Sigh. This is why I am against class roles:

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http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=235459

So, I have a player in my group that REFUSES to fulfill his role as defender in the party. He is a paladin-- who chose daggers as a weapon because they did the least damage (he is trying to make his character less effective for some reason). He insists on hiding in the back ranks and throwing daggers, and because he is a Paladin of the Raven Queen, he refuses to use his Lay on Hands on dying PCs because "it's their time".

How do I deal with this guy? So far I have come up with the idea of using peer pressure and a set of agreed upon rules (our mercenary company charter, seen here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=235454).

Of course we have tried talking to him-- explaining that maybe warlock, rogue, or ranger might be better for him, but he insists he wants his "character concept" to be a halfling paladin who dual-wields daggers.

Anything else I can do?

I realize that jerk players have been a problem since 1e, but seriously, I hate this notion that you have to fulfill your class "role." There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a dagger-throwing paladin.
This isn't a problem with class roles. This is a problem of a player deciding to play against what their class is designed for.

This is the same situation as a picking a 3.5 wizard and not actually casting any spells at all but using a crossbow or going into melee.
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http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=235459


I realize that jerk players have been a problem since 1e, but seriously, I hate this notion that you have to fulfill your class "role." There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a dagger-throwing paladin.

This has precisely 0 to do with class roles. This has to do with a player that wants to play something directly against type. In a game that's anything other than free-form, that's going to cause problems.

Besides, there are powers he can pick that don't really care what weapon he's using. And if he's really dedicated to the dagger idea, he can multiclass into Rogue.

There's no problem here that is somehow unique to 4E; the guy's playing a character the way it is intentionally because it sucks. How is that new?
[url]There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a dagger-throwing paladin.

There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a rogue trying to be the party healer?

There should be nothing wrong mechanically with an archer ranger fighting with a greataxe?

There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a fighter who only uses a bow?

This isn't a class role complaint you've got, it's a complaint that there's a class system at all. You can't intentionally pick a class that's incapable at what you want to do and then complain that your PC is terrible.
There's plenty wrong with a dagger throwing Paladin. Namely, that the player is insistent on playing a Defender called Paladin to throw daggers with. If the player wants to play the Rogue or Ranger class, then play his character as a very devout hero of his god, then he's free to do that.

Your class doesn't define your character. It just helps shape how the character acts. There's enough roles to cover a broad spectrum of character activity. It's not a weird trick to pick the role that corresponds to most closely how your character acts.


If I play any other system and I design my character around wielding longswords, shields, armor, and attacking with magic, then turn around once combat starts and try using fists and forehead, there will always be a problem.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
So one guy decides to sabotage his party and it's the fault of an entirely unrelated concept?
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"Paladin" is the mechanical name for a certain type of defender that has secondary leader capabilities. Its default flavor is that of a faith-based front-liner that uses prayers.

A dagger-thrower who isn't interested in healing other players is, mechanically, a "Rogue." The character can be described thematically as a "paladin of the Raven Queen" if the player so desires.

This player is intentionally being obtuse.
There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a wizard who only beats stuff with a greatsword and never casts spells.

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While I would raise my eyebrows, if this is the way the player wants to play...and the rest of the group are ok with it too...then he should, and the group will have to understand that he isn't really a defender or a healer. He is what he is.

The challenge rests with the players acceptance and the DM's understanding of the make up of the group.

In 4e, someone has to do the defender job, however. Too many of the encounters get to hand to hand, leaving someone that needs to take the bulk of the damage.
The guy in the quote is a d-bag. This is evidenced most strongly not by his choice to play against role, but in his refusal to heal because he follows the Raven Queen. It's a cop out reason for trying to break the game and crap on everyone's fun. He hates 4e so he is trying to make his group feel the same. That's all it is. If you doubt me, check out the thread about the Raven Queen on this very board. It should shed some light on how many of us think followers of her can be played without being a$$holes.
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[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

If the guy wants to play a non "party" game have him go join a World of Darkness game. Don't get me wrong, I like WoD but D and D is about cooperation, at least to some degree.

I also agree that a player could simply make a devout, possibly even "Chosen" character for another class. With multi classing and some DM assistance they could even have powers that more closely reflect the idea of his character. A rogue whose powers (or perhaps only some of them) do radiant damage for example.
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=235459


I realize that jerk players have been a problem since 1e, but seriously, I hate this notion that you have to fulfill your class "role." There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a dagger-throwing paladin.

I agree with you. IMO class roles are there to help newbies define their characters with concepts they know.

Now, don't get me wrong, someone in the party should be a "tank" of some sort, even if it's just defending and being evasive, to keep the baddies off the squishies in the group.

However, to say the pali "must" tank is taking it too far. There's no reason a pali can't stay back and throw daggers. With his DC a range weap can inflict a lot of damage if the baddie is pinned down or kept back so that it has to attack someone else or not act.

My opinions are just that, my opinions. They are educated opinions however, I've been gaming since 1978 starting with the first D&D Red Box. Each version has brought something new and different to the game and IMO D&D has evolved to a fantastic state with 5th edition! It has the best of everything I loved from the past editions.

This isn't a problem with class roles. This is a problem of a player deciding to play against what their class is designed for.

This is the same situation as a picking a 3.5 wizard and not actually casting any spells at all but using a crossbow or going into melee.

QFT. It's not 4th edition's fault if someone wants to be a douch.
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The guy in the quote is a d-bag. This is evidenced most strongly not by his choice to play against role, but in his refusal to heal because he follows the Raven Queen. It's a cop out reason for trying to break the game and crap on everyone's fun. He hates 4e so he is trying to make his group feel the same. That's all it is. If you doubt me, check out the thread about the Raven Queen on this very board. It should shed some light on how many of us think followers of her can be played without being a$$holes.

Well said. If this guy wants to be a dagger-throwing Paladin of the Raven Queen, the way to do it is a Rogue (Sly Trickster build), multiclass to Paladin (and take only Charisma based abilities from there). And bloody well heal the party.

Oh, and of course being multi-classed into Paladin means he can totally go around saying to everyone he meets that he's a Paladin. If he's into that kind of thing.
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This has very little to do with class roles, or anything really. This is a player who is being passive aggressive for some reason and wants to do something dramatically outside the box.

There are a couple of ways I would handle this player.

First, and you probably have already done this, but ask him to quit it.

I doubt that there will be a hard and fast way to make him just change. Such and odd character concept seems to be rooted in something else. However, I would work some sort of encounter that deliberately splits the party up, and has them have to face a few things alone. For example, maybe a trap door and they have to fight a few individual rat swarms or something. Make it so its basically a fair encounter and anyone able to fulfill their role will surivive, but since this character is anti-optmized, he’ll probably die right then and there. If not, maybe he’ll notice that it took him seven times as long to do that battle and realize “Hey, th is character isn’t as fun or as funny as I thought it would be”
If only he were playing 3.5, he could have taken one of the many dagger throwing Paladin PrCs it offered.
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Roles have been implicit to every RPG since the first one. We've always known (or found out quickly from experience) that a versatile D&D party of 4 includes a goon type, a skilled thief type, a healer and a magic-user type. 4e put names on them in order to make party creation easier.

They named them defender, striker, leader and controller because tank, sneak, healing biatch and nuker did not fit 4e's re-balancing and re-focusing of the classes, and fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard were not general enough and already taken as class names.

The paladin's player will realize that his character concept is ok (if irritating to other players), but that his choices for realizing it are not. He should play a devout rogue or ranger, maybe with cleric or paladin multiclassing for flavor. The other players should leave the striker job to him (even if he'll probably suck at it) and play other roles.
Sebby
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No matter what version of D&D he was playing, a Paladin who operated in this manner would not be successful as a paladin. PrC's or otherwise.

Also, in 3.5 , he would not have been allowed to be a Paladin to begin with, since in 3.5, a Paladin was required to be Lawful Good, and it does not sound like he'd be RAW allowed to remain that alignment.
No matter what version of D&D he was playing, a Paladin who operated in this manner would not be successful as a paladin. PrC's or otherwise.

Also, in 3.5 , he would not have been allowed to be a Paladin to begin with, since in 3.5, a Paladin was required to be Lawful Good, and it does not sound like he'd be RAW allowed to remain that alignment.

Dude, snark-asm.
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Well said. If this guy wants to be a dagger-throwing Paladin of the Raven Queen, the way to do it is a Rogue (Sly Trickster build), multiclass to Paladin (and take only Charisma based abilities from there). And bloody well heal the party.

Oh, and of course being multi-classed into Paladin means he can totally go around saying to everyone he meets that he's a Paladin. If he's into that kind of thing.

This is EXACTLY the problem with this game. You *must* follow the masses, the best laid out course by WOTC, or the group is gimped and unplayable and unfun.

Wrong - The game is supposed to be about enjoyment - if someone wants to play any combination, they should be able to, without being denouced like I'm seeing here.

Maybe he is being an jerk...well, jerks can be handled...but if he has an honest desire to be a paladin who throws daggers, then the game should be flexible enough to handle it.

It harkens to all the posts I'm seeing in the different forums about how + = GIMP and you should never play that combination. What drivel.

Just because some combinations yeild a +5 and others yeild a +1 doesn't mean you shouldn't play it if you want to.

(also this stems from the point buy method vs rolling - I could take a class/race combo that is non-ideal and roll well enough to avoid the sever negatives....but now that is more difficult. PS - I allow players to roll 1's and 2's over again when rolling...I want "heroic" characters, so that is possible. I understand why point buy is better for meta groups like RPGA, and have no issue with them there. This is a home campaign after all)
Wow...um...that's real? There's actually someone stupid enough to go that far as to be a dagger-throwing paladin?

Now, I'm all for playing against type. I love it, I love the flavor and the flash of it. But to do so means to fulfill the designated role in an untraditional, yet effective way. Naturally, there should be SOME hard limits on the amount of variation involved in that. A dagger-wielding paladin is just...what?

I agree with those who've suggested a rogue multiclass into paladin. Anything less is just being intentionally disruptive. And as for the lay-on-hands thing, I'd have kicked him out, hands-down. That kind of garbage is strictly for attention-getting, fun-ruining of the other players, nothing more. I don't care where or how deeply it's rooted in their psyche.
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I agree with you. IMO class roles are there to help newbies define their characters with concepts they know.

Now, don't get me wrong, someone in the party should be a "tank" of some sort, even if it's just defending and being evasive, to keep the baddies off the squishies in the group.

However, to say the pali "must" tank is taking it too far. There's no reason a pali can't stay back and throw daggers. With his DC a range weap can inflict a lot of damage if the baddie is pinned down or kept back so that it has to attack someone else or not act.

I agree as well. The particular example was more extreme than most (and some of it like the laying on hands is a different issue than role/class selection), but we had a milder example arise when starting our 4e campaign. We have a Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue, Warlock, and TWF Ranger (me). For the first session, we were unsure if the Fighter PC would be able to attend. So the Warlock PC said that the Rogue and Ranger as Strikers could take his place and stand in front and fight. My response was that (1) a Warlock is a Striker too, so why shouldn't he stand up front then, (2) even as a TWF Ranger, I still use the bow a lot and should continue to do so when sensical because it's the longest ranged attack, so why should I change that, and (3) why should the Rogue be expected to be the front line at all.

Forcing people to do certain things due to their "role" makes it less of a "role-playing" game, but instead just reinforces generic stereotypes. If someone envisioned a Halfling who was a dagger-throwing devout warrior with mystical abilities to heal, there's not much choice other than Paladin - that's just the nature of a class system for an RPG. So taking that class is the only choice to effect the character concept, but that does not mean by making that choice, further choices such as dagger-throwing should then be restricted when they are part of the character concept. It may be sub-optimal, but again, that's focusing on metagame considerations, but let the PC role-play as they wish within reason and let them pick the class that represents their character concept. Roles are just suggesions for how each class can be played most effectively, but do not dictate how they must be played.
Dude, snark-asm.

What?

No, the person stated that the roles were broken and that he couldn't be successful. My point is that this is nothing new to D&D.. a character like that would have problems all the way back.

And it's less of an indicator of a flaw in Paladins or Roles, and more of an indicator of a problem with the party.
Maybe he is being an jerk...well, jerks can be handled...but if he has an honest desire to be a paladin who throws daggers, then the game should be flexible enough to handle it.

It is flexible enough to handle it. The problem is he's blatantly going against the way to do that.

There's no system flexible enough to support this nonsense. It's like making a mage character in any game in existence and then claiming a fault of the system when he can't swing a sword as good as the warrior character while ignoring the ability to cast spells.

Forcing people to do certain things due to their "role" makes it less of a "role-playing" game, but instead just reinforces generic stereotypes. If someone envisioned a Halfling who was a dagger-throwing devout warrior with mystical abilities to heal, there's not much choice other than Paladin - that's just the nature of a class system for an RPG. So taking that class is the only choice to effect the character concept, but that does not mean by making that choice, further choices such as dagger-throwing should then be restricted when they are part of the character concept. It may be sub-optimal, but again, that's focusing on metagame considerations, but let the PC role-play as they wish within reason and let them pick the class that represents their character concept. Roles are just suggesions for how each class can be played most effectively, but do not dictate how they must be played.

Nobody's forcing anything. Your Halfling concept is fine. But when your character development decisions focus exclusively on making your concept not work, then you have no right to complain about how it doesn't work. And you are an incredible drain on the group's ability to overcome obstacles. That dagger-throwing Halfling Paladin concept breaks down when you're purposely making sure that those thrown daggers are useless.
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Er, if he did the same thing in 1e/2e/3e, how would've been mocked as well.

Hell, if you used a point system in GURPS/HERO and designed a melee specialist and then played it as a ranged specialist, of course the character is going to suck.

Look WotC gave you a tool box. It's got a Hammer, a Saw, a Screwdriver and a Set of Nails. They even labled them.

It is thus NOT THEIR FAULT when you attempt to use a Hammer as a Screwdriver and it doesn't work. It's not supposed to work. It's a hammer. It hammers things. You can switch between claw hammer, mallet, sledgehammer and fine hammer. But it is not WotCs job to make that hammer turn into a screwdriver. They gave you those over there. And labled them.
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Er, if he did the same thing in 1e/2e/3e, how would've been mocked as well.

Hell, if you used a point system in GURPS/HERO and designed a melee specialist and then played it as a ranged specialist, of course the character is going to suck.

But just because his character sucks...(and I agree, it probably would suck) doesn't mean he is evercerated because of it. A friendly group should make allowances. Now if this is "just a d&d group...and not a group of friends getting together to play d&d" I can see the problem. My group would make do...
I realize that jerk players have been a problem since 1e, but seriously, I hate this notion that you have to fulfill your class "role." There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a dagger-throwing paladin.

As already pointed out, what is the class role of a paladin in 3e? Hang back and chuck daggers? Don't people in other editions play clerics so the party can have healers? Isn't the fighter's job in all editions to... fight?

Plus, the complaint doesn't seem to be an issue with the mechanics of the rules. He's playing a paladin refusing to play as a paladin. He's trying to hang back when his character's "job" is to be in the front. He refuses to heal other characters, when they expect the healing to come from the paladin. This complaint about the paladin could have come from any edition.
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But just because his character sucks...(and I agree, it probably would suck) doesn't mean he is evercerated because of it. A friendly group should make allowances.

A friendly group should not have to move the world for one player's need to attention *****. A friendly player should make allowances for the group.
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This is EXACTLY the problem with this game. You *must* follow the masses, the best laid out course by WOTC, or the group is gimped and unplayable and unfun.

Let's say it again:

It has nothing to do with the explicit roles of 4e. Every RPG has certain expectations of what individual functions party members have to fulfill.

There can be a lot of variations. That's where the DM has to adapt. The 4e books even have a section that gives advice in case some roles are not filled.

It's a problem of a player who is not a team player, and that would be a problem in every cooperative rpg.
Sebby
"I'm a bonster. Rawr!"
What?

No, the person stated that the roles were broken and that he couldn't be successful. My point is that this is nothing new to D&D.. a character like that would have problems all the way back.

And it's less of an indicator of a flaw in Paladins or Roles, and more of an indicator of a problem with the party.

I thought your PrC comment was in response to my remark about 'the many dagger throwing Paladin PrCs' in 3.5, which was not meant to be taken seriously and was pretty much making the exact point you were making. I just thought you missed my sarcasm.
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Nobody's forcing anything.

Many responses above are saying he should not be a Paladin, that sounds like people are saying he is forced to choose something other than Paladin.

However, the player was completely unwilling to make the choices that supported his character concept.

As was noted above, some of this player's situation (e.g., the laying on hands) were probably player problems, having nothing to do with the system.

But to the extent he wanted to play a devout warrior with certain mystical abilities, then he certainly did choose the correct class for that. Just because there are some additional suggestions in the game as to what role that class should play does not mean those are requirements.

If I envisioned a sword and board fighter who talks his way out of situations, I don't have a right to complain if all my character development decisions revolved exclusively around his knowledge of philosophy and throwing rocks, only to then turn around and pick up the sword and shield in combat when I've made no effort to ensure my character can use them. And act like it's a flaw of the system when I'm not an incredible detriment on my group's ability to overcome obstacles.

This is a strawman argument. I don't recall there being any complaint by the Paladin PC that he was unable to do what he wanted to be able to do. If you envision such a fighter, you would select a class that would allow you to do just that - probably Fighter, Paladin, or Ranger, but maybe something else. The Paladin PC had only one character class choice for a devout warrior with certain mystical abilities. Had he selected Rogue instead, he would have had no mystical abilities, and therefore not been able to do what he envisioned the character as able to do - then like your strawman argument above, he would have had no right to complain, because he made the choice of Rogue and didn't get to do what he wanted.
But just because his character sucks...(and I agree, it probably would suck) doesn't mean he is evercerated because of it.

No, he should be booted for doing it on purpose. He's griefing the group, something a real friend wouldn't do, much like a real friend won't play a character with the express intent to rob and PK the party.
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So your group would actuively make do with a player who is deliberately screwing over the party by not using class abilities (lay on hands), and is purposefully making his character as innefective as possible?

Andyou would blame the games rules for this?

Seriously? Are you actually trying to make the intellectually bankrupt statement that a player wantonly and deliberately not using the rules of the system correctly is a failure in the rules?

Please.
Hell, if you used a point system in GURPS/HERO and designed a melee specialist and then played it as a ranged specialist, of course the character is going to suck.

That would be his choice though.

Further, that is not what he did. What he appeared to do was pick the class that had features that represented what he wanted. If you wanted (1) dagger-throwing, and (2) mystical religious abilities, what would you pick in DnD? The only choices are Cleric and Paladin for mystical religious abilities, so your options are limited. The character design may be sub-optimal, but it's the only way to effect the desired concept. That's just a problem with class-based systems. Your reference to GURPS/HERO is inapplicable. In either of those, he could have readily made a dagger-throwing character with mystical religious abilities, since that is what he wanted, without having to also take the Paladin defender "role" baggage as well.
This has very little to do with class roles, or anything really. This is a player who is being passive aggressive for some reason and wants to do something dramatically outside the box.

There are a couple of ways I would handle this player.

First, and you probably have already done this, but ask him to quit it.

I doubt that there will be a hard and fast way to make him just change. Such and odd character concept seems to be rooted in something else. However, I would work some sort of encounter that deliberately splits the party up, and has them have to face a few things alone. For example, maybe a trap door and they have to fight a few individual rat swarms or something. Make it so its basically a fair encounter and anyone able to fulfill their role will surivive, but since this character is anti-optmized, he’ll probably die right then and there. If not, maybe he’ll notice that it took him seven times as long to do that battle and realize “Hey, th is character isn’t as fun or as funny as I thought it would be”

Emphasis mine. This isn't about "Roles" or mechanics - this is about one player who's purposefully playing at odds with the rest of the people he's playing the game with.
Many responses above are saying he should not be a Paladin, that sounds like people are saying he is forced to choose something other than Paladin.

He probably shouldn't be a Paladin. There's no connection from pointing out the obvious statement that he'd be better off trying to fit better into his design intention and forced action.

But to the extent he wanted to play a devout warrior with certain mystical abilities, then he certainly did choose the correct class for that.

Except that was not what he demonstrated he wanted to play. He showed no evidence of any interest in mystical abilities. He wanted to play something called a Paladin that threw knives and did nothing else. He purposefully focused on the class name over his desired character behaviors and a desire to be beligerant.

Just because there are some additional suggestions in the game as to what role that class should play does not mean those are requirements.

Nor is that what I ever said. I never once said a Paladin should be played a certain way. I did, however say, that he needs to make choices to support his design decision. Something he was purposefully not doing.

This is a strawman argument. I don't recall there being any complaint by the Paladin PC that he was unable to do what he wanted to be able to do.

Then you didn't read the thread. The player has been cited as saying he built the character to show that it can't work in 4e.

If you envision such a fighter, you would select a class that would allow you to do just that - probably Fighter, Paladin, or Ranger, but maybe something else. The Paladin PC had only one character class choice for a devout warrior with certain mystical abilities.

Except devout warrior is not a class choice. It's a personality choice. There is no statement that a Rogue and Ranger can't be devout warriors. And there's nothing preventing him from taking mystical abilities as one. Except an unwillingness to do so.

Had he selected Rogue instead, he would have had no mystical abilities,

Except he would. Every single Rogue power that exists can be reflavored as mystical if you choose. If you want more naturally mystical abilities because of an awkward paranoia about non-native flavorings, the multiclassing option would have worked for his situation. However, there's no evidence that the player had much of an interest at all in mystical abilities.

then like your strawman argument above, he would have had no right to complain, because he made the choice of Rogue and didn't get to do what he wanted.

Actually, he made the choice of Paladin quite explicitly because it didn't offer what he wanted. Reread the thread. His choice of Paladin wasn't character concept, it was because he explicitly wanted to try to make a point about how something couldn't be done. He wanted it not to work.
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Actually, if you read the thread, the guy did this specifically to 'break the system'. Basically, he was trolling his group in real life.
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This player is intentionally being obtuse.

Ditto for the OP
http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=235459


I realize that jerk players have been a problem since 1e, but seriously, I hate this notion that you have to fulfill your class "role." There should be nothing wrong mechanically with a dagger-throwing paladin.

That's not the problem. The problem is that he is breaking (or at least pushing) one half of the unwritten contract that lets people play what they want, but also in a group.

The contract basically says:

Group: As long as you come up with a character which is a plausible member of the group, we will come up with a reason to accept it, even if we might have rejected it if it were an NPC.
Player: As long as you are willing to give my character a break, I will come up with a character who has a plausible reason for your group to take me. I won't build something whch wouldn't be allowed to join the party if it were the last person available.

Without the Group end of the contract, a player might go through multiple character's before the group accepts one. Note that "what is acceptable" varies -- in a campaign based on being the survivors of an earthquake, almost anything is (although if you come up with someone who is more dangerous to adventure with than to leave behind ...) In a campaign built around a elven mercenary company, a player would have to work harder. They just aren't going to accept a non-combatant half-orc without a good reason. (Not to say that there aren't such reasons, but at that point it is up to the player to come up with them.)

Without the Player end of the contract, a group might have to continually "ding" characters. Again, what is acceptable to the group varies as mentioned in the above paragraph. In a campaign built around a "band of friends" concept, a player should have a character who would be likely to be a friend of someone in the party. In a campaign built around "elite military unit", he just has to have the right skills (and race, perhaps) to have been recruited.

In the OPs example, it is pretty clear that, since the party concept is "An Adventuring Company", they are unlikely to have accepted such a detrimental character. Even without the metagaming (knowing that the encounters will be harder because of an additonal character), the party is right to believe that the guy isn't pulling his weight. The player is exploiting the Group side of the contract, the one that says "this character is a PC, we should hire him."
Actually, if you read the thread, the guy did this specifically to 'break the system'. Basically, he was trolling his group in real life.

No system can be built that can act as a talisman against willful douchebaggery.

If nothing else, his playgroup should be glad they're playing 4E where it's pretty much impossible to break the system the other direction (by becoming vastly more powerful than everyone else) so this guy has to go the other way and suck as fiercely as humanly possible.
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