The Gaming Group

As I started to write section, the old Mr. Roger’s song, “Who are the People in your Neighborhood? came to mind, but in this case it was “Who are the People in the Gaming Group?” For some of us they are just acquaintances, but they are often our best friends and loved ones; and let's not forget our “frienemies”―for they too inhabit our neighborhood.

The good news is that most of these relationships are positive and as we stated in previous blogs, we often spend time with each other outside of game nights, truly celebrating our relationships. This is a great thing. If we can transfer this feeling of camaraderie to our characters, we can show growth within our in-game relationships as well. Going to the bars or sharing other non-adventure activities will make these relationships deeper, and will open more roleplaying opportunities during adventure time.

While most gaming groups are strong and built on friendships, there may often be conflicts within the group, and even “bad apples” that threaten the solidity of the group. The way we handle these conflicts often depends on whether they stem from within the game or from without.

Before you confront such a situation, think about the power structure of the group so you have a better idea what's likely to happen. Most in-group issues are minor and can be resolved quickly with little fuss. Bigger problems may require intervention from the GM or the rest of the group’s members. The purpose of this group confrontation should be to bring the offended or upset Player back into the circle. If the offender is truly unsuitable, most of the group should agree that the offender needs to be removed. This might be handled by a vote, or a frank and open conversation. Gaming groups can be complex, but a strong group can survive conflicts and this is certain to bring about positive change in the group. Oddly, one of the biggest questions to arise in a game can be ”Why are the PCs even in the adventure group?” In real life we know why we're in the group: to get enjoyment out of the games we play. If we remind ourselves that this is our aim, most confrontations can be steered back toward making it happen. Of course, if you discover you are in a group with more negative motivations than positive ones, you might want to think about finding another group.

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