This was quite the gamble on Nanase's part. Some guys are into that.
I wanted Nanase to stand up for Ellen, but I was concerned about it coming off as physically threatening Rich. Were Nanase to do that in this situation (and, well, most situations), I would consider her firmly in the wrong regardless of any opinions one might have about Rich.
This is more just "this is how I will feel if you do a bad thing, and this is the face I will make", which I am okay with Nanase doing.
But that WOULD be a fair test!
One could argue that dealing with an unreasonable player is a fair test of a game master, and that this IS going easy on Ellen.
Given the circumstances, I have a few arguments against that.
A completely unreasonable player isn’t necessarily going to be made reasonable by virtue of the Game Master being good, and the game will go poorly regardless.
It’s like expecting a rational argument to sway the irrational. If they were thinking rationally to begin with, the conflict might not even exist.
This might still be considered a test of the GM's abilities, but here comes the second argument.
there’s genuine unreasonable behavior, and then there’s “I’m acting unreasonably on purpose in order to win a challenge”.
The artificial nature of it effectively invalidates the challenge, as the quality of the GM doesn't matter if the player considers being a disruptive nuisance and ruining everything their win condition.
Even if we could get around the first two issues, how one deals with an unreasonable player is more a test for professional GMs who run games for people other than their personal friends and acquaintances.
In a friend group, how an unreasonable player is handled will likely boil down to social dynamics within the friend group. It's not so much about the quality of the GM, but who is friends with who, whether anyone present can reason with them, etc., so on, and so forth.
In a more professional setting, the GM might need to handle it differently, and would be tested at random simply by running games for people who are being themselves.
It might also be the correct move in such an environment to (not literally) boot a problem player from the table. This would effectively end the current challenge, so it's not really ideal.
Unless, of course, it's a final test.
"Ah-ha, you have booted me from the table! That was the correct move! It should not have been done literally, however, so I'm docking points."