Introduction

I am a software developer and I've been with my current company for about 4 months now. Initially I've generally stuck to myself but after a while (a month?) of getting to know everybody I've started spending most of my break time with a group of colleagues who share similar interests, mostly board and RPG games. To give some background as to how close we were, we generally ate lunch together, spent most of our extra break time chatting about random stuff etc. We also met once or twice after work to play board games and share a beer.

The RPG session

About three weeks ago they started talking about their RPG (D&D) session (which started before I joined the company) and since they saw that I was clearly interested, I was invited to join them. To my knowledge, the campaign was about three sessions in and I was one of the three new people who would be joining (for the total of 7 players). After about and hour spent creating our new characters we started actually playing. After some generic role play and initial introduction we were involved in a fight. Skipping the details, we won the fight but most of the party was severely injured and two of the other six were actually unconscious.

We were about to wrap up the session and get back to town, but I've stopped them because I was struck with a (not so) brilliant idea. Since my character was "chaotic evil" (like a really evil guy for those with no D&D background). I've decided that I will now try to take advantage of this opportune moment, and try to kill the remainder of the party for personal gain (since it was definitely something my character would do). After some initial confusion I started fighting the rest of my party and once again, skipping the details, I've won, but only because I've been incredibly lucky with the dice. At this point I noticed while some of my friends were shocked/surprised by the situation (but still having fun), the rest was clearly disgusted as what just happened meant creating new characters, starting new story etc.

Consequences

Now, I understand if my colleagues didn't want to play RPG with me anymore, because they didn't consider what I did fun, acceptable or they just plain didn't like it. However I never expected them to almost completely exclude me from their group, and that's exactly what they did.

The next couple of days the chat room we used in order to get together, meet for lunch, tea, coffee etc. was absolutely silent. No big deal, I thought that simply nobody was in the mood. The problem is that I've noticed that all of them are still doing those things together, just without me. This leads me to believe they created the exact copy of this chat room, with the exact same people participating, excluding me. What further convinced me of this is the fact that today not only did they go to lunch together, they also specifically (by name) asked everybody else in the room (since not everybody is using this chat) whether they want to come, excluding me.

The situation seems surreal to me as firstly it was not my intention to upset anyone, and secondly I find it really hard to believe that killing somebody's fictional character, can lead to such behavior, especially since they can rollback the entire campaign if they want to! My guess is that they are trying to "punish" me for doing what I did, however I find it childish.

My question is: What would be the best way to repair my work relations with my colleagues after such incident?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Elysian Fields Feb 9 '17 at 17:34
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    This has been addressed many times on rpg.stackexchange.com. This question is one that I thought of when reading your question, as well as this and this. – Cypher Feb 10 '17 at 0:53
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    There are several great answers here, which I've +1'd. To add a D&D-specific reference for context, what you did has a name: "My Guy Syndrome". The workplace dynamics is more important, but for completeness sake: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/37103/… – Wayne Feb 11 '17 at 16:56
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    Discussion on meta. – Monica Cellio Feb 12 '17 at 22:10
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    What is your real goal here? You claim in bold that you want to mend your relationship with your colleagues, but I don't see any mention of you trying to apologize or even realizing that an apology was warranted in this case. Since you seem to believe you have done nothing wrong, are you perhaps trying to figure out how to get them to mend the relationship? Or maybe you just want the relationship to get back to normal without having to back down from your stance that your actions in the game were "acceptable"? Or you want them to understand why your actions were acceptable? – Masked Man Feb 13 '17 at 18:05

14 Answers 14

however I find it childish

All parties involved here are acting like children. From their point of view you deliberately ruined what was or should have been a long-running game on a whim and you evidently failed to even apologise for doing so. Your colleagues are also behaving somewhat inappropriately if they are indeed freezing you out of all social interaction as the professional thing is to treat colleagues professionally and amicably, even if you don't like or actively dislike them. But at the same time they aren't required to include you in their social circle or friend group and you can't demand that they do.

So that being said, you screwed up. You really screwed up. And the reason you're being ostracised is almost certainly the fact that you don't recognise that you screwed up and haven't apologised for doing so. And that's a Big Problem. While I'd rather not get into the details of your actions in the context of the game as the question David linked does that well, it's easy enough to summarise. You were invited to join a cooperative game that's been in progress for at least ten hours and in which the players, your colleagues, were heavily invested both emotionally and time-wise. And then you destroyed it all. And several of them probably hate you for it.

And why wouldn't they? You stabbed them in the back, perhaps even literally, from the first moment where they really included you in the group and since you've only been with the company for a few months that's really all they know of you. So in their minds you are at best "Not A Very Nice Person". For the same reason that you need to be on your best and most productive behaviour during your first months at a company, the same goes for how you treat your colleagues. And pissing people off is not a great way to do so.

So what you do now is apologise. Profusely. How you do so is up to you, but the points you want to hit is that you got too caught up in your character and regret ruining the game for them. Say that you shouldn't have pulled a stunt like that in a new gaming group without discussing it in the group. You'll probably want to acknowledge that it took you a while to realise that you were out of line.

Hopefully that will be enough to get them to talk to you again and you can begin repairing the relationships at work. I certainly don't believe that you've ruined any chance of getting along with your colleagues. With some time you can probably even ask to rejoin their leisure activities as long as you make it clear that you won't be repeating this incident.


To be entirely clear, I'm coming at you strongly here because you failed to recognise that this was A Big Deal to your colleagues and a honest mea culpa is what you need to show that you regret how things turned out and that you now realise that this wasn't a great move. But as I mentioned both parties share blame here. The correct response from the group or the DM (the person running the game) would have been to either stop you or, as you mentioned, roll the storyline back to before you turned traitor. In both cases you'd have had a conversation on how the group that you just joined runs its games and what is and isn't okay. The same page tool was mentioned in the comments and is one way of approaching this. If you follow that link you'll find that it's listed under the "group dynamics" tag and that concept is just as important at work. You need to remember when you're socialising with colleagues, even in very informal settings, that there will always be a professional boundary that you need to be aware of and that the consequences for crossing it can be higher than they would be among friends or acquaintances.

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    +1 for "You'll probably want to acknowledge that it took you a while to realise that you were out of line." - this is essential! – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 10 '17 at 13:52
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    +1, and just to add. Anything that demonstrates a lack of character, demonstrates a lack of character. Coworkers will assume that if this person would wreck something as trivial as a game would CERTAINLY be untrustworthy at work. – Richard U Feb 10 '17 at 15:22
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    This answer is right, but I am not sure the OP still realizes that he actually did screw up. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 13 '17 at 14:01
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    @Davor and TheIronKnuckle: Don't pass judgment on things you don't understand. To use a crude analogy (not saying you're sports fans or anything), lots of people don't understand why so many get so upset about the outcomes of various sports, but does that make the feelings of those sports fans "insane" or "[overly] emotional"? Please try to show a little more respect for cultures different from your own. – thanby Feb 15 '17 at 0:33
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    @TheIronKnuckle Just to add slightly to what thanby said. In D&D (and most other RPGs) you don't win the game. It is not a game of the players against each other. If we were to compare what the OP did to sports I suppose the closest would be tripping your teammates in a relay so you end up having the fastest time of all of them. Also D&D is not a board game. – DRF Feb 15 '17 at 8:37

This is known in the gaming community as "chaotic evil stupid". It's not an uncommon mistake for beginning players, but it always has the effect of getting them kicked out of the gaming group in a hurry, usually with a lot of hurt feelings. (Getting your own character killed in an entertaining manner may be an exception.)

Players have spent a lot of time and effort developing these characters. You committed an unjustified act of vandalism.

This is basic gaming etiquette. You made it worse by dropping that turd in a room full of people much less likely to forgive you, and whom you need to continue to work with.

As others have said: All you can do is make clear that you now understand just how rude your action was -- the preceding paragraph is not exaggerating -- and plead that you were a clueless newbie, playing for the first time, and got caught up in the concept of roleplay without considering that this is, first and foremost, a cooperative storytelling game. If you can convince them of that, this may blow over. If not, well, folks will put it in perspective eventually but your judgement -- at least regarding social situations, but possibly generally -- may be considered questionable for some time.

For more advice, ask on a roleplaying game forum. This isn't specific to the Workplace.

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    Note on RPG: there are many different styles of play, some like story-telling others prefer action-packed, some like cooperative others enjoy internal party betrayals... The point? Unless you ask what style they are playing, you don't know. And when you don't know, you better not assume. Actually, even after asking and receiving a reply, I'd still play it cool and just observe for a couple sessions. RPGs like D&D are long-term (ie, campaigns last years), there's no point in throwing everything away in the first few sessions. – Matthieu M. Feb 9 '17 at 15:20
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    As usual you've put things better and more concisely than I could. I do think the general issue here is very relevant to the workplace because you can substitute "betraying the group" with just about any kind of rude, inappropriate or unsportsmanlike conduct during a social activity from cheating in a game to over-aggressive behaviour during a team sport. The crux of the matter is that the OP inadvertently ruined what should have been a fun activity and that simply calls for an apology. – Lilienthal Feb 9 '17 at 20:14

A lot of answers have focussed on the game, but I think that's the least important part. Where you really dropped the ball is here:

At this point I noticed while some of my friends were shocked/surprised by the situation (but still having fun), the rest was clearly disgusted as what just happened meant creating new characters, starting new story etc.

When you are at a social event, any social event, and you notice that the people you are with are reacting with genuine disgust to what you're doing, there is a problem. A very big problem. The moment you notice that attitude towards you, you have to stop whatever you're doing and ask these people "I'm sorry, I seem to have said/done something wrong. What did I do?".

And then, at the very least, apologise for what you did and ask how to continue from here. If you had done this, most likely the response would have been "This kind of behavior is not acceptable in our games", at which point you could've maybe rolled it back, or at least come up with a solution. And the night would've ended fine.

But you ignored their negative feelings. Those people most likely left what should've been a fun and relaxed evening event feeling very poorly. You still seem to be unsure of what you did wrong, so probably you have not apologised to them despite this being days ago. So for the past few days, these people may have been feeling bad, about something you did, and you never even acknowledged that you caused them grief. Even though you knew. (And perhaps they are even aware that you know)

It is likely that your failure to acknowledge that you did something bad and ruined their fun weighs much heavier than any characters you killed. Like you said; the story can be rolled back, the characters can be restored. But the negative experience of you ruining their night of fun and games and then not acknowledging it or apologizing for it will not fade so easily.

What's going through their heads now is probably not "Anon killed my Elf Wizard", it's "Anon ruined my evening and he doesn't even care that he ruined it."

As for what you should do now: apologize to them. Apologize for ruining the game for them. Apologize for ruining their fun during game night. And apologize for not realizing it was bothering them at that time.

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    +1 for explaining how this answer applies to any social situation not just this particular one – Sumyrda Feb 10 '17 at 22:07
  • Apologize for ruining their fun during game night the key to the whole answer, and the problem. Game night is supposed to be fun night, not 'one more damned thing' night. – KorvinStarmast Feb 15 '17 at 21:45
  • Think of this, it took you a solid hour to create your char, and I'm guessing you went fairly fast on yours as you wanted to get in and play. While others may of spent much more time creating backstory and other depth to their players and then on what sounds like a whim you went and destroyed all their work and and messed with any story pacing that had been started on your first day. Then blame them for getting upset that you did that. You need to apologize and prove that your not going to pull such a move again. – Kit Ramos Feb 18 '17 at 16:47

The situation seems surreal to me as firstly it was not my intention to upset anyone, and secondly I find it really hard to believe that killing somebody's fictional character, can lead to such behavior, especially since they can rollback the entire campaign if they want to! My guess is that they are trying to "punish" me for doing what I did, however I find it childish.

You have proven to be a bad sport and ruined everyone's fun for your own gain. Why would they continue to be your buddies and hang out with you? It probably was a good group before you came up and right now it is again. It's not a punishment, it's the logical consequence of what you did.

My question is: What would be the best way to repair my work relations with my colleagues after such incident?

The best way would be to understand what you did wrong and apologize for it. Explain that it will never happen again and mean it. I think the first part is very important, I don't get the impression that you fully understand what you did. It's not about fictional characters or rolling dice. It's about ruining other (real) people's fun on their free evening.

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    I agree with the first part, but while I'd accept an apology, I wouldn't be hanging out with the chap again after that. – Kilisi Feb 9 '17 at 13:50
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    @Kilisi: I'd probably carry a grudge for a while, and worry about his judgement and maturity longer, but I've seen this mistake often enough to understand how people new to roleplaying make it. I'm more worried about the defensive subtones in the question; until he accepts that they are not overreacting any more than if he came into a basketball game and cut up the ball, he isn't going to recover. – keshlam Feb 9 '17 at 14:53
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    @JoeStrazzere I wouldn't call it punishment. It would be like calling it "punishment" to not invite someone to the movies when you know they like to shout out the ending early into the movie. Not inviting people who ruin your fun is just sensible. – Erik Feb 9 '17 at 18:06
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    My D&D days are 2 decades ago, but if someone did that it's possible I'd still have that grudge now when I think about them... might be the only thing I remember about them – Kilisi Feb 9 '17 at 19:35
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    @DoritoStyle No, I think "bad sport" captures it quite nicely; the OP demonstrated that they will act against the team on a whim and their colleagues don't know if that's a character flaw that will also show during work. – AllTheKingsHorses Feb 10 '17 at 9:37

@Lilienthal has a very good answer, but I thought I'd contribute a slightly different perspective to the issue. Some of the other answers are starting to iterate towards this realization but I think they are still often obscuring the main point.

The issue doesn't have anything specifically to do with the RPG (and I say this both as a mod on RPG.SE and a tech manager). It could have been socially inappropriate behavior in any kind of pastime. The group could have gone out to a happy hour and you got drunk and hostile. They could have been playing a soccer game for 2 hours, and at the end you deliberately scored an own goal and shrieked "woot!" at them. You behaved in a way that makes them concerned about whether you are trustworthy or not.

If this were just a friend group, this would actually be less of a big deal. But when "playing" with co-workers, there is an additional layer of dynamic you seem to be unaware of. The work doesn't ever completely go away. You are continuously interpreted on two levels, the social level and the work level. This can be difficult, which is why some people don't socialize with co-workers (and why dating is forbidden at some workplaces).

So their concerns about your trustworthiness go beyond the D&D game, they slop over into work, where you definitely want people you work with to be reliable and not backstabbing. They now have the very real concern "Hmm, if things were to go bad and there were to be layoffs or something, this guy seems like the 'kind of person' who would roll over on someone else to keep his job/get a promotion/etc.," or act unprofessional at an unexpected time. You have, to them, revealed a pretty bad character flaw that they are concerned about being active in the rest of your interactions.

In the RPG world, there's different playstyles and it's not objectively wrong to play CE characters and player-kill and all that. But in the real world, it's definitely wrong for you to be the first person to go there, especially when you're new. Just like you probably don't want to be the first person to whip off your pants at the company Christmas party. By doing that (either thing), you've raised a big red flag that says "Poor Judgement Shown Here." You've shown poor social judgement, both from deviating from their norms and especially for not apologizing and not understanding what you did wrong. And no one wants to spend their fun time with Poor Judgement Guy - or work with him on a project, or rely on him to peer review your code, etc. (Unless they are also Poor Judgement Guys, in which case your workplace begins to resemble an episode of Workaholics.)

What to do? Apologizing is good. But that won't build back the trust, you need to do that yourself by not acting like a freak, both in pure work context and in social context with them. Be kind, reliable, and show good judgement consistently after your apology and they'll accept you again. You have to make them able to write it off as 'a one time thing' instead of 'the way that guy is.'

Is this "fair"? That's a childish question that doesn't matter in the real world. People judge others on early impressions and like to think they can intuit a lot about their personality and likely end in life based on notable interactions with them. Given what you did, the others are all thinking their own variations of this. "I hope he doesn't come in and shoot up the office," one is only half-joking to another right now. Is that a ridiculous extension of something that happened in an elfgame? Maybe. But that's the situation you're in.

As you work yourself out of this situation, I hope it's a learning experience for future work/social interactions. Unless your workplace is a biker gang, being the first one to break social norms is not a desirable trait. You don't have to stop if you perceive that as "the Man keeping you down;" you can get away with it if you are a) very charismatic and/or b) you learn how to read the room better.

up vote 56 down vote
+200

Games have both written and unwritten rules.

Each time a group of people play a game, they end up agreeing on unwritten and often unspoken rules and assumptions about the game.

Some games of D&D involve backstabbing and inter-party conflict and chaotic stupid characters. Others don't.

You appear to have violated the unwritten rules of the game you were in. The fact that this came as a surprise and you think you did nothing wrong means you may not be aware that strong unwritten rules underlie many kinds of group recreation.

To the other players you were someone new to a group activity who, in the first time they showed up, gleefully violated the unwritten rules of their group activity and did not demonstrate any remorse for doing so.

To you, this was just something you did "in the game". To the others, this could reflect an inability to pick up on unwritten rules and follow them to maximize the enjoyment of everyone in a social group.

They appear to have responded by avoiding you in the short term. You seem to have only picked up on this response many days later, which is further evidence to them that you are not picking up on non-explicit social signals.

Interacting with someone who doesn't pick up on non-explicit social signals is extremely tiring and often not fun. So at this point, you are being treated as someone who they shouldn't share their group social events with, because they cannot trust you not to break them. They have reasonable and growing evidence that you are a risk, and little evidence to the contrary.

Building social groups is work, and damaging them is easy.


How can you fix this?

The first thing you can do is actually realize what you did wasn't good. You entered into a new social dynamic and proceeded to break it. You may not have intended to, but you didn't act with care in this new social dynamic.

When you entire a new social activity with a group, you should act relatively passively and learn what the rules of this group is. You shouldn't proceed to do something you haven't seen anyone else do, especially if it could be considered aggressive or harmful in any context.

  1. First, internalize your error.
    Look over your life, and see other situations where "through no fault of your own" the same thing happened.
  2. Now that you understand that, go and apologize.
    Don't use these complex words; talk concretely about what you did, and apologize for what you did in that game. State it wasn't appropriate. Don't justify your action with anything as complex as this answer; that looks like excusing yourself.

    State you were a real idiot, individually to each person, in a context where they aren't trapped or cornered and forced to interact with you. Do this without grandstanding.

  3. After you have apologized, see if things thaw.
    After a day or so, take initiative and ask some of them to do something social via the old chat channel.

The problem isn't what you did by itself; the problem is what you did in the social context that you did it.

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    I read the question before, but the whole setting felt so absurd that I could not really word it. This is the right answer. Additionally I would say that while the actions may be enough to not want to be friendly buddies, the actions of co-workers are inappropriate and unprofessional. There exists persons that you may not want to befriend, but you should still be friendly. Personally I would still talk about weather and such with the OP. – user3644640 Feb 10 '17 at 7:40
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    @daer Someone who refuses to follow every group norm unless it is spelled out to them and they explicitly agree (which is how I read your comment) is going to be excluded from group activities, because that attitude offloads a huge amount of work on the rest of the group. It is exhausting to deal with. Ignoring the minor pain in the game (it is just a game), the same attitude would make other group activities extra work (and less fun) for everyone else. This is advice for OP, not rest of group; do not have channel to rest of group. – Yakk Feb 11 '17 at 6:14
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    @daer yes, many other random actions would cause different social conflict in different situations. Learning norms and following them rarely leads to such conflict. Causing conflict and being oblivious to it can result in further problems. The problem is failure to detect and follow norms, and doing something possibly transgressive without care. – Yakk Feb 11 '17 at 12:58
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    @Daerdemandt Except, there are plenty of people to interact with in the world. Being explicit about everything is exhasting and slow. When the cost is "don't interact with someone socially" on one hand, and "have to be explicit and exhastive about every way someone could misunderstand the social convention in every situation", it is far easier to not bother to interact with people who take extra energy to deal with and don't provide sufficient benefit to make it worth their while. Avoiding the OP has low cost for everyone else; it is, in a sense, not their problem. – Yakk Feb 16 '17 at 21:26
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    +1 VERY thorough. Good point about being new to a group. Once you're situated in a group, the people in that group have a frame of reference. In this instance, they have no frame of reference, so they're assuming he's a griefer. Very solid advice telling people to be passive initially. – Richard U Feb 21 '17 at 14:36

Apologize immediately.

Try to convince them that you understood what you did and why it was wrong.

Leaving the game mechanics issue aside (that is better addressed on other SE sites), the result of your actions is that you came out like an unsportive and unfriendly person who ruined their fun on purpose.

Engaging in out of work activities with your colleagues may be fun, but you have to be sure that everyone is actually enjoying it. Bad mood and feelings generated outside the workplace will surely spill in.

The fact that you consider the causes or their reactions childish doesn't mean your coworkers do too.
If they reacted by isolating and ignoring you, it means that from their point of view you did a very mean thing. You need to act immediately before their behavior becomes permanent.


As an aside on D&D specifically, you joined the campaign and created your character in about an hour. Their characters were alive for a few more sessions (so about one month, maybe more).

You don't exactly know how much time they spend refining their build and reading manuals, or working on their background, but maybe the characters you killed had a book's worth of backstory and were planned to last for years, realizing their creator's "dreams" and becoming epic and powerful.

Surely if you killed one of my characters as the new guy, and just for the sake of it, I would not take it kindly and I would probably react the same way, if not worse.

I would suggest maybe apologising to the group. Although it fit into your character, it has still ruined their fun. People build emotional attachments to their characters (and the backstories they come up with, peculiar character traits etc), so for "a new guy" to come in and kill all of that is bound to annoy/upset them.

So with that in mind, it's not necessarily a surprise to see this has spilled over into general social interactions, and not just the D&D session.

So I would suggest apologising for killing their characters. Call it a momentary lapse in judgement/misjudgement of the situation etc. You may not get the invite to play again for a while (if, at all), but it will at least acknowledge that you didn't mean to hurt their feelings with regards to killing their characters.

And in the future, I wouldn't say be careful, just maybe don't play "chaotic evil" to that degree if you play again with them. For example, maybe taking an item from them if the situation arises, but not killing them off.

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    I much prefer this answer, its tone is far more rational and much less demonising than other answers. – Pharap Feb 9 '17 at 19:24
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    A creative way to apologize would be to write a short story for the DM which would remedy the situation. The epic level toons in my campaign offers an insurance policy to other PC's. For a monthly premium, a high level party will come to the rescue by teleporting in, recovering and resurrecting the bodies. turns out one smart adventurer in the group had a policy. You can make a new PC and join them in the quest to hunt down their evil betrayer. This would only take the cooperation of your DM. – RedOculus Feb 10 '17 at 2:58
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    @RedOculus They can't trust his judgement. That's the real problem, not the status of the game which they can just reset if they want to. – zabeus Feb 10 '17 at 12:20

Understanding the RPG aspect, this question can be simplified to "I offended my coworkers now they don't like me anymore, what do I do?"

  • Figure out exactly how and why you offended them. Don't stop at "because they're childish".
  • Once you realize what your actual mistake was, apologize, and don't repeat the mistake.

Do not apologize before you understand and accept the mistake.

What was your mistake?

They were playing a game, with the purpose of having fun. They invited you so you could join in on the fun. You did something which you should know is extremely not fun for some people (killing the campaign on purpose), without first figuring out if it's fun for the people you were playing with. The problem isn't your character backstabbing their characters, it's you backstabbing them, by accepting their invitation and then ruining their fun. That's what they see.

If we go a level deeper, and ask about your motivations in doing this, it's because your expectations about RPGs differ from those of other people in the group. You thought that an evil character backstabbing the party and killing the campaign is perfectly good roleplay, and should be fun for everyone. This is the case for some groups, but clearly not for all of them. By now you should have learned that you can play in ways that do offend some people, and that it's good form to discuss with the group what kind of playstyles are acceptable.

There are many more things that are fun for some people and offensive to others, e.g. excessive optimization, flirting between party members, splitting the party, and many more. Your expectations about their playstyle were incorrect and you should have known to verify whether an evil party assassin is ok for that group before starting to kill them all. That's what you need to apologize for.

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    +1 A good analogy is someone pulling the plug o a TV during the last minutes of a sporting event, the wondering why everyone is POed. – Richard U Feb 13 '17 at 13:40

As other's have said, you need to apologize and show that it was an honest misunderstanding of RPG games and show that it won't happen again and doesn't reflect who you are.

The point that I think most of the other answers have missed, or failed to highlight enough, is that while, in theory an RPG means you are taking actions for a character rather than as yourself, it is still a meta-game. You are still a player and you are still playing with other players. How you play your character, even if they have traits that you don't, reflects on you since your actions also impact players in real life.

Certainly your case of this isn't the worst by any means that I've seen, but I've seen otherwise reasonable people harass other players to know end under the justification that their character is a "bad guy", resulting in a total disconnect from realizing their attempt at fun is ruining the experience of other players.

The problem isn't that your character killed their characters, as you rightly point out, if that was the issue, they can simply roll back. The problem is that you, as a person, were having fun by ruining theirs. You failed to consider how your in-game, in-character actions would impact those you were playing with personally. In another group that is into more brutal gameplay, your in-character actions would be fine, but that's because you would be playing with a group of people who like that instead of going where the rules allow, but the desire of the community you are playing in does not.

It's very important in any game with adversarial action to consider the impact on other players first and then on how it fits your role play. Playing a make-believe evil toon doesn't relieve you of your responsibilities to be a good player to those around you in real life.

If you can focus on making it clear that this was an accident, that you didn't see how it would impact them personally and do something nice for them to demonstrate that you are sorry for the impact it had, you can probably get over it fine. It's a bad first impression, but I doubt it's anything anyone would really hold against you long term as long as it is just a mistake and not a deeper underlying behavioral issue.

At this point, you repair your work relations with your colleagues one person at a time

Since your narrative points to some group reconciliation opportunities that were missed, and the group that included you is now inclined not to, then try to look at them as individuals, as people, and work your way back into better harmony on that basis.

People in groups have some different behaviors than individuals.

Where to start? (Assessment step)

From your narrative:

  1. It was not my intention to upset anyone
    We all commit the odd faux pas here and there. How many people in the group are aware of your intentions? If there was or has been no discussion between you and the others, both you and they are (at best) dealing in mind reading.
  2. I find it really hard to believe that killing somebody's fictional Character, can lead to such behavior.
    Believe it; for some people it matters. (I've been playing RPG's/D&D on and off since 1975.) Once you believe it, you can then accept the truth that for some of the people in this social group it mattered. Accepting people as who they are, rather than as who you wished they were, is as important in work relationships as it is in a marriage.
  3. My guess is that they are trying to "punish" me for doing what I did
    Ostracism, in mild or more severe forms, are a kind of group behavior. Since you are guessing, this tells me that you've not made enough effort to communicate and engage in dialogue. You need to have some conversations with people.
  4. ...however I find it childish.
    Assessing the reactions and behaviors of others is a two-way street. It is likely that at least someone, and perhaps multiple someones, found your faux pas childish. When we take that view of someone else, little good will tends to accrue until something changes, and that means someone changes their approach.

You don't need to roll for initiative in real life, you can take the initiative if you think something (like relationships with people) needs fixing or healing.

Where to Start? (Action Steps).

Of the people in your work group, it is likely that you connected better with one or two of them as you warmed up to your new colleagues. Therefore ...

  1. Probe where the common ground is firmest
    Pick one or two of the group with whom you connected best and take the initiative: invite one or two of them to lunch/after hour beers, whatever. As that conversation about doing something together is going on make sure that you indicate that you sense a dampening on the office relationships and that you'd like to do what you can to heal them.
  2. Talk to people like people
    Engage in conversation, and make sure you listen, and also ask about whose feelings you trampled on unintentionally. (per your point 1 in assessment phase). Then offer that you'd like to make amends/make peace with them as well.
  3. Be patient, and be sincere.
    If you really to want to heal relationships, your actions and efforts at healing do two things:
    • They show that you care about other people and their feelings.
    • They open the door for dialogue: two way communication.
  4. Accept your co-workers as they are
    Remember that each person, like you, has strengths and imperfections, but is still someone you'd like to work with and to have a healthy working relationship with.

Relationships, of all kind, require work and maintenance: so work on your relationships.

Bottom Line

You can't wave a wand and fix this. What you can do is try to heal the relationships one co-worker at a time.

  1. You asked how? That's how.

  2. How do I know this works?

    It's how I healed some damaged friendships when I was an asshat on various occasions. It's directly related to how I've healed some wounds in my marriage when I've hurt my wife's feelings. (In 28+ years, there are gonna be some bunmps in that road ...)

Obviously it's very clear from all the answers here that you need to apologize, but I often notice people fail to understand the best way to do that. So I'll offer some advise on how to actually handle apologizing in this situation:

You already know from the other answers that what you did was an annoying, selfish, and extremely lame thing. But how do you get back on everyone's good side? I know some people just dont know how to communicate with people, even under the best circumstances, much less in an awkward situation like this. If you're one of those people, it might not be as hard as it feels.

Step 1) Go to each person privately - not in an imposing way, wait (however many hours or days it takes) until you find a moment when you can catch the person apart from the others and not engaged in any work. You've got to feel this part out and be careful about when and where, the key is to not draw any attention from anyone but the person you're talking to so they don't feel awkward that other people see you talking to them 1 on 1 after what happened.

Step 2) Say calmly and coolly, very chill, sound just slightly embarrassed, but not unconfident: "Hey, I realize what I did back then with the game was really lame. I ruined the game (shake your head and roll your eyes a bit at your own stupidity, not dramatically, just a subtle gesture to defuse the drama that comes with an apologize after an awkward fuck-up) for you guys. Sorry. That was terrible (laugh at yourself during that last bit with a subtle head shake as if to say "I can't believe I acted that way")" Try to say it in a tone and manner that shows you mean it but doesn't feel dramatic. Zero tension. Let them know you're sorry and wave them off, walk away.

Step 3) Don't invite yourself or even risk acting like you might be hoping to be invited to join them again any time soon. Just be cool, be friendly with everyone, tell everyone hello when you see them, smile and wave. Do your job really well. You majorly fucked up your rep with a move as childish as yours was. No offense intended, that's just the reality of your situation. Be patient, don't talk too much, don't try to join in their conversations, just do your job well and talk when spoken to. If you do that for a few months, they'll get to know you as a chill, cool guy who fucked up but apologized, the awkwardness will have worn off and you might be able to join your colleagues again for a game and joke about how terrible you fucked up way back then.

Note: A comment claims this method is too forced, but disagree. I think with the right charm and sincerity, this approach will work.

  • This sounds way too forced to me, honestly if someone did this with me I'd think it was really insincere and fake (no offense). You can't take a general approach to an apology for something like this because every group/environment is unique. If I had to suggest an approach for an apology I'd go for simple and straight forward, don't try to use humor or make light of it. Just a simple: "I just want to apologize for what I did during the gaming session, I didn't realize the mistake I made and so I'm sorry if I ruined it." – Aithos Feb 24 '17 at 19:07
  • @Aithos In my opinion when you've created an awkward situation for yourself and others, keeping things light is the best thing you can do. An apology, when someone looks you in the eyes, and says "I'm sorry" is going to be felt as sincere, the other stuff just makes it less awkward, smoother for the recipient (receiving an apology can be just as awkward as the initial situation if not handled right), and doesn't hurt the apology if it is sincere (imo). When I said not unconfident I guess what I meant was, not insincere. – Viziionary Feb 25 '17 at 5:18
  • The point I was getting at is that "keeping things light" and "humor" are extremely subjective and the OP clearly already struggles with knowing when something is/isn't appropriate in a social setting... so trying to use your approach is far more likely to make it worse and less sincere than just a simple apology. If you know the people well and know that a self-deprecating sense of humor will diffuse tension: by all means. The OP doesn't, and when you don't KNOW you go with k.i.s.s. (keep it simple stupid). – Aithos Mar 2 '17 at 21:21
  • @Aithos KISS was originally coined by NASA right? Some engineers iirc. – Viziionary Mar 3 '17 at 1:34

Well, you have ruined the game for a part of them. The question is How exactly have you ruined it.

Question: How did it happen that you played evil character? And did the rest of the group knew that your character is evil and why?

If it was your choice, for what sake did you choose the evil character? Go apologise to them ASAP. If you want to play with them again promise them NOT to choose evil character again.

If it wasn't, go apologise and explain them that you were caught by the game and thought it would be funny. Be sorry for the misunderstanding.

You also stated that part of them had fun even when surprised/shocked and that you have won with huuge help of luck.
How did you behave during that fight? Were you on "killing spree" enjoying the killing, celebrating the lucky rolls and mocking unlucky victims? Or you found funny to try to betray the rest and see what happens and were you prepared to lose your character in the first place?

If the first is The case, noone would be surprised when they expelled you, because your behavior was very inappropriate. If the second is true go excuse and note that it was a matter of "luck" and that you were ready to re-create your character from scratch.

If you would be invited back, do the same joke again, but only with your character and NPCs involved (at risk).

You can't. You are now "that guy you can't play D&D with because he'll just kill your character if he feels like it". If you feel you're in the right, then there's nothing you can do but let it blow over. No amount of arguing your position will help - in fact, you'll probably just make it worse, unless you can blame your reasoning on a clinically diagnosed psychological condition.

In future, you can avoid a repeat of this by warning the other players before starting that you really get into your character, and they shouldn't be surprised if that makes the game more difficult for them. Cite this experience as an example. They will either accept the challenge or exclude you from the game before any damage can be done. Establishing expectations early is the most effective way to avoid surprising conflicts like this.

  • Anyone want to offer a reason for downvoting, or are we just hating on the answers that dont start with "apologize"? – talrnu Feb 12 '17 at 19:57
  • 10
    The advice in this answer is poor quality; saying it's just because you didn't suggest apologising is reductive. You're suggesting the case is hopeless unless the OP has a mental illness (which is ridiculous), and giving inadequate advice in handling the situation with regards to future gaming groups -- maybe this advice would be suitable as part of what's done, but not as the whole. – doppelgreener Feb 13 '17 at 16:49
  • The asker has expressed their belief that they did nothing wrong, and that everyone else is acting improperly. The question asks what can be done given these assumptions are true. To provide an answer on the basis that these assumptions are invalid is to ignore the core of the question. And if these assumptions remain, then there is no recourse - someone who believes they are right and everyone else is wrong will only make things worse if they continue to assert their view as superior. The only way to make things better in this scenario is to do nothing. – talrnu Feb 14 '17 at 4:15
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    @talmu You asked for reasons and you got them. I'm not interested in arguing about it, it's not going to be constructive for either of us. As both an experienced RPG player and a competent sociable professional in the workplace, I do not share that perspective and I disagree with your advice. Also, challenging the assumptions of the question so as to provide a workable solution to the scenario is acceptable on Stack Exchange, and generally a good idea when those assumptions are flawed. – doppelgreener Feb 14 '17 at 10:16
  • If I prefixed my answer with "If you don't want to apologize, then...", would that make my answer clearer? The whole point of my answer is to answer the question as directly as possible, without requiring the asker to change their beliefs or question themselves. If there is no apology, what else can possibly be done to solve the asker's problem? Note that I never suggested apology is not an option, I simply assume the asker is not interested in it. I can be more explicit in that assumption if it helps. – talrnu Feb 14 '17 at 18:01

protected by Elysian Fields Feb 9 '17 at 17:34

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