Cowardly PC


Advice

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I am having a bit of trouble figuring out how to handle one of my players. He has already expressed to me that his character is, at heart, a coward and has shown this twice now when he used allies as scapegoats or else was prepared to leave them behind. Other players in the party are beginning to feel frustrated because they can't rely on him. I plan to have a discussion with him soon to establish if this disposition is one he plans to change as his character and the rest of the party travel together (it is rather early, only a 5th level group), or if this will be his characters default personality throughout the campaign. What I would like is some advice on how to handle a cowardly PC so that the rest of the party can still enjoy game play without worrying about this player as a liability. If I have to I can simply tell him he needs to change his characters personality a bit but I loath dictating how a player can and can't play their character and so view it as a last resort.


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He does need to change his character or he should accept it when his friends in real life start RP'ing realistically.

PC's are basically mercenaries for hire. Yeah they might be good, but if you have someone who is not doing their share of the work, but still getting an equal share of treasure it wont go over well.

I don't know the background for how they came together, but friend or not I would be kicking my buddy out my adventuring group. He can stay in town and do something else. I would then hire someone that really wants to adventure, and will have my back.

As a GM: I would tell him that he is endangering the other PC's in game, and upsetting them in real life. I would suggest he make the change, but not demand. I would also tell the other players about making realistic RP decisions with regard to always being abandoned.


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You can be cowardly without being useless. He could use tactics like distance attacks, or only attacking something someone else is attacking (ganging-up). He could take feats and features to max out his AC, like Dodge and Combat Expertise. He could make it a priority to get items that turn him invisible, or give him teleports so he can easily get out of trouble.

What class is this guy, anyway?

Otherwise, you will probably need to tell him that his character either needs to change, or the PCs will logically ditch him because he's a liability.


That's kind of what i was thinking, as far as letting him know how some of the party is feeling and suggesting a change. As to having the party make more realistic RP choices I can only encourage them to do so. while they have expressed a worry to me and a lack of faith in the cowardly PC I don't know if they're quiet at a point to threaten him with being left behind. I suppose I wont know much of anything until i actually meet and discuss the problem with the PC in question. My fingers are crossed that he will acknowledge the problem and make a shift in play style so that more direct measures need not be taken.


Normally I would agree with you Zhayne, but this player is a synthesis summoner who has built his eidolon form to be a tank/utility build with a high AC. Out of all my players he has the highest survivability due to his ability to self heal and having combined hit points.


I could be mistaken, but from the PC this player has created it doesn't mesh with a cowardly PC. He created a tank but refuses to engage in combat?

I agree with the consensus so far. Talk to the player first, but if that doesn't work then direct measures may have to be taken.


if the player doesn't want to fight encourage him to fill a buff role instead, between low-level haste and wands he could start being useful again. Phrase it as this, "your character's continued survival hinges on the survival of his teammates. If you make them stronger, you in turn will be better protected." Now he can play his coward, but still serve a role as an un-killable white mage.


I have known a player who played a Half-Giant Paladin (Hospitaler and Oath of Charity) who acted cowardly but still provided some assistance to the party.

Maybe if your player could act as a distraction so that the creatures you throw at them want to go chase this guy for whatever reason you could think of. Perhaps the monsters see this summoner as a fine delicacy for their palettes or the scent the summoner gives off is strange but alluring to the monsters. Though I do recommend not to automatically do this when the encounter starts, but after a few rounds perhaps say the big bad tries to make its way towards the summoner and is ignoring the rest of the party. After all the big bad might see the summoner as a more worthy foe than the monkies in front of it. If three skeletons of the seven from the encounter start chasing after the summoner, he is effectivly doing his job while being a coward and running away. How about even something comical like the three harpies of this encounter decided to go after the summoner who probably has a high charisma score because he is attractive.

Try to make this summoner's choice of being a coward be better for the party than a hindrance. After all as a GM/DM you can always try to incorporate the random elements that a PC brings to the table without it being strictly the problem.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Basically what others say, buffers make excellent cowards if that's the RP route you want to pursue. You may feel weak as a person, but if it's within your power to arm your companions, then they'll defend you.


taski wrote:
Normally I would agree with you Zhayne, but this player is a synthesis summoner who has built his eidolon form to be a tank/utility build with a high AC. Out of all my players he has the highest survivability due to his ability to self heal and having combined hit points.

I'm not familiar with the Summoner, as I hate summoning, but ... if he's a Summoner, why doesn't he just SUMMON things to fight for him? Frag, get him an invisibility effect and he can summon things and freakin' stay invisible.


This is all great advice. As to the PC becoming a buffer, I cant really see it based on his personality but it is worth suggesting to him and would be an elegant solution to the problem. Another issue is the exact nature of his cowardice. he does not refuse to fight, in fact he is often the first to strike, sadly he is also the first to suggest flight or else to retreat should he take too much damage or if the foe(s) turn out to be more of a threat than anticipated. the main reason the other PCs are getting frustrated is because they are all willing to engage in some small self sacrifice to save each other while he appears to look out for himself first and everyone else second.


How are away does he actually flee. If he hit the bad guys pretty hard the other PC's "stepping aside" to allow them to get to him might keep him engaged.

Ok, so that may not be a good idea, but it might keep him in the fight whether he wants to be in it or not.


He hasn't ever fled in a situation were he did not have an escape route. in fact more often the not the behavior in question takes place out in the open (fields, forests, plains) where is ability to fly lets him evade most challenges i haven't carefully crafted to negate such abilities, and urban encounters that allow him numerous avenues of probable escape. When in a dungeon setting, he has shown considerably more mettle. I think this is to be expected as fleeing in that situation would likely mean the death of his comrades and an eventual stalking kill from the threat in question.


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Sounds like he needs a lecture on what teamwork means.


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Wow. This seems too easy to be a real question. The answer is always the same... You have 2 choices.

Subvert/Utilize/Exalt
or
Ignore!

Subverting/Utilizing/Exalting his fears means taking the player's fear and rationalizing it. Prove that what the character is afraid of is actually out there. The other party members won't see it as being an irrational fear if, in your campaigns, those fears turn out to be of legitimate things. In the case of fear of damage... This is cake. Let him get hit. The more often he takes damage, survives, gets healed, and lives to fight another day might eventually breed a little more confidence in him. By the same token if he likes 'hanging out near the back of the party and always being ready to run, let it happen! Let him run! Let the party dynamic play out because that's sometimes how people learn. Or prove to him that his tactic of hiding far back from combat is a bad choice by having enemies that flank the party, making his decision to be alone near the back a bad one. Or if he runs away there's something along his retreat route ready to lynch him. Or capture him so his friends have to decide if they want to free him or not... Not every deadly encounter has to end with 'dead'...

Ignore is easy. Stop making the players decision into a bad one. In the case of 'being afraid of dying a grizzly death in the wilds, chewed apart by monsters, well, surprise surprise, statistics are on his side. A player who's desire in the campaign is simply to survive it at all costs isn't a less legitimate playstyle than any other... I'm in fact surprised how many players either rush to their death headlong foolishly, or rush to their death headlong on purpose. I find those players less believable because they don't play as if their decisions had consequence and tend to be lazy about properly preparing for an encounter.

The point is to realize that 'paranoia' is a legitimate playstyle that the player is either doing on purpose with a willful or subconscious decision out of character to keep his character alive at all costs, a willful decision to 'play a paranoid character that wants to keep itself alive at all costs' for the fun of it, or a player who unintentionally or intentionally equates success in a campaign with not being killed by it. None of these are bad ways to game. They're just not the best guy to play with if everyone else in the party is used to bullrushing encounters, being brave and cavalier, poor planners, eager to die glorious deaths, or any other also completely different but completely legitimate playstyle that is at odds with self preservation.

If you're curious you can chat with him about the 'why' of what he's doing at your table... Find out if he's the kind of guy who hates having his character die, or if he just likes playing a character who is at the same time an adventurer AND extremely afraid of dying, is simply metagaming his own personal agenda to see how far into your game he can get without taking a single point of damage as a point of personal pride... Heck. I've even seen people who play like this because they love gaming, love your story, but hate combat. All of this is semantically interesting and potentially quite relevant... It's never a bad thing to figure out the 'why'... Understanding your player's motivations helps you make a campaign that caters to them.

And thats what's relevant... Its your cue! Having situations in your campaign that play on those fears indirectly is awesome... Putting the party in situations where this fear has to be completely realized so that the player can either experience his terror and overcome it, or experience the terror and allow him to play out his response appropriately is also awesome. If he doesn't want to take damage, again, continually surviving successful strikes will get him used to the idea that not every hit scored on him will be deadly. The campaign does gravitate towards rocket tag, so a fear of being one shotted is not an irrational fear, and I don't think its 'bad role playing' to be overcautious. In fact, if other players die before he does it will solidify in his mind that the party hasn't taken the necessary precautions to survive those trials. Perhaps the brave are the ones who need to learn the lesson. Perhaps they dont care about their characters enough not to rush headlong into death, and this one 'problem' player is the only one with a rational and well played interest in self preservation. A well role played character doesn't 'have no fear'... He has fear and learns to overcome it.


TL;DR: When you see something you dont like and/or don't understand...

'What the hell?' and 'How can we stop it?" are far less fun and interesting explorations than

'Why the hell? and "How can we make that awesome and interesting and fun?"

Sovereign Court

What is the story behind his cowardice? I'm actually playing a cowardly PC in a pbp, where some situations he excels but in combat he lacks but initially gains courage from his group. Is there any story that can build up his courage or is he just runs to make sure his character is at risk?


He did use the other players as scapegoats though, which is a whole new issue that's worse than running away. When you've got someone in your crew that'll tattle on you, you tend to push them out quickly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zhayne wrote:
taski wrote:
Normally I would agree with you Zhayne, but this player is a synthesis summoner who has built his eidolon form to be a tank/utility build with a high AC. Out of all my players he has the highest survivability due to his ability to self heal and having combined hit points.
I'm not familiar with the Summoner, as I hate summoning, but ... if he's a Summoner, why doesn't he just SUMMON things to fight for him? Frag, get him an invisibility effect and he can summon things and freakin' stay invisible.

A summoner can't summon creatures while his Eidolon is...summoned.

The point of a synthisist summoner is that your Eidolon is more like a battle-suit you call into being. Think Guyver, Iron Man, the X-Men's Armor, or even a transforming hero like He-Man. You are more of a front-line combatant, a Gish, than a pure caster.

If he was just a summoner I doubt it would be so much of an issue. I play my own summoner as a lazy sod who cheerfully hides behind his Eidolon and lets her handle the heavy lifting while he uses his actions to cast buffs and occasionally shooting his bow at things, but even if he just hid in a corner his Eidolon is enough of a combatant stand in the front line.

This guy is apparently choosing the worst of both worlds and his fellow PC are right in being annoyed with him.


Vincent Takeda wrote:

Wow. This seems too easy to be a real question. The answer is always the same... You have 2 choices.

Subvert/Utilize/Exalt
or
Ignore!

Subverting/Utilizing/Exalting his fears means taking the player's fear and rationalizing it. Prove that what the character is afraid of is actually out there. The other party members won't see it as being an irrational fear if, in your campaigns, those fears turn out to be of legitimate things. In the case of fear of damage... This is cake. Let him get hit. The more often he takes damage, survives, gets healed, and lives to fight another day might eventually breed a little more confidence in him. By the same token if he likes 'hanging out near the back of the party and always being ready to run, let it happen! Let him run! Let the party dynamic play out because that's sometimes how people learn. Or prove to him that his tactic of hiding far back from combat is a bad choice by having enemies that flank the party, making his decision to be alone near the back a bad one. Or if he runs away there's something along his retreat route ready to lynch him. Or capture him so his friends have to decide if they want to free him or not... Not every deadly encounter has to end with 'dead'...

Ignore is easy. Stop making the players decision into a bad one. In the case of 'being afraid of dying a grizzly death in the wilds, chewed apart by monsters, well, surprise surprise, statistics are on his side. A player who's desire in the campaign is simply to survive it at all costs isn't a less legitimate playstyle than any other... I'm in fact surprised how many players either rush to their death headlong foolishly, or rush to their death headlong on purpose. I find those players less believable because they don't play as if their decisions had consequence and tend to be lazy about properly preparing for an encounter.

The point is to realize that 'paranoia' is a legitimate playstyle that the player is either doing on purpose with a willful or subconscious decision...

See, the reason why more players don't pull the cowardly trait, is because it's a team game. It can be awesome for that player and he can roleplay it really well, but it's very inconsiderate to the other characters and annoying to the oher players.

If the rest of the party are roleplayers, they will sk themselves the same questions their characters would ask themselves: If your character is a running coward, then why am I carrying his ass around on adventures? Why is he coming with us to certain danger, possible death and maybe worse? If he runs away at any sign of major danger, why am I giving him any share of the treasure at all? Why don't we just lose him at the next town and hire someone else for our group? If he is the best friend of some other PC, why is that PC dragging his friend into danger he clearly wants no part of?
It might work if the party has to fulfill a prophecy and the guy is named on the prophecy, so they have to drag him around at leas until his part of the prophecy is done.
Or, better yet, if the player has plans for a character arc where the character discovers his inner hero and gains courage, but that has to be told upfront so the party understnds what he is doing and knows to go along with it without getting too annoyed.


I agree with you VM mercenario, and you Odraude. I had a talk with the PC in question earlier today and he is very stubbornly clinging to the idea that it doesn't matter what the party feels so long as he is playing true to his character design. I tried to impress upon him that he needed to be aware of the fact that this is a team based game and everyone's play styles needed to be considered as well, but he is refusing to back down on this subject. In the end I was only able to warn him that if his play style continued to disrupt the party as a whole that i would force a re-roll in order to put an end to the problem. I feel that there is a very basic rule in effect in this, and all RPGs; If you cannot play nicely with others, than you shouldn't be playing at all.


Roidrage wrote:
What is the story behind his cowardice? I'm actually playing a cowardly PC in a pbp, where some situations he excels but in combat he lacks but initially gains courage from his group. Is there any story that can build up his courage or is he just runs to make sure his character is at risk?

it is simply a tendency to run from a fight that proves more than an easy win, attempts at handling simple challenges suited for the party strikers while leaving the jobs only a tank could do to them out of fear of death, a general lack of conviction when it comes to ensuring party safety and dealing with problems he created.

While this is coming out a tad harsher than I intended, none of it is untrue. there have been several instances where he preformed admirably, however in each occasion the chance of incurring serious penalty for failure was almost non-existent, or else an easy escape route was available.


A synthesist summoner actually sounds like a perfect class for a coward who feels that, despite his cowardice, he wants to function well in battle. You mentioned that he is very survivable in battle. Synthesists should be, as the summoner gets to max out his mental stats, and the eidelon gets to max out on physical stats. The character could have been very physically weak and clumsy since childhood, but very intelligent, perceptive, and presuasive. He learned to summon an outsider to merge with and make up for his physical weakness. As he becomes familiar with the strength this gives him, he should be able to overcome this cowardice, but only when he is merged.


taski wrote:
I agree with you VM mercenario, and you Odraude. I had a talk with the PC in question earlier today and he is very stubbornly clinging to the idea that it doesn't matter what the party feels so long as he is playing true to his character design. I tried to impress upon him that he needed to be aware of the fact that this is a team based game and everyone's play styles needed to be considered as well, but he is refusing to back down on this subject. In the end I was only able to warn him that if his play style continued to disrupt the party as a whole that i would force a re-roll in order to put an end to the problem. I feel that there is a very basic rule in effect in this, and all RPGs; If you cannot play nicely with others, than you shouldn't be playing at all.

I really really REALLY hate players like that. Much more disruptive than anything else I've ever dealt with.


Odraude wrote:
taski wrote:
I agree with you VM mercenario, and you Odraude. I had a talk with the PC in question earlier today and he is very stubbornly clinging to the idea that it doesn't matter what the party feels so long as he is playing true to his character design. I tried to impress upon him that he needed to be aware of the fact that this is a team based game and everyone's play styles needed to be considered as well, but he is refusing to back down on this subject. In the end I was only able to warn him that if his play style continued to disrupt the party as a whole that i would force a re-roll in order to put an end to the problem. I feel that there is a very basic rule in effect in this, and all RPGs; If you cannot play nicely with others, than you shouldn't be playing at all.
I really really REALLY hate players like that. Much more disruptive than anything else I've ever dealt with.

I have to agree there. When you boil that attitude down to it's basic premise, it coames out ass "My fun is more important than everyone else's." That's not a very good attitude to bring to a cooperative/team game.


Kill him. Kill him dead with irony. Let his cowardice lead him to terrible death. Have him run away into a pack of dire wolves. Or have his scapegoating backfire and have the person he lied to want to duel him for the dishonour of being lied to, and have that person be 5 levels higher.

And if the party chooses to resurrect him, hopefully he'll have learned a lesson.

Or, give him a cursed magic item that makes him brave. Have it make him immune to fear effects and suffer a wisdom penalty or something. Or if he won't take the item, just drop a curse on him with an obscene DC. 95% chance he is forced to play his "I'm roleplaying my concept" hand. Make the coward brave, and don't let him realize it in character. Why would you go to a cleric to remove the curse, you don't know it exists. Bait him even further by making the ring not even penalize him: just make him not be able to take it off. Why would you waste money to remove a ring that makes you immune to fear?

Also, for kicks, make the item intelligent and capable of advancing, so the incentive to take it off becomes weaker and you can goad him as the GM as an NPC.

Sczarni

I would tell the players to act realistically with their characters. If they believe he is a liability, eventually they will simply kick him out. After that, it's players choice what he does with his character and what not. This seems like most nonviolent and extremely social solution to me.


taski wrote:
I agree with you VM mercenario, and you Odraude. I had a talk with the PC in question earlier today and he is very stubbornly clinging to the idea that it doesn't matter what the party feels so long as he is playing true to his character design.

That's true sticking to character design is good. But he has to aceept that this is true for everone. My pladin would need a reason to take this guy with him into a dungeon. So if there is no good reason he would leave him behind, beacause taking this guy with him would just endanger everyone.

I do not understand why the cowerd does think he has more right to stick to his character design than the other players ...

If he wanted to play a cowardly PC he should have taked to you BEFORE the compain starts. So you could have given him a special propose for the compain. Maybe he is blessed by the gods and only he can open the last door in the dungeon ahead.

This why the other players would have a reason to take him to the dungeon and protect him at all cost, so everyone could stick true to character design.

But doing the the cowardly PC and so force everyone else not to stick to character design is bad play style...

Breiti


Anyone ever see Full Metal Jacket? Remember the Soap Party scene, where they hold down Gomer Pyle and beat the hell out of him with soap inside socks because he kept screwing up and getting the platoon punished?

When you're life or death situations on a daily basis, you need to be able to trust the people in your group. If you have someone that would cut and run or, as the OP said, use them as a scapegoat, there are two options for the PCs:

1. Soap Party. Grab some stockings, fill them with soap (or oranges), and tie him down. Non-lethal, no bruising, but it gets the point across. Personally, I'm okay with stockings full of buckles :).

2. Leave him. He's dead weight and has no value. He's not the Chosen One or some nobleman, and has no skills to bring to the table. In fact, he's already proven that he's a loose cannon that'll get them in trouble by blaming the PCs. Just leave him in the next town and be done with him.

If he insists on continuing to roll with the gang, I'd say in character that he gets no share of the gold because he didn't earn it. Hell, it sounds like he caused more trouble for the PCs by using them as scapegoats. If I were in a mercenary group that did adventuring and had a little prick that would rat us out, then cut and run, he'd have a boot up his ass and no share of the treasure. Period. That's in-character logic right there.


Malag wrote:
I would tell the players to act realistically with their characters. If they believe he is a liability, eventually they will simply kick him out. After that, it's players choice what he does with his character and what not. This seems like most nonviolent and extremely social solution to me.

I agree with this one. If he's using the party as scapegoats that's totally different than attempting to take necessary safety precautions... It's directly throwing the party under the bus. Personal gain at the party's expense is a traitorous no no...

The good news is I definitely don't recommend any gm intervention at all. Let the players just leave him behind or return the favor and throw him under the bus. Some folks learn the burner is hot and still gotta touch it. So mote it be.


Son of the Veterinarian wrote:
The point of a synthisist summoner is that your Eidolon is more like a battle-suit you call into being. Think Guyver, Iron Man, the X-Men's Armor, or even a transforming hero like He-Man. You are more of a front-line combatant, a Gish, than a pure caster.

Off-topic I know, but what with it being a living suit and all I tend to equate synthesists to the Marvel symbiotes, such as Venom or Carnage. Although as you can design the eidolon to look as you choose, I suppose there's no reason you can't make them look like a metal suit.

Heck, you could even use a halfling synthesist with a huge-sized metallic biped dinosaur eidolon and play Power Rangers. All you need is the spark spell, and you're good for special effects.


Mortalis wrote:
Son of the Veterinarian wrote:
The point of a synthisist summoner is that your Eidolon is more like a battle-suit you call into being. Think Guyver, Iron Man, the X-Men's Armor, or even a transforming hero like He-Man. You are more of a front-line combatant, a Gish, than a pure caster.

Off-topic I know, but what with it being a living suit and all I tend to equate synthesists to the Marvel symbiotes, such as Venom or Carnage. Although as you can design the eidolon to look as you choose, I suppose there's no reason you can't make them look like a metal suit.

Heck, you could even use a halfling synthesist with a huge-sized metallic biped dinosaur eidolon and play Power Rangers. All you need is the spark spell, and you're good for special effects.

This, I like.


DiD any of the other characters confront him about his fears in character.

Roleplay it out, works better than forcing someone to play his character different

Liberty's Edge

WOW, not sure how to think on this. I have a wizard that has some coward-es from too many haunts. He still helps out though. I also have a synth that started at 6th. Had to become the tank cause we lost our 2 early on. In truth got to be boring cause really hard to kill him. Is it that other players dont want to be in combat, so want him to? Every thread Ive seen on synths have been that "they are too powerful" "they are hogging all the encounters" Synths can out shine other characters, but what you are saying is that he does go into combat, but retreats when he takes damage that he thinks will kill him. Does he know that he gets the synth HP, and than use his to keep it up?
As for using the party as scapegoats, not sure. Without knowing the details I cant think of anything. Do the characters know? I ave a group that need to work on working together better and dont help that they are evil pirates. I had to sit one down and ask him to work with the goals of the group, not the chelish empire. He agreed. Now if he hadnt, I wouldnt want to loose him as a player, but group comes first.


He's a synthesist summoner right? An outsider that shares his alignment that he wears into the battles he never engages in? Have the eidolon take the driver seat for feeling useless and ride AGAINST his master's wishes because it wants to help (or kill something if evil). Same alignment doesn't equal mutual agreement on EVERYTHING.


Where I'm at right now after having talked with the PC, voiced my concerns, and delivered my warning, is that I am going to step back and let the game progress. I will address those in the party that expressed a concern during our next session before we start to inform them that i have talked with the PC in question and that they should act as their characters see fit should the behavior continue. I also warned the PC that should a situation arise that jeopardizes the party because of his cowardice, to a degree that i have to alter the story to negate a TPK then i will ask that he re-roll a character that better meshes with the party. I think that after addressing the other players concerns, and my own that now plenty of warning has been given and it is entirely up to him to implement a change in his characters personality or else run the risk of losing the character.

Grand Lodge

Truthfully, kudos to the guy for sticking to his gun in the face of the party.. At the same time, As a GM and a player myself if (as a player) our party tank kept taking off and running away from fights I would ask him about it. If that didn't work I would talk to the entire party as if they chose to, we would kill off his character as a coward and a scoundrel. As a DM, the character was beginning to make other players dislike or get angry at the game I would pull him aside and warn him about it. If that didn't work I would then talk to the entire party (including him, warning him again about his actions and should he not change his attitude I will tactlessly tell him that in no uncertain terms if he kept ruining the enjoyment of the game for the entire party I WILL Henderson his character into oblivion (something like " {Insert God against cowardice/ Paladin's god} has deemed you unfit to travel with her/his champion of faith and has elected to cause your mind to slowly wither/change into a vegetable")

For me it ends up being the fact that as a player, I'm there to have fun doing a group activity and as a GM my job is to tell my story and to make sure my players enjoy themselves and the interactions within the game and should something happen and it doesn't happen I would find out what it was and change it (including, if necessary, to either kill of the character or ask the player to leave himself until he's ready to try something less damaging)

The Exchange

Well, Pathfinder's XP award system is based on the idea that you only gain points for helping 'overcome a challenge', and somebody who runs away almost immediately didn't help overcome the challenge. (Of course, technically anybody who imposes 'dazzled' for a round or 1 point of nonlethal damage to the first of nine ogres "helped," but this is one of those areas where GM judgement is suggested.)

If the summoner suddenly finds that he's only gaining XP for non-combat encounters like puzzles, traps and persuasion, I suspect the player will suddenly "discover his courage" in a big hurry.


Combined, his behavior and concept make no sense to me. IMO, a summoner would be great for a cowardly character. A summoner incredibly frightened of combat, so he calls up his eidolon buddy to fight his battles for him. But he actually flees all the time? If he's making the game less fun for the other players, then you gotta ease him out, I think.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Well, Pathfinder's XP award system is based on the idea that you only gain points for helping 'overcome a challenge', and somebody who runs away almost immediately didn't help overcome the challenge. (Of course, technically anybody who imposes 'dazzled' for a round or 1 point of nonlethal damage to the first of nine ogres "helped," but this is one of those areas where GM judgement is suggested.)

If the summoner suddenly finds that he's only gaining XP for non-combat encounters like puzzles, traps and persuasion, I suspect the player will suddenly "discover his courage" in a big hurry.

From my experience, that won't work. He'll see it as an attack on his character from the GM and become even more obstinate and disruptive with his character concept as a way of fighting back.

The Exchange

I suppose that's possible, but the thing about pouting is that it gets boring fairly quickly if it doesn't give you what you want.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
I suppose that's possible, but the thing about pouting is that it gets boring fairly quickly if it doesn't give you what you want.

True, but if you're the kind of person that enjoys ruining other people's fun as payback for not getting your way, then you can do it for awhile.

The Exchange

Long enough to give everybody several really sour game evenings - that's true.

This would all be so much easier if the OP's problem player was the sort of loveable coward that works hard to overcome the flaw, rather than the one who claims to be tough right up until he discovers what tough is.


How is this character any different than a scaredy cat rogue or a Bard.

Give him exp for RPing. Telling someone they cant play a certain way is totally lame.

But you could mess with him and give him a flaw called Stupid Bravery

At the worst possible moment you will be brave OH yes you will!

Silver Crusade

My problem with the player who plays his PC as a dick with the excuse that 'it's his character and it's his right to play him how he likes', is that if the other players play their PCs with exactly the same amount of verisimilitude then those characters would kick his to the kerb!

But most players don't want PvP, nor do they want to break up the party, so their PCs suck it up, completely against character.

So they can't role-play just so that he can.


Well, if he gets anymore disruptive, you could always drop a Tarrasque in front of the group looking for that 'last' morsel of food before going back into hibernation: guess who it picks :)

I'm just having fun with suggestions, don't take me seriously.


taski wrote:
I agree with you VM mercenario, and you Odraude. I had a talk with the PC in question earlier today and he is very stubbornly clinging to the idea that it doesn't matter what the party feels so long as he is playing true to his character design. I tried to impress upon him that he needed to be aware of the fact that this is a team based game and everyone's play styles needed to be considered as well, but he is refusing to back down on this subject. In the end I was only able to warn him that if his play style continued to disrupt the party as a whole that i would force a re-roll in order to put an end to the problem. I feel that there is a very basic rule in effect in this, and all RPGs; If you cannot play nicely with others, than you shouldn't be playing at all.

This is good. But now you need to take the nest step. Sit the Players down and explain that one of the unspoken agreements is that because D&D is a Game, everyone gets to play. But, you are not going to force any PC on the party. If the party doesn’t want the Summoner (or any other PC) all they have to do is say “Hey, thanks, and I think the team is going to go on without you. Good luck!”.

If the party sez “bye, Bob!’ then Bob needs a new PC, of course.

As to “that’s just what my character would do!” that’s BS. He designed the character. It’s not the choice of the character, it his choice. (I assume you didn’t have them randomly roll up alignments, backgrounds and character flaws)


Several people have suggested the best solution in my opinion - give the other PCs your blessing to roleplay how their characters would realistically act if confronted with a cowardly comrade and fire him from the group.


Reecy wrote:

How is this character any different than a scaredy cat rogue or a Bard.

Give him exp for RPing. Telling someone they cant play a certain way is totally lame.

But you could mess with him and give him a flaw called Stupid Bravery

At the worst possible moment you will be brave OH yes you will!

Unfortunately, life isn't all that simple. There are certain character types that don't mesh well in RPGs. Cowards, especially those that backstab you and use you as a scapegoat, are one. Realistically, the other PCs would throw him out. That's what me and my friends would do to someone we couldn't trust. So yeah, while he can RP being a coward, they can also RP people sick of his s@&%.

I wouldn't give him extra RP for disrupting the game.


Yeah. I totally support his freedom to play a coward in character... And I support the rest of the party saying 'a coward will not work for our group, you're fired... We'll hire a version of you that isnt such a ninny... Or we'll support you if this is supposed to be a character progressing from ninny to brave for story purposes...'

But backstabbing the party? Be glad you chose synthesist because that kinda makes it 3 on 2 instead of 3 on 1. And if he's doing that on purpose then shame on him for being the only person at the table who wants PVP. He should find a different table who likes that style of play more.

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