Content of the article: "How to Deal with a Potential Problem Player"
I am a relatively new to DMing, however I am a long time player (roughly about 7 years). I am currently on my second campaign and I am running into issues with one of my players which is a mix of problems from the first campaign as well as some new ones that have emerged. I am posting as a mix of venting and looking for help. If I'm the one being a bad DM, so be it. I will work on becoming a better DM. But I just want to know if my player is actually a problem, or not. Or a mix of both. Sorry in advance for the super long post as I want to get out as much context as possible.
So, to start off, while my group has had some small changes with people joining and leaving, we have had a consistent group of 5. As a heads up, we run 3.5. W has been our long time DM ever since we started playing. His battles and stories are amazing and he has really grown over the years. Unfortunately, W is also my potential problem player…
As a way to ease myself into DMing, I ended up running a homebrew module for Pokemon. It gave me some familiarity while diving into something new. I do admit the campaign wasn't the best. I wasn't the happiest with it as the story was lack luster and it took WAY too long for gym battles. This is the campaign where issues began with player W. On multiple occasions I had to confront W for fudged rolls (whenever he rolls he pulls up his dice box to his chest so no one can see), doing way too much damage, not taking full damage done to him, over max health on his Pokémon, and forcing roleplaying when others within the group were not interested in doing do. Yet, no matter how many times I talked to him about these issues he would deny they happened and when cornered, would then try to turn the situation into me saying sorry for him as he was "So stupid" or "He didn't realize" and that he's "So sorry and it wouldn't happen again". But of course, I would have to bring these issues up again. And they never got fixed.
Now, the main campaign. I have been working on this campaign for a couple months and just started it up last month. As I am trying to get myself more comfortable with running D&D, this campaign is a mix of Pokémon and D&D. Everyone has one Pokémon, which acts kinda like a familiar or animal companion. Things started out really great! Everyone was having great conversation in Roleplay and the first battle was actually pretty good, for the most part. I'm still working on trying to find that sweet spot for encounters. However, we run into yet another issue…
In this campaign, W is playing an Illusionist Wizard, and in some situations, comes off as very snarky about how smart he is. His roleplaying is a mixture of becoming buddy-buddy with one of the other player's Chaotic Rouge and bashing on the other two players, which are a Paladin and Swashbuckler, both being Lawful. Swashbuckler has come up and told me, after a session, that she felt discouraged to bring up ideas as he could constantly bash her ideas and call them stupid and to not talk, all in character of course. He still pulls up his dice box to roll and fudges his rolls quite a bit, which I am fed up with. However, our main problem relies in a 'Side-Mission' about collecting these magical gems. The first gem was given to him, as he was the most vocal about solutions to the issue at hand. As well as being the most magical in the creature's opinion. Thus, W had developed this title "Keeper of the Stones" as he has deemed it his character's job to collect all the stones and keep them safe. He does not let the other players interact with the stone or even ask about it. He brushes them off and tells everyone not to worry and that this is his job. I tried to fix this by awarding the second stone to our Cleric, under the same conditions. However, W did NOT like this. W and Cleric had an in character argument about who got to keep the stone. The disagreement resulted in the Cleric keeping the Stone, however W did not seem happy as he begrudgingly agreed.
So, I'm not sure on what to do. Am I just over reacting or is W actually being a problem? I'm afraid to talk to him about these issues as with the previous campaign, he did not change anything. I can't kick him out as we are a really close group; basically family. I don't want to cancel the campaign as everyone, overall, is having fun and I'm excited for the future. But I'm just getting so discouraged if he's going to keep acting like this, as in my opinion, he is being a problem. I'm worried that, as he has been a DM for so long, he knows how to work around and with certain abilities and spells. I just don't know what to do. Any help is appreciated. Once again, sorry for the long post. Thank you.
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