Shadowrun, Shadowran, Shadowrant


I got to play my first session of Shadowrun (4th ed.) with our new group this last Tuesday. Boy, was I disappointed! This is me blowing off some serious steam about the game. Arrgh! I'm STILL mad... Fair warning folks, this is going to be a bitch-fest more than anything else.

The night started off bad when my wife was 45 minutes late picking me up from work. There was a real bad wreck blocking the highway and she was stuck in traffic forever. Oh yeah, and my daughter got sick while they waited in bumper to bumper gridlock. Nice.

We thought that our friends would either be there waiting for us, out eating dinner, or that they would have cancelled due to our tardiness. A few minutes after we got home they called us to tell us that they were running late as well and would be there shortly.

When they arrived I tried for over twenty minutes to get the GM to check the characters that I had made so that we'd be ready to play. He was more interested in playing a game that I had been playing on the Xbox when they showed up. A game that he owns and has already beaten. You need to get some priorities bro...

We were something like two hours late getting started.

When he did finally turn his attention to our characters, it was only to nonchalantly shoot down some of my best, most creative efforts to the entertainment of the other two payers, both of whom are Shadowrun vets who have been playing Shadowrun for over a decade each and have several sessions of 4th ed. under their belt already. What a load of crap...

A Little Background

I borrowed the GM's basic Shadowrun book so that I could make characters for my wife and myself. The GM had visited for several hours on Sat to do the same thing but we made very little progress.

So I borrowed his book and worked on our characters while on the job. I sent the GM several emails asking for clarification on issues, or help, or advice. I didn't receive any responses.

My GM works graves and is not awake before 1600 hours. He gets home around 0900 hours and can check his email. I start at 0700 and he'd have several waiting. I'd have been happy with short responses. He does have email access at work and time to write them. I get off work at 1800 hours and then we meet at my house at 1830 to roleplay. That's plenty of time to answer questions.

So here I am. Working on creating two characters for a genre that I'm not familiar with, for a game that I don't know, with absolutely no help. I spent most of two days, approx 8 hours each day, making these characters.

Disclaimer: I have played a few sessions of 3rd ed. while working security with the GM in question. This was over a year ago and I never made the characters. The GM did. He also had me invent skills and spells for those characters rather than just relying on what the books had to offer.

I created my character, a Chinese martial artist/mage who was born into the Triad, based off a character that I had played in 3rd ed. I played that character for one session, but the other players liked him so much that I recreated him for them. His name is Hung So Lo.

Hung is a serious comic character. By that I mean that while his name is Hung So Lo (say it out loud, you'll get it) and he has funny spells and the like, this is not a silly character for a silly campaign. This is a serious character for a serious realistic campaign. That's what makes him so funny and endearing to everyone.

I gave Hung 9 spells. I invented several of them and needed stats. These spells included Menstrual Flow (obvious, targets women), Anal Leakage (causes mild to explosive diarrhea), Branding (imprints neon blue letters on subject's skin. Glows in black light, caster chooses words), Spiderclimb (allows subject to climb up and down walls and ceiling at normal movement. I freely admit stealing this from D&D), and Gremlin (same as disadvantage, mechanical and electrical objects stop working and developed weird problems. Examples include clip falling out of gun, security monitors showing episodes of Desperate Housewives, etc.). I sent multiple emails to the GM on Monday and Tuesday.

The only response that I received from the GM (while gaming the fantasy game that he is also running on Monday night) was that he would allow me to have two unidentified spells in exchange for Menstrual Flow and Anal Leakage. I said fine and received Orgasm (single subject) and Orgy (area of effect). Nice trade that I am happy with.

Making Contact(s)

The GM also told me Monday night that he'd HIGHLY recommend these characters investing points into contacts.

So I gave Hung two contacts. A rookie beat cop and a journalist fresh off her internship with a major news agency. I worked up complete backgrounds on these contacts including name, description, job, how they met my character and what their relationship was. I included their history and where I thought their relationships were headed. I even included what they did for a living, what resources they had access to, and something on their personality.

Each of these contacts was fleshed out enough to be characters in their own right. They were interesting and had potential to move up in the world and become more valuable over time.

I emailed the contacts to the GM. His only response was Tuesday night after I finally got him to look at our character sheets. He told me that I didn't get to choose who my contacts are. He does. Just like that, the hours that I invested in my contacts got shot down the toilet. What kind of crap is that?

Neither one of these contacts are powerful. There is nothing remotely munchkin about them, yet they are useful and have lots of potential in the long run. But no, the GM wants to give me premade contacts out of a book.

That's just stupid. Why shoot down a player who is ambitious and creative enough to spend hours inventing and fleshing out perfectly usable NPCs for the game? If I were running the game, I'd welcome and reward this kind of effort. Even if the NPCs thus created were stupid or overpowering, I'd tailor them to my campaign and fit them in. You don't just hit the delete button, ass.


So here I am. Pissed off and moody. Not knowing if my characters were any good. Waiting on a GM who really doesn't seem to care.

I made my wife an elven college student who was a Shadowrunner because that was the only way to pay for school. Her father owns an independent security business that supplies security firms and home owners with security devices like cameras, motion sensors, and alarms.

The only disadvantage that I could find that fit her character was to give her a SIN (System Identification Number), making her a legal citizen. There are only twenty disadvantages in the book, and that's a generous estimate. Most of these disadvantages deal with addiction and the like. Crap. Her character is actually a "good" person, not someone who lives in a garbage can and has to Run to eat for the next few days.

I gave the GM a list of possible disadvantages for her so that she could use the points to buy the contacts that he said she needed to get. I asked him to pick a couple and assign point values to them, or to supply me with other disadvantages (he has every published Shadowrun book before 4th ed.).

He didn't. Of course.

Fixer Upper

So then he tells us that we need a fixer. Why? I'm in the Triad for cryin' out loud! If he needs me to go on a run, all he has to do is have someone who outranks me (which at this point is everyone as this is my character's first run) tell me to go do a job. Hell, they don't even need to pay me. I'm obligated to them, not the other way around!

Kat (my wife's character) may need a fixer for her work. She would have had one too, complete with a detailed background, work ethics, and how he met Kat, if the GM had responded to my email and given me even one more disadvantage for her.

But no. He'd rather insult us for not having a fixer and then give us a shitty one. A Mr. Ed or something like that. Mr. Ed has a connection rating of four which means that he is well connected and knows a lot of stuff. A loyalty rating of 1 which means that he'll sell our souls for five bucks. Great... BTW That's ALL the info that we have on this guy. Way to go chump. Good background. How'd our characters even meet this guy? Why would my character need a fixer?

So this fixer has us meet him at a church and offers us a job nabbing six people. Pay is $2k a person, payment only when all six people have been delivered unharmed.

One of the vets didn't seem to get this. I thought it was simple. The fixer wanted us to deliver all six targets at once. It meant that we needed a safe house to store them. That's not hard to find. But that player complained that we didn't have the resources and the fixer gives us a safe house... for FREE! How does that make sense? Wouldn't he demand at least a cut of our profit? Then he supplies us with cryogenic tubes to store the targets in, again for free.

The only reasoning that I can see is that this job is a throw-away job for the GM to teach us the system. I hate it when GMs do that. They rush through something so that they can get to the part that they wanna play. They never stop to think that maybe the players aren't on the GM wavelength and might enjoy playing the set-up adventure in its entirety.

I know that as a player, I hate being rushed or having things skipped over. I'm not endorsing micromanagement here, but it's one thing to skip days, weeks, and months, while on an uneventful journey and another thing to skip steps during an adventure or to make things super easy when they shouldn't be, just so that you can get through it faster.

The veteran players decided after meeting with the fixer that they would start the job immediately. They also decided to attempt to grab the two hardest targets first, and then the four easy targets, despite the fact that this makes absolutely no logical sense. Their argument is that "this is the way that we always do it". How stupid is that? Remember, these are Shadowrun vets that we're talking about here.

Preparation H?

My opinion of them and the GM lowered even further when they decided to grab the hardest target on the list with ABSOLUTELY NO PREPARATION!!! Their idea of preparation was to drive up into the target's gated community and hack into her home security system (which is an apparent cakewalk for beginner characters with a session or two under their belts).

This target was a mid level PR rep for a good sized corp. She lived in a gated community and had a large Samoan bodyguard. We knew her address, her job, her marital status (single), and criminal record (none).

We didn't know her schedule, what her normal routine was, if she had a boyfriend, if she had plans for the night, what time she got off, if she carried a gun or knew martial arts. In essence, we knew next to nothing.

Also, we knew nothing about the gated community, the security company protecting it, or the security systems involved. Please bear in mind that Kat has a working knowledge of every security firm and system within the city. She could have told us the gated communities security procedures, estimated camera number and placement, and other security systems that may be in place.

Kinda valuable intel, don't you think?

Not according to the vets and the GM.

Nobody Home

After determining that she wasn't home and turning off the camera's, we strolled into her home and camped out until she showed up from work.

Our hacker, one of the vets, stayed in his white van parked across the street from the target's house. He kept an eye out for the target and let us know when she arrived.

Hours passed, the target arrived home with her one bodyguard. We killed him (after a pretty good struggle), rolled her up in a carpet and brought her home.

This was a cakewalk. Why? There is so much that could have gone wrong! My wife, a veteran of my games (mostly fantasy) tried asking about the number of security patrols in the gated community, assuming that they would be suspicious of a strange white van parked for hours in the neighborhood.

She was told by the GM and players not to worry about it. She was given the number of patrols (20!), but security never made an appearance. Weird.

Usually gated communities required signatures and verifiable reasons for non residents to enter the community. Not this one.

So we killed a bodyguard, grabbed a gal, and left in our van. We deposited the target in her tube and froze her.

The vet who owns the van never bothered to change or hide his plates. I'd assume that license plates would still be required in 2070. He also didn't bother checking the Community's security system, just the house's.

Do you think that an upscale gated community would have discreet cameras sprinkled throughout the neighborhood and a bunch focused on each of the main gates? And when a woman goes missing and her bodyguard is found dead from stab wounds, do you think that they'll check the records, find the van, and run the plates? That vet is fracked. What a friggin moron.

Crossing the Line

I endured an entire night of having the GM and the two vets downtalk and treat me like an imbecile. The vets played like morons and the GM either didn't realize how easily it would have been to mess with them (idiot) or didn't bother to do anything about it (lazy).

There is a pretty obvious line between knowing how to tell a story and knowing the game world and rules. It's easy to see which side of the line these guys are on.

No player in any game that I run is dumb enough to do what these so-called vets did. At least, not more than once. There is no way that you can just show up and grab someone like this. Not without some careful planning. Otherwise you'd face severe and usually immediate repercussions.

Kat and I were completely useless until it came to the fight with the bodyguard. We killed him. That's it. That is our entire contribution to the job. Killing a bodyguard.

These vets messed everything up and yet somehow the job got done with no mishaps. That is the GMs fault. What makes matters worse is that these vets are already congratulating themselves on a job well done and telling my wife and I that we should follow their example and that maybe we'll learn something. Makes me want to enjoy a wee bit o' the ultraviolence...

They also stated that they expect to be able to complete a run in an hour of playing time. That's their AVERAGE!! How is that possible? Maybe a really simple run with no complications or bad luck. But that'd have to be a rare occurrence, right? Guess not. Not with this GM...

Maybe they should have me run a short adventure for them. That'd shut them up and if the GM played, he may learn a thing or two about running a game. Things like taking advantage of mistakes that the players make. Giving the players realistic obstacles and consequences to their actions or lack of preparation. Rewarding creative efforts instead of shooting them down.

Closing Comments

Shadowrun is a cool world and we could do a lot with it. My problem is not the world or the game system. It is the GM. I hate to say this because the GM is a very good friend of mine, but that game sucked hard ass when it shouldn't have.

This same GM has been running a fantasy campaign for us for over five months now. His GMing skill in that game is relatively low but he has said that it was due to his unfamiliarity with both the genre and the game system. I believed him and he has gotten better at running that game over time.

What's really frustrating for me is that this GM and most of the players in our two groups refuse to let me run a game. They also refuse to take advice and rarely accept feedback. That would be admitting that they are wrong and that someone else may know more or be better at something than they are. Can't have that! Especially not from someone who has hasn't even read the Shadowrun book or played through runs with them.

The players who I've GMed for in the past liked this GM a lot when they first started playing with him. He allows more powerful characters, lots of magic, the bad guys are pussies, and things almost always go our way. Over time though, they got bored.

This Shadowrun game was far worse. I have fun in the fantasy game. My character is pretty munchkinish in combat, but during the course of the game he met and married, had two kids, lost his wife, and is now losing his mind.

Granted, I put a lot of effort into keeping my character balanced and not being a full fledged munchkin, but at least I'm having fun.

I don't think that I will be able to play Hung So Lo in this group. Despite his name, this is a serious character not meant for popcorn movie type games. He deserves more. So do I.

Other then finishing the current job, my character has absolutely no inclination to work with this group again. Neither do I.

If this is a typical game, which judging from the vets and knowing the GM I'll assume that it is, then I have no interest in playing. I read most of the Shadowrun book and I have a fair understanding of the rules. I could easily run this game. Will I get a chance to? No.

Just like I haven't gotten a chance to run anything for the group in the last five months. My wife, my only vet player that is currently playing with the group, enjoys playing with me as a player but misses the way that I run games. The other players and the current GM could learn a lot by playing in a game that I run, but they refuse to.

If these were people that I didn't know then I would kick them to the curb and move on. Unfortunately, these are very good friends. So now what do I do?

Give some advice. Tell me what you think.

.......and rela-a-a-a-x......


First off, listen to lurkinggherkin.
Secondly, disregarding the details of the session, think about:
1) Why was the guy running this game (system and genre)? Was he badgered into it? Did it just beg to be played when he read it? Is it his favorite game to play? If the answer is any of these, there is alot of room for trouble. If he's badgered, then his heart isn't in it. If it was from reading it, he expects everyone else to realize the inherent coolness of it and can't be bothered by squares. If he's a fan of playing it, the time commitment may be more than he is willing to make, so everyone gets screwed.
2) Why did the other players have a good time and you didn't? You said he runs munchkinesque games with plenty of loot, high body counts, and pac-man plot. You on the other hand seem to be a little deeper and actually consider the role aspect of RPG.
3) Why do 2 groups of people refuse to let you run games? Is it becasue you gripe about the play style and wnat to "show them" a thing or two? They may seriously consider you a threat to their gmaing style and connot see wasting their game time working out plot details.
4) Consider gaming maturity. When I started playing, I focused alot on loot and levels and anything quantitative. Through the years, quality has become more important. I suspect this is the case for most (definitely not all) role-players, especially those that started in high school. But just as poeple mature at different rates, so do gamers. You are apparently further along than they are and it is darn difficult to manage a group with both ends of the spectrum.

You mentioned that these are good friends. I assume by this statement that your friendship extends beyond RPGs. If this is the case, there should not be a problem with not gaming with them on the grounds that "I'm do not enjoy your gaming style." and hopefully locating a group more your speed.

Make certain that when you do run a game, that no one can say about your game, what you've posted here.


Some good points, Whut.

Consider gaming maturity. When I started playing, I focused alot on loot and levels and anything quantitative. Through the years, quality has become more important. I suspect this is the case for most (definitely not all) role-players, especially those that started in high school. But just as people mature at different rates, so do gamers.

Sadly, sometimes player maturity can go retrograde as well. This regression can often be traced back to the point when they started playing World of Warcraft....they say they are only doing it just for fun and they can give it up any time they like. But the urge to powergame starts creeping insidiously into their tabletop playing style as well.....

I support Whutaguy...
Simply tell them you haven't enjoyed it.
Avoid telling them all these criticisms you have if they're not interested in hearing them (which seems, to me, to be the state of things).

You seem surprised that SR "vets" are behaving like this. why?
Being veteran just means they're familiar with the rules and THEIR VERSION OF THE WORLD... doesn't say anything about complexity or fitting your style.

In any case, if you don't enjoy it, find another game. BTW, If the GM came to my house and played XBOX instead of preparing for the session, I'd shut the TV off in mid-game.

Me and my fiance recently played a session with someone I used to game with in high school. This guy used to be an amazing GM. I was apalled at what had become of his "skill". I won't go into details but it was a similar experience to yours, except using WFRP. He had spent the last several years running his campaigns like tabletop battles, and that had clearly rubbed off on him. The style his players wanted had so deeply influenced the way he looked at the hobby that it wasn't even like playing with the same guy anymore. No characterization of NPCs, no visual description beyond "there's a house" or "it's a door".

I on the other hand (and this sounds soooo conceited, but it really isn't) had spent the intervening years since we had played together last working on my setting, adding depth and detail in places I didn't even need it. I had tried to grow as a GM away from miniatures (which I had never cared to use anyways) and into a completely immersive experience. I had also been running one or two sessions a week (most times more) every week since he and I had last gamed together...he had played maybe once a month, and only in the winter.

As soon as Tara and I left his palce that night, we started talking in the cab on the way home. Her first comment, said with a chuckle and with no malice intended, was "I thought you said he was a deadly GM?" We proceeded to talk about all the things he had done wrong, done foolishly, or just plain not done. Heh...that cabby must have thought we were wackos. We decided we should try to get him into one of my games, not to "show him how it's done" per se...but if that happened, then all the better.

He won't do it. No real reason either...he's expressed an interest, but backs out at the last minute every single time we make plans together. He's talked on and on about this uberserious campaign that he plays in in the winter, but when asked to describe the storyline, or even just his character and motivations...nothing. A complete blank. All he can say is "well, we always die and go to all these different hells". Okay...that sounds cool...tell me more! Nothing. Seems there is no more. And yet, he goes on and on about all this depth to the campaign, and how it's so serious I wouldn't like it. Yeah right! I told him about the last three campaigns I ran, all soooo dire serious and heavy (I don't run fluffy campaigns) but he just plain will not comment. Odd, to say the least. He and I used to sit up till 6 or 7 am after games would end talking about all the different things that gamers talk about.

I can't seem to get this guy out of his shell and back into the kind of roleplaying we both used to love.

Then it occured to me...he just simply does not love it anymore, at least not in the way we both used to and I still do. He wants sessions that can be wrapped up between supper and bedtime, and campaigns that are quite face value and don't take a lot of in depth thinking to get through them. Is this a bad thing? Nope...we still tip back beers together and listen to metal. But, sadly, it seems our gaming time together is over and a thing of the past.

And he doesn't seem willing to talk about why...he just doesn't like to talk about it anymore. Life, people he's played with in the intervening years, and the ways that people change when they don't talk for years so drastically altered him as a person and a roleplayer that we are no longer compatible as a gaming group.

How is any of this related to Calamar's rant? LOL. You may just be finished gaming with these guys, but that likely won't affect your friendships. Move to Calgary dude...join my group! I need two more players anyways, and was hoping for a girl and a guy. LOL.

Cheers brother...

No kidding...Mordeheim did in one player I had from back in the day...see below. LOL

1. He was running the game because he wanted to. He has GMed Shadowrun for about 10 years. He bought 4th last May. He's been dying to run a Shadowrun game since we met. We played a session or two, but nothing took off. This was the worst session by far.

My anger wasn't at the GMing style itself, although it was very weak, but because of the condenscending attitude of the GM and veteran players.

2. Nobody had a good time that night. Unexpected company showed up and the GM and vets continued playing the game while my wife and I dealt with the company. They were frustrated that we didn't pay any attention to the game, we were pissed because they didn't stop the game until the comany left.

3.The two groups are the same people. Only 1 person, my wife, has ever been in a game that I've ran. She'd love to have me running games for this group. I don't know why the others won't. Maybe because this GM has been their only GM for so long. They've never given me a chance to run a game. I don't know why, honestly.

4. I actually sent this article as a letter to the GM. I softened it a bit, but I was pissed so it was still pretty viscious. In ensuing emails, I have moderated my tone and lost most of my anger. Thus the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th emails were very nice. I apologized for this 1st letter's harshness and tried to work out some compromises.

The GM's response was to "trash" all his GURPS stuff, quite GMing, refuse to roleplay for the forseeable future, and to call me names. This is stuff that he wrote in response to my 4th letter. I think that his maturity level went swirly down the toilet.

As my sister told me; he needs to pull on his Big Boy panties and get over that 1st letter and work on our friendship a bit.

Note: The GM also stated that he is tired of hearing from whiny little b**ches like me. Apparently, I wasn't the first person to approuch him like this.

Maybe he should learn from what we say, no?

I agree with you about the TV except for two things. We game immediately after I get home from work and once I sit down, it takes a lot take make me wanna get back up. I'm still unwinding from work and a 25 mile drive through rush hour.

And I'm known as a jerk (bet you guys never saw THAT coming) and so I try to be as nice as possible when we have company.

It's hard to get a gaming group together when you have three kids and both you and you wife work long hours.

I was surprised at the vets because one of them plays the fantasy game with us. In that game he's a very sweet nice guy. In this game he was a condenscending d*ck.. Same with the GM. There was a new player to the group, maybe they changed for him. Still pissed me off.

The other thing that surprised me was how incompetant they were at planning and carrying out the job. No surveillance, no planning, no resources. They basically just ran up and grabbed the target and ran away. Despite this lack of forthought, nothing bad happened.

I hate easy games.

"No characterization of NPCs, no visual description beyond "there's a house" or "it's a door"."

That's it! That's him exactly!

"He won't do it. No real reason either...he's expressed an interest, but backs out at the last minute every single time we make plans together."

Yup, that's him again.

"Move to Calgary dude...join my group!"

Love to but for one small thing. I hate cold weather. Colorado is bad enough, but you live in friggin' CANADA!! HElll no! When we move, it's gonna be to someplace that's moderate year round, like Georgia or Oregon.

My mom lives in Canada, right on the beach of the Bay of Fundy. She owns a B&B there. So maybe I'll VISIT...

Bay of Fundy? You'd still be waaaay too far away. I do have this Saturday afternoon game I run over Skype however....hmmmm.

My friend's parent just moved to Calgary. But that's a bit like saying they moved to Colorado. Big place, very low chance of being in your area.

Maybe we can organize a vacation somewhere between where we live. A week of roleplaying while camping in Montana during the summer. That'd rock!

Damn rights that would rock! I like roleplaying while camping. I guess I'd have to print out some of these pdfs on my laptop before hand though...nothing like the growl of a generator to heighten the mood of a session, eh?

This is drifting off topic, but a Gamegrene get together is a hell of an idea if maybe a bit of a logistical nightmare to implement...what with the Europeans being across the water and all.

"Moving to Montana soon....going to be dental floss tycoon......"

Montana sounds tempting. Sadly, as the lady in my life isn't too keen on either gaming or camping this would have to be a solo venture, and the only slot I have available during the next year for such an enterprise is already pencilled in. (I'm taking a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway.)

But for a session held in a more connected locale, there's always Skype.

(Unless you can get a satellite connection from your campsite....)

I don't know who else we have in Europe. Olly I think is a Brit but he hasn't posted in a while. Zip is in Israel which is not technically in Europe, though they do enter the Eurovision Song Contest every year so I guess they are honorary Europeans.

Oh yeah? I thought there were more European around here. Maybe I'm thinking of somewhere else...LOL.

Skype...yeah man, that has totally allowed me to game with people I never thought I would game with again. I run a Saturday afternoon session every week for the group I used to play with in high school.

Hey...we're Europeans...if it's really dark and you squint hard enough :)

Aren't the Eurovision and basketball championships proof enough?

Let's not let little things like geography confuse us. ;)

Cal .. sorry to hear about that session. I wouldn't be too critical of the GM though if he is delivering what his players want.

Unfortunately you don't fit with that group. My guess is that they suffer from creative laziness brought about by repetitive low-quality stimulation. I guess at one point fantasy was an exercise of "what if" instead of the tired regurgitation of motifs and plots. Fantasy has become so popular that even the poorest quality schluck is pervasive. Sure, it is packaged in pretty boxes and promises escape. Without the ability to challenge systems of belief and evoke horror, fear, revulsion, or pity – it becomes an empty exercise in the mindless love of power. Do the creators of this tripe have a secret agenda? Are they indoctrinating the young on a philosophy of murder and plunder as the path to self esteem? It makes me very irritated. Or, as a logician would say, "verrrry irrrrittatted."

Oooh .. how I rant:

It is true that electronic games have claimed the minds of many a good RPGer.

watch out those cartons of yogurt!

I have a similar experience. My current GM tools around on his laptop while we are playing, never has assigned names for NPCs or locations (sometimes even asks us what would be a cool name, then we have to remember the name), and uses at best two pages of notes. The part that bugs me most of all is how mind numbingly easy and boring the adventure is. We don't use miniatures or a map. I'm lucky to get him to use dice as opposed to "role playing it out." And, when we role play a situation, guess what happens... the PCs always win. Whenever I try to do something above and beyond or unexpected (like finding intervals between security patrols), the action turns out to be totally unnecessary, unrewarded and he looks at me like I'm a paranoid idiot. Right now the pc's are spectators to his story.

Unfortunately I haven't confronted him like Calamar did. I started skipping out on some sessions and doing paintball instead, but I don't think he got the message.

Maybe its because you were angry when you wrote this article, but it sounds really snobby. It sounds like your play style doesn't match the groups style and now you're getting off by looking down on them about it.

"There is a pretty obvious line between knowing how to tell a story and knowing the game world and rules. It's easy to see which side of the line these guys are on."

You're implying that you can be either a role-player (good) or a power gamer (bad). And you can't be both. Games are about theater OR rolling dice.

Those munchkins with a different style should just shut up and realize how superior YOUR style is. Then they'll REALLY have fun. You get it and they don't.

"Maybe they should have me run a short adventure for them. That'd shut them up and if the GM played, he may learn a thing or two about running a game."

Take notes noobs, the ELITE RP MASTER is here! Like a true master, he can come up with "a serious character for a serious realistic campaign"... named Hung So Lo. Who casts spells like Anal Leakage, Orgasm, Menstrual Flow, and Orgy.

""The other players and the current GM could learn a lot by playing in a game that I run, but they refuse to ... What's really frustrating for me is that this GM and most of the players in our two groups refuse to let me run a game. They also refuse to take advice and rarely accept feedback. That would be admitting that they are wrong and that someone else may know more or be better at something than they are."

I wonder if you sound this condescending in person. I wonder if that's why they don't want to listen to you or play your games. You think you're better than them. If they have fun playing this way (and clearly they do, as they've been doing it for years), what's so wrong with that?

I admit that a lot of the stuff you describe doesn't make it sound like the GM knows what he's doing. By the way you tell it, I wouldn't have had much fun playing. But IMHO a good player knows how to roll with the punches and doesn't let this stuff get under his skin, especially if it involves close friends. My good friends have run bad, bad, awful games before, but its never made me want to shoot them a vindictive e-mail about how bad they are at the game and how superior my style is. That's just rude.

Sorry about the late response. I was bored and wanted to write...

1. He loves Shadowrun and grew up playing it with his friends. This was his idea and he simply waited until 4th ed came out.

2. He was running a game and genre that was new to him. I gave him a lot of allowances for that. I didn't truly realize how he ran a game until I saw him in his element; with the game that he knows, GMing his old players.

3.Both groups had the same GM. He refused to play and the few "vets" that he brought to the game followed his lead. My vets loved him at first but quickly grew bored. After it became apparent that the others wouldn't let me run a game at all they simply quit playing.

Now I'm running games for my vets and not playing with this GM or his vets. It's a shame too, because they are great people and good freinds outside of roleplaying...

4. We have moved on and still hang out on occasion. However, roleplaying has become a taboo subject.

This is all pretty stupid I think, including my part in it.

You're right, I wrote this when I was still pissed off about it. I guess that I got so angry because it was such a huge letdown for me on a personal level. I've been looking for a competent GM for years. I have only found one person who learned to run a compelling game (even though it wasn't my style), but I lost him when he became addicted to Meth. I don't associate with druggies.

In this case I had a mature, intelligent friend who wanted to try running a fantasy game and then later, 4th ed. SR.

I was dissappointed with his GMing, but dealt with it for months because I wanted to play. He kept explaining that he was much better at SR, and so we gave him a shot. By then, my wife and I were the only players left who he hadn't brought to the game with him.

I dealt with his ineptitude for months. We played sessions were characters died, but somehow ended with minor injuries instead. We went up against impossible odds and walked through the opposition with scratches at best.

It wasn't until this session of SR that I lost it though. Why? Because the GM didn't seem to care. Because the GM and his "vets" oozed contempt.

I felt insulted and demeaned by people who professed to be my friends.

I'm a pretty level headed guy, but that pissed me off. Thus this article.

While I do believe that I am an extremely gifted GM, I'm not usually a roleplaying elitist. I am willing to go with the flow and to accept that others are better than I am and that I'm not always right.

I am extremely opinionated, as you can tell with the other things that I've written at Gamegrene. But I don't usually get angry and I rarely directly insult people, their gaming style, or their intelligence. Not even D&D players ;-)