Group dynamics, expectations and whatevs

Every group has their own expectations about ‘the right way’ to play, over time the group dynamics and way games are played solidify into strong beliefs and values. I’ve been reading rpg.net and there are often forum posts about bad players/bad games/bad campaigns and bad roleplaying. In most of these cases the bad situation is due to a conflict in these unspoken, unconscious beliefs and expectations.

These clashes in belief only really happen when someone joins a new group. That’s why of lot of those threads can be summarised with one sentence “A new player joined our group (or I joined a new group) and they’re doin’ it wrong”. If a player used to heavily plotted and scripted games joins a group where the world is a sandbox, they can end up feeling lost and intimidated. If the opposite happens the player can feel like they’re playing someone else’s character.

People often pay lip service to the idea that there is no right or wrong way to play roleplaying games. Then get into huge arguments about how they play. If the true goal is to have fun then you need to look at these unconscious beliefs, drag them into the light, then look for groups that share them.

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One comment

  1. I agree I ran a Traveler 5 game being that the players were Knew to me and I as a Gm was new to them they didn’t have a good time as they sweated about the little stuff like cutting ice to refuel their ship, and when i wanted them to pay attention to what they should be doing which was plot based they actually ignored it and did what they wanted even though I steered them back to the plot 5 times by mentioning what they had in their cargo hold which they had picked up, when they were trying organise freight and trying calculate how much room they had everytime they jumped to a planet.

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