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


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Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
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?
Talk to him away-from-game and ask him what things he enjoys doing. Other RPGs, other games, hobbies, crafts, something has to gain his attention. D&D alas is not it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Let me rephrase. He will steal people's backstories just so his character is the best.
That’s... Very strange... I struggle to imagine how he would even do that, let alone how it would make his character “the best.” When other people share their backstories, does he just say “oh, that’s my character’s backstory too”?
He will attempt to kill a character just because they have an evil alignment, even though they haven't done anything.
When you say he tries to kill other characters, do you mean NPCs or other players’ characters? If the former, how does he know their alignment? If the latter, why do you have evil PCs in the party? This could be a problem being caused by the way the campaign is being set up. D&D is a collaborative game, the players should be creating characters that will work together, and the DM should provide them the opportunity to do so with a session 0.
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.
Like, he argues about rulings? Or he tries to get the DM to change the events that happen in the narrative? Either way, it’s important to set clear boundaries regarding player roles and DM roles.

Anyway, I’m still betting the underlying issue is that this guy just isn’t that into D&D. Probably better to play without him, and find other activities to do with him.
 

Tiefling Works

Villager
That’s... Very strange... I struggle to imagine how he would even do that, let alone how it would make his character “the best.” When other people share their backstories, does he just say “oh, that’s my character’s backstory too”?
An example:

Session 0. Everyone is making their characters, but a few people are behind. Everyone agreed that we won't have the same backstory unless they are connected in some way. I write about how my wife was killed by a Mind Flayer, and that is why my character hates them. I tell him about it and he says (As a joke) I might make that my backstory. He later decides he is going to make a different character, so he makes one, and it's backstory is how his family was killed by a mind flayer.

Does that sound too similar to my player's?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
An example:

Session 0. Everyone is making their characters, but a few people are behind. Everyone agreed that we won't have the same backstory unless they are connected in some way. I write about how my wife was killed by a Mind Flayer, and that is why my character hates them. I tell him about it and he says (As a joke) I might make that my backstory. He later decides he is going to make a different character, so he makes one, and it's backstory is how his family was killed by a mind flayer.

Does that sound too similar to my player's?
I see. Yeah, if you all agreed to have different backstories, then taking a detail like that from your backstory and just slightly tweaking it seems to go against that agreement.
 


Back in the day I'd try to work with them to get them interested in the game. Nowadays I don't put up with that crap, so I'd boot them out so fast their head would spin.
 

Short answer: Boot him.

Longer answer: If you wish to continue to be friends with the guy*, tell him that he's not a good fit for the group; explain why; stress what you like about the guy; provide examples of ways you can still hang out. And boot him.

* or appropriate other gender
 

aco175

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.
Unless he is 12 years old, you should not let him play anymore. If he is so young and immature, you may be able to explain things and mold him a bit to mature in gameplay.
 


smcc360

Explorer
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.
Masterful satire, my dear fellow. Bravo!
 

I think the problems with this player go far beyond the gaming table. This is not a problem for a DM to solve.

A therapist maybe. Or eventually a parole officer.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest
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?
So what does this person want to do? What's he trying to convince the other players to do? If your social calendars permit it, maybe schedule D&D one day (without him) and then something else this player wants to do another day?
 

payn

Adventurer
This player sounds like a Topper. Topper is a term I use for a certain personality. Toppers always try and dominate the conversation and "win". If you found a great pizza place, they know of one better. If you got the best deal around, they got the best deal ever possible. If your character's wife was killed by a mindflayer, their character's entire family was killed by a mindflayer. On and on it goes. Toppers cant really be delt with in any way but giving in. You either have to just get used to their obnoxious behavior, or you need to root them out of your life. Can be hard because Toppers are not always bad people, they just have an insufferable personality.

Good Luck.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
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?

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?

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?

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.

An example:

Session 0. Everyone is making their characters, but a few people are behind. Everyone agreed that we won't have the same backstory unless they are connected in some way. I write about how my wife was killed by a Mind Flayer, and that is why my character hates them. I tell him about it and he says (As a joke) I might make that my backstory. He later decides he is going to make a different character, so he makes one, and it's backstory is how his family was killed by a mind flayer.

Does that sound too similar to my player's?
The impression I'm getting about this player is that they engage with the game (when they do) as a competition between the actual people at the table. So character creation and writing a backstory becomes a competition between the players as to who can write (or steal) the best backstory and create the "best" character. This extends to PvP within the game, which becomes a testing ground for who built the best character because if my character can kill yours then surely I've made a better character. Influence over in-game events becomes a competition, which in D&D with its "DM decides" resolution framework, becomes a competition about who can best influence the DM, etc.

I think the thing to understand is that this sort of approach is not unusual in games when taken as a whole. No one, for example, would bat an eye if a player in a game of basketball tried to outdo the other players on the court and be the "best" player. This sort of play can involve pushing the rules as far as they will go and even bending or breaking them. People like to think D&D is different in this respect, but it isn't. Engaging with D&D competitively is a perfectly valid way to play if that's your thing. Some people are competitive about roleplaying. However, in a group that doesn't enjoy this sort of competition, it can be disruptive, which I think is what we're seeing here. Without knowing more about what you and the rest of your group want out of the game, I can't really say any more about what the actual problem is. Perhaps you're all more interested in exploring what it's like to be adventurers in a fantasy world or actively contributing to the creation of a memorable story.

The solution, as it seems to me, is to have a serious conversation with this player about what you each enjoy and want out of the game and see if there's some accommodation that can be made that will make everyone happy. It may be the case, though, that your game is simply not a good fit for this player. For example, if they have no one to compete with, they might get bored.
 
Last edited:


Slit518

Explorer
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?
Easy, don't play with them. Don't invite them to future games. If everyone else is having fun, and you have tried to make it so this player can have fun, even talking to them about what would make it fun for them, tried those things, and none of it works for you or the group, just drop them.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This player sounds like a Topper. Topper is a term I use for a certain personality. Toppers always try and dominate the conversation and "win". If you found a great pizza place, they know of one better. If you got the best deal around, they got the best deal ever possible. If your character's wife was killed by a mindflayer, their character's entire family was killed by a mindflayer. On and on it goes. Toppers cant really be delt with in any way but giving in. You either have to just get used to their obnoxious behavior, or you need to root them out of your life. Can be hard because Toppers are not always bad people, they just have an insufferable personality.

Good Luck.

Dilbert's version:
topper1.jpg
 

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