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Having a player that refuses to put effort into making characters?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've spent far too many years observing people that behave in this manner to be anything other than blunt about it. Friends do not EVER treat other friends the way this guy is treating the other players. This is not pretty "extreme negatively," it's just honest. If this guy is really a friend, he will leave the group or learn, one way or the other.


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Michelle A.J. wrote:
I don't consider it "bending over backwards" to work with a player to help them improve as long as they are showing genuine interest. And because everyone expresses themselves differently, you cannot gauge another person's interest accurately unless you talk to them. Which is why "communicate like adults" is generally my first suggestion.

I'd like to emphasize this, and add that if one or more people within a given social situation are not yet adults, it's always a great time to practice.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
taks wrote:
In short, this is a player that is telling everyone at the table "The rules don't apply to me. Deal." This is incredibly childish and petulent. Any attempt to placate him or, in some of the solutions above, to punish him, are only stooping to his level, playing on his terms. If you let it continue, like a cancer, it will consume your game, and, ultimately, end it. There is only one solution: point blank tell him to get with the game or quit.

Our group has had 2 players over the past couple of years join us. One is a friend of mine and the other is a friend of another player.

My friend had interest in fantasy/fiction but zero RPG knowledge. She was intimidated by all the rules and options and had a tough time in what to roll and what to add. It was frustrating at the time, and still can be, but she is learning every time. Now it is gentle reminders when she forgets something.

The other new player used to play back in 2e. He is excited to play when he shows up but that quickly disappears and he starts to get on his phone and not pay attention unless it was his turn in combat. We had a few "pay attention" conversations. He has slowly gotten better and is paying more attention. Now we just need him to start to build his character on his own more.

TL/DR: Some players are intimidated by the vastness of the game or the experience of the other players. Don't hold it against them.


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I wonder if other activity-based communities have these kinds of problems...?

"I have a friend who goes camping with our camping group. He says he doesn't have time to pack his stuff, so we pack it for him. When we get to the campsite, he pretty much just stands around while we set up the tent and build the fire. He likes roasting marshmallows, but the rest of the time, he doesn't do much. We even have to pull his sleeping bag onto his prone body when it's time to bunk down. How can I handle this?"

"I'm part of a flag football league. One of our regular players is too busy to learn the rules. In the huddle, he's pretty checked out and we have to repeat the play several times before he even nods. Then at the snap, he forgets what he's doing and just wanders around the field. He really likes pulling flags off of people's belts though, and sometimes even does that at the appropriate time. Does anyone have any recommendations for what to do?"

"I'm at my wit's end here, and I hope someone has some advice. There's this guy in our lab who can't even remember the periodic table. Every morning, I set out his test tubes, light his burner, and carefully label the chemicals we need him to mix. I'm really trying to get him interested. He does like it when things turn different colors, and seems pretty engaged at that point. What can I do to make him stop mixing up vials at random, before something explodes?"


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Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
"I'm at my wit's end here, and I hope someone has some advice. There's this guy in our lab who can't even remember the periodic table. Every morning, I set out his test tubes, light his burner, and carefully label the chemicals we need him to mix. I'm really trying to get him interested. He does like it when things turn different colors, and seems pretty engaged at that point. What can I do to make him stop mixing up vials at random, before something explodes?"

I know this person. She works with me. She doesn't make things explode but I had to work extra time because she ruined her work and left early so someone else fixed her errors. She has been responsible of many very sick people to have to get their tests made again.

So yes, I can tell that this happens everywhere.

Correction: she doesn't know what a periodic table is.

Liberty's Edge

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Looking back briefly over this thread, the question begs asking -- I may have missed it in the back and forth.

Does this person work/have school/have other thing that is chewing up a lot of their time?

If so, it may be causing a creative 'drain' on the process, which in turn can reach a point where someone shows up at a game and goes "Yeah, so stuff happened last time and I was kind of out of it from work, what do I need to do again to level up/add new stuff/etc?"

Because yes, some people do look forward to gaming with their peers/friendgroup and don't have the 'bandwidth' left over after grinding at the workplace/school/other thing all week.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Does this person work/have school/have other thing that is chewing up a lot of their time?
SorrySleeping wrote:
Also before anyone says anything, he has plenty of time to do this.

Fourth post down--that doesn't seem to be the situation.


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Kileanna wrote:
So yes, I can tell that this happens everywhere.

Once again proving that there is no satire I can create that reality has not already preempted. *sigh*

Like Archimedes, I'm looking for a firm place to stand so I can flip the whole world...


To my experience the lack of time is often an excuse. I've had times when I didn't have the time to do anything related to RPGs and when I was in a game I used the time before the session started to do everything I couldn't do during the week, read my sheet to remember what my character could do, etc. I usually played full casters or similar and I had spare time to chat with my friends after doing it.
Doing your work to get some degree of efficiency on your character is not time consuming at all, it only requires interest.

Liberty's Edge

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Kileanna wrote:

To my experience the lack of time is often an excuse. I've had times when I didn't have the time to do anything related to RPGs and when I was in a game I used the time before the session started to do everything I couldn't do during the week, read my sheet to remember what my character could do, etc. I usually played full casters or similar and I had spare time to chat with my friends after doing it.

Doing your work to get some degree of efficiency on your character is not time consuming at all, it only requires interest.

I typically DON'T play full casters because I don't have the processing power to go through all the hoops and spell lists and tactics and blah blah blah.

Simple is good. Simple is easy. If I want to build from simple, I have the option to do so, hopefully.

If one WASN'T at least interested somewhat, then they might want to consider another option, but perhaps there's no engaging reason to burn the last of the candle if it doesn't feel like there's any 'agency'?


I can see a lot of reasons for not playing an specific option, not wanting to is the best of them all. Also I can see how one would wanr to play a simpler option because of the lack of time. But not wanting to learn the basics is just being lazy.

Dark Archive

"Easy solution: just give him Valeros."
Lol, I agree with this, a perfect solution.


To be perfectly honest, he sounds like he enjoys rpgs, but Pathfinder is not the right fit for his playstyle. Perhaps Hackmaster?

I'm not above giving a player like this a heavily modified prefab character- like a 7th lvl Barb, most everything would be standard, but I'd remove all feats and all bonus attacks. When his turn comes; he get's one swing, and he's done. And we move on to the next person. I'd also limit the number of situational modifiers that create the dizzying math so that he's only adding one number to his roll. I think I'd let party buffs effect him, but without feats and stuff like charging and full attacks, it should be much easier for him to execute his turn without the help of half the table, and his turn won't take up an inordinate amount of time.


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mousmous wrote:
I'm not above giving a player like this a heavily modified prefab character- like a 7th lvl Barb, most everything would be standard, but I'd remove all feats and all bonus attacks. When his turn comes; he get's one swing, and he's done. And we move on to the next person. I'd also limit the number of situational modifiers that create the dizzying math so that he's only adding one number to his roll. I think I'd let party buffs effect him, but without feats and stuff like charging and full attacks, it should be much easier for him to execute his turn without the help of half the table, and his turn won't take up an inordinate amount of time.

I wouldn't even write him a barb pregen, I wouldn't want to throw rage or rage points at him. I'd do a custom class: no feats or iterative attacks or tactical advantages like you suggest, d12 HD, full BAB, and some scaling damage bonus to all attacks. (= 1/2 level?)

If I wanted him in my game to begin with, of course. Speaking of which, I'm curious how this situation resovles, SorrySleeping.


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Kileanna wrote:
Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
"I'm at my wit's end here, and I hope someone has some advice. There's this guy in our lab who can't even remember the periodic table. Every morning, I set out his test tubes, light his burner, and carefully label the chemicals we need him to mix. I'm really trying to get him interested. He does like it when things turn different colors, and seems pretty engaged at that point. What can I do to make him stop mixing up vials at random, before something explodes?"

I know this person. She works with me. She doesn't make things explode but I had to work extra time because she ruined her work and left early so someone else fixed her errors. She has been responsible of many very sick people to have to get their tests made again.

So yes, I can tell that this happens everywhere.

Correction: she doesn't know what a periodic table is.

I was this guy in high school chemistry. It was awful. It was the first class in the morning and my brain wasn't fully awake, and I struggled understanding the math and concepts behind the lab concepts while everyone else got to work on the lab. My lab partner was constantly finishing the labs before I even understood what we were doing, leaving me scrambling to figure what exactly he just did, what the results were, and what they meant. There was a lot of frantic copying as the class ended.

Unfortunately, being the youngster I was at that time, I wasn't emotionally mature enough to admit that I needed help and a slower pace, and just barely made it through that class with a C or a D. I'm sure it looked like I was taking advantage of my lab partner to coast through the class, too.

Of course, this was required, as opposed to something I did for fun or as a career path. Still, those posts brought back memories. Bad, repressed memories, lol.


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Being that guy on high school: it's OK.
Being him at a job where you work with human lifes: not so much.

Dark Archive

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Kileanna wrote:

Being that guy on high school: it's OK.

Being him at a job where you work with human lifes: not so much.

We just had a couple of chemical waste fountains, and some deformed jerrycans.

Oh, and there whas that one guy who would falsify results so he wouldn't have to redo a test just because it would take so much time. I'm not sure he understood the general purpose of his job. He got fired as soon as we figured out his M.O. Then he put us on his resume...

As for that player, we have one too. Ours seems a bit more invested in roleplay, but he has some problems remembering the rules. Although I do have his character sheet as a PDF, I don't tend to have it ready during the game. I tend to know more about his character than he does anyway, at least when it comes to DCs, caster level checks and concentration checks. The worst part is that he tends to talk during the turns of other players. (At least during mine.) This is kinda annoying as we use roll20. (We all live in the Netherlands, except for our GM who lives in Madrid.) There does seem to be some improvement though.

Another player flips when I tell her to just use the CRB instead of herolab. She's made some... Interesting characters.


one thing to note is while the op says hes not new, they havent provided an actual ammount of time that they have been playing so "not new" for the op might actually still be "new" to the game


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"Not new" isn't really relevant when "not even making an attempt" seems to be his schtick.


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Kileanna wrote:

Being that guy on high school: it's OK.

Being him at a job where you work with human lifes: not so much.

Yeah, no doubt. Heck, even if human lives aren't involved, if you're accepting a pay check for something, then you should *probably* treat it seriously and get help if you are having trouble. I was just recounting that story because of SUDDEN MEMORIES, lol.

I will say, I question how your example still has a job. I mean, I wouldn't hire myself for anything lab-related, and I at least know what a periodic table is.

(Thankfully, Pathfinder isn't nearly as high stakes, so I still say it's worthwhile to talk over problems before going straight to dropping the person from a group- if ONLY for the sake of avoiding needless drama and hurt feelings, if nothing else. )


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She has friends.

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