Keeping the Fighter Happy

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Let me give you an idea of this player. He plays a Dragonborn Fighter, level 6, and is a bit of an optimizer to create a tank for the party. Unbreakable and armor with similar effect and that sort of thing. He also on occassion... well... there was Kord's warhammer sending him careening into the tavern where we began, biting a skaab (think frankenstein) and using dragonbreath, looking forward to Scion of Ahkrosia so he can fly up then glide down to punch people in the face, and that sort of thing. Needless to say, combat and some of the funnier things are what keep him most entertained.

However, while there's fighting to be done and time and place for just derping (I throw in the occassional 'Derp Session' as my players call them), much of what goes on is of a more serious nature. The gist of the campaign is that a collection of small kingdoms in the North must be United against the Powers of the Nine Hells.

So with non-combat encounters how can I keep someone like this entertained, even if he's not hitting things or trying to have his trained hawk drop fire bombs out of a bag of holding?
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When you asked him the same question, what did he tell you?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

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When you asked him the same question, what did he tell you?



He enjoys roleplaying, as I've noted before in designing things, and that's the main focus of keeping him in the game out of combat. There's also a good bit to be done in terms of the focus of some other members of our party, which we're working out. Though it really does frustrate him.

I'm looking down the line though, and I'm wondering if anyone here has had experience with this kind of thing, and what worked for them.

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When you asked him the same question, what did he tell you?

He enjoys roleplaying, as I've noted before in designing things, and that's the main focus of keeping him in the game out of combat. There's also a good bit to be done in terms of the focus of some other members of our party, which we're working out. Though it really does frustrate him.

I'm looking down the line though, and I'm wondering if anyone here has had experience with this kind of thing, and what worked for them.

Ask the player why the "gist of the campaign" matters to his character. What outcome is the character hoping to achieve, and why? He wants to be a Scion of Arkhosia, so think about what that means to the player. Does he think of his character as a direct-line descendent from an Arkhosian noble family? Or is it metaphorical, and he just wants to come to represent the greatness of the dragonborn empire? If one of the nine kingdoms has close ties to Bael Turath, will the presence of someone with close associations to Arkhosia wind up making things interesting? (Answer: Yes. Follow up question: And in what way?)

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Since he sounds like he enjoys the overtop and hilarious situations that can arise, I would try to hatch a storyline that utilized that. 
Perhaps the local lord is looking for adventurers for some kind of quest that fits the 'regular' adventure.  While the more serious players are negotiating with the serious advisors and men-at-arms, the fighter could be approached by the court jester with a ludicrous request that parallels the other questline.  
No need to keep offering a wacky option EVERY session, but including quest objectives like kidnapping the enemy's teddy-bear, or staging a unionization movement amongst the local chamber-pot cleaners could give the fighter a chance to blow off enough steam to stop hijacking all the more serious quests. 
Like I said, you aren't removing serious quests from the campaign with this approach, simply offering an objective within those quests that appeals to the sillier, or more outrageous tendencies of your player.
He enjoys roleplaying, as I've noted before in designing things, and that's the main focus of keeping him in the game out of combat. There's also a good bit to be done in terms of the focus of some other members of our party, which we're working out. Though it really does frustrate him.

I'm looking down the line though, and I'm wondering if anyone here has had experience with this kind of thing, and what worked for them.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not seeing a problem here with the player in question. Rather, it's the other players that are causing an issue (or at least are perceived as doing so)?

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

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

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

When you asked him the same question, what did he tell you?

He enjoys roleplaying, as I've noted before in designing things, and that's the main focus of keeping him in the game out of combat. There's also a good bit to be done in terms of the focus of some other members of our party, which we're working out. Though it really does frustrate him.

I'm looking down the line though, and I'm wondering if anyone here has had experience with this kind of thing, and what worked for them.

Ask the player why the "gist of the campaign" matters to his character. What outcome is the character hoping to achieve, and why? He wants to be a Scion of Arkhosia, so think about what that means to the player. Does he think of his character as a direct-line descendent from an Arkhosian noble family? Or is it metaphorical, and he just wants to come to represent the greatness of the dragonborn empire? If one of the nine kingdoms has close ties to Bael Turath, will the presence of someone with close associations to Arkhosia wind up making things interesting? (Answer: Yes. Follow up question: And in what way?)



As I recal reading, the player only wants the scion of arkhosia path just so he can sprout wings or fly.
Getting the vibe here that the more serious part of rolplaying(aka when Centauri said) doesn't really appeal to him.

But evildungeonmaster has a point. Try to offer something shiny to distract him. This way he can't ruin the parties negociations for example. Compare it to throwing a ball so the dog that has been ruining conversation will chase after it and be out of your hair. Although this can be quite a douce move.

Iserith: I believe the problem is that the party can't get much done cause the fighter keeps messing stuff up with his antics. This party seems serious about succeeding and not failing and are getting the idea that the fighter will cause them to fail.

QuietK: I believe you're dealing with an instigator here. I advise you to check the dungeon masters guide pages 8 and 9 for tips on how to deal with him 
"Into the heart of battle, I shall walk In the eye of the storm, I will stand Onto the end of the earth, I shall hunt In defence of others, I shall fight For honour and glory, I will live And for justice, I would die"
Sounds like a one dimensional character. I usually tell people with those types to deal with it, they'll get to shine when the moment is right, but otherwise, they play second fiddle. However, you could ask him for some deeper goals. You say he enjoys roleplaying. Ask him what kind of goals his fighter has. Then work with those. Even if they're silly for silly reasons or simple combat oriented reasons. Make him work for those and while he's working for those, he shines. Also try to encourage special non-combat qualities he might have to engage him when not in combat. Fighters are tricky to deal with since they're heavily combat oriented. But, even a fighter can have a family, love interest, or a seemingly unobtainable goal. Also, the wackier his personal quest, the more satisfied he'll be, it sounds like.
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Though it fits as a story point for his character; he despises Dythan's Legion, and being a Scion himself would go against Dythan's plans. Though in all seriousness the biggest part is to be able to dive-punch things in the face.

And Instigator really fits him to a tee, just add a splash of slayer. In one of our recent meetings he took on a Skeletal Mage that was dealing some pretty serious damage to the party by chargin it, ended up knocking it prone, and proceeded to curb stomp it and breath fire in its face... hilarious and useful in combat and my derp sessions, but occassionally things... stray. Like trying to make a flail by tying a rat to a stick.

He DOES enjoy roleplaying, just not of the serious variety. So I think in that, using something to give him an alternative way of doing things could work very well. Especially since it seems he'll make that happen anyway. Like when he rolled Diplomacy during talks of war to have the Lord Warren make him a sandwich. Probably in my best interest to channel those in a creative direction.
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