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A problem player?

I kicked out a “problem player” once, someone I thought was a “that guy”. Strange thing was that the very next session, another player immediately took up the mantle, and I realized that the supposed “that guy” had been expressing issues the entire party was feeling. They didn’t speak up because he was, they didn’t feel they have to, until he was gone.

And it took a long time to mend that friendship, a process that’s still not gone, and every now and then I regret the decision.

By issues, I don’t mean problems per se with my DMing but concerns & skepticism about my proposed rules, rulings, descriptions, calls, houserules, changes, scheduling. People are uncomfy with change and wanna express their concerns with unproven, odd-to-them approaches. And on my end, I can understand why I got exhausted being constantly questioned and my calls never being trusted, even after a couple of years of playing. That’s been my curse as DM, when other tables tell stories of how their DM or GM have “such authority and presence” I weep since I need to quote paragraph & letter for all of my calls, at least that used to be the case until I became 60 feet tall and learned to kick ass and run out of bubblegum. But it’s a blessing also, being able to build buy-in in game outcomes by having rules & houserule documents to show that my calls aren’t just capricious, they have a foundation—it’s not me putting the characters in trouble, it’s the system.

Not to take away from my main point which was that the issues turned out to not be with that player, and that was a hard, costly lesson to learn.