Social Rules at *their* Table

edited June 2009 in Story Games
We know the social rules at your table. But what are rules at others' tables (e.g. cons or game groups that didn't work out) that you can't stand?

Comments

  • I was at a Gencon event where one guy's rule was "no socializing before or after... we're here to game!"
  • That's a bad one, it makes for awkward stilted play.

    Any rule against breaks just kills me. I need to my bathroom and smoke breaks.
  • I'm told that there's a group in NYC that, when playing Dungeons & Dragons 4e, has a strict "No Role-Playing!" rule, to focus completely on slaying.
  • At one of the tables I no longer frequent, there's a "don't talk about whether we're having fun" rule. Heavily enforced by social pressure. Actually, the geek social fallacies are basically the table rules. Friends do everything together, friendship is transitive, friends never criticize... ugh...
  • Posted By: James_NostackI'm told that there's a group in NYC that, when playing Dungeons & Dragons 4e, has a strict "No Role-Playing!" rule, to focus completely on slaying.
    Yeah, that rule? It's called the Player's Handbook.

    Thanks, folks, you've been a great audience. I'm here all week.
  • Posted By: jenskotI was at a Gencon event where one guy's rule was "no socializing before or after... we're here to game!"
    Oh my Gawd. Yuhgaddabekiddinme.

    I'd socialize after, and socialize hard. Just to show 'im. what's he gonna do at that point, huh?



    Anyway, the group I used to play in had a number of conventions that drove me buggy. Like, "if a character is having a solo scene and the information to be revealed is 'too secret' by whatever gauge, the GM will take that player in a back room and play in solitude for up to an hour. (And it's not cool to complain about it.)" Or "it's OK to have side conversations and quips and one-liners, UNTIL IT'S NOT, then there's a stern scolding."

    Hmm. I'm not sure anything constructive can come of this thread. By the nature of the question nobody's going to be posting fun or functional social rules. But hey, i like to gripe as much as the next guy.

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • Before my total breakdown and abandonment of RPGs, which I only recovered from after discovering Dogs in the Vineyard via the internet, I used to play in a semi-regular D&D game where the regular DM not only refused to hear any criticism on his game, but when he played in games run by other people, chided them for asking for feedback.

    Good GM: So, that'll wrap up for today, does anybody have anything they want to add? Likes, dislikes?
    Bad GM (later): Look, Good GM, don't ask people for feedback. The game you run is the game they get.
    Me: Screw it, I'm outta here!
  • Posted By: jenskot"no socializing before or after... we're here to game!"
    Wait, what? This can't be right. No socializing before or after the game, but during the game it's okay?
  • edited June 2009
    Posted By: MelinglorBut hey, i like to gripe as much as the next guy.
    hell yeah.

    Why I Hate Notes. (it's down towards the bottom of the comment)

    (edit: link fixed. my blind hatred of notepassing impaired my html-writing skills.)
  • Worst table-rules I've ever run into:

    * Everything you say @ the table is IN CHARACTER

    * No snacking

    * Breaks on a strict hourly schedule

    * If you have ANY rules question, ask the GM (and its pernicious parallel: Only the GM will have access to the rulebook during play)

    p.
  • Posted By: Paul BEverything you say @ the table is IN CHARACTER
    This is awful in general, although I have seen it turned to a good in-game purpose once.
  • Hell, if I was no socializing pickle spoon guy I'd not want to socialize either. I'd know from experience that other people thought I was a bridge-troll and would reject me. So if I insist on playing the game and not socializing being the point of the venue, I'm able to trick myself into thinking I'm not making the other players want to vomit into their own soul a little.
  • Posted By: deadlytoquePosted By: Paul BEverything you say @ the table is IN CHARACTER
    This is awful in general, although I have seen it turned to a good in-game purpose once.


    In the big picture I agree with this being not good. In fact - with the needs of having information from the GAME side of "role-playing game" its almost impossible to have the "everything said is said" rule.

    However I would say that it can be fun for the group to play in-character as much as possible...
    My game groups (and others I've played in) have developed little hand gestures or something similar (we raise a hand up crossing fingers) to note "HEY THIS is an out-of-character point I need to ask or make"... it works really well once it becomes understood and used commonly in the group. Doing something like that helps everyone at the table continue to role-play from the voice of their character but feel comfy asking for clarifications or rule points, etc... that takes the group (momentarily) out-of-character to answer but easily drops you BACK in-character once the point is noted and hand goes down.

    It may sound a little silly, but it really works well for those interested in having longer in-game dialogue with the ability to ask points or have relevant out-of-character bits addressed.

    In a related bit - as GM playing multiple NPCs in a scene I will often make a point to give a quick note (as fiction writing does) to who's saying things - "standing there smirking at your comments Magnus says..." to help each player understand WHICH non-player character I'm "inhabiting" more quickly.


    -kev-
  • Posted By: Paul B* Everything you say @ the table is IN CHARACTER
    Obligatory: this is an actual rule of Puppetland. People who haven't played Puppetland seem evenly split on whether this is a good rule; people who have actually played seem a little more positive. It certainly makes you think carefully about the entangled-ness of Actor and Director Stance.

    I personally love it — I have run around two dozen sessions of Puppetland and enjoyed every minute of every one of them — but I can't imagine playing (say) D&D4 that way.
  • Like secrecy, I'd be much more interested in table-talk-is-character-talk if it is baked into the rules. The complexion of the idea changes for me: it's a considered element of the designed play experience, rather than some control-freak nonsense from a GM.

    p.
  • edited June 2009
    I couldn't live with the rules that guy at Gen Con had where he'd shit in a diaper rather than get up from the game.

    (This was apparently an improvement from a prior year. The improvement was the diaper.)
  • PIX OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN
  • Posted By: Robert BohlI couldn't live with the rules that guy at Gen Con had where he'd shit in a diaper rather than get up from the game.

    (This was apparently an improvement from a prior year. The improvement was the diaper.)
    I... disbelieve!

    (And I haven't used that geeked out gamer phrase in YEARS)

    Jesse
  • Unfortunately I can't find reference to the diaper man at Gen Con. Most of what I'm finding are gamers complaining about buying diapers for their children.
  • Diaper guy appeared in a long RPG.net thread about "worst gaming experience ever". I don't recall GenCon being involved just "so we go to this guy's house..."
  • Okay, so I'm now officially instating a "no shitting yourself at my table rule." The other players are just going to have to deal with it or they can find somewhere else to game.

    p.
  • I don't think we'd go as far as making that a rule, although if you did shit yourself we'd suggest it was your turn to make the tea.
  • Or be quite impressed at how well Trail of Cthulhu was going.

    Graham
  • I really don't want to take the next logical step: If you shit at the table, that means your character shat himself.

    p.
  • And then the next logical step is to LARP it, and in LARPS you must act out what your character does, you know.

    So any shitting in one persona results in shitting in the other.
  • Shitting, sadly, doesn't have the contagious aspect of vomiting. So I suggest that, if you vomit, not only does your character (and vice versa), but so do all the other players and their characters, thereby doubling the vomit, though half of it is imaginary. On the other hand, imaginary vomit has been known to cause real vomiting, so it could actually progress right out of the LARP area as the story is described, ideally with the real smell on the players' real clothes representing imaginary clothes covered in the imaginary smell of imaginary vomit.

    It's kind of like The Game, you know?

  • You've invoked real world puking merely by describing puking? Now that is immersion!

    p.
  • edited June 2009
    Ah, I just remembered a real rule that we had in college:

    So, for some reason the Frat-Like organization which I was in in college (an Independent social group, how prophetic, called "B.I.G."), when we weren't drinking, fucking, fighting or discussing philosophy (high ratio of philosophy majors for some reason), some of us would randomly (never scheduled) throw down huge games of Star Wars d6.

    Basically like this:
    Room filled with 12 college folks, male and female, laying all sprawled all over each other, maybe 4 of them sober, if that, watching some drivel on MTV or having a discussion:

    Someone yells to one of the potential GMs: "Nate/Toebe/Grog*/Grizzlor, run some Star Wars!" (in a manner of calling the jester to dance).
    Star Wars d6, which would always be around somewhere, would get cracked open, characters handed out, and chaos quickly ensued. 90% of all adventures involved a crew of misfits hijacking a Star Destroyer. The games would be one GM, standing (or sitting), and the room full of folks laying around would play, each session lasted about 2 hours before it flew apart like matter in a black hole.

    Anyway, it was semi-drunken chaos. Which is awesome, but SOMETIMES it was just too fucking much. That is, the out-of-character talk, when it really started to get in the way and drowning out the in-character discussion.

    So I came up with something in a gimlet stupor, that somehow stuck during future huge gaming sprees:

    "SHUTTUP GUYS, SHUTTUP.
    "OK, FROM NOW ON, WHEN YOU ARE NOT TALKING IN CHARACTER, YOU HAVE TO...
    (extend middle finger of right hand to everyone, "flipping the bird")
    "TAKE YOUR MIDDLE FINGER, AND...
    (put the finger under left arm armpit, and close arm, as if you were about to make "the armpit farting noises")
    "STICK IT UNDER YOUR ARM!!!"

    After the laughter, folks started doing it for emphasis, and it worked. At least, in these big drunken games anyway, when we actually did tabletop "serious" gaming (which actually wasn't often, compared with normal college experiences) we never felt the need to do it.

    So yeah, that was a Their Rule. When you played when Nate, Grog* or Grizzlor were running, you had to do the middle finger ---> armpit thing if you wanted to talk Out Of Character.

    -Andy
    * Grog is me.
  • Here are some rules from my old D&D 2e group I couldn't stand:

    - when your character is unconscious, you don't get to talk anymore (after all, your character can't make suggestions etc.)
    - when the characters split up, the players need to go into different rooms (I know some of you people like this, but fuck, this meant like 2-3 hours sitting around waiting for my turn)
    - if you didn't say you packed/prepared/thought about something, you didn't
  • Christian: OH SHIT yeah. I totally forgot about that "if you didn't say you packed or prepared it, you didn't" bullshit. Had a GM who was fond of pulling that with archers.

    "Did you string your bow?"

    "Um...sure."

    "Ha! You never leave a bow strung, it weakens the bow and you end up with a low-power weapon."

    "...um okay. I guess I left it...unstrung?"

    "Ha! You've been jumped by bandits and now you're unarmed!"

    "..."

    p.
  • Andy, that story rocked.
  • I would love to see Luke Crane in this thread, but I have a feeling he'd just say, "Look at Burning Wheel for all the things I did to make sure none of those stupid fucking rules would be pulled."
  • I don't know who ran these games, but their players showed up at my table, and I had to convince them to stop doing it, because it was weird.

    Sticking your fingers under your armpit to indicate OOC talk is weird, but I've seen a couple different people do other things, as if I should know what it meant. For instance (if I recall correctly), Rachael put her hands on her head to indicate OOC talk. 99% of the time, I can tell if you're IC or OOC without you having to make some silly gesture.

    I think we should invent an "OOC" gang sign -- you know, spell out O-O-C with your fingers -- and perpetuate it.
  • we used to have the pinky in the air (yes as if taking tee) to indicate out of character.

    It came about because people would Phish for results and then claim to be speaking out of character. Once the trouble characters were removed from the game it lingered on .
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