RPPR Episode 46: PvP is tearing us apart

Role playing is a collaborative hobby but conflicts between players and the GM inevitably arise. Cody, Dan, Tom and I discuss how adversarial gaming can affect your game and how to deal with it. RJ and I also talk about the new online tabletop section of the RPPR forums and we get into a discussion of the differences between long standing campaigns and shorter ones. We also have a few anecdotes and shout outs:

  • The RPPR Steam Group: If you play games over Steam, then join us and play l4d2 or other games with Ross or other RPPR fans.
  • Battlefield Baseball: A crazy Japanese action movie about baseball and zombies.
  • Coup de Torchon: A brilliant crime movie and an “engrossing and unsettling meditation on moral collapse.”
  • Rocket Knight: vidya game about a steam powered opossum knight.
  • The Hidden: Great HL2 mod. One invisible monster vs a team of commandos. Who will win?
  • Player Strategy Guide: A 4E book for players new to the game. Good advice on tactics and role playing.
  • Joe the Barbarian: Grant Morrison written comic of a child’s fantasy world. Think Narnia but crazier.

Music: Joe’s Confession by Game Over

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  13 comments for “RPPR Episode 46: PvP is tearing us apart

  1. Atlas
    June 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you guys.

    My Dad had surgery today, and you turned a extremely crappy day to a day I could stand.

    All in all, I’m sad to see Dan go he’s was one of my favourite players.

    Good episode in all, really enjoyed it.

  2. rayner23
    June 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm


    Sorry to hear about your dad. I hope things get better and I’m glad we could cheer you up a little.

  3. Patrick
    June 4, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Dan, welcome to San Diego!

    I hope you’ll find a decent group of gamers in the area.

    I would say something like “Now you don’t have to go too far to attend Comic Con, but I don’t know if Comic Con is coming back to San Diego.”

    I guess I’ll just go with the stock “The weather’s great here!”

    I wish I could get into the play-by-post stuff, but I find the idea a bit “clunky”. Maybe I just need to start posting in the forums to begin with.

    Ahhh, poor Aaron. I just don’t know if he’s got the chutzpah to make a good GM. That being said, I will contribute a few bucks to the ransom just to hear Ross & Cody (especially Ross) rip him apart. That should make for great listening! I still like Aaron though, even though his “it’s like” thing bugs me…

    Cody’s reaction to Aaron’s whole Dr. Who + Quantum Leap scenario was classic.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to some more RPPR. I’ll hit up the boards this weekend. I’d love to play an IRC game or a Skype game, preferably some COC, just to get a feel for the game as a first-time player.

    Thanks for another great episode guys!

  4. beowuuf
    June 5, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Patrick, have you thought of running a pbp game? What it does well, if you take advantage of it, is give you the pressure to keep writing micro-fiction. Certainly a GM should be striving for as much meaning in as few a words as possible, to be keeping up a sense of pacing (more important due to the elongated nature of the game) and also ensure each individual post is compelling enough for a reaction. Don’t know your GMing style, but if you favour RP and story over mechanics in a game, then pbp is also perfectly suited for that.

    It’s also funny how people latch on to Aaron’s nervous phrase, yet both Tom and Ross have things they do when their brains are trying to work out the best course of action.

    Sad Dan news. The lack of fuzziness will leave a hole in the actual plays 🙁

  5. puddleglum
    June 9, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Hey RPPR Crue, (where’s the umlaut on this keyboard??)

    Hokay I gotta say, in Aaron’s defense, that it’s a bit counterproductive to say he needs more confidence as a GM at the same time you cut his green ass to shreds behind his back on an internationally available podcast. Amusing, perhaps. Helpful, notsomuch. How about some more tips for nervous GMs? Sorry, “be more confident” don’t count. I hope to hear part of that honest critique Ross has promised.

    FYI, RJ has the “It’s like” tick in his dialogue too – listen to the CoC show RJ ran with Ross and Aaron, particularly the dialogue with the kids around minute 24:00. It drove me nuts at first too, but now it seems their way of invoking quote marks during dialogue ala Victor Borge. Everyone has gaming ticks. Chillax.

    And in that Actual Play session, Aaron got run over like a steam roller constantly. Try counting the times he got interrupted in the fist 10 minutes. It’s painful.

    My own suggestions:
    1. Perfect the art of pushing back (as a GM) without overcompensating. Players will go after a chink in the story like a pack of dogs on a wounded sheep. When players start sending the “that’s stupid” signal, don’t engage and don’t take it all personal. Distract them in the game with something shiny or violent.

    Ex: Player One: “There’s no way a frog traveling at that speed in the 1920s would make a big enough crater to flatten the wheel of a jeep.”
    Player Two: “Yeah. Seriously. You sure you read the 1920s frog velocity chart right on that?” GM: “Well I don’t know about that, but I do know that you notice a herd of zombie beefalo stampeding toward you across the plain.”

    Another way to cope with unwelcome mid-game critiques or scoffing is to give a quick nod, redirect the focus and move on. GM: “Yeah, Player One, I didn’t think of that and I’ll take a closer look later. But that’s actually the size of the frog crater and maybe it means your character stands there looking at it baffled for a moment and says (it’s like) “Could this have been a Celestial Frog of Iron that struck the earth?”

    2. Enjoy the PvP dialogue as well as the NPC-PC bits. Encourage interaction without feeding dialogue. Listen to all the in-character comments, even when you’re flipping through stat sheets. When players are talking in character, it means things are going right. If they’re brainstorming, that’s good. If they’re acting something out on their own, you’re doing something right.

    3. If you can, take a half shot of spiced rum right before your first dialogue encounter of the night.

    This sure isn’t meant to be a pissyfit, I happen to like all y’all and that keeps me listening – there are meta game dynamics among you that mirror those in all gaming life, and it’s very helpful to listen to them unfold in other game groups.

  6. Tom Church
    June 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I do admit that nervousness is really the problem, and not so much confidence. And I also admit that we do put him down somewhat, but I assure you that it is never meant, or taken, personally. Believe me, Aaron knows everything we say about him. Not because he listens to the podcast, but because I tell him exactly what was said. He knows it’s mainly for laughs, and believe it or not, most of the time he actually appreciates the advice that we sneak into the rants.

    Trust us, the critiques we will be delivering during the ransom will be completely constructive (with the accasional amphibian vagina joke).

    You may not know it by listening to us, but everyone at RPPR are professionals….

    Sorry. Lost my shit. That was the funniest fucking thing I have ever said.

  7. June 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I run the games, edit the podcasts and maintain the website and I get all kinds of shit from everyone ALL THE TIME. So, Aaron is not unique in that sense. And even though we ‘tear his green ass to shreds’, it’s not done maliciously. He knows we do that to each other and it’s never meant to inflict real damage.

  8. Rayner23
    June 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    We’re not particularly kind to Ross at all. We rip him all the time but its because we love him . . . I MEAN! . . . we’re dudes and we don’t stand for any weak ass shit around here, bro.

  9. RJ
    June 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    It’s worth pointing out that I’m from california, and the “It’s like” is part of my ingrained valley gurl soul.

  10. rayner23
    June 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Also, RJ is grade A, prime beefcake, so we let him get away with more than we let others get away with.

    And now, allow me to respond to my own comment the way RJ would, “Beefcake? Is that a thing?”

  11. puddleglum
    June 17, 2010 at 7:18 am

    So I’m on this long traveling stint at the moment and listening to RPPR Actual Plays ™ on my iPod has been great comfort food for those 23 hour bus rides on dirt roads. For example. And that’s why I pick it all apart in my head.

    Yup, point taken about everyone getting their fair rasher of sheite.

    I think it was Tom I was hearing do the valley talk. Then Ross has the amusing tick of saying “ok” after a player states their action – the more outlandish the action the more detached he sounds. It’s hilarious.

    Now for some positives: Ross is the GM I always wish I had in those high school games that went all pear-shaped. I just listened to the New World episode where the Ogre Outhouse Tunnel plan was hatched (yea, I’m way behind) and I gotta hand it to you man – you are the total Master of Sandbox Role Playing Sessions. How is it you do not explode in your brains when it gets all crazy with 5 sub-plots hatching at once? I had to rewind twice to catch the idea someone suggested to Cody which would have meant sending a vampyric hooker-bomb into the ranks of the religious order (Pale-ians?). Anyway. I just had to stop and be like ‘wha??’ I’ve never had a GM (oops – farc. I mean DM) that would have let the brains storming run wild like that. Hat is off.

  12. June 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I know you guys are big CoC and Delta Green fans. What do you think of Trail of Cthulhu? I got it recently and I’m excited to give it a try, it brings the Gumshoe system to CoC.

  13. beowuuf
    July 2, 2010 at 2:22 am

    I think….thiiiiink…Ross mentioned it in the last actual play (New World 27). However, that was a game from last year, so not sure if he’s done any more with it since.

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