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

Iry

Hero
Some friends are amazing people, and still cause trouble at the gaming table.
That doesn't make them bad friends, just not right for your table.
It's okay to ask your friend to leave. It's okay if that hurts their feelings a bit.
Real friends can forgive each other over time, and a bit of bumpiness.
 

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Tiefling Works

Villager
They don't have any socialising issues. They do enjoy D&D, but they would rather do other things. They have tried to convince other players to stop playing D&D and do other things until OotA starts. We have a small One-Shot going while I wait for the book to arrive. I think I will ask if they actually want to play D&D, and if they do I will speak to them about what their goal is. I will also try to show them how to roleplay. Would this be a good idea?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
They don't have any socialising issues. They do enjoy D&D, but they would rather do other things. They have tried to convince other players to stop playing D&D and do other things until OotA starts. We have a small One-Shot going while I wait for the book to arrive. I think I will ask if they actually want to play D&D, and if they do I will speak to them about what their goal is. I will also try to show them how to roleplay. Would this be a good idea?

As hard as it may be you probably just need to set down some rules about acceptable behavior and expectations. I find it hard to believe that any particular mod is going to change much here. I personally don't care if players don't get into role playing. I prefer if they do get into RP but all you can do is show by example and encourage it. You can lead a horse to water and all.

But they need to accept that the DM makes the final call, that it's a team game and that he needs to limit phone time. If they can't you may need to boot them for the sake of the game. You'll have to decide if it's worth it.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
They don't have any socialising issues. They do enjoy D&D, but they would rather do other things. They have tried to convince other players to stop playing D&D and do other things until OotA starts. We have a small One-Shot going while I wait for the book to arrive. I think I will ask if they actually want to play D&D, and if they do I will speak to them about what their goal is. I will also try to show them how to roleplay. Would this be a good idea?
I think you have your answer. The player would rather be doing something else. They’re at the table because that’s where their friends are. They like D&D, they just don’t like it enough to fully engage.

Time to plan some other activities with this friend and let them leave your game in peace.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
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?
It’s clear your friend isn’t really interested in the game. He’s probably only really playing with you because he’s your friend and it’s something to do together. But he would probably rather be doing something else with you. Don’t think of it as kicking him out of the game, but as no longer dragging him along. You can still be friends, and do other things together, but trying to play D&D together is not working, so don’t try to force it.
 
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auburn2

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?
Assuming you are the DM, the easiest thing to do is just kill his character. Then you will avoid the difficult task of confronting the player and explaining how awful he is.

You have to plan it meticulously so it is not obvious though, have a "random' roll to see who the baddie targets, oh my it rolled you. Make your save against disintegration.
 



Assuming you are the DM, the easiest thing to do is just kill his character. Then you will avoid the difficult task of confronting the player and explaining how awful he is.

You have to plan it meticulously so it is not obvious though, have a "random' roll to see who the baddie targets, oh my it rolled you. Make your save against disintegration.

What? Why? The person is a friend so they will probably just be irritated before rolling up a new character, with whom they are likely to be even less engaged. The core problem seems to be that they don't really particularly want to play D&D but they are because that is what the group is doing.

There may be occasions with a rando person in a group who aren't actually friends where purposefully killing their character might conceivably make sense as the path of least resistance solution if you think having an actual conversation with them has no chance of success and have strong reason to believe that if their character dies they will just leave the group. I'm still not really recommending it, but sure, it might make... some kind of sense.

But the fact pattern here doesn't really look anything like that. The whole premise, per the title of the thread, is that this player doesn't care about the actual game. Punishing them in game is not only problematic, as always, but probably would achieve nothing.
 
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Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
This is very important. Get a straight answer. What does he actually want from the game?
Yeah. And be ready for what he wants. Sometimes a person just wants to be around and a part of things but doesn’t like the activity.

D&D really wants participants if the have a character. No shame being just a spectator.

my pal used to watch us play shooters but be hesitant to play himself 🤷‍♂️
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Assuming you are the DM, the easiest thing to do is just kill his character. Then you will avoid the difficult task of confronting the player and explaining how awful he is.

You have to plan it meticulously so it is not obvious though, have a "random' roll to see who the baddie targets, oh my it rolled you. Make your save against disintegration.
Sorry, but this is absolutely what NOT to do!

It's petty and vindictive;
It will almost certainly be completely obvious and will likely just cause offense;
Even if it's somehow not obvious that it was intentional, it won't solve anything because there's still a question of if the person wants to participate and that conversation still needs to be had - but now it's likely even more awkward.

Bottom line : out of game issues (as this clearly is) need out of game resolution, nothing in game is appropriate or will work.

If this person really is a friend then it's perfectly appropriate to have a conversation that 1) do they want to keep coming or not 2) if they do then to please act with courtesy, if not full engagement.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Mature adults should not be trying to solve out-of-game interpersonal issues with unannounced in-game actions.

This. I've had 2 misfires in 5E.

First one did the nice approach twice. Canceled campaign rebuilt party around the 3 players who cared.

Latest misfire kept talking over the DM, talking over the other players, didn't listen and went out if his way to be contrary to myself and the other players.

Missed session 0 where I mention the table rules/expectations.

Turns out he has also be banned and booted from multiple groups with words like dark and jokes about murder suicide and getting worse over last few months.

Got spoken to multiple times but pulled the plug on Wednesday. Then I found out about his previous history and current banning from Warhammer store.

I've heard the horror stories online about these types of players but first I've encountered the more extreme version in second example.
 


aco175

Legend
I'm stuck on you not allowing him to play the character he wants. You say that he wants to play the best PC and you say no. Not sure if best means most optimized to do damage or spells or such. Many people play optimized characters this way and there are videos and board questions on how to make certain builds. This may mean that he wants to play, but wants to play a certain PC and he may feel like you are trying to force him into something else to play the game your way. This may be a factor in him checking out.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I'm stuck on you not allowing him to play the character he wants. You say that he wants to play the best PC and you say no. Not sure if best means most optimized to do damage or spells or such. Many people play optimized characters this way and there are videos and board questions on how to make certain builds. This may mean that he wants to play, but wants to play a certain PC and he may feel like you are trying to force him into something else to play the game your way. This may be a factor in him checking out.

Players like that still a problem.

My recent one was a powergamer, one if the best archetypes and the highest stats and wouldn't listen when I didn't allow an archetype into the game that would break the game.

That was combined with him ordering the other players around, suggestions things to get them killed, being disruptive when there wasn't anything's to hit.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
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?
No, there isn't.
There are friends you can play D&D with, & there are friends you can't. He's one of the latter.
And he's telling you this. So listen.

So play D&D with one group of friends on game night & just do other stuff with him on a different day/evening.
 

Tiefling Works

Villager
I'm stuck on you not allowing him to play the character he wants. You say that he wants to play the best PC and you say no. Not sure if best means most optimized to do damage or spells or such. Many people play optimized characters this way and there are videos and board questions on how to make certain builds. This may mean that he wants to play, but wants to play a certain PC and he may feel like you are trying to force him into something else to play the game your way. This may be a factor in him checking out.
Let me rephrase. He will steal people's backstories just so his character is the best. He will attempt to kill a character just because they have an evil alignment, even though they haven't done anything. We allow him to be a character he wants, but he tries to persuade the DM to have events go the way he wants. This is for all our campaigns.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Let me rephrase. He will steal people's backstories just so his character is the best. He will attempt to kill a character just because they have an evil alignment, even though they haven't done anything. We allow him to be a character he wants, but he tries to persuade the DM to have events go the way he wants. This is for all our campaigns.

That's a cya later type scenario.
 

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