How to deal with a problem player


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We have a good group of 5 people (1 GM + 4 Players, we alternate who GMs every 4-6 weeks or so) except for one person. I'll call this person "K".

Background info: K is about 30 years old and is not new to roleplaying. He's been in our group for a good 4 years now, and supposedly played D&D 3.0/3.5 in college before he joined our group. We play Pathfinder every Sunday at noon. We very rarely deviate from this schedule and when we do change the day or time, it's usually a group decision and everyone is aware of the change well in advance. We currently have two campaigns that we alternate between: Campaign "A" (party level 8) and Campaign "B" (party level 4.) We alternate between playing at my house, and the house of one of our other members.

Here are a few things that K does that have offended me or other members of our group, or are just generally annoying:

-He is always late (not just to our gaming sessions, but to everything in life.) If we're lucky, he'll show up 45 minutes late. He's often an hour late, and it's not uncommon for him to be 1.5-2 hours late. We have all learned to start without him, as soon as the rest of the group is available (usually by about 12:15.)

-He rarely participates. He is, frankly, a terrible role player. Getting him to talk "in character" is like pulling teeth (although he's perfectly happy making snarky remarks about what our characters are doing.) He spends about 90% of our gaming sessions playing on his phone, usually watching videos on YouTube or playing games. He used to interrupt the group with "Hey guys, you have to see this video!" and then try to show the rest of us a 10:00min video on his phone. We managed to put a stop to that, and now he just plays with his phone until someone gets his attention to tell him we're in combat, or ask him what his character's doing.

-When he DOES participate, he's utterly useless. Cases in point:

In Campaign A, he plays a neutral good cleric of Sarenrae. His domains are Fire and Healing, which personally I think says enough since he could have picked Glory and he didn't...but I digress. For his domain spells, he always picks the Healing domain spells, and ignores his Fire domain spells (remember, he's a GOOD cleric...so he can spontaneously cast Cure spells.) He also rarely prepares anything except Cure spells, Restoration spells, and Remove (Poison/Curse/Disease/whatever) spells. He has obviously never looked over the cleric spell list and when someone else suggests a spell that he could use that would be useful, he usually responds with, "Well, I GUESS I could prepare that," or "Do you want me to prepare that for TOMORROW?" as if it's a big inconvenience for him to prepare something besides what he normally prepares. He doesn't have a magical weapon, and refuses to participate directly in combat; he usually hides in a corner and channels positive energy to heal the party, doesn't buff/debuff, and if an enemy approaches and starts attacking him, he takes total defense until someone else in the group can save him.

In Campaign B, he played a half-orc Barbarian. In this particular campaign, we started at level 1 with basically no equipment. We were able to make some makeshift weapons like clubs, but until we got some "real" weapons starting at level 2-3, our Barbarian would stand behind the rest of the group and throw rocks at the enemies. He didn't rage and would turn tail and run if the enemies started getting into melee combat range.

-He doesn't know the rules very well at all, and argues with the GM when something is inconvenient for him. Case in point: Last week, his cleric cast Summon Monster for the very first time ever, and was summoning a Lantern Archon. The GM said the summoned creature would appear on the cleric's next turn. K grabbed a rule book, turned to the description of Summon Monster, and said, "But it says, "The creature acts IMMEDIATELY on the caster's turn!"" GM said, "Look at the casting time...it's 1 round." K responds, "But that doesn't make any sense! That's confusing! It looks like it should appear on the same turn that I start casting it!" When the GM said no, K slammed the book shut, uttered a deep sigh, and said, "Okay, fine, whatever, but I still don't think that makes sense."

-He gets completely butthurt and offended when anything bad happens to his character. He frequently does the whole dramatic sigh followed by "Okay, fine, whatever" in a sarcastic tone when anything from failing a skill check to getting hit during combat occurs. But the most notable example is during the last session of Campaign B, when we were up against the BBG. Long story short, my character put K's character to sleep, and one of the BBG's mooks coup de graced him, he failed his save, and his character died. This happened about an hour after we had started playing, and we normally play for 4-6 hours, so it was still early in the afternoon and we had a ways to go. Now, the way we handle a character dying is basically, if you have no means to bring your character back to life (which we didn't, at this point) then you can roll a new character that will start at the same level as the rest of the party. Most of us are perfectly happy with this rule, and we don't usually care about having our characters raised; we all have other character concepts as backups and we like rolling characters, and it's not like our GMs are so brutal that we die every other week. Our GM told K he could start making a new character while the rest of us finished this encounter, and that K could be back in the group in no time. Did K take a rule book and start making a new character? No. Did he say, "Okay, this sucks, I think I'll take the afternoon off and see you guys next week." No. No, K, in the ultimate hissy fit, grabbed his bag, marched over to the couch, plopped down, and started playing his Nintendo DS in moody silence. He stayed there for about an hour, at which point he came back to the table, made a nasty remark to me about how I'd killed his character, and continued playing his DS, occasionally throwing out other nasty comments to me or the group, for 3 hours while we kept playing.

If I had been hosting, I would have tossed him out on his a$$, but since we were at someone else's house, I didn't feel right about telling him to leave, and our host didn't do anything about it himself.

Okay, enough about how annoying K is. After the whole ordeal with his Barbarian dying and him being such a jerk about it, I resolved that I would not invite him to the next game that I GM. Well, I'm going to be GMing Carrion Crown this summer, and my resolve is being tested: Do I just invite him, or do I boot him?

I really want to boot him, or rather, just not invite him (we usually send out group emails every week confirming the time/location and that everyone can make it, so I'd just take his email off our list.) Here's my conundrum. K works with two of our other members, one of whom is my husband. K and my husband work very closely together at work, and there is not a day when my husband doesn't have to see and talk to K. Therefore, if I do boot him/stop inviting him, I'm sure my husband is never going to hear the end of it at work and K will probably whine, complain, etc. to him.

My husband is all for getting rid of him as he finds K just as aggravating and annoying as I do, and I KNOW the rest of the group is not exactly thrilled to have him along, but their general opinion is, "Well, he's not hurting anything, he just sits there and plays with his phone, and he likes hanging out with us, so just let him stay." I disagree and think that he does rather hurt the group by showing up late and interrupting us, making nasty remarks when something happens to his characters, etc. Point is, I don't have much support in my decision to boot him.

So I'm really wondering what to do. All my personal feelings aside, I really don't think he'd fit into Carrion Crown well anyway, since CC is rather roleplaying-focused and skill check-heavy, neither of which K is good at. If someone has a suggestion for how to deal with him without booting him, or what the best way to approach booting him without major repercussions on my husband's end, I'd really love to hear it.


Adios, amigo. 'Nuff said.


Then isn't a good conversation one where you sit down 'offline' (ie before or after game time) and ask 'Hey just checking you are having fun, because it kinda looks like you aren't'.

When he says 'why?', then you point out that he appears distracted and possibly a little frustrated, and that you are trying to make the game fun for everyone, so what is it he is looking for.

We have the occasional drama at our table, and we've known each other for over twenty years, its the capacity to actually have a chat about it afterwards that stops problems ballooning out.

If he is in, then cool, ask him to save any 'differing rule opinions' for discussion at end of play (or even via Facebook through the week)for example; alternatively he might actually be unhappy and in which case will self select out of your game.

Silver Crusade

Dump him. Tell him he is a jerk and that you do not want him in your game.

Sovereign Court

Boot him so hard that your leg hurts for a week. I had a few players like this...i booted them hard, they are not fun to have around. And if your husband is ok with booting him, then it is fine.

After all, you're the GM, you get to call whomever you want to your game, and get not to call whomever you want. It is your decision.

Go ahead, get a dr.marten's boot made for a leg of a seven foot tall man and boot him.


^^^some harsh posters^^^

I do agree with them though, I just happen to be a fan of saying 'Stop or I'll shoot' and giving the person a chance to play nice before I pull the trigger.

Silver Crusade

Here are some suggestions. The last one is the more important.

Quote:
-He rarely participates. He is, frankly, a terrible role player. Getting him to talk "in character" is like pulling teeth (although he's perfectly happy making snarky remarks about what our characters are doing.) He spends about 90% of our gaming sessions playing on his phone, usually watching videos on YouTube or playing games. He used to interrupt the group with "Hey guys, you have to see this video!" and then try to show the rest of us a 10:00min video on his phone. We managed to put a stop to that, and now he just plays with his phone until someone gets his attention to tell him we're in combat, or ask him what his character's doing.

We have a good rule for this in our groupe, proposed at first by a guy who can't even quit his phone - to say how much this became annoying to everyone, even those directly involved = you look on your phone for any reason other than "important message", you get a f*cking negative level. It's like hitting in the balls, sick and low but scarily effective.

Quote:
-He doesn't know the rules very well at all, and argues with the GM when something is inconvenient for him.

If you have a certified Rule Lawyer Seal of Approval (c), he can help. Whenever there is an argument, just let the player state the Rule. Whenever I do it in my group, everyone stops arguing because checking would be a waste of time. If there isn't any rule lawyer, just learn what the player could use (in this case, the only spells he ever prepare and their characteristics) and how his tools works precisely, so you can always close immediately any argument.

Quote:
If someone has a suggestion for how to deal with him without booting him, or what the best way to approach booting him without major repercussions on my husband's end, I'd really love to hear it.

Now for the more important advices : talk to the player. Ask him why he looks at his phone during the game, if it is because of ennui, if it's because he likes to play a definite "mechanical role" like "the healer" without wanting to roleplay more than in a MMO. Ask him what he waits of his character, what he would like for him to happen.

Say him he's right now not fitting into what should be a roleplaying session, and his comportment isn't what is waited of a player in a social game with roleplay and teamplay, that his remarks aren't welcomed and that if he wants to talk or find compromises about something that bothers him, he can simply talk to the DM and not annoy everyone by being a jerk about it. The first thing to do is determine why your player is doing this, and letting him know that for the fun of everyone, he will not be invited anymore if he doesn't change his attitude. Players are here to have fun, not to be disturbed by a tourist openly critical to anyone's RP and to the DM's work.
You are the DM, you have the last word for who will play with you.
And if you make yourself clear that change will be needed but nothing happens, you will not be to blame if the player complains about being kicked after some more sessions. You will have made the necessary.

Let him a chance to change, and if he doesn't, just boot him ASAP. This kind of player doesn't make it long at any table, even if the players know each other.


First of all, I want to point out that I am not that K. I am THE K, but not THAT K.

Anyway, Shifty is onto something there. Usually, a nice talk among adults is advisable.

He does sound quite horrible, though.

I had talks with people before, cleared things up, but that was people who were basically reasonable and decent.

I also had this guy, who was a horrible player, and not fun to have around in general. Not as bad as your K maybe, but bad nonetheless:

  • We were playing 3.5, but he seemed to be stuck in 3.0 mode for some things. They tended to be the things that were nerfed in 3.5 for good reason (like those gloves of storing having a price change from 2 to 10 k)
  • When confronted with his inconsistencies (the cheap gloves were only one example, and it's more than just rules stuff, but more on that later), he'd go all in your face. Argumentative, condescending, dismissive.
  • The game was supposed to sport heroic characters. Good with a capital G. They were actually all descendants of creatures of light and goodness, and it was supposed to shine through for all. His character was a barely non-evil half-orc.
  • The other game we had going was a WoD/Vampire game. Again, it was made clear that the characters were the emo type of WoD vampire, i.e. trying to get to grips with their lost humanity, haunted by what they had to do to survive.

    So of course he played this criminal who really got a kick out of being an undead vampire and totally loved hurting mere mortals.

    He was with us for two weeks, two sessions (one for each game). The other players actually approached me and told me they wanted him gone before I could consciously decide so myself.

    It probably was for the best.

    What I'm saying is this: If you think it's just him having some problems, being distracted, maybe not being sure about the game and everything, talk to him. If you think it's more than that, that he's adversarial towards people, kick him to the curb. You can let him justify his behaviour, but I suspect that that won't really help.


  • Find a new player for your Carrion Crown adventure, one that is really excited by the CC Player's Guide. Instead of having K play, have the new individual play.

    If K approaches your husband at work about being "kicked out of the group" your husband can honestly correct him by clarifying that he was not "kicked out of the group" but rather another member of your group identified someone that you wanted to give a turn at the table.


    Your husband would be the one who would take the most damage from booting him, and he's in favor of booting him. You've got permission to be assertive here; you're not going to hurt him.


    Does your husband work with him or work for him? You already said that you husband is ok with you just kicking him out or, as you said, not inviting him to the next game. Carrion Crown is very RP-centric (I'm running it now. on't ruin your fun and the rest of the group by letting this guy in.

    Really, he seams happier to play his Nintindo DS (and he's how old..30..are you sure he's not 10?) Why ruin your fun?


    The following is based on 27 years of playing role playing games. I have seen a lot of bad behavior, and I think you have four choices:

    1)Live with a bad player that ruins your fun. Life's too short to put up with this jerk.

    2)Have a heart-to-heart conversation, then let him ruin your fun. :(

    3)Don't invite him and let him know why. You hope to repair this lost soul to a state of heavenly grace and transcent RP. Double :(

    4)Don't invite him and make up a reason why: "The module is made for 5 characters maximum, sorry K." Everyone wins. You lose the jerk, and he maintains the delusion that he is a worthwhile individual.

    As you can see I favor choice 4. Little white lies are important to maintain society, and a sense of a moral and stable world when reality proves otherwise. Feel free to disregard.

    Sovereign Court

    MattW wrote:

    4)Don't invite him and make up a reason why: "The module is made for 5 characters maximum, sorry K." Everyone wins. You lose the jerk, and he maintains the delusion that he is a worthwhile individual.

    As you can see I favor choice 4. Little white lies are important to maintain society, and a sense of a moral and stable world when reality proves otherwise. Feel free to disregard.

    You are a much better person than i in that particular question. I usually tell problem players straight up, in their faces what bothers us and why they can't play with us anymore. I pull no punches, nor am i overly nice (Civil, yes, but nice no). If that rubs them the wrong way, well, shucks, he/she has been rubbing all of us the wrong way for a while so i don't really care.

    On the side note, people i wouldn't game with for the particular reasons that the OP stated, well i wouldn't want to be friends with them outside of gaming either...most of those people are insufferable.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    - He is late, doesn't focus on the game, and is whiny and paranoid.
    - You and your husband want to toss him out, the other two say keep him as a chair warmer.

    The guy seems to irritate you the most. Considering that your husband is directly influenced by you and may be trying to keep you happy. That said, this is your game. You have two choices: reform him or drop him from your game. However two of the three things you listed about him seem to indicate he isn't interested in your game anyway. The whiny and paranoid part suggest he has had bad experiences in the past with gaming. Since he does show up but doesn't seem interested, I am going to intuit that he wants to be part of this group of friends but simply doesn't want to play. Try removing him from the game but organizing some other event you can all get together to enjoy on a different night, like a movie night or a board game night. That way he can stay friends with everyone and no longer disrupts the game.

    -=-
    Min, self appointed forum advice columnist.

    Scarab Sages

    I'm a bit puzzled by this part of you post:

    Maggiethecat wrote:
    . . .my character put K's character to sleep, and one of the BBG's mooks coup de graced him, he failed his save, and his character died.

    Without an explanation of why you did that to him it sounds as if he had a pretty good reason to walk away from the table, in that instance.

    That notwithstanding, the other behaviors you described are more than enough reason to uninvite him from your upcoming campaign. If your husband's OK with it then go ahead and dump K and don't look back.


    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    hmmm as with the other advice here.

    Talk it out if you can and see if there is a change (in the current camapaign) if nothing changes then move him on and then start Carrion Crown.

    Helping someone to change can be rewarding;

    The basic's - Lose the phone unless it's an emergency, it's about respecting the table and gathering.

    Can you have him help the GM looking up spells, effects etc?
    in game it's nice to have someone else getting on top of grapple or how high can someone jump using acrobatics?

    Give him something constructive to do when it's not his turn. (cleaning the map just used, etc..)

    You might find giving him focus might help and you might get a better soul at the table. (and heaven forbid early).

    Good luck - let us know how it goes here in Web Land.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Jim.DiGriz wrote:

    I'm a bit puzzled by this part of you post:

    Maggiethecat wrote:
    . . .my character put K's character to sleep, and one of the BBG's mooks coup de graced him, he failed his save, and his character died.

    Without an explanation of why you did that to him it sounds as if he had a pretty good reason to walk away from the table, in that instance.

    I was also a bit curious what the problem is with not taking the Glory domain as a cleric of Saranrae. I have two of them in two different campaigns I am GM'ing... none of them took that particular domain.

    But as for the problem player, yeah, he sounds as if he deserves the boot.


    I am somewhat of two minds on this one... please do not take offense at this, I am trying to help by looking at both sides of the situation, and I will provide a possible solution for both scenarios I see as possible.

    If you think that what I say below is way off base, or if you just want him gone as painlessly as possible, my suggestion for getting rid of him diplomatically is in the spoiler:

    Spoiler:

    I would recommend speaking with him as a group ASAP and tell him about problems that can't easily be perceived as personal attacks. Warn him that if the problems aren't resolved by the end of the campaign, he won't be invited to the next one. My suggestion based on your post would be a paraphrase of:

    "We feel that the way that you have been arriving late, and playing with your phone at the table is very disruptive, and is ruining the game for the rest of us. We would like to have you keep playing with us, but if things continue as they are, we won't be inviting you to our next game."

    First of all I would suggest examining the situation to make sure that K is the problem. From some things that you mention in your post I am a little concerned that K may be (over)reacting to some of your behaviors. From the way you described his Cleric, it is very obvious that you do not approve of his play style or build choices, and that may be coming through in your interactions with him. Remember that given the fact that you are on these forums, you probably care more about the quality or effectiveness of your builds than most people. Not everyone is an optimizer (by choice or because of lack of ability) and no one likes to be condescended to, or to be told how to play.

    You also mentioned that K's character died to a coup de grace after you put him to sleep. I'll admit that I don't know the context, but if it happened to me, I'd be pretty angry unless you gave me a very good reason why it was necessary. If he thinks (or worse, knows) that you don't like him, that type of thing is easy to perceive as spiteful, or as a personal attack.

    It is also important to remember that most people don't like to tell people harsh truths things that may hurt their feelings. That's probably a good big part of why you haven't told him off yet, but it may also be why the other players aren't telling you if your behaviour is part of the problem.

    I don't really think that talking to K at this point would be productive, either he is being a jerk, or both of you are, either way it'll be a mess. If you think that there is a chance that any of what I've said is possible, I would suggest talking to your husband and the other players. Ask if they think that your behaviour has anything to do with things being the way they are, and if so you might be able to solve things by modifying your behaviour.

    I hope that what I've said is helpful, and I wish you luck on resolving the situation.

    Liberty's Edge

    MattW wrote:

    The following is based on 27 years of playing role playing games. I have seen a lot of bad behavior, and I think you have four choices:

    1)Live with a bad player that ruins your fun. Life's too short to put up with this jerk.

    2)Have a heart-to-heart conversation, then let him ruin your fun. :(

    3)Don't invite him and let him know why. You hope to repair this lost soul to a state of heavenly grace and transcent RP. Double :(

    4)Don't invite him and make up a reason why: "The module is made for 5 characters maximum, sorry K." Everyone wins. You lose the jerk, and he maintains the delusion that he is a worthwhile individual.

    5) Collude with the other players (so they know what you're up to); send a mass-email that you're canceling gaming for unspecified reasons; game at another person's house (hush-hush); after a month or so when "K" is accustomed to not "just dropping by", shift gaming back to your house again. ("K" will be off annoying some other group by then.)

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Mike Schneider wrote:
    5) Collude with the other players (so they know what you're up to); send a mass-email that you're canceling gaming for unspecified reasons; game at another person's house (hush-hush); after a month or so when "K" is accustomed to not "just dropping by", shift gaming back to your house again. ("K" will be off annoying some other group by then.)

    My current gaming group did this once. It worked, but it's very passive aggressive and since your husband works with him, you might need to come up with a reason why you have to cancel the game in case K asks.

    Like others, I'm also wondering why you put the barbarian to sleep. Even though I knew why it was happening, I was still pretty irritated when my barbarian got shot full of arrows by the party's ranger, I could only imagine how irritated I'd be if I didn't know what was going on.


    Given all the extra drama that will come with fibbing, I reckon stick to just having a talk to him about it, and then letting him self select out.

    No hard feelings that way.

    Liberty's Edge

    It is all about opportunity costs.

    If you have someone else who can fill the 4th slot, invite them and stop inviting K. If K shows up, it will be late and you can tell him he'll have to wait until there is a point in the game where you can fit him it and make him wait like he makes everyone else wait.

    Next campaign, point out it is designed for 4 and since he is always late, he is the short stick.


    To address a few things:

    Mainly, the reason my character ended up putting him to sleep which resulted in his death. He was playing a Barbarian, I was playing a Witch. The BBG had cast Charm Person (or something similar) on him, and he was currently beating on me. I was going to be dead in another round or two if I didn't do something, and we weren't close to killing the BBG, so I used a Slumber Hex on him to take him out of commission.

    The smartest choice? Maybe not. I could have used other Hexes, I probably had a spell I could have used that may not have been as deadly, but nothing that would have taken him out of commission, only that would have lowered his attack rolls or otherwise debuffed him, which wouldn't guarantee that he wouldn't kill me. I could have run away. I personally don't think it was too out of character of my character to put him to sleep, since she is Neutral Evil; she cares more about her safety than anyone else's.

    Do we optimize? Yes, yes we do, I certainly will not deny that. I know it's not necessary to have fun and that there are countless build options out there. I would have less issues with K's cleric if he actually roleplayed him the way he built him. A good-aligned cleric with Healing and Fire powers who worships Sarenrae could have a strong personalty and backstory explaining why he worships Sarenrae and is focused on Healing and Fire, and maybe even explain why he only casts Healing spells and never attacks (vow of peace kind of thing, maybe.) The problem, is that he doesn't actually role play. He built a sub-par character (anyone can feel free to disagree with this, but a cleric who only uses half of his domain spells and ignores more than 75% of his available spells is sub-par, in my opinion) and then didn't come up with a reasonable explanation for why this character does what he does.

    I get the impression that he's really uncomfortable with actual role playing/story building. Which, actually, really came through in Campaign B as well. A bit of backstory about that campaign. We are playing Serpent's Skull in that campaign so of course, the first module involved us getting shipwrecked on an island. The GM put a twist on it: All of the PCs were prisoners being transported to Sargava to work in a penal colony. We didn't have to be evil but we did have to be convicted of a crime (whether we were actually guilty or not, was up to us to decide.) The GM wanted all of us to come up with a backstory for our characters, mostly just a reason why we had been arrested and were being shipped off to Sargava. It didn't have to be pages long. However, K went into the GM's office while they were at work (the GM being the other member who works with K and my husband), shut the door, sat down, and told the GM that he was very uncomfortable writing a backstory for his character. So, the GM told him he didn't have to.

    We do a "Game Night" sometimes where we play stuff besides Pathfinder, like board/card/video games. Everyone usually has fun at these. My husband and I are the only ones who have ever offered to host it, though, and we don't really want to host every weekend, plus lately we have both been very busy and we just haven't had time other than on Sundays to get together with the group. When K comes, he is still notoriously late, will again interrupt our game (whatever we're in the middle of when he shows up) and then we have to start over/fit him in, and he almost always brings a collection of his own games and insists we play them, and gets whiny if the group wants to play something else.

    I don't really feel right about lying to him and telling him that we're not playing anymore or something like that. I think I will sit down with him sometime and talk to him, as others have suggested. I will openly admit that I don't really like the guy, but I've never exactly had a heart-to-heart with him either, and maybe if I talk with him, I'll understand him better. If I decide to give him a chance in CC, I will probably end up making up some kind of rule that everyone has to hand me their phone when we start, and that it can only be on if they're expecting a call or something. I hate to do stupid crap like that, but I KNOW K will not become un-married to his phone, ever, unless I actually take it from him. (trust me...I have done other stuff with this guy, like Game Night, or going out to lunch, or just hanging out...he is ALWAYS playing with his phone. My husband and the other guy who works with him says that when they see him at work, he is ALWAYS doing something on his phone.) And I know no one, the other members included, would think it's fair if I only take K's phone, since we have had that discussion before.


    This guys sounds like a b++#&y WoW healer.

    Srsly, why's he so scared of dying?


    crazeeruler wrote:

    This guys sounds like a b*#$+y WoW healer.

    Srsly, why's he so scared of dying?

    We have basically come to the conclusion that K really likes hanging out with us (I don't think he has many friends) so he shows up to our gaming sessions when it's convenient for him, but he doesn't really give a crap about role playing itself; we could all be sitting around playing on our phones, for all he cares. So, when his character dies, it's a huuuuuge inconvenience for him because he has to come up with a new character concept and spend an hour or two writing stuff down. It's just easier if nothing ever happens to his character so he can just sit with us for a few hours every weekend.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Maggiethecat wrote:

    To address a few things:

    Mainly, the reason my character ended up putting him to sleep which resulted in his death. He was playing a Barbarian, I was playing a Witch. The BBG had cast Charm Person (or something similar) on him, and he was currently beating on me. I was going to be dead in another round or two if I didn't do something, and we weren't close to killing the BBG, so I used a Slumber Hex on him to take him out of commission.

    The smartest choice? Maybe not. I could have used other Hexes, I probably had a spell I could have used that may not have been as deadly, but nothing that would have taken him out of commission, only that would have lowered his attack rolls or otherwise debuffed him, which wouldn't guarantee that he wouldn't kill me. I could have run away. I personally don't think it was too out of character of my character to put him to sleep, since she is Neutral Evil; she cares more about her safety than anyone else's.

    Using the slumber hex on him seems perfectly reasonable to me. He should be blaming the DM for the coup de grace if it didn't make sense for it to be performed then when the barbarian was already out of the combat for the forseeable future.

    Take the advice of Dan Savage and DTMFA.


    One more thing I forgot to add: We are already hurting for players. Another member of our group is moving out of state in August, so we will be down to 4 people then. If I remove K, that brings us down to 3. We have been trying for ages to find someone else to add to the group, and have been unable to. Most of the people we have invited over the last year or so have ever-changing work schedules and end up working on the weekends (we have tried to accommodate at least one guy who fit in really well with us and was a great role player, but he just could never make it when the rest of us were free) or they flake out and just don't show up. We have a couple potential new players and I am really hoping at least one of them is going to work out, but I really don't think I'm going to be able to use the "we have 5 players and that's enough" excuse to drop K from the table.

    Sovereign Court

    Just tell him that you don't like his behavior and that it is distracting to you and to the other players, and that it is also immersion killing since the rest of the group is really into rp. Say that you are really sorry, but for the sake of the group, that player is not going to be invited to sessions anymore.
    And if he trows a fit and appears on the next session, well, call the cops on him.

    Shadow Lodge

    Where are you located? It might be possible to find additional players using different methods, depending on where you play.


    Wow, K sounds a lot what what ol' Uncle Figgy used to call a "social gamer" -- not involved or invested in the game, not enough to learn the basic rules (like, say, his spell-sheet), etc.

    I think that talking to the group as a whole might be worth it - it may be that his behaviour is more grating to you than to them. (Having said that, however, I know that it would disturb the heck out of me, so you're probably not alone).

    If you're starting a whole new campaign, then yes, I would just not invite him and have your fun. If/When he finds out later, you can then be as truthful and blunt as you feel makes sense -- anything from:

    "We're playing an AP that only allows 4 players" to

    "We didn't think you were really having fun last time, considering you spent all your time on your phone" to

    "We only have a limited amount of time to play, and so we only invited people who could commit to being there on time and prepared each week"

    or any combination therein.

    Our group had to ditch a player (within the campaign) because he thought being asked to drinks by coworkers was more important than the weekly gaming session and would cancel on us like 3 hours before the session started (we play weeknights). We basically stopped reminding him about the game, didn't tell him that we'd changed nights and then when he did ask about it like 8 weeks later say "Oh, you seemed to be too busy to join us, we didn't want to bother you."

    The character has since gone NPC and is one of the bad guys, now. (Based on a few earlier bad interactions between party members and a few other things)


    Ok, you were totally justified sleeping his character. I just wanted to make sure, because I've dealt with scenarios where the person in your position was really the root cause, but it doesn't look like that's the case here.

    If you don't think you can really get rid of him and have the game run smoothly, a solution one of my GM's used for a player's girlfriend who enjoyed combat, but who had spotty attendance and didn't care about RP, was to make her character a summon. We summoned her in any fight where we "needed her help", which meant any fight she was actually present for. The rest of the time she read magazines and participated in the non game related table banter, worked great.

    If you do think the group could survive losing his warm body, I'd go back to my suggestion of politely giving him an ultimatum about his tardiness and cell phone use. I'm not really suggesting it because I think it'll change his behaviour (but if it does, bonus!), but because it gives you a fair and diplomatic way of giving him the boot when it doesn't. You're not blindsiding him, your not commenting on his skill at the game, or making it personal. It's the same type of stuff that you could get away with firing someone for, without having to worry about wrongful dismissal BS.

    Good Luck!


    Find new players on these boards in Gamers Wanted :)

    The Exchange

    My advice is to not invite him for sessions that you DM. You are doing others a favor by DM'ing. If it's important to you for him not to play in your sessions, the group should respect that. When others DM, and they invite him, you can decide whether or not to participate as a player.

    If you see him before you start DM'ing, I'd suggest telling him yourself, listing the reasons. Otherwise, if you won't see him, you can let your husband tell him (if K is working under the assumption he's already invited).

    FYI, here's my response to his habits:

    "He is always late" - Probably wouldn't bother me too much since y'all start without him.

    "He rarely participates. He is, frankly, a terrible role player." - Not everyone is comfortable roleplaying or writing backgrounds, so that wouldn't bother me. However, he is being disrespectful by fiddling with his phone etc. all the time, so I can see how that would be annoying.

    "When he DOES participate, he's utterly useless." - Doesn't bother me. In fact, I'd probably think it's funny. He wants his character to stay alive. That seems normal.

    "He doesn't know the rules very well at all, and argues with the GM when something is inconvenient for him." - The DM needs to make a rule saying that players should just 'go' with his ruling and if anything needs to be discussed in between sessions, that's fine. If he still persists, tell him to talk to the hand. lol.

    "He gets completely butthurt and offended when anything bad happens to his character." - Agree that's lame.

    EDIT: I don't think it's a big deal about him being your husband's coworker. If coworkers can date each other, break up, and continue to work together, then coworkers can play PF, stop playing together, and continue to work together.


    Maggiethecat wrote:
    One more thing I forgot to add: We are already hurting for players.

    Have you looked into Pathfinder Society events in your area? Have you visited your FLGS to look for players? You might also post here in the forums to see if anyone is in your area.


    snobi wrote:
    My advice is to not invite him for sessions that you DM. You are doing others a favor by DM'ing.

    This is an important point. I (and I assume you,) GM to co-create a unique fantasy experience with others who like a game that lets them be wizards and warriors, etc., when our RL world isn't nearly so exciting (I wouldn't want it to be!).

    It's hard enough without players actively making a mess of things. Frequent lateness, whininess, attention-whoring, etc. makes it no fun for me and the other players who just want to get their game on. My time is valuable (at least to me), and must be respected, or I can't play.

    I'm not a great GM. I like to think I get better at it as I go. It's a labor of love, at any rate, and players who can't observe common courtesy or disrespect the game to the degree K has will be (and have been) permanently disinvited. He's old enough to know better, and if he doesn't, it's not my job to teach him. I've got a game to run.


    Thanks for all the advice, everyone. This has given me a lot to think about.

    I talked a lot with the guy who GMs the Serpent Skull (Campaign B) game yesterday. He's going to be running the next part of SS before I run Carrion Crown, so he's going to try to "correct" some of the issues that bother us about K. We've pretty much accepted his tardiness, so we'll leave that alone. The GM is, however, going to tell K to put his phone away if he takes it out while we're playing. If K continues to fiddle with it (which I'm about 99.8% sure he will) the GM will talk to him outside the game and tell him how distracting it is to the rest of us. I think the GM is also going to talk to K about how he, as a GM, can help K feel more involved in the group.

    Personally, I would just as soon boot him and be done with it, but the SS GM is pretty adamant about not doing that and trying to make everyone happy. (and I like and respect him a lot, so I'm willing to at least try to work with him on this.) We're both going to talk to K, before/during the games that we're GMing, to see what K wants out of the game and how we can help him have more fun. If we really can get K to participate, I think that'd be great. I guess even if we can minimize his disruptions, that would be okay too. I'm probably going to have to address K's aggressive/negative attitude at some point, because that's the one that bothers me the most. His random outbursts of "Yeah, because THAT'S a great idea!" in a sarcastic tone after he hasn't said anything for half an hour because he's been fiddling on his phone, are really aggravating and downright insulting at times.


    Maggiethecat wrote:
    Personally, I would just as soon boot him and be done with it, but the SS GM is pretty adamant about not doing that and trying to make everyone happy. (and I like and respect him a lot, so I'm willing to at least try to work with him on this.) We're both going to talk to K, before/during the games that we're GMing, to see what K wants out of the game and how we can help him have more fun. If we really can get K to participate, I think that'd be great. I guess even if we can minimize his disruptions, that would be okay too. I'm probably going to have to address K's aggressive/negative attitude at some point, because that's the one that bothers me the most. His random outbursts of "Yeah, because THAT'S a great idea!" in a sarcastic tone after he hasn't said anything for half an hour because he's been fiddling on his phone, are really aggravating and downright insulting at times.

    Well, again, I would talk to the other players -- if they all feel he's mostly ok, then you're in the minority and, sadly, majority rules. If, however, they agree with you, then I think you should collectively chat with K.

    Having said that, however, the correct response to a sarcastic "Yeah, because THAT'S a great idea!" is "Ok, then, what do *you* suggest?"

    Sovereign Court

    Tilnar wrote:


    Well, again, I would talk to the other players -- if they all feel he's mostly ok, then you're in the minority and, sadly, majority rules. If, however, they agree with you, then I think you should collectively chat with K.

    I disagree, if she is the GM, she has every right to boot a player off her game. If other players don't like it, they can leave too.


    Hama wrote:
    Tilnar wrote:


    Well, again, I would talk to the other players -- if they all feel he's mostly ok, then you're in the minority and, sadly, majority rules. If, however, they agree with you, then I think you should collectively chat with K.
    I disagree, if she is the GM, she has every right to boot a player off her game. If other players don't like it, they can leave too.

    That isn't true in her case. There aren't enough players available to pull this. It's the same as saying "I am not going to run a game". And you forget she is married to one player and it seems like most if not all her players work together.


    ***Disclaimer***

    I hope I do not over step my bounds and please feel free to NET-Slap me if you feel I am being inappropriate. I do not mean to judge or patronize, etc... I just really strangely feel strongly about this situation for some reason.

    I have been the "outcast". The person that didnt feel I fit in anywhere. One of the main reason a started Roleplaying was so that I could belong to something.

    It's obvious that K doesnt care much for RPGs but its also pretty obvious that he does care about belonging to something. We as humans are general social creatures and we all need a support structure. I don't have all the details or all the facts but I think K just wants friends.

    (again slap me if I am getting to personal)

    Do you consider him a friend?

    Does anyone in the group consider him a friend? or is he just player K.

    (worried I'm about to get to personal here, I apologize in advance)

    If I had a cat that didnt get along with my other pets I dont think I could just throw him out the door and be done with it. I would have to find him a home or I would feel horrible. I don't think I could bring my self to kick K out either.

    It's not your responsibility but have you guys thought about maybe trying to help him find an activity or social group more fitting to his interests. Help him make a few friends outside the group. Join a softball league with him, even if you quite after a few weeks once hes made a few friends. etc...

    I don't know why this thread hit me like it did but when I read it, all I could see was a guy that was probably feeling pretty lost and alone looking for a social support group, something to be a part of. And then I saw multiple people just saying things like "Boot him". "Not your problem, his problem." etc...

    ******Again I dont mean to preach and I dont want to offend anyone I just strangely reacted very strongly to this thread and feel sad for the guy. I've been there.******

    The Exchange

    I sleep better knowing I found my kitty a home at the pound.

    Scarab Sages

    This thread reminds me of this: Five Geek Social Fallacies


    Tilnar wrote:


    Having said that, however, the correct response to a sarcastic "Yeah, because THAT'S a great idea!" is "Ok, then, what do *you* suggest?"

    Someone almost always does ask him what he thinks we should do, and the usual answer is a sneer followed by "Well, I don't know, but I wouldn't do THAT!" Then he goes back to playing with his phone, the rest of us roll our eyes at each other, and we continue discussing our original plan without him.

    Kalyth, I don't think you overstepped any boundaries at all. That is, in fact, exactly why the Serpent's Skull GM doesn't want to boot K, either from his game or mine. K is kind of a social misfit, as far as I can tell. He has a few "friends" at work who he does stuff with outside of work, but I think we're his core group of friends (I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a significant other, unless he's hiding him/her really well.)

    I sort of consider him a friend; I met him through my husband, so he's really more my husband's friend, but even my husband has been getting annoyed to the point that K is not really a "friend" anymore. Not just by what happens in our Pathfinder games, but other stuff we do together outside of work. My husband gets pretty upset when K is always late to everything, because my husband is always, always on time, and if we're, say, going out to dinner with K, we end up sitting at the table waiting for him for 40 minutes feeling like jerks for taking up the table and not ordering. Yes, we have talked to him about this, he knows it upsets us when he's always late to everything. He doesn't care. Therefore, we don't do anything with K anymore, besides Pathfinder.

    Anyway, yes, the point is, if we/I were to dump K from our game, he would have practically no social life. He gets together with us not to role play, but just to hang out; I think I mentioned earlier that he could care less what we're actually doing, be it role playing, watching a movie, or sitting around playing with our phones. He just wants a group of people to chill with. Which I'd be okay with, if he didn't disrupt us, usually with rude comments no less. As it is, he contributes nothing except negative comments, and that's what irks me the most.

    Maybe I should ask him if he'd like to come over and just sit and watch us, instead of actually playing a character.


    First, who made the mistake of inviting K to your game? You can't invite a snake to dinner and then be upset that he bit one of your friends at the table. K is NOT going to change at age 30. He is the jerk he has ALWAYS been and should not have been invited. You have to have an understanding in your game, life, work, etc of what the group expects from each other. You don't show up to work 1-2 hours late and expect to have a job, you don't show up to a date 1-2 hours late and expect her to be there, and you don't show up to every gaming session 1-2 hours late. That is disrespectful to everyone playing and a waste of time when you have to go over everything that happened before they arrived.

    As a manager, you don't fire people, people fire themselves. Once you lose that dead weight, your gaming sessions will improve and you will be happy! I say you have a sit down with him and advise K the group has decided to move on because of his behavior and complete lack of respect for the game and its players. The good of the many outweighs the good of the one! Yes, Startrek was on this weekend...


    Alex the Rogue wrote:
    First, who made the mistake of inviting K to your game? You can't invite a snake to dinner and then be upset that he bit one of your friends at the table. K is NOT going to change at age 30. He is the jerk he has ALWAYS been and should not have been invited. You have to have an understanding in your game, life, work, etc of what the group expects from each other. You don't show up to work 1-2 hours late and expect to have a job,

    K does. Unfortunately. My husband usually works 8-5~ish. They're programmers and work in an office, so the managers don't care too much if they're late, as long as they get their work done. So if my husband shows up at 8:10, not a big deal. But any later than about 8:30, my husband considers "late" and he never shows up that late. My husband also works a lot of "overtime" and since he's salaried, he doesn't actually get paid for more than 40 hours a week, but he knows what he has to get done and will get it done, even if it takes 45-50 hours a week. His managers love him.

    K, on the other hand, usually rolls in to work between 10-10:30. Apparently the managers don't care, because K stays until 7-8 at night, to get 8+ hours and all his work in. I, personally, really wish his managers would clamp down on him and tell him to show up when the rest of the crew does (so that maybe he'd learn to be on time to other things, like...Pathfinder), but obvious I have no control over that. So, when I said that K is late to everything in life, I literally meant everything. When he gets sent on business trips, he shows up at the airport 20 minutes before the plane is scheduled to depart.

    As far as who invited him, I honestly don't know. Probably my husband. He was part of the group before I joined. K started working at the company after my husband did, so my husband probably met K when he was relatively new, found out that K had played D&D before, and invited K to the group. He was already there when my husband and I started dating four~ish years ago.


    Maggiethecat wrote:

    I sort of consider him a friend; I met him through my husband, so he's really more my husband's friend, but even my husband has been getting annoyed to the point that K is not really a "friend" anymore. Not just by what happens in our Pathfinder games, but other stuff we do together outside of work. My husband gets pretty upset when K is always late to everything, because my husband is always, always on time, and if we're, say, going out to dinner with K, we end up sitting at the table waiting for him for 40 minutes feeling like jerks for taking up the table and not ordering. Yes, we have talked to him about this, he knows it upsets us when he's always late to everything. He doesn't care. Therefore, we don't do anything with K anymore, besides Pathfinder.

    Anyway, yes, the point is, if we/I were to dump K from our game, he would have practically no social life. He gets together with us not to role play, but just to hang out; I think I mentioned earlier that he could care less what we're actually doing, be it role playing, watching a movie, or sitting around playing with our phones. He just wants a group of...

    Based on this, my suggestion is to do something other than RP-gaming with K, and then enjoy your RPG time with the rest of your group.

    I mean, really, I've been gaming for decades and I have many friends that I used to game with and whom I still do things that are not RPGing. Some of whom I wouldn't RPG with again unless you paid me.

    Now, I can see how you (and your current GM) are worried about that - but if the guy is actually a friend, then don't you think it's best to spend time with him -- especially in a setting that doesn't annoy you and make you like him less?

    Now, yes, I get the whole late = annoying thing, but you can do things that are less dependent on time - such as a group meeting for wings/bar trivia (that way you can start without him), board/card games (especially at a FLGS), etc, etc.

    Trust me, I'm better friends with some of these people because I no longer see them across the table from me weekly with their bad gaming habits. (And, to be fair, now that the pressure and bile have gone down, it's sometimes fun to do a one-off or wargame or ask them to play the opposing party racing toward the Artifact or something with some of these people.)

    Maggiethecat wrote:
    Maybe I should ask him if he'd like to come over and just sit and watch us, instead of actually playing a character.

    If he actually cared about the game and the rules, you could ask him to run the opposition, but his lack of knowledge and will (based on earlier description) wouldn't help. Plus, I suspect that him "watching you play" would not stop the comments.

    I look at it this way: You're all there to have fun. If you're not having fun because of K, then not only is he ruining your night, but you're going to resent K - and that will build and make things worse. (I would argue this process has already begun). So, defuse the problem, spend some time with your friend doing something else where you can actually enjoy him -- watching a movie or whatever (again, if he's late and misses the first half of the movie, not your problem, and you can do dinner *afterward*)

    But that's me.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Maggiethecat wrote:


    K, on the other hand, usually rolls in to work between 10-10:30. Apparently the managers don't care, because K stays until 7-8 at night, to get 8+ hours and all his work in. I, personally, really wish his managers would clamp down on him and tell him to show up when the rest of the crew does (so that maybe he'd learn to be on time to other things, like...Pathfinder), but obvious I have no control over that. So, when I said that K is late to everything in life, I literally meant everything. When he gets sent on business trips, he shows up at the airport 20 minutes before the plane is scheduled to depart.

    I think you're going to have to not sweat that one. It's none of your business if his work schedule is sufficiently flexible that working 10-7 or so is as good as your husband's 8-5 or so. Many good companies allow that because they find it's one way to get the best work out of their employees.

    Overall, you're not responsible for K having a social life. He is. And if he screws it up constantly, that's his problem, not yours. If he arrives after you start a game, he can sit until you're finished and ready to play another. If he isn't at a movie on time, he can miss whatever he misses. If he isn't to dinner on time, order without him. And if he sucks the fun out of the room, don't invite him to your next game.

    The Exchange

    MattW wrote:
    1)Life's too short to put up with this jerk.

    This.


    Bill Dunn wrote:

    Overall, you're not responsible for K having a social life. He is. And if he screws it up constantly, that's his problem, not yours. If he arrives after you start a game, he can sit until you're finished and ready to play another. If he isn't at a movie on time, he can miss whatever he misses. If he isn't to dinner on time, order without him. And if he sucks the fun out of the room, don't invite him to your next game.

    And this. You want to be a good friend? Don't enable his bad behavior.

    Bill's also right about the whole work thing. While you may be annoyed by it, it has nothing to do with you... or your husband. You said it yourself, your husband is already liked by his managers. Who cares if they like K or not?


    As to what I think you should do about the CC game. Be straight-forward and honest.

    Send out the usual emails, omitting him. Send him an email at the same time explaining why his habits/actions aren't acceptable at your table. For those reasons he's not invited to play in this game. If he still wants to hang out outside of the game... great.

    If he decides he does want back in the game, reiterate what the issue was, and ask him how he's going to correct the behavior in order to support the atmosphere you want.

    Nothing about this is rude. Blunt? maybe. Harsh? Some might say so. But you're being honest and level with him. He's an adult, and he can rejoin you guys if he starts acting like one.

    It'll be interesting to see if he does.

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