People need to respect each others boundaries..Support the show
Hello Everyone, hopefully this will prove to be a cautionary and informative tale.
This was a 5E game a few years back. I had been the group's DM but had recently lost my job and had been living out of my car for a while, so another player decided to take up the reins while I got my life back together. Out of respect for everyone's privacy, I'll just assign all involved monikers, the other players can go by Charm, Clueless, Confrontation and Edge.
Edge was the player who decided to take over for me. He came up with this wonderful idea of a sky island adventure. We were all on board, and he even said he would give us all an extra boon. Our Tiefling Bard played by charm received free wings, our Half-Orc Paladin played by Confrontation received the ability to summon flying mounts at level one (Edge and Confrontation were besties), Clueless gained flight for his Dragonborn Paladin, and my Half-Elf Cleric of Selune, could turn into a Werebear.
At first, I was like, okay Selune is a goddess of the moon, so it's not the craziest idea for a Cleric of hers to be a Werebear, but it didn't stop there. My Half-Elf Cleric was male, but a bishonen who had an upbeat and supportive personality, at least that's how I envisioned him. He grew up in an orphanage and the caretaker was essentially my surrogate mother. Almost immediately, Edge began pushing the Blood Hunter class on me, telling me how my father had abandoned me after my mother was brutally killed by vampires and how it filled me with a fanatical hatred of vampires and how bitter and vengeful my character was. Also, he wanted to make my character as hyper masculine as possible, which once again went against the Bishonen persona I was going for with this character.
Now, I had no issue with the dead mother and deadbeat dad, but I was not going to transform my character into a vengeance filled edgelord. I wanted my cleric to live life one day at a time and not become obsessed with a blood feud with vampires. Edge was a big fan of the Underworld movies and lycanthropes in general, along with being a furry himself. As far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but the problems began when he began pushing a few things that he personally enjoyed on my character, but more on that later.
For the record, I have nothing against Blood Hunter as a class, it just didn't fit my character. Fast forward a few session, we are finally off the main island and traveling around, with the DM still trying to force the Underworld storyline upon me after I told him that it didn't fit my character, I would fight vampires but I wasn't going to be a vengeance filled edgelord about it. This led to my first Werebear transformation, which occurred in the middle of a battle. As I began to transform, Edge informed me that a furious bloodthirsty rage overtook me as I was filled with hatred and fury over the dead mother who I had never met nor had any memory of. My epic one liner, in a deep voice, "Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic."
Now, to be fair, that song is low-key terrifying when you look at the implications of the lyrics, but at that point it was enough to completely take the wind out of Edge's sails. After the battle I tried to turn back, but he informed me that my Werebear form was now my default form and that I couldn't turn back into a half-elf. My response to this, while somewhat juvenile, was to make the most groan worthy bear puns whenever possible, it was unBEARable. When I wasn't in hybrid form, he would have me randomly get trapped in full bear form. During one session when Charm wasn't around, and it was just me and Edge, Confrontation and Clueless, Edge decided that what my character needed was some romance. And this is where he tried to force a specific fetish of his on me and my character.
What this actually entailed was him telling me that while I was in bear form, I was attracted to a female bear and wanted to do the bear necessities with her. Naturally I put my foot down and said no. He insisted saying that my animal instincts had taken over and it was only natural that my character would want to hook up with a shebear in heat. I put my foot down a little more firmly saying, I would not have any part of his messed up fantasy. This, on top of my puns and refusal to be an extra from the Underworld franchise, genuinely ticked him off, and I'm pretty sure Edge decided that my character had to go.
Eventually we got to our next island, after I was finally able to get back to my half-elf form, an island that a group of evil fey were trying to get it to fall out of the sky. So naturally, every single creature we fought actually was neutral. Conveniently making it so they couldn’t be affected by my Protection from Good or Evil, and they always seem to target me.
There was the island guardian which was a Fey/Celestial/Undead combo that counted as neutral. There were the monstrosity satyrs, the Phase Spiders, and of course the Catoblepas, one of which tried to kill Charm's tiefling after he had flown onto his back by morning his neck at a 180 degree angle backwards that should have broken the Catoblepas neck. (Charm had also rebelled against Edge and his attempts to make his backstory and character as edgy as possible.)
Eventually things came to a head during our battle with a giant Stonehenge golem, a CR way outside of our level range, with the only way to defeat him being a puzzle we had received no clue or forewarning about, or even had a chance to activate before this thing attacked. So, even while Clueless and Confrontation the Paladins were whacking at it, and Charm was doing his best to figure out what was ultimately a relatively simple elemental puzzle, my poor Half-Elf Life Cleric was drawing aggro on this death machine, going full defense with Shield of Faith up just to survive, as it continued to ignore the Paladins that were actually trying to stop it. When I wasn't fighting for my life, I was launching Guiding Bolts, which naturally did nothing. Eventually Clueless and Confrontation decided to help Charm finish off the puzzle and I was saved, much to the annoyance of the DM.
The Campaign fell apart not too long after as Edge didn't want to do it anymore, and despite my better judgment I decided to run a Starfinder game as my life was beginning to pull itself back together. Eventually Edge and Confrontation had a vicious and very ugly falling out, and the group was disbanded. Confrontation and I were never that close and Edge just disappeared entirely. I also have no idea what happened to Clueless. Charm and I went on to form a new group, while small it isn't nearly as dysfunctional. As a rule for my new players, I make sure I know what they're comfortable with, and promise them that I won't force anything on their characters that they don't want. Remember friend's, it's all about communication and respect.
I couldn’t have said it better myself! This next DM REALLY needs to hear those words. Now moving onto the second story for today..
This is a short and relatively tame game that recently ended in failure.
I found a Roll20 listing for a game that advertised itself as a world starting to go bleak and young adventurers rising up to become the "flames of hope" for the new world. Sounds cool, I've been playing darker and grittier games so maybe a refresh of a more good guys, Lord of the Rings campaign would do more nicely. I fill in my application and get in with 4 other players.
Session zero comes. We do introductions around the discord and the DM goes last. And the DM immediately in her introduction announces that she's a furry. It was a bit awkward because she was announcing it as if she was coming out of the closet or something and the players were all silent for about 10 seconds. I'm not sure if she was expecting one of us to congratulate her, clap, or announce some of us were furries as well... But it seemed like she left a pause for some dramatic effect or response and it was just silence. She moves on to speak about the other usual things in session zero and one of the players pipes up around the end, "Yeah we all have our things let's be accepting."
I'm not sure if the DM took that as a sign to throw her fetish in to the game. But come session one and it is abundantly clear the world we are thrown in is essentially Zootopia. Every NPC we come across is some form of humanoid animal with a blushing, long eyelashes, "beautified" art and wearing no clothes. I'm not sure how to explain it except to say if you've ever seen furry art you know exactly what it looks like. Me, playing the Bard, gets hit on by a tiger NPC lady at the tavern who purrs at my character and calls him handsome for having 18 Cha. To which I just say my character smiles and thanks her but he needs to be on his way to investigate those strange cultists outside of town.
Game ends 3 hours in and the DM asks for feedback. And having played through things I did not play before, I ask the DM directly if she intended this to be a furry game. She laughs and responds yes. I tell her that's really cool but personally it's not really my fetish and if I had missed somewhere on the advertisement that this was intended to be such. The other players, trying to be nice, do some nervous laughter and say "Yeah... I kinda got the furry feeling too." We talk for a bit and tell the DM that while some animal humanoids are okay, we want a more standard D&D world and if we could have less risque art. The DM says okay.
And as soon as we exit the voice chat, she kills the server. One of the players that had friended me asks me if he had been kicked and I tell him nope, DM probably nuked the server.
Roll20 and the internet is a big place. Please people, if you want to play a world with certain aesthetics that go to your fetish just be open about it. I assure you there are others with your tastes and you can find players that will be suited to your game.