Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Games in Review September 27, 2011 (War of the Dead/Savage Worlds)

Alright, continuing to catch up on gaming posts . . . this time, the War of the Dead campaign I'm playing in!


When we last left our intrepid zombie apocalypse survivors, we were camped out at a farmhouse, and everyone's favorite character, Harlon Sharpe, was stuck in the same room with everyone else that had been bitten, just in case anyone turned, so they were all wrangled together.

We made it through the night, I didn't turn, no one got eaten, and our "even better than me" mechanic rigged up a trailer for us to haul the diesel tank we found so we could trade it later.  Barter economy, here we come!  We might just jump start this whole civilization thing again down the road.



The poor little kid that I saved by beating him unconscious with an axe turned, and he ate his father, or something.  Very sad.  The whole event was precipitated by the little kid's player leaving the campaign, so we mourned briefly and then headed out.  Where to, you ask?  Why to the Jacksonville Safe Zone!



On the way, we found a multi-car pile up, and in a few of the cars, before we could move them, we found a few of the walking  (or in this case, seat-belted and moving, but not walking) dead.  Because I didn't want anyone else to risk getting bitten, I invented the zombie poker.  It was a long stick, provided by our new friend, the illiterate driving enthusiast with the winning personality, and we sharpened the end, lined up the shot, and hit the end with a mallet to drive it through the zombie driver's skull.  Then we took out the zombie toddler in the car seat.

Yeah, that was a bit matter of fact.  On one hand, I didn't want anyone to get bitten.  On the other hand, I wanted to kill the little car seat dweller before anyone could really contemplate the reality of the situation.  Heck, we're still reeling from the baby speed zombie clavicle muncher.

Back on the road!  Our uber mechanic  (the one that isn't me) and our charismatic speed demon both have motorcycles, and were acting as outriders for the party.  They zipped ahead, and apparently found a huge mob of people mobbing their way towards us.  There was some talking, and some ignoring, and our outriders zipped back to us to warn us of shelling, explosions, and masses of panicked people.

Speed Demon and Harlon got on top of the RV along with "retired" cop, and in theory, this was to calm the masses down as they broke against the RV.  Other mechanic was inside with the few other survivors we had left, Rich Guy That Likes Hunting, Guy Whose Leg I Cut Off, and Daughter of Guy Whose Leg I Cut Off That Has A Fever That Totally Isn't Zombie Plague.  Oh, and "retired" cop's wife  (and imaginary kid, but we'll get back to that).

Our other mechanic nearly offs the girl, since she was acting creepy and not talking, and the people begin to mass around us and try getting into the RV.  The safe zone doesn't appear to be any longer.  So Speed Demon and Harlon try to talk to the folks around the RV, and apparently our former cop decides that a shotgun is good for diplomacy.  At first, the two of us figure that means he's going to fire up in the air to get their attention.  Then he says something to the effect of "we'll see how long they stick around once we pick off a few of them," and fires into the crowd, killing about three of the people.  The amusing part of this is that the cop's player initially says this is because he's defending his wife and child, forgetting that his child isn't with us. I chalk it up to zombie apocalypse induced insanity.



Harlon is shocked beyond words or actions, and Hal  (our Speed Demon), shoves the former cop off the RV into the crowd.  About that time, a group of military types show up to tell us that they are going to take the RV, and Hal, normally a charming guy, tells them where to shove it.  It looks like it's going to come to blows, until some of the people in the crowd turn and all Hell breaks loose.

Our cop grabs onto the ladder on the back of the RV.  I grab the roof and hang on for dear life.  The RV takes off like a bat out of Hell, and Hal  (our illiterate Speed Demon) jumps on his motor cycle and bails.  I have no idea where we are headed, but we are away from the mob and the military guys and the zombies in the crowd.


Then, as so often happens when fleeing from a zombie panicked mob, a Hummer t-boned the RV, we rolled, and the Hummer went over on its side.  Hal double backed to us, we killed the zombie "driver," and Hal hitched his motor cycle to the Hummer, and drove for all he was worth to try and tip the Hummer back over so we could mount up.

Also, for the first time since the beginning of Zombie Apocalypse season, we saw a massive horde of fast zombies.  Running right at us.  Really fast.


Hal managed to do it, but was thrown far, far away from his cycle.  I showed our ex-cop how to start the Hummer, and we pile in.  When it become apparent that our crowd dispersion expert was driving away from where we last saw Hal, I tell him we can't leave Hal behind, and when he keeps going, I grab the wheel.  And roll the Hummer again.

Thankfully, I roll the Hummer as the fast zombie surf breaks all around us, and we make a break for a warehouse as soon as the zombies rush past.  We see Hal coming from the other direction, so we end up meeting in the middle, in the warehouse.


The warehouse is full of people, preserved food, and military types that aren't trying to take our stuff.  Which is nice.  Hal goes about setting everyone at ease, begins to organize the group and find work for people to keep their minds off of the fact that zombies are right outside, and generally motivates everyone except our ex-cop, who just wants some alone time with his wife.

The military types get antsy around the feverish little girl, and the little girl's dad is getting jumpy around everyone, especially if they get near his daughter.  Eventually Hal makes a deal with him to go out on a raid with some of the military types to look for medical supplies, and the military guys agree, since they wanted to scout for medical supplies anyway.  I volunteer to go along, and we sneak out into the zombie infested city.

(Keep in mind, Harlon may not be bad at being stealthy, but he isn't the fastest man alive)

We run into a zombie that we have to deal with quick before it can moan and bring a whole horde of other zombies on us, so we take to manually disabling the infested brain pan.


Okay, so it wasn't that impressive.  Just kind of a run of the mill moaning zombie.  But that's where we left off, sneaking through Jacksonville, looking for medical supplies, waiting for the other shoe to fall.  What's even more fun is sometimes one of our own players grabs the shoe and hurls it at the floor rather than wait . . . ;)

Oh, as far as mechanics go?  I really love Savage Worlds for a game like this.  It gives you just enough stats to have something to roll to make things interesting, and gets out of the way for the rest of the session.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Games in Review, September 26th, 2011

First off, the Hellfrost game is no more.  I ran dry, and at first I was going to jump into a Deadlands game, but in the end, I think I needed some time and distance and to build up some GM tricks before I started up another campaign.

I have often thought that it is a lot easier to picture the middle and the end of a campaign than the beginning of one, and coming off a campaign that never really quite got off the ground, I'm not sure I had a really good starting foundation for a campaign in me at the moment.

On the other hand, the DC Game has lots of inertia, and it's going great guns.



I'm two sessions behind on this as far as keeping everyone updated on the campaign, but thankfully the current story arc has been pretty closely tied together.  I decided to have some fun with Hypertime, that DC Comics invention that allowed them to use alternate realities when the DC Universe couldn't have alternate realities.  My version is a little easier to explain than the version that appeared in the Kingdom, mainly because I don't want my players to kill me in the middle of exposition.

Because the PCs are becoming very important, and because there are already 52 alternate universes, no other universes could spawn to encompass their alternate selves, causing Hypertime issues!  What is Hypertime?  You know what an alternate reality is?  Well, Hypertime is when no alternate reality ever existed, but an "artifact" or "construct" based on a potential alternate reality just kind of pops into existence, with all of the marks and memories of actually having been from an alternate reality that never existed.


The party starts off the first chapter of Hypertime Hijinks being called to the White House to receive commendations, then they promptly get fired.  Made even more amusing because Fahrenheit and Necromancer were both sure they were going to get fired before it happened.

Marathon was grumpy, and wanted to further discuss the situation with the POTUS, but before that could happen, a high tech hockey player calling himself Body Check and wearing repulsor skates attacked the party.  Body Check claims to be the arch nemesis of Paradox, and even knows his secret identity, which, when revealed to the rest of the New Guard, caused most of them to go . . . who?



Many Canadian jokes ensued, and party wasn't taking Body Check particularly seriously, until he knocked Paradox silly, and Marthon dunked Body Check in the Potomac, and the arch villain (such as he was) disappeared.

Doctor Fate showed up eventually, but it turns out Doctor Fate was Necromancer's mother Lorelei Jefferies-Cross, who in turn tells her son that Myrmidon is his brother.  Also, Fahrenheit is impressed enough with Lorelei that he volunteers to be Necromancer's step-father.



While all of this is going on, a version of Myrmidon attacks Gateway City with his undead minions, discussing how he killed his brother Necromancer to grow stronger.  Oddly, Dark Myrmidon went down fairly quickly, but not before Beorn had to use his super bear speed to snatch a nuke from one of the undead minions and deposited it with the authorities while the rest of the New Guard dealt with the Greek invasion.



Beorn also received a few notices that his credit cards were frozen, and the group headed to Alaska to check out David Ashford sightings  (Beorn's real name).  After finding out that Hypertime David Ashford had dated David's friend and tried using his credit cards, the conflict escalated when Hypertime David headed to the kitchen and disappeared when he went to get a beer from the fridge.

Booster Gold and Skeets shows up and explains the concept of Hypertime to the group, and mentions that the multi-reality temporal anomaly near Jupiter where the JLA/JSA/Titans disappeared might be the crux of where the New Guard became important enough to garner Hypertime events.  After skeets plays some educational videos about "Hypertime and You!" the duo is off to Jupiter to have a look at the anomaly, but after a while, it looks like the pair aren't coming back soon.



Doctor Fate-Lorelei Jeffries-Cross tells the group that they need to head to the White School to speak with Timothy Hunter, a former student that, in his youth showed the ability to create alternate realities even when such things should have been impossible.  Necromancer continues to hope that Hypertime Lorelei isn't indicative of real world mom, so that he really doesn't have a mother, but Myrmidon is all for having a brother now.

It was a fun session, and I'll leave it at that . . . hopefully on the morrow I'll update everyone on the War of the Dead campaign, and then bring the DC game up to date on the blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Early Comic Book Influences, Or What Happened to Me

Discussions about getting new readers into the hobby and what the "core" aspects of a character might be got me to thinking about the comics that influenced my preferences.  I had read my older brother's comics from time to time, but I don't think I really internalized any comics until I started getting my own comics.  Given my brother's natural tendency to read DC, most of my earliest comics stem from that same stream as well.

In 1979, at the ripe age of six years old, my mom told me I could pick out my own comics when we went to the grocery store  (score one point for grocery store placement, and a price point that encourages add on purchases, eh?).

My earliest 1979 comics looked like this:


From here I learned that the Justice League should be the first and second tier good guys from around the DC Universe.  Also, no one else on the Justice League can be counted on to think except Batman.


And from here I learned that, even though I recognized Wonder Woman as the pretty lady on TV, in comics her adventures had to do with Greek Mythology, not random thugs.

Aging to the far more mature age of seven, I can't say that I regularly collected any comics.  I'm sure I got other comics beyond the above comics, but I don't remember them to save my life.  But I do remember some stand outs from 1980:


I'm not going to lie.  I asked my mom for the Brave and the Bold comic because I wanted to read about Batman and Penguin.  I knew who those guys were, and I was excited.  What I learned upon reading the book is that Black Canary wears black lingerie  (no, really), and that Bruce is the manliest man ever, as shown by Canary's reaction to his rescue.

Also, I learned that Penguin in the comics was willing to shoot those rotten creeps that sang like canaries  (hey, it's the whole title of the book).  In other words, he was a bit more criminal and less goofy theme character in this story.  But still with a thing for bird themes.  But not as much.  It was subtle, and hard to put my finger on as a child, but I kind of got it.


The above issue of Superman jumped out at me, and actually kind of had a profound effect on how I saw more powerful super heroes like Superman.  The crux of the story is that Destiny is afraid that the more "mundane" things Superman does for normal folks, the less they can do for themselves, and some day, when Superman isn't there to save them, they won't know how to put out fires or rescue people from natural disasters or the like.

In the end, the point wasn't so much that Superman shouldn't help, but kind of like a toddler learning to walk, he has to wait and see if people are really in over their heads before he saves them, and that his main purpose is to take care of those major events like alien invasions and matters of great import.

So pretty much the opposite of JMS' "Grounded" storyline, which may be why I really dislike that story arc.


Riddler, Penguin, and Joker on the cover of a book about Batman?  I was all over this one.  Having grown up watching the Batman TV show, I don't think I actually knew Batman's origin until this issue.  I was also all warm and fuzzy when I saw the main plot from this story as an episode of the Brave and the Bold cartoon written by Paul Dini.  

Despite the cover, and in direct conflict with the Wonder Woman comic from the previous year, this book taught me that Batman looks right at home beating up on thugs and "normal" criminals as well as crime lords.  

Untold Legends of the Batman was a limited series, which was the bane of my existence as a youth, as it always seemed that grocery stores failed to carry the full run of any limited series.  Still, issue #1 was a pretty self contained story about Bruce's training as well as ending with a nice bit of poetic justice.

Of the three comics here, when I did pick up comics, I managed more issues of Brave and the Bold, if I remember correctly, than Superman, because even though I liked Superman, seeing Batman with a new hero every month was just cool.

Time keeps on ticking, and I had aged to near 8 years at this point, and expanded my comics reading to the following titles:


No kidding.  For every other comics I had read up to this point, Adventure Comics  (featuring Dial H for Hero) became my favorite comic almost immediately.  Were I born a bit later, I'm sure I would have been branded ADD or something similar, and there is no way that having two super heroes that constantly change into new costumed identities doesn't trip the excitement button.  I couldn't wait to get new issues, and I spend hours drawing new heroes for these two to turn into, and what powers those identities would have.

If my 8 year old brain had been able to conceive of a "Ryan Reynolds" at this stage of life, I would have never connected that being with Hal Jordan.  I'm just sayin'

I loved Green Lantern, but ironically, I could only reliably find him in Justice League, because the supermarket conspired to keep me from reading some of my favorites.  Thankfully they kept stocking Adventure Comics, but after seeing Hal fight the vile Eclipso, I wouldn't see an issue of GL for a while, at which point Hal was giving up his ring and John Stewart was stepping back into the role, meaning that for much of my young life, I was more used to John as GL than Hal.

However, whinny retired Hal was a bit more like Ryan Reynolds.


"Hey, this is like Justice League, but with younger people . . . wow!"

I was honestly very excited the first time I found this series, and Cyborg fascinated me.  I think it was the first time I didn't just take a costume at face value and was really drawn into character design.  This issue even had the first lurking appearance of Deathstroke in it  (back then, it seemed like Terminator was the name they were really pushing, but we all know how that turned out).

Unfortunately, this was yet another comics that the grocery stores seemed to like to keep out of my hands, but I did manage to collect it for a few consecutive issues before I started missing out on the really good stuff.

The progress of time marches me to the cusp of double digits, and for the age of nine, the following titles were brand new wonders to me  (well, reading them was . . . by now I'm sure I had seen them from time to time):


I never got to keep up with All Star Squadron, but it proved a point to me.  As a nine year old, it took me about five seconds to get that this was an alternate Earth were the super heroes all were around in World War  II.  That, and Nazis make good comic book villains, especially when they have ancient magic artifacts or alien space ships.


Remember when I said I liked Superman?  While I always liked Batman better, World's Finest was awesome, because I could read about them both!  On top of that, the supermarket kept stocking it, and from time to time Justice League members would pop up as supporting characters.  

Oh yeah, some guy named Frank Miller drew that cover.

I'm wrapping this up at (almost) 10 years old, in 1983:


Swamp Thing was really awesome to me, for a number of reasons.  It was still set in the DC Universe, but it wasn't quite a super hero book.  It had horror and weird stories in it, and the lead character was a monster with a heart of gold.  The funny thing is, for years I didn't realize I was on the Swamp Thing band wagon before Alan Moore started writing the book.

I'll wrap up this little bit of nostalgia at this point.  By the time I was ten, I had an allowance, and I was also getting allergy shots.  What, you don't know what that means for picking up comic books?  Okay, let me explain.  In the town where I got my allergy shots, there was a liquor store  (one of the big, well lit ones that was kind of like a supermarket) where we would stop and get sodas, and for some reason, the liquor store was much better at stocking the same books on a regular basis.

What have we learned here?  I have no idea.  It was just kind of fun to look back over these comics and see when I first encountered some of these characters.  I do think that these early comic reading adventures colored my tastes for years to come, and inform my expectation of what I want out of various characters.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Quick Comments--The Walking Dead Compendium Volume One (Issues 1-48)

Remember when I said uplifting (in parts)?

Yeah, forget that.  However, I was able to get out of bed this morning, so that's a start.

Robert Kirkman is a very talented comics writer.

I would also like to kick him in the nuts.  Hard.  Real hard.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Comic Book Day! #12--Wasn't Something Going On?

I'm pretty sure there was something going on in comics that was pretty big . . . hm . . . what was that?  I'm sure it will come to me eventually.  Perhaps some Oracle will show up and enlighten me.  Wait . . . I don't think there are any Oracles anymore.

Anyway, through the first two chapters of the Walking Dead Compendium Volume One.



1.  Depressing, but a good read, and oddly uplifting in some places, more so than some zombie apocalypse stories.

2.  After watching Survival of the Dead last week, and reading chapter two of the Walking Dead, I had to double check the release date of Survival of the Dead and the publication date of the second chapter of the Walking Dead.  Apparently Kirkman asked and answered the whole "should we be kind to zombies" thing much more succinctly and logically than Romero.


I know, that's heretical.  That's like saying some video game company could do better Star Wars stories than George Lucas.



Anyway, not paying much attention to that other shambling, reanimated corpse, the new DC Universe.  Between the "cynical, law breaking, loner" Superman and not even a passing reference to Oracle in Batgirl's rebooted history, I think I'm done dreaming this reboot has anything to do with me.

Now where were those JLU episodes anyway?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Games in Review, September 6th, 2011

Lots of gaming over the last week, and not a sad story in the bunch.  Last week I played in Armored Gopher's War of the Dead Savage Worlds campaign, ran my Hellfrost Savage Worlds game, and wrapped up the week playing BattleTech during Armored Gopher Games/Gamerati Tour Games day.

War of the Dead

My character got bit last session, and the bite will likely run it course in about two weeks or so.  I'm playing this from the point of view of my character, that even if he doesn't survive, he wants to make the world a better place before he is gone.  I also continued to tempt fate by not only writing a fairly detailed backstory, but also making a table tent for the poor guy.


(Yes, that's Tawny from Superman/Shazam!  The Return of Black Adam . . . if I had any photoshop skills I would have made him a bit greyer to fit with his age)

We survived the bikers, and the zombies, and the burnt down church.  I was the last one out, because I wanted to make sure I covered our retreat, but we have several NPCs and one PC further bit by zombies during the escape.

This is where the fun begins.  Someone mentioned that if a limb were to be cut off before the infection could spread, it might spare a person that was bitten.  So once we were on the RV, I had everyone hold down one of the NPCs, and I proceeded to "save" him by cutting his leg off.  With my axe.  Which only took four swings.  Ouch.

This caused one of the PCs to run  (the player is running a character that is a younger child), since he had been bitten, afraid we would "save" him the same way.  Long story short, we ran the kid down, he fought back, we got the zombies attention, so I popped the kid with the flat of my axe to knock him out and carried him back to the RV.  This hero business doesn't make you nearly as popular as you would think.

Hellfrost

After the previous trevails I had trying to get this campaign up and running, I thought I'd jump start things by trying to make things a bit more atmospheric.  I bought some props, including a separate canvas map of the setting, runestones to use as bennies, and fantasy themed playing cards.  If nothing else, everything at the table would keep up with the theme.


Now, to begin with, this session could have gone south as well.  We had one player slot open, dropping us to five players, and then we had two other players that could not play this session.  However, we had another regular at the Gopher sit in to play one of the retainers, and the session rolled on.



We had a lot of fun.  Lot's of over the top roleplaying.  A drinking contest, a storytelling contest, a fight with a dragon and a giant blooded frostborn, a storm at sea, and a mass battle against shark men.  I actually designed the session to run through a few of the special rules in Savage Worlds Deluxe.  I think the rules worked out rather well, and at least one player seemed to enjoy the mass combat rules as a quick means of throwing tons of people fighting each other on both sides.


Long story short, the rules held up, got out of the way of the story, and allowed for a pretty good variety of things to happen in the session.  All in all, a very good session, and one that gives me hope that this campaign isn't totally cursed.

BattleTech


This last Saturday was the day that the Gamerati tour stopped by Armored Gopher Games, and one of the games that was being run was a BattleTech scenario.  I love BattleTech.  I have not played it regularly for a long, long time, but when I do, I get that warm, nostalgic glow all over again.



This scenario was set up as a Capture the Flag game with "video game respawn," and a hidden uber mech that someone could trade out for the one they stated the game with.



Turns out, video game style capture the flag doesn't translate perfectly to a minatures war game, and the uber mech, which I found, was a bit too uber compared to the other mechs.  We all still had fun, but I felt a little guilty with my upgraded weapons and heat sinks and all of that.  It was still a lot of fun, and rekindles the desire to jump back into BattleTech yet again.



However, I don't have the time, a steady group, or even any materials of my own.  Ah well.  One that is interesting to me is that over how many publishers and years and editions, the core game is still very similar to what I was playing back in the 80s.  Plus, I have to laugh every time I tell people that I got out of the game before the Clans storyline really caught hold.

Tomorrow night, we begin the next story arc in the DC Adventures game!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Separation Anxiety

In my youth I never had to worry about having to ask anyone to leave a game I was running.  Everyone that ended up in my games was a person that I interacted with socially to begin with.  The few times that tempers flared or something went wrong, it generally wasn't much different than if I had a disagreement with that person over a video game or how much pizza they had eaten at a party.  In other words, it was just another form of social interaction with a person that was already within my social circle.

Far further into my adulthood . . . so much further that I may soon officially and literally be a grey beard, I find that life has changed a bit.  For years I have been gaming with people that I have met expressly to game with, and these days I run all of my games in the public venue of the FLGS.

That means I get a wide range of people showing interest in my games.  It is actually very enlightening and it has actually broadened my horizons as a gamer quite a bit.  Casting a wider net brings in more diverse groups, which in turn means that you can never really be sure what someone is going to do until you get to know them better.  Also, getting to know more people in life is generally a positive thing.

That having been said, in adulthood I've had to brook the topic of asking people to leave my campaigns, which is something I had never done before this phase of my life.  It is very, very hard.

Unless I'm mistaken, I've only had issues like this three times thus far, and I'd be happy to never have to deal with these issues again.  The first time really wasn't all that traumatic.  The gamer in question was very busy with school and work and had missed a ton of sessions in a row, and never managed to catch up on what was going on.  When his character did something, it tended to get the party into trouble, and without the familiarity built up from having a regularly interacting group, this tended to not play well at the table.

In the end, I talked it over with him, and he agreed that he didn't have the time to devote to a game, even one that occurred every other week, and after I asked if his attendance would be getting any better, he agreed that he should open up the slot.

Wow, that wasn't too bad.  Everyone was an adult, we still joked around on social messaging sites and the few times I managed to see him at the game store before he left.  Hey, adulthood isn't so hard now, is it?

The next time I asked someone to leave the campaign was . . . complicated.  I had a player that just up and left the area for a few weeks without really talking to anyone at the store or that we knew in common.  As far as anyone knew, he wasn't coming back, and when I finally e-mailed him, he took a while to respond.

I opened up the slot in the campaign, got a new player, and then received a response from the player.  He told me he would be back in two weeks, and I told him I had already filled the slot in the campaign.  I then told him that I wasn't planning on expanding the group to let him return, because I didn't know if he was going to leave again without notice for weeks at a time.

What surprised me about this instance was that the player in question then threw the first player I mentioned back at me.  He pointed out that, in aggregate, he had missed more sessions but I waited longer to ask him to open up the spot in the game.

I was on the defensive, and I felt bad.  It was true, the other player had missed more sessions.  But I knew the situation was different, at least in a way that was important to me.  The difference being that the first player that I mentioned had been e-mailing me, if not before the session then during the session, telling me that work had run over and that he was sorry and telling me he was still interested in the campaign.  In the case of the second player, there was no warning, no discussion of how long the player would be gone, or even a reason given.

No player owes me an explanation of their personal time, but if I don't know why you aren't showing up, then all I know is that you aren't showing up.

I have had other players that have had extended periods of leaving the campaign, and they were great at communicating when they would be gone and giving me a good idea of when they would be back.   I have no problem with that.  But the lack of communication and the assumption that I'll always be flexible without the courtesy of a warning did take me aback.

That brings me to the last few weeks.  I won't go into too many details, but my session two weeks ago ground to a halt in a way I have never experienced before.  Essentially, I was taken off guard because the player was arguing with a decision I made for an NPC and for the campaign in general directly to me, the person that is the GM, not to the NPC, and was refusing, as a player, to keep playing until I changed the scenario.

When we took a break, refocused, and got going again, I noticed that the player in question was not participating at all, nor was he communicating or even showing any sign that he was enjoying himself.  I had a very hard time getting into running the game knowing that someone was having such difficulty with my GMing style.

I decided after a few days that I needed to put my cards on the table and just tell the player in question that I didn't think I was going to be able to run an enjoyable game for him, and that I thought it was best to open up the slot for a player that might be more in line with my GMing style.  I got no response, but the player in question did not come to the latest game session.

The long and the short of it is that none of these situations were entered into lightly.  We are all gamers.  I'm no better than anyone else, and I'm certainly not perfect.  I run games because I have fun doing it, and because I am rewarded when I see players enjoying themselves.  That really is the crux of it.  If someone is either not getting anything out of the game, to the point of being angry, or they are doing something that throws me completely off of my ability to GM, the group has a problem.

If I can't GM well, that is five other people at the table that are wasting their time when they could be pursuing other hobbies or playing in other games.  I'm sure there are better GMs that could either shut out the mental noise or figure out how to make the "odd man out" enjoy the game more, but I'm not that guy, and I wish I was.