If you’ve been gaming as long as I have you’re sure to have encountered one or more of the following player types.1. The Bearer of the Perfect Character
This is the guy who comes to your game with a character whose history and experience is detailed and extravagant. At first you’re amazed at how much thought obviously went into this C-gen. Then you hear the seven words which make your heart fall “The last game I played him in…” Now you understand that the history of this particular character is so detailed because this player has been playing this same character since it was a zygote. Beware this guy. He may be willing to tone down the accumulated power of his character or change the name, but in his head the character will have reasons for this (in hiding, power drained by a big baddie, amnesia, etc), but he will always want you to allow certain things based on the precedents set by his old GMs. He will also only be able to hold on to his thin veneer of newness for just so long. Eventually he will want his character of many faces and many names to be revealed for the well traveled, knowledgeable, and powerful juggernaut he truly is. Don’t fall for it. Tell them they have to make a new (brand new and unrelated to any old PCs) character or take their business elsewhere. Trust me. You’ll be happier for it. 2. Curly
This is the guy who comes to your game, often as someone’s friend who wants to learn to game, and can’t take the game seriously. They have their character say or do things that are amusing to them Out Of Character and make no sense In Character. Usually these outbursts are followed by phrases like “C’mon. It’s just a game.” or “I’m just having fun.” or “What’s the big deal?” Dump ’em. I know that sounds harsh, but unless you’re playing something comedic like Paranoia all they can do is detract from your game and they won’t ever understand your reasons for not liking this. Getting into character and taking the game seriously are necessary parts of this past time. This person will pull the other Players out of their characters and out of the setting. Think of it like you’re directing a play. If one of your actors constantly shows up not knowing their lines or can’t get through a single scene without breaking character, your production would be better off with someone (anyone, even an NPC drone) in their place. They may be the blood brother of one of your players, but that doesn’t give them the right to ruin your game. Give them one chance to shape up and then politely ask them to go to a bar somewhere and play the class clown instead of doing it in your game. 3. Perry Mason
Also known as The Rules-Lawyer. This is the player who knows the book rules of whatever game you’re running inside and out; probably better than you do. They have all the books and have been playing in this setting for years and can guess what monster is lurking in the shadows from the first three words you speak about it like they were playing Name That Tune. How lame is that? Perry is a hard player to deal with. First of all, he wouldn’t know this much about the rules if he didn’t have a section of his heart hollowed out specifically so he’d have a place to carry the rules around with him where ever he went. He loves the rules. It is the first part of his joy from gaming. He like maps and minis and pouring over indexes. Most of all he loves being right. My primary advice is to run using a setting Perry is inexperienced with. Believe me, it won’t take him long to become experienced with it (see the above paragraph on loving the rules), but it will at least give you time to learn it along with him so you don’t have to constantly be interrupted by this guy telling you that you’re wrong. Further, you should state at the beginning of your game that you reserve the right to modify or flat out junk any rules you see fit with no warning. All modern games come published with this advisement printed somewhere in them, but it usually helps to be up-front about it. Finally, you should encourage them to give logical reasons why something should or shouldn’t happen rather than rules based reasons. “The car shouldn’t blow up because gasoline isn’t flammable in that fashion” as opposed to “The rules say that a car needs to take 30 points of structural damage before blowing up and it can’t have taken more than 25 because of X, Y, and Z.” Reward one and shrug off the other. If you’re consistent, Perry will learn this rule as well. 4. Samson
A hair cut? Really? That’s it? This is the Player that takes flaws which are extremely crippling, simple to exploit, and a little silly because they believe that if they throw themselves upon the mercy of the GM, they’ll get the extra build points and never have to deal with the flaw being used against them. Paraplegic hackers who never leave their homes, blind monks who “see” with other senses, modern day characters with phobias of elephants or polar bears, etc.Deal with this guy by being blunt as well. State at C-gen that all (not some, but all) flaws will come into play in your game and that the intensity with which they will do so will be based on the number of bonus points they granted the Player in question. The paraplegic hacker’s home will be assaulted early and often. The blind monk will have to cut the red wire. Afraid of elephants? Well the big baddie wants to meet under a flag of truce… at the zoo. Make sure this is understood at the beginning and then take a player who still tries this aside and make sure they are fine with a game populated by polar bears before beginning. Tell them that if they wanted something like this to be more flavor than substance, then they should take it for no points and you won’t worry about making sure it comes up. Then create a check list of your Players’ flaws that gave points and make sure each of them gets kicked at least once a month in a real and hindering sort of way. If you do this and follow through on it, these guys will eventually learn to take flaws based on a character idea rather than just for points. Remember to not be vindictive though. Be sure that you use your imagination and incorporate these flaws into the game in a believable fashion. There are more of these, but this post is getting a little long. I guess we’ll add to it later.