View Full Version : Dealing with an infuriating player

Lord Tataraus
2008-05-10, 12:26 AM
I am currently running a mostly standard Cyberpunk 2020 game, focused on infiltration missions and the like. Most of the players are active and work together resulting in lots of success through teamwork which resulted in high payoffs of course. However, their is also player A.

For some background, I knew all but one player from previous games and I've seen them all roleplay very well and make rational decisions (including player A), the new guy is just as rational and RP-talented. So, given that, I was not expecting anything rash or stupid, everyone had played CP2020 before and knew how the game works, so I was confident that I could throw them right into a moderately difficult mission off the bat.

The mission was a simple infiltrate a government building, navigate multiple layers of security, access a secret underground lab and destroy it but also retrieve samples of biological and chemical weapons that were developed there. The obvious course of action was for the hacker (I don't use netrunners) to access the security computers on each level and disable the security while the rest protect him and clear the way for him. One player is a stealthy fighter, one is a demolitions expert, and then player A is the main heavy weapons/frontliner. In addition to those there was an NPC medic, sniper, and jack-of-all-trades rifleman as backup.

Everything started out as planned and some good rolls resulted in a safe and easy passage through the perimeter security, up to the door. However, this is where everything started to go downhill. Firstly, there were three doors they could potentially go into. One required a very high hacking check and wasn't that reliable, one was known to be guarded (internally) and the third was a bit further from the first "checkpoint", but otherwise unguarded.

Player A uses an ability that lets him look into the lobby area where door #2 opens into and sees 4 guards, two directly in line with the doors and two to the left of the doors. Suddenly, he whips out two revolvers and headshots the two in line with the doors, killing them instantly. Of course, the alarms go off (triggered by the other two guards) and a minor firefight ensues. After finishing off the guards and sustaining no injuries of any substance, they continue to checkpoint one. At this point, the government is obviously fully aware of something going on so the hacker runs into an opponent, causing him to slow down drastically as police make their way to the scene. The police do not attack right away, but order those inside to surrender and they waited for a bit, luckily the hacker just finished up and the group was moving on, but A decided to blast the police with an APF cannon resulting in a pursuit.

The mission did end successfully, but was a very close call. However, to top it off, after being paid for the mission player A challenges the stealthy guy to a one-on-one martial arts duel to the death - inside their employer's base (who are terrorist by the way)! Stealthy goes along with it initiatly, but when the employer asks them to take it outside, he backs off accordingly (with rifle in hand to ensure A doesn't continue). However, A can't have that, so he pulls out his pistols and threatens to kill Stealthy if he doesn't put down his gun and continue to fight. The employer is not very happy and in the end blows A's arm off with a Nomad Long Rifle at point blank range.

A has recovered from his hospital stay, but his recent comments have lead me to believe he has yet to learn his lesson. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

The Necroswanso
2008-05-10, 12:35 AM
Dude, I deal with this all the time. Repeatedly cripple them. Find out what he likes best about his character, and set up situations where through his actions he would lose those.
Can't fire a gun if you have no index and middle finger.
I don't know how that game works, but as a GM, there's always ways to **** with players until they get it. And if the person leaves, then good riddence to bad rubbish. He was just looking for a game that will always go exactly his way anyway.

Emperor Tippy
2008-05-10, 12:40 AM
The terrorist should have shot him between the eyes.

Cyberpunk as a genre is not kind or pleasant. And people who **** around like that end up dead. I can say with complete seriousness that if any player in any Shadowrun or Cyberpunk game that I have ever been in did that on a run (both with setting off the alarm and the death match), the other players would have shot him as soon as the run was over and then used his share to get a replacement (if they didn't just keep it).

2008-05-10, 12:40 AM
have something kill his character and get him to make another one. repeat this process until he gets the hint.

2008-05-10, 12:45 AM
Sic Robocop on him...

But seriously folks, talk to him out of game. If he says somthing along the lines of "I'm just roleplaying my character" then inform the rest of the party to roleplay their characters as well. Specifically, one guy has proven, time and again, to be a liablity to the team. You are Amoral mercenary types and this guy is giving you all a smaller cut of the pay. Don't tell the other players to off A, but inform them that the thought should cross their character's minds.

Irreverent Fool
2008-05-10, 12:47 AM
The above posters are spot-on. The Cyberpunk rules tend to agree. "...and if they get out-of-line, waste 'em..."

Make sure there's real consequences to his actions. Not just for him, but for his team as well. Nothing like peer-pressure to force someone in-line.

2008-05-10, 01:08 AM
The group is (I assume) the type of characters who kill people to solve their problems. This player is a problem. Do I need to say more?

2008-05-10, 10:49 AM
As far as i see it, if the rest of the players have no problem with it, let them carry on - it will just make it more interesting for you to DM (if slightly mess with your carefully laid plans). If/when the other players finally complain, and so far they seem to be willing to go along with it a la stealthy agreeing to the duel, THEN you have a chance to monkey with him

so far, making his actions have consiquences seems the best route. Next time he blasts his way in, make his employer get pissy with him about all the unwanted police attention they have now gained - damaging the groups reputation/cashflow, making future employment a bit more tricky. Irreverent Fool was right about the whole peer pressure thing, so if it affects the whole group, it will affect him a lot quicker than just losing an arm

2008-05-10, 12:32 PM
Without even reading the OP:

Talk to the player. If this does not resolve the problems, tell the player they don't need to come play again.

After reading it:

I take it from their willingness to enter firefights that the PCs know they're invulnerable? Presumably by the easy and cheap combination of SP 12-14 Skinweave and SP 18 armored coats, which make you impervious to everything up to 7.62mm rounds.

This is corrected by using the alternative combat rules from Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads! Suddenly, SP 20-25 isn't enough to save your ass when someone fires 7.62mm at you full-auto, especially if it's AP. I can not overstate how good those rules are.

Combat in cyberpunk genre games is supposed to be so deadly that it's always inadvisable, forcing players to be creative and sneaky. Cyberpunk 2020 fails spectacularly at this. (I've gone through it all - characters killing 10-20 enemies armed with assault rifles and only sustaining something like 20 damage, easily making the Shock Saves to stay alive through it because of their grotesquely pumped-up BODY stats, etc..) I actually ran numbers for the LUYPS! damage and armor rules, and they just work out a lot more lethal. Suddenly, a punk with a knife can kill you. That is cyberpunk.

And even the CPunk 2020 rulebook repeatedly tells you to just kill players who screw around like this. There's no paramilitary or serious corp installation anywhere in the world that ANY PCs could EVER have a chance of beating with sheer firepower. In any such situation, the only sensible way to plan and run it is to make sure that if the PCs are discovered, their only options are to attempt a suicidal infiltration of an enemy compound/base/whatever that is on full alert, or to beat a hasty retreat dodging patrol AVs, cyber-canines, and trigger-happy guards.

If they deliberately get into this kind of situation, you come down on them hard. All of them. (Basic military rule. If one person screws you, you spread the crap around. The rest of the team will reign in the idiot.) In the situation you described, wave after wave of guards, each more heavily armed and armored, should have descended on them; starting with 7.62mmN rifles and heavy Kevlar, and ending up in cyber-commandos, ACPAs, and IFVs - literally, I'm not exaggerating, that's standard corp and government security.

Problems like this are always solved with one of two ways:
1. Talking to the player outside of the game, one on one.
2. Consistent and genre-appropriate responses to character actions.

2008-05-10, 01:11 PM
A has recovered from his hospital stay, but his recent comments have lead me to believe he has yet to learn his lesson. Any suggestions on how to handle this?I'd suggest finding out why 'A' acted as he did. Resolve the reasons and the behavior will resolve itself.

Lord Tataraus
2008-05-10, 02:22 PM
Thanks for the advise, it is along the same lines as I was considering, next slip up is his last.

I've heard of Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads! before, I guess I should look into it (if I can find it).

2008-05-11, 11:25 AM
I've heard of Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads! before, I guess I should look into it (if I can find it).

It's the single best CPunk2020 supplement there is. (With the exception of the even rarer Maximum Metal, because I have a powered armor fetish.)

2008-05-11, 04:25 PM
Shoot first. Questions are not normally that important.

If that does not work. Shoot often.

Sounds like it's about time for the screeching of Limo tires and the ever classic "Running drive by". Make sure the player knows that he is being gunned for and that no one wants to work with him. Contacts dry up, others will not talk to his party or him for that matter.

When he is contrite (assuming that the other players don't wack his sorry butt). then allow the jobs to come back in.

2008-05-11, 05:12 PM
I love the fact taht almost every solution has been "Shoot the git like a dog"

Emperor Tippy
2008-05-11, 05:17 PM
I love the fact taht almost every solution has been "Shoot the git like a dog"

It is cyberpunk. The PC's are already in a very dangerous line of work, having one of your "team mates" increase the danger is not conducive to your survival. You can't just cut them loose, they know far too much about you and your illegal actions. So you shoot them, strip their body of gear, sell their organs on the black market, and start looking around for a replacement with more sense.

2008-05-11, 05:34 PM
I love the fact taht almost every solution has been "Shoot the git like a dog"
A bit of an overstatement, as people usually have some sympathy for dogs, even when they're shooting them.

I'd say you shoot him more like a jar of salsa; Messily, and to the amusement of some.

Moff Chumley
2008-05-11, 06:14 PM
Ah, cyberpunk. This thread has reminded me both why I'd love to DM and hate to play a cyberpunk campaign...

My advice is to have the events of that adventure echo through the rest of the campaign. Have the corporation who owned the building hire assasins and bounty hunters. Etcetra, etcetra.

2008-05-11, 06:49 PM
I love the fact taht almost every solution has been "Shoot the git like a dog"

That's because there are two ways to deal with inappropriate player gaming styles:
1. OOC conversation
2. IC enforcement

The second requires Consistency and Versimilitude ("genre realism"). In cyberpunk, that means consistently killing or seriously inconveniencing (and I mean on the "there's a bomb in your brain and I have the trigger" level) the PCs when they screw up.

If someone fails to be stealthy on an infiltration mission, they should be facing an absolutely overwhelming force, every time. That's why you're infiltrating the place to begin with - because you can't face the opposition in a firefight. (Well, alternatively, it can be because the goal is negated by being detected while trying to achieve it. In this case, the people who hired you will be hiring someone else to deal with you. Hey, in cyberpunk, they're supposed to do that even if you do succeed...)

Just read, well, the Sprawl trilogy by Gibson. It's full of this stuff, and often more interesting variations than getting killed.

Lord Tataraus
2008-05-11, 09:12 PM
My advice is to have the events of that adventure echo through the rest of the campaign. Have the corporation who owned the building hire assasins and bounty hunters. Etcetra, etcetra.

Unfortunately, they already have that. They escaped from a government-run lab where they were being experimented on to create super-soldiers and were broken out by a terrorist group. They now only hit government facilities and the gov can only set so many bounties, hire so many mercs, and send so many assassins after them.

2008-05-11, 09:50 PM
If you really want to be nasty have the bounty so tempting that their contacts may turn them in for it. ( Particularlly if the problem player continues to piss them off)
Or the government cut a deal with the legendary 'runner Lord Death ( or whoever you like) a total pardon in return for the P.C.s heads

2008-05-11, 09:53 PM
Cyber punk sounds like a grim world then

Also shoot the man, if not like a dog, them like a mime then?

2008-05-11, 09:59 PM

2008-05-11, 10:01 PM

NOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooo

The end is near, i must say goodbye to my loved ones

2008-05-12, 12:59 AM
When mimes are off duty things can get ugly. (http://loadingreadyrun.com/videos/view/175/sound_wars)


Sounds like the IC reinforcement would work very well. Peer pressure in this form is usually a strong force.

2008-05-12, 02:20 AM
I'm somewhat amused to find the best advice given for a non-D20 game. :)

To the OP: I think your first mistake was allowing them to successfully complete the mission at all. Having two out of four guards shot by an unplanned and uncommunicated rogue attack from one of their members, an alarm sounded, a counter-hacker involved, and a running gunfight should have meant that they felt lucky in the end to escape with their lives.

In fact, with an alarm sounded without the hacker having yet secured the data/access to a room/whatever he should have jacked out, yelled "You dumb f***! What the h*** where you thinking? Now we have to abort!" (someone should have yelled that) and they should have tried to bug out as best they were able. Allowing the players to not only live, but to complete their mission was extraordinarily generous of you, and only serves to reinforce that kind of behavior instead of discouraging it.

Would any swat team or paramilitary force in the world authorize deadly force during the "sneak up and get in place" portions of a mission? Nope. The rule of thumb is "If you aren't being shot at, you don't shoot."

Sure, these are tough guy anti-heroes, but no one wants that kind of idiot on their team.

So my suggestion: Talk to the whole group all together. Explain that you had to GM fiat their escape, that it won't be happening again, and that you're happy to see a TPW if the actions of the group call for it. Ask if the group as a whole would like a shift in the tenor of the game, to a more action oriented shoot 'em up, or if they would prefer to play the "espionage with some gun play possible" type missions which you have designed. Let them talk it out, and listen carefully to player A. It's possible that he was bored, being a pure combat type and having no valuable job to do next to a stealthy fighter, a demolitions expert, and even the three NPCs (who was the hacker?). Boredom can make even the best role player do stupid stuff.

2008-05-12, 12:00 PM
Unfortunately, they already have that. They escaped from a government-run lab where they were being experimented on to create super-soldiers and were broken out by a terrorist group. They now only hit government facilities and the gov can only set so many bounties, hire so many mercs, and send so many assassins after them.

I think you're being too easy on the players, although I guess it's for the sake of the campaign hook. Making the PCs irreplacable is a choice that doesn't leave you any freedom to use consistent versimilitude (i.e. "you screw up, you die") to mold their playing style.

If any serious government wants you dead, you need a corp or another government to protect you, or you have to be the best at disappearing (into another continent, too). Becoming terrorists isn't laying low. Consider, also, that in the official chronology of Cyberpunk 2020, the US government has already performed surgically precise missile strikes on urban targets in their own cities (corporation HQs, specifically)...

Citizen Joe
2008-05-12, 01:11 PM
Sure, you'll need to have a little OOC chat just so you don't just piss everyone off as players. However, this needs an IC resolution. Judging from the report that the boss got back, player A nearly screwed up the whole thing with his trigger happy behavior. So, the team won't be getting the fully stealthy missions until they can prove their worth. For the next mission, give them a garbage run. Something that would normally be reserved for underlings and less experienced people. This will test the group to see if they can work together better. As they get up to leave, have the boss ask player A to stay... "You're not going on that mission. I have something special for you." Then give him some wetwork mission that is very sloppy with no backup. To make a point, make the target someone from the terrorist organization that keeps screwing up, or has been skimming or something. Make player A sit through half the session while the rest of the team do their job. On their way back, switch over to player A. Drop him off on the corner with his pistols and tell him the guy in a certain apartment needs to be killed. Assuming some talk, have the guy beg for his life, try to bribe player A, etc. Assuming he kills the guy, that's when he discovers the guy is wearing a wire and the detectives bust in. Hand some sheets to the other players so that they are playing the cops coming after him... break for pizza while everyone plans out what to do. Player A should have a lot of trouble getting out of this, but if it looks like he's gonna get collared, the terrorist sniper on the next building puts a bullet in his head. THAT is how terrorists deal with screw ups.