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The Columbia Dungeons & Dragons/Superhero RPG Meetup Group Message Board › "Sorta like dating . . .": Matchmaking for the RPG Gametable

"Sorta like dating . . .": Matchmaking for the RPG Gametable

A former member
Post #: 12
I didn't make my previous comment to be rude or demeaning so I will elaborate. The whole point of the game is to have fun. While I see your points, not everyone holds themselves to the same standards of hygeine. While a house full of beer can stacks, or overflowing litter boxes may not be the place for many of us (myself included) oh well, there's always another game. Maybe I have been blessed but none of these examples has ever happened to me. Every group I have been in has been in a clean home. Point being: you can find a group with what you want. A diverse group that is focused on having fun through D&D is the best. I don't want 5 players with the same core values as each other or myself. How internal group conflicts are resolved shapes much of the game. If you don't like kids, there are many games hosted at homes without them. I have played at both and kids are a distraction, but I like kids and frankly, thats what they do. I guess how I feel is that after reading your post, I would be extremely hesitant to invite you to my home to play D&D (even though it seems you may be the type of player I would enjoy) as I would feel like I was being inspected. This would take much fun out of the experience for me. Lastly- and I am not suggesting everyone invite a murderer to their group here- criminals are some of the most interesting people I have ever met. Some of them even make great gamers. Every group is different, not all are for everyone and a little compromise and acceptance is needed in every one to make it work. Geez it really is like dating! So, good luck finding what you need Roro. Though I think your search would be easier if you loosen up your standards maybe just a little.
A former member
Post #: 4
RoRo and Drew -

Thanks very much for your comments and observations. RoRo, believe me I understand the anxiety you express, but you may be overstating the case just a bit. Personally, I'm hardly in any position to pass judgment on the habits and lifestyles of other gamers. Just by way of example, most people don't understand my own habit of using our toilet bowl scrub brush as a back-scratcher in front of guests or while at the office.

Everyone has their own niche socially, and that's partly determined by personality, background, priorities and economic/professional situation in general. Some of those niches are, through the magic of personal chemistry, compatible. My previous jab about gamers who excavate their own private dungeons was a bit of hyperbole. See, I'm in the habit of overstating my own case too. In the end, if someone is willing to open their home to me, and I meet them halfway by expressing an interest in gaming with them, it's my responsibility to respect their hospitality even though their own personal environment or lifestyle might not reflect my own entirely. As far as committing to game sessions is concerned, I've occasionally had to beg pardon for missing on short notice simply because family and professional obligations take precedence - end of discussion; my gaming group understood and accepted that fact in advance. Hence, the motive behind this discussion thread - to create a low-stakes, common ground environment where we can learn just a little more about one another, our philosophy of gaming, expectations and degree of investment before committing to a group. And if no group forms out of that discussion, no harm done - it's useful just to know a little more what the gaming environment is like in one's community.

Drew, I appreciate your clarification of your first reply. I was particularly interested in your comment:
"A diverse group that is focused on having fun through D&D is the best. I don't want 5 players with the same core values as each other or myself. How internal group conflicts are resolved shapes much of the game." How true. This made me reconsider how I expressed my own position in earlier posts in my observations about finding commonality in and outside the game environment. It's not that I want four or five clones of myself sitting at the game table in terms of specific values, socio-economic status, or whatever. My last active gaming group included an outspoken atheist as well as a seminary graduate who was preparing to become a minister. And it worked because everyone brought to the table a sense of mutual respect and cooperation.

As far as shared core values are concerned, my principal benchmark has to do with gamers who enjoy playing sadists or out-and-out evil, malicious and cruel characters. That's not to say my gaming groups have been populated by angels. Indeed, the Lankhmar campaign I DM'd involved characters whose profit motive would make Gordon Gecko look like Mother Theresa. But they were willing to work together in pursuit of a common goal, and it's hard to do that when one or more characters is/are running around, killing people for no good reason, or setting one another up to take a fireball trap in the face.

Again, thanks to everyone who has contributed to, or followed this discussion so far. RoRo, Drew, I encourage you to keep the conversation going if you are so inclined. The spirit of healthy disagreement is where meaningful conversations start. Sorry about the excessively long posting - I have a tendency to overexpress myself and in consequence often express myself poorly.

Hey, my family and I will be hitting the road for Columbia tomorrow, so wish us luck.

Cheers -


P.S. I was just kidding about the toilet bowl scrubber/back-scratcher thing . . . (or was I?)
Brian H.
user 9166135
Columbia, SC
Post #: 5
Hi, Michael:

As a recent transplant to SC with a small child, I hope you have a safe trip. And welcome. I'd be interested in getting together for coffee and some gaming chat when you get settled in!

This meetup group has been great. There was a great D&D 4E session at Heroes and Dragons not long ago. I was a complete 4E newb, but the folks running the game were great about shoe-horning me into the session and showing me the ropes. Great fun and thanks again, guys.

For me, work and family commitments eat into my gaming time. Part of my problem is meshing with a group composed of folks whose lifestyles encourage 8+ hours of straight-out gaming every week. I'd love to do that, but can't. I have more of a 3-4 hours every other weekend sort of life right now. I'd love to hook into a group of folks interested in such a schedule.

The FearTheBoot podcast some time ago did a spot on finding the right folks for your group. Their point was similar to Michael's, which I wholeheartedly agree with: don't meet the folks you plan to game with for the first time AT THE GAME. Get together before-hand and figure out if you get along first. After all, you need to be able to spend time with folks AND ENJOY IT to make it worthwhile.

This group has done that several times (all of which I seem to miss). :(

Anyway, again, have a safe trip, Michael! Let us know when you want to meet for that coffee.


Brian H.
user 9166135
Columbia, SC
Post #: 6

4 - a fundamental set of expectations about narratives and how characters work in them - more to the point, balance of rules/story and limitations-of-characters/hero-archetype­s

I find the best groups are the ones simultaneously hungry enough to want a good story while at the same time humble enough to see how the DM and other players want to contribute.

I welcome such a discussion. I'd love to meet for just social reasons and not necessarily gaming.


Hear, hear! I'd be interested in a gaming/non-gaming hanging of out with cool folk, too. :)
A former member
Post #: 4
Haha, thanks Drew.

I want to point out that I stated my purpose in taking part in this conversation was to help alleviate my fears and help find ways around my initial biases, and through mellow-dramatics I hope I did not offend anyone.

If inviting me to your house would make you feel that way...well I don't know what to say, other than I hope my admiration for opulence does not interfere with our discussions. It is difficult because I just don't fit in with other roleplayers, I walk into a game store and everyone turns their heads, thinking 'what is he doing here?' because based on my appearance (high fashion business professional) no one would ever think I could be a gamer. Haha it's like the roles are reversed and they are the "popular kids" in high school and I want to be included, but our differences are too great, often times in their eyes. It happened again today. Haha oh well.

Maybe being around me would make you just as uncomfortable as me being out of my comfort zone. I am somewhat shallow and as self-absorbed as the next gamer, but i am a radical player.

Being in a room surrounded by clones would be nowhere near what I am looking for, and I don't mind children, I was just tossing out random annoying scenarios.

Interestingly enough, no matter what the scenario is, my preferences go out the window once I have built up that initial trust in a group, and I don't care where we go together -- it is getting to that point I find difficult. I am afraid that upon meeting I would be freaked out by something and run before I got to know anyone, before my comfort level reached that point.

- - -

Have a safe trip buddy! Cola is great you are going to love it leaves much to be desired but its only a short drive up 77 to Charlotte.
A former member
Post #: 15

Let us know when you will be comming to a meetup, I have got to meet you- the "anti-nerd." I hear what you are saying. Most of it makes sense whether I agree or not. I still hold that a little "loosening up" will help you find the group you need.

On the issue of evil, mayhem wreaking, livestock raping, innocent slaughtering types, I have a response. I recently moved to Columbia (a couple of years ago) where I found this site and with some help got a great group together. We are in our ninth month. Prior to my move, I had played/DMed with the same core group in Aiken almost weekly since about '94 (easily 10 years). All play was in the same campaign setting. DM duties were basically shared by me and one other member of the group with occasional short campaigns run by others. Things largely worked well in the group. One of the problems was a founding group member who seemed to always play a character whose class/allignment never seemed to quite mesh with the rest of the party. To his credit, his roleplaying was excellent. Party unity suffered in most cases however, particularly when he chose to play a chaotic evil thief knowing that I had rolled well enough to start a paladin. While the DM made concessions and allowed us to work together- when my pally balked at joining the group (dutifully as he should have) the DM explained that he was just following the orders of his boss the Duke and this grouping alone would not affect my standing with Heironeous. This led to me often wandering off to "inspect the perimiter" or "going to check that last door we passed" when we were asked the question, "now what are you going to do with the prisoners?" by the DM. It got annoying often so I feel your point about players like this. Indeed, the conflict between my paladin and his evil malcontented thief was accelerated by external forces (I think the DM was enjoying it) to the point where if we were to ever resume that campaign, we would be at the brink of open war between my paladin's forces and the evil minions of the thief.

When it bacame my turn to run another campaign and everyone was excitedly planning what their next lvl 1 character would be, I dropped my bomb on them. Nobody was allowed to have an allignment with good in it. The closest allowed to goody-goody was neutral. My plan was to allow this player, and any others, the opportunity to get their evil on. I fully expected them to grow bored after several levels, and move on. What happened was one of the best campaigns we ever had. We played that group for several years, only stopping when I moved and another player-the always evil guy- moved away as well. Indeed, the evil that this party effected is now providing plenty for my current, more traditional party to deal with. With much more in store that they don't even know of.

I guess my points here are that while an evil character in a good group may be annoying and a strain on party unity, it can sometimes lead to good roleplaying and interesting delemmas. I would not encourage this mix often. I would not disallow it out of hand either, however. Party unity is important to me as a player and a DM. I think it is realistic that in most cases, pc's would likely stifle most allignment inspired conflict's for the benefit of their comrades in arms and the furthering of the group's causes. The problem arises when the player fails to see this point. More significantly, the player refuses to allow this to effect his roleplay, or just plain doesn't accept this to hold true for an evil character. Solution to this problem I feel is best if the group has other players strong enough to reel in the wayward player and show him the error of his ways in character. Failing that, the group may clearly send a message just by saying; we no longer wish to group with character x for whatever reason and will be parting ways with him at the next inn. This solution can lead to a slighted, very knowledgable recurring villian NPC as well. Roll up another pc, and let the DM find a spot to insert the newby. If the player doesn't get it then, maybe you need a new group member or just one less. Unhappy players should exert force for change in their companions before the DM ever needs to step in. Lastly, as a DM, if you have this type of player, maybe conceeding to their desire to be evil- and allowing them one opportunity to drag the rest of the group into darkness and debauchery is the answer. I highly reccomend it. It worked better than I ever imagined.
A former member
Post #: 16
Welcome to Columbia! Hope you and the family had a great, safe trip. Lets have that coffee. With just the people who have posted so far, no doubt we would have some lively, nerdy conversation. If Roro is going, should we wear ties or bring toilet brushes?
A former member
Post #: 5

It would be something...who knows, if I did not have to work I might would want to come (still weighing, judging from this discussion). I would be so bold as to recommend my favorite cafe, the Capitol Cafe, which is directly in front of the Capitol building in Cola.

It will be a long drive, but if something good could come of it I'd be in.

And you should wear ties...Galmia Pepe ones...but I won't hold my breath ; D
(If you catch my gaming reference just now you will be my hero)

- - -

The way my group plays in my custom game, they each have alignments, and they play them well, but they are limited to socially acceptable responses, IE, cause and effect. "Oh, I want to do this..." "If you do that then I will be forced to kill you." "My character can probably see how much you would not like that and would therefore do it outside of your presence." "Exactly." is just one example of how it usually goes.

Another fun experience: A PC was a doppelganger. Each player knew, but none of the characters knew, and thus could not act out when in character he took the mayor down into the sewer and chopped him to bits and then came back out as the mayor's son and joined the party. This went on for months, we are talking about the most skilled of players, doing everything it took to keep his identity a secret. I actually was brought into the game with one goal: pointing out his true identity. Some of the most fun campaigns can be about internal conflict I would say. After all, does that not ring true with parallelism to real life in some of the most extreme of cases?
A former member
Post #: 3
I've been following along here and must say that I am quite impressed with what I am learning about you guys just by following this thread. I am still up for a coffee spot, whether or not I drink any. I also want to say I have both DM'd a game with 1 evil person and been the 1 evil person in a game, I've also been the party outcast without having an extreme alignment, I played a gnome illusionist and did a darn good job of it too! I was so good that everyone in the party and the DM (total of 7 people) now refuse to allow any gnomes in any campaign, in fact they went to the extent of announcing that all gnomes in their universes were extinct, and good riddance! That was also my favorite character I have ever played, thankfully they only made me say his name 3 times before they gave me a nickname... (yes I had a full gnome name with all the names of my 250 ancestors included) near the end of that campaign I got really tired of being the gnome though, as everyone would take turns "doing something" to me, the fighter would constantly "bop" me on the head, to the point that eventually I had to get healed by the cleric about once every gaming hour. I also had an encounter with the male version of the medusa (not recalling the name) and I was the only one who was in the least bit effective against him, but received no thanks for keeping the party alive, not to mention they left me stuck under a pile of rocks for the rest of that gaming session and almost forgot to get me out at the beginning of the next session. But I loved the character and the idea of it (I had just read the Drizzt book where he first left home and stayed with the gnomes for a while, right before we started the campaign, so I had some good material to build from for my toon)

if you have time to meet before friday this week, count me in, if you do it anytime between this friday and june 14th, count me out. I'll be out of town/state most of that time, but should be available from the 15th -sometime in july. I think you should plan on a good 2-3 hours for this gathering, as it will be a bunch of people who "know" each other, but really don't "know" each other. and, I am guilty I have not read anyone else's profiles for any background info on them. I'll try and check some people out this week. my only issue that would prevent me from enjoying a game is that I seem to be unable to enjoy spending too much time around someone who is extremely insistent (absolutely has to have their way and steam rolls anyone who disagrees, plus is assertive enough to make sure they get what they want, AND thinks they are always correct), now I can handle a toon that is roleplayed that way with no issues, but I have a couple of friends who act that way, and really cannot be around them more than a couple hours each month. other than that, as long as the furniture doesn't look like it was pulled out of a compost heap I should be fine.

personality wise, I'm a little bit anal, suffer from ADD and OCD (real light OCD, even I don't see the signs most of the time), and a good bit forgetful. currently in life I am also a bit unmotivated, which is why I haven't posted hear lately, but have been reading. I don't mind groups all the same, because I'll be the different one to add flavor, I don't mind groups all different, because those types of groups usually come up with the most fantastic ideas, since everyone looks at each situation differently. As for appearance/fitting in, I just recently stopped wearing a tie to work everyday (had been doing so voluntarily for the last 2 or 3 years), but only wear a suit about once every 2-3 years. I don't wear clothes with rips and tears in them, except jeans (although I don't have any of those right now), I have a problem loaning my things to people, as I try to keep most everything I own in like new condition, as I frequently sell my stuff and then either buy digital copies of them (ie books) or get a newer model (electronics), so many of the things I own look newish (yes I keep all the boxes, plastic bags, and twisty ties that come with almost everything I buy, in case I do sell it later), even my clothes (although most of my clothes are approaching 10 years old at this point). This does make me hyper-critical of things but I am pretty good at keeping my mouth shut and dealing with it.

ok last thing then I'll shut up for a couple more weeks... (besides I am almost out of characters for this post!!) my current gaming group has gone completely digital at this point, the only thing we use on paper are our character sheets... we have been using products for mapping and dice rolling and initiative and handling damage and several other things.

A former member
Post #: 5
Greetings, colleagues - and hello from our new home here in downtown Columbia. We arrived in SC this afternoon after a three-day trek from Nebraska that cost me several ounces of skin from my left leg, a good chunk of the fingernail from my middle right finger, and about $150 in gas. On the plus side, we all made it alive - so, that's all right then.

Like Joel, I've been following along with great interest. It seems to me that the most convincing element of the "evil PCs allowed" argument revolves around fidelity to actual role playing - as opposed to emotionally maladjusted folks simply getting their freak on. Unfortunately, my own experience with players who enjoy playing evil characters had more to do with the latter style than the former. In the context of fiction, some of the most compelling villains are the ones who don't necessarily think of themselves as "evil" but as following an agenda that seems perfectly reasonable to themselves. If a player is willing to put the thought and care into role playing that such a character demands, based on the anecdotes you've shared, I think I'd be willing to give that character a chance whether I was a player or DM. It all goes back to having a sense of who we're playing with before the game starts, so - full circle, I guess.

On the issue of property, dress and appearance: personally, I couldn't care less what people own or what they wear to the game table so long as they bring a positive attitude, and a spirit of tolerance and respect. As the parent of an active toddler, I'm lucky if I have one piece of unstained clothing or an unscratched DVD - just goes with the job of being daddy. If that rubs anyone the wrong way, you'd better let me know ;) That said, we can probably relax about those particular issues for now.

The issue of game session frequency has come up in earlier posts - Brian's latest comment, if I'm not mistaken. In my younger days when I had fewer responsibilities, once per week was pretty common for me. Now, once per month or, on occasion, twice per month is more realistic. I'd rather get together less frequently and have longer, higher quality sessions (say 4-6 hours as a ballpark) than meet so often that I'd have to rearrange my professional/family schedule or sacrifice preparation time if I'm in the DM's seat. My own philosophy of campaign design leans more towards episodic adventures that can usually be completed within a single game session, strung together by an ongoing storyline. On the other hand, nothing brings players back to the table better than a good cliffhanger.

Given the fact that I've just landed in SC, it's going to be a week or two before our household is in enough order to spare me some time for gaming chat - in person, at least. I'll stay active on the message boards. But let's start planning to put a real meetup on the radar - evenings are going to work better for me unless we shoot for a weekend meeting. I believe that RoRo suggested the Capital Cafe downtown. Since I'm not familiar with it, I have no preference but am willing to entertain any and all suggestions. How does the week of the 14th or the 21st sound?

BTW, thanks for everyone's good wishes during our relocation. We drove through some lovely country on our way here, and I'm looking forward to getting to know Columbia and its environs in the years ahead.

Cheers -


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