Content of the article: "First Time with First Time (Problem) Players"
I am a new DM and I have 4 players, 1 of which is experienced (Cleric) and the other 3 (Rogue, Paladin, Wizard) are new to the game. We are all good friends and I wanted them to try D&D out to see if they like it, which I do believe they do (except the Paladin) after having a few sessions.
The Cleric is experienced and I have very little issues out them. The Rogue has gotten very good in a short amount of time. They are good at roleplaying, utilizing their character to its fullest potential, incorporating their backstory to give their character quirks, etc. These two are great.
The Paladin has been extremely low profile. When asked, “Whats your character doing?” They usually gives them a meaningless task in order to avoid anything significant. I have tried throwing people their way to spark conversation but they usually give short responses or just end up agreeing with everything the other says. I have tried incorporating their backstory into events but they have forgotten their backstory and someone who should have been a source of pain for the PC, ended up baby sitting the groups piglet (which I’m not evil enough to kill off). They are so low profile and non-consequential that they even avoid fights sometimes. Its not problematic per se, just frustrating as a DM who had plans for their character only to see them in shambles because the player is nonchalant about everything.
The problem is the Wizard. They generally have ulterior motives that have derailed my campaign. Its not that I do not want them to plot or scheme but they dont let me know when they are doing these things so I may react accordingly. I have asked them all to let me know if they have ulterior motives but they simply fail to do so.
Campaign Insights: (EGtW Tides of Retribution Adventure w/ additions) The PC’s are on a pirate ship that has a mercenary hired by the government on it. The pirate captain spoke to the Cleric privately and asked them to convince their friends to join The Revelry, an organized group of pirates. On the other hand, the mercenary came to the Wizard and asked them to help arrest these pirates and become known figures within the government; friends in high places essentially.
The PC’s spoke and agreed to join the Pirates but the Wizard had other plans; they wanted to help the pirates, get the Rod of Retribution, and then sell out the pirates to the Government in order to capitalize. This is an AMAZING idea that I hadn’t even thought of but they did not vocalize this to anyone. So when time came to it and the mercenary told them, “a government ship is coming to intercept the pirates,” their plan was rightly foiled as they now had to make a choice. The cleric heard this conversation between the mercenary and the wizard and decided to tell the pirate captain. After some intense arguing between the PC’s and the Pirate captain, the group is split. The rouge and cleric want to help the pirates, the wizard still wants to help the government (even though they are still plotting something else entirely), and the Paladin staying out of the way as usual on no ones side.
The big fight came and the rogue and cleric fought with the pirates, the wizard stayed out of the way, and the Paladin for SOME REASON THAT I CANNOT EXPLAIN, was healing the Government agents??? The wizard was likely going to see how the battle would conclude and swear fealty to the winning side rather than actively choosing one. When I asked the Paladin why, they simply said “they were the most hurt.”
In the middle of the fight I decided that mutual tragedy could rope them back in and have them working together again… so I sent a dragon turtle to destroy both the government and the pirate ships and fling my party of four level 3 friends into the ocean. Of course they washed up on an island stranded with limited food and no shelter. Also the island is cursed.
Did this bring the group together any? No. Does the Wizard still have plans they do not want to share? Most likely. Does the paladin? I genuinely do not know.
I have been good about being flexible and taking these surprise turns with ease but it has been hard. The easiest solution, obviously, would have been have the Pirate captain kill the treasonous wizard but they are all new to the game so I wanted to be fair. In short, I do not know what advice I need, I just know I need it. Help a fellow DM!
- By far the most fun I’ve had with players arguing over a plan for 2 straight hours.
- A Wizard in the hand is confused
- “Minmaxing doesn’t ruin RP” thread #58217561382761289
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