I love the game I'm running right now, and I've become great friends with all my players. But, like an unplanned pregnancy, its existence and my responsibility for it were thrust upon me due to circumstances out of my control.
Here is the cast list:
I am a humble player-turned-DM.
Goth Aasimar is big nerd and a longtime veteran of the RPG world who constantly talked about running games in different settings but never followed through.
Weeb Aasimar is her partner and my best friend from college -- we got along because we had opposite personalities. They were 'the crazy ones' and I was 'the stern, judgmental one'. I just want you to understand that their actions in this story are pretty apropos for the course.
There are 4 other players, all of whom are lovely people.
So, Weeb Aasimar contacts me about a cyberpunk game his girlfriend Goth Aasimar is running, and I'm in. I show up at the Discord server, asking questions about the system and the setting. Goth Aasimar is super excited to play with me finally -- we've heard about each other for years via Weeb, and we're both excited to have this time to actually meet and get to know each other. I ask how many people will be playing, and she says she wants to keep it super small -- three players, maybe four. She's doing a heist game and wants to keep it simple.
However, Goth Aasimar grows increasingly stressed out as more and more people show up. Acquaintances I hadn't spoken to in years popped up in the chat. It turns out that Weeb Aasimar, trying to be helpful, had invited, like… everyone he knew to be in this game. In the end there's a total of seven players. Goth was NOT prepared for a game that big. She's starting to freak out a little, and Weeb, again trying to be helpful, starts demanding that people leave the game. People who they invited -- their friends and mine. Weeb singles out the people they think are less cool and says,
"three of you will need to leave the game: (name), (name), and (name). Sorry."
Can you imagine being invited to a party and then being told that they actually don't want you there? The people they've singled out are, of course, understandably hurt and pissed about this, since they'd been working on character sheets and had already gotten excited about playing a game together. I volunteer to leave instead, but Weeb says that no, the whole point of the game was for me to play with them.
Goth is more mortified than ever now, and Weeb doesn't see how what they're doing is wrong. So in a moment of idiot's genius, I say,
"Hey -- four of us will play Goth's game, and I'll run a separate game with all seven of you!"
And so a separate discord server was born.
One person dropped out, so I'm now running a game with six players. I'm unprepared, and I scramble to come up with an adventure for them. I've never GM'd a game on my own, so I'm a babe in the woods. I spend some time writing, and I came up with a scenario I think is playable. It's a fun fantasy story in D&D 5e. Simple and fun.
We get character sheets created. All six players come up with something --
And then I notice the problem.
EVERY SINGLE player has created an edgy, brooding, self-insert Mary Sue character. It occurs to me that most of them have little to no experience with D&D, and now I start to panic. Goth Aasimar is playing (you guessed it) a goth Aasimar, an edgy warlock with a succubus patron and no morals or loyalties. Weeb Aasimar is playing a plucky bishoujo Aasimar who looks exactly like him, but perfect with no flaws.
The rest of the players, mostly newbs, have created a cast of edgelord loners. During our first session, I LITERALLY had to say,
"So, actually, all the corners of the room are taken by other people right now. You could stand off and brood in the MIDDLE of the room, or near one of the walls."
Like, you wouldn’t believe it (rolling eyes)... but every single player had their character hiding in a different part of the room at this company meeting, leaving my poor dwarf NPC standing by the cider bowl panicking that all his new employees refused to come near.
So, because none of the edgelord Mary Sues wanted to interact, when they did, it was only to drop some vague hint about their tragic backstory. I had to railroad them, kicking and screaming, to the first Game Thing: an owlbear poacher with a stolen owlbear cub. However, Goth Aasimar decided she didn't want to do her job, and instead went to the local tavern to try and scam the owner. So we split the party immediately. This caused the plot of the game to drag on a LOT longer than it needed to, and Goth got frustrated because everyone at the bar was so nice to her and it wasn't fun to scam them.
Equally as frustrating was Goth and Weeb’s CONSTANT flirting. Weeb was the worst offender here -- they'd make a blatantly graphic sexual joke and then ask their girlfriend if she "got it" and the rest of us would all be left grossed out by their weird, detailed in-character public displays of affection. We had to instate a "no real life flirting" rule, which made Weeb mad. I really think "flirting" is too light a term for what they were doing; it was more like foreplay honestly, and it made everybody even more uncomfortable.
Anyways, due to all this, we didn't get to the first fight until like the end of the second session, after which Goth and Weeb both dropped out. Goth told me that she was upset that everyone in the game was "a cast of Mary Sues" and that the game wasn't what she thought it would be. Weeb agreed that everyone was just too narcissistic and unfun. You guys were literally the worst offenders! Nobody was a bigger Mary Sue than you! You’re the reason it’s not fun!
So, long story short, once they were out of the game, I was now DMing an adventure with 4 players -- which is ideal. They were all newbs but willing to learn and genuinely wanted to play my game for its own sake. We've been playing a few times a month for almost a year now, and we've become very good friends. I've become a much better DM, and they've become better players -- our story is fueled by their relationships and whims and wishes, instead of just me railroading a bunch of empty vessels. We all grew together, and I'm proud of the story we're creating. Praise the God, Goth Aasimar's cyberpunk game never came to fruition.
Note: I'm still friends with Goth and Weeb. They're both super fun people, but I don't think I'd play another RPG with either of them.