Sometimes this makes for some good role play. The Danger comes when it causes bad feeling among the players.

Worst thing is that other than the “I’m Special” thought I have yet to work out why the Traitors do it. Their characters have a limited lifespan because eventually their treachery will get noticed and when it does the other players are usually not inclined to let it pass.

 The Secret Keeper

On the one hand no-one can ever accuse the secret keeper of not engaging with the campaign. They really do, they spend all their time getting into the game world seeking out pertinent information about what is going on, hunting down clues and so on. Quite a lot of the time however this hunting takes the form of either splitter like “going off on their own” or frantically scribbled notes between the player and the GM.

This still isn’t actually a terribly bad thing, in fact having a player who does this can be really really handy… The bad thing comes when they get the information and do not share it.

Because the worst types of secret keeper would rather die than let any of the other players know the information. The motivation for this usually seems to be so they can appear as the most knowledgeable in the group, or direct the group due to their information, but as a GM it is sometimes really frustrating. Not least of all if they are not there one week, because no one else knows what they know the group has a tendency to flail as they don’t know WHAT they are supposed to be dealing with.

It can also be frustrating for the other players, as they know damn well that the SK has all this information but they cannot get more than “What they need to know” out of them. It can also derail campaigns if they hold onto the information too closely, this is especially true if you have two SK’s in the party as they might have two parts of a puzzle but as neither will let on the players get nowhere.

Sometimes as with the traitor such actions make sense in the game, but quite a lot of the time it doesn’t seem to have any justification.

 Rusher (aka LEEEEEEEEEROOOOYYYY JENKINNNNNS)

The antithesis of the planner, the Rusher when faced with a problem will always just go for it with little or no pre-planning and usually before the other players have actually finished actually absorbing the situation. This isn’t always combat either it may be breaking and entering, or even social interactions. Usually it’s indicative of a player who is either bored, or isn’t really paying attention, or are fed up with the parties planners. Whatever the reason however the Rusher’s precipitous actions a lot of the time end up with the players being pulled into situations they aren’t ready or prepared for.

The main problem from a GM point of view is that their actions very often short circuit the plot somewhat, and leave the players running blind into what you had intended to be a difficult situation if they did their usual planning, and is now an almost impossible situation.

Sometimes Rushers are helpful, they can break groups that have perhaps become a little too obsessed with planning out of their habit, but more often than not their rash action results in derailment as both sides scramble to deal with something unexpected.

Worst of all is if the Rusher wasn’t paying attention, and rushes in laying about him with his weapons like Lancelot at a wedding party…only to find that the meeting with the men with swords was the players meeting their, up to this point, allies.

The Contrarian

You create a South American Aztec setting; they turn up with a Greek Hoplite.

You create a War campaign; they create a pacifist

You create a game about the secret lives of cats… they turn up with a Doberman as a character concept.

There are two subsets to this one, the player who has a concept they REALLY want to play even if it doesn’t quite fit, and the player who wants to be the special snowflake. The latter of the two are the more annoying let me tell you, as they will not only make no attempt to fit into the campaign, but try and turn it to their special snowflake background or make themselves the focus of the campaign.

Although it can sometimes be nice to do the “fish out of water/outsider” character trope, the real issue comes when the inclusion of the random character isn’t very well explained and more importantly breaks the immersion of the other players. This is much more pronounced with the Special Snowflake type as they seek to warp the game around themselves.

Easy to deal with at the beginning as the GM always has the right to turn round and say “that concept does not fit” it can be much more difficult to get rid of later.

 Special Guest Star

Every GM has had one. Be it a player who is just too busy to come every week, or one who falls asleep, or that most heinous of versions, the player who spends their entire time texting their other half, most of the time the Special Guest Star just is not really in the game. We all have busy lives nowadays so it’s not really their fault (except for the texter…) but it can be a bit of an issue for a game.

The main problem is the time taken to bring them up to speed each time. In the case of the sleeper or texter this usually is not too bad, as it’s just a case of saying “Yeah the guys we went to meet have ambushed us, we’ve dived into cover do you want to follow?”, but when it’s someone who misses several weeks and then needs to be caught up it can really cut into game time… and then next week they aren’t there again.

There really is nothing you can do about the SGS, just hope their life gets less hectic… or I suppose flush their mobile phone down the toilet in the case of the texter.

 The Perennial Joker.

In most sorts of games this is a benefit, someone who can give people a laugh in the game and keep the game on the up. This sort of banter keeps the game moving and makes sure everyone has a good time. There is however a couple of campaign types where the Perennial Joker becomes a veritable game killer.

Horror for example. If you have ever tried to run Call of Cthulhu with a perennial joker you will know my pain. Laughter in CoC should be the sort of tense tittering laughter that doesn’t quite break the tension, more the gallows humour of sharing the joke of just how utterly screwed you all are than the guffaws of someone who has threatened to complain to the manager about the housework the Treader of the dust leaves behind. As a GM you already have a great deal of work cut out for you making the players feel apprehensive in the game anyway with a perennial joker in the group you may as well give up and run Cthulhu as Pulp (which leads to players having a standard way of dealing with Shoggoths that involves flamethrowers…)

Basically any serious campaign will be in severe jeopardy from a perennial joker as it becomes impossible to keep the tension up and the Monty Python quotes down. The last thing you want is to have done the supposedly poignant death of one of the NPC’s only to have the PJ turn round and say “He is an Ex-Innkeeper, he has joined the choir invisible”, the other players laugh, the tension is broken and the death of the NPC which should have been a major role-playing point becomes nothing more than a menage-a-silly voice.

  Conclusions

Every player is going to be a mix of the above and therefore not so much of a problem. It’s the “pure” players that become an issue and when they begin to suck the fun out of the game that something needs to be done. If your GM or the other players hasn’t pointed your actions out to you likelihood is you aren’t a problem!

One thing that is often ignored is the fact that although the game is supposed to be fun for the players, it also has to be fun for the GM. Some of the more confrontational archetypes (the encyclopaedia  or splitter for example) can really suck the fun out of a game for a GM and that will result in not so fun or failed campaigns.

Some of the other archetypes (the silly one, the traitor) can suck the fun out of the game for the players with much the same consequences. Here however peer pressure plays a greater part… well that and repeated character death!

3 Responses to “Anatomy of a Roleplaying Group.”

  1. Ben Naylor Says:

    A good summary of types. I would like to add another perhaps call them the ‘Wooden actors’ because every character is played the same in spite of game, genre, race cass etc…..these players are like actors in a movie who just plays themself. They often approach problems the same way and even speak to npcs the same eay. They tend to piss off immersive players and bore the GM. These players often don’t develop their characters. They are a challenge to Gm successfully and need to be gently pushed.

  2. I might have lost it at the “Special Guest Star” section… STOP FALLING ASLEEP NICK!

  3. I might have lost it at the “Special Guest Star” bit… STOP FALLING ASLEEP NICK!

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