How to deal with a "true roleplayer".

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Imagine the absolute flame war if this thread was complaining about optimizers.

That seems to be the crux of it. The options are to keep playing until he learns your way is right and his is wrong or talk to him. It sounds like a tonal difference as well. He’s there for a lighter, more carefree tone while the rest want serious gaming. As an early poster said, “perfect little war machines.” Not every player is a good fit for every table.
The thing is though, and I want to stress this- this group's characters are actually quite misfit toys; I wouldn't consider them min/maxxed or optimized at all (though obviously, standards vary). In addition to my friend, we have another guy who has never played this edition before (he comes from Pathfinder) and chose options that sounded fun to him.

One of the more experienced players went out of his way to create a truly ridiculous character for the funsies- we're playing in the Midgard setting produced by Kobold Press, so he is a Mushroomfolk Bard (pick any late 60's-70's drug using rock band trope you like, he's easily a hybrid of Jerry Garcia, Jim Morrison, and Keith Richards).

As stated, my Kobold Wizard prioritized Dexterity over Intelligence and has the Healer Feat (the DM gave us all a free level 1 Feat).

And the other player is a Way of Mercy Monk who spends his ki on healing.

As near as I can tell, my friend considers these characters "too optimal" because we made sure they actually function, lol.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Right but 5e is far superior for being a fighter face than 3e/3.5 where a fighter not only has no charisma class abilities, but also is knee-capped with the cross-class skill limit of two for one cost on the skill and half level cap on ranks, not to mention the two skill points per level class allotment.

4e with the optional backgrounds could be similar to 5e, but even there they comparatively lose on the open ended 4e stats compared to 5e bound accuracy. A 4e fighter either spends their stat adjustments on charisma and falls more behind on being a fighter or spends them on fighter stats and falls comparatively more behind on face skills as levels advance.

If you want to go truly competitive face fighter you want an older skill less D&D rule set where social interactions are roleplayed out (except maybe henchmen hiring mechanics and/or optional charisma reaction adjustments).
I'll give you 3e, even though Fighters did have two Charisma skills (Handle Animal and Intimidate), their utility compared to the meager skill points of the Fighter often meant you were better served prioritizing other things. Though I endured many threads where people argued that "Fighters have so many Feats, it's no big deal for them to take Skill Focus or Persuasive", lol (which really did put them in a better spot than Clerics, who actually had a reason to think about putting points into Charisma, and had a better skill list for being a face, but equally dismal skill points and way fewer Feat options).

I vaguely recall that there was a Charisma Fighter build in 4e, but it was in a later book and I don't think it was very well-supported. And just like 5e, there were classes that mainlined Charisma that were naturally better fits for being faces, like Bards.

Honestly, my AD&D memories were basically that everyone was allowed to be a face, regardless of Charisma, as few people understood how the NPC reaction rules worked, most of the social Non-Weapon Proficiencies were in splatbooks, and at worst, you'd have to make a Charisma check.

But yes, you can play a Noble Fighter, get Persuasion proficiency and put some points into a decent Charisma and not be hampered in 5e. My first character was like this, a Halfling Battlemaster who I gave a 16 Charisma too.

Sadly, it rarely mattered for me because there was still another character in the party who had a better Persuasion check, lol.

(Completely unrelated gripe about Charisma-casters: Sorcerers and Warlocks are some of the shadiest character classes in D&D, and the ones most likely to be the targets of prejudice by the common folk. So why are they so good at talking to people?).
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
(Completely unrelated gripe about Charisma-casters: Sorcerers and Warlocks are some of the shadiest character classes in D&D, and the ones most likely to be the targets of prejudice by the common folk. So why are they so good at talking to people?).
Because they are "the ones most likely to be the targets of prejudice by the common folk..."

It's like the fat kid who learns to be funny and likeable to gain popularity. Or non-jock types who learn to become good talkers and networkers to gain power through politics that they couldn't get through physical power.

That a very intelligent or talented person who is subject to distrust and prejudice would learn to become adept at social manipulation just to get on in the world seems very believable to me.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Because they are "the ones most likely to be the targets of prejudice by the common folk..."

It's like the fat kid who learns to be funny and likeable to gain popularity. Or non-jock types who learn to become good talkers and networkers to gain power through politics that they couldn't get through physical power.

That a very intelligent or talented person who is subject to distrust and prejudice would learn to become adept at social manipulation just to get on in the world seems very believable to me.
I'd take that into account if there weren't so many edgy loner Warlocks out there!
 

nevin

Hero
I have this friend. I'm willing to bet a lot of you have a friend like this. He is convinced that "making a good character" consists of the following steps:

*Give the character a detailed backstory.
*Give the character unoptimized ability scores, justifying them with said backstory.
*Have the character make decisions based on the personality he gave them.

Now some might say this is a great way to go about things, and I used to agree, but lately, I've grown tired of it.

His idea of a great character is making a Rogue with 16 Strength, 12 Dexterity, and playing them like a Fighter in D&D. Or playing a Fighter and giving that character a 16 Intelligence and Charisma. Then, rather than take actions that directly help the party, he'll fiddle with torches and oil for a few turns to hit enemies for 1d6 fire damage, running the risk of lighting himself or his allies on fire as well.

In a recent battle, the party Wizard cast Web to give the group some breathing room while fighting some zombies. At which point my friend goes "great, now that the zombies can't move, I'll light them on fire!", which of course, destroyed sections of the Web. When pressed on this, he stated "it's what his character would do".

Further, he seems to have a terrible attitude towards players who don't make characters the way he does, even when he struggles in combats to hit enemies because he's decided a 12 Dexterity makes him a perfectly acceptable archer, or he'd rather use a sling than select an attack cantrip. And when he talks about his characters, he brings up all of these things as evidence for how "superior" his characters are.

It came to a head last session where we had a TPK because he got it into his head to attack a Hill Giant that was in the area. The DM had told everyone they spotted the Giant, and could easily avoid it; it was simply a warning that there was a Giant in the area, not an encounter. My friend fired a crossbow at it to get it's attention, and said he would run from it and then the party could attack it from behind. So they all hid, and he led it on a chase into the woods.

Well, he thought it would be a chase, but the Giant has a speed of 40, and his Dwarf has a speed of 25. He tried to hide in the underbrush, in heavy armor, with his Dexterity of 9, and failed to get anywhere near the Giant's passive perception. Now, remember, this wasn't intended to be an encounter at all, and I don't think the DM was trying to kill anyone. Instead of attacking, the Giant taunted the "silly little man".

"I don't take insults at all!", says the Dwarf. "He has offended my honor! I jump out and attack him!"

The result was one splattered Dwarf, and the rest of the party decided not to engage the Giant. Afterwards, my friend had nothing but scorn for us for not following his "foolproof" plan, and complained that the DM was a "killer DM" for using a Hill Giant as an encounter. When the DM said that's not what was intended, the response was, "I'm a Dwarf! We hate Giants! If I see a Giant, I'm going to try and kill it! So yes, that's an encounter!"

I haven't heard anything but complaints from him since, about how it's the DM's fault, it's the system's fault for not rewarding his "good play", and then he backhandedly insulted me, because I'm playing a "min/maxxed character". I'm playing a Kobold Wizard with more Dexterity than Intelligence, who took the Healer Feat to help the Cleric keep the party healed! What in the...

I've known this guy for awhile and I consider him a friend, but what can I say to him to get him to realize that "good roleplaying" doesn't necessarily mean "sabotage your character, then try to blame everything else for your bad decisions"?
I'd love to hear the entire justification for the Player for the fact that his player is batshit crazy and doesn't ever learn. But I'd just let him be dead and do my best to make sure any stupid decisions that should TPK party in future just kill his character. He'll either learn or have fun dying. Good luck. I lost a good player once because he couldn't accept that actions have consequences. He thought roleplaying was his time and he could just be stupid, an ass, screw the party, poke the dragon etc. Eventually the party cleric stopped healing him, the melee types stopped aiding him and he left the game. I never did get through whatever disfunction in his head made him think he should be able to act without consequence, and that it shouldn't bother everyone else who played more sane characters.

My other players had a lot more fun without him though.
 

nevin

Hero
I'd take that into account if there weren't so many edgy loner Warlocks out there!
Even Edgy loner's have to take into account people don't like them and they have to put twice as much effort into communicating things to get buy in from those people.
Loner doesn't mean stupid with no social skills.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I had three idiots like this 2015. They weren't close friends.

6 person party. Tried asking them to focus a bit more on the team.

Ended up booting all three. If they're incapable of changing they can go find a different game.

Two of them got kicked out of two other games AFAIK they couldn't get games after that.
 

damiller

Adventurer
I finally learned that I am either ok or not ok with "x" behavior in the games I run (i only GM). If I am not ok with the behavior I take some time to determine HOW un ok I am with the behavior. Can I do something different so the behavior doesn't bother me as much? If I can't. I am not having a discussion about it with the person. I'll let them know as tactfully* as possible that the behavior is not ok at my table. I take "notes" about the interaction. Then I do the same thing I said above, "am I ok with their behavior during this interaction?". And I'd check in with myself. Then I'd go about playing. If they did something that didn't work I'd let them go, or I'd end the campaign if I was running a group that knew each other.

Now I run games exclusively online, most of the players I run games for are people I barely know, and this is easier said than done. But for me the key is to focus on MY own choices, and make them. And caring enough about myself enough to not put up with things that do not work for me.

For example: I run a game bi weekly. A new player joined up. They coudln't make the first session, they let me know that when they joined. Great. I run a different game on the off weeks. The player thought we were playing. I told him no, the game he is in bi weekly. Now. I am not ok with the fact that he didn't read the game description. Didn't know it was a bi weekly game. He then told me he'd be gone for the second session. I realized this wasn't ok with me. Again, he didn't read the game description, because I specified in the post that I was looking for players who could prioritize game time on game day. So I told him that this didn't work for me, that I look for players who can prioritize the game. He said he was fine if I wanted to find some one who wasn't so busy. So I let him go.

*neither blaming them NOR demanding they change, im just giving them info so that they know what they are doing, doesn't work for me.
 
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Hex08

Hero
I have this friend. I'm willing to bet a lot of you have a friend like this. He is convinced that "making a good character" consists of the following steps:

*Give the character a detailed backstory.
*Give the character unoptimized ability scores, justifying them with said backstory.
*Have the character make decisions based on the personality he gave them.
Point one I have no issue with and it can be a part of good roleplaying.
Point two is ridiculous. If you don't have some aptitude in your chosen field you probably won't get started in it. If you do get into that field then you won't succeed in it, you probably won't enjoy it and you will be frustrated by constant failure. It's like a person who graduated with an advanced degree in a science and never went to the gym wondering why they are a lousy boxer. This is poor roleplaying, especially if done more than once as a funny one-off. A character shouldn't have to be completely min/maxed to be considered playable but competence should be an expectation.
Point three I also, generally, have no issue with. However, RPGs are a social game and the player character's personality-based decisions have to be tempered with an understanding that everyone involved is obligated to not try to ruin the game for everyone else.

Hopefully this player is open to having a reasonable conversation about his play style and make some changes but if not maybe he isn't right for your group. It sucks if he is a friend but I kicked a decades old friend from my gaming group a couple of years ago and, luckily, our friendship survived.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Point one I have no issue with and it can be a part of good roleplaying.
Point two is ridiculous. If you don't have some aptitude in your chosen field you probably won't get started in it. If you do get into that field then you won't succeed in it, you probably won't enjoy it and you will be frustrated by constant failure. It's like a person who graduated with an advanced degree in a science and never went to the gym wondering why they are a lousy boxer. This is poor roleplaying, especially if done more than once as a funny one-off. A character shouldn't have to be completely min/maxed to be considered playable but competence should be an expectation.
Point three I also, generally, have no issue with. However, RPGs are a social game and the player character's personality-based decisions have to be tempered with an understanding that everyone involved is obligated to not try to ruin the game for everyone else.

Hopefully this player is open to having a reasonable conversation about his play style and make some changes but if not maybe he isn't right for your group. It sucks if he is a friend but I kicked a decades old friend from my gaming group a couple of years ago and, luckily, our friendship survived.
Even old-school D&D had prime requisites. Roll under a 15 strength? You can't be a fighter, period.
 

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