I generally try to keep things positive on the Ghostlore Blog. However, I thought it’d be fun to explore the world of “problem players”. I’m sure we’ve all encountered them at one time or another. These are the players who put a damper on your evening, whether they mean to or not. Either through selfishness or ignorance, they just won’t let you have a good time. Below are the ten types of problem players…
1. The Multitasker
This problem player can be found glued to their phone for the entire duration of the session. This lack of attention is both rude to the GM and distracting to the story. What are you so focused on? Remotely defusing a bomb? Handling a hostage situation via text? Cheating on our game with another game? If you’re playing with The Multitasker, just be ready to constantly repeat the phrase, “Hey… it’s your turn…”
2. The Rules Lawyer
In TTRPGs, people love the spontaneous improv and roleplaying opportunities that other games don’t allow. Nothing puts a damper on this more than someone that’s dissected the rule book telling you, “Actually, that wouldn’t be possible because…”. The Rules Lawyer knows the player’s handbook like the back of their hand and isn’t afraid to correct other players (or even the GM). The rules exist to give the game structure and limitations. But the rule of cool is more important for an awesome experience.
3. The Spotlight Hog
Did the GM just present an opportunity to do something? You can bet The Spotlight Hog will pounce on it. This problem player can’t sit still and let others be the focus of attention. They often forget that tabletop games are a team effort. Some of their greatest hits include kicking in a door that the rogue was lock picking, distracting from the bard’s performance, and wandering off when there’s action that doesn’t interest them!
4. The Flake
One of the biggest issues with tabletop gaming is getting people together. Everyone’s busy and has other obligations. So it’s that much more satisfying when you are actually able to coordinate everyone successfully. Until you get the dreaded text, “Sorry, I’m not going to make it tonight.” This happens to the best of us, but The Flake makes it a habit. If you do this on a regular basis, perhaps consider if you actually want to play?
5. The Gatekeeper
TTRPGs have made leaps and bounds towards inclusivity in the last several years. The Gatekeeper, however, resents this fact. According to them, you couldn’t possibly be a “real player” unless you know every fact about every edition of your chosen game. You’re simply “jumping on the bandwagon” or “trying to get attention”. So… is it that serious? Can’t we just like what we like and have fun?
6. The Backseat GM
When you’re a forever GM, it’s exciting to actually get to play as a character. However, some game masters cannot help but share their knowledge and expertise in-game. This is fine, if the current GM is asking. The Backseat GM doesn’t realize that their constant corrections, interruptions, and unwarranted advice are demoralizing to the actual GM of this game. If you must critique your game master’s style, try saving for after the game in private.
7. The Feuding Couple
Fighting with your significant other is a horrible experience. You know what’s almost as bad? When The Feuding Couple doesn’t resolve their real life issues and sits down at the gaming table. Hostility between them will inevitably spill into the game and create an awkward situation for everyone. Nobody wants to be involved in your personal drama. If you’re engrossed in an enormous relationship argument and you are both players in a TTRPG, maybe sit this session out?
8. The Murderhobo
Have you ever encountered a peaceful NPC and thought, “This person needs to die”? Have you ever thrown a fireball into a bustling city market because there might be an enemy hiding in the crowd? Do you kill indiscriminately, only for the EXP? Congratulations! You’re The Murderhobo! This is an intense play style that not everyone enjoys. Before making decisions in the game, ask yourself, “Would this warrant a death sentence if I did it in real life?”
9. The Edgelord
Does your character have a dark, edgy, and mysterious past? Do they have a problem with authority, companionship, and teamwork? Do they stir up controversy for the fun of it? Well… they sound like an edgelord. A little of this type of character can be fun. But when it’s overdone, The Edgelord is downright annoying and played out. Consider fleshing out your character and making sure they work well with the rest of the team.
10. The Metagamer
Some players find it very difficult to separate what they know and what their character knows. The Metagamer uses their out of game knowledge as an advantage when making decisions in game. Making this mistake once or twice is difficult to avoid. But if you actively search your GM’s social media for clues about what’s about to happen in your campaign, you might have a problem!
Look… no one’s perfect. We all make mistakes. Just try to be courteous at the table and everyone will have a great experience! Until next time, stay creepy and happy gaming.