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So, after a few sessions, the new player I'd invited has been a bit of a disaster. He doesn't get on well with any of the other players, laughed when someone's character died (in our campaign that's permanent at the moment), and generally has been a nuisance. However, he doesn't seem to notice this. I've talked to him about his behaviour, but it hasn't helped. Several other players have also approached me on their own to register concerns.

The long and short of it is, he's not a good fit for our game or social group, due to his abrasive personality/playstyle (as I and the other players perceive it). He's also not interested in roleplaying (something my group does heavily, at the moment) and continually pushes to place himself in the limelight - which he does by instigating combat and trying to skip over what he sees as 'boring' scenes. His character is a Minotaur barbarian, and the most exotic race in the game, but he only uses it for the stat bonuses, and doesn't even have a backstory - he simply says he doesn't need one. However, I don't want to be rude or otherwise unkind to him, as I will still see him around after he leaves the group, and so will the other players.

How can I politely ask him to leave the group, without being dishonest but avoiding embarrassment for anyone? I also want to avoid seeming to 'abandon' him, or 'go behind his back'.

Note: There are few/no in-game problems with adding or removing characters, and I don't need advice for that. This is strictly about handling the player. The system (not that it's all that relevant to the problem) is

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Well, if there's a silver lining to this cloud, it actually sounds like the player's behavior is in character with a chaotic evil Minotaur barbarian. :) –  RobertF Jun 13 at 13:54

4 Answers 4

up vote 51 down vote accepted

Have a discussion with the player, privately and not during game time.

  1. Acknowledge you invited him without discussing what the groups expectations of him were.
  2. Try to have the missing discussion with him.
  3. In the discussion point out how his current play style does not fit the groups desired play style.
  4. At the end of the discussion ask him to conform to the groups expectations or not come back for the current game.

In the future before you invite new players or even start a new game, considering using the same page tool to ease discussion about player expectations.

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6  
Basically good advice. I would recommend by the way a simple direct approach, don't skirt around any issues, or present them as "problems" that can be rejected or solved. If at all possible practice the conversation, with someone taking his role, and discuss how it felt to be on the receiving end, and how clearly and simply the message came across. Use those RP skills to help approach the "difficult conversation". –  Neil Slater Dec 4 '13 at 21:46

I've talked to him about his behaviour, but it hasn't helped.

"Hi, I've spoken to you about XYZ before. After (number of sessions) it seems like there really hasn't been a change. I don't think what we want from our game is the same thing you're looking for.

"We gave it a shot and I think the last session we had was a good sign this isn't going to work.

"I think you may find better luck finding folks who are interested in the same type of game you want to play on (D&D Encounters at local gamestore, rpg.net, other recommendations). If I come across other folks who are also looking for the same thing, is it ok if I pass along your email to them?"

Now. Mind you, there's no answer that will make him happy, and there's no answer that guarantees this person won't act inappropriately, rude, or nasty, either.

The fact that they're already ignored social cues at the table, direct discussion about their behavior, is pretty good indicators you will probably not get a nice/comfortable/mature response, here, either. OTOH, you will have a happy gaming group again, and not have to continue giving this guy chances who clearly isn't here for what you're here for.

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Therefore a prince [...] ought not to mind the reproach of cruelty; because with a few examples he will be more merciful than those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise [...]; for these are wont to injure the whole people, whilst those executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only. — Machiavelli, The Prince Chapter XVII

Do not be afraid to say what you really think.

This unpleasant task falls on you alone. As the DM and referee around the table you have a responsibility to the other players, to uphold the rules that make the game possible - including unwritten ones. It would be a bit unfair to leave that to others.

The player and friend you expel obviously hasn't got that the players and you are actually upset. So he must both understand 1) that he has been trespassing and 2) in what he has been trespassing. Because it is your friend you owe him the truth, including that you are unhappy with him. Acting otherwise is being a polite hypocrite.

So it's just: "I will not invite you again because you tend to waste game sessions"
Provided that you already tried your best to make things work out, and that you are blunt only enough to be clear; that is not being rude but candid.

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That’s an easy one.

Handicap his character forcing him to develop his RP skills. This can be done a million different ways. ex: forced polymorph, death with new creation requirements, equipment loss, forced individual diplomacy, Stat losses, unusual poisoning/enchantment, charmed/cursed equipment, or just have the other players kill his character if he is doing "evil things" and causing the party harm.

There are a million thanks that would case a player to start questioning his actions. And if they complain let it be known, this isn't a video game. Your actions and or inactions have consequences.

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10  
This is also just a bad way to handle a player, it ends with the player feeling picked on and leaving the group in a huff with absolutely no chance to salvage a relationship. This looks like a playstyle difference, and punishing it with passive aggression is a bad way to deal with people. –  wax eagle Dec 7 '13 at 0:03
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I have intentionally not deleted this, as I believe (at time of commenting) -7 downvotes is more instructive than no answer. This is an abysmally wrong answer, however. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 7 '13 at 7:00

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