Content of the article: "Not giving up on trouble players sometimes pays off :)"
I've been running a campaign for six of my friends for over a year now. When we started four of them were newbies (two are DMs) and I was a new DM, who had been playing for about half a year and never tried running a single game. Even though I made lots of mistakes we had and still have fun but… one of my players was your typical "trouble player".
I quickly realised this group is really into rp, so I tried to give them that. They are also very interested in lore, the stories of NPCs etc. which is very rewarding for a DM. But it can't be too perfect, right? This one player… he didn't seem to really get what this game is about and why others enjoy roleplaying everyhing. His first character was a changeling warlock. He would often get bored during the sessions and start to do totally random stuff just to create chaos. Attack random NPCs like a true murderhobo or do some weird stuff or just harass poor townsfolk. At first other players saw it as funny, silly. But as more sessions passed they grew tired of it, and so did I.
I'm a DM that punishes stupidity and I let my players know that since the first sessions. You're not immortal guys, and if you make mistakes you have to pay for them and work hard to fix it. So his character was known in the city as dangerous and when he attacked some high rank palladin in the middle of Bahamuts temple he got captured.. and hung the next day (it was 15-ish session). At this point other PCs were in such bad relations with that warlock (he harrased PCs too, noone was safe) that they didn't try to save him, nor came to his execution. They thought Tian the changeling betrayed them, because the party was kinda on paladins side in some conflict between a cult and temple.
Okay okay. I have a player that gets bored and doesn't really enjoy the game, but is really into dnd at the same time, somehow. Because he really was, or is, he loves the idea of spells and especially using them in creative ways. So anyway I decided to talk to him, the most reasonable solution. He told me that he had been doing this random stuff because he felt detatched from the story. There is a simple solution, right? Help him make a character that is connected to the story, the world. And so I did. Gunslinger Kalashtar, as he wanted. Lawful good, as he wanted. He gave me the idea for this little warrior lady and I incorporated it into the plot, world, lore. As I said, he loves spells. But fighter gunslinger doesn't have much of that.. and after about 6-7 sessions he got bored again. Akiko the gunslinger did some cold-blooded murder on a group of kobolds that the party promised safety (keeping them alive was kinda important for their goals), in front of eyes of all 5, good aligned players. They simply told her to go away, they didn't want to have anything to do with Akiko.
He told me he got bored again. Akiko had no spells, plus turns out he didn't enjoy playing as the laful character. We played for about 10-15 sessions without him. He gave me three character concepts during this break, but eventually he didn't end up playing, I think he realised the players are annoyed with what he does. I also had three or four talks with him.
Tbh whenever I thought of him rejoining my game I got little anxious.. He was really hard to handle sometimes and I had no idea how to make him enjoy the game without breaking it for everyone else. I looked for some help online, asked people on reddit for advice, but still was feeling worried. But he is my friend, and I know he really wanted to play. I decided to give him another chance.
During his break corona has striked and we had to move to discord and roll20 with our games. He watched our sessions, even though he didn't play. And maybe that helped, actually. He "learned" to listen and he learned a lot about the lore and the story. I think a month ago I got a character concept from him. Warforged warlock with a decent backstory.. that is very connected to the lore, wrote entirely by him. I was surprised, in a good way ofc.
It's been three sessions with his new warlock named Kusy. And let me tell you, Kusy is great. Because he spent 100 years in a deep forest, far away from any civilization he gets to do weird stuff sometimes, but the player manages to keep it within the character concept. He even roleplayed during last game so much that I gave him inspiration for the first time ever. And afterwards he messaged me saying that this game was great, he is so much into his character and the story and finally he feels attached to the world. And that was one of the best feelings I got as a DM. I'm so glad I didn't give up on him.
I'm not saying that you always have to forgive everything, sometimes the only solution for a problematic player is just to tell them that you don't want them and their behaviour at your table. But when you see that player finally find a way to enjoy the gameplay and actually have fun with the group, you're just proud of them. And I think that is why we do it, why we DM. To give our friends fun and escape, no matter how much work, time and sleepless nights it takes.
- Am I the asshole for not advantaging an opti player ?
- I messed up and I don’t know if I want to continue the game.
- What is an aspect of DMing ( prep and otherwise ) that you were forced to learn by doing?
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