View Full Version : Newbie DM, could use a tip for dealing with a player

2012-12-16, 04:51 AM
So, I just started DMing. Most of my players seem to be having fun, despite some being a lot more experienced than I, and they've been very helpful as well.
However there's one player, that I'm having some difficulty with. The problem is, he really really fits the stereotype of the incredibly socially awkward player, and I'm finding his social awkwardness (along with not really thinking things through a whole lot) is making it difficult for him to really play much of a role in the game.

He's a nice guy, and he tries to be an active participant, but a lot of his ideas are things that just scream really really bad idea. For example he was playing a thief, and would manage to sneak away from the party and just steal things from random people, with no thought to whom his target was, which I made very clear to him would get his character killed at some point, and that it was a bit contrary to his alignment as well.

The key is I want to get him to play his characters at least a little more wisely, but I'm not really sure the right way to kind of nudge him without him just ending up feeling like he's being singled out as "the bad player" because I've seen this happen in groups before, and the person just ends up really frustrated and not learning anything generally.

Any advice?

2012-12-16, 06:14 AM
Talk to the player and ask them what they want to do in the game:
Do they want to explore and experience the world or take part in amazing adventures?

Do you and your group have similar ideals about what you want?

re: random stealing
This sounds like they are exploring the freedom of the RPG to do things that they can't do in real life. Ask them why they are doing it. If it's "for the money" point out that going on adventures is likely to have much better rewards. If it's "what my character would do" then discuss the character with them and how if this is the right character for the game.

Consider framing the discussion with film/TV themes. bring up movies/shows that you both like and how the main characters may have their disagreements or do things differently, they look out for each other and interact with each other. They don't just wander off on their own.
If the thief character has already been disruptive, consider using this concept of main-character/side-character to get the thief killed off and let the player bring in a new, more social character.

This is a system-independent problem, but what game are you playing? Might help for examples.

Further reading: Check the concept of player types (see D&D 4ed DMG or Robin Laws book http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=2898) as this may help.

2012-12-16, 11:18 AM
Also, you could try asking another player to talk to him. It might be less intimidating that way.

2012-12-16, 02:03 PM
Basically what the other two said. Depending on group dynamic if there is someone in the group that can approach your player in a less intimidating manner that can help.

That's not to dismiss actions lead to consequences style of solution in an attempt to teach the dangers of say, random stealing. But that can end up as trouble as well. Especially more likely in a mutual peer group rather then a group with a different relationship between players and GM. Even so it can end up as a case of singling out.

So talking it out remains the easiest solution.

2012-12-16, 02:11 PM
Thank him!
Let him steal from the future BBG and have the BBG task the group with acts of repayment for the loss!

2012-12-16, 09:01 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. The game is using the Pathfinder system.
Fortunately he decided to switch characters, at least partially because he started getting the idea (mainly from hints coming from the other players) that the current one wasn't going to be that good of a fit.
I'm trying to get him to flesh out his character's back story and personality more at this point, in hopes of getting some idea of what kind of character he's really wanting to play, and because I want to actually have the character's personalities and history have an impact on things.

I might have to use Badgerish's idea regarding tv shows and movies depending on how things go. I'll take a look at that link as well.

2012-12-16, 09:20 PM
As long as he can deal with there being consequences to the stuff he does, you should just play it straight with realistic consequences for his character's actions.

2012-12-16, 11:00 PM
He's just testing you out. While you can't limit what he's allowed to do and still call it a roleplaying game, you can provide a realistic response. When someone notices, send the guard after him and don't hold back. He'll keep doing what he's doing if he's able to get away with it so don't let him get away with it.