Dealing with Disruptive Players

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Chatty players: we've probably all dealt with them in the past.

Currently, I have two teenage players who continuously talk during the game when it's not their turn. I can't even label what they do as being just small talk. They are loud and completely unengaged. They seem to be interested in inflicting massive amounts of damage during their turn in combat. Once they have done this, they turn to one another and just yammer on about whatever they feel like. To say they are roll-players more than roleplayers is quite an understatement. They remain checked out even if we are involved in exploration or roleplaying.

They want to roll, inflict damage, and move on to the next target. When not engaged in this kind of activity, they turn to one another for entertainment.

Repeated polite suggestions that be quiet and allow others to have their turn in the spotlight are promptly ignored. I frequently have to repeat things to these two during roleplaying or exploration situations because they can't be bothered to keep. I try to direct questions at them during roleplaying encounters to specifically try an engage them. They generally shrug, murmur "I dunno," and move back into conversation. I have also discussed the issue of talking out of turn with them one-on-one. Nothing has worked.

Things got a little heated this past week when their behavior persisted well beyond tolerable levels. Four of other players were exasperated with these two. I told them no less than five times to please be respectful of other players during their turn. The other players also repeatedly told them to be quiet, with the crescendo of annoyance increasing at every turn. At one point, a player threw his bottle cap at the two chatting players after they would not get quiet. One of the chatty players called the guy an a**hole. The other claimed he was being "assaulted" and said he felt "violated." I told them that they were annoying everyone else at the table and that they were lucky that a bottle cap was all. That seemed to diffuse the situation momentarily, but by the end of the game they were back to palavering on and on about how much fun the Elder Scrolls MMO is going to be, what chick at their school is hottest, or what they would do if they were a forty-foot tall rage drake.

Simply put, their behavior has become beyond annoying and it's impacting the enjoyment of the game for others. 

I know socialization is a big aspect many players enjoy with D&D. However, these two are best buddies. They hang out with each other daily. It's not as if they are old friends catching up. I'm still new to this DM-ing business and part of me is still optimistic enough to not want to kick them out if their behavior can be corrected, but I certainly don't want to keep them around if they are just going to continue to drain the enjoyment out of the game for everyone else. I have seven players at the table. That's five other people who should be enjoying the game without the constant annoyance of these two talkers. At least four of them are fed up, along with their DM!

So... a pair of questions:

First, in general, how do you handle disruptive players at your table?

Second, can you give any pointers for someone in a situation like mine?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Chatty players: we've probably all dealt with them in the past.

Currently, I have two teenage players who continuously talk during the game when it's not their turn. I can't even label what they do as being just small talk. They are loud and completely unengaged. They seem to be interested in inflicting massive amounts of damage during their turn in combat. Once they have done this, they turn to one another and just yammer on about whatever they feel like. To say they are roll-players more than roleplayers is quite an understatement. They remain checked out even if we are involved in exploration or roleplaying.

They want to roll, inflict damage, and move on to the next target. When not engaged in this kind of activity, they turn to one another for entertainment.

Repeated polite suggestions that be quiet and allow others to have their turn in the spotlight are promptly ignored. I frequently have to repeat things to these two during roleplaying or exploration situations because they can't be bothered to keep. I try to direct questions at them during roleplaying encounters to specifically try an engage them. They generally shrug, murmur "I dunno," and move back into conversation. I have also discussed the issue of talking out of turn with them one-on-one. Nothing has worked.

Things got a little heated this past week when their behavior persisted well beyond tolerable levels. Four of other players were exasperated with these two. I told them no less than five times to please be respectful of other players during their turn. The other players also repeatedly told them to be quiet, with the crescendo of annoyance increasing at every turn. At one point, a player threw his bottle cap at the two chatting players after they would not get quiet. One of the chatty players called the guy an a**hole. The other claimed he was being "assaulted" and said he felt "violated." I told them that they were annoying everyone else at the table and that they were lucky that a bottle cap was all. That seemed to diffuse the situation momentarily, but by the end of the game they were back to palavering on and on about how much fun the Elder Scrolls MMO is going to be, what chick at their school is hottest, or what they would do if they were a forty-foot tall rage drake.

Simply put, their behavior has become beyond annoying and it's impacting the enjoyment of the game for others. 

I know socialization is a big aspect many players enjoy with D&D. However, these two are best buddies. They hang out with each other daily. It's not as if they are old friends catching up. I'm still new to this DM-ing business and part of me is still optimistic enough to not want to kick them out if their behavior can be corrected, but I certainly don't want to keep them around if they are just going to continue to drain the enjoyment out of the game for everyone else. I have seven players at the table. That's five other people who should be enjoying the game without the constant annoyance of these two talkers. At least four of them are fed up, along with their DM!

So... a pair of questions:

First, in general, how do you handle disruptive players at your table?

Second, can you give any pointers for someone in a situation like mine?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!



If it would get you ejected from a game of poker where there was even a small amount of money on the line among friends, it should get you removed from the D&D table.

People that are disruptive like that, repeatedly, after others have asked them not to be are too immature to enjoy the game. In the future? Maybe. Currently? Sorry, you're ruining the experience for everyone else.

It really is just that simple. When it becomes an issue for a player it's an issue...when it becomes an issue for the TABLE then it is well out of hand.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

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100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

You did the right first step; you asked them politely to stop.  You asked them repeatedly, and they ignored you, and you and the rest of the table are fed up with them.

You gave 'em a chance, now give 'em the boot.  Tell them they are no longer welcome at the game, and tell them precisely why; because they were disruptive and disrespectful of the other players.
unfortunately you have to take into account the other 4 players at your table as well as your own well being.  If the two players are being truly disruptive, have ignored repeated requests to be more quiet during other players turns and things are getting physical (even though it's a small event but it could escalate further)..  Well it's too bad for the chatty players.  I say give them the boot as well.  Maybe once you do they will realize what they were doing was wrong and learn from it.  If not well no sweat, they aren't in your group anymore.  Do what is best for the majority.
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If you've made it clear that it's disruptive and they've ignored you, you're well within your rights to disinvite them from future games. That said, if I were you, I'd consider a couple things regardless of what you decide:

It's time to retire that whole "roll-playing not roleplaying" canard. Combat is roleplaying. What these (and other) players might not enjoy as much is in-character interaction and exploration. It's simply not as engaging to them as combat, and that's fair, but all are forms of roleplaying.

People show up for and focus on things they're engaged in. If they're not engaged in the game, at least take a moment to look within to see if there are things you can improve about your game. If you're not ready to kick them out just yet, it wouldn't even hurt to ask them for their help on what you can do to help them engage on other aspects of the game. They may not be interested, and you may not be interested in changing to what they offer, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Good luck!

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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Good job on having the conversation letting them know how you and the other players feel. Now its time to take them aside and let them know that if they keep it up they won't be welcome back. Do it at the end of a session, not during or before. If they keep it up, do not invite them back. 

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I know you mentioned the two players at your table being teenagers, but we have 2 young twenty-somethings at the table who are pretty much the same.

Last week the DM let them know if they continued their shenanigans he would be going home because he wasn't going to waste his time attempting to talk over them. They promptly shut up. Your mileage may vary.
I think you pretty much have your answer by now with what everyone has posted above.

You've done an excellent job in speaking to them about their disruptive behavior and yet they continue.  The others at the table have also voiced their displeasure with the disruptive players and yet they continue.

I agree with Krusk's suggestion.  Speak to them after a session and be clear about things.  Let them know in no uncertain terms that if they want to have out of game conversations that is fine, but do it OUT OF THE GAME NOT DURING.  That their constant back and forth conversation about non-game related things during the game session is extremely disruptive and ruining the enjoyment for everyone else involved.  And let them know that they have one more chance to participate in your gaming group and if they continue with their current behavior AT ALL during that ONE CHANCE then they will no longer be invited to play.

Remember that you don't have to be mean about it, but you need to be firm in your position and stick to it, even if they start acting like jerks and calling you names and basically acting immature about the whole situation.  Also, you may need to remind them that this is not a personal attack and you have no problems with them other than their behavior in game and that you have to consider the group as a whole and not just 2 individuals.
Thanks for the advice. I may talk with these guys before our next session to review the expectations for play with them. I'll see how this goes the next two weeks before axing them. If it does come to parting ways, I will tell them that they won't be invited back.

Isereth: I see where you're coming from on the roleplayer versus roll-player thing, but I have to respectfully disagree. I think some players are legitimately roll-players as opposed to be roleplayers. I personally classify a difference between players who do typically enjoy the three pillars of D&D (combat, exploration, and interaction). I suppose the labeling of them as roll-players can be kind of demeaning, but it's also apt. There are some players who just want to roll initiative and fight, fight, fight. There can be a significant amount of roleplaying involved with that style of play too. However, some individuals do want to grind it out, roll their attack, roll for damage, and then suffer through until their next turn. God forbid they miss their attack or several attacks in a row. It's deflating to them because they can't and/or don't ant to offer anything beyond that to the game. They especially suffer when there isn't combat and offer nothing except "let's kill/maim/torture something." These two players fall into the latter category.

I feel like I am very introspective DM. I try to give players what they want because I find that helpful and enjoyable as a player. I surveyed my players early on as to what their expectations were for playing D&D. These two players, who come from a console gaming background, said they enjoyed killings monsters. In fact, one of them said to just bring on waves and waves of monsters, give them rests frequently so they can recharge their powers, and to bring on more monsters. They made no bones about what they wanted out of D&D.

At the time, we were a party of eight. I explained that while the other players also enjoy combat, five of the other players indicated that they also liked a very balanced game. I feel that coming from a console/MMO gaming background, their expectations are very different than the rest of our players. I believe they need immediate, frequent feedback. With a group of seven, combat can slow down. I realize that and try to run a tight ship when it comes to combat to make it run more smoothly and efficiently.

I listened to their needs, though. We have at least one combat encounter per weekly session, and probably have a two-fight encounter every third games. In the last eight months, we've only played one game where there wasn't a combat encounter at all.

There's definitely a game at our shop that I think may be more their speed in that regard, but I know that DM would also have significant issues with the talking as well. This person has noted to me that these individuals "never shut up." The problem isn't necessarily their playing style so much as their lack of social cognizance of manners while playing.
A party of 7 is huge , nearly boarding on 2 to many and guess what... they are the weakest links .. goodbye.
It certainly seems like you did your due diligence prior to the game. You were aware of the difference in expectations and gave it a shot. It doesn't seem to be working out. I'd be willing to bet it's really the pace of your game that is exacerbating the issue, but hey, talkative people are who they are. If it's not a fit, you know what to do.

I'll reiterate that combat is roleplaying and it doesn't help you or the community to classify those who enjoy that particular form of roleplaying over other forms in a way that, by your own words, is possibly demeaning. Any time you choose an action - whether that's swinging a sword or interacting with an NPC - that is also an action your fictional character would take in that situation, you are roleplaying. That they don't find interest in haggling with the gnome merchant or searching around the hallway for secret doors does not make them any less of roleplayers than anyone else.

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!

Here, Have Some Free Material From Me: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

You've had plenty of answers about the two players, so I'll pass on that, except to add (in response to your most recent) that, unless there's further information you haven't mentioned, it's not really your responsibility to figure out if they can fit in in another game or not.  The only answer you need to figure out is if they fit your game or not; and clearly they don't.

However, I do want to comment on the "roll-" vs "role-player" thing....

What about players who optimize their skills, and focus on doing those things as well as possible (especially in 4e, where such things are much more highlighted and defined than in past additions)?  Do they also qualify as "roll-players" as opposed to "role-players?"  Does the fact that they optimize in one particular area prevent them from roleplaying in that area, and make them little better than "roll-players?"

I acknowledge that there are players who can handle multiple pillars; there are also players who can't, and focus on just one like Combat.  If you relegate such players to a stereotype like that, and make disparaging comments such as "roll vs role," do you think perhaps that your apparently dismissive feelings about the pillar that they happen to enjoy might affect them in some fashion?  Or do you encourage such players to describe and work out what they're doing in Combat phase, in the hopes that they might get more comfortable with doing so, and perhaps spread out from there to other things?
Both swmabie and iserith bring up good points/questions.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I don't have a particular bias against combat, per se. I really enjoy that aspect both while playing a DM-ing. Min/maxing is fine. I think that speaks to the dedication and devotion a player has to making a character they will want to invest hours and hours into playing and getting to know. That's roleplaying. I'm not convinced folks who I would label as being roll-players are necessarily interested in this. They are more interesting in the dice equivalent of pushing buttons.

I'll give you an example from this past week that illustrates the point with one of these roll-players. One of these two players turn had come up. I explained the circumstance to the player: a gargoyle had just knocked a statue over on him during the last round. It was standing over his prone character. I told him it looked hungraily at him. I asked him what he would like to do. This individual said nothing, rolled his d20, and said, "Oh yeah, I hit him." I asked what he just did. "I hit him," he responded. I said that I realized that, but with what power did he just hit? He said, 'Doesn't matter." He began to roll damage. One of the other players chimed in that it helped describe the action. The player shrugged, rolled damage, and said he was done. Before I could move on or describe the scene, he chimes in that he wants to tack on damage. I once again ask what he was doing. "13 more damage!" I nod and say, "Yes, but with what power?" He mumbled something and returned to his conversation about his karate class. Another player asked, 'No, really. What did you just do?" He just mumbled an answer and continued on with his conversation.

That's a roll-player: a person who sees even the most basic details as an inconvenience to his die rolls.

All that being said... I'm not sure if a multifaceted game like D&D is necessarily the place for someone who just focuses on one aspect (like combat, but certainly not limited to that) to the exclusion of others. There are a multitude of options out there where that sort of gaming tilt is supported.

As a DM and as a player, I don't see a problem with focusing on one area as being necessarily a bad thing. Having seven different players at the table sets up quite the task of trying to appeal to all level of plays. Trying to balance out a game session to be "all things to all players" is difficult enough in its own right if you have four or five players. If certain players are just focusing on one area, then it becomes fairly impossible to actually appeal to everyone even most of the time, let alone all of the time.

The structure of my game may be at fault for that with keeping the interest of these two players, but I've never been shy about my intention to keep things balanced between exploration, interaction, and combat at my table. If someone walks into a game disregarding that premise by focusing solely on one aspect knowing that the game won't be that way even 50% of the time... well, who is setting up that situation for failure? Is it the DM or is it the player? It becomes a chicken/egg or nature/nurture kind of argument.

If D&D is an exercise in collaborative storytelling, there is some onus that rests at the player's hand to integrate themselves into the game. A DM can ask for detail, poke and cajole for even the tiniest bit more beyond die rolls, but ultimately there is some level of responsibility that lays at the player's feet for bringing more to their character than what is written on the sheet or revealed in a roll of a d20.

Where does that leave the roll-player? There's a game out there for roll-players. It may actually be found in D&D, especially if we all agree that there's no right or wrong way to play D&D (which I think most of us buy into). But I think your limiting yourself in the extreme if all you care about it your rolls and disregard, and even espouse rudeness, in your quest to roll high and kill all.
As we have all said, you seem to have done what you could.

If I were you, I would contact these players during the week, a few days before next game, and bring it to them simply:" your style does not match what the rest of the group, what I, expect. As such, change or do not show up next session."


It is that simple. You need to think of the enjoyment of the other players, and your own. From the scene described above, it would certainly appear they are not interested in your enjoyment.    
A party of 7 is huge , nearly boarding on 2 to many and guess what... they are the weakest links .. goodbye.



Agreed.
I'm all for manning up and taking the lead role as DM, since that role necessitates healthy servings of referee and leader, but why is it that when there are problem players it is always the DM's job to ask them to shape up or leave?  Why shouldn't the other players step up and ask them to leave?  Why are players always subject to the DM's decision as to whether they can play in the game or not, but if another player or a couple of players want to kick someone out, they're not the final authority?

The way I feel about situations like this is that if there's a doubt as to whether a particular player should continue in the group or not, put it to a veto-style/blackball vote.  In other words, if anyone says no, they're out.  Same thing with taking on new players - if anyone says no, they can't join. 

My main point is that it shouldn't just be the DM's choice/burden.  The other players should have a say too, and furthermore, the other players should take responsibility to "police" their own group.  In other words, stop disruptive players before it gets to the point where someone has to leave.  They shouldn't wait for the DM to do it.

But OP, good job on talking to the problem players first.  Now it's just a matter of whether they shape up or whether you have to decide how much rope you want to give them.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

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"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

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The whole table is annoyed and you've taken other measures to put a stop to it and it hasn't.

Time for das boot. No mercy.

 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
how do you handle disruptive players at your table?

From a previous discussion. In order:
1) They might be bored: so I'll make the game move faster
2) They might be frustrated: I'll allow them to do whatever they wish (they generally quit resisting once realize there's no leash). 
3) We might have different play styles: I'll talk to them to try to find a compromise
4) We might have intractably different play styles: I'll end the campaign and start a new (identical) one, inviting most of the players from the previous group.
 
Its seems like only #1 and #4 apply to your situation. Also, from a previous discussion on unfocused players:  
- run combat faster. fwiw: setting a fast pace during 4e combat is indeed hard for a DM, so here are some ideas.
- focus on the players that are paying attention (the unfocused ones will start to take an interest)
- ignore jokers and ruthlessly keep the game moving forward
- combat (or action) tends to focus players, but if they still aren't taking it seriously, make things get real up in there by making it more dangerous/challenging (tough but fair).

 
any pointers for someone in a situation like mine?

Run combat faster. Make it more challenging (without making it longer).

Acknowledge that they might be better off in another group.  A 'good fit' can be important. Sometimes DM's need to rotate through players (and vise-verse) to achieve that.
mvincent, the two disruptive players like to play combat so fast they do not even describe their actions. Why one could possibly want to play like that is beyond me, but more important for the current discussion is that this behaviour apparent irritates the DM and the other players, yet you suggest he'd follow that path!



OP: time for the 4th suggestion from mvincent. 
how do you handle disruptive players at your table?

From a previous discussion. In order:
1) They might be bored: so I'll make the game move faster
2) They might be frustrated: I'll allow them to do whatever they wish (they generally quit resisting once realize there's no leash). 
3) We might have different play styles: I'll talk to them to try to find a compromise
4) We might have intractably different play styles: I'll end the campaign and start a new (identical) one, inviting most of the players from the previous group.
 
Its seems like only #1 and #4 apply to your situation. Also, from a previous discussion on unfocused players:  
- run combat faster. fwiw: setting a fast pace during 4e combat is indeed hard for a DM, so here are some ideas.
- focus on the players that are paying attention (the unfocused ones will start to take an interest)
- ignore jokers and ruthlessly keep the game moving forward
- combat (or action) tends to focus players, but if they still aren't taking it seriously, make things get real up in there by making it more dangerous/challenging (tough but fair).

 
any pointers for someone in a situation like mine?

Run combat faster. Make it more challenging (without making it longer).

Acknowledge that they might be better off in another group.  A 'good fit' can be important. Sometimes DM's need to rotate through players (and vise-verse) to achieve that.



Thanks for the suggestions and links to the articles. Much appreciated!

I will say that,as baldhermit state above, it's difficult to make combat run any faster for these two individuals (or anyone else who prefers that style of play). They already breeze through their turns with very little input. They don't like even telling me what they are doing on their turn. Players who are interested in rolling dice just want to do that. And if that's the case, I'm not sure D&D is necessarily for them no matter the pace of combat!
As another rarely used but potentially useful option...have you tried the flamethrower rule?

First infraction is a warning. Second infraction is a flamethrower.

What?! It's effective as heck at eliminating problems!

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Another fun option:

Tell them their character has died when it gets to their turn. See how they react. I'd say there's a good chance they might actually say "whatever" and just leave themselves. Problem solved.

If they get angry and start to care, then you'll have the beginnings of what you're looking for. Or an even better reason to boot them when they become unreasonable. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I'm not convinced folks who I would label as being roll-players are necessarily interested in this. They are more interesting in the dice equivalent of pushing buttons.

I'll give you an example from this past week that illustrates the point with one of these roll-players. One of these two players turn had come up. I explained the circumstance to the player: a gargoyle had just knocked a statue over on him during the last round. It was standing over his prone character. I told him it looked hungraily at him. I asked him what he would like to do. This individual said nothing, rolled his d20, and said, "Oh yeah, I hit him." I asked what he just did. "I hit him," he responded. I said that I realized that, but with what power did he just hit? He said, 'Doesn't matter." He began to roll damage. One of the other players chimed in that it helped describe the action. The player shrugged, rolled damage, and said he was done. Before I could move on or describe the scene, he chimes in that he wants to tack on damage. I once again ask what he was doing. "13 more damage!" I nod and say, "Yes, but with what power?" He mumbled something and returned to his conversation about his karate class. Another player asked, 'No, really. What did you just do?" He just mumbled an answer and continued on with his conversation.

That's a roll-player: a person who sees even the most basic details as an inconvenience to his die rolls.



What you're describing (and of course we only have one side of the story here) sounds to me like a jerk, rather than a whole group of players you're painting with a broad brush by calling them "roll-players."

All that being said... I'm not sure if a multifaceted game like D&D is necessarily the place for someone who just focuses on one aspect (like combat, but certainly not limited to that) to the exclusion of others. There are a multitude of options out there where that sort of gaming tilt is supported.



Yes, and D&D supports exactly that sort of play because it is multifaceted. It doesn't make anyone less of a player because they prefer one facet over another. But then, you say:

As a DM and as a player, I don't see a problem with focusing on one area as being necessarily a bad thing.



So which is it? Is it okay to focus on one aspect over another or should players that do that seek out one of the "multide of options out there" instead?

Having seven different players at the table sets up quite the task of trying to appeal to all level of plays. Trying to balance out a game session to be "all things to all players" is difficult enough in its own right if you have four or five players. If certain players are just focusing on one area, then it becomes fairly impossible to actually appeal to everyone even most of the time, let alone all of the time.



You knew that going in. Now you have had to deal with ignoring your own due diligence which I give you kudos for doing in the first place. (Many DMs don't.) You should have listened to your gut on the diverging playstyles!

The structure of my game may be at fault for that with keeping the interest of these two players, but I've never been shy about my intention to keep things balanced between exploration, interaction, and combat at my table. If someone walks into a game disregarding that premise by focusing solely on one aspect knowing that the game won't be that way even 50% of the time... well, who is setting up that situation for failure? Is it the DM or is it the player? It becomes a chicken/egg or nature/nurture kind of argument.



Not really. You did your due diligence, as you say. You knew what they were about. You invited them to your game anyway. If there's blame to be had for this situation, doesn't that fall on you?

If D&D is an exercise in collaborative storytelling, there is some onus that rests at the player's hand to integrate themselves into the game. A DM can ask for detail, poke and cajole for even the tiniest bit more beyond die rolls, but ultimately there is some level of responsibility that lays at the player's feet for bringing more to their character than what is written on the sheet or revealed in a roll of a d20.



"Onus." Ever notice how often we use words like "onus" and "job" when describing things we believe players and DMs should do in a game? I find that to be interesting.

Maybe we shouldn't think of these things as onuses or jobs or responsibilities. Maybe we'd be more interested in doing them if we didn't think about things that way. Or at least be able to see more clearly why other people aren't engaging in a way we think they should.

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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Another fun option:

Tell them their character has died when it gets to their turn. See how they react. I'd say there's a good chance they might actually say "whatever" and just leave themselves. Problem solved.

If they get angry and start to care, then you'll have the beginnings of what you're looking for. Or an even better reason to boot them when they become unreasonable. 



I've done that before as well after a fashion.

"So what do you think you'll want to do for your next character?"

"Huh?"

"Well...I mean that killed you"

"What did?"

"Weren't you paying attention?"

"Uh...not really"

"Probably why you died. That sucks"

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Hearing more about how those two are playing the game is making my head hurt.

If you have players in a group that are seriously doing this sort of thing.  Talking (LOUDLY) during other players turns about (RANDOM, NON-GAME STUFF).  Not bothering to pay any attention to anything expect..."Oh, it's my turn.....I hit.....he takes 13 damage.  Now where was I....Oh yeah did you see that girl yesterday?"  That kind of player is being rude TO EVERYONE, inconsiderate OF EVERYONES FEELINGS, and just a plain IMMATURE JERK.  And the OP has two of them that feed off of one another making the problem 10 fold worse.

Like I had stated before I would give them one and ONLY ONE last chance.  Only reason I'd even do this if I were you is because it seems that you want to include them in the fun if only they can be considerate players.

Tell 'em straight.  The @$% needs to stop because it's ruining it for everyone else.  Give them one game session to prove they can change.  If they can't then let the know they are not invited next time.  If they can then they need to be on their best behavior and not just for the one session, but from then on.
What I'm kinda curious about is who taught these two how to play D&D in the first place?  Clearly, they know how to read a stat sheet, if they can figure out what they're supposed to be rolling.

Perhaps whoever it was did a piss-poor job of explaining how to do things?

Perhaps they have no real clue?

*shrug*

Not that I think OP needs to do anything about it, other than getting them out of his game, but perhaps someone needs to take them under wing and mentor them.

Or, perhaps they need to be separated.  If they don't have each other to feed off of with the talking, then maybe they can pay attention.  Kinda reminds me of a couple of teenage brothers who used to volunteer as help with groundskeeping.  If you had them working separately, with adult supervision, they were excellent workers.  Leave them on their own, or even worse have them work together with or without supervision, and they were constantly distracting themselves.
What I'm kinda curious about is who taught these two how to play D&D in the first place?  Clearly, they know how to read a stat sheet, if they can figure out what they're supposed to be rolling.

Perhaps whoever it was did a piss-poor job of explaining how to do things?



These two players actually started out in the store's Encounter's program. They got tired of only getting up to level 3, so decided to join our game.
Iserith: I don't think we're going to agree on our views of certain players. You've certainly given me much to think about, but I think we fundamentally disagree.

Also... a point of clarification. I didn't necessarily invite them to our table. I actually took over DM-ing the game when our group actually started to balloon beyond our normal six players. We had two large groups. The original DM of our game, of which I was a player in, went to another table and I continued our adventure we had started as DM. I didn't so much as invite them as I "inherited" them back in the summer.
So you did the good thing and tried to help out the group by taking over the DM chair, and in doing so inherited yourself a couple of ***clowns who have no real idea of how to play TOGETHER with others in a GROUP.

How long were these two with this group before you took over?

Was the other DM their DM the whole time they were there, or did he inherit them from someone else as well?

Were they being similarily disruptive during the other DMs games?  If not, why?

Regardless of the answers to these questions I still think you should do the whole.....

1) talk to them one last time.
2) give them one last chance.
3) give 'em da boot if they don't change.
Ah, Encounters.  No wonder they don't know how to do anything more than roll dice.  Only thing worse might be Lair Escape, but then they'd know how to die quickly, too.

Meh.  I have no clue how much you want to invest in either of them, but given that they're new and whatnot, I'd probably have a sit-down with each individually, explain things to them, and give them the option to learn how to do something other than roll dice.  In fact, if/when they next play, have them put their dice up; they can't roll a thing.  They have to tell you what they're doing, and describe it, or else they pass their turns.  If they're talking, they pass their turns.  (I also think they probably shouldn't play at the same table, either, but that's another thing; fawn one of them off on the other DM.)

Else, they're probably lost causes and best left to go play something else.  Point them to Hackmaster and let them loose.

How long were these two with this group before you took over?

Was the other DM their DM the whole time they were there, or did he inherit them from someone else as well?

Were they being similarily disruptive during the other DMs games?  If not, why?




These two were with the group about six weeks before I inherited them. They just made the shift over from Encounters. They were still in this awkward period of "get-to-know-the-group" kind of thing. I know in the couple of times I had played Encounters with them as a player they weren't the most enjoyable teammates, but I had marked that down to our age difference.
Point them to Hackmaster and let them loose.



Never heard of this game before, but the title kind of tells that story succinctly.

Edited to add:
In fact, I just checked out a Google search on this. DriveThruRPG had the basic game for free. I was expecting a twenty-page pdf. Holy crap, it's 232 pages long! That's pretty impressive.
A party of 7 is huge , nearly boarding on 2 to many and guess what... they are the weakest links .. goodbye.



It's like working at a job that can get you easily replace. Poor work effort? Goodbye. 

You talk to them, they didn't stop, and now you have no choice but to give them boot. 

Now depending how bad you want to troll them. You could give them one more chance, but
if their character died than they are out of the group. Also they will be grabbing aggro every
night until they learn not to chat during combat. <--- Bad DM Route, if you feeling naughty. ;)

And don't feel too bad about it.
There are cut-backs all over the place in today's poor economy. 
Point them to Hackmaster and let them loose.



Never heard of this game before, but the title kind of tells that story succinctly.

Edited to add:
In fact, I just checked out a Google search on this. DriveThruRPG had the basic game for free. I was expecting a twenty-page pdf. Holy crap, it's 232 pages long! That's pretty impressive.

If you get a chance, update us on what you did and what the outcome was, ie whether they stayed or left or weren't invited anymore. Often we are presented with a problem but have no idea how in the end it was dealt with.

Appreciate you sharing your experience.
I'll certainly update you fine folks. We'll see what happens later this week!
Update:

I had a very productive conversation with both players individually before the game and a very long conversation with both of them together after the game. I think we have an understanding now. We worked a couple of details such as moving them away from each other for a couple of sessions and talked about giving each player some specific roleplaying/adventuring goals to perhaps engage them more. We'll see how it goes. I feel positive going out of these conversations that perhaps we will see a change in attitude. Everyone had a great time at the session last night and no one had anything thrown at them!
Update:

I had a very productive conversation with both players individually before the game and a very long conversation with both of them together after the game. I think we have an understanding now. We worked a couple of details such as moving them away from each other for a couple of sessions and talked about giving each player some specific roleplaying/adventuring goals to perhaps engage them more. We'll see how it goes. I feel positive going out of these conversations that perhaps we will see a change in attitude. Everyone had a great time at the session last night and no one had anything thrown at them!



Very nicely handled. I hope it works out for everyone.

That's great to hear.    Hopefully things will work out for everyone.
The younger crowds do tend to talk a lot.
D&D is a game, but is it also a social game and a means of a social gathering.

Personally if the other players who did their turn wish to talk among themselves, that is OK by me so long as it does not interrupt the others from roleplaying or conversing with the GM.

The only time that I feel that I need all to listen is:
1. When GM is talking to the group as a whole
2. The talkative ones failed to listen over their own voice and interests (meaning GM has to repeat because they did not follow #1)
3. If the topic goes from a 1-to-1 to a group topic
4. It stops the game

Suggestion: ask that if it is really important, the chatters can talk outside and let the other players continue the game without them (came here to play or to talk?)
Suggestion: if that does not work, ask them if they are really into the game as players or just  to hang out as friends