Last Thursday night, I saw a 50+ year old man behave in such a juvenile way, I was forced to call him on it. Apparently this makes me a sanctimonious arsehole.
My regular Thursday Night gaming group has been going with the same four players for over five years. We are old friends and some of us have gamed together for over 30 years. Like any group, we have had our ups & downs and falling-outs but we worked through those like adults for the sake of the group.
But over the last couple of years, one player’s behaviour has become more erratic and on Thursday night things came to a head.
The person concerned, Tom (not their real name), was GMing Pathfinder, a game we have played pretty much constantly for several years. In the previous session Tom had made a ruling which another player, let’s call them Jerry, disagreed with. It wasn’t critical at the time so Jerry let it slide and the session moved on.
Then, in this week’s session the issue became critical and Jerry brings it up again. Now Jerry had a whole week to email Tom to sort it out in a way which did not disrupt the game, so this was a dickish thing to do but that is not why the group imploded. That disaster was caused by how Tom, the GM, responded.
With no warning, Tom the GM starts packing his bag saying he won’t play unless players accept decision absolutely.
This is a person in his fifties, threatening to spoil the game for everyone if they don’t get their way.
Jerry backed down, not wanting to ruin the game and the session limped on it’s close.
I was angry with Jerry for failing to sort out the problem before it became critical and but furious with Tom for blackmailing Jerry with threats to the entire group.
Critically, all this happened in my house. I am the host of the Thursday Night group and Tom’s behaviour crossed the line of what I consider acceptable in my home.
So I thought about it for a couple days, not wanting to act in haste or anger, before sending an email to everyone. I made it clear that at my table, in my house, anyone who wasn’t willing to work at resolving disputes positively was not welcome.
In response, I got an email which ended like this:
I am writing this paragraph after a reflective pause. I value the gaming sessions but I am not going to be dictated to by email. The proposal would not have been an issue but you have arrogantly phrased your post to force submission to your delusions of authority. I would rather eat shit.
Congratulations – your sanctimoniousness has killed the session.
I think it is safe to say, we won’t be gaming together again, which is sad but before sending the email I decided that having no game was better than gaming with someone who thought ruining everyone’s fun was appropriate way to act.
P.s. I was chatting to a friend about the situation and they sent me this link – http://pervocracy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/missing-stair.html – which nailed it. For too long I had treat Tom’s behaviour in the group as a missing stair, accommodating it rather then fixing it.
Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/2213880833/”>Danial Lobo</a>