Kamikaze Player

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There is a new player to our group that tends to want to charge right in and start a fight with anyone or anything that the group comes across.  He has nearly caused a TPK in each of the two sessions since he has joined and we have lost 2 characters so far.  The group is mostly LG so they feel the need to follow and protect him instead of just letting him die on his own.  Our friend who is friends with him told him that his play is disrupting the group and his response was that he is roleplaying his barbarian the way that he wants to play him.  But I feel that its just a cop out as he does no other roleplaying even when given the oppportunity.

Short of asking the player to leave and never come back do you have any suggestions?
Sounds like he has a very different playstyle. You should either make the break or adapt to incorporate his gaming preferences into the group's overall style. (In this case, that's probably best accomplished by reducing the presence/threat of bumble-traps and easily offended or slow NPC negotiations.)
There is a new player to our group...his response was that he is roleplaying his barbarian the way that he wants to play him. 



Sounds like a selfish response to me, so not someone who is interested in team play. As such, no good addition for the rest of the group.
  
1) as so often in this forum, talk with the player outside of game night, ideally with no one else around so this doesn't turn ugly

2) tell him to change or **** off. Do not let one player ruin the fun of the group.


2) tell him to change or **** off. Do not let one player ruin the fun of the group.




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I would look at my game first and the player second. Is my game pacing too slow? Are the players' choices meaningful? Do non-combat scenes have enough compelling tension to keep everyone engaged? Some players are jerks, but some players are just bored. If I'm made to wander around talking to NPC merchants all night, for example, I'm going to want to start chopping heads off too. (This is D&D, not World of Darkness.) It's not an excuse for him to disrupt everyone else's game of course; it is, however, often an indicator of other issues that are within your control to change. It doesn't hurt to reflect on your game a bit accordingly.

In any event, an out-of-game conversation is required between you and him - face-to-face or over the phone, not in email or text or Facebook or whatever. Before telling him he needs to change, ask for his help in making the game better. Tell him everyone's concerns and listen to what he says. If he falls back on the "I'm just roleplaying a barbarian" meme without offering anything else, suggest to him that since how one roleplays is a choice and his particular choice is turning off the other players, that you'd appreciate it if he could suggest another way of roleplaying that demonstrates another aspect of his character. If he refuses, tell him he may not be a fit for this particular group in which you already have invested your time and effort. Invite him to a future game that may be more his style, and politely part company.

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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The group is mostly LG so they feel the need to follow and protect him instead of just letting him die on his own.



Umm....why would they travel with an obviously insane person just because they're LG?

In reality, they would turn him over to the authorities.   

I have exactly same player. Kamikazi warrior. His idea of fun is getting himself killed. Why, I donno. He gets excited when he gets hit hard, and gets pissy when he dont get hit. He was always weird like that in RL too, total negative, woe is me attitide. He refuse to change, so we dont bother. The rest of group lets him be. If he gets self killed so be it. Whats funny is, he rarely gets himself killed, just someone else in group lol.
The group is mostly LG so they feel the need to follow and protect him instead of just letting him die on his own.



Umm....why would they travel with an obviously insane person just because they're LG?

In reality, they would turn him over to the authorities.   




The op didn't say he was evil, which would be a bigger deal.  But, its a pretty valid point especially if he's putting other characters lives at risk

There is a new player to our group...his response was that he is roleplaying his barbarian the way that he wants to play him. 



Sounds like a selfish response to me, so not someone who is interested in team play. As such, no good addition for the rest of the group.
  
1) as so often in this forum, talk with the player outside of game night, ideally with no one else around so this doesn't turn ugly

2) tell him to change or **** off. Do not let one player ruin the fun of the group.




#2 sounds a bit strong, at least for starting off.   There has to be some room for someone to play a character that others wouldn't, but I certainly sympatise with the sentiment when one person decides to run amok.  I'm thinking there might be a middle ground to bring it to the attention of the player that he might be courting trouble.  Add to that the other players may grow tired of having to hand hold him.

That being said if he's set and determined there is nothing saying that the rest of the group are required to go in after him after he's dove into the deep end.

If you want to keep this player in the group, let his tendencies work for him and the game. Suggestions:

1. Have the player cursed/blessed with a transformation ability. In the heat of battle he transforms into a rage-filled beast which satisifies his slaying needs. After a few rounds the rage dissipates and falls helpless to the ground. This allows him to run in and do a bunch of damage on his own, while the rest of the party can slowly engage and mop up the rest. This also penalizes the player for this approach by forcing him to sit out the latter part of the battle.

2. Have the player's astral string tweaked by a mischevious extraplanar beast. Every time the player dies, he is auto-resurrected 10 minutes later but loses a point of CON. This takes the consequence for his death out of the hands of the rest of the party, while still penalizing him if he goes too far and gets killed.

3. Have one of the player's ancestors show a keen interest in helping with the adventure. Every time the player gets killed, his ancestor's ghost takes his place. He then switches to playing the ghost, with a much diminished set of abilities. 10 minutes later, the ghost goes poof, the player jumps back to his feet, but he loses a point of CHA in the process.
There is a new player to our group that tends to want to charge right in and start a fight with anyone or anything that the group comes across.  He has nearly caused a TPK in each of the two sessions since he has joined and we have lost 2 characters so far.  The group is mostly LG so they feel the need to follow and protect him instead of just letting him die on his own.  Our friend who is friends with him told him that his play is disrupting the group and his response was that he is roleplaying his barbarian the way that he wants to play him.  But I feel that its just a cop out as he does no other roleplaying even when given the oppportunity.

Short of asking the player to leave and never come back do you have any suggestions?


Players do not have a RIGHT to be disruptive or to INFLICT their "playing style" upon all others at the table to the detriment of enjoyment of all others at the table.  That's a fancy way of phrasing Wheaton's Law: "Don't be a Dick."  This does include players attempting to foist the pathetic excuse of, "I'm just roleplaying my character," or, "But... that's what my character would DO!"

Not all roleplaying choices and character concepts are equally valid.  You don't have a right to roll up a CE assassin when there's a Paladin already in the party.  You don't have a right to have your character antagonize other characters just because YOU think it's funny or interesting or that it's somehow YOUR JOB as a player to have your PC be a pain in the ass.  You don't have a right as a player to have your barbarian pull his axe and blindly, stupidly charge everything the group comes across just because that's YOUR idea of a fun time.  There are other players at the table.  If their characters are not dumb blind-charging brutes as well then you, AS A PLAYER, are being a serious Dick when they tell you AS A PLAYER to knock that crap off.

There is no compromise with this.  Really there isn't.  As a player you have an OBLIGATION to create and play a character who exhibits a REASONABLE degree of miscibility in his abilities and actions with the rest of the party.  Of course there are exceptions - but they flatly DO NOT APPLY to a player who is recklessly and inexcusibly drawing other PC's to their doom simply because their players are unable or unwilling to be as equally rude.

This is not a character problem and there is no reason to attempt to deal with it in-game.  This is a player problem.  If you feel you have the patience, time, and cooperation of other players that is required to slowly guide him to a higher understanding of roleplaying and increased regard for those at the table with him then I salute you and your willingness to sacrifice your game to the cause.  Most people, however, believe that no gaming is better than bad gaming.  You have a far greater combined responsibility to the other players at the table to prevent this ONE player from dragging the whole game down with him than you do to providing the ONE player with UNFETTERED freedom to do whatever he damned well pleases.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one and all that.  Are there Spock exceptions?  Sure.  But we're not talking about that.  He has no special status of deserving his way over the enjoyment of others.

What I would recommend if you feel some particular obligation to keep him as a member of your gaming group is that firstly, he will be TOLD that he will toe the line and if that means he creates a new PC in order to manage it, so be it, but he WILL get in line.  Secondly, he will be told that if he proves incapable of EARNING some leeway for his character to be rash and impulsive then you, the DM, are placed in the unfortunate, undesired, but absolutely necessary position of arbitrarily overruling his roleplaying choices.  That is, the next encounter where he blindly charges in without thinking - regardless of its roleplaying authenticity - you will calmly say, "No.  Your PC does NOT, in fact, do that.  Choose some other action or I'll choose for you."

There is, I feel, at least a little bit of room for simply letting the other players also take necessary steps in-character in order to bring the barbarian to heel.  Point out to the barbarian's player that while he may consider that it is simply dedicated roleplaying to act as he does it is also perfectly logical for the other PC's to come to the conclusion that they flatly WILL NOT adventure with him because of his reckless behavior.  That would likely mean being kicked out of the party or in extreme cases simply being abandoned to die alone on the battlefield.  That, however, should be explained to him as HIGHLY undesireable for obvious reasons that his own characters precipitate behavior is undesirable. All the unpleasantness can be avoided just by the problem player admitting that it is in HIS OWN interests as well as the interests of everyone else to be less of a Dick.

Old School: It ain't what you play - it's how you play it.

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"Who says I can't?" "The man in the funny hat..."

There is a new player to our group that tends to want to charge right in and start a fight with anyone or anything that the group comes across.  He has nearly caused a TPK in each of the two sessions since he has joined and we have lost 2 characters so far.  The group is mostly LG so they feel the need to follow and protect him instead of just letting him die on his own.  Our friend who is friends with him told him that his play is disrupting the group and his response was that he is roleplaying his barbarian the way that he wants to play him.  But I feel that its just a cop out as he does no other roleplaying even when given the oppportunity.

Short of asking the player to leave and never come back do you have any suggestions?



Short of that?
Remind the rest of the party that LG doesn't mean pushover or stupid.  Heck, if he's picking fights with people or beings who haven't provoked or attacked the party, they should be STOPPING him.  He's obviously a sociopathic lunatic, so for the good of the world, he needs to be locked up or put down.

Next time he goes off, the rest of the party should join in with whoever he attacks to beat the crap out of him.

"I was just playing my character!"
"So are we.  Your dude is a freakin' nutter, a mad dog who needs to be put down."
"I was just playing my character!"
"So are we.  Your dude is a freakin' nutter, a mad dog who needs to be put down."

I love how the nutters never seem to think of that

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire


What I would recommend if you feel some particular obligation to keep him as a member of your gaming group is that firstly, he will be TOLD that he will toe the line and if that means he creates a new PC in order to manage it, so be it, but he WILL get in line.  Secondly, he will be told that if he proves incapable of EARNING some leeway for his character to be rash and impulsive then you, the DM, are placed in the unfortunate, undesired, but absolutely necessary position of arbitrarily overruling his roleplaying choices.  That is, the next encounter where he blindly charges in without thinking - regardless of its roleplaying authenticity - you will calmly say, "No.  Your PC does NOT, in fact, do that.  Choose some other action or I'll choose for you."



I wholeheartedly, vehemently disagree. In mind there are two rules that should never be broken in the course of any roleplaying game - "Thou shalt give the PCs a fighting chance (even if it is a chance to run away)" and "Thou shalt not usurp the players' free will". In my opinion, this is an issue that either needs to be dealt with out of character or in character ("The paladin grabs the barbarian and stops him" or even, "the DMPC thief stabs him with a poisoned dagger, paralyzing him") but as a DM, you already have control over the world and almost all of its inhabitants, friend and foe alike. The players' only avenue of affecting change is in their characters.

As a DM, I would rather ask someone to leave the table than take control of their character, and as a player, if the DM assumed control of my character, I would leave the table and not look back.
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What I would recommend if you feel some particular obligation to keep him as a member of your gaming group is that firstly, he will be TOLD that he will toe the line and if that means he creates a new PC in order to manage it, so be it, but he WILL get in line.  Secondly, he will be told that if he proves incapable of EARNING some leeway for his character to be rash and impulsive then you, the DM, are placed in the unfortunate, undesired, but absolutely necessary position of arbitrarily overruling his roleplaying choices.  That is, the next encounter where he blindly charges in without thinking - regardless of its roleplaying authenticity - you will calmly say, "No.  Your PC does NOT, in fact, do that.  Choose some other action or I'll choose for you."



What an (fill in favotite expletive here).  Nobody should take this advice.
Some of you post some condescending crap on a regular basis, but this is just offensive.

What I would recommend if you feel some particular obligation to keep him as a member of your gaming group is that firstly, he will be TOLD that he will toe the line and if that means he creates a new PC in order to manage it, so be it, but he WILL get in line.  Secondly, he will be told that if he proves incapable of EARNING some leeway for his character to be rash and impulsive then you, the DM, are placed in the unfortunate, undesired, but absolutely necessary position of arbitrarily overruling his roleplaying choices.  That is, the next encounter where he blindly charges in without thinking - regardless of its roleplaying authenticity - you will calmly say, "No.  Your PC does NOT, in fact, do that.  Choose some other action or I'll choose for you."



What an (fill in favotite expletive here).  Nobody should take this advice.
Some of you post some condescending crap on a regular basis, but this is just offensive.




As much as I hate to agree with CCS, he's pretty much right.  If things have degenerated to the point where you feel your only recourse is to take control of the PC, you should have already given the player the boot.
I have exactly same player. Kamikazi warrior. His idea of fun is getting himself killed. Why, I donno. He gets excited when he gets hit hard, and gets pissy when he dont get hit. He was always weird like that in RL too, total negative, woe is me attitide. He refuse to change, so we dont bother. The rest of group lets him be. If he gets self killed so be it. Whats funny is, he rarely gets himself killed, just someone else in group lol.


Funnily enough, in my campaign as a player we have one of these. Level1-5 he was always the ranger running into the middle of the hardest battle and often quickly bloodied. Refused to use a ranged weapon, so it was always melee-stabbing.  My priest (then defender) tends to play his knight in shining armour keeping him alive and taking the brunt of the attacks where possible. Anyway, this player had a chat with the DM  off his own bat(not sure why) and requested a mini side-plot where his family was put in danger and he lost a lot of his family by leading them into a suicidal situation. Our upcoming sesion will be a revalation to his character that charging in puts others at risk and that the hero thinks a little with his head.

If he wants roleplay, the above could work (the best roleplay is character development, after all)? I'd make sure though that the player is happy with you risking / killing his barbarian's family off screen. Doing it without his consent might make your friend less of a friend :P

That is, the next encounter where he blindly charges in without thinking - regardless of its roleplaying authenticity - you will calmly say, "No.  Your PC does NOT, in fact, do that.  Choose some other action or I'll choose for you."


In general, I disagree with this. Some player-player or character-character antagonising or difference in culture/whatever can be fun and a good source of roleplaying material. The barbarian tries to break down the door and beat up the innkeeper while the bard tries to seduce the innkeeper's wife to get to the innkeeper.

That said, there was one memorable session I had where another player was a total poo-poo. I was playing a pixie skald, and he playing a minotaur monk. He said "I catch the pixie in a bottle" and the DM rolled with it - I got caught in a bottle and was powerless to do anything. The minotaur also threw several PCs repeatedly out of an inn window, killed the quest-giver before she had a chance to say the Read-Aloud and a host of other things. He was there for his own funnies only, not to RP or to play the game. At one point I wasn't allowed to challenge the minotaur in a game of arm wrestling because "the minotaur would easily win" - despite him being str 8 minotaur and me being str 16 ... That's the only DM & group I've ever left. Partially because D&D Encounters really seems to promote the "right answer" type of DMing where the players need to guess the arbitary route to continue the plot or die.
As much as I hate to agree with CCS, he's pretty much right.  If things have degenerated to the point where you feel your only recourse is to take control of the PC, you should have already given the player the boot.


Wasn't that what I was saying?  Hold on, let me check...  Well, pretty dang close to it.  The player is taking down the whole campaign.  The player has been asked to stop doing so.  The player has refused.  I said that there really can't be any compromise on the matter - the player needs to get in line for both his own sake and the sake of all others at the table.

IF you want to sacrifice your ongoing game to try to slowly educate the problem player to stop being rude and disruptive you tell him what you expect and when he doesn't do it you don't let him get away with it - you outright DENY him the privilege of doing what he wants and force him to choose otherwise.  I also said that this is then unfortunate, undesired, but absolutely necessary.

Certainly compared to ideas like, "Make his characters life miserable in the game then laugh and sneer at the player for not getting it," I think it's a fine idea.  And I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT.  The course of action to take is to tell the player to get in line, explain why, and then tolerate nothing less.

Old School: It ain't what you play - it's how you play it.

My 1E Project: http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/Building%20D&D/buildingdnd.htm

"Who says I can't?" "The man in the funny hat..."

In general, I disagree with this. Some player-player or character-character antagonising or difference in culture/whatever can be fun and a good source of roleplaying material. The barbarian tries to break down the door and beat up the innkeeper while the bard tries to seduce the innkeeper's wife to get to the innkeeper.

Except that is not what we're talking about.  We're talking about behavior that is not a source of fun and roleplaying material.  It's decisively being un-fun, disruptive, and leading to uneeded and unwanted PC deaths and the player has refused to stop it.

If all things were equal then, yes, a certain amount of tension or disagreement between PC's can be extraordinary in moving the game in fun and interesting directions for all.  But all things are not equal in this case. 

Old School: It ain't what you play - it's how you play it.

My 1E Project: http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/Building%20D&D/buildingdnd.htm

"Who says I can't?" "The man in the funny hat..."

The DM has a massive amount of control, much more than the players do, over whether an encounter will lead to a TPK. If the DM doesn't want an encounter to be TPK or TPC - and why would they? - they should design the encounter not to have those as possible outcomes. If that's not palatable or possible, then the game should be arranged so that the loss or capture of a character or party is prepared for and will not be problematic.

The above is general advice, independent of this issue, but potentially useful toward mitigating it. Apart from that advice, talk to the player. "It's what my character would do" is not a valid excuse for anything, as there's nothing inherent about any particular character behavior. Work with that player to find a way for the player to enjoy the character, but not block other ideas that have been put forth. That said, if no one ever puts forth any other ideas, then charging in at least keeps the game moving.

What are some examples of the kinds of encounter this player has charged his character in to? What are the PCs "supposed" to do, instead of charging in?

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

What are the PCs "supposed" to do, instead of charging in?



Now that is an excellent question and likely the one most relevant to this situation.

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

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

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Sometimes the sandbox/freeform nature of RPGs can lead to a lot of misunderstanding. If you talk to him and he says "This is how I want to play the game," just say "Right, but if we were playing baseball and you tackled someone, even if it is how you wanted to play, you still wouldn't be playing the game we're playing."

Now, I am all for giving the players what they want, ie: if he wants to rush into battle and kill a lot of stuff, give him ample opportunity to rush into battle and kill a lot of stuff. That is doable. If his goal is to break the game, then he is playing a game the rest of you don't want to play. Explain that, see what he wants to do, and if his answer is "watch the world burn," then suggest he come back some other time for some destructive one-shot games that are more his style.


What are the PCs "supposed" to do, instead of charging in?



Now that is an excellent question and likely the one most relevant to this situation.



Given that the OP says the PC charges 'anything and everything' they encounter, I suspect the answer would be 'any interaction besides fighting'.
What are the PCs "supposed" to do, instead of charging in?

Now that is an excellent question and likely the one most relevant to this situation.

Given that the OP says the PC charges 'anything and everything' they encounter, I suspect the answer would be 'any interaction besides fighting'.

Assuming that's true, that's a classic setup for player boredom and acting out like this. It's no excuse for it, of course, but a DM who continually puts forth non-combat encounters when one player is bored by them needs to try another approach. Talking to the player about the DM's desired approach to the game is the first step, then getting slightly more complicated with the encounters is called for. In a world of magic, the entities who which to communicate with the PCs need never be present with them. Heck, that's true in a modern day setting too. Let the player fight whoever he wants: the important NPCs will use magic and psionics to impart what they need to. That can even happen in the middle of an entirely unrelated combat encounter.

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

OP also stated the other players were getting pissed. The majority clearly is interested in noncombat encounters, but one player isn't. The DM should first try compromising by perhaps fixing the lack of combat. If this does not help and the other players are feelign slighted, then it is i nthe best interest of everyone in the group to drop the player. Clearly he doesn't like the curent game status, the players don't like his actions, and the DM is feeling frustrated by his disruptions.

Do not jeopardize your entire game to cater to the desires of a single player (unless it's a two player game of course). 
Do not jeopardize your entire game to cater to the desires of a single player (unless it's a two player game of course). 

No, but we don't know that the necessary and sufficient changes in this case would ruin everyone else's fun. There's not necessarily a hard and fast divide between combat encounters and non-combat encounters.

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

Anecdote (from one of the first convention games I ran):
I had a player show up late to a public game and ask to join. We had room, so I let him in (even though he seemed less socially adept than the other players at the table).

He charged his barbarian into the first combat (to show the others 'how it's done'), only to be immediately knocked unconscious by the enemy's focused fire. He was upset, but realized it was his own fault.

The rest of the group remained pleasant, but took an extra round before healing him (making a subtle point about his behavior and teamwork: i.e. that they didn't have to heal him).

After that he became much more considerate of the group.
Anecdote (from one of the first convention games I ran):
I had a player show up late to a public game and ask to join. We had room, so I let him in (even though he seemed less socially adept than the other players at the table).

He charged his barbarian into the first combat (to show the others 'how it's done'), only to be immediately knocked unconscious by the enemy's focused fire. He was upset, but realized it was his own fault.

The rest of the group remained pleasant, but took an extra round before healing him (making a subtle point about his behavior and teamwork: i.e. that they didn't have to heal him).

After that he became much more considerate of the group.



This seems to be part of the problem.  The nutter's party is enabling him by continually having his back even when he does something stupid, reckless, and psychotic.  If they were to stop doing so, I suspect he might restrain himself ... and if he didn't, well, dead barbarians don't rage.
If a DM or group has to resort to boring in-game consequences (particularly death) to "teach the player a lesson," then they're no better than the player. Talk to the player about what you find acceptable, don't use the game rules to punish them for something that, in other situations, is desireable behavior.

(Yes, it's his choice to charge in. It's the DM's choice that charging in should be lethal, and the group's choice not to heal the player. It's all sickeningly passive-aggressive.)

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

If a DM or group has to resort to boring in-game consequences (particularly death) to "teach the player a lesson," then they're no better than the player. Talk to the player about what you find acceptable, don't use the game rules to punish them for something that, in other situations, is desireable behavior.

(Yes, it's his choice to charge in. It's the DM's choice that charging in should be lethal, and the group's choice not to heal the player. It's all sickeningly passive-aggressive.)



They've already tried talking to him, and the OP requested options 'short of throwing the player out'.  What's left?  Roleplay your character not supporting a sociopath, especially since what's sauce for the goose ("I'm just roleplaying my character!") is sauce for the gander ("So are we.").
If a DM or group has to resort to boring in-game consequences (particularly death) to "teach the player a lesson," then they're no better than the player. Talk to the player about what you find acceptable, don't use the game rules to punish them for something that, in other situations, is desireable behavior.

(Yes, it's his choice to charge in. It's the DM's choice that charging in should be lethal, and the group's choice not to heal the player. It's all sickeningly passive-aggressive.)

They've already tried talking to him, and the OP requested options 'short of throwing the player out'.  What's left?

If the DM is unwilling to revise the way encounters are created, then there is nothing else left.

Roleplay your character not supporting a sociopath, especially since what's sauce for the goose ("I'm just roleplaying my character!") is sauce for the gander ("So are we.").

No. That will fail, guaranteed. If you've reached that point, give up and reform the group without that player. Do not use the game to try to change player behavior. It breeds mistrust and resentment, both of which are rampant throughout this hobby.

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

Also if the players toss him out in-game it's just a nice way of saying ****-off in real life, so that's not a viable option. Let us not forget forum people, that many DnD groups are comprised of friends. No one wants to hurt or offend anyone else, so simply kicking someone out should really be a last resort, even beyond ending the game in my opinion. Of course if you have no quams about hurting a friends feelings then you might want to do some examination on your friends and yourself. To me, OP's reluctance to kick the player out notifies his relationship with the player. 
Kill the PC. He ran in before the others were ready and everyone just dropped everything onto him.

Freelik jumps into the pit to gather the treasure. How much does Frelik get?

It’s a trap. The pit is filled with sharp, gem-encrusted spikes. Freelik the Frenetic of Glosamir is impaled, and dies.
From the PC side, Lawful Good != Lawful Stupid.  They should physically restrain him from doing dumb things, and if they become evil things, they should put a stop to it by whatever means are appropriate.

From the player side, being tolerant of other folks' playstyles does not give them the right to crap all over your game the way the rest of the people want to play it.  Explain to him that he needs to tone it down a bit or find another game, and do your best to meet him halfway. 

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.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

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

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Kill the PC. He ran in before the others were ready and everyone just dropped everything onto him.

Freelik jumps into the pit to gather the treasure. How much does Frelik get?

It’s a trap. The pit is filled with sharp, gem-encrusted spikes. Freelik the Frenetic of Glosamir is impaled, and dies.



That was stupid, Danny! Really stupid! Why wouldnt you check the pit?! It's gonna take forever for you to level up again!

Also, let the character die. It is what would happen in the situation.

It is decidedly NOT passive aggressive if the players outright say "My guy is sick of healing/defending your guys stupid arse. He can lay there and bleed to death".

People need to stop being so quick to lay blame at the feet of the DM...though there is a contingent here that really seems to dislike DMs in general.

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.

Also if the players toss him out in-game it's just a nice way of saying ****-off in real life, so that's not a viable option. Let us not forget forum people, that many DnD groups are comprised of friends. No one wants to hurt or offend anyone else, so simply kicking someone out should really be a last resort, even beyond ending the game in my opinion. Of course if you have no quams about hurting a friends feelings then you might want to do some examination on your friends and yourself. To me, OP's reluctance to kick the player out notifies his relationship with the player. 

But would a friend ruin the fun of his friends at the table? If the group did talk with the player, and the player ignores it then he is not acting particular friend-like either.

Regardless, in my experience, the best way to deal with an instigator is to ignore him when his behavior hurts the group and create situations regularly where his behavior actually helps. Of course, it is easier to ignore it when he acts rudely and insults the NPCs then when he actually attacks, but even in a fight there is nobody saying everybody needs to react with outright violence. As others have said, it is the DM who controls the reaction of the NPCs and who determines how lethal the fight is going to be. At the same time, I occassionally throw in situations specifically designed to get the instigator into the thick of the action without endangering the group or were it actually helps the story. Mind you, my current instigator is well aware of his play style, and respects his fellow players' style. When he gets bored because the rest is discussing something way too long he mentions that he is getting bored before doing something rash and foolish.

Also if the players toss him out in-game it's just a nice way of saying ****-off in real life, so that's not a viable option.

Right. Thanks for making this point. Killing the character, or letting the character die is just a way of putting the player in time-out for a little while. If you have to do that, just have an open and honest dialog instead.

Let us not forget forum people, that many DnD groups are comprised of friends. No one wants to hurt or offend anyone else, so simply kicking someone out should really be a last resort, even beyond ending the game in my opinion. Of course if you have no quams about hurting a friends feelings then you might want to do some examination on your friends and yourself. To me, OP's reluctance to kick the player out notifies his relationship with the player.

This makes sense. If they've talked to him to no avail, and can't kick him out, the only option is for the other players (including the DM) to change the game to accommodate that player.

Kill the PC. He ran in before the others were ready and everyone just dropped everything onto him.

Freelik jumps into the pit to gather the treasure. How much does Frelik get?

It’s a trap. The pit is filled with sharp, gem-encrusted spikes. Freelik the Frenetic of Glosamir is impaled, and dies.

A poor approach. If the player is allowed to come right back in to the game, he'll just make another similar character. If the player is sidelined for a while, it's just a passive-aggressive attempt to teach him a lesson. There's a good chance that the trap itself was placed to teach that lesson, which is incredibly manipulative. That doesn't seem mature or friendly at all.

From the PC side, Lawful Good != Lawful Stupid.  They should physically restrain him from doing dumb things, and if they become evil things, they should put a stop to it by whatever means are appropriate.

No. The other players are not the police of their group, and alignment is not an excuse for blocking another player. PC on PC conflict quickly leads to the DM having to rule in favor of one side or the other, and if the DM's able to do that, they should have talked to the group about the issue up front and made an out-of-game decision.

From the player side, being tolerant of other folks' playstyles does not give them the right to crap all over your game the way the rest of the people want to play it.  Explain to him that he needs to tone it down a bit or find another game, and do your best to meet him halfway.

This I like. This is entirely a player issue.

But would a friend ruin the fun of his friends at the table? If the group did talk with the player, and the player ignores it then he is not acting particular friend-like either.

Agreed. I hope there's a realm of compromise here. But it's well known that different people have very different approaches to the game.

Regardless, in my experience, the best way to deal with an instigator is to ignore him when his behavior hurts the group and create situations regularly where his behavior actually helps. Of course, it is easier to ignore it when he acts rudely and insults the NPCs then when he actually attacks, but even in a fight there is nobody saying everybody needs to react with outright violence. As others have said, it is the DM who controls the reaction of the NPCs and who determines how lethal the fight is going to be. At the same time, I occassionally throw in situations specifically designed to get the instigator into the thick of the action without endangering the group or were it actually helps the story. Mind you, my current instigator is well aware of his play style, and respects his fellow players' style. When he gets bored because the rest is discussing something way too long he mentions that he is getting bored before doing something rash and foolish.

This is my experience as well. It might be enough to give the player some sort of a pressure valve when the situation doesn't suit him. I still think combat and non-combat might be easily combinable in this case.

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

What are the PCs "supposed" to do, instead of charging in?

Now that is an excellent question and likely the one most relevant to this situation.

Given that the OP says the PC charges 'anything and everything' they encounter, I suspect the answer would be 'any interaction besides fighting'.

Assuming that's true, that's a classic setup for player boredom and acting out like this.



I'm not sure I agree with that assumption. I assume it can be the case, but in my experience it certainly isn't the common reason. Two who recently spring to mind are 1) the aforementioned ranger who recently had a mini-plot for character evolution. The player was a bit of a novice D&D player initially and then didn't want to break character when he started to understand the deeper tactics. Also - it was fun and elicted good-natured groans from the table. The second one that comes to mind was a simple minded kobold seeker. Again, the player was doing it because they enjoyed the character concept, not because they wanted to 'act out' or troll the DM (which tends to be the implication for 'acting out').

I understand similarly though, that not all kamikaze / strong personality characters are there for good roleplaying.

Also if the players toss him out in-game it's just a nice way of saying ****-off in real life, so that's not a viable option. Let us not forget forum people, that many DnD groups are comprised of friends. No one wants to hurt or offend anyone else, so simply kicking someone out should really be a last resort, even beyond ending the game in my opinion. Of course if you have no quams about hurting a friends feelings then you might want to do some examination on your friends and yourself. To me, OP's reluctance to kick the player out notifies his relationship with the player.

I agree with this. The 'tell the person to get lost' idea has no appeal to me as they're all friends.

Regardless, in my experience, the best way to deal with an instigator is to ignore him when his behavior hurts the group and create situations regularly where his behavior actually helps.

I'm not sure if this will work this character in particular, but I like that mentality. Give them a chance for their character to shine, as all characters should.

A poor approach. If the player is allowed to come right back in to the game, he'll just make another similar character. If the player is sidelined for a while, it's just a passive-aggressive attempt to teach him a lesson. There's a good chance that the trap itself was placed to teach that lesson, which is incredibly manipulative. That doesn't seem mature or friendly at all.

The troublesome minotaur character I was complaining about (legitimately) died and the player proudly said to the table 'Nevermind, his brother Tim II will be here next week!'
Kill the PC. He ran in before the others were ready and everyone just dropped everything onto him.

Freelik jumps into the pit to gather the treasure. How much does Frelik get?

It’s a trap. The pit is filled with sharp, gem-encrusted spikes. Freelik the Frenetic of Glosamir is impaled, and dies.



That was stupid, Danny! Really stupid! Why wouldnt you check the pit?! It's gonna take forever for you to level up again!

Also, let the character die. It is what would happen in the situation.

It is decidedly NOT passive aggressive if the players outright say "My guy is sick of healing/defending your guys stupid arse. He can lay there and bleed to death".

People need to stop being so quick to lay blame at the feet of the DM...though there is a contingent here that really seems to dislike DMs in general.



For a board that's about DMs supporting one another, there is a massive anti-DM fervor here.

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/
In my experience, DMs are to blame more often for problems at the table than players, especially if the forums are any sort of indicator. I'm sure it's no mystery that certain types of people and personalities are drawn to the illusory control and power afforded the DM in a traditional game. Some players are jerks to be sure, but I find it's often in reaction to something the DM is doing. It's a rare DM it seems who looks to himself first before blaming the players for some shortcoming in the game. It doesn't hurt for a DM to ask himself, "Could I be doing something that is setting the stage for these problems to occur?"

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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In my experience, DMs are to blame more often for problems at the table than players, especially if the forums are any sort of indicator. I'm sure it's no mystery that certain types of people and personalities are drawn to the illusory control and power afforded the DM in a traditional game. Some players are jerks to be sure, but I find it's often in reaction to something the DM is doing. It's a rare DM it seems who looks to himself first before blaming the players for some shortcoming in the game. It doesn't hurt for a DM to ask himself, "Could I be doing something that is setting the stage for these problems to occur?"

And as this is a forum for DM's, there's usually little point in telling them what the player could do differently.

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

In my experience, DMs are to blame more often for problems at the table than players, especially if the forums are any sort of indicator. I'm sure it's no mystery that certain types of people and personalities are drawn to the illusory control and power afforded the DM in a traditional game. Some players are jerks to be sure, but I find it's often in reaction to something the DM is doing. It's a rare DM it seems who looks to himself first before blaming the players for some shortcoming in the game. It doesn't hurt for a DM to ask himself, "Could I be doing something that is setting the stage for these problems to occur?"



I'm sorry, but the answer "let your players decide everything" is pretty much the equivalent of giving up. Throwing your hands up in the air and saying "well, I can't be a better DM, so why even bother?" It's the most useless and least helpful advice I've ever seen given to a DM. Ever.
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/