By: Peter Darling
Inevitably as a roleplayer or GM you will encounter what I call a “Little Red Wagon”. This is a player who is intent on being the only person at the table having fun. They build their little red wagon character and fling it down the hill in the direction of the game and damn whoever get in their way.
It’s taken many forms over the years. The thief who steals anything of value from the party. The fighter who kills NPC’s with vital information. The barbarian who tries to raze a village full of peasants. The chaotic evil whatever who makes it his job to test the Paladin. Countless flaming jerk forms.
Whatever form it takes it seems to have a limited set of goals. Derailing the plot and creating internal strife, not in the party but at the table. For you GM’s all your preparation and effort means nothing to them. They look at your world and see a sandbox, unfortunately they see it through the eyes of a cat with bowel problems. They see your story hooks and head in the opposite direction cutting down beggars for 6xp and two copper pieces (if you give experience for this behavior you’re a part of the problem). When it comes to the players they get something else. They get to see the frustration and irritation on their fellow players faces. No imagination necessary. Meanwhile you get to sit there wondering how big the Elder Cyber Mega Juicer Dragon the GM is looking up for his reprisal will be. All because one individual can’t see how much more fun he could have if he played along.
How many game nights have been stolen like this. Whether it’s players held hostage by not wanting to single out a friend or acquaintance, or perhaps an even greater loss, a GM quitting her game full of plots, adventure, lovable NPC’S, and hand crafted dungeons.
So what do you do? Well, you already know what you have to do. Just like I did every time it happened to me. You have to tell them this is not acceptable. You didn’t drop $80 for the core rulebook to have them continually ruin your precious free time. You have to speak up and say “This is not fun for us!” You came to have an evening of escapist fantasy not to watch sociopath theatre.
This will lead to some hard decisions for players and groups if the Little Red Wagon won’t change it’s ways. Important decisions about how you spend your hard earned free time. Do you spend it entertaining and coddling a spoiled entitled brat? Or do you spend it as part of an ensemble cast adding to a fantasy world, building your own stories of heroism and bravery into myths and legends.
If they don’t want to be a part of that then it’s their loss. You have Dragons to slay, tyrants to overthrow, undead armies to turn to dust, and gates to unfathomable dimensions to seal. They can go back to sitting in the starting area of free to play MMO’s and trolling newbs by telling them you run by pressing alt+f4. It’s all they’re good for anyway.
That Was little harsh I know, but we’re talking about someone who has decided their fun comes at the expense of others. They joined a role-playing group, a group gathered to create a collaborative storytelling experience, without any intent to play along. If they want to play a role-playing game where they are allowed to behave like a psychopath and completely ignore every story thread that they are introduced to then they can go home and play Skyrim.
Do not let them steal your fun.