Don't worry, I'm neither emo nor angry. Just disappointed, really.
See, I don't know if I mentioned it before...I think I did...but anyways, I run a game for our roleplaying group on campus. I call it "Rising Sun," a play on the name of the mechanics system it's based on (Earthdawn), plus the fact the setting is feudal Japan and the characters were part of a clan called the "Black Sunset." I admit it's been a bit frustrating for me running this game, because I'm something of a new-ish GM and am continually learning and trying to get better. Unfortunately, the group with whom I worked were...well, "rambunctious," I'll say. I continually had to deal with everyone talking and refusing to shut up. Yes, I tried many times, but it seems I just got flack and joking comments in return for trying. When I finally did have people paying attention to me, I can guarantee you a minute didn't go by without somebody talking...which caused other people to talk...which caused other people to talk louder to be heard, which caused other people--oh, you know what I'm getting at. And it was always the same people. Don't get me wrong, just about everyone at this group are fantastic people! But when it came to game time.... Then I got complaints that things moved too slowly. ...things would move faster if people tried to cooperate!
"We're trying to cooperate, but things go too slowly." "Things are going too slowly, because you're talking." "But we're talking, because it's too slow." "But it's too slow, because--"
Finally, this new semester started, and we got more people. In the back of my mind, I'm yelling, "Don't! Join! My game!!" Of course I can't say that, though...and as fate would have it, four new people showed up to take part in my game the very first night. Something one of them said to me struck me, though. "Geez! How can you stand running a game with so many people?!" It never occurred to me before that I had "too many" people in my game before. Being that this was a club/group, we had to take in people as they came. It wasn't a close-knit group of friends drinking Mountain Dew and rolling dice, it was an open forum where whoever wanted to could easily waltz in, and Purdue law states we can't turn people away.
On this fateful night, however, I had to deal with twelve players. Notice I said players. There were at least two more people in the room who weren't playing...and at least one was quite talkative (of course, never finding fault in herself when this was brought up). As usual, hardly anything was really accomplished. During the two weeks between my games, though, a couple people talked to me. "I've gotta drop out, because I've got too much homework." "You've got too many players, so I won't be playing anymore." Meanwhile, inside, I'm think "Awesome!" I'd love to have a group where things are smaller! More actually roleplaying, actual character interaction, a plot that could actually involve the characters without me having to go through great stretches! This is exactly what I needed!! Yes!!
So last night I was a little late showing up. I admit I had had something of a bad day, having gotten flack from because I was a Christian, getting villainized because of it, etc. I was eager for the game that night, though, because I wanted to see who I had, plus if things went smoothly (one can hope), they could finally get to the part in the plot where things would pick up. Papers in tow, dice in pocket, I marched to the Purdue library building.
In that building, I found an empty room.
Yes, I was a little late. It wasn't terrible, considering the times that some people showed up to games. But...not a person. All the chairs were neat and organized at the table, there was no personal mess or even hints of human activity (the garbage had an untouched bag), and the whiteboard was completely clean. I put my stuff at the end of the table, then went off to search for any PUGG (Purdue University Gaming Group) members who might be around. There was nobody. Not a one. I text-messaged a couple people, including my friend Jade asking where people were. Unfortunately, she and her fiance had to deal with various papers. This was expected, as she had missed previous games before. I was used to people randomly not showing up. But I ended up getting virtually no responses. Thankfully, I was able to get a hold of one member who calls herself Smoke. "Oh, you'll probably find everyone down in the lobby."
And upon checking there, yes, I did find nearly every single member. "Mikey!" one called out upon seeing me. I was looking at them a bit bewildered. Had they migrated down there, thinking I wasn't showing up? But...there were people there who said they weren't going to play anymore.
As it turned out, they'd all made an arrangement. "Mikey's game has too many players. We won't go anymore, so everybody just meet in the lobby instead." And those supposed players who were supposed to show up instead...? Not a one. Not a single person showed up...or at least stayed until I got there (again, I didn't think my tardiness was too bad...!). In order to make me "feel better," some tried explaining themselves. "It was going too slow for me, I'm sorry." "I wanted to help your game out, so I left." "Your game was broken. I didn't find it interesting!" Note, that last person didn't actually say it with that much force, but she might as well have. Of course, this is the same person who, after I tried to unsuccessfully help jumpstart her car, the next day basically told me I was an idiot plus the person who taught me how to jumpstart a car was an idiot. Idiot. And proceeded to freely tell people about my failure.
So I sat on the couch amongst everyone bewildered, looking around. "Is there...anyone who's going to play tonight...?" I asked. Everyone kind of looked around. It was one of those moments where people really don't want to, but at the same time don't want to say "no," because they don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Some of these people hadn't ever even been to one of the games.
"Hey Mikey," one chimed in, "let's go DDR instead!" Yeah, thanks, I appreciate the trying to cheer me up, but I'd finished planning a campaign, getting details (hopefully) worked out, drove a half-hour to have a game in a setting I personally enjoy, then find, out of all PUGG members, including the people who never, ever, ever miss a game don't have any interest in my game anymore. I mean...sure, maybe interest is there, "but just not with his game."
I know that hopefully none of these people meant any offense, but I can't help but feel disappointed. I had a lot planned with this world and this game (including some characters who now dropped out!), and I was really looking forward to having a better running group! Well...if two weeks from now, this repeats, I think I'll just have to drop the game. I know people have schedule problems, but if those who freely are able to attend don't due to lack of interest, I don't see any reason to go on with it. I'll admit it was a hassle to do sometimes, but it was also fun! I admit as time went on, the people in attendance made it less fun, but I still help hope for what could be. "A game is only as fun as the players playing make it." I don't know how many times I asked, begged, and pleaded with people to give me material, whether it be backstory, game ideas, plots, or anything that could possibly involve the game in the least! I even accepted mp3's people thought might fit the game! All I got? Three backstories--one written by a friend before the first game even took place, one written by an English major during the first game, and finally one from a pal after much pestering...ah, and a couple Wikipedia articles he sent, as well.
I don't want to say I "failed" as a GM, because I had some nice ideas. Great ideas, I'd dare say! I know I wasn't "experienced," being it wasn't until late 2005 I started tabletop roleplaying at all (it's not even been one-and-a-half years since then), I have no willing roleplaying friends around my area (plenty who've given me many a cold shoulder when it came to roleplaying, though), and I'm not too great at doing stuff involving making things on the spot. Trust me, I doubt I'll ever have a job in improv comedy. But at the same time I just have to wonder if I did something wrong or if the fault lies with the players. Other games seem to mostly run fine, so why did mine fail and why did a lot of the players treat me with disregard? (I personally find two girls going behind my back and passionately making out mid-game an insult)
Maybe I'm thinking too much about this. And yes, I know that this was all just a game...but it was a game I put a lot of time, effort, and love into.
Dangit, I'd like a vacation, I don't care if the semester just started. I'd like to get away and clear my head some.
What do you all think?
Here's the end of the LJ cut!
And for those who might be having a bad day, have some kitties!