Content of the article: "Problem player, or did I DM poorly?"
I have a large group (4-6) players that I’ve DM’d for once a week for a year. One of the players has a habit of putting himself in danger, and has died 4 times; more than the rest of the party put together. He always has a back-up character that is a cousin or brother of his large somewhat redneck family. The characters are all unintelligent, aggressive fighters that often serve up some comic relief. In fact his background revolves around his family being degenerates, forced out of their ancestral home for poor behaviour, and now living as nomads until they can reclaim it.
I made a personal quest for him to earn his manor back and it involved some evidence gathering and role play to show his family had been framed by local nobles. He played the situation so poorly, or in his words, as one of his background would: he destroyed favourable evidence, killed witnesses, and threatened the judiciary. All against what the rest of the party was trying to do. When it came time for the trial, he obviously lost and I had the local lord banish him entirely from the town.
He seemed pretty pissed at this and went out of his way to go even more against the party next game. This resulted in his character getting arrested. He hasn’t played since, stating he’s been too busy or has computer problems. We’ve continued on regardless, and the party has definitely been more cohesive. We certainly do miss the spark of having his antics there though, and we’re all good friends IRL still.
I’m not sure if I should just move on without him, or try to bring him back into the fold. I wonder if I took away his ability to play/solve things how his character would, and built the quest against his strengths. But I also believe there should be in-game consequences for bad decisions, and I certainly draw a line at diminishing other players experiences, which I believe he has.
TLDR: Murder-hobo role played terribly, but believed he was in line with his character. He lost a big part of his characters background and is now pissed.
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