Last night I was reading an article about GMing and the psychology of dealing with players and running a game. The more I read the more frustrated I got. When I saw that the players and GM should have a 'safe word' in case things got too heated, I had a visceral reaction of wanting to punch the writer until he stopped moving.
I'm all for folks getting along and having a game. Gaming is supposed to be enjoyable, otherwise why do it? But when you add pop psychology techniques into the mix on how to manage players and feelings...just saying it makes me want to throw up...it becomes a workplace situation where being politically correct must be observed when your killing a hundred imaginary goblins with an imaginary fireball. Screw that.
People get into arguments. It happens. You don't need a damn group hug and pass the talking pillow around the circle. Group dynamics work best when you get a group with a common sense of what you want out of the game. The Monday night crew I game with are all 40's dudes who have been playing for years who enjoy making stupid jokes, making fun of each other and rolling dice. We cheer and laugh at the failures as much as the successes. Probably more at the failures. But we come together each week expecting a break from our real life responsibilities and worries.
Others want something else out of the game. Maybe it becomes more to them than just a game and take it more serious when bad things happen to their characters. That kind of person would not fit into our group. I would hate to see someone come into our group and try to be serious. I think they would get frustrated very quickly. We have some grade A smartasses in our group. Yes Ken, I am putting myself into that category.
If you need a fricking safe word or a time out chair for your group than the dynamics need to change. A person may need to go. It's really no big deal. There is no congressional right to game or to belong to a group. If you have a griefer in your group you don't invite him back. If it's a buddy of your get in his craw and tell him to knock it the hell off and let's have some fun.
Some people will think I'm simplifying the problem. I would tell them they are complicating the situation. I've been very fortunate in this regard, with annoying members of a gaming group. If I don't like it I don't go back. Why get angry and frustrated? I can do that at work and get paid for it. Minimize the bullshit. Maybe that will be my safe word.
Or maybe I am just that guy.