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View Full Version : Stubborn Roleplayers - What to Do?



roguemetal
2012-10-27, 02:55 PM
I have a player in one of my games which likes to do all sorts of silly shenanigans that the other players aren't interested in, and usually causes the party a headache in the long run. In several games he's died as a consequence of these actions, and it isn't that he isn't learning, it's that he refuses to break the restrictions he personally sets on his character.

For example, he built a trap based character that didn't talk, and then when he had the opportunity to set up traps, my gaming group didn't know and moved on. So instead of making himself useful in some other facet, or communicating, he decides to run ahead of everyone else (while they are engaged in combat) and look for a place to set up traps ahead of time which inevitably got him killed. when I asked him why his character did that, he said it was because it was his character's personality.

He has also played a character addicted to drugs, so much so that the gaming group had to stop him from killing himself more than once, a child of ten that likes cats and would run off to hug lions, and a singer who wouldn't stop singing, regardless of whether it was dead of night, during a stealth mission, or in inappropriate place. Each time he makes no complaints about his characters death, and just writes up a new one, usually worse than the last. He says he has fun, but his face says otherwise.

I've tried approaching him about this, and offered him suggestions for how to become a quirky character without impacting the overall gameplay as heavily. I tell him to draw a line between stubborn and suicidal, but it's not getting through.

Have any of you had issues like this?
What was the story there?
How did it get resolved?

Traab
2012-10-27, 03:00 PM
Try getting him to understand that you dont have to be disruptive to be unique. You dont need to have some crazy flaw to have a character worth roleplaying, and that his current rend is ruining the fun for the other players, so could he please dial it back a bit?

Hiro Protagonest
2012-10-27, 03:01 PM
A ten-year old kid with surprising strength and speed and a love of cats would be a good quirky concept for a warrior. A ten-year old kid who does nothing but love cats, even when it kills him, is the subject of the worst, most badly written flanderization I've ever seen.

roguemetal
2012-10-27, 03:33 PM
Flanderization... I hadn't heard that term before but I'm glad you used it.

navar100
2012-10-27, 04:16 PM
Remind the player he controls his character. His character does not control him. When he has his character being a jerk, he, the player, is choosing to be a jerk. Therefore, the player is a jerk. Granted he's not being a donkey cavity jerk in the sense that he's not purposely attacking other PCs, taking their stuff, or otherwise go against party goals, but he's still being a jerk. Tell the player to choose not being a jerk. If he is absolutely incapable of doing that, show him the door.

roguemetal
2012-10-27, 04:30 PM
Remind the player he controls his character. His character does not control him. When he has his character being a jerk, he, the player, is choosing to be a jerk. Therefore, the player is a jerk. Granted he's not being a donkey cavity jerk in the sense that he's not purposely attacking other PCs, taking their stuff, or otherwise go against party goals, but he's still being a jerk. Tell the player to choose not being a jerk. If he is absolutely incapable of doing that, show him the door.

It's true the character is controlling him, but I don't have a problem with characters that are jerks or bullies. Even the jerk characters will cut their losses when faced with bad situations, or otherwise be prepared for the circumstance. I have a player who likes to steal the other players items. Honestly not a problem so long as they remain in the group. There's a player that likes to muscle another non-ideal character into being bait all the time. This isn't an issue either, since the rest of the group can react to it with ample timing. Unprepared unruly outbursts, however, cannot be predicted, and their consequences cannot be avoided. Jerks alone are fine.

Also, I've never been one to show someone the door so long as they are trying to learn from their mistakes.

Kelb_Panthera
2012-10-27, 04:37 PM
Having read through the OP's responses, it kinda sounds to me like this may be a case of, "I want to hang out with my friends, but I don't want to play this stupid game."

If that's the case all you can really do is tell him to either start taking the game just a little more seriously or don't play.

Characters that are suicidally stupid, or just too stupid to survive to adulthood are generally symptoms of their player having a deeper issue with the game more than they are symptoms of someone who doesn't understand role-playing.

nedz
2012-10-27, 05:12 PM
It sounds like there may be a play-style mismatch in your group. Believe it or not: there are groups out there who like their crazy character stuff.

Maybe you should persuade him to try his hand at DMing.
This should provide an outlet for all of his off the wall vignettes.

Medic!
2012-10-27, 05:22 PM
I'd be curious to know what your problem-player's age is, depending on the age-range of your group, even something as small as a year or two difference can have a big impact on behavior and acceptance-fishing among peers (even when it's completely counter-productive).

I don't know that I'd have him DM just yet, just on a gut feeling, but you might ask him to draft up several NPCs for you to use throughout your campaign as a pressure-release valve for his creative juices, as it were. It might tone down some of his PC craziness, it might not. Going a step further, find a reason (if he doesn't beat you to it) for his PC to set out during some of the interactions with those NPCs and let him voice/RP them (obviously you wouldn't want to do this for plot-critical NPCs, but a town guard, a shopkeeper, a drunken reveller at the inn, etc).

If you think he'd admit to it, I'd ask him (as was mentioned above) if he's really interested in the game at all, or just hanging out with his pals. It's hard to find something for a non-player to do at the table, but the quirky NPCs thing might be the fulcrum that lets him hang with his friends without being an uninvolved 5th wheel...but also without being an over-involved 5th wheel turned sideways with a locked-up brake.


Of course I don't base any of this on anything and I'm usually wrong, but hey, typing don't cost a dime!

valadil
2012-10-27, 06:40 PM
I have one criteria for characters entering my games that I'm thankful I've never had to enforce. I want the PCs to all be reasonably functional adults. They can have their quirks but a truly self destructive character wouldn't live long enough to make it to game start.

If a PC is so obsessed with settin traps that he ditches his friends as they're engaged in mortal combat, that's a PC who would not have made it into adulthood.

I like that your player is trying to make personality but he's going over board. He's making characters with obvious fatal flaws and then playing the flaw till the fatal part happens.

Arbane
2012-10-27, 06:51 PM
You could play Toon, or some other goofy low-lethality game for a few sessions.

If his character is a fire-obsessed lemming demolitions expert who keeps blowing himself up in amusing ways, fine. He just has a defective sense of character-preservation.

If his character is a completely humorless insurance-adjuster from Duluth, then he's what we call a 'spotlight hog'.

roguemetal
2012-10-27, 07:52 PM
I have one criteria for characters entering my games that I'm thankful I've never had to enforce. I want the PCs to all be reasonably functional adults. They can have their quirks but a truly self destructive character wouldn't live long enough to make it to game start.


I really like this rule. I might just steal it for my next game if you don't mind.


\Of course I don't base any of this on anything and I'm usually wrong, but hey, typing don't cost a dime!

Yeah, he is pretty committed to gaming, he's ran games a few times (with NPCs far more serious than any character he plays) and generally likes rpgs. Otherwise I would know how to handle him.

nedz
2012-10-27, 08:34 PM
Yeah, he is pretty committed to gaming, he's ran games a few times (with NPCs far more serious than any character he plays) and generally likes rpgs. Otherwise I would know how to handle him.

Maybe he's not taking your game seriously, for whatever reason ?

If he normally DMs then this could just be him letting off steam ?

You could try to give his next character some responsibility. This is hard to force though.

navar100
2012-10-27, 09:29 PM
It's true the character is controlling him, but I don't have a problem with characters that are jerks or bullies. Even the jerk characters will cut their losses when faced with bad situations, or otherwise be prepared for the circumstance. I have a player who likes to steal the other players items. Honestly not a problem so long as they remain in the group. There's a player that likes to muscle another non-ideal character into being bait all the time. This isn't an issue either, since the rest of the group can react to it with ample timing. Unprepared unruly outbursts, however, cannot be predicted, and their consequences cannot be avoided. Jerks alone are fine.

Also, I've never been one to show someone the door so long as they are trying to learn from their mistakes.

So everyone is a jerk but someone is being more jerky than others? Since everyone is being a jerk and likes being a jerk, then in regards to the jerk whom they have a problem with they made their bed. Lie in it.

roguemetal
2012-10-27, 10:33 PM
You could try to give his next character some responsibility. This is hard to force though.
It's not too hard to force responsibility on a character, but to make them accept it is something entirely different.

Unless you mean a plot-related responsibility, like being the spy in the group. I admit I haven't tried this yet.

Sorry my response took a while, I was initiating a well-needed avatar improvement.

nedz
2012-10-27, 11:01 PM
Unless you mean a plot-related responsibility, like being the spy in the group. I admit I haven't tried this yet.

Plot or Character related, which amounts to the same but from a different perspective.

Buts its a player thing really. When he's DMing he has responsibility and role-plays seriously, but when he's a player then he plays irresponsibly.

What you need is a newbe whom you ask this guy to mentor, or maybe flatter him into showing the group how to play some character class they don't normally use. Its hard to say without knowing more.

Morph Bark
2012-10-28, 02:57 AM
Maybe he should see a psychiatrist for his destructive tendencies.

Cheek: insert tongue here.

Craft (Cheese)
2012-10-28, 03:17 AM
A ten-year old kid who does nothing but love cats, even when it kills him, is the subject of the worst, most badly written flanderization I've ever seen.

But... but... kittens!

DontEatRawHagis
2012-10-28, 11:01 AM
I have a friend like this in a game I'm a player in. He doesn't seem to grasp that even if you character has these quirks it doesn't mean they should take them to the logical extreme. He had to realize that sometimes you have to bend your character's personality to fit the campaign. And also that he had to make it so his character had some sense of preservation.

For TLDR people, just skip to the last paragraph.

Examples of characters I've seen like this:

A character who was always against stealth that they would announce their presence. Usually saying lines about fighting honorably.
A Paladin that had to always fight evil, even if that evil was a Hentai Tentacle monster the size of an entire room. Granted the DM at the time used this detriment to push the players into fights with good loot, but still Railroading.
Players who had unflinching loyalty to the captain of our ship(DMPC) so much so that when the Captain sacrificed themselves to save us that the Players literally went on a murder spree to get her back. Even though we had full run of the ship and the possibility of actually having character development.
One player likes playing spies so much that his new character's name is redacted. So if we ever want to call him over we have to say no name and crap.
Another few players decided on Sniper character(Spycraft/Modern system). The party always warn sniper players that their class is too restrictive. But they still play them, always to their detriment. See while the class is specifically long range, most player play as if the only way they can operate is if they are miles and miles away. Even though they could be ten or twenty squares away and get the same result.:smallfurious:
One player liked to play dead so much so that he split the party up and wound up in a morgue. Where after killing the mortition, 3 security guards popped up. Which for any normal player would have been fine, but he was a skills class as opposed to a Skill/Fighter or Fighter class. Also the other player and I had to retreat from the area because we were surrounded by security guards and in no position to leave. In the end he rage quit the game.


Moral of the story...

Um...

When your player makes a character that has one or more of the following:

Death wish - eg. Not hiding from people trying to kill him, always gets into fights.
1 Dimensional obscession that he will risk his life to complete. eg. Unflinching loyalty, Paladin always kill evil.
Limits himself to one way of dealing with things. eg. Only attacking from far away, only using one ability.

He is cruising for a bruising. Nothing I've found stops players acting this way, unless you can get them to understand that people in real life who are like this are suicidal and usually wind up on the news as the crazy cat woman who went into the fire to save her cat only to die in the fire herself.

PersonMan
2012-10-28, 11:49 AM
Morale of the story...

*Moral

Morale is something totally different. It's even pronounced significantly differently.

Now back to your regular thread topic.

The Dark Fiddler
2012-10-28, 02:15 PM
When he has his character being a jerk, he, the player, is choosing to be a jerk.

I disagree with your assumption that a player whose character is less than pleasant is, himself, less than pleasant. As long as the group can handle a character who isn't perfectly nice, jerky characters can be perfectly fine, and if the character isn't causing an out of character problem, how is the player a jerk?


Also, I've never been one to show someone the door so long as they are trying to learn from their mistakes.

It sounds like he ISN'T trying to learn from his mistakes, though.

navar100
2012-10-28, 03:51 PM
I disagree with your assumption that a player whose character is less than pleasant is, himself, less than pleasant. As long as the group can handle a character who isn't perfectly nice, jerky characters can be perfectly fine, and if the character isn't causing an out of character problem, how is the player a jerk?


When all the players in the group are jerks there isn't a problem, per se. Jerks tend to like each other. When that is not the case, then there's a problem. If the non-jerk is the minority, often the only non-jerk in the group, he'll quit. If the jerk is the minority, often the only jerk, then he needs to shape up or ship out as the saying goes. It will only get worse if the DM enables it by accepting his sorry excuse of "I'm only roleplaying".

nedz
2012-10-28, 07:05 PM
*Moral

Morale is something totally different. It's even pronounced significantly differently.

Now back to your regular thread topic.

Well maybe he found his argument to be very uplifting ?
:smallbiggrin:

DontEatRawHagis
2012-10-28, 11:07 PM
*Moral

Morale is something totally different. It's even pronounced significantly differently.

Now back to your regular thread topic.

Fixed.

Still doesn't change the main purpose of the post. Its not intelligent to make characters that are too stupid to live.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-28, 11:46 PM
Have any of you had issues like this?
What was the story there?
How did it get resolved?


Of course like every third player is like this....lol. Some people are just different. Most people would just tell you to let the different people ruin the world as that is fair and nice or something. But that is not what I do........(muhahahahah)


Now first off, I'm a Killer DM with high body counts. But when it comes to the 'different' players I will often give them 'Disney Immortality'. So that no matter how 'different' they try to be, they will always, amazingly, survive. (But I'm also an 'unfair' DM so the 'different' player will take a punishment for being different such as an archer that looses their bow and then can't do their character concept. )

And most often I don't let the 'different' player split off from the group. Basically I'll say something like "If your character wishes to leave the group they you can also leave the house as you won't be gaming any more tonight here. If you'd like to play in a solo game we can set up a time when just the two of us can play a solo game with your character''.

And when the 'different' player just tries to cause trouble, I generally just have it not work to disrupt the game. And as my game is a ultra high magic game, I can simply adjust things so the 'different' player problem things. So when the gnome throws a cream pie at the king, the kings disintegration safety ward simply zaps away the pie and no one even notices.

MarsRendac
2012-10-29, 12:06 AM
I just shivered horribly a little.

I've only had one really bad case of this. Basically, I killed him ingame, and months later he asked me why and I said, "I ******* hate you." Problem solved.

Jay R
2012-10-29, 09:58 AM
You don't have one crucial fact:

How do the players feel about him?

Is he the comic relief who doesn't affect the real game?

Is he a minor annoyance they have to put up with to play, like uncomfortable chairs or cold pizza?

Or is he disrupting the game and upsetting everyone else?

I ask this because it is crucial to how you deal with him.

If he's disrupting the game, and all the players are upset, he needs to be told (not merely advised) that this is a team game, and he needs to join the team, and share the team's goals.

If he's a minor annoyance, then advise him of the fact that he's annoying people. Let him choose whether to keep doing so.

If everyone else is just laughing and shrugging him off, then you need to do so as well.

Doorhandle
2012-10-29, 07:34 PM
But... but... kittens!

Are delicious.*. :smallbiggrin:



*Tongue so far in cheek it's starting to poke through...

Hiro Protagonest
2012-10-29, 08:10 PM
Of course like every third player is like this....lol. Some people are just different. Most people would just tell you to let the different people ruin the world as that is fair and nice or something. But that is not what I do........(muhahahahah)


Now first off, I'm a Killer DM with high body counts. But when it comes to the 'different' players I will often give them 'Disney Immortality'. So that no matter how 'different' they try to be, they will always, amazingly, survive. (But I'm also an 'unfair' DM so the 'different' player will take a punishment for being different such as an archer that looses their bow and then can't do their character concept. )

And most often I don't let the 'different' player split off from the group. Basically I'll say something like "If your character wishes to leave the group they you can also leave the house as you won't be gaming any more tonight here. If you'd like to play in a solo game we can set up a time when just the two of us can play a solo game with your character''.

And when the 'different' player just tries to cause trouble, I generally just have it not work to disrupt the game. And as my game is a ultra high magic game, I can simply adjust things so the 'different' player problem things. So when the gnome throws a cream pie at the king, the kings disintegration safety ward simply zaps away the pie and no one even notices.

You know what's worse than a DM who uses old school traps that do things such as "you looked at the wall? Roll a fortitude save or die"? A DM who refuses to kill you, but makes you utterly useless and forces you onto the tracks, who is just waiting for you to ask to make a new character or just leave the group.

And when you say that one in three people deserve this...

Gamer Girl
2012-10-29, 09:03 PM
You know what's worse than a DM......


Well, we just have different views on life.

It's simple enough: As gamers we only have a couple of hours once in a while to game. That is life. Now, everyone agrees to be an intelligent mature adult and get together to have fun. And a big part of that is everyone playing together as a group, as that is the whole reason everyone is together in the same room.

So if a player wants to be disruptive, or problematic or just 'different'. Part of a DM's job it to make sure everyone has fun, not be a lap dog to 'different dud' player.

I'm not a big fan of 'talking' to a player. Any player that far gone, that they are for example, just running around in the game and 'mooning everyone' is hopeless. Sure you can waste the time and make a little fire and get some warm tea and cookies and calmly tell 'different dud' player what is on your mind. Though, chances are they will just say ''lay off man'' or ''I'm just playing my character'' or ''Derrrrr". If you have to ask a player to ''be a normal person and play the game'', that person is already lost.

So, yes, I'm a big fan of simply ignoring the 'different dud' player and not letting it effect the over all game. As they are so 'different' they won't even know they are being ignored. So 'death wish dwarf' can basically sit in the corner(metaphorically, as they are still at the table, of course) and try to kill off his character all night and the rest of the group can play the game.

Lord_Gareth
2012-10-29, 09:19 PM
Well, we just have different views on life.

It's simple enough: As gamers we only have a couple of hours once in a while to game. That is life. Now, everyone agrees to be an intelligent mature adult and get together to have fun. And a big part of that is everyone playing together as a group, as that is the whole reason everyone is together in the same room.

So if a player wants to be disruptive, or problematic or just 'different'. Part of a DM's job it to make sure everyone has fun, not be a lap dog to 'different dud' player.

I'm not a big fan of 'talking' to a player. Any player that far gone, that they are for example, just running around in the game and 'mooning everyone' is hopeless. Sure you can waste the time and make a little fire and get some warm tea and cookies and calmly tell 'different dud' player what is on your mind. Though, chances are they will just say ''lay off man'' or ''I'm just playing my character'' or ''Derrrrr". If you have to ask a player to ''be a normal person and play the game'', that person is already lost.

So, yes, I'm a big fan of simply ignoring the 'different dud' player and not letting it effect the over all game. As they are so 'different' they won't even know they are being ignored. So 'death wish dwarf' can basically sit in the corner(metaphorically, as they are still at the table, of course) and try to kill off his character all night and the rest of the group can play the game.

Or if you really feel the problem is unresolvable you can, you know, ask them to leave the group. That is also a thing.

Though frankly I take behavior like that normally as a symptom that I have done something horribly wrong and attempt to discern what that something might be so that I can improve as a DM, myself.

Gamer Girl
2012-10-29, 09:48 PM
Or if you really feel the problem is unresolvable you can, you know, ask them to leave the group. That is also a thing.


Sadly, reality just does not work like this. Often the 'different problem player' is attached to at least one other player. Such as a sibling, best friend or as part of a couple. So if you tell 'Different Doug' he can't play, then his brother Frank who is a great player will also leave the group.

And for example, I run games at the local game store and the rules say ''I must let all play''.

TuggyNE
2012-10-29, 09:53 PM
Sadly, reality just does not work like this. Often the 'different problem player' is attached to at least one other player. Such as a sibling, best friend or as part of a couple. So if you tell 'Different Doug' he can't play, then his brother Frank who is a great player will also leave the group.

And for example, I run games at the local game store and the rules say ''I must let all play''.

At this point I feel it necessary to link the Five Geek Social Fallacies (http://www.plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html) (I feel like I've done that a lot lately....)

BootStrapTommy
2012-10-31, 03:09 PM
Whoever he is, I have tremendous respect for him and I want him in my play group. He'd fit in perfectly.

prufock
2012-11-01, 10:34 AM
So if a player wants to be disruptive, or problematic or just 'different'. Part of a DM's job it to make sure everyone has fun, not be a lap dog to 'different dud' player.
Is the problem player still having fun, despite having his character concept being rendered ineffective and his decisions ignored?

Gravitron5000
2012-11-01, 01:12 PM
Are delicious.*. :smallbiggrin:



*Tongue so far in cheek it's starting to poke through...

I must assume that you are moving your tongue out of the way to make space for more kitten.

*I have nothing constructive to add. Back to your regularly scheduled program

Zdrak
2012-11-01, 07:10 PM
The best way to curb a problem player is not to encourage it by denying them attention, at least temporarily.

Wrong:
Player runs off to pet kittens, que half-hour argument followed by encounter resulting from said running off, followed by more arguments as he dies horribly, followed by more arguments as he makes a new character.

Right:
Player runs off to pet kittens, DM turns to the other four players and handles them for a while. Demands from problem player to return to the spotlight are met with cold shoulder. Eventually, when the DM does return to him, his petting quest is resolved quickly, impassionately, and curtly.

I would add a caveat that such treatment should not be the fate of every player who tries to do something a bit out of the ordinary, but only players as disruptive as the OP described.

the OOD
2012-11-01, 10:40 PM
Players who had unflinching loyalty to the captain of our ship(DMPC) so much so that when the Captain sacrificed themselves to save us that the Players literally went on a murder spree to get her back. Even though we had full run of the ship and the possibility of actually having character development.

[/LIST]

Moral of the story...

Um...

When your player makes a character that has one or more of the following:

Death wish - eg. Not hiding from people trying to kill him, always gets into fights.
1 Dimensional obscession that he will risk his life to complete. eg. Unflinching loyalty, Paladin always kill evil.

He is cruising for a bruising. Nothing I've found stops players acting this way, unless you can get them to understand that people in real life who are like this are suicidal and usually wind up on the news as the crazy cat woman who went into the fire to save her cat only to die in the fire herself.


actually, I have played an absolutely loyal first mate charterer on our pirate ship in a space game, and it worked well. I worked hard to keep him three-dimensional and real, and it payed off with a cool character who supported our captain (the "responsible" player like Roy in OotS) helped keep the party together, gave just enough "chain of command" feel so there were no "listen to me cuz im captain" (or the opposite) arguments, and made a fun atmosphere.
eventually, he did die, but in a fitting way, a stowaway-drafted-redshirt was hostage and nobody fscks with my crew, one [email protected]$$ scene with a teleport to the enemy ship killing the bridge crew and "self destruct initiated" later he used the last charge of his teleport medallion to save the redshirt.

he died fighting hundreds on a ship that was about to blow anyways, giving up his one chance to fulfill a promise made a month and a half ago(real-time) to never let another person under his command die (first was our engineer).

while character suicide, we had been playing for over two months and he hadn't been crazy, this was just him snapping and helped maintain believability given rollplay scenes setting up for this.
the GM told me I was right and the key plot npc was saved, and it was enjoyed by everyone including the 4 pcs who just watched.

so, yes absolute loyalty and suicidal actions can be done, but in the right atmosphere and if it helps things run smoothy.




>the party had a funeral for him where they entombed the now-powerless teleport medallion he gave the redshirt.