Caught between a Rock and a Hard Place


First Post
Before I begin with the problem, let me start with the backstory to this dilemma...

Many years ago I began a very long and exciting campaign with three good friends. Over the course of a few years, one of the friends had to move away and thus we had to fill the void somehow. Of the remaining players, one agreed to take on the role of that player's PC to alleviate the headache I would get from running two NPCs for the party. I was running RttToEE and the three of them were getting the hang of the rules and how to more effectively work together; the composition was as follows:

Priest of Pelor (PC)
Psion (PC)
Paladin (PC that moved)
Fighter (NPC)

Everything was going alright, but like anything in life...things change. The player that was involved with both PCs began to take a more active role in the game: researching rules, considering the intrigue of the storyline more effectively, and challenging himself with roleplaying opportunities. The other PC was content to live session by session and see what happened. Well, last weekend, the player that was playing the priest and the paladin seemed to utterly dominate the session. He had used both characters so effectively to support one another that he crushed the opposition. Meanwhile, the psion sat on the sidelines and I could tell that he was unhappy.

This; to me, seemed like the culmination of many sessions of frustration on the part of the Psion-player. Everytime this other PC would think of a multitude of ideas, he would have free reign to follow up on them through the medium of two PCs...making it much easier to accomplish his goals. You can see where this is headed already I'm sure. For every ONE action, the guy playing two characters would get TWO. I want to make something clear, I don't blame anyone at all here...the fourth character was necessary at the time and someone needed to do it. BUT now, I think there is some frustration on the part of the other PC. My objective is to ensure that everyone has a good time and if that isn't happening I think I have failed.

The problem is that the Psion-player has not really become rules savy and does not work as effectively with the other player as my NPC does; consequently, I think his potential is stiffled. He is capable of so much (as are all 13th level characters), but really doesn't play him that way. For instance, the guy had "Invisibility Purge" as one of his powers and was relying on a "Mindlink" setup between himself and the Paladin who had been buffed with "True Seeing" to fight an invisible, flying, lightining bolt hurling drow wizard. It was only until many rounds into combat did he even think to use it. The whole time he was getting inaccurate coordinates from the Paladin and guestimating where to hurl his "Energy Ball." Both me and the other player were a little shocked when he revealed this little fact to us.

Now this guy isn't a loser, he is a really good friend and an excellent roleplayer who has yet to fully make the transition to 3.x. This lag is allowing the other player more of the spotlight and creating a bit of resentment (I think) in the group. I talked to the other player about all this and he seems to think that my theory makes sense. I offered a solution to the problem: remove the Paladin character from the game (using a good plot creation device), so that everyone would have an equal share of "face time." Needless to say that the other player agreed that it made the most logical sense, but felt that he had invested alot of time into the character to see him go so easily.

So we began to discuss the most time-expediant way of removing the Paladin from the game and came to the conclusion that in high level campaigns (if you want to have everything make sense in game) it is extremely difficult to take players out without either failing miserably or killing everyone in the process. I've mulling this over for days now. I want everyone to have fun, but I don't think it is fair for one player's poor understanding of the game to cheat another's out of a very developed character. I'm at a complete loss...please help!:)

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Why not give the fighter to the player who runs the Psion?

It normally doen't take all that much time to learn to use a fighter effectively. Particularly if he has been watching how the group works together for a while.

If you would rather just remove the paladin, I would go about it this way:
Put the group in a "questionable situation" and have them make a snap decision.
I haven't read the RttToEE but from what I remember of the original ToEE it wouldn't be unreasonable to have say three or four kidnapped people being held by one of the groups in there.

Have one of the kidnapped people "escape" by killing their guard. Then have them dress up like the guard they killed and be in the process of bluffing their way out when the party comes on them.

I would set it up so the paladin has to make the snap decision of say killing the "guard" to release the prisoner.... Then boom, the paladin just killed an innocent. If you have the player in on the deal, you two could have the paladin leave the group to atone for what he did, but being the goodly warrior he is, not want the rest of the group to stop the crusade.

End result: Paladin gone for who knows how long, but the game still goes on...


As the others have said, or, if you don't feel the player of the Psion is up to playing two PCs, kill off one of the other player's PCs. Of course, then you're left with three characters when you should ideally have 5-6 (from my experience, at least), so maybe it's time to bump up their levels arbitrarily. Throw in some made-up item that grants mondo XP, or stack the Deck of Many Things in their favor.

As for how you actually get rid of the extra PC...having just gone through RttToEE, I know that there is some really lethal stuff at the higher levels. If your PCs are 13th level, you should be in the area I'm thinking of. It shouldn't be hard to come up with some inescapable doom for him. Heck, you might not have to. Even the best player fails a saving throw now and again, and I know for a fact that there's a ton of instant death stuff in the higher-level areas, not to mention disintegration (which doesn't allow resurrection).... If that doesn't work, there's always the Deck of Many Things. Change the encounter so that everyone *has* to draw a card.

It's a killer dungeon, so the problem just might solve itself.

Good luck!

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