View Full Version : Troublesome players?

2007-11-16, 03:08 PM
Okay, I'll be honest, at this point, I don't know if I'm asking for advice, or rnating or what but I need to try and figure out SOMETHING.

Okay, we've got a WoD Vampire game running. Mix of old setting and new rules. It's a fairly good mix of RPing and combat and everything else that's generall good in a game.

The Problem is, Player A.

'A' is generally a good person, outside of game. But the moment you get him into a game, he become VERY competitive. He treats the games more as a win-lose situation, with emphasis on trying to WIN.

Example: He built a insane character with multiple personality disorder, meaning that every once and a while he switches around a number of his skills under certain triggers. According to the DM, he does follow the triggers and stuff, but basically it gives him a much wider range of skills than he would otherwise have.

His charater is a 'survivalist.' Meaning everything is rationalized on keeping himself alive. That wouldn't be so much of an issue, if he didn't take so many actions of other players as threats. He targets the players for everything they do.

And the worst of it is, he rationalizes EVERYTHING. Everything he does, or any one does to him, has to end in "Oh, but don't forget" or "Oh, one more thing" or gods-help-us "Here's the thing." He can't be reasoned with. If asked why he's doning things, or it's suggested that he shouldn't do that out comes 'Here's the thing' and he sticks to that explaination come hell or high water.

Example, early on in the game, one of the other players to a combination of abilities that worked ridiculously well togther, to the point that he could 'one shot' elder vampires and werewolves. The GM, realizing this issue, looked at the abilities, and heavily toned them down so they weren't retardedly good. Problem solved
Only that 'A' won't let it go. When ever he get's into an arguement about how powerful abilites are, he come back to "But so and so's character did THIS." But that doesn't happen anymore. It's been fixed. For months now, it hasn't been an actual issue, and yet it's remained an issue with 'A.' Or at least an argument point.

I'm not sure if he honestly believes in his arguments, or just uses them to try and win his point.

He also metagames really badly often.
Yet another example: 'G' has been a target of 'A' for a while now. The only reason that 'A' hasn't gone through and killed 'G's char, is that he's lacked oppertunity. Now, in response, 'G' found a way to semi-secretly bloodbind 'A' at least enough to calm him down a lil bit. Well, the first part of the plan worked. There had been no sign of the binding. The GM turns to 'A' and says "After all this work, you really think you're begining to trust 'G' more'
'A' freezes on the spot, turns to 'G' and says "You're trying to Blood-Bind me, you %$&! Get the heck away from me or I'll kill you!"
Now, normally a blood bind means that you trust a person more and like them a little, even if it's a bit of a stretch. 'A's rational, is because he's a paranoid survivor, he would be suspicious at his own trusting of someone. Which would make him MORE untrusting. End of story.

This is not the end of the player-player conflicts. 'A' manages to get himself into all sort of issues with players, undermining them, Especially 'G' and one of the others. He even constant brags about how he would deal with various players trying stuff on him, or how he could pull a dirty trick to totally own them.... and then he expects them to not react hostiley. Or if he does, he takes massive offence to them doing so. Even the GM is being pushed,by 'A's arguing, as he'll aruge things in just a way to favour himself, only to argue agaisnt the same point later against him in a SLIGHTLY different manner. Or that one moment he'll argue in favour of total realism, and the next, he'll wonder why his over the top action didn't work. (What do you mean I didn't chop both of their heads off? I don't have the proper ability to attack two targets easily and I'm suffering massive penalties and it's in the middle of chaotic combat, but a single point of damage to the neck should mean their head's come off! That's like if I shoved my blade all the way through a helpless person's neck!")

I just don't know what to do. Talking hasn't helped, and although I do partially think that 'A' deserves some of what's been brought down against him, it's just becoming a spiral. I feel kidna sorry for him at the same time, because I honestly think he doesn't realize that not everyone sees what he's doing in the same light aas he does.

2007-11-16, 03:18 PM
Frivolous answer:

That neat satellite thing the Technocracy used to blast Ravnos will solve it.

Serious answer:

If he's not going to listen to you as the Storyteller, then you may have to take a hard line. If it's to the point where he's trying to slaughter the party, then I'm quite surprised the rest of the party hasn't chained him up atop a tall building and waited for sunrise. Is the party infighting aspect part of the story, or is it hindering said story?

If it's hindering said story, then put your foot down.

2007-11-16, 03:18 PM
Huh... tough case...
Seriously, just about the only advice I can offer is to talk it through with him even more. Make him understand your point of view, and how his ways are detrimental to your fun. Politely and calmly, but as plain and straight as possible. Maybe you should send him the link to this post of yours; here he won't be able to interrupt you. Some formulation will, sooner or later, get your point across.

And if that doesn't help... I guess I would consider warning him that him being detrimental to the fun of all of you may result in you preferring to keep roleplaying without him, that you would like to do other stuff together with him, but that roleplaying doesn't seem to be the way to go.

Sorry for not being able to offer better advice. Good luck.

Zoraciel Ivtel
2007-11-16, 05:05 PM
You implied that he makes arguments, and then later changes them to favor himself. Make sure you keep regular track of what he says, so you can challenge him about these changes later. Most likely, if the other players are annoyed too, they'll back you up.

One thing I did in my campaign to block Munchkin-ish playing is that I gave all of my characters a curse, suited to their character and playing style, to challenge them a little. While it may be too late to implement now, it is very useful (though mine was mostly used to help induce roleplaying).

Dunno how helpful this is, but best of luck with figuring it out.

Woot Spitum
2007-11-16, 06:23 PM
Kill off his character. Or finish the campaign and start a new one, with multiple personalities being against the rules.

EDIT: Ignore the kill off part. I was being too flippant. I still think that starting a new campaign may be your best option.

2007-11-16, 07:19 PM
Kill off his character. Or finish the campaign and start a new one, with multiple personalities being against the rules.

You can't fix player-level problems with character-level solutions.

This is a player problem. Nothing you do in the game will solve it. You need to sit the player down, outside the game, and explain why the behaviour is making the game un-fun for others.

2007-11-17, 04:30 PM
Ya, on the note of killing, even if that was a possibility, it'd just means we'd have to deal with 'A's 2.0 version character. Who would be slightly different, and designed to be harder to kill against strategies the party uses. He's actually shown this 'new' char' to people.

I probably am going to try more talking, but it is not going to be easy. A lot of the time, he takes up the defensive, saying that's he's being ganged up on, or that so-and-so did something too, and he's not being punished (ignoring that our 'broken' char in the party has been extraordinarily reduced in power) and he's HALF right. He is being targeted more, yes, but he's started pretty much everything. In multiple events.

Oh yay, new argument. HE and the GM have been working on this mixed-discipline for a while now; Finally the GM handed him the sheet with how he decided it should work. And 'A' decided that it was too lame.

His reasoning? 'The mixed disciplines are meant to duplicate high level powers that we can't normally access.'

Lord Tataraus
2007-11-17, 04:40 PM
Hm....it sounds like you need to talk to the GM. From what I understand, it seems that the GM is slightly favoring 'A' at the very least. You need to talk to the GM, possibly with some other players about 'A'. Then, you and the whole group confront 'A' and talk to him, explaining that he can't play until you figure this out and make him stop.

2007-11-17, 05:08 PM
Usally in situations like this, I advocate physcial viloence first and foremost. If that's not really your style, start with talking, move on to nerfing his character, than ban him from playing till he learns. If all those still don't work, you have the beatdown in reserve.

Just make sure you warn him first. It doesn't do any good if he dosn't know it's comeing or why. Besides, what's a little "hold him down and beat him up" between friends?

2007-11-17, 05:19 PM
If he's incompatible with the rest of the group, despite all your attempts to make things cohesive, then it may well be time to suggest he find a group that is better suited to his play-style. Because, really, it's detrimental to everyone else's fun if he's constantly playing in such a way that they aren't enjoying themselves. If trying to change/moderate him is detrimental to his own fun, then no one is having fun, are they?

Cut off a finger to save a hand.

2007-11-18, 12:53 AM
This is very interesting for me because I am a player much like "A". I love to debate both theory and practice and am very good at critical reasoning and debate (I'm an attorney by day). I'm not a munchkin-player at all, but I've been at the center of RP arguments that can disrupt a game and has probably lead to hurt feelings.

Someone mentioned that this a player problem, so game solutions won't help. And making game decisions to control players can quickly lead to an abuse of power (bring chips or I'll kill your character!).

I think the entire group should get together and talk about what they like/dislike about the game/gaming group. If "A" is at the center of controversy, it will feel like you are (unfairly) ganging up on him; so you may want to encourage everyone to share other concerns.

I think that the reason my group accepts my argumentative nature is that they accept me. They know I'm that way. They know I'm not trying to be an jerk or hurt anyone's feelings or ruin anyone's day, it's just my nature to argue about stuff. The key is that a gaming group is like any group of friends. You have to keep the friendship first. Looked at another way, are the rest of the players so caught up in the game that they are sacrificing their friendship with "A"? I'm not saying "A" is right, but if you guys are truly friends, you take the bad with the good.

Green Bean
2007-11-18, 12:59 AM
Looked at another way, are the rest of the players so caught up in the game that they are sacrificing their friendship with "A"? I'm not saying "A" is right, but if you guys are truly friends, you take the bad with the good.

On the other hand, why is A so caught up in the game that he's sacrificing his friendship with everyone else? I'm not saying A's friends are right, but if he was truly a friend, he'd take the bad with the good.

2007-11-18, 01:02 AM
My advice? Get a big axe. Write on it, "Murderin' Axe," preferably by deeply scratching the letters into the head of the axe. Now, whenever A begins to press some point or pull any of his shenanigans, go to the corner and retrieve the Murderin' Axe. Sit back down and lock eyes with him, and begin casually sharpening the axehead. Nod occasionally, saying "Uh-huh." Every time he finishes a sentence and appears to be done but then says "Here's the thing," begin sharpening the axe slightly faster and harder.

If he doesn't get the hint, well...

2007-11-18, 01:25 AM
@ H V- Yeah, that's true, too. Friendship goes both ways. I was trying to give Jimmy the "other" perspective.

2007-11-18, 04:20 AM
A Murderin' Axe, eh? I do like the murderin'.

Well thanks everyone, I've got lot to think on now, and some figurin' to do. I'm sure I'll work SOMETHING out.

2007-11-18, 05:09 AM
I would note that everyone has so far suggested fairly aggressive solutions to the problem (confrontation, etc....I'm assuming that the Murderin' Axe is a joke).
There is another way that I have seen used quite effectively, and that is to A) Ignore the player when they're being obnoxious and B) don't argue with them. Just say "Ok, whatever, you cut him in half...Next?" or "Great, your character knows about the bloodbind...moving on." and move on to another player, or pick up the story as if the incident never happened. Take the spotlight away, and remove any cause for argument. People like this are usually argumentative because they like attention (I know, I'm one of them, and I also tend to say "Here's the thing..." a lot, but I'm pretty sure we're not in the same WoD group). If you stop giving them attention when they behave in a certain way, they will usually switch tactics. If you give them praise when they actually have a good idea, or when they role-play well and don't rationalize away detriments, they will pick up on that and become a better player. Positive reinforcement generally works better, long-term, than negative reinforcement. And if he is your friend, helping him become a better RP'er will be good for both of you.

2007-11-18, 05:41 AM
The multiple personality thing is easy to solve, simply change the triggers.

At certain points, announce to the player that he is now switching personality to A2 for some reason.
You do not need to tell him the reason since the character doesn't know it. It can be a mental change in his disorder, a curse by an annoyed witch or something else.
After several times like that, when the switches will be made at the worst possible times (or worse, at total random times), that might give back some balance.
BTW, multiple personality disorder was confused in old times with witchcraft. Do you know what that means? :smallsmile:

As for the paranoid part, play it against him.
If he is paranoid about nice behavior toward him, remind that to him when an NPC is nice enough to the other character in the group. Several times that he is the only one that REFUSES to be rewarded should teach him a lesson.

To protect character G, make a backup story in which G gains some advantage over A. In other words: Extortion.
It can be something from A's past, a weakness, or anything like that. After all, unless G is insane, he wouldn't stay with A unless he had some kind of insurance.

2007-11-18, 07:27 AM
Jim, it really depends on how the rest of 'A's life is. It sounds like he doesn't get a whole lot of respect outside the game. It may sound Freudian, but he sounds like he's overcompensating (No, not for that:smallwink: ) for a shortfall he perceives elsewhere. Being hyprecompetitive in the game may be his only release.

We had a few guys like this in various groups before. The fix (previously correctly described as a player-level problem) can be addressed through socialization. Go out to eat with them. Spend a day woth the whole group playing Streetfighter Alpha, because if a day on that game doesn't teach you that being hypercompetitive doesn't pay, nothing will.

2007-11-18, 08:00 AM
This is my advice. Start off with, yes, talking. To everyone BUT A. If you want, you can send him off to gather firewood or something, and do an in-character conspiracy.

Convince everyone he is a threat to the group, between his constant paranoia, and multiple personalities, he is completely insane and must be stopped.

Drive him off, both ingame and then, shortly after, out of game. Tell him you won't let him back in till he stops bitching about it. Make sure you get the GM to see your point of view as well. The GM is extremely useful. If the GM doesn't like someone, your party's most religous person is entitled to say "You know... I don't know why, but I get the feeling GOD HATES YOU."

2007-11-18, 08:27 AM
I'd say you can pretty much solve this in-game. So A's character is a jerk, and he threatens several other members of the party. Well, if I were them, I'd either kill him in his sleep, or kick him out of the party. That's pretty realistic, no? In-character, I'd say.

Then, his next character comes in. Oh, he's annoying too, is he? Well, the others have only grown more secure after leaving the last brickhead behind, so they kick him out a week later.
And unless he stops making those fun-breaking characters, the others will just kick them out faster and faster...

Problem solved. He'll probably won't be allowed multiple personalities char after char, so that's out, too. :smallsmile:

2007-11-18, 08:40 AM
It might be worth mentioning to him that being in a party is the point of the game. If there's no party, there's no game. He needs to stop treating the party members like the enemy and start treating the enemies like the enemy. If you can't trust your allies in downtime, how can you trust them in the middle of combat? If you can't trust your allies in the middle of combat, what are you doing staying anywhere near them?

2007-11-18, 09:16 AM
Or of course, once he gets kicked out, he could become a sort of recurring villian, trying to survive on his own, striving for revenge.. that could be fun.

2007-11-18, 01:24 PM
I personally don't like the ideas of the ganging up and have been avoiding involving myself, even if I haven't really voiced much opposition to them.

On a note, I didn't mention it before, but the GM is basically on our side. He doesn't like the often-argueing, and often gets pulled into agreeing with stuff before he realizes what he agreed to.

2007-11-19, 09:03 PM
I checked back to see what other solutions were proposed and which ones Jimmy would think were effective. I was truly surprised how many people believed this situation could be resolved by an in-game solution.

I'm concerned because in-game solutions are rarely subtle and they eventually lead to greater out-of-game conflict. I say that because if: A) the GM just repeatedly whomps on the troublesome player or B) the other players whomp on him- he's gonna get upset because now they're ruining his fun. Then its just a pissing contest- who can make the other person feel worse and ruin everyone's day. That's not an optimal solution for everyone. If you really want someone out of your group, don't try to make it so uncomfortable they leave. Man up and ask them to leave. Explain that their playing style or behavior is hurting the game and tell them they are no longer welcome.

2007-11-19, 09:56 PM
here's how i see it playing out in my mind when i, as a GM, talk to someone like this based on the OP.

GM: hey, A your abilities are a bit to powerfull, we're going to change the way that these two abilities work together.

A: But G can do THIS! and THAT! and MOOSE!

GM: well THIS THAT and MOOSE either have been changed or will be dealt with next.

A: But the abilites work like this, it's how i would do it.

GM: it can work like that when you GM your game that i don't go to. beause now you're not at the game i GM. (ask A to leave, or relocate if at house of A)

worst case scenario you end up with a player akin to lanky buggers psycho DM. best case scenario they fix it and game goes on.

ok honestly i'd be way to tepted to lunge over the table and beat them with thier own arm, but i've ben feeling unusually violent lately, and i don't sugest doing that.

Meat Shield
2007-12-19, 09:42 AM
I think that the reason my group accepts my argumentative nature is that they accept me. They know I'm that way. They know I'm not trying to be an jerk or hurt anyone's feelings or ruin anyone's day, it's just my nature to argue about stuff. The key is that a gaming group is like any group of friends. You have to keep the friendship first. Looked at another way, are the rest of the players so caught up in the game that they are sacrificing their friendship with "A"? I'm not saying "A" is right, but if you guys are truly friends, you take the bad with the good.

When did we say we accepted or liked you? We just like you 'cuz you're a snazzier dresser than us!

See you Friday K!

2007-12-19, 10:32 AM

On a slightly more serious note, perhaps Jimmy could offer an update, seeing as the thread is already zombied anyway?