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Shinizak
2011-05-04, 12:27 PM
What do you do when a player kills his character(s) repeatedly when he becomes bored with it so he can play another one?

I've had a player like that before and eventually he left of his own accord, but I'd like to know for future reference.

valadil
2011-05-04, 12:32 PM
I'd tell the player he doesn't have to do that and I'd be happy to write out his character as needed. If a player continues to get bored of his characters I'd ask him why he wants to keep playing in a game he gets bored of. If the answer includes anything about using my game as a testbed for his new builds, I'd kick him out on the spot. For anything else I'd try to entertain the player better.

Yukitsu
2011-05-04, 12:33 PM
I'm not certain I understand the correlation between "being punished" and "my character is now fun to play." so I would probably go about it in some less punitive manner.

Tengu_temp
2011-05-04, 12:38 PM
{Scrubbed}

Failing that, tell the player that it should decide on one character that will be fun to play for them. Next time the player purposely kills its character, they don't get to make another one until the next session. Make sure the player knows that.

Nyarai
2011-05-04, 12:39 PM
I would talk to him, explain that introducing a new character into the narrative mid-campaign is a huge pain in the butt. If he's really really unhappy, you could suggest a quest to respec his current character to the class he wants, like in PHB 2 (my DM always made these semi-germane to the quest the party was already on).

If you wanted to have fun with it, you could either vaccinate him against death (http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2111), have his new character join below party level or have an evil entity raise his forsaken characters into the most poignant zombie hit squad ever. :smallamused:

Tyndmyr
2011-05-04, 12:46 PM
What do you do when a player kills his character(s) repeatedly when he becomes bored with it so he can play another one?

I've had a player like that before and eventually he left of his own accord, but I'd like to know for future reference.

I generally have a bit of a penalty for character swapping. New characters have either come in at lowest in party(when we have a significant gap) or at previous character level -1. I do this specifically to avoid people replacing characters instead of raising them on a cost basis. Nowhere in the rules does it say they get to pick the level of the character they make. That said, the xp = river thing means they'll catch up.

I aim to have the occasional death/char swap as an acceptable thing that doesn't horribly gimp a char forever, but it shouldn't be common practice.

But I suspect you already know the root cause...lack of interest. You can't really force interest.

Severus
2011-05-04, 01:12 PM
I think once, maybe even twice is ok. After that, you need to talk them about what's going on. Explain that these events are disruptive to the game narrative and if they can't find something to play that suits them, then maybe the game doesn't suit them.

Gamer Girl
2011-05-04, 01:41 PM
You don't need to do anything?

Just sit back and let them run through characters....

Mark Hall
2011-05-04, 02:47 PM
I'm actually kinda like that, myself. Fortunately, Hzurr puts up with it.

Part of it, IMO, would come down to when he's ditching the old character. If he's doing it mid-adventure... yeah, that's annoying. However, if he's replacing him at a good stopping point for a character, that's at least not a burden on the DM.

HalfDragonCube
2011-05-04, 02:51 PM
You can never have too many meatshields. Or, get the strong party member to throw the offending characters at enemies. If they die when they don't want to, then they generally stop wanting to die. Then kill some more of their their characters, until they really don't want to die.

Knaight
2011-05-04, 02:52 PM
There is no need for punitive action. Merely work with him to create a way for him to change character where it gets bored. A good compromise would be to get him to make his characters part of an organization that allies with the group, and allow him to swap out which character in the organization is with the party at towns and such. It might not be ideal-for that matter, we know it isn't- but it works. In some games, it would work really well.

Xefas
2011-05-04, 03:03 PM
So, you want to punish someone for...being bored? Why don't you just communicate with them. Figure out why they keep getting bored with characters. Work with them to make things more interesting.

Maybe a one-shot in a different game system could help. Kobolds Ate My Baby's primary mechanic is the death of your character. You die constantly, over and over, and bring in new characters with different stats and special abilities each time, which take about 1.5 to 2 minutes to write up. Always in hilarious ways, of course.

In a Wicked Age allows (and maybe even encourages) a player to play a different character every single session, with different stats, goals, and special abilities.

Burning Wheel because, well, you never need an excuse to play Burning Wheel. And folks will get attached to those characters like no other. Really, if you have someone who just can't nail down their interest to one character build- run a session of Burning Wheel. G'damn.

valadil
2011-05-04, 03:09 PM
So, you want to punish someone for...being bored? Why don't you just communicate with them. Figure out why they keep getting bored with characters. Work with them to make things more interesting.

Getting bored is one thing. Killing your own PC midadventure puts a strain on the GM to write a new introduction. If the GM has done any character dependent plot work, it may invalidate all that work. A player who was going to play a series of characters for one adventure each would be fine, but he should do so without burdening the GM.

Jay R
2011-05-04, 03:25 PM
Talk to him. First, you don't need to kill off the character to do it. Let him tell you he wantx to switch, and you can arrange for the old character to leave without dying.

Second, the reason he's doing it may need to be addressed. (I'm considering dropping a Thief character who has never stolen anything because the entire party is now treating him as a criminal.)

If he just wants to play lots of characters, let him play a series of NPCs, so as not to disrupt the party.

But if he's doing it anytime he thinks he sees a way to get a more efficient build, tell him that each new character starts another level lower than the party. (The first replacement is one level below the party; the second is two levels below, etc.) This guarantees that killing a character is not a means of improved abilities.

In any event, talk to him. Don't deal with the generic issue of killing characters to replace them; deal with the specific situation in front of you.

Xefas
2011-05-04, 03:34 PM
Getting bored is one thing. Killing your own PC midadventure puts a strain on the GM to write a new introduction. If the GM has done any character dependent plot work, it may invalidate all that work. A player who was going to play a series of characters for one adventure each would be fine, but he should do so without burdening the GM.

That's why they should be communicating. Yes, the player is also at fault for not seeking to come to some kind of accord first as well. But doing something so condescending as punishing them is only going to make more problems. Aggravating a situation is never the optimal solution.

Someone has to take the mature route and talk things over. Sadly, the internet has shown me that this isn't the default behavior for every gaming group. But trust me, Discussion > Drama for solving your problems.

Dr.Epic
2011-05-04, 03:40 PM
Every time he does this his new character starts off with worse stats, less wealth, and a lower level.

Firechanter
2011-05-04, 04:14 PM
If in any of our group's games a player is unhappy with their character (it has happened), they just need to tell the GM and then a solution can be found.
This can include releveling the current character, up to the point of swapping out feats or even class levels without any of those silly retraining rules.
Or they can make a new character at the same XP total and swap them out between sessions (or whenever the campaign allows to. No problem when you're in a city, problematic if you are in the middle of an endless desert).

This lenient approach _could_ be abused by taking a very tough char through the early levels and then swapping it out against a wizard when these start to rock, but this hasn't happened in my groups.

Suiciding your current char without warning is totally unnecessary; frankly I consider this a ******** move and don't even want to think about how I would react.

If however you have a player who has some kind of ADD and just gets bored with whatever character, well... you might want to ask why he is playing in a campaign game at all.

SleepyShadow
2011-05-04, 04:59 PM
... have an evil entity raise his forsaken characters into the most poignant zombie hit squad ever. :smallamused:

I love this idea. I will do this someday.

Urpriest
2011-05-04, 05:11 PM
I had a player like this for a while. Hell, I had a whole group that was like this. Some stuff I tried:

The Kindly Cleric: when you die due to player-induced suicide/stupidity, you are resurrected by the Kindly Cleric. After he takes all your gear and has sex with your corpse. You then keep playing the character. This managed to keep most of the group from killing themselves off.

For one particularly frequent offender, though, I instead instituted the Nine Lives rule: you have nine lives. Once you go through nine characters you're done, and out of the campaign. This player actually went through all nine, though he left before the last one died for unrelated reasons. I didn't even realize he was on his ninth until much later.

Both of these were sort of obnoxious and childish solutions, but I was a childish fellow back then. It was my first campaign, after all. A better solution, and one that seems to be assumed in the core books, is to have new characters come in at party level-1. This isn't all that punitive and is consistent with resurrection spells for most of the game, but it discourages wantonly switching characters.

There are some people who like making characters much more than playing them, and their tendency to get bored isn't a reflection of the quality of your game. Providing lots of opportunities for retraining and for character development helps mitigate the problem, but doesn't make it go away entirely. In the end this is a tendency the player will need to get over if they want to enjoy the longer campaign plots the system encourages. By the way, some people seem to manage just making endless piles of unused backup characters. You could see if he'll go for that.

Mastikator
2011-05-04, 05:20 PM
You don't need to do anything?

Just sit back and let them run through characters....

This.
If someone is bored with their character then they need to be allowed to swap characters, because if not you're gonna be one less player pretty soon.
I'd allow this behavior as long as it isn't done in a disruptive way. If it were I'd talk to the player.

Firechanter
2011-05-04, 05:29 PM
The Kindly Cleric: when you die due to player-induced suicide/stupidity, you are resurrected by the Kindly Cleric.

Note that you can't resurrect an unwilling soul. The rules are pretty explicit about this.

Urpriest
2011-05-04, 06:17 PM
Note that you can't resurrect an unwilling soul. The rules are pretty explicit about this.

This is true. Most of the time in this case it wouldn't have mattered: the characters weren't suicidal, instead opting for death-by-other PCs. And the cleric was good aligned, hence the Kindly moniker. He just had an odd way of showing it...

nedz
2011-05-04, 06:46 PM
There is nothing reactive you can do really. If a player wants to swap out their character then you should let them.
There are pro-active things you can do to combat the boredom. But if a player doesn't like the game, then they are going to walk eventually.

FMArthur
2011-05-04, 06:57 PM
This is the entire reason for the existance of the Chameleon prestige class in Races of Destiny or the Binder base class in Tome of Magic. Give him one of those and he will swear by it and be whole as a person for life - he and they are clearly soulmates.

Coidzor
2011-05-04, 06:58 PM
Well, I'd be looking to figure out what was really going on with him and then correct it rather than just punish him for doing it.

It just sounds like an out of game problem that needs to be settled as closely to being reasonable human beings as possible.

Talakeal
2011-05-04, 07:28 PM
Some people just have short attention spans. I have one player who gets so excited about characters or even running games, then gets bored very quickly. Usually he lasts about a month, sometimes as little as one session, but never longer than 2-3 months. Once he is bored he either makes a new character if he is playing, makes someone else take over the game if DMing, or just stops showing up for a few months. He has been this way for 15 years and nothing I have said or done has stopped the behavior.

Volos
2011-05-04, 09:40 PM
I had a player like this whom was popular, for whatever reason, with the rest of the group. So I made it so that his character couldn't die. It was subtle, since he was just throwing himself into insane situations in order to try to get killed off. Eventually there was a bit of heroic-ness that stuck to his character, making him suddenly enjoy the game because of all the interesting things he could do. Once he really started to get into it, I took the kid gloves off. He did something really brave (and really stupid) and ended up getting killed. It wasn't immediately after I took the kid gloves off either, it took a few sessions. I gave him a temp character while the party rushed to get him raised. He played that bit character into the ground in order to get his heroic one back. At first I was just being mean, but it turned out to work as a solution. Not sure if I'd try it again, but then again I haven't had an uninterested player in a long time.

Mark Hall
2011-05-04, 09:51 PM
Note that you can't resurrect an unwilling soul. The rules are pretty explicit about this.

That's where the spell "Compel Spirit" comes in.

Hawriel
2011-05-04, 10:12 PM
I have had players get board with characters befor and change them. Some times a new character some times taking a character into a different direction. Ive done it myself afew times. Mostly in games like shadowrun. Ware peaple tend to move in and out or other skill sets are needed.

How is he killing his character? The characters start the session by finding him/her hanging by a rope in the bedroom? He does "suiside by cop" with NPCs? Or if his character dies do to his choices he takes it as an opportunity to creat a totaly different character?

I agree that with others who advise on talking with your friend about it.

Asking him to stick with a character is reasonable. Passing him player NPCs to play for afew sessions then changing them out when its needed is an interesting solution.

Remmirath
2011-05-04, 10:13 PM
I think what to do about it depends a lot on the cause of the boredom. I used to do that myself, many years back.

The reason I used to do it was because back then I had a very unreliable method of coming up with a personality for a character, and most of the time it didn't work - so I'd kill the offending character and hope for the next to have a better personality. Eventually I realised this was not working, and instead worked on being better at coming up with personalities.

That might not be the case for any particular player who kills their characters, of course, but if it is talking to them about it might help (if nothing else you might be able to determine why they are doing it). I would generally recommend letting them do it unless it's having a negative effect on the game overall, since chances are the reason they're killing their characters is because they aren't happy with them for whatever reason.

If introducing the new characters is a bother to you, you might try something such as 'you can only introduce a new character when we happen to be in a town' - making it known at the beginning of the game - which might have the effect of the player waiting longer to whack their old characters (and then you'd only have to deal with introducing new PCs in towns, for example).

Mostly I'd just talk to them about it. I think most people would at least try to explain why, and there might be a solution. I'd only punish them for it if they were simply doing it to be annoying.

Kingscourt
2011-05-04, 10:26 PM
What do you do when a player kills his character(s) repeatedly when he becomes bored with it so he can play another one?

I've had a player like that before and eventually he left of his own accord, but I'd like to know for future reference.

My group has a nifty little rule on this, because it is very disruptive to the game narrative, on top of that the players that get bored of their characters make their characters act up and lash out before they decide to kill themselves.

For every campaign every player gets one 'character do-over', after that it's as if their character died, they come back at a level lower as if they were resurrected (with a new character, of course).

Aquillion
2011-05-05, 11:16 AM
What do you do when a player kills his character(s) repeatedly when he becomes bored with it so he can play another one?

I've had a player like that before and eventually he left of his own accord, but I'd like to know for future reference.First of all, don't punish players. Ever. It's a bad path to go down. They're there to have fun, you're there to have fun. You're not there to nanny them and probably won't enjoy it anyway -- if it reaches a point where you absolutely feel you have to "punish" a player, you should get rid of them, because the game isn't working out.


Now, what you need to do with a player like this, if you want to keep them, is to figure out why they're bored with their characters (and, possibly, with your game.) Try to help them come up with a character who is interesting. More than that, try to help make their characters interesting -- be sure you're paying enough attention to them, their subplots, their background and so on. Make sure their character is getting worked into the larger story and isn't just sitting on the sidelines.

Pisha
2011-05-05, 02:22 PM
This.
If someone is bored with their character then they need to be allowed to swap characters, because if not you're gonna be one less player pretty soon.
I'd allow this behavior as long as it isn't done in a disruptive way. If it were I'd talk to the player.

The problem is that it really is disruptive. In a long-term, rp-heavy campaign, the GM has to be able to include plot arcs for the characters and the PC's themselves have to be able to develop inter-party trust and ties. In a shorter, more episodic, hack-and-slash campaign, it may not be a big deal, but in a more serious game constantly switching out your characters impacts not only the GM's ability to run a good game, but also the other players' enjoyment and immersion.

So. Try this. Announce to your group that no one is allowed to kill off/switch out characters without talking to you first. When someone does want to change characters, examine the reasons why, and how it could be fixed other than by killing off the character.

(Spoilered for length)

1) Is the problem mechanical? Dissatisfaction with an overpowered/underpowered/poorly designed character is the easiest to fix. Don't be afraid to let/help players re-work their existing character sheets, rather than create a whole new character. Example: our bard/wizard was new to 3.5. She didn't have a very good grasp of mechanics, and it showed on her sheet. As the rest of the party got more powerful, the player got more and more frustrated. So the GM sat her down, and together they looked at her sheet. He wound up retconning the character, swapping out some feats and giving her levels in a prestige class that complemented her abilities. The end result was a character that had the same "feel" as the original, but was much more effective in combat. Obviously this has to be done in a way that makes sense for the character, but that's not too hard (and could even be the start of a side quest!) In doing this you want to make sure the rest of the party is ok with it, but usually having everyone equally effective is in everyone's best interest (and preferable to losing characters!)

2) Is the problem an internal personality issue? If the player is bored with the character because he can't think of anything fun to do with said character, maybe it's time to sit down and creatively brainstorm. Characters are allowed to change their motivation! Players are also allowed to "discover" things about their background after the character has come into play. Ask the player, "What would make Sardak the Fighter care about defeating the evil Emperor Zlarg?" Make him come up with an answer, and it's ok if it's a cliche. "The emperor killed my little sister" is overused, but it's overused because it's effective. Help the player see the character as a story rather than a sheet, and they'll usually find it more interesting.

3) Is the problem an external personality issue? Maybe the character just clashes with the rest of the party. This could be a deal-breaker, but it doesn't have to be. Tension between two characters can add interest and (IC) drama to a game - just don't let it spill into OOC conflict. Talk to both players, and try to work out ways for their character's conflict to be fun for both of them.

4) Is the problem that they don't feel involved in the game? Maybe they have an interesting, well-built character who gets along well with everyone, but they're just not getting into the game. This one may be on you. Find out what they're looking for in a game. Is this something you can incorporate into your storyline?

What if none of these work? Well, then they may have to switch out characters. Some characters really are just a bad fit for certain groups and certain games. Switching out shouldn't be the first option, but it's still on the list. My rule of thumb is that everyone gets one switch for free. After that, I'd impose a 1-or-2 level penalty; however, that penalty can be negated if they work with the other players before creating the character. Working out background ties, developing similar goals, and/or creating a character who fills a niche in the party can make it a lot easier to integrate a new character into the game, and a player who's willing to do the extra work shouldn't be penalized.

Anyway. Those are Pisha's suggestions for addressing Revolving-Door-Character Syndrome.

oxybe
2011-05-05, 04:15 PM
First of all, don't punish players. Ever. It's a bad path to go down. They're there to have fun, you're there to have fun. You're not there to nanny them and probably won't enjoy it anyway -- if it reaches a point where you absolutely feel you have to "punish" a player, you should get rid of them, because the game isn't working out.


Now, what you need to do with a player like this, if you want to keep them, is to figure out why they're bored with their characters (and, possibly, with your game.) Try to help them come up with a character who is interesting. More than that, try to help make their characters interesting -- be sure you're paying enough attention to them, their subplots, their background and so on. Make sure their character is getting worked into the larger story and isn't just sitting on the sidelines.

this.

a thousand times over, this. so much gold to be found in these two paragraphs.

never punish out of game issues with in-game consequences, this can often lead to the path of bad blood between player & GM. as Aquillon said: discuss with him the WHY of "why are you offing your characters?"

if it's not a mechanical issue (which can be resolved with a "let's tweak your PC a bit") then from my experience it's simply that the character is not engaging the player within the story enough.

i'll be honest and say when i'm new to a system or setting my first few PCs are kinda bland as i'm still testing the waters and playing it safe. i'm being engaged enough as is with learning the system so i don't want to overload and learn with baby steps. as i grow familiar with it, then i start going all out since the system is no longer a mystery and i can focus a bit more on the story to engage me.

so i usually reroll to a new PC and get one a bit more involved with the story. if it's a setting i am familiar with, then it's far easier for me to create a PC with actual motivations.

this is pretty much what's happened to me and D&D. 3.5's system is simply no longer engaging me and in many ways starting to irritate me, so i've turned down a few offers for table positions at a few games simply because the setting or one-shot just didn't sound interesting. if i play it, it's because the group can really bring out the aspects of the setting i do like and engage me with the story to make up for the irritation of the system.

a buddy, however has offered to run a game of Exalted, a game i've never played before. now, i know how the Storyteller system works, but Exalted is different enough that it warranted a try, especially since it seems to embrace the over-the-top nature that a lot of the WoD games can escalate to, rather then drown the potential awesome of "I AM A LITERAL BATMAN! TIME TO GO SOLVE SUPER CRIMES! BREEEEEEOW (<-the awesome sound i make when i fly off)" in a vat of "Oh noes! We're mooooooonsterssss!"