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I've been playing with an Edgy Power Player (henceforth EPP) for 2 campaigns now. For the first campaign, I was the DM, and so I thought I was simply being harsh when I was judging the player. Now as I play with EPP in the second campaign, the DM came to me, knowing that I've DMed with EPP before. The DM came to me with the following quote:

Hey [Tuskiomi], I'm not gonna lie to you [EPP] is kind of ruining D&D for me Outside of sessions he keeps trying to prove me wrong with things, aka him and [other player] posting about times that work for them but no specifics of those times were listed before today.

And in session, he wants to prove his character is the main character :tired_face: I'll stick out the last days of this campaign until Saturday because I'm headed back Sunday but it's gonna be hard for me to get back into it

That's when I knew it wasn't just me. Allow me to tell a brief history of EPP in a Q&A style:

  • EPP: I want to do two characters.
    Me (DM): Okay, but you're splitting XP between them
    Result: The characters got killed early on due to his being behind the curve.

  • EPP: I want to roll Persuasion for (some ridiculous thing that you couldn't convince someone)
    Me (DM): sigh okay roll.
    Result: He actually rolls for it. Now automatically rolls to try the same thing. I have to stop him.

  • EPP: (combat) I'm going to do this action.
    Me (DM): Okay roll.
    EPP: rolls. Okay now I want to do... (goes on for minutes, stalls combat)
    Result: other players don't get the time in combat that he does. Others get bored.

  • EPP: I'm rolling [stat] for [action].
    Dm: No, you can't do that because [reason]
    EPP: [rant]
    Result: EPP rants and ruins the moment for everyone.

  • Me (DM): it seems like 2/6 players cannot make it, let's reschedule.
    EPP: [rant]
    Result: EPP rants and now nobody wants to come to the next session.

  • EPP: I want to (so something that's essentially two characters).
    DM: Okay
    Result: EPP is massively overpowered.

EPP is really only there for the combat. This is not inherently bad, but to EPP, anything that's not combat is an issue. He's tried to fight PCs who were not provoking combat in anyway, and we've done a full party restrain on him before.

This is a small number of the things that EPP does, and we've talked it over with him for every one of these issues, and some of them persist and some of them don't, but the fact of the matter is that every time that we have to talk to this player is a problem that all the PCs have experienced, and should have not happened in the first place, and puts a sour taste in their mouth.

Should we ask EPP to leave the group? If not, what do we do to deal with this player who simply wants to be better than everyone else?


I have just found out that EPP is trying to oust me and the other DM from our group while we're away at college, behind our backs. Needless to say, we're both pissed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify what game(s) you've experienced this in? The rules or game philosophy attached materially affects how we can advise you in handling this. You initially tagged this as system-agnostic, but it sounds like you're playing D&D, and that brings specific things to the table in terms of how the DM and player dynamic works. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 5 '18 at 11:41
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You talked to them about it right?… Although, it does sound like you and them want different things in the game. This is fine.

exit

Time is too short to waste time playing games with people who do not want to play the same type of games that you do.

Note that this does not states that:

  1. You are no longer friends. Geek social fallacies might be a good read about that though.
  2. That you would never play a game with them again.

In any case, you should talk to them first about it all, maybe using the same page tool.

EDIT: i have just found out that EPP is trying to oust me and the other DM from our group while we're away at college, behind our backs. Needless to say, we're both pissed.

Act like the adults in the room. Just walk away, no drama, no revenge, no recriminations…

EPP's behaviour is clearly that of a jerk. They are not your friend and thus a lot of the above answer is clearly no longer justified. I will nonetheless leave it as is as in the general case, it might be more useful.

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Be more assertive as GM

The GM is there to both enforce the rules and to mediate the game. And with these responsibilities gets the appropriate rights. While the aim is not to be a stickler and spoil the fun, say no to ideas that seem out of place or ridiculous. You have gone out of your way to accommodate his ideas and it has been proven that they do not enrich the game in any way and just annoy everyone else. If contested give a brief explanation. In a dispute over rules the GM trumps the players and you can end such a debate by saying "I am the GM".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. As I read the original post, I wasn't thinking "wow this player is annoying", I was thinking "what GM is allowing this??" Saying "No" to your players isn't just a right of the DM, it's a responsibility. \$\endgroup\$ – WannabeCoder Jan 5 '18 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's an issue in the game beyond the problem-player if everyone including the GM is annoyed with a player and they all openly discuss the issue together, but EPP still demands stuff and the GM still concedes it. Agreeing with @WannabeCoder that it's the responsibility of the GM to enforce the rules and make fair calls that are fun for everyone involved, not just for THAT GUY. \$\endgroup\$ – smiley trashbag Jan 5 '18 at 19:45
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Sounds like you (the DMs) are letting him do things that adversely affect the game.

First you should realize that DMs run the campaign, not players. DMs are the "buck stops here" and their rulings are final, be it rules interpretations, house rules, etc.

Sure, some (inexperienced or... "socially challenged") people have a problem with that, but in the end they either learn how things are or quit role-playing.

The DM is also responsible for making the game fair for all, so letting one vocal and power gaming player make an overpowered, or underpowered, character can ruin the game for the rest. Let alone letting one "take over" the plot, making it all about himself.

My suggestion is simple: Quit saying okay - don't let him do whatever he wants.

  • Make his characters comparable, and within the same rules, as everyone else's. He plays the same number of characters as everyone else.

  • If he stalls combat, skip him and say his character suffered from indecision (our DM does exactly this if someone is taking 1 minute+ with his combat turn).

  • If a player plays a character that is insufferable, the response from the party should be realistic; if he constantly wants to fight, kick him out or beat him as a group to teach him a lesson. Just get up one night and leave him in the camp and go on with your life. He makes a new character - if it "happens" to act the exact same way as the previous one, rinse and repeat.
    Who would like to adventure with an complete idiot in real life? Nobody, that's who (well, maybe the bad guys, but their reason is usually fear and / or greed).

  • As an extreme solution to out of game ranting about schedules you could make a point of asking everyone else for a suitable time and just inform him when you have reached the decision. He will come or he won't - without a say in when you play. (Sure, this will probably make him rant a few times but he would either get the point or stop coming...)

What is the worst that can happen if the DM and the group take action?

You could lose a disrupting player that makes things worse for everyone inside and outside the game.

What is the best that could happen?

He could learn from it and understand that gaming is about a group of people, not one individual, enjoying time together.

Some of these suggestions might seem harsh, but when one player is ruining it for everyone else, sometimes somewhat drastic measures have to be taken. And it' usually better to take them early than letting things escalate end inflate. This either leads to a learning experience or removal of the disrupting person (in the past, I have flat out quit sending gaming invites to a person that, after many suggestions, did not understand how playing a disruptive "evil chaotic axe murder" -type character did not fit in your usual "high fantasy good/neutral hero party saving the realm" -game).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't like the "beat him up to teach him a lesson" thing, but the "act seriously" advice is good. \$\endgroup\$ – tuskiomi Jan 5 '18 at 9:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an excellent answer, but perhaps making mention of the Geek Social Fallacies might make it even better (plausiblydeniable.com/opinion/gsf.html) \$\endgroup\$ – Cronax Jan 5 '18 at 10:04
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The following answer was only applicable prior to the EDIT adding the following text: "EDIT: i [sic] have just found out that EPP is trying to oust me and the other DM from our group while we're away at college, behind our backs. Needless to say, we're both pissed."

The section preceding the line break is in response to this development, but the remainder of the answer is for anyone in general who may be dealing with such a player.

It sounds to me like EPP has his frustrations and has gotten tired of dealing with them, just as you had gotten tired of dealing with the frustrations he has given you. I'm not going to jump and say EPP is a jerk, because his actions could have a variety of causes and it very well may just be that he thinks you, the DMs, are the issue and is trying to get you to leave for, in his mind, the betterment of the table. In a way, this is the same thing others suggested you do, just with the roles reversed. I'm not saying what he is doing is right; I don't believe it is. At the same time, I don't think you should get angry at him either. I get it, he's trying to oust you from the group, not just the table, but there could be other reasons for it that you don't realize. The best thing you can do is sit down with him and a third-party member of your group that you both can trust to represent both sides fairly in case you need a witness to explain what went down between you and EPP (or set up a camera); and, with this person/camera there, try to talk things through with EPP. Find the problem rotting your relationship away and either solve it or end things then and there. There's no need to throw away a relationship that can be fixed if you can avoid it; but, there's also no need to keep a bad relationship going that will only get worse.


I think I see the issue, and if you don't mind me saying, it does in part trace back to you allowing certain things beyond RAW. If this comes across sounding like an indictment of your ability as a DM, forgive me, that is not my intent. Anyhow, let me breakdown each part of your question.

Hey [Tuskiomi], I'm not gonna lie to you [EPP] is kind of ruining dnd for me Outside of sessions he keeps trying to prove me wrong with things,

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the players are right and know things that the DM doesn't and/or things the DM forgot. While I know this was your friend coming to you about EPP, I feel this may be something you both want to remember. There is an out, however: "What the DM says goes." It's the "Golden Rule" of RPGs for a reason. If you really don't want to deal with his shenanigans, simply tell him. "That's all well and good, but but you need to stop mini-DM-ing. If you take issue with how I run the game, think to yourself that it is a 'House Rule' and leave it at that."

And in session, he wants to prove his character is the main character

Is this necessarily a bad thing? If he's trying to do so in the Meta, just tell him "actions speak louder than words" and "if you think your character is the MC have them act like it." It can create some interesting character dynamics in-game and allows for a bit of a wild card factor, resulting in a, potentially, more entertaining time for everyone. Of course, if he persists in the Meta, tell him to knock it off or he'll be asked to leave. One of the core rules is "have fun and help everyone have fun." If a player refuses to try to let people have fun after being told to knock off a specific intrusive behaviour, then the group may be better off without that player, but give the player the chance to correct their attitude by addressing it with them one-on-one in private first.

EPP: I want to do two characters.

Me (Dm): Okay, but you're splitting XP between them Result:The characters got killed early on due to his being behind the curve.

This is your call in the end, but personally, if a player came to me with that request: I'd either shut them down by saying that I, as a DM, don't think I can handle an excessive number of characters; would require the player to run them as basically one character just with two bodies, meaning their stats and skills are shared and they share a turn, but during out-of-combat, they can act independently; or just let them run the two characters. By imposing the "split XP" limitation, you doomed the character before the campaign began. If EPP is a new-ish player, he may not have understood what your limitation entailed.

EPP: I want to roll persuasion for (some rediculous thing that you couldn't convince someone)

Me (Dm): sigh okay roll. Result: He actually rolls for it. Now automatically rolls to try the same thing. I have to stop him.

You shouldn't let him get away with these kind of rolls if the goal is supposed to be impossible. Just say, "Even if you Nat20'd, there's no way you'd be able to persuade {target} that {unreasonable roll request}. I can only allow things that are possible in-game. You wouldn't expect me to let a human Ranger roll Strength (Athletics) in order to fly, would you? This is equally impossible." If he pushes, tell him "DM rules it a 'No'. It's a good idea, but might I suggest coming up with something more believable?"

EPP: (combat) I'm going to do this action.

Me (Dm): Okay roll. EPP: rolls. Okay now I want to do... (goes on for minutes, stalls combat) Result: other players don't get the time in combat that he does. others get bored.

RAW is quite specific about this, during Combat, each turn you get 1 of each of the following (unless something specifies otherwise): Movement, Action, Bonus Action, Interaction, and Reaction (on others' turns). If they want to roll for something, such as Wisdom (Perception), tell them that it will count as their Action OR tell them what they can do for it to count as their Interaction. A Round is about 6 seconds. Unless their character is a genius with Super-Speed, doing more is generally not feasible. While I am obviously referring to D&D for this ruling, I am fairly certain this is standard across most, if not all, RPGs.

EPP: I'm rolling [stat] for [action].

Dm: No, you can't do that because [reason] EPP: [rant] Result: EPP rants and ruins the moment for everyone.

If he starts the rant, cut him off saying, "You have exactly 5 seconds to convince me or we'll continue the game with or without your cooperation," or "I am the DM and this is what I rule the situation as." If he's persisting past this point, ask him to leave. Again, it's important that the players have fun. While it is your job as DM to facilitate that, it's equally on the players to keep things "believable" in order for the actions they perform to feel meaningful.

Me (Dm): it seems like 2/6 players cannot make it, let's reschedule.

EPP: [rant] result: EPP rants and now nobody wants to come to the next session.

Cut him off as he starts by saying, "I am sorry if this is inconvenient for you, I understand, but imagine how much more inconvenient it will be for the party if the leveling between you all is inconsistent." If he presses onward about it, you can either say, "We're going to reschedule," or "You can just stop coming if you have an issue with my decisions."

EPP: I want to (so something that's essentially two characters).

Dm: Okay Result: EPP is massively overpowered.

That's on you for allowing him to do something resulting in him becoming overpowered, regardless of if you didn't realize the result or if you did but allowed it anyways. You're the DM. You don't have to allow everything they want. Sometimes, being the "bad guy" is necessary. Don't be afraid to tell EPP and others "no" and don't be afraid to ask them to leave if they are being regularly disruptive and unreasonable. EPP, as a player, has to take his lead from you, the DM. If you allow something he wants to do, that will set a precedent for the rest of that campaign, whether you mean it to or not. If you know he's trying to do something that can result in him being overpowered, tell him no or put a balancing factor on it. Otherwise, the result is your own fault. If he keeps pushing that it's his way or the highway, then tell him to hit the road.

EPP is really only there for the combat. This is not inherently bad, but to EPP, anything that's not combat is an issue. He's tried to fight PCs who were not provoking combat in anyway, and we've done a full party restrain on him before.

As long as it is within his character's alignment and described personality, I don't see the issue here. If a player is acting outside of what his character would naturally do, just follow up with, "Or {Character's Name} would do/say that if [he didn't know better]/[it wasn't outside his temperament]." He can't complain if you high-jack his character when he's trying to act in a way the character would never act. If it is something the character would do, then 1) let the character be taught a lesson by the others, 2) have your campaign's equivalence of "police" arrest him for assault forcing him to be stuck in prison for a set amount of time, (increasing the length of time up to and including the possibility of the death penalty based off of if his character resists arrest and/or kills any of the guards/knights/police/etc) or 3) punish him by giving the next encounter natural advantage on attacks against him or have it so that the next encounter is specifically going after him and see how likely the people he attacked are to jump in and save him. I know #3 is sort of a cheap solution, but sometimes players only learn that combat isn't everything when they are stuck in situations where they can't easily win from combat alone. Personally, I tend to do this by making every encounter capable of being resolved in three ways: combat, puzzle solving, and discussion (or some alternate form of appeasement in the event the creature is not capable of having a discussion such as if vs a pack of wolves).

This is a small number of the things that EPP does, and we've talked it over with him for every one of these issues, and some of them persist and some of them don't, but the fact of the matter is that every time that we have to talk to this player is a problem that all the PCs have experienced, and should have not happened in the first place, and puts a sour taste in their mouth.

Some of these things are perfectly reasonable on EPP's part and are more indicative of your inexperience as a DM in regards to players such as EPP. (This kind of inexperience is not a bad thing. I'd rather not have to deal with players like this when possible than to have regular experience with them, so don't look at this as a criticism of you.) That said, you say you have talked with him on each of these points before. That's good, but if it's an ongoing issue, talking alone is clearly not enough. He may not understand what the problem is with him doing these things, especially when you as the DM allow him to do so or when you don't stop his rants when he begins them. Think of D&D and other RPGs as game engines, not games. The game is what you are creating: the campaign. He's playing your game, not the other way around. Does he try to argue with GTA or Final Fantasy when something doesn't allow him to do something unreasonable? Probably not. He likely just accepts the game's limitations. This is no different. As long as you are firm with the rules, then he should either fall into line or quit showing up on his own. Give him an inch, though, and he'll keep taking the miles.

Should we ask EPP to walk? if not, what do we do to deal with this player who simply wants to be better than everyone else?

If you see no other way out, sure, ask him to walk, but the issue is also in part with what you, the DM, are allowing him to do and get away with both in-game and in the meta. Now, I don't know how he is acting with the DM of your current campaign, maybe it's the exact same, but it's possible that the cause of EPP acting out in your friend's campaign is the same: too much softness with the rules. Players like EPP can make for fun and enjoyable experiences, but you as the DM have to learn how to work around and with those types of players, and it takes time. At first, it'll be a lot of "You can't do this," "DM says no," and "You can leave if you don't like how I am running my game"s, but after you get used to figuring out how to outwit his machinations, it can potentially make the game more fun for everyone. Worst case scenario is endure this campaign and don't invite him to future campaigns.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Mar 1 '18 at 1:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ If part of your answer is no longer applicable to the situation once OP has clarified it, you should edit your answer to update it, as if it were always the best and most relevant version of itself. There's no point in leaving in a part of the answer that doesn't apply to the question anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 19 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem is, the edit the OP made sort of invalidates the point of the question on large. Before it was dealing with "How do I deal with a player who is making the game less enjoyable," but the update had new information that was previously unbeknownst to the querent, so the question went from that to "This problem player is trying to get my kicked from my group, so yeah." The edit acts as an invalidation not as clarification. This would actually invalidate every current answer since the new information is topic-changing and makes our answers obsolete. We can only add an addendum to keep \$\endgroup\$ – Sora Tamashii Jan 20 at 7:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ our answers relevant both to the originally posed question and to the newly edited-in (implied) question. Deleting my answer's content helps nobody, but updating it is mandatory for relevance now even though Stack policy is that you aren't supposed to edit your question in a way that changes what you're asking. Fortunately, he did his edit more as an addendum, so an addendum is the extent necessary for my answer's revision. So that is what I did. Btw OP, thanks for doing it how you did. It made my job easier. \$\endgroup\$ – Sora Tamashii Jan 20 at 7:16
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TL;DR: It doesn't sound like it's all that player's fault. Improve your group cohesion by working together to make the game good for everyone first, then, during and after that journey, make sure that nobody stalls the game out to the point it's boring. If you come down on the offending player for stalling the game, make sure you don't let others get away with it since they are probably guilty too just to a lesser extent.

Upon reading your question, I kept thinking "What's the problem with this player-question? Where's the issue with a player wanting to do that? And this other thing..." Really, most of the things you mentioned are completely fine requests. Many of them are not lime-light-stealing things at all but just a player trying to play the game in a way they find fun.

The only problems I have noticed are:

The player over-talking the situation and stalling the game.

Lots of people do this. Really, LOTS of people. Sometimes I even do it accidentally without noticing it, and I would bet that he's not the only person in your group that ever does it, though he may do it more often. Don't get upset, just keep reminding people that the enemies don't stand around and wait for your speech like they do on episodes of Power Rangers.

If this player has taken their action and then keeps talking, politely tell the next player to take their action; you don't have to act like it's still their turn.

If this player has not yet taken their action, keep pressing for their action and pushing them to take it. "Excuse me, ok, but what are you doing? Are you going to attack or move or what?"

If the player refuses to take their action and keeps talking, you can simply state that it is now the next player's turn; the offending player's character took their entire turn assessing the situation. Preferably, warn people that you are going to do this before you actually do it. In fact, before your next game, tell everyone about this new house rule but don't pin it on the offending player or say it was their fault. Just tell everyone something like "In order to keep things flowing better in combat, if anyone takes longer than 20 seconds and has not started actually doing something or at least decided what to do, then their character is spending that round doing nothing but thinking and play continues to the next player or NPC in line." Then just do it.

The ranting

You do not say at all what the rants are about, so those points do not add to your case and we cannot know if the rant is justified or not. I have had DMs tell me that I cannot do something that they have no business telling me that I cannot do. For example: "No, you cannot follow the foot prints since your character is not a tracker." "But the foot prints are in mud and are so obvious that you told me I see them when I did not even say I was looking and did not even roll for it. Foot prints that are so obvious that someone not paying attention finds them are obvious enough for anyone to follow. [and the rant might continue]"

If the rant is justified, then work with the player. For all you know, the player might be annoyed and think you're bullying them and not letting them do very reasonable things.

If the rant is not justified, sometimes it is still in the game's best interest to try and make everyone happy, including the offending player. If that's not appropriate, then you need to overrule the player. But make sure that this is something you have the authority to overrule the player on. Many people have the attitude that the DM is the boss of the game and everyone submits to the DM; this is not true. The DM is subject to the desires of the group as a whole just as much as any player is, so if it's not something the DM has authority to personally overrule on, then overrule as a group, but be careful to do it gently.

Whatever the case, don't let one person rant on and on until everyone is bored. The group needs to work together to keep the game fun, which can sometimes include supporting each other against the offending player.

Playing two characters, splitting XP, dying early.

This is not that player's fault. The player did not decide to split XP. And there is nothing wrong with playing two characters. Either it should not have been allowed, or it should have been allowed in a way that did not break the game. Once it is realized that the balance is not working out, you need to work together to fix it. Fixing it may or may not involve the player going back to 1 character. If it does, you can use excuses like "We're just not sure how to make the two-character thing work and be balanced." Otherwise, just balance it: obviously, split XP was not working, so you could do something else such as...

  1. Just let both characters be normal with no drawbacks. Full XP, full levels, full everything. I have been in campaigns that did this, and there was no problem. Just make sure the player does not use the two characters as if they are 1 overpowered character; they are two separate characters (even if combined, such as 1 creature with 2 heads, one being a warrior and the other a mage) with their own turns, own personalities; there just happens to be another character in the party.

  2. Abandon XP for those characters. You could rule that their levels are locked to being 1 less than the otherwise lowest level character. Ex: 5 players (including the 2-character player), and the other 3 players' PCs are levels 6, 7, 7, 8, so the 2-PC player has both his at level 5 and they are both stuck at 5 until the level-6 PC goes up to 7. To make this scale, you could say that these 2 PCs are X levels behind per Y levels, such as 1 level behind per 5 levels (1 behind from 1-5, 2 behind from 6-10, 3 behind from 11-15, etc.), or 1 per 10, or whatever. Don't spend a lot of time thinking this through; just pick something and do it, and note that you can revisit it in the future to tweak it if game balance requires.

  3. Insist that the two PCs are very different, and provide encounters where 1 of them is not very useful. Or, similarly, have an excuse that makes 1 of the 2 PCs generally not available (They are brothers, and one of them needs to keep staying behind to take care of their ill father, so rarely are both present).

  4. Insist that one of the two PCs is a one-trick kind of guy and that the player has only limited control - all the player can do each turn is move the archer and designate a target to shoot and nothing else (there could even be backstory spice to make this more interesting). Similarly, the second PC could be severely underpowered. In D&D, for example, the second PC might have to be an NPC class, or maybe it's an apprentice that is locked to a very low level (always level 1, or 3, or whatever), or, borrowing from a previous point, locked to 5 or 10 levels lower than everyone else.

The point is, there are options. Everyone needs to work together to make sure everyone else is enjoying the game, even the person who thinks outside the box. So far, I have seen nothing that justifies asking the offending player to leave the game.

The persuasion roll thing

This sounds like a complete non-issue. If it should be allowed to happen, then let it keep happening. If not, you simply say "that's not an available action right now." But hopefully you can back up that statement with a reason.

In your sample issues, I do see hints that the offending player may have more issues than normal, sure, but when you kick out the person with the most issues then you will still have "a person with the most issues" who will just happen to be someone else now.

Always keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with asking to be able to do various out-of-the-box actions, and in general that is even encouraged in many RPGs, such as D&D. Just don't let it slow the game to a crawl.

Without more details, I would have to say the real issue at hand in your case seems to be that the group is not working together well. Sometimes this can manifest more often in the desires or actions of one player, but that is not always the fault of that player.

Improve your group cohesion by working together to make the game good for everyone first, then, during and after that journey, make sure that nobody stalls the game out to the point it's boring. If you come down on the offending player for stalling the game, make sure you don't let others get away with it.

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In my experience, the best course of action is to make him want to leave. Kicking someone out is perhaps the most drastic way of resolving this issue and should only be a last resort.

Getting a power-gamer to want to leave the group is actually pretty simple. Usually, all you have to do is narrowly define the rules of character creation down to the strictest standards your other players will tolerate. What's worked for me in the past (D&D 3.5 ed) is "Standard Array", "Standard Wealth By Level", "No single item worth more than 10% of SWBL", and "PHB Classes/Spells Only".

If that fails, then the next trick is force roleplaying and imagination. Most min-maxers I've had to deal with are incapable of thinking up actions that aren't explicitly within the rules. As an added bonus, you can disguise solutions to puzzles with fairly obvious skill checks that they will certainly fail at. Here is an example:

"There is a 20' wide chasm blocking your way forward. A bridge that used to span the gap lies flat against the far side of chasm. A heavy mist blankets this area and condensation soaks every surface. What do you do?"

Now, a glory hound and a min-maxer will generally try to leap across the chasm reasoning that, between all his modifiers, he has a greater than 50% chance of making it. However, he will almost certainly overlook the extraneous detail of "condensation soaks every surface". When he goes to make his roll, also have him roll an acrobatics check. On failure, he slips before or after he completes his jump and falls into chasm. The actual solution is to fix the bridge which anyone who is remotely creative can figure out how to do rather easily.

Now, keep thinking up things like this and eventually he'll get tired of running into problems he can't just throw dice at to resolve.

The downside to all of this is that it can be taxing on your other players as well, especially if problem solving and non-combat-solutions arne't their preference.

As far as taking up too much time, consider putting everyone on a "shot clock". Set a house rule that no player may take more than X seconds to act on his or turn or they automatically do Y (usually Full Defense). This has an added effect of making battles more tense since players need to now think on their feet.

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