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I am the DM in our group, and we took in a new player. He's experienced, so I figured he could help the other new players. Yet all he does is intentionally screw with the other players! He robs his own teammates of their coin, steals from them, and one time forced one of the guys into shoving one of their mates off of a cliff for “kicks” (He is playing as a bard if your wondering about that last one).

He is fracturing my group and causing the new guys to quit showing up for D&D! What should I do, kick him out? Talk to him? Please help! My group is the only one right now at our school, and I feel that if I handle this situation incorrectly the whole thing will fall apart.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. It's vital with a question like this that the site gets to know your group before offering solutions. What's the relationship between the rest of the group and the newcomer—is he a coworker, friend, relative, or rando? Has anyone else found fault with his PC's behavior? Is the player's behavior as disruptive as his PC's behavior? Did you explain to him your table's playstyle before he joined? That kind of thing. Background like this helps provide better solutions for your problem! Thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 11 '18 at 15:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: "Handling a character who frequently pickpockets teammates", "Is it appropriate to punish a PC who snatches things from under the other PCs?", or even "How can I politely ask a player to leave my game?". Having an antagonistic player is a common problem; if you search for other questions with the problem-players tag, I bet you'll find that a similar question has been asked before. \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ May 11 '18 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MikeQ is correct: the site has a vast repository of questions about troublesome, troubled, and troubling players; please, consult them! Keep in mind, though, that your problem — if details are added — may be a unique one that an expert who's been in a similar situation can provide a solution for. Please add those details! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 11 '18 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ You mention a school situation: Can you clarify if this is a school-sanctioned activity, and if there are rules set up by the school about membership? Or was that just a general comment about the environment? \$\endgroup\$ – Novak May 11 '18 at 18:50
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I would normally talk to the problem player first, but with such blatantly destructive actions I'd probably talk to the affected players first.

See what their thoughts are. Do they want to extend an olive branch or do they just want the player gone?

A more passive solution would be to meet as a group and take a vote on inter-PC conflict:

Suggest to your group that everyone agrees to restrict inter-PC conflict. Sure, it breaks the immersion a tad, but honestly there are few reasons for a player to harm another player.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good suggestions, and to avoid hard feelings suggest starting a second "anything goes" D&D group where PvP is allowed. It might even cure the new guy of his bad habits once his character has been robbed & shoved off a cliff himself. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – RobertF May 11 '18 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Haha, oh yes, put him at the recieving end and tunes may change. \$\endgroup\$ – Bryant Jackson May 11 '18 at 21:21
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As the DM you are in the best position to stop this behavior with a number of options.

  1. The first possibility is to talk to the problem player privately and politely. If it is just you and him, then he'll most likely be less defensive. The key to this is that you must be calm and rational and to be honest. In his case, I would, near the end of our talk, tell him that if the problem continues, you'll have to ask him to leave the game. This is a talk, not a negotiation.
  2. Killing off the character (not the player, though that might be tempting). I generally consider this to be a bad idea, unless this come out organically from the character's actions. If the player had a chance to mess with a powerful NPC, he might. This NPC might not be as nice as the PC's.
  3. Ask the other players (without the problem player there) what they would do if an NPC did these actions? Tell them that they are allowed to handle this situation.
  4. Finally, kick the player out of your group. Try to do this politely, and explain why you're doing this. He should know this because of your private talk earlier.
  5. You can always explain to your players (all together) that their behavior is unacceptable and that you cannot remain in the game because it is no longer fun for you. I've only done this once. I didn't play any role-playing games for a couple of years.

I try to explain to new players, typically as the first meeting, what sort of behavior I find unacceptable. I basically explain I want the PC's to be heroes because I play the villains.

I have been GM'ing, on and off, for about 40 years. I started with the three-book set that was more miniatures combat than role-playing.

I have had to use each of these steps at one time or another. I hate to escalate past #1, and that is normally all that I've needed. However there are toxic players and they can destroy a gaming group.

The one time I went to #2, the character had killed off some townsfolk in a science-fiction game. And the character did this highly visibly. He was given a trial with the other characters as witnesses, and sentenced to die. So I devoted an entire adventure to a supernatural/horror that I based on a story that I would have sworn was "The Hell Bound Train", but wasn't. It was a similar story. It went over very well with the players, even the one playing the bad character. He reformed and was a part of a few campaigns after that.

Item 3 I've done a couple of times also, but for less serious problems. If one character was bothering the others, a quick reminder that they might not tolerate this behavior in an NPC is often enough to get the characters to stand up to the annoying one.

Item 4 I've only done once. I was mature enough to do this politely and with a calm tone.

Item 5 I've also done only once, and that in a multi-gm game. I thought that the game would continue without me, but it died.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not that I mind having the correct answer, but usually it is better to wait 24 hours to see if there is a better answer from somebody else. \$\endgroup\$ – NomadMaker May 11 '18 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you, at some point, gone through these steps (are they steps?) yourself and seen them resolve a similar situation amicably? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 11 '18 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have done this a few times, since I've been GM'ing for 40 years. I don't like escalating beyond #1, but I have gone all the way to #5 (only once). I may dislike kicking somebody out of a game, but if he is making the game non-fun for me or the other players then I do it. \$\endgroup\$ – NomadMaker May 11 '18 at 16:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then I suggest including in the answer more explicitly that you have used these steps, perhaps even offering your anecdotes as evidence that they work. That is in no way because I, personally, doubt your experience or anything, but because readers should be made aware in your answer that your opinion is, in fact, an expert opinion based on your own vast experience. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 11 '18 at 16:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is it possible you meant to write "less defenSIVE" in your first point? I'm a little confused as to what that sentence means otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex May 11 '18 at 17:07
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As the others have stated, the first step should be to pull a trouble maker aside privately. It could be possible they do not realize how their actions are hurting the experience for everyone. After all, we play to have fun, so why play if your not having fun. Be sure to explain they are having fun at the expense of others and this has now become an issue you must address as the DM. Immediately I would then ask how they can resolve this problem, ask for specific things they will change for next session. Regardless of their character background, its destructive to the party. After you talk with the player be sure to tell your other players that you have talked with the person about the problem, otherwise they may quit before the problem is resolved.

This may be a bit extreme but they may not understand the feeling until it happens to them. If things don't change, you and the other PCs can have a laugh at their expense instead. Implement some NPC's that have been sent after him due to thieving of previous adventurers. Or perhaps next time they visit town try to lure the PC to an alley where they get jumped, gagged, grappled and robbed.

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