Tuesday, March 23, 2010


So its been, what, over a week since I last posted?  I've been fairly busy at work and home, and unfortunately not a whole lot to show for my time away from the blog.

Although I did go to All-Con the weekend before last to poke around as my girlfriend was teaching a class there.  I had a pretty good time at All-Con.  It was very, very Anime heavy and I have no doubt that this was due to the fact that A-Kon is here in Dallas.  I will say that I've seen some of the best costumes ever witnessed at a Con, here at All-Con.  And they ran a pretty broad spectrum too.  More on All-Con later.  Unfortunately, All-Con is still pretty small so you take what you can get I suppose. /shrug

Now, this past weekend was World Wide Game Day brought to you by the folks at Wizards of the Coast.  They unveiled the new Players Handbook 3 and all of the participating locations ran a short adventure designed to highlight the new races/classes and their abilities.  I decided to play a psion (the first time I've ever played a pionic character I might add) and it was really fun!  One of my friends (and fellow GM) also played along with me and he will probably go down in history as the only person to successfully intimidate a bloody, pissed off White Dragon into submission.  Freaking priceless.

Anticipating a longer post after our 4E game on Thursday.

Until then, Bonzo out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Update: Problem Player

So Thursday night has come and gone.  Thursday night was when I anticipated difficulties with my now former problem player.  And surprisingly nothing bad happened.  We we're both cordial to each other, if a bit cool*, and we were able to both play in my other friend's game without a meltdown occurring.  So I'll chalk that up as a 'Win".

Where things go between the two of us from here on out, I have no idea.  That remains to be seen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Problem Player Redux

It took a week, but my problem player finally got back to me.  And I got this incredibly long email wherein he essentially calls me a liar about trying to contact him, and that since I must be lying that I must allow him back into my game.

Sometimes I just feel like beating my head into a wall.  I've sent him two emails since, each explaining and reexplaining that my decision as GM is not personal - its not an attack on him - but that its also final.  He says he didn't get my eamils/calls.  He says I never sent them.  I say I do.  I can't explain why he never got them. So its a pissing contest of "He Said, He Said".  Whether he got them or not, it doesn't change the fact that I've tried to contact him for about three months.  It doesn't change the fact that I've gotten tired of his non-communication.  It doesn't change the fact that he hasn't made any attempts to get himself to the game despite all of the online notifications for my game that all my players have.

At this point I'm done with him.  He's turned what was a slightly complicated situation and turned it into a full blown FUBAR.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Eating Crow

Sometimes you just gotta eat crow.  And in this case its about Star Trek Online.  It finally got to a point where I've had to abandon leveling my Science Officer because of mistakes I've made in assigning him skill points.  Being that my SO was my first character in the game, I was bound to screw up a bit, but I thought that the mistakes wouldn't amount to much.  I was wrong.  So my SO is on the back burner until Cryptic allows for a respec.  The unfortunate cause of this is due to the lack of clarity Cryptic provides for skilling up your characters.  You have to go at it backward.  There is a Character Builder website that I found which is a Java application that allows you to plan out what ship, what skills, and what Bridge Officer abilities you want to have for your character when he reaches the rank of Admiral.  And really and truly, you need to do this before you start assigning skill points to your character in game.  Cryptic should have something like this inside the game itself...but I digress.  But here's part of the problem, unless you have a very firm grasp on:
  1. What abilities you want from your Bridge Officers, and
  2. What those abilities do exactly
then you're kinda up the creek without a paddle.  So you have to play to find out what abilities you like, and then you have to create a new character to get things working  the way you want.  Not the best tack, in my opinion.

Now, in addition to the Character Builder there is a STO Ship Chart which you need to look at to determine what kind of ship you want to be in as an Admiral.  It has a bearing on your Bridge Officer ability choices because the different ships allow for different numbers and ranks of Science, Engineering, and Tactical Bridge Officers.  And yes, the ship chart is still under construction - but its the most complete one out there.


So, having put my SO on hiatus, I've been leveling my Engineering Officer with great aplomb. I have to comment at this point that there are some significant differences between the SO and the EO.  As a SO the shields on my ships were frankly amazing.  I never felt like I was toast unless I was being swarmed by more than eight enemy craft.  My shields recharged at such a stupidly fast rate, only the most powerful, or the highest quantity of simultaneous attacks would penetrate my shields and decimate the paper-thin hull of my ship.  As an EO, my shields are no where near as strong or as quickly regenerative, however the strength of my ship's hull is vastly increased.  The power of the weapons systems between the two officer classes is almost negligible, but I feel the SO is slightly ahead of the EO in weapons' power output.

Alas for my hubris, I was unable to maintain my initial character through to either Admiral or the first respec available, whichever came first.

On a side note, I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who played on a Buddy Key I emailed him for STO and we were comparing notes about STO vs WoW; primarily about the whole WoW gear score/achievement score fiasco that I mentioned in a previous post.  And there isn't any of that in STO.  First, there is no gear score in STO, but after that, you can have multiple players with the exact same gear on their ships.  The difference comes from class abilities and from all of the different Bridge Officer abilities and how the player chooses to play.  Some people are naturally more aggressive, while others are more defensive.  And some are a bit of both.


Now to touch on something I posted about recently.  As a GM, the hardest thing I've ever had to do is to discipline a player in any way.  I don't like confrontation, and despite the reputation that GMs have, I don't like to crush the will and creative spirit of my players.  But you get to a point where something has to be said to a player for the good of everyone involved, including that player.  As my girlfriend said to me over the week when I was discussing the issue with her, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

As of yet, I have not heard anything back from my problem player.  At this point I don't expect to.  However the looming issue will come this Thursday - we both play in the 4E game.  And if he does show up to play (which was only a maybe before all this went down between him and me) and if he chooses to discuss the issue about my game that night I'll try to explain to him that its not a personal attack.  Despite all the issues I have with him as a GM, I can still be his friend and play along side him.  But I cannot be his GM, it just doesn't work.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The End of My Rope

I've been trying to contact one of my players for a few months to discuss a bit of a problem.  Namely him.  This player is something of a problem player.  He's argumentative, he gets upset with his dice, he gets pissy when he can't attack/kill something a GM throws at him.  He misses games and doesn't call the GM/players ahead of time to let them know he won't be there.  He's just generally unpleasant to play with.  He's missed the last several sessions of my game, and I've been trying to get in contact with him since before this past Christmas to talk about his disruptive and grating behavior.  I've tried email, I've tried calling and leaving voice mails, I've tried texting him, and all I've got out of him for close to three months is silence.  Then he just shows up at another game that he and I are both in (but I am not the GM) and he acts like everything is normal.  So do I assume he never got the texts/calls/emails?  I have no idea.  But this morning I decided to try, yet again, to email him about the problem.  But I admit to just feeling pissed off that I haven't heard a thing back from his at this point, and I kinda let things fly.

As a GM I have to coordinate with several people about a number of things, but communication and commitment to the game are at the forefront.  I need to hear from my players.  I need to know who is showing up and who isn't.  If too many people can't make it, then I need to have a back up plan - like a board game, or a one-shot rpg ready to roll.  I don't like sitting around a table waiting to hear from someone, hoping their phone is on, or that they will respond to a text message for over an hour before getting started.  That shows a complete lack of respect for the GM and the other players in my opinion.  And if you can't make multiple sessions I need to know if its a scheduling problem that can be worked out, or if it's possibly some other issue that can be worked on.  I have to have this communication with my players.  And all of my other players do this, seemingly without thought.  I don't know why its like pulling teeth with this person.

So in my email today I reiterated to this person (since I'm on my Nth attempt to establish contact) that I'm not a happy GM, and that I think its best at this time if he just not return to the game.  That was before 8am today.  Still no response from him.  So I have no idea what is going on.  I'll try calling him later and see if I can get through.