Changing classes 3 sessions in

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Hi,
One of my players is a true min/maxer, who wants to have the best PC possible. I allowed him to change his class once, from avenger to barbarian after the first session. Now he wants to change to a runepriest/barbarian after the 3. session. I told him "sure, if you start from lvl 1", but this he rejected. So he wants this new class with the XP from his previous class.

Any advice on how to deal with this? He's insistent on changing class, even though I've said "no" several. times. He's a good friend so I don't want to just kick him out of the group. Would any of you DMs out there allow this? Is there precedence for doing something like this?

And is a hybrid-character runepriest/barbarian even possible?

Thanks for any advice.



Yes, let him do it. It hurts nothing. Don't have him start at level 1 again either.

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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So he wants this new class with the XP from his previous class.


My advice is to just let him. In the long run, having PCs at different levels will make your job as DM harder. Much better to just allow any new characters to start with whatever XP the rest of the party already has. Same goes for magic items, BTW. Any new characters should have at least level-appropriate magic weapons, implements and neck slot items. Doing otherwise just creates headaches.

He's insistent on changing class, even though I've said "no" several. times.


I can't think of a single good reason to say 'no'. Your job as DM is to make sure everybody is having fun. If 'fun' to him means building a new character every couple of sessions then, as long as that doesn't spoil anybody else's fun, you should probably just let him.

The only caveat I'd have is that I think it ought to be the player's responsibility to come up with a plausible explanation for why his old character is leaving and this new guy is joining the party. If it's meant to be the same character, just with different mechanics, then that's even easier (although I would personally not allow changing ability scores by more than a couple of points in that case).

And is a hybrid-character runepriest/barbarian even possible?


Yes. Quite a good hybrid combo, IIRC.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

Here's my problem with it: He knows about the campaign story line now, and has some idea about which monsters he will face. It feels very much like cheating if you just change your character to a cleric just because you discovered a dungeon full of undead....

But I've given him the green light for his class change now, with the NB that he doesn't change again.

Also: does the runepriest/barbarian has any particular weaknesses that I should be aware of? Does he have options of dispelling/harming the undead?

His change of class to suit the upcoming monsters may simply be fortuitous, but even if it's not, this is not an issue if you're building your encounters to include a mix of threats and objectives that don't include killing everything on the map.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

While some of their powers inflict radiant damage, Runepriests don't have specific anti-undead traits. Barbarian/Runepriest is reasonably thematic and reasonably functional, but it isn't overly strong or weak. (The hybrid rules are in the PHB3. In effect, he's trading off some damage-dealing for the sake of gaining some buffing.)
While some of their powers inflict radiant damage, Runepriests don't have specific anti-undead traits. Barbarian/Runepriest is reasonably thematic and reasonably functional, but it isn't overly strong or weak. (The hybrid rules are in the PHB3. In effect, he's trading off some damage-dealing for the sake of gaining some buffing.)



Thanks, very helpful.


Just change the dungeon. Or, you know, make challenges that the players can't win just by killing the monsters.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I'd let him. Especially if he is a good friend you don't want to scare out of the game. So long as its the same character, just built different, it shouldn't hurt your story any. Who cares what he looks like mechanically?


Maybe ask him to keep class changes to a minimum, but really I can think of no reason to say no.

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

"Your advice is the worst"

Just let him do it.  There's no real reason not to, and as a player, I wouldn't want to be stuck playing a character who I don't like for a long period of time.  And having a party where all the characters are at different levels is bound to be frustrating to both you and the player.

Also, these classes don't seem to be very different conceptually.  I mean:

Avenger:  Religious guy in light armour with big weapon
Barbarian:  Guy in light armour with big weapon
Barbarian/Runepriest:  Religious guy with a big weapon

Rather than insist on creating a new character and trying to figure out where the old character went and why this new guy is hanging out with the party, as long as he doesn't want to play a vastly different race, I'd just hand-wave it and say that Throbbin has been a Barbarian/Runepriest all along.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/

Maybe you could ask him to keep these class changes to a minimum. I can understand where having a player jump back and forth between characters can be distracting, and I'm sure he will understand that. But this time, go for it. It's nice for the player to know he or she can have a second chance if their first character doesn't suit them. This is even more the case since you are friends. Definitely have him come up with a good back story for his character change, though.

As long as it is not a problem for the other players, try not to let it be a problem for you. However, you may want to ask your players their opinion.

Be grateful you do not have the opposite problem, telling a player that he NEEDS to change his current character because it is causing problems for the other players.
Yes, let him do it. It hurts nothing. Don't have him start at level 1 again either.

I second this response.

In my 8-player game, I have two players that get restless with their characters. One has rebuilt his character (same name, race, and general approach -- variations on a warrior) just about every other level. The other is now on his third completely different character in nine levels. I let them both do what they wish. The new character is saddled with the gear-at-higher-levels limitations, and he is okay with that. The rebuilt character is saddled with group symmetry obstacles from time to time. But those are their problems, not mine.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Let him do it.

Another thing: he may be an experimenter and keep thinking he comes up with good builds only to see them not perform as he expects when in actual play. I'd point him toward the CharOp forums here where he can run his builds by other people before putting them ingame. Then he'll have some confidence in the efficacy of the build when in actual play.

I have a bit of this tendency myself. If I know my build's solid (not necessarily optimized but solid) because I've run it by other people, then it frees me up to focus more on the roleplaying and tactics without constantly second-guessing the way I've built my PC. Without that, I'd probably be wanting to redesign my PC after every frustrating encounter.

As far as Op potential, though, he's moving down in optimization potential. Barb/RP is less traditionally optimizable than a straight up Barb, as far as pure damage goes.

I would add that if the issue of him changing characters is because it ruins your plots, you could stop writing plot-based adventures.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
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I can unstand the disruption that can be caused by a sudden character change. Yesterday you had a party where everyone knew each other, today Bob is gone and we have to welcome in Ted like he's always been here. The longer the campaign goes, the more jarring this sudden switch can be. Early on, however, when people are just trying to figure out what they want to play and how, character switches are common and harmless. I would recommend running a few non-story skirmishes as well, just to let your players try out the classes before comitting to any one.

Later on in the campaign, I would recommend letting your character slowly morph to a new class. A barbarian might stumble upon an ancient runeblade and be consumed by a desire to understand why he can read the runes and noone else can. His quest would eventually lead him to embrace his ancient runepriest heritage and yada yada yada. An avenger might become disillusioned with his order and go rogue, becoming a bitter and angry person. A goddess might seek out a character and ask them to become her champion.

Alternatively, and as general good practice, I would also keep a diverse roster of friendly NPCs that hang out with the players on occasional basis and are kept in the loop. One could accompany the players for a difficult encounter, another might be their contact in the Mages Guild. This allows new player characters (switches or deaths) to step into the campaign without starting from square one. 
Yesterday you had a party where everyone knew each other,
today Bob is gone and we have to welcome in Ted like he's always been here.

I disagree that the rest of the party has to pretend that Ted has always been there.

In my campaign, EVERY new PC (rather than a rebuild of an existing PC) requires that the player, via the PC, forge the new ties with the existing PCs.

(The rest of the post, however, finds me in complete agreement.)
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Yesterday you had a party where everyone knew each other,
today Bob is gone and we have to welcome in Ted like he's always been here.

I disagree that the rest of the party has to pretend that Ted has always been there.

In my campaign, EVERY new PC (rather than a rebuild of an existing PC) requires that the player, via the PC, forge the new ties with the existing PCs.

(The rest of the post, however, finds me in complete agreement.)

If this guy is only interested in changing his class, it might be possible for him to keep the same character. This would be easiest if changing to a class with the same power source, but certain classes would lend themselves to this rather easily. I would think anyone could become a warlock, for instance, out of the blue and overnight.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Not too much disagreement here it would seem.  I allow players to change characters if they want to, with only two caveats:

1. They discuss the change with the other players to give them a chance to cover any gaps if necessary
2. The magic item allowance for a new character is usually less than what their previous character would have accumulated

Other than that they start on the same XP as their previous character and I'll work with them to write their old character out and their new one in.  No point in having a player with a character that they've lost interest in.
Had the first session after the class change today. Results:

1. An overall entertaining game. Simple, short and to the point. With the following exceptions:
2. There were some annoyance from some of the players that I had let him change character again. I got the distinct impression that the other players will not accept another change of class.
3. My game's are story-driven. Yours may not be - great, but advice like "change how you do things to accomodate one player over all the others" -  gotta say, I am a little baffled. Surprised over the reductionist attitude.
4. This player does zero roleplaying and almost shows disdain for it. For him, it's all about killing monsters and having an optimized character.

This brings me to a new question: He is playing a lawful good character, but what do I do when he plays it like a chaotic character? I've made him aware of the issue - he tries to justify his actions rather poorly, not wanting to change his ways. What can I do about this? It is ruining the experience for the other players. I may persuade him to play according to his alignment, but what if he doesn't listen or understand? Again - can't really kick him out, so I would like advice on how to handle this situation. I am sure this situation is an old one; let me have your wisdom.

any good advice is welcomed....


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Alignment is meaningless.  Throw it out, for all characters and monsters.  It has no mechanical effects, and is useless as a roleplaying tool anyway.

Besides, actions determine alignment, not the other way around.  If he does 'chaotic' actions, then his alignment slowly shifts to become chaotic.  At absolutely no point should a player say 'Well, I'm (alignment), so I do this', nor should the DM every go 'You're (alignment), you do this/can't do that.'.  It's 'You do this, so you are (alignment)'.  Just tell him that his alignment is whatever you think it is; or just leave it and ignore it.  It won't affect anything one way or the other.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
You're advicing me to throw out a basic game mechanism in D&D. The one mechanism that actually promotes roleplaying in a game that is almost 100% combat-based.

I know I could throw aligment out, but I feel that the fact that he is lawful good is one of my best chances to get him to play along with the others. If he were to roleplay his alignment, some of his disruptive playing will be mitigated. I don't say "you can't do this or that because of your alignment", but as a player, you can't just ignore whatever rules you want without making other players pretty miffed.
You're advicing me to throw out a basic game mechanism in D&D. The one mechanism that actually promotes roleplaying in a game that is almost 100% combat-based.



No, it doesn't.  Not even a little bit.  Lawful, Chaotic, Good, and Evil are entirely subjective terms and are absolutely unuseable in a game scenario.  Philosophers have struggled for thousands of years to define those terms and come up with nothing; how are a bunch of gamers going to do it?

Have the players write down words that actually MEAN something.

I know I could throw aligment out, but I feel that the fact that he is lawful good is one of my best chances to get him to play along with the others. If he were to roleplay his alignment, some of his disruptive playing will be mitigated. I don't say "you can't do this or that because of your alignment", but as a player, you can't just ignore whatever rules you want without making other players pretty miffed.



You don't roleplay an alignment.  You roleplay a character.  Again, ACTIONS DETERMINE ALIGNMENT, not the other way around.  If he doesn't act Lawful Good, then he is not Lawful Good.

Alignment is not rules.  It is not a game mechanic of ANY sort.  It is, at best, fluff.  It has zero mechanical impact.  There are no spells that interact with it.  No rules are attached to it at ALL.  It's 4e's appendix, a meaningless little vestige that nobody can find a good use for, that occasionally flares up and ruins your day (like now, for you).

If this player is not working out in your game, being heavy-handed in-game isn't going to help.  You should never try to solve an out-of-game problem in-game.  The problem is with the player, not the character.  Talk to him, in private, about the problems he's causing, and attempt to work with him to come up with a solution.  If no solution can be reached, he'll have to leave.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
3. My game's are story-driven. Yours may not be - great, but advice like "change how you do things to accomodate one player over all the others" -  gotta say, I am a little baffled. Surprised over the reductionist attitude.

The change might have other beneficial effects as well. We've seen lots of posts about problems stemming from story-driven games.

4. This player does zero roleplaying and almost shows disdain for it. For him, it's all about killing monsters and having an optimized character.

Work with that.

This brings me to a new question: He is playing a lawful good character, but what do I do when he plays it like a chaotic character?

Nothing. What benefit goes he receive from playing a lawful good character? What penalty would he receive if the character were actually chaotic? How would the game be different if the concept of alignment didn't even exist, or was ignored?

It is ruining the experience for the other players.

How so?

I am sure this situation is an old one

Yes, it is. Many of us lost patience with alignment "problems" in our games long ago and just stopped using it. You'll get lots of people, including me, recommending that you do the same.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

You're advicing me to throw out a basic game mechanism in D&D. The one mechanism that actually promotes roleplaying in a game that is almost 100% combat-based.

It doesn't promote it, because there's no incentive to follow it, as opposed to doing other things someone would find fun or interesting or practical or smart.

I know I could throw aligment out, but I feel that the fact that he is lawful good is one of my best chances to get him to play along with the others. If he were to roleplay his alignment, some of his disruptive playing will be mitigated.

Thank you for coming out and saying this. I've long suspected that some people resorted to alignment as a behavior control method. But, history and your own example show why it doesn't work that way. Either he keeps his alignment and just does what he wants, or you forcibly change his alignment and... he still does what he wants.

I don't say "you can't do this or that because of your alignment", but as a player, you can't just ignore whatever rules you want without making other players pretty miffed.

The problem is that the rules are not clear on what it means to follow an alignment, and what becomes of you if you don't follow it. In 3.5, a paladin will lose its powers, but I don't see any other rules. A monk must not be chaotic, a bard must not be lawful, a druid must be neutral, but so what if they aren't? If alignment was all that vital, there would be clear rules for adjudicating alignment and its effects.

Edit: In 4e, a cleric must follow the alignment of its deity, but what if its actions don't conform to that alignment? The rules are silent.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

2. There were some annoyance from some of the players that I had let him change character again. I got the distinct impression that the other players will not accept another change of class.



That is likely jealousy. It doesn't speak well for the other players, frankly. It's either that or other issues they have with the player but they're choosing this as their excuse to demonstrate their annoyance. I'd be having words with the other players over this to hear what their beef really is so we can address it out-of-game.

3. My game's are story-driven. Yours may not be - great, but advice like "change how you do things to accomodate one player over all the others" -  gotta say, I am a little baffled. Surprised over the reductionist attitude.



Moving away from plot-based adventures benefits all the players and you, most of all. Taking issue with people changing characters, with their alignment, with how they roleplay are all symptoms that stem from running plot-based games. That's how I knew you were running one several posts up. These won't be the last problems you have in this campaign or other plot-based ones - I can promise you that. For evidence to support my claim, see just about every post on this forum. There are loads of issues attached to this style.

4. This player does zero roleplaying and almost shows disdain for it. For him, it's all about killing monsters and having an optimized character.



Nothing wrong with that. Combat is roleplaying if he's making choices his character would also make.

This brings me to a new question: He is playing a lawful good character, but what do I do when he plays it like a chaotic character? I've made him aware of the issue - he tries to justify his actions rather poorly, not wanting to change his ways. What can I do about this? It is ruining the experience for the other players. I may persuade him to play according to his alignment, but what if he doesn't listen or understand? Again - can't really kick him out, so I would like advice on how to handle this situation. I am sure this situation is an old one; let me have your wisdom.

any good advice is welcomed...



As with the other posters, I recommend you do away with alignment. It doesn't help roleplaying except when the player wants it to and you have no control over that. DMs should only strive to control what they can and this isn't one of those aspects. You can only control yourself and your own perceptions, not anyone else's. When you try, it causes problems.

And I'll mention again that if you're running a plot-based game, expect to become a frustrated novelist trying to keep unruly characters in check. Can you run a plot-based game that works? Maybe. But it's not a guarantee, that's for sure. And it's not really worth the work and heartache trying when there are other ways to do it with a guaranteed success. You just have to be willing to give up some of that illusionary control...

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Saying that the rules on alignment are silent on what happens when you don't follow them - come on, they are rules. Are there rules that say what happens when a fighter starts taking Avenger powers out of the blue or giving himself a +3 sword at lvl 1?

It's implicit that you follow the rules (or don't - but don't tell me that some rules are to be followed while others aren't). You may not like the alignment rule - but nevertheless, it's a rule.

About the whole "there's no defining alignment" thing - that opens for a discussion that doesn't really matter in this context. Let's just say I disagree completely when people say you can't roleplay your PC using its alignment.

About the story-driven game; again, most of my players want story and so do I. Changing that because of one player might work for you, but it is useless advice for me.

You ask why this player ruins it for the other players? My game is storydriven, and having someone just say "screw that" to a group of 5 players does ruin the game. This should be easy to imagine, yes?

So maybe I am asking for advice on something I can't solve. That's the gist of the replies. But come on, someone might have a bright, great idea for how to work this out!








Saying that the rules on alignment are silent on what happens when you don't follow them - come on, they are rules. Are there rules that say what happens when a fighter starts taking Avenger powers out of the blue or giving himself a +3 sword at lvl 1?



There are rules in the book that forbid that from happening.  There are no rules that forbid a character from acting 'out of alignment', because that's not how alignment works.  As Salla says, your actions determine your alignment.
Saying that the rules on alignment are silent on what happens when you don't follow them - come on, they are rules. Are there rules that say what happens when a fighter starts taking Avenger powers out of the blue or giving himself a +3 sword at lvl 1?



There are rules in the book that forbid that from happening.  There are no rules that forbid a character from acting 'out of alignment', because that's not how alignment works.  As Salla says, your actions determine your alignment.



Yes, the rules forbid things - but do they tell you what happens when a player don't follow the rules?

In this respect, the alignment rule is just like any other rule, it's part of the game. Not playing your PC's alignment is the same as breaking any other rule. There are no consequences for breaking ANY rule other than the ones the GM implements.







 



Saying that the rules on alignment are silent on what happens when you don't follow them - come on, they are rules. Are there rules that say what happens when a fighter starts taking Avenger powers out of the blue or giving himself a +3 sword at lvl 1?

The rules are silent on those matters, because (as mentioned) the rules prevent them from occuring. The rules neither prevent character of alignment L acting like alignment C, nor do they explain what the DM should do when that occurs. That's the difference.

It's implicit that you follow the rules (or don't - but don't tell me that some rules are to be followed while others aren't). You may not like the alignment rule - but nevertheless, it's a rule.

Ok: What exactly is the rule? Choose an alignment and... what?

About the whole "there's no defining alignment" thing - that opens for a discussion that doesn't really matter in this context. Let's just say I disagree completely when people say you can't roleplay your PC using its alignment.

No one's saying you can't. I do. Others do. But what you can't do is force someone else to roleplay their PC using your definition of its alignment.

About the story-driven game; again, most of my players want story and so do I. Changing that because of one player might work for you, but it is useless advice for me.

Don't change it for one player. Change it for the host of other advantages if offers.

You ask why this player ruins it for the other players? My game is storydriven, and having someone just say "screw that" to a group of 5 players does ruin the game. This should be easy to imagine, yes?

So, he's "chaotic" because he's not going along with the story, right? Some NPC tells them to do something and he wants to do something else, right? Am I close?

Talk to him out of game, but it sounds like he doesn't think much of your story. You say you can't boot him, and we're saying you can't force him to comply with how you want to play. It is possible to have a fun game that can deal with random acts by a single player, but you have to recognize that you may have to loosen up your story, or have multiple stories, in order for a group like that to work.

So maybe I am asking for advice on something I can't solve.

That's how it looks for me. You can't change the player, all that's left to change is yourself.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

In this respect, the alignment rule is just like any other rule, it's part of the game. Not playing your PC's alignment is the same as breaking any other rule. There are no consequences for breaking ANY rule other than the ones the GM implements.

Interesting take. Except there is no "alignment rule" any more than there's an "eye color" rule. Everyone has one, but it makes no difference to the game. There's no disadvantage or advantage to a particular alignment. The only reason you appear to care about it is because you think if he adhered to his alignment he'd go along with the story. But that won't happen.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

About the story-driven game; again, most of my players want story and so do I. Changing that because of one player might work for you, but it is useless advice for me.

You ask why this player ruins it for the other players? My game is storydriven, and having someone just say "screw that" to a group of 5 players does ruin the game. This should be easy to imagine, yes?



A game that is not plot-based has plenty of story. The key is that it hasn't been determined before you sit down to play. It's written as you play the game because the "story" is what the PCs do not what the DM wrote. When you make the plot for the PCs to follow, the problems you are reporting are possible outcomes of that style of game and your approach to keeping the game on track. These unfortunate outcomes are not present in other methods.

If you don't want to move away from a plot-based method, that's cool. But know that without total player buy-in on your plot-based adventure, these are the kinds of hurdles you're going to face.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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Interesting take. Except there is no "alignment rule" any more than there's an "eye color" rule. Everyone has one, but it makes no difference to the game. There's no disadvantage or advantage to a particular alignment. The only reason you appear to care about it is because you think if he adhered to his alignment he'd go along with the story. But that won't happen.



You're right - there is no right and wrong in roleplaying games. But it seems you've forgotten that this is exactly that - a game where you play a role. If someone is forced to be lawful good because of his class and then slaughters several innocent families without any other reason that it would be fun - that's breaking the rules, no matter what your definition of alignment is. A definition of what alignment means may be fluid, but it's not hard reaching a consensus when you got down to it.

Again: there are no consequences for breaking ANY of the rules, except the ones implemented by the GM.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />And no, I don't think my player problems will be solved through alignment - but it is a way to get the player's attention and nudge him in the right direction. This is true for all my other players, who roleplay their character with their alignment in mind.

When I say this player "ruins" the game, I am not saying that my game doesn't work - we have loads of fun. I was perhaps a little hyperbolic when I described the problem.

But still, I am open to new, bright ideas!











A game that is not plot-based has plenty of story. The key is that it hasn't been determined before you sit down to play. It's written as you play the game because the "story" is what the PCs do not what the DM wrote. When you make the plot for the PCs to follow, the problems you are reporting are possible outcomes of that style of game and your approach to keeping the game on track. These unfortunate outcomes are not present in other methods.

If you don't want to move away from a plot-based method, that's cool. But know that without total player buy-in on your plot-based adventure, these are the kinds of hurdles you're going to face.



Okay, well let me rephrase then - I have an overall arc story, but it is open to anything the players might want to do. I am not railroading this, if that is what you thought. The problem I have with this player has nothing to do with that. it's a question of style of play. My other 4 players want to role play. The problem player does not. He's not breaking the story arc in any way. Perhaps I was describing the problems as worse than they are, because some of you has reached some wrong conclusions about my game.


Okay, well let me rephrase then - I have an overall arc story, but it is open to anything the players might want to do. I am not railroading this, if that is what you thought. The problem I have with this player has nothing to do with that. it's a question of style of play. My other 4 players want to role play. The problem player does not. He's not breaking the story arc in any way. Perhaps I was describing the problems as worse than they are, because some of you has reached some wrong conclusions about my game.



A railroad is not inherently bad and not every railroad looks like one until you dig underneath the sand the DM has used to cover it up. Sometimes the DM is good enough to bury the rails so deep, even he forgets it's there. Let me ask you this: What happens if your PCs do not interact with your "overall arc story?"

How do you define roleplaying? Or rather, how does your group define it such that this 5th player is the odd man out? 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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If someone is forced to be lawful good because of his class and then slaughters several innocent families without any other reason that it would be fun - that's breaking the rules, no matter what your definition of alignment is.

Ok, let's agree that they have to be lawful good (which no class in 4th Edition has to be, but let's go along). Then they do something everyone at the table agrees is evil, including them. Then what? Take them aside after the game and discuss expectations, see where the disconnect might be. If they keep doing it, kick them out. If you can't do that, then you're stuck, because there's nothing else to do, because alignment matters only as much as a group wants it to matter and if it doesn't matter enough to kick the person out, then it only matters as much as that person wants it to matter.

And no, I don't think my player problems will be solved through alignment - but it is a way to get the player's attention and nudge him in the right direction. This is true for all my other players, who roleplay their character with their alignment in mind.

It's true for them, because they want it to be. This other guy doesn't care, and I don't see why he should. "Violating" his alignment doesn't do anything but push your buttons. There's no in-game disadavantage to him doing what he does, and because you won't kick him out there's no out-of-game disadvantage to it either.

If what he's doing blocks what the other players want to do (and you're not contributing to that, by, say, throwing them in jail for not preventing crimes), then he's being a jerk, regardless of the rules or the story or anything else. In-game consequences don't prevent that, so you'll need out-of-game consequences.

But still, I am open to new, bright ideas!

Try getting them out of civilization. Put them someplace where there are no innocents to slaughter, where they (even he, with all that blood on his hands) are the most innocent people around. The roleplayers should have no problem with this, and the non-roleplayer should have a target-rich environment

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Let me ask you this: What happens if your PCs do not interact with your "overall arc story?"

How do you define roleplaying? Or rather, how does your group define it such that this 5th player is the odd man out? 



If the players choose not to deal with the overall story arc, then be it - they're free to roam the world I created for them. Thing is - they want to know what the story's all about, and they want to interact with the NPCs that have to do with the story.
 
My problem player is the odd man out because he cares a lot about his stats, but not about roleplaying his PC.

If the players choose not to deal with the overall story arc, then be it - they're free to roam the world I created for them. Thing is - they want to know what the story's all about, and they want to interact with the NPCs that have to do with the story.



What parts of the world did the players create? What is the story they are interacting with? Where did that come from?
 
My problem player is the odd man out because he cares a lot about his stats, but not about roleplaying his PC.



What does that mean in practice though? What does it look like to care about "his stats, but not about roleplaying his PC?"

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Let me ask you this: What happens if your PCs do not interact with your "overall arc story?"

How do you define roleplaying? Or rather, how does your group define it such that this 5th player is the odd man out? 



If the players choose not to deal with the overall story arc, then be it - they're free to roam the world I created for them. Thing is - they want to know what the story's all about, and they want to interact with the NPCs that have to do with the story.
 
My problem player is the odd man out because he cares a lot about his stats, but not about roleplaying his PC.

How about just a moderate shift of focus away from NPCs that have to do with the story, and toward enemies that have to do with the story. Interaction can still occur in combat, and you can set up encounters that are easy for the enemy to escape, but as difficulty as you want for them to achieve their goals. Then the PCs who want to interact can, and those who want to fight can, but your story stays intact because the PCs can foil the enemy's plan, but can never quite pin them down to kill them.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

How about a penalty for breaking character?


Lets say his alignment is good and he has a strong addiction to gnomish candy. Then when he does something evil or ignores a stash of candy, give him a -2 to attack rolls or defenses or something, justifying it with "Your actions have weakened your resolve". Like a subtle nudge to enforce roleplay.


Then when he really goes overboard, like the slaughtering a whole village thing, give him a mental scar that traumatizes him with a penalty for atleast a week or maybe even permanently.


Another idea which doesn't affect his character's stats as much (because that would probably not sit well with him)  is that his reputation in your world may change. Shopkeepers might refuse to deal with a group with that PC in it and they might get attacked by fierce bounty hunters more often during extended rests and such.


These might be ways to encourage roleplay, as his group might start to be very annoyed at him and aid your cause

How about a penalty for breaking character?

Lets say his alignment is good and he has a strong addiction to gnomish candy. Then when he does something evil or ignores a stash of candy, give him a -2 to attack rolls or defenses or something, justifying it with "Your actions have weakened your resolve". Like a subtle nudge to enforce roleplay.




No. This will enforce no notion except that the DM is a relentless control freak who penalizes players for not living up to his standard of what roleplaying means.

Another idea which doesn't affect his character's stats as much (because that would probably not sit well with him)  is that his reputation in your world may change. Shopkeepers might refuse to deal with a group with that PC in it and they might get attacked by fierce bounty hunters more often during extended rests and such.


Forgetting the fact that there are hundreds of fictional ways around these nuisance blocks the DM throws up ("I hire a street urchin to buy the potion for me..."), it's punitive and not terribly interesting plus it won't make him into the model roleplayer the DM apparently needs him to be so that he'll chase pre-determined plots all night. Because the player - who is a human being with free will, right? - doesn't want to do it whatever way the DM wants him to.


These might be ways to encourage roleplay, as his group might start to be very annoyed at him and aid your cause


They're already annoyed. But the DM won't remove him from the group and won't change the way he's running his game, so there really is no solution. The OP will simply have to suffer as someone at his table doesn't live up to the standard of roleplaying he has in his head.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith