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New GM dealing with a difficult player.


Advice

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I have an issue with a player in our group who always seems to be the source of conflict. He creates damaging levels of in party conflict, seems to go out of his way to derail the plot (for our primary GM as well as myself now), takes role-play to a socially awkward almost pathological level, and is also generally difficult to deal with out of game. He's like a power-gaming thespian rules-lawyering antagonist extraordinaire. Normally we'd just not allow him to play anymore, but we have sessions during downtime at work... so it would almost be more awkward to leave him out.

His characters are always min-maxed to the extreme. While the rest of the group is content with above average fantasy adventurer status, he always wants to be like a demigod. If he fails at anything he starts to get petulant and look for ways to off the character or remove them from the party... usually at the expense of other players (he's very fond of murdering our characters in their sleep.)

He uses every little excuse he can find to cause conflict and always goes from zero to sixty. You're character talks down to him: "How dare you, I'm going to kill you." You accidentally set of a trap: "You tried to kill me! Better not go to sleep tonight!" You heal somebody else first: "I guess I'm not important to you, see if I help you when you need it." The party doesn't go where he wants: "I'm going to go off on my own." And every single loot drop is a knockdown drag out argument that nearly gets somebody killed. Every. Single. One.

His RP is also weird and extreme... he always makes characters that have some sort of companion and then likes to have drawn-out sidebar conversations with them, out loud, in front of the group, often in a made up language, and acts like we're ruining his day if we don't entertain his odd asides... as if his make believe conversations are somehow world changing.

He also rules lawyers to the extreme... everyone else just rolls with it if our normal GM or I fudges something for story purposes or makes up something to add interest... he whips out the book and acts like we just violated the constitution. As far as he is concerned, the books are inviolate... we're getting really tired of having to say "Because I'm the GM and I said so." umpteen times during every session.

Maybe there is no good way of dealing with him. Maybe I just wrote this to vent, I don't know. But he's really sucking the fun out of GMing for both of us, and out of the campaign for everyone else. I'm really ready to just say "No more Pathfinder at work." Even if we do go hours on end with nothing to do.


Sounds like you want a different game to play. Steve Jackson's Munchkin is pretty good.

Remember, you game to have fun. If you're not having fun, stop doing it and start doing something else instead.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Don't play with him. Ever again. Ever.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe it'll be awkward to leave him out.

The first time. Maybe the time after that, or the third time as well.

However, after about a week, it'll cease to be awkward, and everyone will be happy (except him, but who cares about him?).

It's clear that he's not a team player, and none of you probably like him (you certainly don't), so tell him to get lost, just like you'd do with any other activity that somehow managed to include a person who was sucking all the fun out of everything (because it always seems to happen, there's that ONE GUY that worms his way in despite the fact that he's not actually friends with anyone there...).

Silver Crusade

I would build enemies specifically to screw his character over until he gets the point or leaves. (Thats assuming I've already tolded him to chill it)

Dark Archive

Rynjin seems to have the right idea on this one. I'm assume you've already talked this over with him before, yes? If you've taken steps but those were to no avail then yes; the time has come for you to give him the boot. Perhaps being excluded for a little while will be sufficient motivation to shape up.


Give him a stern warning, and let him know he's gone if he doesn't quit. If he's excluded maybe he'll chill and come back a team player.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

Not really much of a question here. You can try to talk with him on the side first and hope it sinks in, but ultimately a disruptive influence is a game killer and needs to be removed. Whether that removal comes by his reigning in his behavior and trying to be a reasonable member of the group, or if it comes by removing the player from the group entirely.

Regardless, it is a situation that should not be allowed to progress and fester because it is only likely to get worse and likely drive other players away from the game.

Shadow Lodge

How to Prevent Intra-Party Conflict

But if this guy really is as bad as you say he is, give him the boot. Be direct about it.


Have a rune giant stomping him then all the rune giants "friends" (minions) stomp on him

This can be done while he is sleeping or while he is using the restroom (in game or out) even adventurers need to pee

Or if he is a rules lawyer and a jerk add all the not fun tills (hazards diseases and all the other ones normal left out)

Have a typhoon or hurricane hit him (works especially well if it doesn't hit anyone else and even better if the only water for any considerable distance is a little pond)

Of a town with paladins are near by have a vampire bite him in his sleep auto vamp disease

And so on til he stops murdering friends and being a jerk


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Show him the door.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

First of all: inter-party conflict can be fun and entertaining, etc., but when one player actually, continually, murders the other players' characters, that's a kick-outable offense right there. Add in all the other crap, definitely invite him to exit stage left.

Next: WHERE do you work that you have free time enough to ROLE PLAY for hours and not get your asses fired...and do you have any openings???


Have other players attempted to gank him in his sleep "in our out off game again (kidding naturally about out of game) lol"

But if you killed my char when he's sleeping I'd get revenge and if it happened again if have too ask dm toplay something that doesn't sleep "lich vampire and construct come too mind"


2 people marked this as a favorite.
scrmwrtr42 wrote:

First of all: inter-party conflict can be fun and entertaining, etc., but when one player actually, continually, murders the other players' characters, that's a kick-outable offense right there. Add in all the other crap, definitely invite him to exit stage left.

Next: WHERE do you work that you have free time enough to ROLE PLAY for hours and not get your asses fired...and do you have any openings???

Oh my gosh I almost missed that. This! This is very important information!


3 people marked this as a favorite.

My suggestion:
1) talk to your problem player about the problems. Lay it out on the line that he's being disruptive. That you want the game to be fun for everyone, but his fun seems to come at the expense of the other players and it won't be tolerated any more.
2) when behavior like this props up do NOT get mad. Just don't allow it.
He wants to go off on his own. Let him, but the story is happening where the other players are.
He wants to kill the other party members. Ask the victim if they're ok with it. The victim says no? Well then sorry he can't do it then.
Take controll of your game provide consequences for bad behavior that are fair and non-retaliatory. He probably enjoys negative atention. Don't give it to him!
This will require you talk to your other players make sure your all on the same page.

Above all stay calm!

The best threat, if you mean it, is to not play anymore.


scrmwrtr42 wrote:
Next: WHERE do you work that you have free time enough to ROLE PLAY for hours and not get your asses fired...and do you have any openings???

If I had to guess, I'd say something to do with Computers. Detailed Modeling, programming, or video editing off the top of my head, all can have several hour long periods where nothing of import goes on, be it running simulations, compiling code, or rendering respectively.


Ryan Richter wrote:

My suggestion:

1) talk to your problem player about the problems. Lay it out on the line that he's being disruptive. That you want the game to be fun for everyone, but his fun seems to come at the expense of the other players and it won't be tolerated any more.
2) when behavior like this props up do NOT get mad. Just don't allow it.
He wants to go off on his own. Let him, but the story is happening where the other players are.
He wants to kill the other party members. Ask the victim if they're ok with it. The victim says no? Well then sorry he can't do it then.
Take controll of your game provide consequences for bad behavior that are fair and non-retaliatory. He probably enjoys negative atention. Don't give it to him!
This will require you talk to your other players make sure your all on the same page.

Above all stay calm!

The best threat, if you mean it, is to not play anymore.

Idk, a sack of oranges is pretty threatening. And leaves no bruises!

You know what to do Epistaxis ;)


Epistaxis wrote:

I have an issue with a player in our group who always seems to be the source of conflict. He creates damaging levels of in party conflict, seems to go out of his way to derail the plot (for our primary GM as well as myself now), takes role-play to a socially awkward almost pathological level, and is also generally difficult to deal with out of game. He's like a power-gaming thespian rules-lawyering antagonist extraordinaire. Normally we'd just not allow him to play anymore, but we have sessions during downtime at work... so it would almost be more awkward to leave him out.

His characters are always min-maxed to the extreme. While the rest of the group is content with above average fantasy adventurer status, he always wants to be like a demigod. If he fails at anything he starts to get petulant and look for ways to off the character or remove them from the party... usually at the expense of other players (he's very fond of murdering our characters in their sleep.)

He uses every little excuse he can find to cause conflict and always goes from zero to sixty. You're character talks down to him: "How dare you, I'm going to kill you." You accidentally set of a trap: "You tried to kill me! Better not go to sleep tonight!" You heal somebody else first: "I guess I'm not important to you, see if I help you when you need it." The party doesn't go where he wants: "I'm going to go off on my own." And every single loot drop is a knockdown drag out argument that nearly gets somebody killed. Every. Single. One.

His RP is also weird and extreme... he always makes characters that have some sort of companion and then likes to have drawn-out sidebar conversations with them, out loud, in front of the group, often in a made up language, and acts like we're ruining his day if we don't entertain his odd asides... as if his make believe conversations are somehow world changing.

He also rules lawyers to the extreme... everyone else just rolls with it if our normal GM or I fudges something for story purposes or makes up...

Fire him.

Serious, you can do that. "For terrible teamwork, constant and consistent arguments and rules lawyering and many counts of lesser and improved obnoxiousness, you are fired and banished from this table. Pack your things."


Yeah, this is beyond the pale for a player's behavior. Don't even try to redeem him, just kick him from the table.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm gonna caution the poster.

If the person is that immature - how will they react to being booted? BEST case of the potential fall out? He makes work awkward and harder... Likely case if he flips out and somehow causes enough trouble or complains to the boss? You having to justify your downtime activities... And the crap that comes with that. Worst case with a hissy fit and good lie? Legal issues and unemployment.

Don't crap where u eat.

Short term? Just stop gaming. Mid term, find a way to game away from the problem where he can't interfere or make a stink... Or plain doesn't know.

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree with Helaman. If your dealing with some one as childish as that, and obviously a few screws loose, expect the worst. If he is gonna cause trouble in a game be sure to expect trouble in real life.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I do have a useful idea... IF u want him to quit. Run a lawful Nice campaign... A carebear sort of game. Mandatory niceness and lawful goodness and you meta his character... "You'd never do that because your lawful good", ignore his playing out and just say "you can't do that" etc for a few games as the other players, in on the scam, build orphanages etc.

He'll declare the game lame and quit in all likelyhood after 3-4 games.


The real question is do this effect how this guy works with everyone at your job.
Is he an ass at work? Does he carry game fights into the work place. If so stop playing
At work for a week or two then don't include him when u restart. Game ment to be fun.


Helaman wrote:

I do have a useful idea... IF u want him to quit. Run a lawful Nice campaign... A carebear sort of game. Mandatory niceness and lawful goodness and you meta his character... "You'd never do that because your lawful good", ignore his playing out and just say "you can't do that" etc for a few games as the other players, in on the scam, build orphanages etc.

He'll declare the game lame and quit in all likelyhood after 3-4 games.

Don't be passive-aggressive about it. Man up and tell him that he's ruining everyone else's fun and that if he can't shape up you'll continue gaming without him. If he doesn't, continue gaming without him. Life's too short.


I tend to second the "boot to ass" method in this case, it dos not seem like a redeemable situation. I pretty much tell my players when I start: if you start making the game "not fun", I will boot you. (murdering other folk's characters is generally sufficient reason to boot someone). It WILL cause fallout, but that fallout will be less than the endless misery this guy seems to be causing currently.

Note: you can go the passive aggressive you (change venue & not inviting him) but I would tend to find that more frustrating, since I want to know when I screw up.

So yeah. Boot to ass.

Grand Lodge

Just be careful - your job is potentially on the line.


Look, the only solution (other than boot)is just to stop, no more gaming at work. It does not look like that's a pleasant situation, and any response is likely to have backlash if the person is as immature as presented. (Sorry, dont mean to sound snappy. But I tend to follow the philosophy "life's too short to play with folks that dont make your game fun", so my responses to such situations tend to be "remove the source of displeasure post-haste").


If you want to keep playing at work, pick a game where this rotten SOB’s behavior fits the millieu--I recommend Paranoia.

Everyone can have fun doing unto each other as he has done to them.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Seriously, if this guy is killing other PCs in their sleep, why haven't the rest of the players done something? As a player I would have a talk with the group and say this is unacceptable behavior, there are three options from here: it stops now, he goes, or I go. I can easily read a book or entertain myself in other ways during downtime instead of playing with someone who role-plays a sociopath.

I know work makes this more difficult, but I have very low tolerance for this kind of player.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

Whatever you decide to do, be direct. Have an adult conversation.

It will save alot of trouble in the long run.

Notice, I did not say be confrontational.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Easy solution:

Get his email address, then link him this thread.

And, you lucky SOB to have a PF game at work. AND you get paid?
Also, GMs have an unlimited supply of Purple Flaming Cows of Doom that can hit any player, anywhere, auto-crit. Use them!

Be ready for the work repercussions of this jack-hole telling management what you lads are up too, so get a manager to play too before the fecal matter hits the rotary ossillator. Or at least make a plan to neuter his exclusion.

Paizo Employee Digital Products Assistant

Removed a post. Advocating actual physical harm of a player is not OK.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
scrmwrtr42 wrote:

First of all: inter-party conflict can be fun and entertaining, etc., but when one player actually, continually, murders the other players' characters, that's a kick-outable offense right there. Add in all the other crap, definitely invite him to exit stage left.

Next: WHERE do you work that you have free time enough to ROLE PLAY for hours and not get your asses fired...and do you have any openings???

It's an on call, be there just incase IT job. We get paid pretty darn well to be there for 12 hours a day whether something breaks or not. As far as this guy complaining to management, it wont make a difference... I'm the shift leader and our higher management has already said that we can pass the time however we want as long as it doesn't get in the way of real work when it comes up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I pretty much agree with the other folks.
It seems you've already tried communicating and handling it in a mature fashion and frankly with far more patience than I. I am very selfish with my time and consider what little leisure time I have to be at a premium so I usually follow a 3 strikes rule...that aside:

Sometimes people just don't mesh. It's just human nature. You could try suspending him for a game or two and see if he mends his ways...or a clean break.

If him taking a break from the game doesn't change things, there really is no reason for the rest of the group to suffer. I don't believe in rewarding poor or bad behavior.

Except as appropriate, which in this case is dis-inviting him from the game. "Sorry, sir having you in our game is not working out." That's it, one sentence and simple.

Just as there are plenty of other players out there, there are plenty of other games. If this fella wants to have a game, nothing stopping him from becoming a GM of his own campaign.


That would be cool (I think) let him GM a couple sessions (prepare for the worst) then maybe he will chill out once he knows it's not fun when players screw with people for a bit

Not sure yall wanna try it but that's a suggestions


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Don't take it out on his character; that's lame, and won't accomplish anything. Treat the disease, not the symptoms. In this case, that's the player.


Well, since it is at work, that makes it... a little more complicated I'd think (normally I'd say just kick him out). Instead I suggest something along the lines of what another said: new campaign, make it a very lawful oriented one, and further more I would add, emphasize that this is a game about teambuilding, which since it is going on at work could actually be beneficial to your team moral on the job, and that would be a good thing.
Now, if even after switching games and making your goals very clear (again, this is about team building and cooperation between coworkers, sort of like any variety of team building exercises that employees do for work, only IMO much more enjoyable, or at least it should be) that he still continues to act the same way, well, then it's very clear that it isn't an appropriate thing to be doing with this fellow. If he's so uncooperative in a game though, I shudder to think what working along side him must be like.
I'd think if possible it would be good to not have this escalate to something that creates even more tension between co-workers though. Even if his complaining to someone higher up has no affect, just having to deal with the added tension sounds unpleasant... and like something with the potential to impact job performance


Epistaxis wrote:


It's an on call, be there just incase IT job. We get paid pretty darn well to be there for 12 hours a day whether something breaks or not. As far as this guy complaining to management, it wont make a difference... I'm the shift leader and our higher management has already said that we can pass the time however we want as long as it doesn't get in the way of real work when it comes up.

I figured it was some sort of emergency response job. Either IT, fire, or paramedic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree with link him this page and when all you do is talk to him he should feel lucky lol (considering alternative where his char is stomped on by giants then a wand shoved I his eye


1 person marked this as a favorite.

while i agree kick him, may i be one to say purposefully antagonizing someone you have to work with either way is in no ways an intelligent idea.


You could tell him that if he murders a PC or behaves consistently evil in a Neutral to good campaign,that his alignment is changed and he becomes an NPC under your control.


Get rid of him. Ive had to kick people out of my groups too. Some of them friends. I had a guy go out and buy quartz crystals to carry around in his pocket so he could capture dragon souls whenever he found one and killed one. IN REAL LIFE. Dude was not kidding either. Some people cant handle RPGs man. He is just going to continue to drag your games down every session until nobody wants to play anymore, and your going to turn people off to RPGs altogether. Eliminate the player. If he tries to come back explain to him why he was kicked out and if he starts pulling those shenanigans again he will forever be exiled from any game you guys pursue in the future.


Does he know he needs aquarmarine not quartz?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Does he know he needs aquarmarine not quartz?

classic noob mistake


I'd boot him, be direct. He's not making it fun for anyone.

This maybe my human services background speaking, and I don't mean to offend, but by your description, it almost sounds like he may have Asperger Syndrome.


It may be best for all parties concerned to tell him, directly and calmly, that the group prefers to play without him. And explain to him, clearly and in simple phrases (but OFF THE RECORD), that if he bothers the group any more his job is on the line. You're the shift leader. I am sure he can connect the dots. It's not even unfair, mind - making sure he doesn't work with your team is likely best for everyone's peace of mind and productivity. Have him dust cupboards for a week if he insists.


I agree with Makarion. However you deal with it, keep things professional.

Project Manager

Removed a post. Please revisit the messageboard rules.

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