That player in the back of the room


Lord of the Hidden Layer
Now +3 to talk to the player away-from-table.

If what he really wants to do is listen in on other people playing, there may be a way to arrange that.
This is going to sound silly: invite him to watch a few episodes of Scooby-Doo. Point out that Shaggy and Scooby want nothing to do with figuring out the mystery - it's not safe - but they contribute anyways (sometimes despite themselves). He sounds like them at the beginning of the episode.
His character concept as he is playing it out, is currently dead weight, and he is making himself unwelcome at the table. Something has to be changed. HE has control over the most important decisions.

My primary AL character is a Scout/Spy, not a fighter. I prefer to sneak around and find out what's going on.
I contribute to the group by doing so, not by adding much DPR. I'll get into a brawl if that is what's needed, or I'll shoot arrows across the room.

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Lord of the Hidden Layer
Does anybody know if the 4e discussion on "Playing A Pacifist" from the old WotC boards has survived? Some of the material there might be useful for this case.


That guy, who does that thing.
Come the new season, and he's playing a very similar character...except this one is a rogue entertainer. He roleplays up a storm...but it's the kind of roleplay he could be doing in a box...just describing how he's off in a corner playing his fiddle. Combat comes along...he hides and doesn't help. They've a few near TPKs already, and these players are getting frustrated...not because he's playing a character concept to the T...but because AL rules state that he gets an equal share of the rewards.

Yes, yes he does. He's playing a character, and the campaign rules specify that he gets an equal share of the rewards. What's next, a rule where you divide the XP and treasure based off the percentage of HP damage each character does?

Its not the first time this has come up with this player, and when I chatted about people being frustrated with his playstyle, he shrugs and says that it's his character and it's how HE wants to play it. (The argument that it's a group game doesn't hold water with him).

It's one thing if the character is actively being disruptive, killing NPCs instead of talking to them, or casting spells that 'accidentally' damage party members as well as the monsters when he could just as easily not include the party in his spells. In those cases, 'it's what my character would do' is not an excuse to be disruptive.

But in this case, the problem is that the other players simply don't like this guy's playstyle. My answer? Suck it up, buttercup -- there's nothing in the rules that says you have to make an attack roll to get the combat rewards. (If there was, it would actually invalidate a number of potential character options, such as the pacifist cleric noted. That's clearly not a good thing.)

So I'm curious...while I know I can't suggest that the DM withhold equal rewards to this player (or can he?)

Withholding rewards in opposition to the published AL rules for treasure and XP distribution would be house-ruling, which is not allowed. there anything that can be done for these players to make them feel better about carrying dead weight at their table?

Stop calling the player 'dead weight', for one? This is a problem in perception much more than it is a problem in actual rules -- take a bit of time to appreciate that D&D is not just about combat, and maybe you'll find yourself enjoying the game a bit more.

The one thing I might recommend to the DM is that, if this player is consistently avoiding combat, and not even doing things like attempting Medicine checks to stabilize fallen party members, then the DM should experiment with not counting that player against the size of the party when adjusting encounter difficulty. The downside to that option is that the party will receive less combat XP as part of their adventures because of it, but since AL has no guarantee that a party will ever receive more XP in an adventure than the minimum allowed, that's just the breaks.

The real answer? Find out what gets this player excited about D&D. In my own experience, snarking about a player or his character doesn't ever help, and only provokes the player into being even less useful to the party. Try the carrot rather than the stick, and see if that helps.



First Post
You could have 1 or 2 enemies peel off and spend their time only searching/attacking just that hiding character. I could see a zillion ways that could be justified (enemies that smell "fear", etc..) This would both re-balance the fight for the rest of the group, and give that player an opportunity for some more "fun" with their pacifistic ways.
Otherwise, after the first fight, I would allow the group to hogtie him and leave him to be picked up later (and if he passes a very high check to escape, he's lost and alone). They aren't directly harming him any more than he's harming the group, and it's a perfectly reasonable in-character response. Let those neutral/evil alignments come out :)
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First Post
So I had a few players at one of the tables approach me with an interesting complaint...He roleplays up a storm...Combat comes along...he hides and doesn't there anything that can be done for these players to make them feel better about carrying dead weight at their table?

The players complaining need to start role-playing and solve the problem in-character. The supposedly problematic player seemingly turns up, and plays out how his PC reacts to the scenario in a sensible and engaging way. The players complaining need to simply role-play out, in-character, how their PCs react in turn.

Are they angry at him for being a coward? Or are they sorry for him? Do they try to "cure" him of cowardice? Can they use a spell like Calm Emotions on him? Can they plan their tactics taking into account that he is a coward? What happens if the coward PC gets put into a situation where he is the only one who can help?, etc.


First Post
Oh boy, why can't there be more pacifists in D&D?

Probably because D&D (and AL by extension) is one of the 'old guard' RPGs still, which is fundamentally based on combat and defeating obstacles, as opposed to bypassing or avoiding them. Like it or not, home game or shared campaign, Al module or hardback, most of the time things in a D&D game are going to distill down to 'can I kill it and take its stuff?" if not literally "you need to kill it and take its stuff."

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