Dealing with an annoying playing attitude


Advice

1 to 50 of 59 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

I am a relatively new (4th time) GM (and first time poster) looking for advice on how to work with a player who wanted to originally play Chaotic Evil as an excuse to essentially cause as much mayhem and destruction as possible, but has since ceded to playing Chaotic Neutral (leaning towards Chaotic Stupid, unfortunately) so that everyone, myself included, can enjoy the game. The main issue is that this player has acted in ways that are consistently preventing the other players from progressing much, if at all. Ultimately, I believe that if he cooperated with the rest of the group so that they could start getting into actual encounters he would find things much more enjoyable, as he would be able to start killing and wrecking things without disrupting the other players' attempts to gather information about bad guy jr and bad guy sr. I have talked to the player about this problem and he got better at working with the party for a few sessions, but he has since relapsed into his previous behaviors. This has impacted both my own level of enjoyment and the enjoyment of other players. I would like to avoid giving the player the boot, as I believe that he is capable of working with the group if he wants to. Therefore I am hoping for recommendations as to how to work with this player and the rest of the group so that everyone enjoys themselves. Would it be recommended to talk to the rest of the group and see if they are willing to help me out on this front?
Thanks for any and all help.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Tell him to leave. If he asks why, read him this post. If he says no, you leave. He doesn't even have half an excuse.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Tell him directly that he needs to behave. Pathfinder is a social game that relies on everyone interacting in acceptable ways for everyone to have fun.

Tell him that his action are not acceptable, and that he needs to change or he is no longer welcome at the table.


well...welcome to the Bane of RPG GMs and players alike...
The Chaotic MEme.
A player that wants to play a CE or CN (and in their mind there is no difference in how they will portray them..just a way they get a GM to agree to its inclusion)
Such player rarely..if ever change and play nice with others..and will always be sitting there waiting to cause problems and suck the spotlight directly on their PC and its antics.

Cut him loose for yours and your other players sanity.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Been there. Done that. Learned my lesson the hard way.

Get rid of him before your pleasant players leave. Bad drives out good. If you don't get rid of him he'll get rid of the players you want to stay. Link 1. Link 2.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some people socially express themselves by messing around and interfering with others. Usually it's annoying, but sometimes it's cute and funny.

For a messy party game like 4 player Super Mario, this kind of behavior is usually more acceptable and can even enrich the gaming experience. This is because the penalty of losing in Super Mario is relatively light. Even if one player dies, they reenter the game immediately.

For Pathfinder, both players and GM are required spend hours of preparation time, and the penalty of losing is a lot higher, because dying in Pathfinder means spending many more hours to reenter. Unfortunately, not every player subconsciously accepts this.

I think other TRPGs might be more in line with the troublemaker's personality. I hear Paranoia is a good one, but I haven't tried it myself.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Before you kick him out, ask the other players. Gauge their feelings.

Then kick him out.


I remember a bad player I had, I straight ended a session because he try making the excuse that because he rolled good bluff his dragon ( he was a 3pp dragon rider) was a cat. It pissed me and everyone at the table off


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The attitude is getting toxic. Get him out and gone before your taste for your own game gets ruined and you scrap it altogether. Speaking from personal experience.

You've already talked to the guy, and he's still being an issue. If he can't learn to be sociable on his own or with others on non-game time, it isn't on you and the rest of your friends to teach him when you all made the effort to get together for a game. And that effort to get together gets harder and harder every year as folks for whatever reason get different priorities or free time, so you'd best appreciate now while you can without someone disrupting it for ***** and giggles.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Before you kick him out, ask the other players. Gauge their feelings.

Then kick him out.

I've had to do this before and this is exactly the route I took. I had lunch with each of my players one-on-one over the course of a week and asked each of them their thoughts about the problem player. To my surprise, all f them said he was being a disruptive jetk and needed to go, including the one guy that had been friends with him since forever. It made the decision much easier to know everyone was in agreement.

-Skeld


Skeld wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Before you kick him out, ask the other players. Gauge their feelings.

Then kick him out.

I've had to do this before and this is exactly the route I took. I had lunch with each of my players one-on-one over the course of a week and asked each of them their thoughts about the problem player. To my surprise, all f them said he was being a disruptive jetk and needed to go, including the one guy that had been friends with him since forever. It made the decision much easier to know everyone was in agreement.

-Skeld

I have found that is often the case with problem players. Everyone's a bit hesitant to be the first guy to bring it up, but once one person mentions their issues the rest will quickly follow suit.

Grand Lodge

I have had to boot many of disruptive players that just refused to play nice in my 22+ yrs of DM/ST/GM'ing. I would definitely talk to the other players first but more than likely if he is causing troubles for yourself as a GM then he is annoying others as well. Cut the cancer out before it can grow!


Well, everyone agrees, so do I.
So I am going to try to say something interesting. What is worse than chaotic stupid?
The loud and aggressive player who manages to suborn the GM. Always gets their way because its easier for the GM. I don't think the GMs realise what they are doing, they just sort of slide into it.
The loud player who insists on doing most of the roleplaying.
At least with a chaotic stupid player the other PCs get to do something.


I have, thankfully, been lucky with my players and have yet to have a truly disruptive player. I have had a slightly disruptive character but it never got out of hand because I instituted a simple rule. "Your character is not entitled to special treatment by virtue of being a Player Character. You are part of the party because the rest of them want you to be there. If they don't then you're gone. You're more than welcome to bring in a new character but they're still subject to this rule." To be fair that rule really only works if the rest of the players are also nice and willing to work with odd concepts and not bully a player into making a healer or skillmonkey or whatever. Every time the problem character decides the solution is mass murder or explosions or whatever, the other characters can gently remind him that leaving them there is an option.

For your specific situation... yeah, don't let the guy who wanted to play chaotic evil play chaotic neutral instead. There's a whole trope for this somewhere, I'm sure. Far too many anecdotes of people, told "no evil", playing chaotic neutral like chaotic evil. If you don't want to get rid of the player I strongly recommend instituting something like the rule I did and letting the players choose what to do with the problem character. If the player keeps up the shenanigans then the other players can keep kicking his characters out of the party (or not letting them in in the first place) until either he learns his lesson or gives up.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

1) Talk to him about it

2) Give him a recurring NPC he can taunt instead of the party, and use his chaos as part of your story.

3) Kill the character

4) Kick him out.


I can't add much more than say "Agreed". There is a reason I would let a Lawful Evil party member at my table and not a CE or even a CN one. LE is much nicer in a group based game as Pathfinder is.

Liberty's Edge

I agree that the guy needs to go... anyone who shows up with the intent of simply disrupting everyone else fun has some serious growing up to do anyway.

I don't blame the alignments though, those are just an excuse people use to play Chaotic Stupid or total assclown. Too many people seem to think that evil alignment = raving lunatic, serial killer type. I just make sure the player knows that their words and actions have consequences in game and being a particular alignment doesn't excuse them from how others will react.


Kill him.

I mean the character...


Kill him. I mean the player.
Just kidding, but I couldn't resist for some reason.

Anywho! I've seen many, MANY posts like this one over the years. Many times, it seems like they just don't really seem to care as much because they kind of want to be overly silly or violent in-game. But it is very true, if it makes a game not fun for a lot of the others, including and possibly especially the GM/DM, it will eventually be the end of the game due to lack of people wanting to play, or even you not really finding the drive to work on it because you're not having fun anymore.

Though in the sake of fairness, maybe give him x strikes, or just instruct him that he's still doing what he had been talked to about. Then maybe sit down with everyone, get their opinions, and see what they all think. Basically just try not to bully the guy, but definitely let him know he's affecting others' fun. Sometimes people just don't know they're affecting others' fun.

Or you can always go with the in-joke me and my group uses. "An army of paladins crest the hillside".


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Magda Luckbender wrote:

Been there. Done that. Learned my lesson the hard way.

Get rid of him before your pleasant players leave. Bad drives out good. If you don't get rid of him he'll get rid of the players you want to stay. Link 1. Link 2.

This is true. I've left tables because of bad players before. I've seen good players leave tables that have bad players.

Games fall apart quickly due to one bad apple. Get rid of them.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

After my group has dealt with problem players a lot over the years, my advice is get rid of them. Players like that don't change. Everyone has their own gaming style and sometimes being a chaotic mess is it. There is one group of people we wont play with for that reason. They just do things to screw each other over. So just get rid of them.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I had a player (in a group of 7 PCs) who was kind of disruptive. Always the weirdo, always the sadist, always the psycho, and always the loner.

When a tunnel forked and the party decided to go left, he'd tell me his character went right.

I tried to deal with that in a mature fashion; the first couple times lightly bad things happened, but eventually I escalated. I told him "we'll come back to you to find out what you find in a bit". I continued with the rest of the party, who basically cleaned out the top floor of the area (Thistletop, RotRL), and eventually found him, where he was literally being eaten alive by some denizens.

The party saved him, but I left him with a finger missing as a reminder. The party cleric talked to him pseudo in-character, and we discussed it out-of-character too, especially how a DM can't run two simultaneous areas well.

He agreed. For about two weeks. Then ultimately left the group.


I'm about to start DMing a campaign, and one thing that terrifies me, is the possibility of this kind of attention whoring. I have a few players coming in who are very new to tabletops and have not been immunized or taught about this behavior.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you do decide to give the player a chance to change his behavior, try giving him very specific guidelines about what is and is not acceptable.

So instead of saying "you have to cooperate more", give him specific examples of what you mean: stop stealing everyone's stuff, stop running off alone, don't kill the NPC when someone else is trying to talk to them, etc.

Your first goal, of course, is to preserve the integrity of the group and enjoyment of the game. You second goal, if possible, is to help the disruptive player do better next time--if not in your group, then somewhere else.

If the player honestly doesn't understand why his behavior is a problem, then it will just continue. Helping him understand the exact problem can potentially redeem a bad player. (Now, if the player does understand and chooses to do it anyway, then smite away.)


I would be inclined to give him another chance after having a talk and getting an explicit aknowledgement of wrong doing. But if the other players are against it, sorry maybe next campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Montezuma wrote:
I'm about to start DMing a campaign, and one thing that terrifies me, is the possibility of this kind of attention whoring. I have a few players coming in who are very new to tabletops and have not been immunized or taught about this behavior.

Just be really, really, really clear up-front that you are running a team campaign, and that behaviour which disrupts that will not be tolerated.


Montezuma wrote:
I'm about to start DMing a campaign, and one thing that terrifies me, is the possibility of this kind of attention whoring. I have a few players coming in who are very new to tabletops and have not been immunized or taught about this behavior.

Don't be terrified just crush their hopes and dreams with fire. Lots of fire.

Slightly more serious....you've got the opportunity to teach them some good habits, show them how much fun it can be if no-one is going out just to spoil the evning for everyone else.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.

This type of player never changes. Ever.

Get rid of him.

Reminds me of a story I read on the PFS facebook group awhile back. The following are not my words.

"This reminded me of an old (14 years ago) game I played once at college. A guy (who was incidentally studying to be in some sort of law enforcement) wanted to play CE. GM said no. So he said CN. Ok. GM sets scene, entire party gets the "we need to go here". He says "what's at the other end of this tunnel?" (where we started was in a tunnel). GM says "nothing, that's not really the way you are supposed to go to get to the lair... you can see" (or something to that effect). He decides "I'm walking down this tunnel." GM says innocently, "For how long?" He replies "until I get to the other end." GM says "I might be a couple hours walk, it is a long tunnel." He says "OK." GM says "OK." GM turns to us and runs the scenario (we had all tried at least once to convince him to come). About an hour later the CN guy says "When are you going to tell me what's at the other end of the tunnel." GM says "When you get to the other end. You aren't there yet." Player finally... yes... he sat there (mostly) quiet for an hour... gets... the.. hint... and says "I start walking back." The GM says "Great. That will probably take an hour or so." And continues to finish the adventure in the two hours we were playing that day. That GM deserved a BONUS STAR. lol."


Gwen Smith wrote:

If you do decide to give the player a chance to change his behavior, try giving him very specific guidelines about what is and is not acceptable.

So instead of saying "you have to cooperate more", give him specific examples of what you mean: stop stealing everyone's stuff, stop running off alone, don't kill the NPC when someone else is trying to talk to them, etc.

Your first goal, of course, is to preserve the integrity of the group and enjoyment of the game. You second goal, if possible, is to help the disruptive player do better next time--if not in your group, then somewhere else.

If the player honestly doesn't understand why his behavior is a problem, then it will just continue. Helping him understand the exact problem can potentially redeem a bad player. (Now, if the player does understand and chooses to do it anyway, then smite away.)

I want to voice my agreement with this. You make it clear what's expected of him, and tell him he has exactly one more chance. If he can enjoy playing cooperatively, he might behave better. If not, he won't. But at worst, he'll mess up part of one session before you tell him he's violating the terms under which he could continue and at that point you'd send him packing.

There's at least some chance he doesn't know what he's doing is so bad or why. So make that very clear to him, and how he's expected to behave. It costs very little to give him one final chance.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Devil's advocate, we're only getting one side of the story. The difference between a psychopathic jackhole who is constantly attention-whoring and the character who just doesn't care for railroaded, often-nonsensical and monologue-heavy blathering is often perspective.

But I doubt that's the case here.

Kicking from the group is inevitable, acceptable "still friends" options generally revolve around other games which are more the player's speed, like Magic, Munchkin, a number of faster-paced board and card games, and 4th edition (Heyoo!).

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My attitude is that a player isn't completely free in what he can do with his character.

The foremost and most unbreakable rule for character conduct is that the character's actions must be furthering the story of the party. No player has a right to break off from the party and hog the spotlight. No player has a right to use "but it's what my character would do" as an excuse for behavior that is detrimental to the party.

When you tell the players that you have those rules, even evil alignments can be rewardingly played.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sometimes you just have to pull the rotten tooth. If he has already been told that his behavior is ruining everyone else's fun and he refuses to change, then it is time to replace him.

Silver Crusade

You poor bastard. My condolences. I have players who are forbidden to play certain alingments. I also don't allow evil and am fussy about character approval. With my current group my worst problem is players not quite knowing what their abilities are.

Grand Lodge

I have a player who is forbidden, by agreement of everyone in the group except him, from ever playing a character who uses explosives or area effect spells. He's not a bad guy, but he loves explosions and is very foolish in their application. He has killed eight other PCs with unwise (mis)use of explosives and area effect spells. He's killed two of my characters this way. He's also killed himself thrice. After the third time he killed himself, and took down his allies with him, we all agreed he is forever banned in our games from playing a character who uses explosives.

This is a rare example of a problem player who was able to abide by rules and stopped killing his allies. So long as his characters don't touch explosives everything is fine.

This probably won't work for your problem player, as your problem seems much worse.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...we need a sticky thread called "How to deal with problem players." The entire contents would be the following, applicable to all problem players.

Step 1.) Talk to player like an adult.
Step 2.) If behavior persists, kick player out.
Step 3.) If step 2 is not within your power, leave the group.

I mean, really, it boils down to those three every time.


I advocate a frank discussion with him on what his antics are doing to everyone else's fun, since he is oblivious to it ( or is an a hole). On the flip side, why would the other characters travel with someone like this? They could simy leave town without him. :)

The Exchange

Since you've already stated that you don't want to boot him try this.

For the first part of your next session, have each player outline what the goals of their charcter is in the world.

After each player has stated their goals, ket them discuss how they can work together or how they might clash occasionally.

Explain that small clashes of interest are ok very occasionally in roleplay games, but not as a regular occurance, and certainly never as a major clash.

If it turns out most of your players cannot reconsile a way that their character can interact with the character causing the issue, then tell that player he must change his goals to better fit the group.

If he cannot manage that, then politely ask him to explain to th rest of the group why his character should be allowed to stay and potentially ruin their fun. If this is not a suitable or amazingly good reason, then say thanks but no thanks, time for you to leave.

Making people accountable for their own actions in a public discussion can have a great effect. In this case, it will allow other players to express what they want from the game very clearly and may give all of them a chance to see a way for things to work.

It is also a good way to have a group consensus of whether a player should remain or not. Very few people like confrontation, especially if its going to be agressive from one side of things. This at least gives you a chance for a united front with your other players if things don't go well.


If the player himself is your friend and isn't himself toxic, then I can't support the advice of "boot him." if it's just his play that's subpar, that's its own problem, but if you're like "No bob, you can't come over for game anymore," that WILL damage a friendship.

You say you've talked to him about it... Are you SURE you have? 'Cause it's the sort of conversation that can all too easily lend itself to both parties thinking they had a different sort of conversation. Don't be passive. Don't be meandering. Just be like "bob, this is what you're doing, and it's really knocking over apple carts." Avoid saying "Bob, this player and another player say..." because that will immediately put it into an "us vs. them" argument that will sour relations around the table. Make it between you and this guy, your observations and opinions of what he's doing.

Find out why he plays like this. Is he even actually aware that he's being disruptive? 'Cause, no offense to my fellow gamers but some of us aren't exactly sharp on the "social cues" thing, and a glower over the top of a character sheet just isn't sufficient, y'know?

Also remember that IC actions have IC repercussions. You didn't say what kind of actions this character is up to, but it could get results ranging from the rest of the party simply ditching him, to lawmen coming to collect him, or something like that.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Removed a post. Suggesting actual physical violence as a solution is not OK on our messageboards, even in jest.


I suppose you could try using operant conditioning.

Lavish the player with praise on those rare occasions when they don't act like a pain in the butt, completely ignore them when they misbehave. Bring a bag of candy and hand them a piece when they are a team player.

It means you're treating your player like a puppy, but if you absolutely insist on not following the big 3 that actually work, you need to get creative.

I hope you realize I'm being incredibly facetious here. Any adult human that you need to treat like a baby dog to get basic cooperation out of is NOT worth the time and effort it takes. Especially because while O.C. does work to modify behavior, it takes a lot of time, it requires the player actually doing something worth reinforcing, and it is all immediately ruined the minute anyone, including the other players, engages their negative behaviors.

And again, who has the time to train another adult to act with basic cooperative niceties? You're at the table to enjoy yourself, not raise a child.


Montezuma wrote:

Kill him.

I mean the character...

Really don't.

Killing PCs really never solves this type of problem, and can often make things worse.

It sounds like you've tried communicating with the guy, and if he can't make the effort, then it's time for him to go.

Once he sees that you're serious he might hem and haw about how he'll really clean up his act. Give him another shot if you like, but don't expect results.


I feel for the OP. Having the same issue in one of my groups that my wife is first time DMing. One of the players has the attention whore syndrome something awful and is also CN. Uses the alignment as an excuse to literally do anything including not helping the group in combat.

What we've done is talk to the other player and came to the agreement that if the behavior continues we will simply tell problem player to cut the crap or leave the game. That would mean their boyfriend would leave the game as well but there's no point in playing a game that is not fun.

So my advise would be talk to the person again, tell them this is the last time you will bring this up (since you mentioned you already had the "come to Jesus talk") and if this continues they are kicked out of the group.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've been in this situation four times in 38 years of GMing. My advice is -DON'T- ask the other players their opinions. They'll hem and haw because they don't want to get anyone in trouble.

You are the GM. This is one of the few unpleasant aspects of that position. Only you can do this. It cannot be done by the group. Politely but firmly tell the player that he needs to find another group to play with. Be calm but be firm.

You will not rehabilitate this guy. You will not outwait him. He is a Fun-Vampire and will suck the life out of your game. Cut him loose before your better players find better things to do with their time and before you come to hate running the game.

I have never enjoyed asking someone to leave my game, but I have also never regretted it.

Grand Lodge

^^^^
This. Like Tarondor says, this player is a fun-vampire. Cut him loose, and do it soon. Nothing else will work.


Grond wrote:

I feel for the OP. Having the same issue in one of my groups that my wife is first time DMing. One of the players has the attention whore syndrome something awful and is also CN. Uses the alignment as an excuse to literally do anything including not helping the group in combat.

What we've done is talk to the other player and came to the agreement that if the behavior continues we will simply tell problem player to cut the crap or leave the game. That would mean their boyfriend would leave the game as well but there's no point in playing a game that is not fun.

So my advise would be talk to the person again, tell them this is the last time you will bring this up (since you mentioned you already had the "come to Jesus talk") and if this continues they are kicked out of the group.

I remember your thread, and it's nice to hear that it has come to a good conclusion so far.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have to make this clear.

Talk to him directly.

You cannot, and should not, avoid this.

Take him to side, and tell him exactly what it is doing, and what it is doing to you, and others.


Another option, if this guy is actually a friend and might get butthurt over getting a talking to or kicked out and you want to maintain the friendship - Pathfinder "can" be a big tent.

But the Players and DM have to have a sort of agreement on what kind of game they are playing (even if this is not said outright.)

There is room for a player that wants to kill and maim and slay and break the game, if there are other players who want to do the same and a willing DM to run that kind of game.

So *if you are willing* you could ask yourself and the other players if it might be possible to start up a different additional campaign that allows or even encourages that kind of game.

Have him do his disruptive PC in that game and force player cooperation in the other.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Anyone I call a friend, should be able to handle me taking them aside, and letting them know, they are being a dick.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I like both communications and mercy, but... there's a limit.

You've already talked with him. Do you want to get in an endless cycle of this where he reforms for a session or two then backstabs?

Boot him. Tell him that this character is no longer welcome in your game. You want team players only. Don't apologize, just do it short and quick and clean.

It's your game. You set the rules.

Not recommended, but something you can do if you feel it needed:
You can also let him return a few months later if you must, but it would have to be with a different character concept entirely -- a team player.

1 to 50 of 59 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Dealing with an annoying playing attitude All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.