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D&D General What do I do with a Player who doesn't care about the actual game?

Tiefling Works

Villager
We are starting Out of the Abyss soon & there is a player who always wants to be the best character possible. I would allow it, but I don't think they deserve it as much. 1. They don't respect the DM's decisions.
2. They don't roleplay even after we have sent him videos about roleplaying.
3. He is on his phone, playing video games or talking while in the middle of a session.
4. He doesn't care about the enjoyment of the game for other players.
5. He doesn't care if something bad happens to people unless it has repercussions for him.
What should I do?
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I’m only seeing one side of this. But on the face of it, this person doesn’t want to be there.

Is he your friend? Why is he there? Can you do some other activity with him?

Have you spoken to him about it?

Playing video games in the middle of a session is just plain rude. That’s not a D&D issue, that’s basic socialisation.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
We are starting Out of the Abyss soon & there is a player who always wants to be the best character possible. I would allow it, but I don't think they deserve it as much. 1. They don't respect the DM's decisions.
2. They don't roleplay even after we have sent him videos about roleplaying.
3. He is on his phone, playing video games or talking while in the middle of a session.
4. He doesn't care about the enjoyment of the game for other players.
5. He doesn't care if something bad happens to people unless it has repercussions for him.
What should I do?

I think I've played with this guy. We were happy when he left the group.
 


ShinHakkaider

Adventurer
We are starting Out of the Abyss soon & there is a player who always wants to be the best character possible. I would allow it, but I don't think they deserve it as much. 1. They don't respect the DM's decisions.
2. They don't roleplay even after we have sent him videos about roleplaying.
3. He is on his phone, playing video games or talking while in the middle of a session.
4. He doesn't care about the enjoyment of the game for other players.
5. He doesn't care if something bad happens to people unless it has repercussions for him.
What should I do?

Show them the door.

Why?
Points 1, 3 are problematic but 4 and 5 are big issues and trying to resolve those are going to be a waste of time. If those two points aren't something that this person automatically takes into consideration from the jump? They don't need to be there.
 


Tiefling Works

Villager
Another problem is that I have spoken to him about what he does, but he still doesn't listen. I don't want to kick him out because he is my friend. Is there another way to make him listen?
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Just got rid of one of them the other day. Turns out he is currently also barred from the Warhammer shop and expelled from an RPG society in a different city.

So yeah boot them.
 

Another problem is that I have spoken to him about what he does, but he still doesn't listen. I don't want to kick him out because he is my friend. Is there another way to make him listen?

Ask him what he wants, don't MAKE him listen. Is he enjoying himself? If the whole D&D experience isn't his thing (and it's not for everyone), then you're probably both better off if he leaves the group. He's not going to enjoy the sort of game the rest of you want, and vice versa

A functional group needs to be on the same page about what to get out of a game. And from point 4 and 5 on your list, this is going to be an issue here. If he's your friend, then find another way to spend time together, which you both actually enjoy.
 

MarkB

Legend
Yeah, I've had a similar player in some games, and in our case he can't be kicked out of the group because it's a gaming club. He plays the simplest characters possible, even then he never learns any but the most basic of their abilities, he literally tunes out completely except when it's his turn (he has to be nudged if someone provokes an Opportunity Attack) and outside combat he's completely uninterested unless there's some opportunity to be disruptive and hopefully kick off a combat.

I have no idea what he gets out of the game. He apparently finds it fulfilling to tune in once every fifteen minutes or so and make an attack roll.
 

Another problem is that I have spoken to him about what he does, but he still doesn't listen. I don't want to kick him out because he is my friend. Is there another way to make him listen?
Repeat yourself and use assertive communication.

If that does not work hit him with a stick. Make it hurt. Some. Not too much. Don’t kill him or anything.
 



Bayushi_seikuro

Adventurer
It's been my experience with this type of player. Very often in the thirty-years of gaming, it's been a significant other being brought into the game that has zero interest.

They can still be your friend and not have to game if they don't want. Talk to them. Maybe they don't like D&D but would be totally into some other setting/system.

Another issue we don't know is this person in general. Do they have other socialization challenges? I say this as someone with a son on the autism spectrum.

A lot to factor in. I also try to go by the wisdom of Matt Colville - there aren't bad gamers/players. There ARE gamers who are wrong for your table that would absolutely love and be accepted at a different table
 



Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Like others have said, this person can be a friend but it doesn't sound like they're having much fun. Some people just aren't gamers and that's okay. I can be difficult to have a face-to-face but being open and honest is generally the best policy. If nothing else discuss this over text, but be clear that it seems like he's not enjoying himself and that he shouldn't feel like he has to be in the game.

If game nights are the main time you get to hang out with the person maybe have him suggest some alternative activity he would enjoy. Make time for that other activity even if it means every-other game night is not D&D. You'll be doing him, yourself and fellow players a service.
 


Gorg

Explorer
Just got rid of one of them the other day. Turns out he is currently also barred from the Warhammer shop and expelled from an RPG society in a different city.

So yeah boot them.
Jeez- you'd think they'd get the hint, eventually...

Annoying players are a real pain. If those players are also the S.O. of the DM, a relative etc they're an even bigger pain...

I've left games, because of turds before.

IMO, 1, 3, 4, and 5, are all big red flags. 4 and 5 are deal breakers. 3 is, sadly, becoming a sign of the times- so many people are addicted to their "electronic tit", that they can't put it away...

2 is simply a personal preference/ stylistic difference. Not everyone likes the rp parts as much as others do. Some are uncomfortable doing it. That, can be allowed to slide. If this is one of those RP heavy campaigns, the player may just bow out of their own accord. Heck, I'VE been that guy before, lol. Was totally NOT prepared for how into it they got- and unable to simply come up with that sort of stuff on the fly. Now that I think about it, their style was probably more LARPing than RP'ing. They expected you to actually CAST a spell- verbal and somatic components included! I was between game groups, and the DM seemed like a pretty cool guy. I should have taken his repeated statement that D&D was a ROLE-playing game a bit more seriously, lol. This was totally not my thing, though- so I bowed out after the first session.

On the flip side, we had a player join our group who turned out to be... different. Not a bad guy at all, and a pretty good player- but he had a few ideosynchracies that just rubbed us the wrong way. Apparently, his former group had had some trouble with him, too. One time we were mid-scene, doing whatever, and he suddenly put his thumb up to the side of his head, with his fingers spread- like half of a moose antler, lol. And started asking about something- like it was the most normal thing to do. We were stunned, and just kinda stared at him, like "wut?..." Then busted out laughing. He told us his former group made you do that, if you were going to talk out of character!! I kinda got the idea this was a special rule made up just for him, because he liked to talk a lot. It reminded me of some of the crap the guys in my dorm used to pull on their one roommate. He just didn't get that they didn't like him, and kept trying to hang out- so they tortured him remorselessly.
 

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