Hey, all, this is honestly something I never thought I'd have to ask anyone advice on, so if it sounds über-choppy, that's why. To protect the innocent, I'll use letters for people's names.
As most of you know, I'm in two long-standing gaming groups out here; one Friday night and one Saturday night. The Saturday night group has been subtely changing since the beginning of this school year. When I first joined it last fall, it was running on Sunday nights under I's purview and was a blast. Sure, there were a few rules changes that I had to work to adjust to, but I had fun, it was an interesting group. After that semester, though, I got into some trouble academically and hasn't been back to the University since (hopefully next semester), so D took the opportunity to pretty-much soak up the whole group of us. He'd been running before, but only a few people were in both groups. I wasn't in his first game after I left, a Hunter chronicle, but I did get in on his second: a fun D&D campaign based in his own world. The group was about half people I knew and about half people I didn't, but it was a lot of fun and we managed to get through a lot most sessions, though not every time because we only had a couple of hours Tuesday nights. This game took a break over the Summer and got moved to Saturday nights where we finished it up in the Fall, short 3 or 4 of the people from the original group, but we still managed to have fun.
After that we switched to a Star Wars d20 game which has overall been fun, with a few exceptions hinging on certain characters. This switch of game, though, was accompanied by a major change in the group. We added three new people, one of which I knew from my German classes, the other two were friends of D's from Startek. Now we're nearing the end of that campaign and I find myself facing a hard dicision. One of my good friends in this group (also from karate) is graduating at the end of this semester and D's planning on adding 3 new people for the next campaign, two of whom work at Startek, one of whom is from the older group and hasn't been around for a while and is, quite frankly, a meta-gamer and a cheater at times, though supposedly he's made a life change... I guess we'll see when it comes to him.
This past Saturday (the one before Easter for those of you who may not see this for a while) several people were going to be out of town so D decided to have a game-evening instead. Those of you who have haver played non-rpgs with me can probably judge that I was excited about the prospect of actually being able to play games
. I guess I really shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. We ended up playing a 2.5 hour-long game of Munchkin (after which I left) with 9 players, combining the Munchkin core and supplements, Starmunchkin, and Munchkin Blender. I spent this 2.5 hours absolutely miserable. Only a few of us were actually playing the game. Especially around the one end of the table it seemed like we would sit for 5 or 6 min. before one of us would suddenly go "hey, who's turn is it" because no one had been playing anything. In addition to the game there were no less than 2.5 conversations going on at anyone time, not counting the possibility of multiple conversations between the same people as well as at least one other source of outside distraction. Initially they put on the DVD of Robin Williams Live, which, though funny, I have never even contemplated before as background noise to a game. Once that was over one of the members was encouraged to put on a CD he'd brought with... of dragcapella Christmas carols. I'll be honest, I think throwing on some music while playing games can be very good, but not music with lyrics... and especially not music with lyrics for a completely past and over holiday. In any other situation (and especially around Christmas time) I might have enjoyed them, but all they were to me at that moment was yet another thing that was keeping 90% of the group from playing Munchkin so that we could finish up and move on to another game.
The already explained irritation was only compounded by the topics that kept being returned to in the conversations I couldn't screen out: politics, sex/sexuality/attractiveness, and who they did/did not like at Startek. This last one is also a standard topic of discourse at our role playing sessions and I fear will only get worse the longer I attend. After the current game is over the new one will have a minimum of 11 people involved, including GM, possibly more, and only 3 of us don't work at Startek (possibly 2, but I don't think R works at all). Technically, there's a 4th person who doesn't work there, but he used to, so whenever the topic comes up he's a constant stream of 'do I know that person?'s as well as agreement.
The fact that I find myself sitting in a room with 8 people who all work together and all but one of whom seem to love and hate all the same people at work makes me seriously question whether this is a goup I want to continue to associate with. I'm beginning to feel like I fell in with a crowd just like every one I avoided in Middle School and High School. I'd feel better if it were a constant stream of 'he said's and 'she said's, but it's not it's 'so-and-so's a brown noser' or 'he's a jerk.' I've never once heard them give any concrete reason for thier dislike, I'm forced to assume because they all already know it, but it still annoys me. I managed throughout High School to associate primarily with people for whom that kind of gossip was a huge no-no. It wasn't that it never came up, but that it was limited and there was always a definite concrete reason for the dislike. The fact that I know that most of them dislike my boyfriend only complicates the matter. One of the people joining in on the next game is fond of Rich and vice versa, but other than that it's a pretty general agreement that they don't like Rich, though to varying levels. No, they've never discussed it in front of me, but Rich is very aware of it from they way they treat him at work (including complaining about him to try to get him fired) and my roommate has mentioned it to me as well because she attends another game with this group on Sunday nights. There are a few people in this group who's opinion, prior to recent months, I might have placed stock in, but seeing the juvenile interactions they maintain with eachother I can't help thinking that their dislike of him stems from two primary sources: 1) that he is several years older than me, so they have decided he's some sort of creepy pedophile, and 2) that he doesn't stoop to participating the kind of juvenile conversations that they're beginning to partake of quite regularly.
In the end, I find myself wondering if this is really a group that I want to continue to associate with, but I also know that I enjoy gaming with D and that he is a very good story-teller, if not the greatest of GMs. As I said before, he has a few habits that bother me, but they're worth putting up with for the story and I enjoy having the opportunity to rp with my roommate, who I really brought into the community... And it's not like anyof them alone strike me as being bad people, it's just that I'm starting to feel completely incapable of associating with half the non-game discussion that occurs. Also, since most of the players now are 'friends from work,' it's starting to feel like a social club that has a game going on instead of like a game. I'd really like some advice on how to deal with this. We've got a couple of sessions left in the Star Wars game and I've been looking forward to the D&D game concept that's coming up for a while, but I just don't know if I can do it with this group.