The WISH of the week:
Do you (or your GM) ‘play favourites?’ Do you feel you have to justify your answer? Do you have a horror story to share?
I agree with Greg Morrow’s comments (follow the link above), with some additions. Favoritism shows up most often as spotlight time, a concept I find tremendously useful when thinking about balance. It doesn’t matter if Bob the Paladin can deal out more damage than Ernie the Weedy Cleric if Ernie does all the negotiations and it’s a socially oriented campaign.
Favoritism is rarely, in my experience, a case of the GM giving one player lots of cool things. It’s usually a case of feeding one player spotlight to the detriment of others — and the GM can always do that. It’s easier to do that without feeling unfair, too, since you’re just directing the story in an interesting direction.
Now, there is another form of favoritism that’s even subtler and in some ways more insidious — campaign discussion. What happens when a GM spends a lot of time talking about a campaign with one of the players, but not others? The same kind of spotlight problem, but the other players can’t see it. The effects are still there, though.
(And nah, nobody I’ve played with a lot over the last five years has had either of these faults in anything more than the most minor ways. I share Greg’s worry that I hog spotlight, though.)