Serious Problems with GM / campaign (Morality issues?)


Advice


This is gonna be a little long.

My friends and I play PF every other Sunday. They drive an hour and a half one way to play. This means that we like to make sure we get a lot of play time, and if we don't play (enough) for whatever reason it pretty much sucks. We had one guy GMing and his style just kinda didn't work with the rest of us. One player especially, A got rubbed the wrong way by him. The GM thought he was doing us a favor by giving non spellcasters spellcasting and other crazy nonsensical powers, and he would design weapons for us and tell us how they looked and worked etc. By the way, he's pretty good at making a big cool story to play in, but he's not so good at having all the rules down and actually running sessions. Well, on more than one occasion, for whatever reason, GM would say we need to break early, maybe play cards or video games whatever. A got upset, since it was him spending a lot of gas money and time to come and play PF, not video games.

So, also partly due to unrelated stuff, GM had to take a break from playing. None of us are particularly fond of GMing. Well, I like GMing, but the time needed for it just isn't in my schedule. So they came up to play one time, and we decided, you know what, they make these APs that do all that prep stuff for you, and all the rest of us know the rules great. And, maybe best of all, we can switch GMs when we switch books, so nobody gets stuck GMing too long.

We decided on Kingmaker, and everyone loves it. We started to miss our other friend, he's a good player, and our party was a person short. The same day I plan on asking him to come next time, he asks me first if we can play PF together. I'm all, "Yeah, come play Kingmaker with us." So he did. This was atleast two months since the last time he played, his intervening issues had subsided (girlfriend) and we also got some bad news. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. He's not the kinda guy to let that thing bring him down, and so we all had fun.
---

Now that we know everyone, we can address the real issue:
A few days after playing, he texts me saying he really would like to finish his old campaign, before he dies. Well I get where he's coming from, it's part of a story that all his campaigns have been a part of for almost ten years. It's like his baby almost. On the other hand, everyone is loving Kingmaker, including our two completely new players. And if we play his campaign, we'd be going from level 2 to 10. I'm afraid that that kind of jump will be hard for them, and more importantly, may ruin the game for them depending on how it goes. GM says they'll be fine, and that high level powers and loot are awesome. That's kinda the thing that separates him from the rest of us. I know, KNOW, that if right when I started dnd, we switched before I had even got a hold of my first character, I'd probably have quit, no matter how phat the loot was, and it would have had more to do with the RP side than not getting the rules (which I TOTALLY didn't, 2e).

I convinced him to atleast wait until we finish book 1, but everyone is really excited about playing book 2 of Kingmaker...

Oh, there is another thing. Playing every other week, I figure Kingmaker will take around a year to completely finish, and he figures his campaign will take about 6 months. That's a year and 6 months total, except that in a year, I'm moving 9 hours away, no more gaming (we're not the PbP types). But I (and my girlfriend who plays and is moving with me) really want to finish Kingmaker before we go. However, my friend may be dead in a year too. Stomach cancer is apparently pretty bad.

So yeah, I really don't know what to do. I know that my gf, and player A would both rather just play Kingmaker. And I'm about 90% the two newbies would too. The GM is a good friend of mine, and frankly, he's really unlucky and had a lot of crap come his way, so I've always tried to be there for him, and I know this is something important to him.

I'd really like advice about what to do, and if that entails telling him no, advice on good ways to do that would also be appreciated.

Thanks Guys


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Dude is dying of cancer. Play his game.


Wow man - heavy situation.

Here's a short answer, and it's by no means the only one. As I see it, it's just a game. You'll have decades to play. If your friend is really dying, and if he's a close friend, I'd say put Kingmaker on hold. So you move away and can't finish it - no biggie, it's just a game. Start Kingmaker with another crew in your new town. It's not THAT important after all. But if buddy really want's to get the closure on his campaign, I'd suck it up.

Ask yourself this: a few years down the road, which would you regret more?

Again, just my opinion, and I'm a total stranger to you. Take it for what it's worth.

Liberty's Edge

Rethlyr Jax wrote:
Dude is dying of cancer. Play his game.

+1

You've got years ahead of you to play Kingmaker. He wants six months.

This is a dilemma?


M. Breqs wrote:

Wow man - heavy situation.

Here's a short answer, and it's by no means the only one. As I see it, it's just a game. You'll have decades to play. If your friend is really dying, and if he's a close friend, I'd say put Kingmaker on hold. So you move away and can't finish it - no biggie, it's just a game. Start Kingmaker with another crew in your new town. It's not THAT important after all. But if buddy really want's to get the closure on his campaign, I'd suck it up.

Ask yourself this: a few years down the road, which would you regret more?

Again, just my opinion, and I'm a total stranger to you. Take it for what it's worth.

I agree with you. I doubt I'd start Kingmaker over, this is pretty much the only group I've ever played with. And it really doesn't bug me because I'll be moving back in a few years, and we could pick it up (or something else) then. The issue if I go this route becomes convincing the other people, they are as aware of the issues as I am, but don't seem as concerned(meant to put that in OP, and I worry about the future gaming of the 2 new people. Do I tell them to sit it out while we do it, tell them go for level 10 (I think this is a BAD idea) or something else? The idea of switching between campaigns is not gonna happen, especially since it would mean neither would likely get finished in time.

I think what I'd really like to do is have a couple of gaming weekends where the new guys don't come and the rest of us spend 2 or 3 days intense gaming and getting really immersed and try to finish his campaign in a few (days long) sessions. Anybody got experience with a situation like that and how well it works?


That's surprisingly serious for these parts. Really not what I was expecting when I clicked the link.

First off, I'm not with the above response. In all reality, I'm a horrible person, and treat most people around me like trash (as to how much they deserve the treatment, that's another topic), but here's what I've got for ya...

Talk to him, and tell him why people aren't pumped to finish his game. He's dying, not turning into some fragile glass child, and is likely to be being treated that way by other people around him. If this guy is really your friend, I would say some honesty as in order. Be frank with him, and talk him through the whole thing. Explain to him where people were having fun, and where people weren't, and if he's up for changing so everyone is enjoying themselves, then enjoy these last moments with your pal. If there is no compromise, there doesn't need to be a game. Simple as that.


Gailbraithe wrote:
Rethlyr Jax wrote:
Dude is dying of cancer. Play his game.

+1

You've got years ahead of you to play Kingmaker. He wants six months.

This is a dilemma?

Time is a factor, it's more the other people don't want to do it cause they don't like his GMing style. But these are the people he's played with forever and these are the people he wants to conclude it with. And for one guy, A, that would mean he's paying to play a game he doesn't necessarily enjoy for 6 months. I'd do it, but how do I convince someone else?

By the way, I appreciate all the replies from all you guys. y'all are great.


Fraust wrote:

That's surprisingly serious for these parts. Really not what I was expecting when I clicked the link.

First off, I'm not with the above response. In all reality, I'm a horrible person, and treat most people around me like trash (as to how much they deserve the treatment, that's another topic), but here's what I've got for ya...

Talk to him, and tell him why people aren't pumped to finish his game. He's dying, not turning into some fragile glass child, and is likely to be being treated that way by other people around him. If this guy is really your friend, I would say some honesty as in order. Be frank with him, and talk him through the whole thing. Explain to him where people were having fun, and where people weren't, and if he's up for changing so everyone is enjoying themselves, then enjoy these last moments with your pal. If there is no compromise, there doesn't need to be a game. Simple as that.

This is what I feel needs to happen. I did straight up say, man A says he doesn't want to and disagrees with everything you say, more or less. But I think a lot of progress could be made if I could get them together to hammer it out. We've done stuff like that before (we're good about handling stuff outside the game) and it works, but sometimes only for a while, sometimes it don't.

Words of wisdom you speak.


My assumption is that he is headed for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment to treat his stomach cancer. Having lived day by day with someone who went through that regimen for another type of cancer, I can tell you treatment will be brutal. There may be days when he'll need motivation to just get out of bed. Running his campaign may be that motivation.

I'll echo what was said before. Kingmaker will always be there; your friend may not be. Play his campaign. Help the new players - you can set them up with classes that are more simple to play. If everyone is having a good time working through the learning curve shouldn't be too big of a problem.

Grand Lodge

I'd go for a compromise... he's not gonna be healthy for the 6 months to run his game and that may impact on time to run etc.

Suggest that for both the benefit of his health and for the group that he summerise his campaign end into a number of one offs that take 1-2 sessions to run each, each one dealing with a high point/event in his story line - Offer 2 on PF/2 on his for 3 months... and see how it plays out.


Karameikos wrote:

My assumption is that he is headed for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment to treat his stomach cancer. Having lived day by day with someone who went through that regimen for another type of cancer, I can tell you treatment will be brutal. There may be days when he'll need motivation to just get out of bed. Running his campaign may be that motivation.

I'll echo what was said before. Kingmaker will always be there; your friend may not be. Play his campaign. Help the new players - you can set them up with classes that are more simple to play. If everyone is having a good time working through the learning curve shouldn't be too big of a problem.

It's really not the learning I'm worried about, it's how they view the game. My first campaign was amazing, even though I didn't really understand the rules for a lot of it because we took our characters and we went all the way from 1-18 over a period of years. That game is still my favorite and one of the best experiences of my life. If a couple session sin they were like, ok we're totally switching, make something more complicated and possibly unrelated. Don't bother getting attached or anything. I think I'd like to find a way to GM a separate game for them and let them not be involved with this one.

Liberty's Edge

I guess you have to decide what is more important to you, a game, or a friend who is dying.

I had a friend who I was once quite close to, but I had fallen out of regular contact with in the last few years. He died of bowel cancer a week and a half ago, less than 4 months after it was diagnosed. He was 34. I really regret that I didn’t get to spend more time with him, and I really hope that he got to tick as much as possible off his ‘bucket list’ before he died.

Do what you need to do, but understand that chances are very good you will have other chances to play Kingmaker and to re-interest your other friends in gaming if required. If your friend is really dying he will have no other chance to run the game he wants to finish. Or, you know, do anything. Ever.


If you were any real friend at all, there would be no hesitation from the moment he asked you to play his campain. A friendship is more important than any stupid game. And if other people have a problem with it, then thats thier problem. If they don't care enough to give you time to help your buddy out with one simple request like that, then you shouldnt even worry about their opinion.


Do both.

A lot of Kingmaker's second module can be played via play by post, actually. The kingdom building parts, especially, have proven to be very amenable to that, since not everyone's into that sub-system. Then, you just do the special events and side quests over email or this site's play by post section.

Yes, it's not ideal, but it keeps those players in and allows you to game with your dying friend.


roguerouge wrote:

Do both.

A lot of Kingmaker's second module can be played via play by post, actually. The kingdom building parts, especially, have proven to be very amenable to that, since not everyone's into that sub-system. Then, you just do the special events and side quests over email or this site's play by post section.

Yes, it's not ideal, but it keeps those players in and allows you to game with your dying friend.

That sounds awful. Sorry but we all hate play by post, it basically eliminates the best part of the game as far as we're concerned.

But your, and everyone else's, advice is greatly appreciated.


I don't think it has to suck. That way nobody is resentful. I would be honest and ask him to switchup his GM'ing style, at least enough so that people want to play it. That way people are there because they want to be there instead of through a guilt trip.

IIRC cancer makes you tired*, and that might be why he shortened sessions. If that is not a factor then I would ask him to do full sessions. It seems like the gaming is more a social event to him than the other players which is why he can just stop a session and do something else, assuming assuming my "tired" theory is incorrect.

*I am not a doctor.

In any event best of luck man, to everyone.


Mr. Swagger wrote:

I don't think it has to suck. That way nobody is resentful. I would be honest and ask him to switchup his GM'ing style, at least enough so that people want to play it. That way people are there because they want to be there instead of through a guilt trip.

IIRC cancer makes you tired*, and that might be why he shortened sessions. If that is not a factor then I would ask him to do full sessions. It seems like the gaming is more a social event to him than the other players which is why he can just stop a session and do something else, assuming assuming my "tired" theory is incorrect.

*I am not a doctor.

In any event best of luck man, to everyone.

Thank you for the well wishes. But in all honesty, it's actually backwards from how you portray it, but I see how you could come to that conclusion. He's the guy who gets way more into the roleplay story stuff than the rest of us, especially when he GMs. The rest of us are pretty content messing around and involving dice, we like to have our characters and portray them, but he really likes the theater aspect. That's what led to the short sessions. Part railroading us to make sure his story plays out right, part bad rulings, and it just led to aggravation.


@Davick: First I am really sorry to hear about your friend. Just last year I had a friend who died of colon cancer so I know what you are going through.

As to your problem...I really don't know what to say as I would be all for finishing the GM's game even I hated his style completely. I would just focus on the things I consider fun...even if it is really small part of the game. So I would not know how to convince A to play...as I can't even fathom what he is thinking.

I would probably run two games...and just have that GM's game located near where player A lives so player A has little to do to get to the game...or offer to drive him.


First let me say this, and as always this is simply my opinion. As a person goes through life they should always strive to enjoy themselves as much as they can, seek to better themselves whenever possible, and do their best to live a life without regrets.

That said, you have to decide for yourself what’s most important. How much aggravation would it ultimately be? In the end when everything over how much will you regret not doing it?

No one else, and I mean no one, has any right to judge what you decide regardless of what that may be. Without figuratively “walking a mile” in your shoes all anyone on this board really can do is express their opinion given limited information.

Now that I’ve said that, my own opinion, I would likely run both games. If splitting them up means not enough time for either can you play weekly rather then every other week? (at least it sounded like it was every other week). If drive time and/or expense is a factor consider VOIP, such as gaming with everyone on yahoo using voice chat. It’s not as good as being in person but sometimes you have to work with what you have.

Currently, I have some friends I play over yahoo with irregularly. Life is change and sometimes you have to adapt or let go. With yahoo you do have to trust the people you’re playing with to tell you the truth about what they rolled but it sounds like that’s less important then being able to play. Also, there are other online resources that allow you to see what it rolled though I’m not very familiar with them myself.

In any case good luck with whatever you decide.

Scarab Sages

Wow, really sorry about your friend. I would argue that games are, above all else, a way to spend great times among friends.

If travel distance is a problem, I would strongly recommend playing over Skype. It's not the same as being there in person, but I've been playing that way for years and it works surprisingly well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Davick wrote:
By the way, he's pretty good at making a big cool story to play in, but he's not so good at having all the rules down and actually running sessions.

I think he should pass the actual DMing of his campaign to another person. If he gives one person the details of the world/story and the rest of the players an outline, you'll be able to get through it quicker and more easily. (The players won't have to sit there asking "Can I X? Can I Y? Can I Z if I P first?" and he won't have to get frustrated and play video games.)

This will also relieve some of the work from the guy (and having cancer is a lot of work in itself), ensure that you can finish the story even if he can't finish it with you (I suspect he'd like knowing that you will finish it or are finishing it) in addition to making it more pleasant a game for the players and more efficient time-wise (longer sessions for player A and more quickly over for everybody who'd rather be playing Kingmaker).

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