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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    ylvathrall's Avatar

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    Default Seeking advice regarding a player

    So I've got a troublesome player in my RL game, and I thought I would ask the Playground for some feedback on the situation.

    First off, some background on the group. For about a year now I've played in a group with 3 other people, we'll call them A, B, and E. A is a good player, but sometimes throws a hissy fit when things don't go his way. B is extremely distractable, but otherwise fine. E is a little more level-headed than the other two. We've had some other people join, but they've all had to drop the game for RL reasons, and it usually ends up being just the 4 of us.

    Which is fine, but we recently started another campaign. The idea is that it's a long-term sandbox campaign, with A and I trading off as GM. I start out running the game, and we also add another new player, we'll call him K.

    Now, I'll openly admit that my perspective is likely biased. I do not like K. I could not tell you why; something about him just rubs me wrong. I'm guessing we've all met people that we disliked for no apparent reason, and he is one for me. So take all of the following with that in mind. My perspective on the following is biased, but the events themselves are accurate to the best of my ability. I'm splitting them up into spoilers for length.

    Spoiler: Night 1
    Show
    So we start doing character generation, and almost immediately K is a bit of a problem. He wants to play an ogre, which seems like it's a bit disruptive to party cohesion. But I try to work with people if they have an offbeat concept, so I look into it a little and it turns out that Pathfinder has an official ogre race for PCs. So I tell him he can play that, but make a point of warning him that characters in the region don't have a pleasant relationship with ogres so he should be aware that they might not respond well to him at first. So far, so good.

    Then he starts asking for special treatment. Not little things, which we as a group are fine with. Things like, "Well, ogres really ought to have this ability from another race, so can I just add it?" or "This class ability doesn't do what I want, can I trade it out for something much better?" I explain to him repeatedly that this isn't actually how the game works, and eventually he gets the idea.

    So the game finally starts. The PCs all start out separately, exploring the city. We go through most of them without any trouble, and then get to K. Who intimidates an innkeeper into giving him a job, and then stands outside guarding the door for a few hours.

    Well, at this point I figure the innkeeper was just intimidated by an ogre, so he sends someone to tell the king of the city. This is in an area where (and I made sure all of the players were aware of this) kings have to kill a dragon in single combat. They're more than a match for the PCs at this point, and they do most of their own law enforcement.

    King shows up, and K gives him some hassle before letting him in to confirm what happened. K then bolts, at which point I figure I'll let him go. K got a reminder about not intimidating random citizens, and we can all move on.

    K does not make it two minutes of play time without intimidating more random citizens.

    The next day of game time, the PCs finally get together. A's character is paying the rest to help with a side quest. There's some friction with K about whether payment is up front or on completion, but everything gets settled out. They make it to the entrance to the underground tunnel before a city guard randomly encounters them. The guard tells K that his actions have been noticed and won't be tolerated. K tries to intimidate the guard, and fails miserably. The guard explicitly states that if K transgresses again the king won't need to get involved, because the guard will kill K himself. That's about as clear of a warning as I can give; I don't really know how much more explicit it gets than that.

    At this point, A attempts to steal back the down payment for K's help. K notices, and initiates combat with A. Right next to the guard who threatened to kill him if he broke the rules again, and who didn't see the theft attempt. So a nasty, prolonged PvP fight begins in which there are also NPCs pitching in on one side. It drags on long enough that the king shows up and demands an explanation.

    K gets one more chance to explain himself, and instead tries to run. The king instantly chases him down, crits on his first attack, and knocks K out.

    After this session, everyone sat down and explained to K all the ways in which he was encouraging hostility in both the setting and other players. I point out all of the warnings I gave him, both IC and OOC, and eventually he seems to be getting the picture. I tell him that he can either keep playing the ogre character if he wants to, or switch to something easier to play without running into these problems. He eventually decides to run a gnome alchemist instead.

    The best part? The entire fight was over 5 gp, a totally insignificant amount of money at this level.


    Spoiler: Night 2
    Show
    So the side quest is resolved. The party meets with an assassin, and it turns out that it was all just a terrible misunderstanding and they don't actually need to fight after all. The power of diplomacy!

    Almost instantly after resolving this, K starts interacting with A in ways that are just strange. Most notable is that he asks A to assassinate someone for him in town, and then when A refuses starts pressuring him and calling him a coward. It's all IC, but it still comes across as weird and aggressive, especially since they were just talking to someone who literally does that kind of work for a living. A takes a moment to explain OOC that this interaction is weird and makes no sense, and also that his character would be getting offended by these accusations of cowardice. K complains but eventually agrees to stop pushing on this topic.

    The PCs hear about a profitable mine that's infested with some kind of monster, and decide that it might be worth checking out. So they travel out in that direction and encounter an odd town on the way. It turns out the town is controlled by a vampire. At this point K again starts having these weird interactions with A, egging him on to fight the vampire and calling him a coward when he doesn't particularly want to. At this point his interactions with all of the other characters are odd, but nowhere near as weird and aggressive as with A.

    They do eventually fight the vampire, and K is not a lot of fun during the fight. He doesn't understand his own character's abilities well at all, and he's argumentative when I point this out to him. At one point everyone else there is telling him that an ability works a certain way, and he's disagreeing on the basis of "that rule is not convenient for my character."


    Spoiler: Night 3
    Show
    Eventually the vampire is killed, and the group makes it to the mine. They start into the mine tunnels and start clearing out the infestation, which turns out to be duergar. K is gone for the first session of this, and relatively pleasant for the next one. Towards the end of the session, though, E's character is in the thick of things and K decides to use an area damage ability. Long story short, E is knocked unconscious and on the brink of death for much of the fight.

    Afterwards, K says that he's satisfied with how it went and that all of the characters came through it well. When I point out that one character was dying, which is about as far from doing well as it's possible to get, he shrugged it off and didn't seem to get what I was saying.


    TL;DR: K is behaving in ways that are disruptive to the party as a whole, and is also interacting with another player in weird and hostile ways that that player isn't comfortable with. His characters go out of their way to antagonize NPCs and PCs alike, and when called on this he just says that this is how CE characters act (even though the entire party is either CE or evil-leaning CN, and he's the only one having these problems). He argues about every ruling, even when every other player agrees that the rules explicitly state that he's wrong.

    So...thoughts? At this point my inclination is to tell him that he isn't a good fit for this group. It would be really nice to have another player, and I am honestly unsure how much of this is me seeing problems where they don't exist because I'm predisposed against him, but it really doesn't seem like it's working out.
    Please don't capitalize my name.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    TurboGhast's Avatar

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Point out to him that the other players are the same alignment without being disruptive, since this might be a case of him not knowing CE & CN can be non-disruptive. You also might try getting him to play a less evil alignment, and seeing if he still acts disruptive there.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Perhaps he's trying to get away with whatever he's capable of (which is a CE sort of thing to do), but he's just a poor judge of what is and isn't going to fly past the radar.

    Maybe it's a case of him playing that character or alignment in particular. You could always talk to him about rolling up a CN/N/NE to see if he's playing stupid evil by accident.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    I have a couple of people like this is my group. I stopped warning them long ago-after they lost a few characters for being hellion murderhobos, they started to get the message. If K wants to act like a murderhobo in game, then just treat him like one. No more warnings, no more pulled punches. It won't be long before he takes a hostile action against someone or something he cant beat in combat. When this happens, let the fight happen and K will die. Based on his behavior towards the party IC and OOC, nobody is going to come rescue him from his own damnation. Repeat until K gets the message.

    OOC, K sounds like a munchkin and somebody who uses ttRPGs to blow off steam. Remind K that this is a team game(IC and OOC) and that group storytelling means being a constructive part of the group. You have authority as the DM he should respect as a player, and he should respect his fellow players.

    I would not kick him just yet, but do talk to him one on one. If the rest of the group has similar feelings(I am sure they do) then you really do need to address this ASAP. Don't kick K until you have given him a chance, but if he refuses to change, then don't keep giving him chances.
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    K is behaving in ways that are disruptive to the party as a whole, and is also interacting with another player in weird and hostile ways that that player isn't comfortable with.
    Well if it is the player that is uncomfortable and not just the character it is an OOC-Problem. Don't try to solve it IC. Everyone at the table has to understand that all players are intended to have fun and play in a way that makes that possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    ...when called on this he just says that this is how CE characters act
    First sign of a problem-player. Who is in charge of the behavior of the char. The char, two letters for the alignment or the player in control of the charachter.
    See also here: http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll...4H9k6efFP.html under decide to act differently
    Point out, that he already benefits from the fact that the other players do this. I think that an NPC that decides to constantly annoy the assassin of the group would have a pretty low life expectancy.

    But since this seems to be OOC-Problems, solve them OOC. If it doesn't work replace the player.
    Last edited by Spartakus; 2015-08-31 at 10:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    While it is definitely an OOC problem to solve OOC, it's also worth noting that CE is not, by base assumptions, intended for PCs. (It's well within the rules for them to play that alignment, but the basic assumption is that PCs are playing "good guys.") If he cannot play CE in a way that is fun for the whole table, then he should not be allowed to play it.

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    TL;DR: K is behaving in ways that are disruptive to the party as a whole, and is also interacting with another player in weird and hostile ways that that player isn't comfortable with. His characters go out of their way to antagonize NPCs and PCs alike, and when called on this he just says that this is how CE characters act (even though the entire party is either CE or evil-leaning CN, and he's the only one having these problems). He argues about every ruling, even when every other player agrees that the rules explicitly state that he's wrong.

    So...thoughts? At this point my inclination is to tell him that he isn't a good fit for this group. It would be really nice to have another player, and I am honestly unsure how much of this is me seeing problems where they don't exist because I'm predisposed against him, but it really doesn't seem like it's working out.
    To be frank, your first problem is that you're running a game of CE characters and expecting them to behave rationally. Whatever the shortcomings of K as a player, and it seems there are many, this kind of scenario is doomed to fail in the long-term.

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    ylvathrall's Avatar

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    My first inclination was also to talk with him OOC. The problem is that I already have, and it doesn't seem to have helped. I sat down with him after the first session and spent almost an hour explaining that his actions had consequences, and I'd given him basically every warning I could IC that his character was going to get killed if he kept it up. Other players have told him that his character is behaving disruptively and even given him advice about how he could fix the problem. Every time he says that he understands, and then goes back to doing the same things.

    Also, for the record, I did play with him for about two sessions of another campaign. He was playing an allegedly Neutral druid that wasn't quite as bad as this time around, but was still so weirdly hostile towards other PCs that it just about escalated to PvP before he had to drop the campaign. The problem really seems to be that K as a player just isn't much of a team player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    While it is definitely an OOC problem to solve OOC, it's also worth noting that CE is not, by base assumptions, intended for PCs. (It's well within the rules for them to play that alignment, but the basic assumption is that PCs are playing "good guys.") If he cannot play CE in a way that is fun for the whole table, then he should not be allowed to play it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Deified Data View Post
    To be frank, your first problem is that you're running a game of CE characters and expecting them to behave rationally. Whatever the shortcomings of K as a player, and it seems there are many, this kind of scenario is doomed to fail in the long-term.
    Oddly enough, despite all of the comments of this sort that I've seen on these forums, K is the only one having any real trouble with it. Even the antipaladin can at least remember the distinction between Evil and stupid Evil, and pick his targets accordingly.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    Oddly enough, despite all of the comments of this sort that I've seen on these forums, K is the only one having any real trouble with it. Even the antipaladin can at least remember the distinction between Evil and stupid Evil, and pick his targets accordingly.
    It's an unfair assumption, true. While evil characters brings out the idiot in many players, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way - I've never seen it done well, but my experience isn't terribly vast. Rather than having two normal and one bad player, I think you might have two awesome players who can roll with the punches and one player who just falls into the normal pitfalls that come with being an evil character.

    I think the issue with evil characters is that it sets the relationship between them and the world as adversarial from the start. Best case scenario, you have a couple evil characters who are content to exploit and manipulate the world to their own (evil) ends without killing folks left and right, but even then it's them against the world. As a DM, if you feel you have the skill and the foresight to build encounters around this poisonous dynamic, I applaud you. I don't think I'd be up for it.
    Last edited by Deified Data; 2015-08-31 at 03:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    In that case it may be time to tell K that his playstyle is not a good fit for your current game, and you hope he can find a game/group that meshes with his playstyle.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    My first inclination was also to talk with him OOC. The problem is that I already have, and it doesn't seem to have helped. I sat down with him after the first session and spent almost an hour explaining that his actions had consequences, and I'd given him basically every warning I could IC that his character was going to get killed if he kept it up. Other players have told him that his character is behaving disruptively and even given him advice about how he could fix the problem. Every time he says that he understands, and then goes back to doing the same things.
    You have given him multiple chances, and he won't change. He is a problem player, pure and simple. That kind of thing is toxic to your group-I know you only have 3 people, but I would rather play in a group of 2(and DM for such) than 2 normal people and a problem player. Kick him out.

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    The problem really seems to be that K as a player just isn't much of a team player.
    ttRPG's are a group/team effort. Players and characters who refuse to work as part of a group/team have no place in the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by steinulfr View Post
    Oddly enough, despite all of the comments of this sort that I've seen on these forums, K is the only one having any real trouble with it. Even the antipaladin can at least remember the distinction between Evil and stupid Evil, and pick his targets accordingly.
    Disruptive players are disruptive regardless of alignment. Also, the fact that this player is off the deep end relative to the antipaladin is saying something.
    Last edited by Geddy2112; 2015-08-31 at 04:53 PM.
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Stop pulling your punches against him?

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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    According to what you said, it seems that he acted disruptively from the very beginning of the first night, but then, on the third night his disruptive behaviour started more towards the end. Is there no sign of improvement at all?

    I think it's worth it keeping in mind that people do not change at once, maybe he is in his own way towards becoming a more cooperative player and needs you to look after him. You could try positive reinforcement.

    Once we had a player in our table who had a most annoying behaviour, he back-stabbed other players, refused to do anything useful in combat and was always trying to find ways to annoy the party. And what is worse, the game master didn't care at all. But my brother and I, instead of harassing him and hitting him back (some of the other players got in real fight with him), decided to show him a better way. We loved him, we defended him and we taught him combat tactics, strategy and fellowship. In short, we looked after him. And in very few sessions, he became a useful and trustworthy member of the party. Not perfect, and going back to his old ways from time to time, but someone reliable overall.

    It might be difficult to do with evil characters, but showing mercy and love beats punishing. Most of the people who behave that way do it just because they seek attention, not because they take any special pleasure in being irritating, and are only waiting for someone to show them the way.
    Last edited by Takewo; 2015-09-01 at 08:15 AM.

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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Seeking advice regarding a player

    Disregarding everything else, my advice will always be:

    Don't play with people you don't like.

    You said that from the start, this guy has rubbed you the wrong way, for reasons you can't specify (usually when this happens it's due to body language). Regardless of the reason, if you don't like him, why spend time with him? At all? And especially with such an activity as roleplaying, which, in my opinion, requires you to feel comfortable and relaxed with your fellow players. If you dislike someone, chances are you won't enjoy playing with them, no matter their IC behavior.

    So to conclude; don't play with him. Not because of his (according to you), disruptive behavior, but because you don't like him.
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