By Steve Rosenstein
As an active role playing game enthusiast, I read plenty of articles with titles like, “10 players that you don’t want at your table” or, “the 7 worst types of GMs” or how about, “character types we can all do without.” And when you take the time to actually read the ‘article’, you are faced with somebody who is doing you the service of ‘improving’ your tabletop experience by pointing out how to micromanage said tabletop experience. My Facebook feed gets bombarded with permutations and re-shares of these types of articles, and like a sucker, I take the bait. And you know what; I feel that these articles only succeed in making their authors feel like their opinion matters to someone, somewhere. They rail against “asshole” characters, PvP, GM vs players, rules lawyers, munchkins…whatever they don’t like about THEIR experience.
I currently play an asshole character in a campaign of asshole characters, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-8IqNTz_fDqtA56GeAccYnBy2DBnSqNn and you know what? We all have fun. As a matter of fact, with the exception of having an adversarial GM (sorry Wes, you’re nice to us) we blow through all of the typical crap to avoid. We have picked fights with NPCs that weren’t there to fight, munchkined the shit out of characters, fought each other, tried to actively derail the story, left players behind, betrayed each other…you name it, we’ve probably done it. Shit, if Eclipse Phase had alignments, we would be playing a Chaotic Evil campaign…the big no no! And you know what? We have a great time doing it! I’ll say it again; we have a great time doing it. Have there been times where we have gotten annoyed with each other? Probably, but can you honestly say that in your “try not to step on any toes, everybody gets a chance” games that you couldn’t say the same thing?
You see, the name of the game is to have fun. And much like consensual sex, if everybody’s cool with having an asshole in the party, then by all means, have an asshole or two (or five) in the party. If you have gone through your life without encountering assholes, or insufferable know-it-alls, or people who do it by the book; I need to ask how old you are. To quote Ice-T, “Shit ain’t like that!” Don’t get me wrong, if you want to have the perfect, shared story experience, where every character has their role and part to play, by all means go for it. Just know that that is not the sole way of playing a tabletop game.