View Full Version : New Player On Egotrip in my First Campaign

2008-01-17, 05:32 AM
I'm gonna start my first campaign this Friday (D&D in an urban industrial setting), and there's this guy new to our school and wants to join the anime club. I'm the public relations guy for the club, and one of the advisers wanted me to tell him about it. So I tell him, and he also asks about some campaign he heard about, which is mine.

Anyway he's played D&D once ever, but really wanted to play a cleric, which is good, and I suggested St. Cuthbert as a deity since he's kinda important in the part of the city they're starting in. I even got him the issue of Dragon magazine that talks about St. Cuthbert to help him round out his character. Unfortunately he seems to think that being a cleric of St. Cuthbert means he gets to be an assh*le and kill whoever he thinks is evil. I meant that article to be a guideline, but he seems to have taken it too literally. Not to mention all he ever talks about now is really powerful 9th level spells (despite the fact that I told him we probably won't get past level 10), and how he's going to kill everyone that's evil. I mean we've warned him about clerics losing their powers and whatnot, but he really doesn't get it. I honestly don't think he understands the difference between Lawful and Chaotic, and the police in the city really don't like vigilantism, but he also seems to think that his character will be above the police since St. Cuthbert is important.

Now I never run a campaign before, but I've had to deal with new players who are all excited about what their character will do, hell I did it (and my first character was 20th level even). But I've never seen a player get all excited about being the end all kill everything guy. I mean the other players are planning on ditching him already, and we haven't even begun playing.

The best advice I've gotten so far is to have his superiors in game reprimand him somehow, and it's probably the best idea. Unfortunately we've already warned him there will be consequences for his actions, and I'm afraid he just might view any kind of reprimanding from his superiors/deity as a kind of metagaming lecture, thus losing its effect entirely. That, or he'll just think I'm unfairly changing the ways of St. Cuthbert in my setting so he can't kill people. I can't kick him out either 'cause, like I said, he wants to join the anime club, and as the PR I really don't want to ruffle any feathers. Not that most people would mind, my group (in general) is starting to hate him little by little. Not to mention he also seems conservative, and I mean that in the "I'm right about everything, but I'll humor you" kind of way, i.e. the a****** kind of way, i.e. there's no good way of saying no discussing politics in my game because he hasn't raised any arguments, but he gets annoyed at liberal ideas (and yes our group is rather liberal). Normally I wouldn't care, but I can see this as a problem down the road. Like I said though, he is a new student, and the adviser wanted me to make sure he felt welcome.

Maybe I'm just nervous about running my first campaign, but when all your other players agree with you, you know something bad could happen.

2008-01-17, 05:51 AM
Your worries might be justified or they might not. It's natural for players to have a certain amount of "I'm gonna be cool and do this and do that..." before a campaign - it's not necessarily a reliable guide to what they'd be like at the table. He might turn out to be a nightmare... or he might mellow out as he gets involved.

Having his superiors reprimand him just-like-that might come across the wrong way. You might have more luck having his superiors give him a secret mission which involves keeping a low profile. Maybe a tiny side-objective to achieve during the main quest, like getting some information on the quiet, or going undercover to establish a contact with some minor recurring villain so his associates can be identified by the church. Then any reprimand will seem much more in-game and logical, and there's a carrot (pleasing his superiors if he does well) as well as a stick (knock heads together too loudly and they'll have a good reason to be disappointed in him).

Good luck!

2008-01-17, 05:54 AM
Well, there's 2 ways to go about it:

1. Conclude his initial zealotry is because this is the first chance he's had to RP and he's excited about, well, killing stuff. Give the party an goblin wartribe in the sewers or something; if he's gonna kill, might as well give him something he can kill without regret. See if it's still a problem after a few weeks of good solid killing. It might get it out of his system.

2. You're right; a reprimand is too direct. I would suggest subverting it. Call him to the Church. If he expects a reprimand, they say they have some concerns about it, but they'll cover those after he completes an important mission for them. If he comes in expecting praise, they tell him they believe he's ready to move on to more challenging missions.

The mission? Something that requires dealing with an evil and/or guilty party nonlethally. Some suggestions:

-Prisoner escort. The party must subdue a criminal and deliver him for trial. I would suggest a wannabe rebel martyr; he's done horrible things to the state, but his grievances are legitimate. He wants to go down in a blaze of glory. Killing him is tempting, but it would garner sympathy for their cause.

-Escort a traitorous criminal to safety. He's murdered innocents, but he's willing to squeal on his boss in exchange for a life term instead of execution. The PCs must protect him from his boss's hitmen. Give him a decent personality, too, so there's a chance he likes him, even if he's evil.

-Investigation. The party must dive into (and tolerate) some of the seedier parts of the city to hunt down a serial killer. Hint (strongly) that these contacts are the lesser of two evils; sure, he can kill them now, but he might lose a lead towards finding the true evil here.

2008-01-17, 09:21 PM
My advise is to ignore him untill the game starts. Because it doesn't matter now what his attitudes are toward his character are. Also by listening to hi you make him seem important so busy yourself with the creation of the session and ignore him. Then when you sit down for the game then you worry about his (and everyone else's) actions. Then instead of lecturing him or giving him a special mission, have a recurring villain admire his sadistic attitude. Make the villain want to recruit the evil cleric to his side. Because the admiration of what he's sworn against should throw him off the smite all things evil.

And if that doesn't work send in a dominated seven-year-old as an assassin. That should get him of the smite train.

In short don't encourage him to play good. Discourage him from playing evil.

2008-01-17, 09:40 PM
...that's a really strange way to interpret St. Cuthbert, because he is, after all, LAWFUL, and he has to be impartial to good or evil. (Though yeah, Cuddy doesn't allow LE clerics, does he?)

I think all of the previous suggestions are pretty good. The moral dilemma route is the way to dampen his fanaticism. (Though having him beat a bunch of low-level evil creatures early on might sate his bloodlust.)

Now, what NOT to do: Don't try to humiliate the player by putting him up against a threat that will outright kill him if he tries to harm it. (ie, "The Pickpocket is actually a Balor in disguise" or something like that) The game is about being a fantasy hero, and for the most part you'd want to avoid punishing him like that. (Not to say that you shouldn't give them tough fights they'll never forget.)

I had a player in one of my groups who had this really big ego trip about being able to humiliate, defeat, or kill any other member of his party just because he was a Batman Wizard. He was especially bent on getting on the paladin's bad side for some reason, confident that "lol grease will stop him flat." I reminded him that paladins with 18 CHA have the best saves at that point in the game (Lv 6) outside of monks, and he might regret it. I had to dissolve the group due to time constraints, but I was really thinking about how I'd crush this guy if he tried anything stupid. I'm glad I didn't have to.

2008-01-18, 10:17 AM
How exactly does he plan on figuring out who is in fact evil? If he expects to run around casting detect evil at anything that moves, I think it's perfectly reasonable that most evildoers in your city have found some way to access the undetectable alignment spell.

Anyway, here's how I'd do it. Let him kill some evil scum. Give him a couple game sessions of what he wants, and hopefully you can get the other PCs in on it too. Then have him kill someone who isn't actually evil and get a bit of a reprimand. I'm not talking about a demotion or removing his powers or anything. Just make it clear that good and evil aren't always so clear cut and then make sure that your NPCs are only borderline evil.

If you feel like screwing with the guy a little, have St. Cuthbert do the whole confessional thing. At some point he'll have to listen to confessions and someone (possibly some real NPC instead of random commoner #4) will tell him about all these heinous crimes he'd done, but doing so absolves him and the cleric is in no position to do anything about it.

2008-01-18, 10:32 AM
Short version: Darwin.

Long version: Let him act as he will. If he's wantonly chaotic, strip him of magic as would be to natural course of the world. If he's breaking the law, have him arrested, possibly with a sacreligious prison guard mocking him for his "holier than thou" attitude. If he's going out of his way to kill evil stuff, odds are other evil stuff will take notice of the zealot and seek to make it go squish.

2008-01-18, 10:33 AM
All the above posts are good advice. Do a "wait and see" approach.

Lots of new players get over-excited about joining their first campaign. Usually once they actually get playing and settle in to the group, they calm down. If this is actually going to turn into a problem, you'll find out about it them, but there's a very good chance that it won't.

As for going on and on about 9th-level spells, half the D&D players on the Internet do the same thing. Just smile and nod and ignore it. :P

Who are these 'advisers' you keep referring to, by the way? It sounds a lot more structured than most D&D groups I know.

- Saph

2008-01-18, 10:51 AM
Who are these 'advisers' you keep referring to, by the way? It sounds a lot more structured than most D&D groups I know.

- Saph

He's talking about the advisors at his school. They asked him to take in the new kid.

2008-01-18, 10:55 AM
Really good advice so far. I was just reading around about clerics at a whim, and reading about the detect evil spell gave me a bit of an idea.


You can sense the presence of evil. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you study a particular area or subject.
1st Round

Presence or absence of evil.
2nd Round

Number of evil auras (creatures, objects, or spells) in the area and the power of the most potent evil aura present.

If you are of good alignment, and the strongest evil aura’s power is overwhelming (see below), and the HD or level of the aura’s source is at least twice your character level, you are stunned for 1 round and the spell ends.

If you can't stop him, beat him at his own game. Put in a BBEG who happens to be the cleric of an evil deity, and is twice as strong as him and at least level 11. Then he'll be stunned every time he tries, or get himself killed trying to attack him when he shouldn't have.
If he fails to try detecting evil, that's when he gets put on trial for murder.

2008-01-18, 07:32 PM
Since the player is new, I'd be inclined to agree with the people who say you shouldn't slap him down hard at the beginning of the game. He may calm down before your first session.

I think Mike_Lemmer has the right idea. A few weeks of "good solid killing" of monsters that he can reasonably think are just plain bad may get it out of his system. Lemmer's other suggestions for how to proceed from there are also good. Remember, the goal is to teach the character respect for the secular law and restraint in the use of violence. These are inherently moderate ideas and are not well served by anvilicious (http://www.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Anvilicious) teaching tactics.

The first thing to do is to establish that the PC in question can deal with NPCs who are neither definite friends nor definite enemies without automatically treating them as enemies (threatening them, attacking them for failing to be the way the PC wants them to).