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Gf's as spectators


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Taldor **

I have an interesting situation that I need some advice on. One of the regulars at the store games I run wants to bring his girlfriend in as a spectator. Or rather, she's visiting him from overseas and they want to spend time together but he wants to play as well.

So he told me today that he wants to play but that she doesn't, she just wants to sit there and watch.

Now I don't know this girl and don't know how she'll affect the dynamic at the table, so I'm hesitant to say no (also for the very real reason that it might encourage her to play), but at the same time I'm worried that she might prove a distraction, for him, the other players and me.

Has anyone else encountered this problem?


Would be fine with me. I know some people get self conscious about role-playing and wouldn't be able to get into character with someone watching, is that the concern?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a one-time event, considering she is visiting from overseas, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all.

If it was an every session occurance, then the player and I would have to have "the talk".

Taldor **

Grimmy wrote:
Would be fine with me. I know some people get self conscious about role-playing and wouldn't be able to get into character with someone watching, is that the concern?

Not for me personally but I can't speak for the other players.

I know the guy though and he can be a bit prone to distractions.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I doubt anyone will have an issue with it. I run a game store, and I see this happen a lot, and no one has yet to protest when it happens. Often, the significant other ('cuz I've seen guys do the perching while girls play) will end up joining in by rolling dice for the animal companion. I've even seen some of them migrate to the table after a couple sessions.

I.E., encourage it. It could mean more players, eventually.


Ah, so is she really just going to sit there and watch, or is she expecting him to pay at least some attention to her.

Seems like a much better idea would be for her to pick up a pregen and play. Then they would be actually spending time together, which if she's just sitting there watching, they kind of aren't... Or they are and it's a total distraction for everyone.

Taldor **

Like I said, I welcome it if, you know, he actually pays attention to the game. So it's more that I'm afraid that he's going to commit a faux-pas rather than the gf being trouble. If you get my meaning.

But I'll have a talk with him. Tell him that I do want here there (more possible players after all) but that the game has to come first for those few hours.

Osirion *****

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Well my gf tagged along a year and half ago and she's a VC now so you never know. Just bring your 'A' game and make the game seem accessible even if she decides to be a spectator. If she's in-town long enough maybe she'll come back to the next game with some dice.

Taldor

I had this happen at my home game for an extended period of time. She still isn't actually playing, but she does roll dice for summoned creatures, and will occasionally play an NPC if she likes them.
I try to include her in the game a little, by including things I know she likes and by being vivid in my imagery, and she's very rarely an issue. (plus she brings snacks)

**

It happens commonly in my group. I wouldn't worry about it..... unless your group happens not to ever see girls. ;)

****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I generally object to spectators in a home game but in public there's always people milling around. Really my questions revolve around their relationship--if she's only here for a few days she'll probably want his mostly undivided attention (and rightly so!). But maybe she's here for a while and/or he really wants to show her his favorite hobby, in which case one presumes that she'll be cooperative. Plus if she's around for a while she might start playing.

(I realize that paragraph reads like traditional nerd-sexism but it's she same answer I'd give with either or both genders reversed. I'm commenting on general relationship patterns, not gender dynamics.)

Qadira ***

Roac wrote:

Like I said, I welcome it if, you know, he actually pays attention to the game. So it's more that I'm afraid that he's going to commit a faux-pas rather than the gf being trouble. If you get my meaning.

But I'll have a talk with him. Tell him that I do want here there (more possible players after all) but that the game has to come first for those few hours.

Careful of that "talk". Some people would take it as "US or HER, make you choice", and that is never good.

have her come one time and wreck a game balanced verses "US or HER, make you choice" and loosing a player?

Bring her on, what's the worst that can happen?

Shadow Lodge ***

I've never really had this problem. All of our significant others play, and if it's a game my wife isn't interested in, she just reads a book.

Hand her a pregen, and let her boyfriend teach her how to play. He'll be more likely to pay attention (so he can better explain it in non-gamer terms to her) and she'll more of his attention than if she just "watches".

*

In my experience, spectators are fine for a few minutes, but spectator's are not fine for an entire session. This is from a home game perspective, not public game perspective (which is more spectator friendly).

The problem with spectators is:

1) I've never seen someone who just watches actually play the game at a later time (15+ spectators). It was a mix of both men and women.

My observation is that if I can convince someone to play, they'll like it and will play again at some point in time. I'd try to convince her to get a pregen or control an animal companion.

2) Spectators eventually break immersion for me as GM and are a distraction. This is probably the case for the players too. This is especially true if they make comments, are attractive and/or they talk to their s/o out of game.

Veteran GMs are less likely to be distracted, but for many players this is not the case.

3) Bored girlfriends are a distraction, because they'll whine to their significant other and then drag him/her from the game early. In the meantime, it's annoying for everyone else at the table.

So yeah, if someone is just watching for 10 minutes at Gencon while we're playing, it's OK. A girlfriend watching an entire session is not. I'd try to convince her to get a pregen or control an animal companion, which will get her into the game and eliminate these issues.

****

Mystic Lemur wrote:
Hand her a pregen, and let her boyfriend teach her how to play. He'll be more likely to pay attention (so he can better explain it in non-gamer terms to her) and she'll more of his attention than if she just "watches".

This would be the ideal solution.


I'd say let her play as well. All the advice on how to engage her is solid, and if she's interested get her the VC info for wherever she's from so she can get into a local game. And most importantly, have fun.

Silver Crusade *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka Wendy-Ann

As a "sigificant other" who spent many Sundays watching as the guys played this strange game D&D and now more than 3 decades later has spent so many happy hours playing D&D and now Pathfinder (and who has just done her first GM session), I say let her come. You never know who will become addicted to this RPG thing.

Shadow Lodge ***

Not to mention, she may like it so much she takes the love of the game back "home". You could be responsible for spreading PFS to a new area of the globe. Who knows, she could even become the first Venture Officer of her country.

Osirion *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka Daerthon

Roac wrote:

I have an interesting situation that I need some advice on. One of the regulars at the store games I run wants to bring his girlfriend in as a spectator. Or rather, she's visiting him from overseas and they want to spend time together but he wants to play as well.

So he told me today that he wants to play but that she doesn't, she just wants to sit there and watch.

Now I don't know this girl and don't know how she'll affect the dynamic at the table, so I'm hesitant to say no (also for the very real reason that it might encourage her to play), but at the same time I'm worried that she might prove a distraction, for him, the other players and me.

Has anyone else encountered this problem?

As an organizer who is trying to grow my local community, having players bring friends, family, and loved ones to a game isn't a problem, it's an opportunity.

Even if she doesn't play, she'll get to see a group of players coming together and having fun (hopefully). Even if roleplaying isn't her thing, if anyone asks about it, she can mention the positive experience she had.

Unless you know beforehand that there is a problem of disruptive behavior with this player or her girlfriend, I'd assume that they are there to have fun, and let them join in as much as they are comfortable with.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

^ This.

I discourage spectators at my home games (First rule of RPG Club: If it's your first time at RPG Club you gotta play). I've converted a lot of people to players that way.

At public games I'd happily allow a spectator, and encourage them to try a pregen or roll for an animal companion, or even have them roll attacks for some bad guys >:-)

Taldor **

Lots of great advice here which I'm going to use. Thanks everyone!

It isn't even that I'm against spectators in general. More I wanted to avoid her feeling left out and him feeling like he has to entertain her both of which would result in a distracted and less fun game.

I do know that they are moving to the US together, Baltimore specifically, at the end of the month so I'm going to try and encourage them to contact Dan Simmons for some games there.

Andoran ***

Let her watch, Do not pressure her to play but make it known that option is available to her if she desires, then let it be for that session.

Bring your A-Game and consider it a challenge to entice the player into ASKING to play. Don't ask her to (other than an invite at the beginning of each session as a general Q to each person present).

If she plays, good. If she does not play but merely watches -- that is good too. This is an odd hobby and it appeals to a small sliver of society. That's perfectly okay. As long as the GF is reasonably accommodated at the regular player's request -- you have done what you are expected to do.

Cheliax ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I guess I can't really know the make-up of your regular crowd, but I'd agree that it is best to engage her as a new player - get her involved as a PreGen or be the "team mascot" by being the animal companion of someone there at the table. The ideas for getting her involved are limitless ^_^

But there is always the chance that she really doesn't wish to play. I've seen players who decide to ake a break one week; so they sit by their significant other with another hobby at hand: knitting, a crossword book, doodling the scenes as they play out at the table, or even engaging the store staff in some of their demo games - and these should also be fine options

The last point I want to make, because this is one of the appeals of the PFS Organized Play layout, is that it is OK for him to step away from the table for a week or two. The game is laid-out to allow you to step out of the story and then step in at a later chapter.

*gets on soapbox* My policy has always been that Real-Life comes before our Fantasy-Lives. Not everyone's schedule lines up each week, and party make-up in PFS can drastically change game to game. There should be no punishment (or air of distaste) for him going out with his significant other rather than play that week - this advice comes from someone who's boyfriend IS a gamer and PFS player, but there are times when we have US time rather than go play; a significant other should not be seen as a betrayal to the party, a view that the culture tends to gravitate towards *steps off soapbox*

Qadira ***

Justin Riddler wrote:

I guess I can't really know the make-up of your regular crowd, but I'd agree that it is best to engage her as a new player - get her involved as a PreGen or be the "team mascot" by being the animal companion of someone there at the table. The ideas for getting her involved are limitless ^_^

But there is always the chance that she really doesn't wish to play. I've seen players who decide to ake a break one week; so they sit by their significant other with another hobby at hand: knitting, a crossword book, doodling the scenes as they play out at the table, or even engaging the store staff in some of their demo games - and these should also be fine options

The last point I want to make, because this is one of the appeals of the PFS Organized Play layout, is that it is OK for him to step away from the table for a week or two. The game is laid-out to allow you to step out of the story and then step in at a later chapter.

*gets on soapbox* My policy has always been that Real-Life comes before our Fantasy-Lives. Not everyone's schedule lines up each week, and party make-up in PFS can drastically change game to game. There should be no punishment (or air of distaste) for him going out with his significant other rather than play that week - this advice comes from someone who's boyfriend IS a gamer and PFS player, but there are times when we have US time rather than go play; a significant other should not be seen as a betrayal to the party, a view that the culture tends to gravitate towards *steps off soapbox*

yeah! - just figured this needed to be said again, and Justin Riddler said it better than I could!

Cheliax ****

It depends on how distracting she is. If she is visiting from overseas, and she wants to sit in, it sounds like she wants attention most of the time. This is a red flag you should discuss with your player. You should ask him if he wants to try to get her into PFS using a pre-gen, or just sit out.

See, the thing is, I've found that non-player significant others cause disruptions at 100% of the tables. People that play understand how much concentration is required, and I don't mind it. When you introduce a non-player to the group (especially if it is of the female kind at an all-male table), it causes disruption, slows down the game, and pisses some people off.

Its better just to ask the non-player to either stay in another room (unless you afford for the distraction time!), sit down and play, or ask the player to sit out the game and spend time with the non-player.

***

I had a great player back in the 1st Edition days who started off as "I just want to watch" (yes, because she was dating someone in the game at the time), but after two sessions of watching (and not in a needy, attention-seeking way), she wanted to be able to "talk with the players, but not have a character".

So I had the party find a magic ring which could talk with the party... after several more sessions, the player decided she couldn't stand it any longer and insist on rolling a character and "getting her out of that ring!" In this case, everything worked out for the best- it doesn't always, but you can always do this-

Talk with them before hand and stress that you won't tolerate distracting behavior that interfere's with the other players' enjoyment of the game- that you will be making the decision about what is "too much" and they have to abide by that decision. (But for the love of Aroden, be diplomatic about it!)

Grand Lodge *

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I've seen girlfriends as spectators without any real problems so far. However, if his GF is coming from overseas and he's not going to skip gaming for a week to spend time with her, I don't think the relationship is going to last. (You didn't say how long she would be in the US). I would be very surprised if either of them actually shows up for the game, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

sieylianna wrote:
I've seen girlfriends as spectators without any real problems so far. However, if his GF is coming from overseas and he's not going to skip gaming for a week to spend time with her, I don't think the relationship is going to last.

Personally I saw that as a positive - she doesn't expect him to abandon his normal activities to devote his time exclusively to her. Instead she wants to learn more about the things he likes to do.

All that being said, though, I think it would be a bad idea to try and pressure her into taking part. Present an opportunity, by all means, but don't make it a requirement. And while you should make sure the player is aware of any conditions you are putting on her attendance, he should be the one to convey that message to her. A gracious host doesn't greet guests with a 'rules of the house' lecture, make them pass an entrance exam, or railroad them into specific activities. If she's actively disruptive, then deal with it as it arises (much as you would with any first-time attendee) - don't automatically assume she's going to be a problem.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like JohnF's remarks on this ^_^

Taldor ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Clearwater aka Magical_Beast

Allow and just be vigilant for excessive distraction. If it gets out of hand, pull dude aside and tell him to get a handle on it.

If she seems kinda into it, have her run an easy pregen. If she isnt up for it, consider having her roll some dice for you.

A lot of people who dont know about gaming are intimidated by it. Give her a chance,but dont let her ruin the game.

Silver Crusade **

sieylianna wrote:
I've seen girlfriends as spectators without any real problems so far. However, if his GF is coming from overseas and he's not going to skip gaming for a week to spend time with her, I don't think the relationship is going to last. (You didn't say how long she would be in the US). I would be very surprised if either of them actually shows up for the game, so I wouldn't worry about it.

+1 this.

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