Now, there's a whole lot that goes into how you choose your group, and let's face it… people can be… REALLY toxic.
Hell, if you've ever gone onto reddit for these sort of stories you've likely heard some pretty harsh words. the last two times I posted anything there they have negative votes and people crawling out of the woodwork to tell me how evil I am. hell, I've seen people make whole new accounts just to show up and tell me I should die and then block me.
But everyone's experience is unique, I personally tend to find the absolute WORST in humanity every time I so much as think about opening my mouth to speak.
But let's focus less on my perception of the world and more on today's story.
I had only just learned 5E and I was poking about to try and find a group as well as see what kind of home brew and house rules were common enough to open with.
I started with bringing my character Ongo the Golden to my local game shop where they ran sessions every Tuesday and Thursday.
There were signs on the wall that bragged about inclusivity and how everyone was welcome. I mean, everyone looked like a fat neckbeard, but I didn't care. I was excited to play and I couldn't wait.
Ongo the Golden is a Tortle Draconic sorcerer. He even had a fun backstory and a great theme I was all.kinds of excited about.
But, very unfortunately, I was informed that I would have to wait until the group who had been running the campaign for a while concluded their Adventure. I what's rather understanding and I agreed. I still showed up occasionally to check on how the adventure was going and to try and get to know the group.
But, something kind of odd happened. I mean they knew where I was relatively new to DnD, but I noticed an odd aggressiveness to how they addressed me.
For instance, if you see a newbie making a silly mistake like adding natural armor on top of natural armor like, maybe the natural armor that comes with being a draconic sorcerer on top of the natural armor that comes with being a Tortle, most people would just chuckle and explain.
It's an easy mistake to make for beginner. for clarification, this is not what they did. And while I'm not so fragile that when they told me I was fucking retarded and have no business playing… my interest in Dungeons & Dragons didn't exactly stop, but I was certainly taken aback.
I eventually ask for a little bit of help from some of the less aggressive members who were very happy to help. And we have some intertwining interests and got along fairly well. However, it appeared to be that even getting along with me was something that was looked down upon.
As I kept coming to the shop they eventually started looking over my content and started making declarations for the next campaign. The first of such decorations, no Sorcerers allowed.
Confused, but not wanting to start a fight or any troubles, I just switched the backstory a little bit and Made Ongo a Warlock.
Next declaration, No Tortles.
I make my character a Lizard Folk warlock.
Noticing the trend, I asked everine else what they were making and I borrowed a race from one and a class from another.
For some reason the DM seemed really angry about this, and over and over again he kept turning down my back story which was pretty simple to begin with, no special cringy Gary Stu anyting, not even anything that required special notice or clearance.
Eventually my story was so stupid generic that even I couldn't really get immersed. and I have long been past the point where I didn't really feel welcome. But I really wanted a game.
And eventually I made a very big mistake and was a little generous. I want out to grab some food and ask everyone what they wanted. Some of them asked for a little too much, but I work very hard and I get a sizable paycheck from my work. So I indulged just a little and got a fair amount of food from the local restaurants for everyone and I enjoyed watching the session play out. For as picky and exclusive as the DM was, he could really make an immersive story. But he did make his games very cutthroat, it was not something I was looking forward to it because I have ungodly bad luck with dice.
But the final straw finally landed upon my back. While I sat and watched, the DM came to me and told me what he wanted for food.
"Told me" what he wanted for food, not asked… TOLD!
I brought up mildly that I hadn't offered oh, I don't mind getting food every once in awhile but my patients had already been a little thin so without being aggressive I informed him that I wasn't buying food that day…. oh boy he really did not want to hear that.
I was informed that if I was going to be in the store I needed to contribute something, everyone else was currently contributing by playing the game, the game he wouldn't let me join until after his campaign concluded. and I would only be able to stay if I contributed by giving food. he didn't even let me respond before he was trying to inform me what I was trying to inform me what I was GOING TO buy him for dinner.
I stepped back and decided to leave for the day. I was just hoping he was Moody that day and when I came back he would leave me alone and I could watch the games in peace.
When I came back the next day, I noticed the owner of the little shop, he quickly noticed me and approached. Without much warning, he said "Smile" and took my picture.
I asked why he took my picture and he very quickly informed me that it was for the banned from the store wall.
I didn't get much explanation until the one guy I kind of got along with showed up and asked me if I was okay. I was after all on the outside of the store still scratching my head on what the hell was going on.
He informed me that after I told the DM that I wasn't going to buy him meals and left, the DM legitimately went to the store owner crying and said that I had verbally attacked him with homophobic transphobic and racist slurs.
The guy knew the DM pretty well and around here you don't need to provide proof, all you do is throw an accusation and so long as the accusation ticks enough boxes, you get an instant results of banned for life.
I was pretty hurt, not really surprised now that I was finally banned for life and could look back on the situation, I should have seen all the red flags but I really badly wanted to play a game.
I still occasionally talk to that one guy to explain things to me, he's pretty neat and only really sticks around because two of his friends are still in the game and despite how horrible of a person the DM is, he's still a really good DM if not a little hardcore.
It took me another 3 months to try again somewhere else, but with my horrible luck, eventually I just ended up going for online games which aren't exactly amazing and I have a thousand horror stories about those, but I mean lots of good friends online since then. I've had and still have great campaigns and memorable characters to play with.
But to this day, I can't see a "Tolerance", "Inclucivity", or "hate free zone" without immediately being reminded of that DM.
The one guy who almost took DnD from me for life.