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We are a group of 5 + me (dm) playing TDE (in German that is). We love role-playing and throughout the last years we developed our own style of playing, which is strongly focused on role-playing rather than fighting. Most characters in our group are not really adept in fighting but more socially oriented.

One of our players (lets call him "A") is very adept in creating new characters and has a lot of fun doing so. Besides the obvious problems with a member of the group often changing a character, I found that the characters had a very high impact on dynamic of the group and the way our adventures develop. E.g. his characters often have very eccentric strokes (extreme cleptomania, extreme naivity and curiosity, disregard for his own life or the setting...) which often create problems for the group. His last character got killed and almost got another players character killed, in a completely quest- and or character-unrelated endeavour.

For me as a DM, that is often pretty awesome, since I am not a big fan of railroading and like it when I really just define the initial setting and the characters basically write the story on-the-go through their actions and responses to the new reactions.

On the other hand, the group always had to have an eye on player 'A's characters (all of his latest three...), to avoid bigger problems for the group. E.g. stop him from stealing from the local baron, not randomly attack enemies he will not win against, not show a dark magician that the group has a very powerful artifact because of naivety etc....

Even though this often leads to great role-playing since the characters are confronted with creative problems and conflicts I could've never imagined, I often feel that this prevents other players from playing their characters in the way THEY want, because they have to basically babysit this other character.

I don't want to force him to build "normal" characters since he obviously likes building more colourful ones and his backstories and ideas are often far more advanced than the others. Still, I don't want the group to resent him, since he often dominates the evening through his actions(last time, half of the group was blocked for almost 2 hours, since he quietly wandered off and randomly started a very unnecessary fight against my best efforts to explain the setting and consequences, couldn't leave, couldn't get help and therefor finally died...).

Do you have a good idea how I could deal with this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to this Stack! Take the tour if you haven't. Are you familiar with My Guy Syndrome? If so, can this question be edited to include how this player isn't suffering from that malady? Thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 30 '17 at 16:40
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The first thing you need to do is to discuss it with the other players to see how they feel about the situation. If they have no problem with it and you don't have a problem with it then there is no problem. It's good that you're vigilant about these things though since they can fester if left unattended and create a potentially troublesome situation. Talk to the other players, one on one, and see how they feel. Go forward accordingly.

If the group feels there is a problem with A:s characters you should first talk to A about it. Say that that kind of characters create imbalance together with the other characters and ask A to think about the group dynamics and story progression when considering character actions. You can also ask A to dial it down a notch for the next character. In most cases (assuming that A understands that roleplaying is a group activity) this should take care of the situation. I haven't had to do this to a player yet, but I've had it done to me and I appreciated it because it helped me create a better experience for the other players.

Should A forget or ignore these instructions you can remind A during gameplay. If that doesn't work you need to balance the focus a bit. Don't let the shenanigans go too far. Steals from the local baron? No big deal. The baron doesn't notice it, doesn't care or even compliments the character for a clean theft. Attacks enemies? Don't draw out the fight. Make the enemies a lot stronger than they look or even have an NPC come in and interrupt the fight. There are lots of ways to speed up or past the action. I've done this a lot with certain players that just can't seem to focus on the storyline and done right it works pretty well.

However, the biggest risk here that I see is when A is away doing things apart from the group. Here you must divide your attention and not let the rest of the players sit idle for a long time. Every now and then (how long is up to you, but I would say no more than 20 minutes) proclaim a "Meanwhile..." and shift focus to the other players. Have them carry out actions and play out stuff while A waits. By engaging them you make sure they don't feel left out and you also give them the opportunity if doing stuff without having to worry about A messing things up for them. Another trick is to take A aside into another room and roleplay standing. This should automatically make A try to hurry the actions along, due to the temporary nature of the IRL situation. I always switch focus between groups of characters when GM:ing because I know how boring it is to sit and wait for my own turn.

I try to look for the cliffhangers in the action and break there. "You find the hut where the old man told you it would be. There is a flickering of light coming from the inside and you can hear indistinct words from two different people. Meanwhile..." This ramps up anticipation and makes the waiting more worth it.

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In such cases I think the best is to let other player Characters handle this. When he tries to steal from someone, maybe hand him over to the guards. You don't take a irresponsible Character to a undercover operation.

Normally I try to create adventures were everyone can play what they want. But that is not always the case. Not every adventure allows for every Character. If your adventure requires an NPC herring layers then it can be difficult to include a "Schelm". Another player character could call a known player for help to include him in the quest. But that requires that the character is useful for the group. (he can still have quirks)

Create an adventure that limits the character a little bit. If he is very good at character building you could require one player to make a specific character from a mage school because your adventure plays in it and you need an insider. In that case you would create the character with him together and influence the creation. But be carful that he still has fun playing him.

You should also be consequent. If the character is to stupid he could die early in the session. You maybe should also ask the player if he has an idee how to safe his live, if not go over to storytelling and tell short how he died or went somewhere else and comes back after everything is over. Don't play with him two hours and let the other watch.


If he just talks to much let him play a "Golgarit".

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