Monday, August 10, 2015

Hostility and Confrontations in the Game Table.

 Hostility and Confrontation are non-mutually exclusive (aka the dont have to be both true). Its important to teach people who quickly escalate to Hostile Confrontation the non-hostile option.

Sadly in a recent RPG thread hostile or expulsive action was encourage by 12 out of 17 commenters (not comments) when someone ranted about a problem player. I wanted to correct them, but publish shaming or loss of face does not help things. Correction, no matter how constructive can be a public shaming action and can cause a loss of face: so always do it in private.

It helps to always remember how much of an Asshole I was to give people the benefit of the doubt and another chance. If I didn't think I was an asshole I would be a much bigger gaping prolapsed one.

Often in TTRPGs most players dont know how to make Non-Hostile Confrontation :( but to be fair, if you point it out in a non-hostile and face saving manner there is a 50% (personal annecdote) chance of a defensive reflex that pushes things down hill BUT this can be mitigated in the strategies found in Negotiation Training (Professor Seth Freeman). Where there is multiple actions that can be taken with a low cost of failure and retries allowed.

Yup There are situations where a particular Course of action has LOW-COST OF FAILURE. Some strategies are Probing and allow the Player to adapt his method. There is always a risk for failure, in my opinion I can't see a lot of important situations which have failure being part of 4 out of 5 actions being taken.

In many situation: I can be PISSED OFF, but the minute I lose your my cool and act hostile: I lose. Check out Game of Chicken, like that life or death car game but its not the first to swerve or "chicken out" who loses, but the first who losses his cool.

Strangely a LOT of the techniques when dealing with petulant children apply but modified with adults. With children there is a need to talk, and only when things can be discussed when people are both calmed down. If anyone is lossing their cool, they time out.

"Hey man" (In a inquisitive tone) "Can you give me a chance to talk? (be sure to summarize the idea into 1 simple statement, but preface and end it in a constructive or positive emphasis. This is called aPositivity Sandwich or a Feedback sandwich)

Oh yeah: PLAN IT, rehearse it. Role-Play it with a friend. Its not EASY but the more I practice doing things in this way, the more intuitive the script and the faster and faster it takes to prep and it gets easier. But for RPG players, resolving a matter this way should be one of our strengths. Our empathy engine should be working in the game, and should find it an easy feat of empathy dealing with a real person with real fears and concerns, and vices that piss us off.

These days, when I feel strongly about something I get a warning signal from the conditioning of age. Like in airsoft and in life: I step back and assess the situation. I note again the goals and the pay-offs, and what is the best overall strategy PLUS the *fuck-it* option benchmarks. I'm old and slow, might as well take my time to think through things. I cant take risks anymore the same way as I used to.
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