Concerning Players

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Ok, so im pretty new to dm'ing and im very concerned about one player imparticular in my party...hes a VERY experienced player and dm, hes torn holes in my first 2 campaign attempts (not purposely mind you) and he knows how to optimize classes very very well within the confines of the rules including my own additions and my book limitations.  Already in this campaign of three players, he has trashed the first boss in 2 hits (minotaur cr4 with a party of 3 him being a sword sage one being a rogue and one fighter).  Yes...he two shotted the boss...so my question i guess is how do i limit him without making it feel like im singling him out or making him dumb down his character...or how do i level the playing field without destroying the other two party members whos strength (damage output and those such things) doesnt come close to his right now?
hes a VERY experienced player and dm, hes torn holes in my first 2 campaign attempts (not purposely mind you)



Sure about that?

so my question i guess is how do i limit him without making it feel like im singling him out or making him dumb down his character...or how do i level the playing field without destroying the other two party members whos strength (damage output and those such things) doesnt come close to his right now?



Make some of their objectives about something other than killing everything.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Well its not a combat oriented campaign, well not completely anyways...The problem is that the combat i am presenting to the party poses a problem with him being able to kill things easily that will cause the other party members to perish...

And yes, im sure he didnt do it purposefully btw, he didnt do anything unreasonable by any means its just that the things he did happened to not work well with what i was doing and i didnt want to just say "no", ya know? i hate doing that, i like my campaigns to be as open as possible to the PC's but at the same time keeping structure and story, which i can do except with his characters, they simply excel at whatever it is he designs them to do, bluffing diplomacy illusion feinting or whatever his character happens to do, and this time hes picked a damage dealing character and its working well for him, not me...and yes its out of one of the books im allowing.  So to clarify, aside from making hime re-roll a character and eliminating the class, how do i level the playing field as far as combat goes?  How do i make it challenging for him but not deadly for the others at the same time?
You probably can't.  3e classes are horrifically unbalanced.  Just consider yourself fortunate that he's not playing a cleric, druid, or wizard.

Also, the CR challenge system does not work, at all ... you'll need to practice eyeballing encounters, and probably have the opposition focus on him more than the others.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
You probably can't.  3e classes are horrifically unbalanced.  Just consider yourself fortunate that he's not playing a cleric, druid, or wizard.

Also, the CR challenge system does not work, at all ... you'll need to practice eyeballing encounters, and probably have the opposition focus on him more than the others.



Thats kind of what i was expecting to hear.  What i was thinking about doing is maybe custom tailoring some baddies to be a bit more formidable to him whilst leaving some of them normal to take on the others...
It wasn't uncommon for me to work on a 3.5 monster/NPC stat block for 2 days and then watch the poor fool be disintegrated (or something) in the first round.

Straight up, you could just approach him DM to DM and ask if he wouldn't mind toning it down. It wouldn't be my preference to ask someone to change their character like that, but it's not unreasonable if it's a recurring problem and affecting the fun of the other players. It wouldn't affect my fun as DM.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

For boss fights, set up one super bad dude that would be challenging for him. Then have a bunch of minions/body guards/helpers who the other PCs fight. 


Have him help the other PCs tweak their builds so they are on par with him. Then up the challenges so it is hard for everyone. Allow them to rebuild for free. 


Ask him to reign it in. If he is a decent DM, he knows that its important to keep people on the same playing field. Ask him to pull it back some. If he really wants to optimize, ask him to do it with a terrible class. CW samurai 20 or something.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

You probably can't.  3e classes are horrifically unbalanced.  Just consider yourself fortunate that he's not playing a cleric, druid, or wizard.

Also, the CR challenge system does not work, at all ... you'll need to practice eyeballing encounters, and probably have the opposition focus on him more than the others.



Thats kind of what i was expecting to hear.  What i was thinking about doing is maybe custom tailoring some baddies to be a bit more formidable to him whilst leaving some of them normal to take on the others...



Every now & then you could just record less damage from his attacks. 
Ex: Monster has DR 50% vrs player x, barring a crit.
What he says, & what you record don't need to match....
Just never mention the math your using.Wink

(we apply this to one of our players who cheats.  Guy never rolls damage below 97% of his max.   So rather than argue about it....)
Is switching to 4e an option?  It's a little bit harder to have huge power disparities between characters, especially at low levels, and you're likely to be on more even footing with rules knowledge.

Having special extra-tough monsters for him to fight is just going to reinforce the impression that the other PCs are supporting cast in his heroic adventure.

Regardless of what you do, every person at the table shares the responsibility for a fun game and experienced players should be making an effort to make sure that things run smoothly.  Unfortunately it seems all too common for experienced players to feel the need to 'show off' and ruin a game in the process.  A diplomatic reminder that he should know better might not be a terrible idea.
...Straight up, you could just approach him DM to DM and ask if he wouldn't mind toning it down. It wouldn't be my preference to ask someone to change their character like that, but it's not unreasonable if it's a recurring problem and affecting the fun of the other players. It wouldn't affect my fun as DM.



If you trust him, you can also approach him, DM to DM, explain your concerns, and ask him for advice.  If he's a good guy, he'll volunteer to tone down himself, and offer to help you out.  (If he's not a good guy after all, he'll take advantage of the situation and you'll know it, but you still learn something valuable, even if that happens.)


[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I like YronimosW's suggestion better than mine. Asking for help is a great way to break down barriers.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

yea, thats what i did to start with and hes been really helpful with toning down his character, however i dont see this as a permanent solution because i WANT the players to be as powerful as they can be.  Now the idea of having him help the other pc's maximize their characters is something i will be looking into!  And tweaking the bad guys ahead of time for him and some for the others is also probably going to come into play.  Thanks for all the great advice guys! I really appreciate it and ill probably have lots more questions as i continue developing as a dm lol
Things to consider:


The player is having fun but what about the other players?

If the other players have an issue with him taking the spotlight its something to bring up.

Since you have an issue you should bring it up anyhow, but with player backing you up you have less fear of singling him out on your own.      
Things to consider:


The player is having fun but what about the other players?

If the other players have an issue with him taking the spotlight its something to bring up.

Since you have an issue you should bring it up anyhow, but with player backing you up you have less fear of singling him out on your own.      

Also another crazy idea, if you want the players to be all as cool as can be then why not ask him to help re-tool thier characters to be equal to his.
Things to consider:


The player is having fun but what about the other players?

If the other players have an issue with him taking the spotlight its something to bring up.

Since you have an issue you should bring it up anyhow, but with player backing you up you have less fear of singling him out on your own.      

Also another crazy idea, if you want the players to be all as cool as can be then why not ask him to help re-tool thier characters to be equal to his.



Well thats the thing, the other pc's are still having a blast, but they dont realize the danger they have faced so far with the monsters i've thrown their way lol, they didnt realize that had he not been as powerful as he is they probably would have been severely injured or dead.  The idea of him helping to re-tool the other players characters is something im going to bring up, hopefully we can eliminate the whole problem by having themon the same level of power as him and all will be well! If not i suppose ill just have to revamp some of the enemy combatants that i throw their way to be stronger for him and leave the regular ones to the other pc's.  Its not something thats too difficult but it takes extra time that with our schedules is hard for any of us to find!
I love DMing


I have players that are powergamers, players that are roleplayers, players that come just to beat something up because work sucks.


I find the hardest part of the DM is when for some reason I'm the one not having fun.  Usually its a single player issue.


My advice use your players strengths to benefit the whole group.  Use this guy to make everybody character better.  Utilize the other players skills in the same way.

If you still have problems just talk to the guy.  This is a social game with potentially anti-social people, but anybody who has been a DM  has been there.  

Recently I had to talk to a player about how all of his characters are so focused on his own personal ideas that they don't work well with the group and at times cause severe problems in the group.


I was suprised that he was so respective and now we no longer have a problem.  The real crime was taking so long to talk it out.      


             
how do you encourage a player who has an extreme amount of character building experience build a character on par with the other players?

i don't know about you, but when i form the question that way, the answer just jumps right out at me.

you ask him to look at the other players' characters and use his immense knowledge to build a character right on par with them.  His goal is now no longer to make the "best" character he can within the rules, or to make a character that looks like theirs but outperforms them in every area, but you can take what is probably a very competitive mindset and allow him to "win" by measuring his success by HOW CLOSE he is to the power level of the other characters.

it takes his cooperation, certainly, but all the same, if he's not willing to cooperate then you aren't going to get anywhere with him, and in fact, why would you be playing a cooperative game at that point?     
how do you encourage a player who has an extreme amount of character building experience build a character on par with the other players?

i don't know about you, but when i form the question that way, the answer just jumps right out at me.

you ask him to look at the other players' characters and use his immense knowledge to build a character right on par with them.  His goal is now no longer to make the "best" character he can within the rules, or to make a character that looks like theirs but outperforms them in every area, but you can take what is probably a very competitive mindset and allow him to "win" by measuring his success by HOW CLOSE he is to the power level of the other characters.

it takes his cooperation, certainly, but all the same, if he's not willing to cooperate then you aren't going to get anywhere with him, and in fact, why would you be playing a cooperative game at that point?     



Yep, thats exactly what im going to talk to the party about...I think that will be a good way to address the problem of enemy imbalance AND it will make it more challenging for me with some pc's that really tap the characters full potential and that will increase the fun we can all have i think.  Less restrictions are better for pc's and dm's i think...obviously keep a good structure and the foundations of the dmg and other core books, but other than that get creative! With this problem taken care ill be able to do that!
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