As a player, I have always had an enormous respect for the game-runner at whatever table I take a seat at. When I first stepped into the world of role-playing, the biggest challenge I had was adapting to the rules of the various systems I was learning (I started D&D as an adult and decided to try and learn Pathfinder, D&D 4E and Cthulhu at the same time– not exactly advisable). Thankfully, most of the tables I played at were run by friendly and supportive game masters.
When I finally began running games on my own I realized the difficulties that came along with hosting tables were more than simply a knowledge of the rules. The biggest challenge came when trying to solve issues completely outside of the system, issues related to player engagement and player interactions, both one-another and on how they wished to have me adjudicate certain scenarios and scenes that were unique and outliers from basic rulesets.
Recently I attended an open gaming session for a D&D 5E adventure. The players, including myself, and the GM signed up on a website and attended the session on a first-come-first-play basis. This is the format that brought me into the hobby, and I am very familiar with the casual nature of these type of pick-up games.
I have greatly enjoyed these types of games — I have made long-term friends and played in many, many home-games because of these PUGs.
At this most recent PUG, the DM made a call that seem largely incongruent with the certain members of the table overall and asked a player to agree with the rule, or leave the table. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a DM give an ultimatum like this and was actually quite taken aback by this decision. The table also seemed largely uncomfortable with this ruling. It made me realize the unspoken ‘rule’ regarding DM adjudication’s not just in the rules but in the behaviors of the players at the table itself. It immediately made me think back on a player I had to remove from one of my own home-games due to excessive behavioral issues– this was a decision I thought and agonized over for weeks and asked multiple friends advice on how to handle. The immediacy of PUGs seem to make such decisions much more significant, but still–
Have you ever given a player such a straight-forward ultimatum?