So, I've signed up to run a one shot at the local D&D meetup here in Pasadena. Fortunately, I had a one shot written up for the Weekly One Shot segment I was going to do on this blog, so my prep has been largely in creating pregens for the players.
I'm a little nervous as I haven't run a game in a while, and haven't run one for complete strangers in an even longer while.(Grammar love it, live it) Finding new players is a tedious process as about 60% of gamers tend to be socially retarded, and out of the remaining 40% only about a 33.3% of those players share your gaming style. (don't forget 90% of all statistics are made up 50% of the time)
So, back in the day when I was running games on a fairly regular basis I noticed some trends among the players who just didn't work out in my games, and I've used these traits as an early warning system to weed out the undesirables, or at least to be on guard against the idiocy that was sure to come.
Some early warning signs that assbaggery is abound
* Drow - I've never read the Drizzit books and I probably never will, due to the kind of players they seem to attract. If you don't know who Drizzit is you can sniff out his disciples because they will want to play a good aligned ambidextrous Drow ranger wielding a pair of scimitars and usually runs around with a black panter (the cat not the radical group). They will also be of the firm belief they this has never been done before, and that they are totally original. If you want to see how essential being a Drow is to their character concept just tell them there are no Drow in your world, and see how quickly they just erase the word Drow and make them a plan elf.
* Cross Gender - When a male player wishes to play a female character I get a little worried. Not because I think they are some weird sexual deviant, but because these players tend to believe this action fulfills their role-playing quota on the front end. I mean come on they're playing a female, and they are a male that means that no matter what they do they are in character, right? Cause its a woman doing it, and they aren't a woman....
* Mad Hatters/Malkav/Insanity - This one largely applies to when I ran World of Darkness. This involve a player who wishes to play the most original character you've ever seen, a Malkav (insane vampires) with multiple personalities, which are dictated by the hats he wears. I have yet to run an open game of Vampire where this concept had not been presented to me. I even had the same concept presented by two different players for the same game. Players who bring insane characters are similar to the Cross Gender breed as they feel as long as they play up the insanity they aren't required to role play, or even pay attention to the story.
* Pyros - It is hard to weed these guys out. Look out for anyone who has several vials of greek fire oil, lamp oil, or torches on their character sheets. Otherwise the answer to any problem in your game will be "I set the building on fire." This usually is done without concern for the other characters, or NPCs.
These are but a few warning signs. If you have any that I missed feel free to share them.