There’s a devious myth out there which is part of the tabletop gamer lifestyle: Game Masters must accommodate everybody, even people they can barely tolerate.
If they don’t, then they’re mean ostracizers.
Just check out any Game Master group on Facebook or other social media, and somebody inevitably will say: Can anybody give me advice? Player X is doing something I don’t like, what should I do?
Most of these problems have to do with varied nuances of The Social Beast; you get a handful of people in room playing a game, they’re going to disagree on the rules, how the game should be played, whatever. That’s part of the game, and life, and ordering pizza.
And most of the problems could worked out through communication and a bit of maturity.
Yet a handful of the problems described make want to reached through my computer and grab the game master by the collar and say:
WHY ARE YOU TOLERATING THIS $#^!?
Don’t you know life is too short?!?
Kick’em out of your campaign before they do more damage!
Or better: don’t let them join your group in the first place. Don’t let a mook ruin your game. It’s not worth it. As I’ve mentioned before, some of the best advice I’ve ever read for dealing with problem players comes from the old Vampire Storyeller’s Handbook, Revised Edition.
What constitutes as a problem player can be subjective. Every player will make you want to pull your hair out from time to time. It’s part of the Social Beast.
95% of the time I’ve been able to keep the truly bad players out, and I don’t feel a shred of sympathy for those I’ve turned away from my table.
It’s the other 5% who slipped beneath my radar who caused enough havoc for me to have removed them from my group: The guy who kept peeking behind my GM screen at my notes, the guy who showed up hungover and threw up, the girl who showed up only to try to date one of my players. A couple of others did far more damage.
If you feel like you have to let toxic people into your RPG sessions out of a sense of friendship or moral obligation, stop it.
You’re only enabling their behavior and not helping them.