Player wants his character to be OP

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I have a campaign beginning in a week and a half. Two groups are involved in which they will play on different nights, but they take place in the same land, just different parts of the map. All of their choices and abilities to shape the world are pretty open ended, including what may happen if the two groups ever run into eachother. (most of the players expect to be enemies as one group is evil, the other is good,  but this was all a coincidence)

I'm handling item shops and gold a little different early in the game as it sort of begins with survivors of a country fleeing to a new land (so currency is essentially worthless) treasure and item gains will be random or created in game for fairness. One more thing I should point out is one group is more experienced in DnD than the other, as in the other, 2 of the 4 players have never played before.

Now the problem. In the more experienced group I was approached by a player telling me he wanted to purchase a specific magic item with gold. I informed him there were no shops as supplies were limited and that items would be crafted or discovered and to make it fair for everyone , he would only acquire that specific item by chance, or perhaps much later in the campaign, when shops made more sense. He accepted this.

Now tonight, another one in the same group said he wanted his character to be a crit character, and that he wanted feats and magic items allowing his character to crit at levels 20, 19, 18, 17, etc. He said he wanted an item like this by level 7. I considered this a rediculous request and sort of metagaming, to ask for this item specifically for his character, because, and these are his words 'he thought of it.' I told him i'd consider it, and if it happened I'd toss it int he world and leave it to chance on whoever found it as that is fair. He then got mad and said it was his idea and because he's merely building his character it's not meta gaming. the arguement ensued. Keep in mind sometime in the conversation before it escalated he veen admited he enjoyed breaking the game and making his character as OP as possible.

Unfortunately now everyone in his group is on his side, and what he is doing is not metagaming in the slightest and that I am the one doing it wrong, and every other DM/campaign does it this way.

If I am in the wrong, please tell me, I only want this game fun and fair for everyone, and I feel if I did as he asked the other group would be upset, and they already thing the more experienced group is cheating as it is.

When doing stats for characters we did a dice rolling method. By chance, the more experienced group got much better rolls. (three of the four) I assued them it was all legit and I witnessed it so they calmed down, but I feel if this came up they would be very mad.

Am I wrong to prevent the player from min/maxing his character for critting? I really need advice because they're making me out to be the bad guy and I just feel this would wreck the experience for the newer/slightly weaker players as the experienced group already made it clear they want to destroy group 1.
First, lose the dice rolling and go to point buy.  Everybody will be on an even playing field.

If you say 'magic items are limited', then magic items are limited.  Mr. Critical Guy can get his critical range as high as he wants via the methods available (Scimitar, learing Improved Crit at level 8), but if you say something ain't happening, something ain't happening.  If he don't like it, there's the door, he knows how it works.

Don't do PvP.  It never works well.  Especially with an experienced group attacking an inexperienced group ... it'll be like a semi truck running over a squirrel.  The new players will almost assuredly NOT enjoy it, because it will feel like getting bullied (and they may well be right).  I'd recommend NOT having them in the same world at all.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
First, lose the dice rolling and go to point buy.  Everybody will be on an even playing field.

If you say 'magic items are limited', then magic items are limited.  Mr. Critical Guy can get his critical range as high as he wants via the methods available (Scimitar, learing Improved Crit at level 8), but if you say something ain't happening, something ain't happening.  If he don't like it, there's the door, he knows how it works.

Don't do PvP.  It never works well.  Especially with an experienced group attacking an inexperienced group ... it'll be like a semi truck running over a squirrel.  The new players will almost assuredly NOT enjoy it, because it will feel like getting bullied (and they may well be right).



No one wanted to do point buy, and it was the players who built it up in their heads they'd be gaainst eachother, since the different groups schedules conflict I doubt there'll be much interaction between them.

Thanks for the straight forward advice, I pretty much told him the same thing, unfortunately most of that gorup think I'm DMing wrong now. I suppose if worse comes to worst I'll just drop them and stick with group 1, they seem more interested in what ever gets thrown at them then making their characters gods anyhow.

[ unfortunately most of that gorup think I'm DMing wrong now.




Then just tell them that they're free to go find a DM whose game fits their preferences better.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
All in all in looks like your player is sulking because he wants a magic item created for he at the level 7 that is already a level 10 item (jagged weapon). Have tried to explain to the player that it is a level 10 item for a reason? Of u have all your items randomly distributed and u have added his overpowered item to your chart that seems fair. The player can not expect to be able to roll up a random character to his gain and then have whatever treasure he likes fall at his feet. Could you know get his whole group to go on a quest for the item? Then it would have been earnt and the whole party will have decided to spend there time looking for it
Traditionally in the game, you would just say "no, because I said so, no further argument".  I think 4th Edition's philosophy prefers that, at most, you and the group vote on it, if not simply accept it.

I suppose that these days, I would say "sure, let him play an optimized or min-maxed character, why not?"  It really only helps the character in certain types of encounters, and would only be a problem if those are the only types of encounters you ever use, or if the player finds that he's really not interested in playing that sort of character in the long run, or if the other players are legitimately not having fun because of it for some reason.

I think the real issue, and from skimming over this thread, an issue that doesn't seem to have been addressed yet, is:

Why
are your players (and I might have read it wrong, but it sounds like there's more than one) desperately looking for mechanical ways to win at combat-to-the-death at all costs?  Have you had a talk with them yet, where you discuss with them directly what you and your players expect from the game, and ask about why they are choosing to commit to the specific characters they are creating over the long haul?

I've got my theories based on what I've been able to read between the lines of other posts on this subject:  a remarkably large group where it can be very difficult to stand out or contribute to group success very often, a tendency toward mortal-combat-heavy campaign design with no motivation for players to build balanced characters, failure options that are just not fun which drive a fear of failing in combat, players who have been "trained" to build specific character types to survive under certain DMing styles... these are just a few common reasons I can think of.  What is going on with your group?
[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
On the surface, it sounds like you're a DM getting bullied by players. On the surface. Scratch that first layer of paint a bit and you'll see what the real problem is - your perception. Luckily, since you are only able to change yourself and your own perceptions (as opposed to the players who are other people), you can solve this problem.

First, you mentioned "metagaming" several times in your original post. Its use was as I've seen many DMs (wrongly) talk about it: Someone is doing something you don't like and so it's "metagaming." My first recommendation would therefore be to stop thinking that way. Metagaming is actually helpful to the group and this player is using it correctly by telling you what he wants his character to have so you can work it into the game. You don't agree with that for reasons stated, so you're using "metagaming bad!" as a bludgeon to get people to think the way you do. Not only is that not going to work, it's the wrong way to look at it. A DM shouldn't meddle in the affairs of players building their characters and justify themselves by saying they're "curbing metagaming." Instead, give the player what he wants or make him quest for it. In other words, make getting what he wants fun for everyone.

Next, this item is only overpowered if success and failure in your encounters is always determined by one side annihilating the other. By putting alternative objectives/goals for both PCs and monsters in your encounters, it usually doesn't matter how much damage a PC can do - he can post up huge damage numbers all night long (which is all he really wants most likely) and have a total blast, but still not diminish the challenge or overshadow other PCs. I regularly give my players overpowered stuff - bombs, laser guns, overlevel magic items... all sorts of loot that many DMs would balk at. And it doesn't make much difference to the encounter difficulty at all because reducing everything to a puddle of goo and entrails is almost never the best way to "win" the encounter.

As DM, it's important to know what you can control and what you can't control. You can't control your players' desire to have capable characters that do big damage. But you can use that impulse to make your game more fun. You just have to change the way you look at it, which is something you can control. To do otherwise is to place yourself in an adversarial relationship with your players which rarely bodes well for the game.
I'm not calling it metagaming because it's something I don't like. I don't know how asking a DM outside of the game for items to be given to your character and ONLY your character isn't metagaming. If he had approached this entirely differently and done this inside the game, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. Hell, Most of the magic items they will be recieving are going to have to be crafted by special ore they will find in specific areas, if he had gone about it differently, there would have been no problem.

The fact that he essentially opened up with "I like to break the game as much as possible, and because it's my idea only I should get this, don't reward other players for not thinking of it." It's an attitude I don't tolerate, and to clarify, I'm not new around the block, I've DM'd before, and have done roleplaying in various games and styles for 12 years, I know what metagaming means.

I also understand the perks of giving players over powered items, making them feel powerful, and at other times make them feel helpless has they use other means to survive or win, I am also aware that not all encounters need to be about killing the enemy.

My problem is, I have been incredibly lucky to not have encountered a player like this up until this point. Since I started this topic he has backed down for now, but I don't think this is the end. I just wanted tips on how to deal with a situation like this other than "kick them out / deal with it"

He argued with me that I should be rewarding him for doing research on making his character powerful. My response was 'I reward cleverness ingame.'  The other thing is, all of these guys in this experienced group DM their own games, and from my understanding all of the characters in these campaigns are rediculously powerful, loaded with items, So I suppose they will simply have to adapt to not being as powerful early on.

If anyone else has some tips on how to deal with this behaviour, or suggestions, go right ahead. I felt the need to defend my point to iserith however, not that I don't appreciate the time taken to post advice.
Metagaming is 'using out-of-character information to affect in-character decisions'.  Asking the DM for something is not an in-character action at all, it is purely out-of-game, and therefore is not metagaming.

Additionally, not all metagaming is bad.  It is entirely possible for a player to use that information to make a game go more smoothly (such as 'Hi, new PC, I feel oddly compelled to trust you even though I just met you so we aren't standing around for two hours figuring out why you're tagging along with us').
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
If he had approached this entirely differently and done this inside the game, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. Hell, Most of the magic items they will be recieving are going to have to be crafted by special ore they will find in specific areas, if he had gone about it differently, there would have been no problem.



Do you understand how strange that sounds? Think about it.

The fact that he essentially opened up with "I like to break the game as much as possible, and because it's my idea only I should get this, don't reward other players for not thinking of it." It's an attitude I don't tolerate, and to clarify, I'm not new around the block, I've DM'd before, and have done roleplaying in various games and styles for 12 years, I know what metagaming means.



Even so, you don't seem to understand how metagaming isn't inherently bad and how it can be of use to you, such as in this exact situation. The game flat-out recommends that players provide "wish lists" to their DM. That's all he's doing.

My problem is, I have been incredibly lucky to not have encountered a player like this up until this point. Since I started this topic he has backed down for now, but I don't think this is the end. I just wanted tips on how to deal with a situation like this other than "kick them out / deal with it"



See? It's that perception problem again. You see his actions as bad. They're not. Change your perception and the problem is solved.

He argued with me that I should be rewarding him for doing research on making his character powerful. My response was 'I reward cleverness ingame.'  The other thing is, all of these guys in this experienced group DM their own games, and from my understanding all of the characters in these campaigns are rediculously powerful, loaded with items, So I suppose they will simply have to adapt to not being as powerful early on.



His argument is a stupid one, but he's still not wrong.

As well, if you've got a table full of DMs who like powerful characters, then give them what they want and make the adjustments in your encounters. This is something you can control and fix. You can't stop them from wanting what they want. That is not in your control. Focus only on those things you can control and you reduce your odds of being frustrated.

I felt the need to defend my point to iserith however, not that I don't appreciate the time taken to post advice.



I'm not attacking you. If my tone sounds harsh, sometimes that may be because we DMs need to have some cold water splashed in our face to jolt us out of our delusions.
Additionally, not all metagaming is bad.



At the risk of derailing a bit: Any chance you could tell me when it is bad? I'm curious if my current design methods obviate any need for concern about "metagaming." If not bad, then something the DM can't account for on his side of the equation? (Like not including trolls if it bothers the DM that every player in the world knows that fire hurts trolls even if their characters might not have encountered one in actual play.)
Well your combat skills are a great benefit in this conversation. Now go swim across the the river, climb that wall and find this flower all without being seen or you will kill your party.

As DM you can give him everything and have the campaign just not support combat as a determining factor. I have a dm that rewards clever solutions more than combat as he really hates running up monsters. So half the time I'm just standing around useless becasue my Athletics, Intimidate, history, and arcana mean nothing to most situations
Additionally, not all metagaming is bad.



At the risk of derailing a bit: Any chance you could tell me when it is bad? I'm curious if my current design methods obviate any need for concern about "metagaming." If not bad, then something the DM can't account for on his side of the equation? (Like not including trolls if it bothers the DM that every player in the world knows that fire hurts trolls even if their characters might not have encountered one in actual play.)



I think arguments can be made for metagaming being "bad" in situations like a player reading a module all the way through and then building a character optimized to take advantage of that knowledge to build a character that outshines the other PCs constantly, resulting in boredom for that player, resentment from the players, and frustration from the DM.

Counter-arguments could then be made about how the DM can solve that through more original and effective campaign design.

But, I suppose the real conclusion here is that anything can be bad, if it prevents anyone who is trying to be honest and cooperative from enjoying the game.

That said, I think it's quite fair to take these sorts of reports with a grain of salt, and quite reasonable to suspect that the scope and frequency are not as great as some DMs seem to want to imagine.
[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
Additionally, not all metagaming is bad.



At the risk of derailing a bit: Any chance you could tell me when it is bad? I'm curious if my current design methods obviate any need for concern about "metagaming." If not bad, then something the DM can't account for on his side of the equation? (Like not including trolls if it bothers the DM that every player in the world knows that fire hurts trolls even if their characters might not have encountered one in actual play.)



Basically, I interpret 'bad metagaming' as when it impairs the smooth flow of the game.  Exactly how this occurs will vary from table to table, of course ... and as far as 'things the DM can account for', well, yes, he certainly can account for them, but should he have to?

The biggest offenders, IMHO, are the 'I read your character sheet while you were in the bathroom, now I know everything you can do' sorts.  "Even though you've done nothing but be upfront and honest with us, all of a sudden I don't trust you because your character sheet says 'rogue' on it."  This is a particular problem for me as I usually ignore extant class fluff when making a character, and I get very frustrated when they refer to my character, or have expectations of it, that are not in keeping with what I've actually told them my character is about.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I'm not calling it metagaming because it's something I don't like. I don't know how asking a DM outside of the game for items to be given to your character and ONLY your character isn't metagaming. If he had approached this entirely differently and done this inside the game, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. Hell, Most of the magic items they will be recieving are going to have to be crafted by special ore they will find in specific areas, if he had gone about it differently, there would have been no problem.

The fact that he essentially opened up with "I like to break the game as much as possible, and because it's my idea only I should get this, don't reward other players for not thinking of it." It's an attitude I don't tolerate, and to clarify, I'm not new around the block, I've DM'd before, and have done roleplaying in various games and styles for 12 years, I know what metagaming means.

I also understand the perks of giving players over powered items, making them feel powerful, and at other times make them feel helpless has they use other means to survive or win, I am also aware that not all encounters need to be about killing the enemy.

My problem is, I have been incredibly lucky to not have encountered a player like this up until this point. Since I started this topic he has backed down for now, but I don't think this is the end. I just wanted tips on how to deal with a situation like this other than "kick them out / deal with it"

He argued with me that I should be rewarding him for doing research on making his character powerful. My response was 'I reward cleverness ingame.'  The other thing is, all of these guys in this experienced group DM their own games, and from my understanding all of the characters in these campaigns are rediculously powerful, loaded with items, So I suppose they will simply have to adapt to not being as powerful early on.

If anyone else has some tips on how to deal with this behaviour, or suggestions, go right ahead. I felt the need to defend my point to iserith however, not that I don't appreciate the time taken to post advice.



Interestingly, I had a player very similar to what you are describing.  He's an avid gamer and enjoys making the most powerful fighter types he can and asks for things that go beyond the scope of the what's allowable in game trying to "break" the game.  As a DM, you set the ground rules.  Some players will fight tooth and nail to get that millimeter crack in those ground rules to exploit a loophole.

I was running a D&D 3e campaign with several new players.  To prevent information overload, I specifically stated that we would only be using content (classes, races, feats, and skills, etc) from PHB1 and PHB2.  My "game breaker" player was CONSTANTLY asking whether he could use stuff from other sources.  I always listened to his request (he generally asked nicely ), we would debate it, and in the end, I invariably said no, for the same reason every time - too over-powered.

In my experience, you give those type of players that millimeter and they expect 500 kilometers .  That being said, they do not expect it all at once.  Sure, give him the item he wants, in game, at an appropriate level, whether it takes a LOT to craft it and/or he has to go on one or more quests to get it...those are great story hooks (if he can convince the rest of the party to help him :p).  And then turn the tables, once he gets that item, maybe the story shifts in such a way as he cannot use it all the time, but make sure he gets to use it enough so that he does not resent the path of the story.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.


The fact that he essentially opened up with "I like to break the game as much as possible, and because it's my idea only I should get this, don't reward other players for not thinking of it." It's an attitude I don't tolerate, and to clarify, I'm not new around the block, I've DM'd before, and have done roleplaying in various games and styles for 12 years, I know what metagaming means.


Who said you get to not tolerate anything? You are 1 of X players. You get 1 of X votes on stuff. Thats a really crappy attitude to have as a DM. You don't get to "tolerate" anything from your players. You don't get to "lay down the law on approperiate behaviors" and you don't get to tell people what to do. This really comes off as DM powertripping to me. 

You don't neccicarily have to have his magic items drop in the next encounter, but drop some hints about quests he can go on to aquire those items. 


Alternatively, provide a list of items you will allow in the game. "Anything from DMG I" is a common list. Feel free to shorten it to anything from DMG I except A, B, and C if you feel those are too good. Then ask him for stuff he likes and let it start to drop in game. Nothing is more frustrating in a game than finding your third +3 longsword, and after you invested resources in the "Exotic Longsword" and have to choose to either waste those feats or sell the items. 


Ask the other players to pick out a few cool items and do the same for them if they want. If they don't want, who cares?




The biggest offenders, IMHO, are the 'I read your character sheet while you were in the bathroom, now I know everything you can do' sorts.  "Even though you've done nothing but be upfront and honest with us, all of a sudden I don't trust you because your character sheet says 'rogue' on it."  This is a particular problem for me as I usually ignore extant class fluff when making a character, and I get very frustrated when they refer to my character, or have expectations of it, that are not in keeping with what I've actually told them my character is about.

I do my best not to mention my class for as long as possible for this reason. I'll be a "Summoner" or a "Two weapon warrior" or maybe a "Woodsman". Not a wizard/druid, fighter/ranger/rogue/swashbuckler, or ranger/fighter/barbarian/scout. 

"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"

So, the attitude the player is described as having is just fine? You think all the other players are okay with it and it's just the DM with an issue?
Krusk, I must disagree. The DM is god. The DM's decisions may not be overruled or voted on. If the DM says the following material is off limits, then the specified material is off limits. If the DM feels like a player's character that has been doing great for 27 levels and is close to completing his epic destiny is to be reduced to a smoldering pile of ash by a surprise lightning on a clear sunny day... then it HAPPENS. However, this is of course horrible story telling.
No DM in their right mind would use measures of force (such as unexpected lightning) to railroad players or frustrate them by denying well deserved rewards.
The deal goes something like this: The players get a great time, an interesting story, an immersive world and challenging combat and non-combat encounters. In return they agree to play by the rules. Those are the DnD 4e rules as well as the house rules set by the DM AND a minimal code of conduct.
If a DM doesnt want to award a specific item to a specific player he is well within his rights to do so. He doesn't even need a reason. However, making calls like that without a good reason to back it up, will make the game less fun (for the players because the game feels unfair and for the DM because he is caught in stupid discussions about minor details).
If a player asks for an item/power/feat/pet dragon, that the DM has ruled out previously, he will not receive it. Because doing so would break the previously set rules. The player knew the rules for character building and equipment ahead of time. If his character depends on this item, he did it wrong. Simple as that.
So yes. The DM may tolerate behaviour that is game breaking or metagamey (e.g. cutting of plot lines on purpose, initiating PvP, reading up on monster stats) or he may choose not to. If the players dont like it, they need to find a new DM. If the DM wants to keep his players happy (and therefor coming back to his games), he better be a little open about some things.
And no. The DM is not 1of X players. He is the "primus inter pares" at least. But only if he chooses to. If no specifications are made, she is GOD.
Krusk, I must disagree. The DM is god.



Nope.  The DM is one player among many, merely one with different responsibilities than the others.  The day of 'The DM's power is absolute' is long dead, and the very concept should never have existed.

If anybody ever seriously says 'I'm the DM and I am god', that's your first cue to find a different game, 'cause someone's on a power trip.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Nope.  The DM is one player among many, merely one with different responsibilities than the others.  The day of 'The DM's power is absolute' is long dead, and the very concept should never have existed.

If anybody ever seriously says 'I'm the DM and I am god', that's your first cue to find a different game, 'cause someone's on a power trip.



+1. If someone said that to me at the table, I'd take over their gaming group and oust them completely.
Nope.  The DM is one player among many, merely one with different responsibilities than the others.  The day of 'The DM's power is absolute' is long dead, and the very concept should never have existed.

If anybody ever seriously says 'I'm the DM and I am god', that's your first cue to find a different game, 'cause someone's on a power trip.



+1. If someone said that to me at the table, I'd take over their gaming group and oust them completely.



And, another +1.

Maybe it's a matter of the specific types of group you deal with, though:  perhaps some types of groups are made up of players who expect that, and enjoy it, either because they need a power-tripping DM to feel secure in the game (yikes), or because they enjoy that battle of wits, with the game being a battlefield where two virtually irresistable forces battle for dominance over the direction of the game (ugh).  Neither situation would be my cup of tea, but just because I wouldn't enjoy it, doesn't make it bad.

With my particular group, I've had to say nearly the complete opposite, more than once:  they were new players who weren't really very assertive, and I want them to stand up and contribute their own ideas to the game and leave their fingerprints all over it.  Partly out of laziness (DMing is much easier when the players are helping to govern the game and themselves), partly because I enjoy D&D for the exploration and discovery, and that aspect is much more fun when the players are giving me new things to discover and explore.
[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
And yet, we're telling a DM that in the context of a player demanding special privileges, that he just gets one vote, equal to that player's? What exactly are the "different respnsibilities" of the DM if they don't include making that kind of decision?
What sort of special privileges are you referring to? The player has said he wants a jagged weapon around 7th-level. In other words, he put it on his wish list which is recommended in the game. As well,  the highest level parcel at 7th-level for magic items is 11th. Since the jagged weapon is only 12th-level, is that really such a "special privilege?" Is this a battle the DM needs to fight? C'mon.
I was referring to this sentence, which may or may not be an accurate representation of the situation, since it's just one side of the story: "I like to break the game as much as possible, and because it's my idea only I should get this, don't reward other players for not thinking of it." 
 
 As far as the basic idea of letting players get the equipment they want within specified ranges, I agree that it's simplest and best practice to just let it happen, although my group has played with scarcity of certain types of items or local price variations before and I think that's generally made for a more interesting game. In the situation described above, I would most likely look for a diplomatic way to tell the player, "Yes, you can acquire that item, but no, you don't have special entitlement compared to the rest of the group." Fortunately, the people I play with don't compete with each other in that way. But what I'm not getting is the response that would apparently tell me I'd be overstepping my bounds by doing anything other than filling all the player's demands.
I was referring to this sentence, which may or may not be an accurate representation of the situation, since it's just one side of the story: "I like to break the game as much as possible, and because it's my idea only I should get this, don't reward other players for not thinking of it."



That definitely sounds one-sided and it's suspicious such a controversial line was not included in the original post. I'm taking it with a grain of salt.
 
As far as the basic idea of letting players get the equipment they want within specified ranges, I agree that it's simplest and best practice to just let it happen, although my group has played with scarcity of certain types of items or local price variations before and I think that's generally made for a more interesting game.



Scarcity - interesting scarcity - can make for good drama. Literature is rife with it. When scarcity turns into "out-of-game" drama due to player dissatisfaction, it's a very easy argument for the DM to let the player win... unless the DM is running a plot-based/linear game where he has a stake in the outcome of encounters. (Stop doing that.) If you haven't made that mistake as DM, you wouldn't have had the argument in the first place because you wouldn't have cared.

In the situation described above, I would most likely look for a diplomatic way to tell the player, "Yes, you can acquire that item, but no, you don't have special entitlement compared to the rest of the group." Fortunately, the people I play with don't compete with each other in that way. But what I'm not getting is the response that would apparently tell me I'd be overstepping my bounds by doing anything other than filling all the player's demands.



What may also be overlooked is the fact that not everyone would probably want a jagged weapon (axe, heavy blade, or light blade) in the first place. There'd be no competition at all in this event.

Giving in to the players' demands is very easy. They're telling you what they want and what they're interested in directly. That's a good thing! What does it matter to the DM what kind of magic items they want/need? Give it to them and you're certain to have a good outcome. If you're unable to change your game to suit, then find a new group. I simply find it's easier to change my game or at least the way I'm looking at it, which is what the OP really needs to do.

Do you understand how strange that sounds? Think about it.



Not really. I mean if we were in game (and as you guys say not all metagaming was bad) And he stated his character looked to be a heavy hitter, and wanted things that could give him more crit capabilitity, I would have suggested he talk to a smith, or a merchant, and then in game sent him on a quest to aid him in forging an item of the like that may have spanned for a few sessions on the side while they focused on other things.

My problem with it is how he arrogantly acted that because he read it in a book he was entitled to it with out doing any work for it, and no one else got it because it was his idea.

Even so, you don't seem to understand how metagaming isn't inherently bad and how it can be of use to you, such as in this exact situation. The game flat-out recommends that players provide "wish lists" to their DM. That's all he's doing.



I think the misunderstanding is I consider doing things outside of the game/before the game starts/behind the groups back. Metagaming. Back in text based roleplays when there were no rules, and literally anyone could metagame by reading a thought your character had and suddenly claim they read minds, I suppose I'm stuck on a stricter mindset. The point is he wasn't asking if down the road his character could be built this way, he was essentially telling me, he wanted these items given to his character, not earned. And he also told me no other players were allowed to have these items as it was his idea. I want all the players to have fun, and I really think that mindset would limit fun of other people.

See? It's that perception problem again. You see his actions as bad. They're not. Change your perception and the problem is solved.


Look, I read a lot more on here than I post, and this is a second account i've had to make on here since renewing D&D Insider, I respect pretty much everything I read from you as it is almost always incredibly good advice. If you could explain to me why asking for things to be dropped at his characters feet and forbidding any other player to build theirs this way is a completely okay thing to do, then I obviously have been going about this all wrong.

Keep in mind I had since agreed to allowing him to build his character this way, but he would have to earn the items at the respectable level, and I'm not preventing other players from having chances of obtaining feats or items like them.

His argument is a stupid one, but he's still not wrong.

As well, if you've got a table full of DMs who like powerful characters, then give them what they want and make the adjustments in your encounters. This is something you can control and fix. You can't stop them from wanting what they want. That is not in your control. Focus only on those things you can control and you reduce your odds of being frustrated.



The initial problem about that was due to the PvP. I have since gotten rid of it after considering Salla, despite that everyone was looking forward to trying it anyways. The other thing was, over time, I wanted to reward players with making them very powerful. The convept of just inputting a cheat code when you starta  game and having everything is an insanely boring concept to me, but since there is no PvP, it'll probably happen.

I'm not attacking you. If my tone sounds harsh, sometimes that may be because we DMs need to have some cold water splashed in our face to jolt us out of our delusions.



I see that, and I apologize if I've been overly defensive. I'm not a DM on some powertrip. There are players in my group who I have DM'd for before and they're all super excited about this and have told me I do a good job. I probably over reacted with the other player who started this but he's prone to doing things like this all the time, and he has pre-existing issues with other people in the group as it is. Perhaps I was just looking for an early excuse to tell him he can't play before more things happen and get out of hand. I guess we'll see how things go.

Who said you get to not tolerate anything? You are 1 of X players. You get 1 of X votes on stuff. Thats a really crappy attitude to have as a DM. You don't get to "tolerate" anything from your players. You don't get to "lay down the law on approperiate behaviors" and you don't get to tell people what to do. This really comes off as DM powertripping to me.



I am not that kind of person who thinks he is god when he DM's. (Ironically, the player with the problem that this topic is discussing is that kind of DM) and I realize the DM is just another player. However, I disagree with you. I Do get to tolerate things. As a player in other campaigns can I not leave the group if I don't enjoy myself or if I feel the DM is on a trip? While it is more difficult to do that as a DM, and these are being hosted in my house. I don't tolerate people treating me and others like that in every day situations, why do I have to tolerate it in a game?

@Chillhelm While I realize you are defending me, and I appreciate it, I also have to disagree with you and side with the others on this. I am not of the camp that the DM is god, it is not a fun way to play. The DM is a player who with the rest of the players tell a story. He constructs the dungeons/enoucnters and grants the rest of the players oppurtunitues to develop their characters and stories, while seeing that he doesn't railroad the players down one course.

As for rules being set, it's more of a group effort towards what flies and what doesn't. In this case 7 of the 10 people in my groups disagree with the players antics.
Not really. I mean if we were in game (and as you guys say not all metagaming was bad) And he stated his character looked to be a heavy hitter, and wanted things that could give him more crit capabilitity, I would have suggested he talk to a smith, or a merchant, and then in game sent him on a quest to aid him in forging an item of the like that may have spanned for a few sessions on the side while they focused on other things.

My problem with it is how he arrogantly acted that because he read it in a book he was entitled to it with out doing any work for it, and no one else got it because it was his idea.



Right, I see what you're saying. It still goes back to perception. You perceive that the player should address these issues in-character, in-game. What if you looked at the game as I do, where there is no distinction as to in-character or out-of-character discussion except as needed to clarify something? I refer to this as "the conversation of the game." D&D is just a conversation with some dice. Sometimes that conversation will be in-character and take place within the four corners of the game world. Sometimes it won't. You can't really control that flow. By preferring one over the other, you're setting yourself up for these kinds of arguments.

If he's acting arrogantly about it, I'm sure you know that's an out-of-game issue of someone being a jerk and thus even if he addressed it in-game as you'd prefer, he'd still be an arrogant jerk. This is why I characterized the notion as "strange." It's like there's an arbitrary wall there to make a given table transaction acceptable or not acceptable. A hoop to jump through to make it alright, as it were. That's weird to me.

I think the misunderstanding is I consider doing things outside of the game/before the game starts/behind the groups back. Metagaming. Back in text based roleplays when there were no rules, and literally anyone could metagame by reading a thought your character had and suddenly claim they read minds, I suppose I'm stuck on a stricter mindset. The point is he wasn't asking if down the road his character could be built this way, he was essentially telling me, he wanted these items given to his character, not earned. And he also told me no other players were allowed to have these items as it was his idea. I want all the players to have fun, and I really think that mindset would limit fun of other people.



I don't believe metagaming actually exists. Or rather, the concept exists, but it's not actually a problem, ever, in any circumstance. The only exception is when someone points to someone else's actions as "metagaming" for reasons that are usually wholly their own. Try this: Take the concept of metagaming and delete it from your mind. Pretend it doesn't exist. Because it doesn't. You'll be happier for it.

Look, I read a lot more on here than I post, and this is a second account i've had to make on here since renewing D&D Insider, I respect pretty much everything I read from you as it is almost always incredibly good advice. If you could explain to me why asking for things to be dropped at his characters feet and forbidding any other player to build theirs this way is a completely okay thing to do, then I obviously have been going about this all wrong.

Keep in mind I had since agreed to allowing him to build his character this way, but he would have to earn the items at the respectable level, and I'm not preventing other players from having chances of obtaining feats or items like them.



Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me even if we're disagreeing on some points. Know that even if I sound snotty from time to time, I am truly trying to help. 

Your solution is a perfectly good one. It sounds like the player is interested in niche protection which is already built in to the rules to some extent. As I said above, it's likely that nobody else in the party would even want the items he "needs" for his build. So it's really a non-issue. The more we delve into this, it sounds like it's just the way the player acted that is the real issue and it sounds like that may have been resolved. For now. My only other advice would just be to change your perception of a couple of things so that you aren't affected as much by these sorts of antics.

The initial problem about that was due to the PvP. I have since gotten rid of it after considering Salla, despite that everyone was looking forward to trying it anyways. The other thing was, over time, I wanted to reward players with making them very powerful. The convept of just inputting a cheat code when you starta  game and having everything is an insanely boring concept to me, but since there is no PvP, it'll probably happen.



You can have all the PVP you want... if you let the "target" decide the outcome, not the dice.
Thanks for the advice, I'll look into removing metagaming from my mindset, as I said it's more of an ingrained prejudice from old experiences, and I agree I'll probably be better for it if I can learn to get rid of it.

And yes we've settled things for now, and you're right I was more reacting to how he behaved more than his requests. He's an abrasive person, and a jerk at times and I tried to turn it into a game issue. Since I have agreed to how he wants his character and we'll go from there.

Initially how I was going to handle pvp was little contact between the actual characters them selves and preventing a player from actually killing/disturbing another player unless it was agreed upon by both parties. (very similar to old school text roleplay) I had plans down the road of the players falling into different positions of power. and each groups encountering soldiers/units sent by the opposing group after they had met ,etc. and their rivalry being heavily political based.

It's something I feel could be pretty fun as it appeals to a lot of the groups interests, but after considering Salla, I realized it could still cause problems with the safe guards in place. As I said the person in question is abrasive and some people int he other group already have a problem with him, I fear centering a game where they are enemies will only antagonize the issues.

Again, I understand you were just trying to help and I was being defensive of the issue at hand, all is good.

If a DM told me it was his table and he was god, I would laugh at him. Then once/if I determined he was serious I'd leave. 


And yes we've settled things for now, and you're right I was more reacting to how he behaved more than his requests. He's an abrasive person, and a jerk at times and I tried to turn it into a game issue. Since I have agreed to how he wants his character and we'll go from there.


I really commend you for this. Its hard to realize you made a mistake and make a conscious decision to change it. Especially when you did it to someone who is abrasive, and a jerk. 


"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 really commend you for this. Its hard to realize you made a mistake and make a conscious decision to change it. Especially when you did it to someone who is abrasive, and a jerk. 



+1. Agreed - that's not easy to do.
Sounds like you joined the wrong group to play with, before you checked on their play style.
A big NO on PVP. 4e is not made for it. Also, there is a feat anybody can take that prohibits an enemy hit that turn from regaining HP until the next turn. A wizard with that power would destroy. Furthermore, if you try PVP (which I have) it comes down to initiative more than anything else. If you get to go before your opponent, you control.

Finally, players get attached to their characters. PVP is very high-stressed. It is no fun for a character to die, and will create friction and blaming between players.

PVP is the biggest mistake I allowed at my game table.
Well if you've seen any of my other posts you know my take on power gamers. No need to beat the dead horse.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

If a player wants to optimize his character, let him. Why would this be against the rules ever? Some people enjoy playing this way. A couple of people in my group enjoy creating characters more than playing. If that player's character completely outshines the rest of the party, they will let him know that they are not having fun. You can then cross that bridge when you get there.
If a player wants to optimize his character, let him. Why would this be against the rules ever? Some people enjoy playing this way. A couple of people in my group enjoy creating characters more than playing. If that player's character completely outshines the rest of the party, they will let him know that they are not having fun. You can then cross that bridge when you get there.



I said power gaming, not optimizing. People need to learn the difference.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

I agree with you, Felorn, on PowerGaming. The OP is inquiring about a crit-fisher build and min-maxers. My comment was directed at the OP.
I agree with you, Felorn, on PowerGaming. The OP is inquiring about a crit-fisher build and min-maxers. My comment was directed at the OP.


Ohh alright

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

If a player wants to optimize his character, let him. Why would this be against the rules ever? Some people enjoy playing this way. A couple of people in my group enjoy creating characters more than playing. If that player's character completely outshines the rest of the party, they will let him know that they are not having fun. You can then cross that bridge when you get there.



I said power gaming, not optimizing. People need to learn the difference.



i'm intrigued to hear how you would define the difference between these two things.
A power gamer constantly metas.

A power gamer uses personal knowledge and projects it onto his character.
A power gamer plays encounters like chess, taking far too long to complete his turn because he thinks that whatever he chooses, there is a better choice that he is not seeing right now.
A power gamer is a rules lawyer and a big RAI fan...when it suits his/her character.

Pwer gamers are a pain in the @$$. Every group probably knows one. 
Playing encounters like chess has its own kind of fun in a party where everyone likes chess. But yeah, it can get annoying when someone's got a complex build.
I agree with you, Felorn, on PowerGaming. The OP is inquiring about a crit-fisher build and min-maxers. My comment was directed at the OP.




Tbh my problem was more about the player being difficult to deal with and unfair with other players and essentially powergaming. He in no way said "Hey is there any way my character can get some crit items down the road and through out as it show I want to build my character, that'd be awesome thanks."

Probably would have been a very different situation. He made demands, he said he wanted most of them right away, or levels far lower than they are normally available, he didnt want to earn them, and he wanted to prohibit other players from accessing these type of items.

We ended up sorting out that situation, I agreed his character would be able to earn said items at the appropriate level.

Since then more problems had arisen, the groups have since been downsized from two 5 person groups to one 6 person group. First session is on wednesday.