Not everything in the world that you wish for pans out. I have unfortunately come to a position of impasse with JB of B/X Blackrazor, who only this week began running a character in my world. I'd like to say that this is not because of something that he said to me. I'd also like to say that this is not due to his wishing to break it off with me. I do not know what his wishes are. This impasse is something entirely of my own doing, and has more to do with my perception of what it is that defines a gentleman than it does whatever sort of player JB happens to be.
I write this preamble for the benefit of my other players, and those who would play with me, and no one else. I take the position that I have, which can be read on the comment threads of these two posts, here and here, because I firmly believe that the character of an individual is defined by the manner in which they approach opposition to their behavior. I believe there is a time to apologize. And I believe there is a time not to apologize. When the apology is given, it should be done unreservedly. When the apology is not given, the consequences should be accepted graciously. With regards to JB, I expected an apology. I did not ask for it, but I expected it just the same.
I do not like it when people apologize to me for things that don't matter. I am, however, intolerant when I fail to receive an apology for something I think does matter. JB demonstrated himself ready to apologize quite profusely about misunderstandings and minor errors and timing errors - but where it came to apologizing for open disrespect, no apology occurred.
I am old. I have found this is often the case.
The above said, and my reputation as an intolerant made marginally clearer, I would like to ask a question I asked in the second linked thread: Why is it that whenever players declare that they are 'playing in character' they invariably act like fucking jerks?
I suppose its because if they weren't being jerks, there wouldn't be any need to use the argument that they are acting 'in character' to justify their behavior.
But then it comes to mind, why in particular is it that people who claim not to be jerks in ordinary life, who act like jerks in D&D games, while arguing that they're being 'in character,' feel they need to have characters that are jerks in the first place?
Is it that there's a particular kind of person in the world who is not a jerk, who wants so much to be a jerk, that D&D is their big opportunity to do so? I know this is what television would have us believe - television shows from Our Miss Brooks forward have pitched this as a dramatic device hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. It makes for lively interaction between the actors, and serves to moralize about it one ... more ... time.
But here's the thing. Most of the people I know who are not jerks, aren't jerks because they actually feel that being a jerk is a bad thing. Even I think being a jerk is a bad thing. Oh yeah, I'm an asshole, and I write like an asshole ... but I have yet to do anything worse than blow a lot of air. I'm not actively trying to make my players jump through any hoops or actively mistreating them. I don't even wish JB any ill will ... I just don't want to run him in my world. This post is without question an insult to him - but you, gentle reader, and most everyone reading this will put all that down to Alexis being wrong about that, true? You're bound to put it down to Alexis blowing air, and for fuck's sake, you're probably right about that.
It boggles the mind, then, that someone would want to run in my world. I personally would like to know why someone who indicated that they would want to; who knew without a doubt how intolerant I could be; who in fact competed to run in that world - would then choose, as his DEFINING character trait, an intolerant, pushy, insistent, self-serving asshole.
Did it not occur that a player displaying this personality might run smack bang into the DM's personality?
Hey, let's point out the very obvious. Do you know what kind of 'in character' personality NO ONE in the whole wide world of RPGing likes in a player they have to run with? Just guess. Come on, you don't need me to say it, do you?
I have known games where EVERY player had this personality. Funny thing was, it wasn't 'in character' around those tables. Those guys actually were fucktards. They weren't pretending to be anything.
Well, that's the thrust of it. I'll just add a couple of words about what DMs should do when faced with players who reach for and channel this asshole personality as an 'in character' roleplaying choice: