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Liberty's Edge

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(hope this is the right place for this, and that this kinda story sharing is allowed, haven't found anything one way or the other, I just feel like sharing some stories about a bad player I had in a game once and ask how, if at all, I could have handled it better. Feel free to share similar stories because I'm weirdly fascinated by them)

So I once had an old friend, we'll call him K, who was a lot of fun to hang out with, but no fun at all to play games with. This eventually led to me no longer associating with him because he refused to not be in a group I was in, he couldn't stand the idea of me being in or running a game he wasn't part of.

Anyways, the longest running campaign I ever did with K was a game of Rogue Trader. I was new to the system, but he claimed to be an old hand at it but wanted me to run (red flag one) because he wanted to play. The party elected him as the Rogue Trader, since no one else really knew the rules either, but instead of playing the Rogue Trader class he wanted to be an Explorator (which should have been red flag 2) which is normally the ship's mechanic or engineer. I allowed it as I was new and he said it would be fine. Years later looking back I can see how blatantly he was cheating.

There are several moments that spring to mind, the first of which was when a planet the party was contracted to protect came under attack from a Tyranid splinter fleet. First up was the space combat, Tyranid ships are surrounded by spore clouds which make it hard to hit the actual important bit in the middle, as you are dealing with millions of contacts on sensors at any time. I did some math, thinking that the highest a player could reasonably get their ballistic skill this early in the game was mid 60s. I imposed a -20 to hit thanks to these spore clouds thinking that this would reduce any shooting to mid 40s, meaning they could reasonably expect to hit, at most, 3 times (every 10 you beat your to hit with you get an additional hit with ship based weapons) and with the tyranid ship's armor it would require at least 2 hits to get through. Combined with his ship's lance weapons (which ignore armor but only hit once) it should make a difficult target.

First round of combat he rolls the macro cannons and claims to have gotten 5 hits (I told him to take a -20 on the to hit roll) but before letting me see the roll he scoops up the dice and rolls again for the lance which he claims to hit with then scoops up the dice before I can see them to roll for damage. He does the GM thing of covering the dice with his hand so no one else can see it (which I generally see used to build tension or let the player decide their course of action without letting them know what will happen before a grand reveal of the result).

With all these hits he does enough damage to one shot the Tyranid ship. I ask him to explain how he managed to get 5 hits, and he tells me that he has a ballistic skill in the 80s or 90s (can't remember exactly). I ask him to explain how he manages it and he says he can't quite remember (he didn't bring his character sheet (red flag 3)) but promises to explain it later. Not knowing the system all that well and thinking he may have found out how to squeeze more to hit out of it I figure we'll just move on.

Despite the... hastily resolved space battle tyranid spores will still raining on the planet below, which would result in a ground battle one way or another. Taking into account his apparently vastly higher shooting skill I up the difficulty of the combat I intend to put the party through on the fly, hoping to provide a difficult enough combat that the rest of the party might have something to do.

Previously I had decided on a pair of tyranid warriors (which are labeled Elites, meaning two should make difficult encounter) and grouped them with a hoard of 30 Hormagaunts (which are minions which can and will die by the dozen). With his increased ability I upped it to three warriors and added a second group of gaunts. Additionally I upgraded one of the warriors to a venom cannon which could conceivably one shot a player if it hits.

The party gets off the shuttle and is immediately attacked by this force. K draws his own rifle and steals the rifle from another party member, declares he is going to duel wield (-20 to hit on main hand -30 for off-hand) both rifles (additional -20 for over-sized weapons) on full auto (-10 to hit) bringing the total penalty to hit to -50 for his main hand and -60 for his off hand. Getting hits in ranged combat when firing on full auto is similar to space combat in that for every 10 you beat your hit roll by you get another hit.

One round of rolls-I-didnt-see-but-totally-happened-like-for-real he got max hits with both weapons, doing over 100 damage to two different warriors, instantly killing them both (he didn't tell me he was shooting at two different targets which should have incurred another -10 or something).

At this point I called BS and asked to see how he had over 100 ballistic skill, literally higher than was actually possible, since he himself said he had no duel wielding talents. 20 min of arguing about he couldn't remember where he got all the bonuses, but totally got all these bonuses I could tell the rest of the party was upset and called the game session there.

From then on I never put him in combat again, whenever there was combat I was sure his character was elsewhere (which worked fine till he decided he hated not being involved and tried to use orbital weapons in a combat the rest of the party was having on the ground which, given the rules for orbital bombardments, would have resulted in a TPK, something he knew and was ok with). The only reason I kept running was for the other players, who enjoyed when I could separate them from K and we had some great moments.

I don't know what I could have done beyond sitting him down out of the game and force him to walk me through each step of his character creation which I sadly never managed to do. When we did hang out outside of the game he was still a great guy, which is probably why I put up with him in game and let him get away with such bull. Not saying I'm without fault but...

Anyways, thankfully we had a falling out several years ago where I finally got sick of it an called him on all his bull, pinned him down and tried to get him to explain why he can't play a normal character (apparently it's his job, his responsibility, to break rules/outright cheat and my job as GM to keep him in line, and me not knowing he's cheating means I'm a bad GM).

Maybe I could have handled it better... gotten him in line while keeping him as a friend but, honestly, I don't know how.

Anyways, that's (one of) my little horror stories. Anyone else have a bad player they just couldn't handle?

(again, hope this isn't breaking any rules of the forums, if it is then... please don't ban me!)

Sovereign Court


Liberty's Edge

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Pan wrote:


65 - 60 = more than 50?

Don't trust people who don't bring character sheets?


20something man b*!$#es about old player on the internet?

any of those work I guess

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Pan wrote:

You've got to be kidding me.

Scarab Sages

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How could a real person behave this way? It scares me that people like this exist.

Liberty's Edge

I have more stories about mr K if people are interested, this one just best summed up his thing. I mean there's the time he had a cleric in 3.5 who he claimed to have 30+ balance, diplomacy and hide at level 5. Granted that was 3.5 so I guess anything is possible. Or how he refused to abide by gear progression and somehow always started with best in slot items... in every game system... always. Or when I would take his... all but blatant cheating into account and scale up difficulties through mostly DM fiat he would get pissed off he wasn't instantly able to do anything he wanted and lambast me about how the rules said he could do something.

again if people are interested I can share more stories.

Scarab Sages

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How, exactly, was he a "great guy" outside of gaming, and how could a "great guy" suddenly turn into Captain Don't when gaming?

I've gotta agree with Closet on this one. I don't see how this kind of behaviour can constitute being a "great guy." I know my friends would give me Hell if I tried something like this, and rightly so.

But hey, at least he isn't polluting your table anymore. Are the rest of your PCs still playing?

(I'm not too familiar with Rogue Trader myself, but I love Only War and Dark Heresy, so I'd love to hear more of your stories. Although that may be off topic...Like we weren't already...)

Liberty's Edge

(sorry, had my rogue trader game tonight)

well, I say great guy, I really mean more 'we would hang out, tell bad jokes, and watch bad movies over pizza' which was fun. He had a good sense of humor when nothing was on the line and whatnot. It was just in games, be they tabletop, rpg or video, he couldn't be second best. He had to win, and not just win, he had to make everyone know he was the best to the extent that he would challenge anything which was set up as a danger.

We had a little one session game of Eclipse Phase (my favorite game setting ever) with him. The quick version of the EP combat system is that there are two kinds of enemies. Ones the players are prepared to take one and can utterly destroy, and ones the players are not prepared for and will be destroyed by. My favorite part of EP is that it encourages players to kill things without resorting to the kind of straight up slug it out combat that is common in pathfinder.

It should also be noted for the purposes of this story that death in EP is... an annoyance, but not really a lasting condition. It's high science fiction to the extent that if you are killed you can have your mind uploaded into a new body ala Cylons from Battlestar.

Anyways, the party is tasked with going to a space station (think Rama from... Rama... a big cylindrical habitat... look it up) and retaking/killing whatever caused the station to stop responding. They find the station to have been taken over by a malicious AI and that various police robots have gone somewhat nuts. Now the lesser bots, like the patrol walkers are easy to handle, they are built to deal with common criminals not a group of railgun toting military trained killers.

But the Hover drones? Those are armored and packing a pair of twin automatic railguns basically capable of one shotting players while shrugging off dozens, if not hundreds of rounds from all but the largest anti-armor rifles.

So they make contact with some survivors who inform them that there is a hover drone wandering around the area and they should probably keep their heads down. K decides to kill it. He wanders up to a rooftop, looks around for the thing (which has already seen him and is quickly moving into range) and fires at it. He hits and deals some damage, fully automatic railguns can damage it, if not a lot.

It responds with an anti-personnel missile while it gets into machinegun range, I figured that a decent chunk of damage from the things 'secondary' weapons might clue K in. Well, naturally it didn't and he fired again, not doing much. I can only protect him so long so it goes full on with double automatic railguns and, even with his frankly BS armor levels, out right kills him.

He gets super pissed and proceeds to argue for the next half hour that it can't do that, nevermind me bringing up the rules which state that it can in fact. Even after the rest of the party sneaks up, recovers his gear and cortical stack (the thing that would let them upload him to a new body) he refused to play.

Again, the only reason he got away with this for so long was A: He was my friend outside of game and B: he was really good and acting like he knew the rules. Whenever I would start demonstrating enough knowledge of the rules to call him on his BS he would get super pissy and completely ruin the game for everyone else till we switched to a new system.

And yes, several of the players are still around, after mine and his falling out the game died for a while, about a year or so, before I got in contact with everyone else and asked if they still wanted to play. Infact, we had a game earlier today (which is why this post is 4 and a half hours late). We're playing rogue trader and, without him, my carefully crafted challenges are actually holding up.

Yikes. What an utter berk.

Great guy or not, I'd walk away from ever playing with someone like that again.

I used to have a player in my group, whom I had similar problems with. I'd never play with him again though I'd still happily hang out with him in non-gaming situations.

One of his classics was waaaaay back in the old AD&D-days, where he would start every game by pestering the GM to avoid having to use spell components, because "they were so hard to keep track of", and then he'd start EVERY encounter by rapidly declaring that he cast fire shield and stoneskin before the fight began. He'd do this even when the group was actively surprised.

He'd also never roll less than 80 percent of max damage and in ten years of playing and GM'ing with his person in the group, I only saw him roll less than max HP for leveling up once, and then he rolled second-to-highest.

Of course, no one ever saw his rolls and he contributed to creating resentment within the group.

It got just as bad when he GM'ed. Not only did he obviously fudge dice, but he got visibly annoyed when a player rolled an intimidate check or his NPCs (I have literally seen him not accept natural 20s on intimidate checks in 3.5 and Pathfinder), for ANY REASON, had to appear as if they were not in complete control. Such as in a game of Dark Heresy, where he insisted that a low level clerk in a space-port in a backwards planet had more authority than a group of inquisitorial acolytes, equipped with an actual inquisitorial seal.

When the clerk was threatened with death for obstructing the Inquisition (literally the most powerful organization in that setting), he promptly and without having to incur any delay whatsoever, had the local security forces descend upon the PCs to arrest them all for attempted murder. No one had even pulled a weapon yet.

The same thing would happen in every situation where he would have to RP a situation where he was frightened. Except once, where his character had gotten drunk beyond rhyme or reason and he woke up with a headache described as earth-shattering and devastating, where he pretended to be afraid of "the horse that had kicked him in the head during the night".

Or in another situation in the same Dark Heresy campaign as before, where he equipped two players playing guardsmen with an entire armored regiment of soldiers, complete with heavy weapons teams, two basilisk artillery pieces and APCs, yet the group's Adeptus Arbites (myself) was unable to procure a schock maul anywhere, because it was "too powerful".

For the record, a shock maul is basically a cattle prod. Whereas a POWER maul is a very powerful weapon, but when it was explained to him that he probably mistook the two, he insisted that he was right all along and that a shock mall was incomperably powerful ...

... except it does very, very, very limited damage against anyone wearing even the most primitive of armor.

Sadly, there weren't that many people around to play with, which sort of made it impossible for me not to play with him for the better part of ten years until I left that town. Towards the end, it got so bad that I started fudging dicerolls too because I felt it was my -only- chance of ever succeeding on anything whatsoever whenever he was involved, both as a player and as a GM.

Great guy ... but I wouldn't play with him again if I was paid to do so.

Sovereign Court

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The Alkenstarian wrote:
I have literally seen him not accept natural 20s on intimidate checks in 3.5 and Pathfinder

Just this. A nat 20 is not an automatic success in those two systems.

True, Hama, except it was a house rule in use for those campaigns, that nat 20's were automatic successes. I should have clarified that.

The reason why, was that it was meant to give the players a chance regardless of how hopeless the situation was.

"I can always hope for a nat 20" ... a sentence heard sooooo many times in that group it beggars the imagination.

Even so, coming up against a perfectly ordinary blacksmith or a random beggar in the street with a difficulty 35+ to intimidate, when you're level 2 or 3 seems ... excessive.

Sovereign Court

It seems like a crappy GM

Liberty's Edge

Well, eventually I did walk away from him after calling him on his stuff. I regret to say it took as long as it did, but the past is the past.

Anyways, I feel like writing another story because of reasons.

There was one game I was able to play in with him, not run for once, where I found out it was quite easy to out role play him so long as we didn't have to roll play.

It was a 3.5 game in which we had found a week earlier, but I was unable to go to the first session for some reason. The GM was cool with introducing my character, a Human scout/ranger, in the second session. I was reasonably proud of the character, mechanically it was a boom-arrow build in that I was really good at putting one arrow down range a turn for massive damage and kiting enemies while being the general skill monkey that comes with 6+int skill points a level. The backstory for him was that he was from a somewhat decrepit noble family which fell apart following claims of demonic influence. To try and escape the cloud over my family I left and joined the military, served a tour before being found out and discharged for joining under false pretenses. I later found out that my grandmother was a succubus (Love the GM for the game, I just gave him this story and he ran with it) who, against my character's will, brought out his demonic blood forcing the half-fiendish template upon him.

Mr. K was playing a cleric, like he always did, which focused on melee combat. I don't know much about the build because, well, he didn't last long.

I joined the second session, as I mentioned, with the justification that the party had accepted a quest to deal with some dungeon which was somehow related to my family's past, or at least I thought so. Once I heard some heavily armed people were going there I figured I'd join them, because why not?

So I was approaching the entrance to the dungeon shortly after nightfall (I totally didn't get lost >.>) and found that the party was making camp outside. K was on guard duty as I approached and called out that I was a friend. Through what was probably metaknowledge he decided to reach immediately for the PVP option, drew his weapon and charged into the forest after me screaming. Being a scout I was easily able to fade into the forest and avoid him.

This happened again when I tried again a few minutes later after K put his weapon away. Apparently in his mind I was a threat. Well, if he wanted a fight I'd give it to him, I proceeded to kite him, moving 40-50ft a round, through difficult bush (thankyou nature stride) while trying to peg him with arrows, constantly screaming for him to drop the weapon I just want to talk. He cast entropic shield, which he apparently had prepared for no reason, nevermind he never prepped or cast it before nor since, and never failed a miss chance roll which he insisted on rolling himself.

Seeing I couldn't win I went to option number two, I passed the GM a note saying I was leading him deeper into the forest, kept up my kiting for several rounds before stopping to conserve ammo. I would then just yell insults and stuff at him. He started getting upset, blowing more and more spells which he just happened to have that had no use beyond fighting me, but as I wasn't fighting to win, despite making a show of shooting arrows at him on occasion, I just kept leading him away.

Finally I decided we were far enough, dared him to try and find me, then handed the GM another note, claiming it told him where I was hiding, which actually told him I was slipping back to the party's camp. The GM smiled and nodded at me, then went through a show of having K look for me while I slipped notes to the rest of the party.

Eventually K gave up and returned (after spending some time lost in the forest, atleast until he apparently rolled a nat20 untrained survival check to find his way back) only to find I had woke the rest of the party, told them what happened and why I was here. He was furious at this, claiming I cheated somehow and, after having the GM show him the notes I sent him, challenged me to a duel in character. He explained, before I could answer, that the duel would be using swords and magic and no other equipment.

Now, my CG ranger/scout from an ex-noble family who was kicked out of the military and was doing his best to avoid anything resembling noble interaction told him no. After claiming he had a spell which could force me to accept the duel, the rest of the party told him no, and unless he wanted to fight everyone he was SoL. For a second he looked like he was poised to do just that, then said his character stormed off.

The GM took him aside and talked with him, eventually coming back with some kind of understanding (like I said, the GM was awesome). His character still tried to kill me in character, but he wasn't very good at indirect (in or out of character) and the party always put a stop to it.

He was only there a couple more weeks before the GM got sick of his dice fudging/cheating before he kicked K out. I stuck around till the GM ended up moving to california or something and I lost touch with him. It was one of my favorite games because of the GM, even while K was there.

K, by the way, shrugged off everything he did as being 'in character' which might be acceptable, if it wasn't for every other game I've been in with him where he hasn't be openly hostile to my character from the word go. Thankfully I'm halfway decent at making good rounded characters and am very good at non-traditional combat.

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To be perfectly honest, Teneroth ... he sounds less and less like a "great guy" and more and more like a seriously disturbed sociopath. Everything has to be about him and there's -no- empathy involved.

Honestly, look up the definition of a sociopath, see if it doesn't fit.

Good grief, that second story is downright frightening. I'd be getting up from the table and backing away -slowly- until I could make a clean break for it, if I experienced something like that.

Liberty's Edge

That story was, I think, the second to last game I ever ran with the guy. These stories took place over the course of years, and, not much happened between them. I was quite upset he ruined my EP game and it didn't take much more for me to call him on his s@$*.

Just to put events in a timeline, assuming I can remember exactly when these thing happened, I was friends with him for 6 years, the first couple we just hung out and didn't do any games. We were in highschool and didn't quite know each other. The rogue trader game in the first story was in year 4 and went through year 5, the dnd story I mentioned was about the same time, and the EP game was year 6.

I don't know if it was just my growing awareness of his... issues or if his mental health has deteriorated over the years. I'm inclined to believe the latter because I have some friend son the internet who are also friends with him who say he is 'angry at the world' right now, and I may have been an idiot back in highschool but I doubt I was that much of one.

Looking back it's easy to see his bs for what it was, but at the time they were just isolated incidents. I mean, he always fudged dice rolls but only when called on it was he that upset. At least as far as I can remember.

Sovereign Court

I would say more like a full on Psychopath.

I always amazed to hear these stories and a lot of them can be pretty hilarious or very disturbing.

I'm lucky I never really had any horror stories besides two small PFS sessions where the GM was doing stupid hit and run tactics when the session already dragged on longer than it should.

Another where the people running and playing(who funny enough have been playing longer than me and my friends) didn't know the rules(specifically about Channel Energy) and didn't really listen to one of my friends which ended up with two dead characters(this session was Thornkeep Lvl 1 and was about our second Pathfinder game entirely)

Shadow Lodge

I would wager that the reason he insisted on gaming with you is because you had never called him on his crap before while others had. I've seen a couple players like that before, but we would always banish them quickly. If you don't you get used to them being that way; which starts a pattern of tolerating their crap for the sake of friendship.

Liberty's Edge

Usual Suspect wrote:
I would wager that the reason he insisted on gaming with you is because you had never called him on his crap before while others had. I've seen a couple players like that before, but we would always banish them quickly. If you don't you get used to them being that way; which starts a pattern of tolerating their crap for the sake of friendship.

ya, probably. Wish I had come to my senses sooner but... too late now.

In more recent years, since I stopped talking to k, I had a player like him show up at a PFS night and be seated at the table I was running. Being... endured to his kind of bs I was able to easily counter his s&%!. Forced him to roll on the table, in plain view, citing a personal rule (at which point his average dice roll dropped from 18 or 19 to 8 or 9) and the like.

So, if there is a bright side to this story, I did get some good GMing experience. And some midly amusing stories if they still sometimes make me angry now looking back.

when my RT game started up again (a year or so after I called K on his bs) I read through the rules again, only to realize how many he outright ignored/lied to me about. It doesn't help that book is kinda esoteric and poorly designed.

(tangent)I mean, lances ignoring armor is kinda a big deal, you THINK that would be right under their listing right? nope, it's in space combat in an unrelated section!(/tangent)

Anyways, I might be able to dredge a few more stories out of my memory if people are interested. But if anyone else has stories feel free to share them.

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