Start at the beginning pt. 2

Well in my last post I answered the where question, so today I’ll talk about who. Now I”m going to be brutally honest in this post. I’m not going to talk about only the good sides of my players, but everything they bring to the table. I have read a lot of blogs and the parts of the rule books about the different archetypes of players, and while helpful, they all fall short. I’m not going to pretend I could do better, I’m just pointing out the fact that every player is different, and many of them blend the archetypes, making it hard to put some one in one or even two categories. So I’ll just talk about my players, as individuals and you can extrapolate what ever information you want.

I’ll start with Jim, because I met him first. Jim is a natural leader. His personality definitely fills gaps, when others are quiet, or don’t take action Jim definitely steps in. He can be brash at times, but that often leads to great game play. He is also a tinkerer. He loves to come up with new character concepts. Meshes of races, powers and skills that don’t always provide combat advantage but do add a ton of flavor to the game. I really like to reward this, but some times I have to reign him in, flavor to one player looks like show stealing to others. When one player adds personality to a great character concept and story, while others are still trying to find a connection to their characters it can make the game feel like a show with a star ( the fleshed out character) and a large supporting cast ( everyone else). Everyone wants to feel like they share the spot light, not like the perennial sidekick. So I have to find a balance of encouraging the creativeness and reigning it in at the same time.This can be quite a challenge at time, but great practice.

Jim is very close friends with Luke and Spencer, whom I will introduce later. This friendship causes one of my toughest problems in the game so far: exclusiveness. The trio, Luke, Spencer and Jim can often make a plan, come up with character concepts or even a story arc for them selves, but they do so often at the expense of the rest of the group. It’s not malicious or intended most of the time, but new players in can often feel left out, or not part of the group. When I try to introduce hooks to blend the group there is often hard lines between the trio and everyone else. This has lead to me killing off the trio’s characters just to get them to break this habit. Harsh I know, but some times necessary.

Luke: A freaken genius, he is not a rules lawyer, but he does know the rules better than anyone I have met. I have not spent a ton of time out side the game with him, sad I know, but I think he has close to a photographic memory. Do I detect a bit of envy in my own voice? yes I do, I often wish I had retention like this guy. As a brand new DM I have often found him to be seriously helpful, a huge reference. But this gift often stops game play dead when a mistake is made or something might be overlooked for the sake of story. It also gives him insight into breaking characters, min maxing to the point that his assassin might have a +18 stealth at lvl 1. This causes obvious extra work for the DM. He is very polite and really makes others feel welcome at the table. He has helped new players create characters and understand the rules, leaving me free to run the game. Though he has his dark side as well. He has in game personality issues, mostly with the retention of this character. He often sets up a persona, like “very quiet, almost mute assassin.” Only to be the most talkative member of the group. Or “Young inexperienced adventurer traveling with his older brother trying to learn the ways of the world” again only to offer up more helpful information than anyone at the table. I’m continually encouraging him to think about his characters personality and perhaps playing a bit before he comes up with a full concept. That way he won’t spend allot of time in conflict with him self.

Spencer Is the guy every table wants, and needs, but you don’t want a table full of them. Sounds like a back handed complement I know, but it’s really a great thing. He is very flexible, easy going, and very funny. He fits every role, if you need a defender he has no problem filling it, if you need a controller he is your man. He is the guy who offers to ditch his striker to rerole on the fly if it helps the group. I love that!  He also comes up with pretty solid concepts for his character, and plays them well. He molds is personality to believable and some times outlandish. Playing a half orc fighter who just wanted some respect and his own boat to captain. But the willingness and levity can take it’s toll on the game as well. Often because he is so flexible his characters don’t last all that long. Often he is required to start something new after only two or three levels. This means his characters never really get to explore their potential or their story. It also means he has to work extra hard to get his new characters to gel with the group. His characters never really get to develop much of a story since most of them bow out after a short time.His lighthearted nature and sense of humor can be a bit disruptive at times. Often if I am trying to set a mood, terror, seriousness, or sadness, I have to watch Spence lest his lightheartedness and levity breaks my hard work with one well placed joke a bout a captains hat. This can be crushing to a DM after working for twenty minutes to make the group flee in terror, and instead have them all laughing.

Ross: Ross I know almost least of all. Almost but i know one of my players less than him. He is exactly what I was hoping to get though. A gamer who has little to no experience with 4E. He is excited to play, and gets to learn everything while I do. He has been very open to the story, and plays will with the rest of the group. He really comes for the whole experience, not to min max, not just for combat, but the whole game. That is what I want, some one who comes to soak up the whole experience. It’s really rewarding for a DM to have someone at the game who enjoys it, with out exception. Though it might be due to his relative newness he plays with out breaking to challenge a rule, or point out plot holes.  I might come back here and amend this entry after I have played more with Ross.

Byron: My cousin, eager to play but he lives an hour away, and as a grad student he has only made it to one game. So I won’t write much about him yet.

Jen: Jen has only played with us once, she promises to return though. She has a little 3.5 experience but has not played 4ed. Again exactly what I was hoping for. I think having a strong mix of new and experience players is really what I am shooting for. She really held her own with the group on her first experience. She was the only woman in a group of 7. So I was impressed to say the least when she didn’t shrink from the conversation. She got pegged as the healer, since at that time it was the only thing the group was missing, and she ran with it with out complaint. When she returns she will be able to chose he role and I am interested in seeing what she chooses. I really can’t write much about her though since I have so little experience with her.

That wraps up the players in my current group. I really look forward to learning more about each of them. The more I learn about each of their play styles and their goals the more I can grow as a DM. I am trying to rise to the occasion of each of the challenges presented by the group. So far each game has been a ton of fun, mixed with a good amount of work. And I am sure there will be much more of both to come.


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.


About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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