|Ross Byers Assistant Software Developer|
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Campaign Setting / General Discussion
Sorry, but I have to vent some steam:
I have a player who plays the same character 90% of the time. Not the same stats, or class, but if listen to him talk, it's always the same:
It's always an elf, usually high elf or grey elf, and he's absolutely misanthropic.
Some people might think that elves hating all humans are the norm, but I always said that even in the Forgotten Realms, that is more a vocal minority. In Golarion, it's even rarer. And in my Golarion, elves aren't like that. So the racial card can't be played.
And yesterday, the guy was really annoying, and disrupting to boot.
Whenever someone other than the party misses an attack (bad die roll, or it's just that your average human warrior 1 has a hard time hitting a frikkin' stone giant), he starts badmouthing them. All. the. time.
We were playing Fortress of the Stone Giants, and the Giants were attacking Sandpoint. Of course, the city guard and a hastily assembled militia is absolutely ill-prepared against a bunch of stone giants.
And the guy doesn't shut up. Goes on about how crappy the town is, that they should just abandon it because they're worthless.
Anyway, they repell the attack, capture some giants, and get the information about the stone giant army. From what they hear, it's pretty obvious that a giant army numbering in the hundreds will probably wreak havoc with varisia, and the idea of "killing the head so the body will follow" comes up.
And problem player starts ranting about why he should do it? Why go on a "suicide" mission for those people? Apparently, he wants power. He wants some leading position in Magnimar, or wants his house to become a noble house with the power that goes with it (nevermind that his family doesn't want that). Apparently, a lot of cash (10,000gp) and an honourable title isn't enough for saving himself, his family, his home, his friends, and practically everyone he knows.
And then he demanded that some soldiers stage a distracting attack against Jorgenfist. Note that they haven't done any scouting at this point, and it should be obvious (having seen stone giants fight) that anything less than a full army (which Magnimar probably doesn't even have, and would need time to muster, much less get there, anyway.) would just be creamed without bothering the giants too much.
And the best part of his ranting was that he said that Sandpoint was unworthy of survival because they couldn't hold their own against armies of goblins and stone giants, that they should have more class levels. (Nevermind that the events in the last couple of months were very extraordinary). He whined about how he was so much more powerful than most people around.
And today I got a mail from the other player that was present yesterday, with pretty much the same complaints and arguments: Varisians are loosers (sic), couldn't even defend themselves, I must give the characters more motivation (beyond money, fame, and the fact that they're fighting for their own home, friends, and family).
Right now I might lose/toss out that player, and I wouldn't care. In fact, I wouldn't care if the campaign ended over this, and the gaming group broke apart. I'm pissed.
Thanks for listening.
Before I started my Shackled City campaign, I gave the players a little pep talk. I told them:
"We're going to go through these modules one by one all the way through (hopefully). The campaign will necessary be pretty linear. Now if your character is always going to be asking 'What's my motivation?', or your character is always going to be running off and doing his own thing, that character may not be appropriate for this campaign. Now I will do my best to work in whatever motivations you like, but you will have to meet me at least halfway."
It's worked for me (so far, anyways). Maybe you could have the same talk with Mr. Elf and he could make up a new character who's more sympathetic to Sandpoint and Varisia.
It seems as if there may be some members of this party that are willing to make the attempt to stop this army of Stone Giants ... even if Cpt Misanthrope (and this other party member) don't feel they want to do it. I say have the NPCs of the doomed town tell those two "ya know what, if you don't feel the need to help us out of basic decency and heroic motivation, then don't. We'll give your shares to these other noble folk who seem wiling to help us" and let them sit back while the heroic members of the group go save the day. Tough love, but the point should be to reward the deserving and let the undeserving fall to the wayside.
I've had these types of arguments (and players) more and more as the years have gone by and gamers feel that they should be driven by "what's in it for me" rather than by the heroic ideals that D&D was created to encourage. I even had an argument over the whole "doing the right thing is hard; that's why it's rewarding" issue. I say if they don't want to join the spirit of the game you're trying to provide, they may need to find a different game.
You could say "OK, your character doesn't have to go. What do you want your character to do?" Then, let the rest of the party (possibly with an NPC or two) get on with the rest of the adventure while misanthrope elf-boy goes off and does his own thing (maybe with the other reluctant player). This would require you to run two separate sessions (and come up with an adventure for elf-boy); however, when the group that actually is following the adventure path returns with tales of success (or vanishes without a trace before the stone giants invade), the problem child may rethink his stance.
Of course, you could put on your evil-DM hat and use the "seven sins" theme to draw elf-boy back into the main plot (he seems to be acting out of pride or greed to me)... It could be very interesting if he's targeted for recruitment by Karzoug's minions.
Dragonchess Player wrote:
There's an idea. An undercover agent of the giants/Karzoug approaches the character in secret, suggesting that he act as Karzoug's eyes and ears in the party. The runelord is obviously the only truly competent leader around and isn't it time the elf start looking out for himself? All he has to do is keep tabs, maybe feed the group some misinformation from his privileged sources and conveniently look the other way when some prominent Sandpoint townspeople go missing (naturally the greediest folk around, and guess who gets a cut of their assets for helping out?).
The whole thing has agitated me more than enough.
Dragonchess Player wrote:
You could say "OK, your character doesn't have to go. What do you want your character to do?" Then, let the rest of the party (possibly with an NPC or two) get on with the rest of the adventure while misanthrope elf-boy goes off and does his own thing (maybe with the other reluctant player).
I'm kinda doing that right now. After I got a hatemail from the other player (to quote one passage that came pretty early and did a great job of ruining my chances of a nice sunday evening:
"Those idiots in the area don't even manage to survive 2 months on their own and we are to risk our asses for those loosers? Why?"
I pretty much told him that if they don't want any meta game considerations to smooth gameplay (they can't really complain about rewards, anyway: Thouseands of gold pieces and a whole damn Fort? Not to mention all the loot they can keep) just because the characters miss out on stuff, I'll stop it. Both ways.
Since we're chronically understaffed, anyways, I usually had one or even two of the iconic (boosted to full PC and houserule power level) follow them around. That will stop now. They turned from "robotic henchmen" to full-fledged NPCs. All the time. They all hate that elf, and Merisiel commented that even though she's a Forlorn, she thinks he's twisted beyond belief. A white drow.
And I of course asked the spherewalker why he travels with that guy, when he keeps insulting his homeland (and his deity's center of worship) and how he thinks she will react.
Dragonchess Player wrote:
No. He'd go his way, do whatever he wants. Not a concern of Rise of the Runelords. He doesn't want to compromise, why should I? My time's too precious for this.
Dragonchess Player wrote:
He leads the Pride category by miles. That alone keeps him from being harvested by Xanesha (who's still about, and has already got one former PC - but the player wanted to "retire" that one, anyway). If Pride didn't oppose Greed, he'd be more than suitable.
But to honest: I'm seriously considering just uninviting him (he's hardly ever present, anyway, due to other commitments). It may lead to a chain reaction and dissolve the party, but better no party than one that doesn't work.
Someone over at the WoTC boards once said the following:
There's also this little tidbit:
I'm pretty sure both apply here. I'd personally boot the elf player, he sounds like an asshat to me.
I've had to deal with player characters like this before. A lot. I've had to deal with samurai who call the other player characters weak or stupid because they are not of noble birth. During "A Paladin in Hell", a player caused a schism within the party, asking "Why should we save these people? We've got enough loot. Let's bolt." He took half the party out of the adventure and killed the campaign. Just recently, I had to deal with a Pirates of the Caribbean-flavored bard who considered all those around him as tools to achieving his own glory and satisfaction, and would gladly conflict with every other player just because it is possible to do so.
I often try to talk it out with players who are prima donnas or simply out of control. However, I have, on one occasion, come to a complete impass with one of these players and have been forced to ask him to leave.
So, that's my advice: talk to the player when you're both well-away from the game and the group, and attempt to reason with the player. Hopefully, you can reach some sort of happy middle-ground.
Of course, if worst comes to worst, you can always ask the guy to leave. It's a sad time when you're forced to do that sort of thing, but it does wreck other people's fun.
Wow, tough situation.
1} You need to address the underlying issue here before catering to the specific situations in this particular campaign.
Making the giants attack the elf forests or having an army from Magnimar frontal assault Jorgenfist or giving villagers more class levels is going to do NOTHING here until you and your group have a metagame discussion outside of the game about what kind of game you want to play, aka, "how do we get fun from our game?"
2} I'm sorry, but in a big sense the Player is right; he has a point. And even if he didn't you'd have to address his concern
Of course, even though it's flawed the other Players see the same thing; there is an inconsistency in campaigns:
If it were as easy for NPCs to gain levels the way PCs do then there'd be a much larger number of higher level NPCs in the game world.... But as Players, DMs included here, we have to acknowledge for metagame purposes that this inconsistency makes "PC-life" impossible. Face it, if a handful of punk-ass, snot-nose chumps from the pathetic, stinking village of Diamond Lake could really walk a few miles into the Cairn Hills and come out not only with wealth upon wealth but also more levels than 99% of the village -- every punk-ass, snot-nose chump would be, like the PCs in AoW, 20th level in 18 months.
But that doesn't matter; we dedicate 6 hours a week of our precious free time for this game. If we ain't havin' fun then wtf are we using our valuable time doin' this for?!
This is gotta be the opening or ice-breaker for y'all's metagame conversation: "How do we want to have fun?"
3} If the Player wants to play an elf who hates humans every game then No DM has the right to tell him he can't. Just like if another Player had a thing for "Sturm-like" Paladins or trench coat wearing knee-cappers. If a Player loves to play a certain PC then he gets to play that PC EVERY game.
The time when a DM has a responsibility to confront the Player is when the character concept ruins the fun for others. Which it sounds like is happening here. You Have to distinguish the differences here for this Player, though. In which traits/ actions is the PC alright to be his character and in which traits/ actions is he spoiling the fun?
Laughing at and taunting the NPCs is okay -- always.
4} One of the things you need to let your Players know is that you run published adventures because you don't have the time to design your own. Emphasize this until they realize that y'all's campaigns can be limited in scope because of this. Sure, if you had 30 hours a week to tailor the campaign and each gaming session to the group it would be much better -- but who the fu<k has that much D&D time?!
5} Ultimately your Players should come away with the fact that they're playing in an imperfect game; they will find inconsistencies. While it's okay to challenge those inconsistencies (outside of game) and see if they can be fixed they must accept that sometimes they'll have to live with the inconsistencies just so that the game can continue!
The Players are right about the "weaknesses" of the Sandpoint citizens. But can that be fixed ?? Rhetorically ask the Players if they'd like to have a game session where their characters sat and watched while an all NPC strike force dealt with Wolf's giants. Do they really want to play a game watching you describe how the NPCs do everything?
Hope this helps,
-W. E. Ray
The second post, by Hogarth, is a great example of a metagame conversation that really helps a campaign. In that (very successful) case, the Players accept at the beginning that the campaign will be limited to the published material.
It's okay to go a little against your PC's personality or motivations to keep the game alive.
-W. E. Ray
in your longer response earlier you don't finish one of your thoughts; I'd really like to see the rest of it:
I pretty much told him that if they don't want any meta game considerations to smooth gameplay . . .
'Cause this is the key. They have to make a metagame concession of a campaign inconsistency for smooth gameplay -- hell, for any gameplay.
btw, you don't mind my calling you "Chaos-boy," right? 'Cuz of our so-much-wonderful discussions about alignments ;)
Dragonchess Player wrote:
No. He'd go his way, do whatever he wants. Not a concern of Rise of the Runelords. He doesn't want to compromise, why should I? My time's too precious for this.
You could go the route where you tell him that if he wants to leave, that's fine. Unfortunately you don't have the time or inclination to develop a complete second campaign, and unfortunately he's going to have to roll up a new character. The Player's Handbook is over there and since this campaign involves the heroic act of saving the town, perhaps he should consider creating a character who has a bit of heroism in his psyche.
I put that concept out at the beginning of the first session. We're playing the Vault of Larin Karr which is set in a valley. Pembrose (900 people) is the largest town in the area, and the entire adventure takes place in that valley. I warned them:
No complaints from the players, and other than my brother deciding it was time to act like a clown (read: complete moron), things have been going well.
This is the key thing. A couple of things that many gamers are beginning to overlook:
1) a game is designed to bring together and provide fun for a GROUP. When single players decide to boggart the game for their own personal pleasure, it damages the integrity of the game. If the person causing the damage refuses to realize there are other people whose game enjoyment is being sucked away, that player should be treated mch like the cancer they have become.
2) DMs spend a huge amount of time planning multiple options to provide the group as a whole and players as individuals the enjoyment they came for. Much of this planning goes unsung. When one player turns their nose up at that time spent planning, it should again become their loss, not the DM's or the rest of the group's.
Now, Mr Boggart can either learn that there is fun in the situations the DM has produced or he can sit back and be bored. His choice.
Just my HO
I've had to deal with player characters like this before. A lot.
Man, that sucks.
I've had to deal with samurai who call the other player characters weak or stupid because they are not of noble birth.
Just keep in mind that this, in and of itself -- or "by itself" is NOT wrong. What would make it wrong would be a Player who call's the other "Players" weak or stupid. The difference is important.
During "A Paladin in Hell", a player caused a schism within the party, asking "Why should we save these people? We've got enough loot. Let's bolt."
This is the one that's always okay to ask and always bad to go through with. It IS okay to make this rhetorical question. However, all the Players have to know what happens to the game if it's carried out.
Think about that really stupid BS scene from The Return of the King where Samwise and Frodo are discussing all the legendary stories they "telled" when they were innocents at The Shire. Samwise asks why the heroes in those stories kept going, kept struggling through the pain? After all, it's easier to quit.
But if they quit, if the PCs quit, the game ends.
Just recently, I had to deal with a Pirates of the Caribbean-flavored bard who considered all those around him as tools to achieving his own glory and satisfaction, and would gladly conflict with every other player just because it is possible to do so.
This can never be allowed. You gotta tell the Player to stop, create a new character or get the Fu<k out the game and stay gone.
-W. E. Ray
Okay, when I'm hardly ever at one of my games, I don't critique the motivations of the characters by players who are there and I don't raise a big stink in the few sessions that I'm there. This guy is rude.
That having been said, if you don't want to just boot him, tell him he's welcome to RP his character out of the adventure path and start a new one that's more heroic.
Let's put this in real world terms: he's b$*~~ing and moaning that Mayberry doesn't have a highly effective army. I'm shocked.
Was he complaining about that when they defeated the tiny sized raid of goblins? Was he complaining when the local police chief decided to trust him when the party was connected to a serial killer, rather than throw them in the lockup? Was he complaining when he got a fort and a pile of gold for an adventure that this army he wants could have done instead?
Worst yet, in addition to being inconsiderate to the people that did actually show up and invest their time and creative energy, in addition to being inconsistent, he's also not trying to come up with solutions.
There ought to be a DnD saying: "You got time to complain, then you got time to brainstorm."
More seriously, if you trust some of the players at the table, take them aside before the game and ask them to deal with anything that isn't brainstorming solutions.
Excellent advice. Essentially speaking pretty much all the APs have run much smoother if your players are willing to be good. Once they start playing mercenaries things can begin to go sour.
That said if they want to verbally beat up on your NPCs a little I'd consider accommodating. Its often tricky for a DM to do his magic in the face of PCs picking on his NPCs (unless the DM made the NPC to be a laughingstock in the first place) but it will allow the players to vent and if their in a more constrained campaign situation like an AP it might allow the game to ultimatly run smoother.
Oooooo ... I like this! Good stuff! I'm betting that some of the other players want to throttle this guy, but they don't want to step on the DM's toes. I agree with our red thief here; give those players the go ahead to vent.
There is now, RogueRouge!Nice.
But we ought to change it for effect and alliteration:
You got time to B!tch; you got time to brainstorm!
I also think it's a player's responsibility to know what kind of campaign they're getting into. My namesake character (Ixancoatl, a lizardman druid/warlock ... trust me; it works) is part of a campaign that the DM advertised as "Plot May Occur" (it actually has occurred quite frequently) ... I knew when I decided to play in this campaign, I went in knowing much of the game would not be long-term based (it has become so because of the characters' and DM's excellent dynamic). It has been outrageously fun.
When a player joins a game without looking into what the basis is going to be, they are being irresponsible gamers.
I've tried to run many campaigns where this lack of player foreknowledge has killed the campaign. I tried a Serenity campaign that ended up a whole bunch of people wanting to play Jayne. I've tried a Trek campaign where nobody had any desire to be part of a crew.
.... I've stop running for those people. I'm only a player with them. Lol
I also think it's a player's responsibility to know what kind of campaign they're getting into.
It's neat you bring this up. I had wanted to make another post on exactly this but felt maybe I was posting too much.
I don't think it's the Player's responsibility at all. It's the DM's! Look at what you say here, The DM gives some info about what kind campaign it's going to be.
DMs really should do this. Every time.
So the Players have an idea of which character concept in their portfolio of PCs to bring to the game.
There's nothing worse for a Player that makes a character concept that just don't fit in the campaign. But there's no way for the Player to know in advance unless the DM gives a little info.
Thus it's the DM's responsibility.
-W. E. Ray
See, this is where you are misunderstanding things. I do think it's the DM's responsibility to tell what the setting will be, but if the players don't take the time to figure out what characters will fit into that setting. The player being discussed at the beginning of this entire thread plays the same character all the time and doesn't bother to fit the character into the setting.
And saying that all of it is the DM's responsibility is simplistic. It's like saying if a student fails a class, it's the professor's fault ... even if the student sleeps through the class and never listens to what the professor says. The DM already carries the burden of AN ENTIRE WORLD. If the players can't be bothered to listen to what the DM tells them about the world, that is the PLAYERS not being responsible gamers.
In this day and age, I highly doubt there's a DM out there who doesn't give the basics of "I'll be running in X type of campaign world where the PCs will be Y types of people in order to reach Z type of ends/theme/genre".
Sounds like he wants to play Thief from 8-bit theater. As one might notice from that particular party, it only works if the entire party is also messed up. Black Mage is as twisted as Thief. Red Mage is a consumate rule-lawyer and power gamer. Fighter is a Minimaxer who has taken penalties to absolutely everything else to maximize his fighting ability. And still, the only thing that keeps them on track is an Omnipotent quest-giver figure who is even more evil than they are.
This kind of thing is why I made a decision a long time ago to prohibit Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil, and in many cases Chaotic Neutral (oh how I wish I had taken my own advice with my current campaign) PCs in any of my games...ever. Lawful Evil can have a place if played well and we talk before the game begins.
Is it heavy handed? Absolutely, but I got tired of self-defeating parties and single players who insisted on playing a character to a point that the whole party imploded. It winds up making the game fun for one person only, and frankly, I'd rather have somebody make their second choice for a character if the first choice would be that disruptive. Sure my group had done all-evil parties, and our other DMs will entertain an occasional evil PC, but in general in my campaigns my rule stands.
It's hard enough trying to herd the cats that are adventurers, when you let them believe that they can play characters that don't need to worry about consequences, it just becomes unfun for everybody at the table.
I told my players that I didn't care what alignment their characters were as long as (a) they were a "team player" and (b) they didn't mind doing errands for the Church of St. Cuthbert.
I'd rather have a Neutral Evil character who acts like a normal adventurer (but whose hobbies are torturing kittens and verbally abusing hoboes) than a Chaotic Good character who's always getting his friends in trouble with the city guard (when he's not running off by himself on a solo adventure, leaving his buddies twiddling their thumbs).
I had a player like this...he always made the same character, Human Sorcerer, and the only thing that might ever of changed was if it was Female or Male. All of his characters started out CG then if there ever was a chance for power he was on it like it was a part of his skin! I mean he was brutal! He was absolutely selfish in every aspect, his "fav" spells were ones that let him redirect attacks on him to other players!
O and the best part of all this was: So his wife actually decides to try DnD out with our little group. She plays two sessions! In both sessions she got as pissed as the rest of us at her own husband for being such an A$$, and after that second session she straight up said she was playing anymore with her Hubby at the table!
And he still didn't get the clue. Well anyway I worked around this for a short period of time and then thanking the Military, he PCS'd away.
And I must say, and my group has even said, the game goes ALOT smoother now!!
My advice is talk to the Player, or the other players (I'm sure the other players will/can handle it), but before you boot him you need to make sure the rest of your group is cool with that.
I feel that the game is supposed to be fun and I refuse to play with people who make it miserable for others. I have had a lot of changes at my gaming table over the past couple of years and now have a group of great players that I enjoy gaming with. I have a great table.
"Why? Because you're heroes!" That seems to me to be the obvious answer. Of course, you could always tell him that and say "If you're not interested in being a hero, but something a bit more mercenary, that's OK. But I'm prepared and ready to run a game for heroes and a game for other types of characters will take some time to re-build for, and I'm not sure I'm particularly interested in that. You want to run it?"
Fact of the matter is, the DM can dangle plot hooks in front of PCs all day but it's up to the players to come up with characters to follow them, find out where they lead, and keep the game going with some form of motivation. I encourage my players to actively do so as well as come up with the motivation to stick together.
I think ultimately you should ask the player to leave. This player obviously has other ideas about a D&D campaign than you.
One thing you can try to prevent such things in future games is always make the plots personal. My PC's are heroic because, if they are not, a horrible fate will befall them. It always keeps them motivated and involved. I also tailor these events to their character stories and descriptions. It does not cost me much extra prep time, since I use published modules and then adapt them slightly (changing family names etc.). Or sometimes I just use one or two NPC's from a published module for this. So far it works, even with the mercenary types. Perhaps especially with them, because they tend to make more enemies. Ultimately it makes the group more coherent, since they usually run to the other PC's for help when their enemies get too powerful to take them on alone.
I've lost players for this same reason. They play the same type of character, disruptive. I've tried to help them out and advise them they may wish to rethink their methods of doing things. Some comply fully, some meet me half way and the rest are usually killed by plot or told by the rest of the party to leave.
They will either get the idea of what is going on and go from there. It is the job of the DM/GM/ST/Judge to give the player an idea of what is the basic idea of the game, but it is the responsibility of the player to make a character that is appropriate for the setting.
Case in point my Dark Ages: Vampire game is loosing a player because he is not getting the concept of teamwork is the way to survive as a neonate, and is falling back to his LARP experiance that boot squading someone he doesn't like will get him power and no one plans for betrayal. The rest of the players were informed of his actions and they all want a piece of him for it, as the NPC he went after was well liked for his actions if not his personality.
In the end it is not just the DM's job to police his players. the other players should have a say as well. Talk it over with each of them, and remember in the end your mental health is important.
If it's done in moderation, it's okay. But he got extremely annoying about it, and frankly: In a world where 80-90% of "conventional" inhabitants are human, this will lead to problems.
Anyway, the other player (who wrote the mail to me) apologised to me for the harsh tone in his mail - seems he had as bad a time as I had at the table, and wrote it when he was still agitated, and with a letter that was written less tactfully than he'd otherwise done, read by someone who's just as annoyed, thus reading it less tactfully than usual, it pretty much got out of hand there.
I did just fire off an email with additional "rules" for characters:
Heroic I defined as: Willing to go on adventure mostly for its own sake, and for the inherent rewards: Experience (XP, level-ups), Wealth (loot!), and Fun (both the character's and the player's). Additional benefits don't even have to play in it (them being Fame, Adoration, extra monetary awards).
It's simple: If you're not willing to enter a dungeon (in the broader sense of the word, meaning anywhere where you'll have challenging encounters) because it's there, you're just not D&D PC material, except maybe if you're a veritable Saint and see it as your duty to save your home, family, friends, loved ones, yourself...
I also wrote that his character was right out, being unsuitable for a D&D PC.
He can make another, he can just go - I frankly wouldn't care after Saturday. It's not as if he's there all the time or anything. As many say: Better no D&D than bad D&D. Wouldn't the first player I lost due to the Fun factor, or the first RP group I left.
I'm not saying that they won't get any extra rewards (they already got several thousand gp from Magnimar in the past, and a certain Fort. Not to mention being the big heroes for everyone to cheer for), but when adventure beckons, I don't want to lead week-long negotiations between the Guild of Adventurers and the Government about social security, health plan, regular hours, complete with strikes and whatnot. That's not what I GM D&D for!
Hmm I take it this PC took Chr as his dump stat. If he didn't I'd start dropping it for him as her certainly isn't roleplaying like he has any.
Sometimes you have to bring down the hammer.
My suggestions earlier were a method to attempt "rehabilitating" a disruptive player. Sometimes such a player may be used to playing in a different system which encourages "over the top" RP or in a style that doesn't use a continuing storyline, where each adventure is unrelated to any of the others (except by the presence of the PCs). Such players may not be used to a campaign with a coherent setting, recurring NPCs, and treating their character as part of the world, instead of the focus of the world.
That said, some players are just not worth having at the table. They get their kicks from derailing plots, killing other PCs, and other "unfun" (for everyone else) behavior. That type can not just destroy a campaign, but drive other people away from RPGs.
Of course, you could always give them the "DM Curse:" One day, I hope you run a game with a player just like you! ;-)
First, your two players are ....ah...no good gamers, put it like that. Either, stop inviting them. Or, if you want an ingame solution, give them what they want, send in a group of competitor heroes (maybe guys originally from Sandpoint) who save the day, who are always there saving the day and then mock the PCs for being late weak and ineffective, if your PCs attack them, they just teleport away and laugh. At least this gives you a revenge.
Luna eladrin wrote:
This works of course though personally I avoid this issue because I'm f~@!ing out to get them. For similar reasons they work together. Very quickly developing a 'Us against the DM' mentality.
Dragonchess Player wrote:
Sometimes such a player may be used to playing in a different system which encourages "over the top" RP or in a style that doesn't use a continuing storyline, where each adventure is unrelated to any of the others (except by the presence of the PCs). Such players may not be used to a campaign with a coherent setting, recurring NPCs, and treating their character as part of the world, instead of the focus of the world.
This is actually a good point and a strong reason to get the details out in the open before playing. While I DM something akin to an AP the game I play in is not like that.
Now I'm experienced 'story before' design when I see it and would play along but not all players are used to 'story before'. If you came out of another tradition besides D&D, especially Vampire, you might be used to a 'story now' player driven style of gaming where much of this sort of behavior would be acceptable. In the game I play in the DM runs 'Story Now' and there is absolutely no reason why we could not tell the peasants of Sandpoint to screw off (well except almost every 'story now' game I have ever heard of takes place in a city).
. . . At least this gives you a revenge.
Yikes, this has been implied once or twice here but not quite stated yet.
This is horrible. Since you're the DM you don't follow the same rules the PCs do. The instant you do anything for revenge or out of spite you become a piece of sh!t DM. You've got many good things to try and solve the problem with (without becoming a bad DM) before you have to ask the Player not to come back to the game.
I quite often hear my players ask, why it is always them doing the hard work and the NPCs always stay back: I just tell them: you could share your XP and treasure and fame with these NPCs ...or you could start to act like the heroes you want to be
-W. E. Ray
My plan was to hammer that point home once. I'll probably not keep doing it forever, but for a while, I'll be show them what they've been asking for.
No problem. You're an orderly. You wouldn't know any better :P
Dragonchess Player wrote:
While he does play Vampire, he's been playing D&D for years, too, including FR campaigns.
Kae, I feel for you. Ive had to deal with a player like that before.
Im certain that what Im putting here, you don't need advice on...however, the player's working counter to the game do need it...Try to find a way to bring this up without being antagonistic. It will help if you talk to a couple of the players who arent working against the game before the discussion...and remember the goal is to try and salvage the game before you have to take extreme steps...
On another site I did several 'articles', if you will called DM's Primers, primarily dealing with beginning DM's and how to become better at there 'task'...as I said before, Im certain you dont need the advice, but sometimes when you are too close to the light, you become blinded ;)
This one was titled...DM's Primer: Responsibilites Reviewed.
I haven't done one of these in a while, so I thought 'hey ive got a few moments...."
Some of you are saying "whats with the title dread?"
What are the DM's responsibilities?
First as a DM you have several Responsibilities, and not usually the ones you might think of...
1. To Provide an environment in which ALL players can enjoy themselves
ie make certain there are ample role playing/hacking and slashing/puzzle solving/opportuinities for character development for each member of the party.
2. To Provide a 'trouble-free' game setting.
ie to make the game free from player discord..and should it occur (it does occasionally) to intervene and smooth things over making sure the 'campaign isnt derailed from it.
3. To be the referee.
If you don't know the rule, know where you can find it.
4. To have the game ready.
ie make sure you are prepared for the players to play.....after all without you and your wonderful idea..there is no game.
Second the Players....
1. Know your character.....
ie Have the character written down and prepared enough so The game can run smoothly.
2. Play the game....
ie Don't buck the system to be bucking the system, if you have an issue its best to discuss iit privately with the DM. Remember A D&D game is a study in social interaction. Feathers can get ruffled easily, If you want the game to 'work', it takes all gears in the machine working towards the same goal to make it so.
3. No Meaningless arguement....
ie a party that works together has fun together. Try to keep the discord at a minimum. Ive seen many a game brought down by the excuse "but thats the way my character would've....." Its a game! Not real life. Don't lose sight of the goal: A handful of folks getting together to have a good time (whether in RL or over the virtual Table)
4. Don't Cheat.....
This is a biggie. It goes from stretching the rules to find every loophole, to changing die rolls to not annotating spell expenditure etc....for goodness sake, this is a game that noone can really lose at. Why do anything except honest play. There is nothing at risk. There is nothing to be gained. Just go with it and if fate kicks your character in the gonads, react. Itll be fun....Trust Me
Now to the group as a whole...
1. Think within the framework....
ie The DM has a certain game in mind, try to play 'his game' not someone elses game...for the same token, a DM who isnt taking the players wants needs into account is asking for derailment...this is the framework that should be adhered to.
for starting DM's I offer a suggestion....
When preparing a campaign send out a simple 5 question questionaire...
1. What is the Motivation of your character?
2. Whats is one thing you'd most like to do in this campaign?
3. Put the following things into order for how important you rate them...
Role playing and NPC interaction
4. What role do you see your character filling in the group?
5. If you could have any rule inforced from spell components to encumbrance...what would it be? same question...but the flip side...If you could throw out any one rule what would it be?
having all your players answer these will go along way to knowing and understanding how they want to fit into your campaign.
and after all isnt that what we really want?
caveat time...This isnt the only way. Its only one way..and its worked for me.
Game on dudes and dudettes.
Good Luck Kae. I hope you can keep the game from becoming a lost cause...after all; all of us DM's know just how much a labor of love our campaigns are :D
You've made me appreciate my players and their characters so much more.
I don't know the adventure you're running and I haven't had to deal with idiots like that in years, but their's one "natural law" to keep in mind:
What goes around comes around. Sooner or later elf boy's garbage will come back and bite him in the rear. Some barmaid will drop something in his drink, he'll get shoddy goods, bad information... something. It's what people do to people like him. Not revenge on your part (although it may feel good), just human nature. If he had some empathy he might even learn a lesson. Right. On the other hand if some of your other players feel the pinch or just don't like their reputations being blackened by association with him, maybe they'll do something to hi... er about him.
It's always worked for me. My game was littered with the bodies of PCs who couldn't get the idea of functional societies, laws and social networking. Who couldn't look beyond the game stats and see a world with people living in it. They either learned over time or wondered off to ruin some other DMs day.
Good luck and may the law be with you...
I'm running Rise of the Runelords. Right now we're at Fortress of the Stone Giants. They repelled the attack on Sandpoint and had the information about the Stone Giant army that is being amassed (wich by itself already is very bad news for Varisia. And what they don't know yet is that there's more going on behind this.)
The task that player particularly ranted about was going to Jorgenfist. Somehow, he forgot/ignored that the best bet would be to scout the place before going in to see whether they can get to the leader, and assumed he was to fight the whole army (which they know consists of more than half a dozen stone giant clans numbering in the dozens, in addition to other giants and giantkin).
About the Law of what goes around comes around: I already invoked that when I said: "So you want motivations and all that? Well, the Iconics (which I used as supportive cast since we often have to play with just two players plus DM, so one or maybe even two of them would tag along and help them fight) said they won't work with that jackass anymore and offered their services free of charge.
The previous offer (consisting of 10.000gp per adventurer, plus extras) was withdrawn, for his impossible behaviour, the elf was revoked the citizen status for Magnimar, his Family tossed him out, and I told him that the character is unsuitable for the game. I won't go into details about what happens to him, unless he insists on making more trouble, at which I'll decide on a number of fates, including Hellknights, Red Mantis, and a certain Lamia Matriarch sorceress they let get away and who's only too glad to catch party members alone, for fun, revenge, and her lord's sacrifice rituals.
To the OP, sounds like an annoying player, and I wish your group the best of luck in working out its problems.
Regarding the 'fix' above that someone suggested, while using the word 'revenge', I actually don't think it's a bad concept. I think the use of the word 'revenge' was misplaced though. Imagine this scenario:
Players refuse to go along with the main plot. Assuming the DM doesn't just say "Ok, then I'm done DMing" and comes up with something else for the players to do, they do something they all enjoy (hopefully).
They come back to town and run into another group of adventurers who'd just completed the job they were supposed to, bragging about the cool stuff they got (preferably items you KNOW the players would love to have, especially the more problematic ones) and the awesome fights/events they were in (hopefully fights/events you know the players would have enjoyed). Townspeople are fawning over them. Women want to be with them. Men want to be them. And vice versa.
A couple of things work out nicely here. Assuming it's not done TOO heavy handedly the players will realize, "Hey, y'know, we could have had a lot of fun doing that adventure." Secondly, the 'adventure path' is still on track. Nothing says that the NPC group of adventurers have to be around when the 'next event' occurs and the PCs can pick things up again.
This obviously won't work if a player is completely unwilling to compromise in playing a character which would have no interest in an adventure. One way around that might be to allow those players to make two characters. The one he or she really wants to play, but who might not want to participate in every adventure. And a second more or less traditional character who does things to help people, get gold, fame, etc that can be used if the primary character just wouldn't go along with a mission. Assume that each character gains experience doing something else, at the same rate as the one that participated.
IDEALLY, players and DMs should be willing to compromise. If the DM is running more or less railroaded adventures (let's be honest, this is what most games are to some extent) the players need to be made aware of this and the DM and the players need to work out why the character might participate. It might even be helpful a few days before a game to give the setup by e-mail (characters approached to scout for weaknesses in a group of giants terrorizing a town) so that players can think of reasons why they would participate. Or, give them this info at the end of a game session when you know what the next game session's hook will be. The players can then say 'Well, my character wouldn't be interested in going along because of this.. but, if this happened, she would be.' The DM might think the idea wouldn't be workable due to any number of reasons, but he could come back with another possibility until one works.
I have less sympathy for the players because generally being a DM is more challenging and time consuming. It is however the DM's job to know his group and what they want from roleplaying. If they just don't like being railroaded, then the DM has to find ways to give them choices (or at least the illusion of choice). If they don't like playing characters who are motivated by gold for themselves but have family that their characters are purportedly attached to, have something come up that so that their family needs the gold. The DM's job is all about doing your homework, and the MOST important bit of homework a DM can do is to make sure that he knows what the players want, otherwise someone's going to be unhappy.