5E Player insists on his character carrying unconscious revival around

I run a weekly game for high school/early college students. I’m older—literally old enough to be their mother. We are doing TOA. A few sessions back, the party encountered some rivals; they killed most of them, one ran away, another was knocked unconscious. While in theory we play “weekly” the realities of our schedules means we have lots of gaps, which is probably a contributor to my current problem. In the last session, the party actually entered the tomb. At the end of the session, the player in question mentioned that he still had this unconscious NPC that he was carrying. The rest of the party tried to encourage him to give up on that idea, even suggesting that we retcon that said NPC was left outside the tomb with the characters of a player who we all know won’t be back for months, as she is in college out of state. He refused. I did warn him that this would cut his speed in 1/2. (I don’t bother with encumbrance generally, but this seemed like the very least I should do). He has explained he keeps knocking the NPC unconscious.

I would appreciate some help generating ides about how to address this, both in game and out of game if necessary. Some things I’ve considered, but not fleshed out:
-have NPC wake up, but play unconscious until he can try to escape or otherwise create havoc. (NPC in question is a wizard, but is completely outmatched by the party)
-have tomb residents spirit away NPC in question when player’s character is asleep

One of the things that makes this a bit challenging is that the player doesn’t have the best social skills. He is a bit obsessive, has a tendency to school others even though he is the newest to the game, and has trouble taking no as an answer. I have good reason to believe that he has a behavioral disorder or mental illness, although I don’t know specifics. I do know that the traits that lead me to believe that are less extreme now than they were when he was younger. I want him to be welcome at the table, and I want him to enjoy the game. I want the same thing for the other folks at the table. But I also want there to be appropriate boundaries and limits.

It would not surprise me if one of the other players had one of her two characters kill the NPC in question. Both because it is consistent with that character’s personality, and because the other player’s insistence on carting this NPC around annoys her. She’s also the most frequent target of his “schooling,” which may or may not be related to the fact that she’s the only female player at the table most weeks. I’m working at putting a stop to that dynamic.

Thanks in advance for suggestions and/or encouragement.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Best use? Have the NPC wake up when they're resting, and make a break for it. If the players give chase, they hear his horrible death scream as he "finds" the next trap for the party. If they don't, they just find his corpse, hinting that the trap is there.
 

happyhermit

Explorer
I would probably make it clear that if someone is continually "knocked unconscious", before long they won't wake up. A character dragging around a person is going to have disadvantage on most things and possibly risk exhaustion. I wouldn't gloss over the fact and would be curious how the other PCs react in-fiction. I see no reason to punish the player/character but no reason to make it any less of a daunting and ridiculous task than it would be.
 

Krachek

Explorer
Roll with it, made him go conscious, and trade some clue to pc.
Sure don’t let him unconscious, or decide he died from its wounds.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
The rival should get steadily worse as dehydration sets in and become obvious to anyone who glances at the NPC that it isn't doing well. If water is forced in the mouth, make a Con check or the NPC chokes. If allowed to wake up to drink/eat/clean, start screaming and begging other party members to end the abduction/feebly try to escape.
 

aco175

Adventurer
Use him as a prop. In the moments of semi-consciousness the NPC says something about events coming up and may grant advantage to a save or finding a secret door. I don't think I would want to push the player away. You can just speak to the player as well, but the age difference or learning disability may make you come across different than you may wish.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I run a weekly game for high school/early college students. I’m older—literally old enough to be their mother. We are doing TOA. A few sessions back, the party encountered some rivals; they killed most of them, one ran away, another was knocked unconscious. While in theory we play “weekly” the realities of our schedules means we have lots of gaps, which is probably a contributor to my current problem. In the last session, the party actually entered the tomb. At the end of the session, the player in question mentioned that he still had this unconscious NPC that he was carrying. The rest of the party tried to encourage him to give up on that idea, even suggesting that we retcon that said NPC was left outside the tomb with the characters of a player who we all know won’t be back for months, as she is in college out of state. He refused. I did warn him that this would cut his speed in 1/2. (I don’t bother with encumbrance generally, but this seemed like the very least I should do). He has explained he keeps knocking the NPC unconscious.

I would appreciate some help generating ides about how to address this, both in game and out of game if necessary. Some things I’ve considered, but not fleshed out:
-have NPC wake up, but play unconscious until he can try to escape or otherwise create havoc. (NPC in question is a wizard, but is completely outmatched by the party)
-have tomb residents spirit away NPC in question when player’s character is asleep

One of the things that makes this a bit challenging is that the player doesn’t have the best social skills. He is a bit obsessive, has a tendency to school others even though he is the newest to the game, and has trouble taking no as an answer. I have good reason to believe that he has a behavioral disorder or mental illness, although I don’t know specifics. I do know that the traits that lead me to believe that are less extreme now than they were when he was younger. I want him to be welcome at the table, and I want him to enjoy the game. I want the same thing for the other folks at the table. But I also want there to be appropriate boundaries and limits.

It would not surprise me if one of the other players had one of her two characters kill the NPC in question. Both because it is consistent with that character’s personality, and because the other player’s insistence on carting this NPC around annoys her. She’s also the most frequent target of his “schooling,” which may or may not be related to the fact that she’s the only female player at the table most weeks. I’m working at putting a stop to that dynamic.

Thanks in advance for suggestions and/or encouragement.
So, why does the player want to lug around the NPC? I think this is an important question. I've had players insist on doing odd things in game before because they had some plan they want to spring on everyone at some later time and look cool. That's neat, but, as the DM, I need to know what that plan is so I can either go ahead and tell you why it won't work (if it's obvious or based on how I'll rule) or help them along with the plan by pointing out appropriate rules (not changing things in the game to help, well, likely not changing other things). The big thing here is to be a fan of the PCs -- you, as DM, should be excited to see them succeed and have fun watching what things they get up to. However, you also have a responsibility to challenge the PCs -- to put them in danger and distress so they can be heroic. The first bit means, kinda simply, don't be a dick just to thwart the player's plans and ideas. The second means do be a dick in how much you throw at them. It's a balancing act, but you work with, not against, the players to put their PCs in tight spots and see how they manage to come out the other side.

As of right now, it appears your looking for ways to thwart this player doing something with their PC, but you don't really even know what that is. It just looks weird, so you're going to do something about it. I have absolutely no problem with your ruling on 1/2 speed (it's actually nicer than I would be -- I don't do encumbrance either unless the players start abusing things, then it's time to remind them my largess has limits). I do wonder why you're looking for scenarios to wake the NPC up and cause trouble, especially since you don't know why or what the player's thinking. Communication is key, and this is something that you shouldn't build towards thwarting until you know what's up -- especially since you've noted that this player may have some social limitations.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
First? As Ovinomancer suggested, find out why the player wants to haul this NPC about.

Second? I love it when players give me ways to interact with the party. He's hauling around a tool, USE it.
Escape attempts, interference, screaming for help & drawing wandering monsters, being slightly useful to the party on ocassion, adding to the challenge of navigating the tomb, comedic relief, moral dilemas involved in keeping him captive/safe enough/alive, as a Star Trek red shirt....
Heck, he can even serve as a replacement character if someone gets killed. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a lower lv character can't contribute. Often what's needed is a player being able to search/help make plans/interact with the Tomb.
And as you award XP they'll close the lv. gap.

Third? You have read the tomb chapters right? If the captives presence becomes a problem, or his entertainment value expires, you don't really need to do anything to get rid of him.
The players will trigger numerous traps, get into fights, etc - any of wich could naturally lead to his demise. Especially if he's being kept at 0hp/unconscious.
 

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