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Playing in a friend's campaign and the other PC is difficult to play against, to the point that it's frustrating me both in and out of character.

The DM and I are playing a high-magic, god-touched struggle against good and evil where I'm having an amazing time living out my existential crisis, killing bad things and making life-altering decisions. The other PC however seems only vaguely attached to the plot, keeps making objectively terrible choices in game and pokes fun at my character every time she tries to open up and share anything. Basically, her character doesn't take anything seriously and doesn't seem concerned about the results of his actions.

Before I get into specifics, my question is is the tone problem something I should be fixing, or is it entirely on the DM to solve?


The Story

Our campaign's kick-off was that we were both dealt a half-deck of a highly modified Deck of Many Things, and our quest is to undo all the damage that's obviously caused. My character, Nasa, has multiple curses and stat penalties on her, her soul's been stolen, she has ghouls out for her blood, etc. Comparatively, the other player's character, Chirp, got 50k gold, a loyal companion, a couple of magic items and his only "problem" is that he has disadvantage against being charmed. It was 100% luck which cards we drew and clearly I got terribly unlucky!

Chirp is a happy-go-lucky guy who doesn't seem particularly interested in fixing his disadvantage problem. Comparatively, Nasa is a pessimist and a worrier, especially since all this bad luck has befallen her. She's determined to repent for her past mistakes and leave the world a better place, even if she has to die for it.

The Problem

Nasa is (admittedly) pretty gloomy, and especially so compared to Chirp. Between the soul stealing and being marked for ghoul undeath she's accepted her fate as ever un-dead and is ready to martyr herself to help others. In trying to play her accurately it's possible I've made her too unpleasant to be around. However, I really have trouble dealing with Chirp when he's constantly mocking and belittling her.

Examples;

  1. Nasa believes she has magic (she doesn't) and every time she "casts a spell" Chirp calls her on it, tells her she's lying and tries to pressure her into confessing. He'll make fun of her attempts and belittle her for not actually having magic even after she stops defending herself. We had discussed the whole "not actually magic" thing ahead of the campaign and everyone thought it was hilarious at the time and was super into the idea, but now I feel attacked for it.

  2. Nasa got paralyzed during battle and was left, helpless, with 3 HP since she'd been up close with the enemy tanking so the others could lay in hits. Chirp killed the enemy, but instead of making any attempt to help Nasa or even just protect her until the effects wore off he grabbed a handful of mud and drew a mustache on her face while she was frozen and nearly dead.

  3. I figured it might help humanize Nasa to spill a little bit of her backstory, but in the middle of a halting explanation of some of her history Chirp interrupted and basically laughed at what she perceived as a personal sacrifice and cracked a couple of jokes.

The Player

I'm really, really good friends with both the DM and the other player. We've played other campaigns together (usually with me DMing) and while the player always chooses to portray a playful, goofy character something about Chirp is really driving me up a wall.

We had a session 0 where we discussed what the campaign was going to be like, and we all agreed to a heavier storyline. But this last session actually made me kind of angry because I feel like she's mocking my attempts at playing things more seriously.

I've mentioned my feelings briefly to both player and DM. The DM seemed concerned but hasn't done anything yet to fix it, and the player was moderately sympathetic but basically said something that sounded a lot like My Guy Syndrome to me - essentially that Chirp was just a naturally cheerful guy and not to take it personally.

I'm wondering if I've messed up in making Nasa and if I should lighten her up and give Chirp a reason to stay and get involved. This is my first time being a player instead of a DM. Is this tone problem something I should take upon myself to solve, or is it generally on the DM to fix such things, or even am I just reading too much into this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What "objectively terrible" decision did the other player make? I have trouble seeing any decision as "objectively terrible." \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron May 12 '18 at 23:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron I didn't mention that in my examples as it's a bit long to explain. The best TL:DR; I can give is that they openly lied to and mocked a helpful NPC so that she now distrusts the party and won't give us info we needed. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex May 12 '18 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alex I will try to be in chat today/tomorrow. I have an inkling what may be going on and am struggling (and failing) to codify it into something that passes muster as an actual answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak May 13 '18 at 0:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is a fine line between happy-go-lucky and a bully that thinks he is being funny. For your question, I think Chirp is lining to the second type. \$\endgroup\$ – Chepelink May 13 '18 at 0:46
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You need a second "session 0"

The problem, as I see it, is that the other player decided to play a different game to the one you all agreed to. You say in your session 0 that you all agreed to a heavier story, and yet this other player is not doing that, even though you are.

Playing a gloomy character isn't always a "drag to be around", even though some may perceive it that way depending on the kind of game they're after; it can be very interesting to play a "miserable character" if this was agreed up front, which it was. Conversely, I wouldn't find any of this other character's "jokes" that funny even in a more lighthearted game, so I also don't think that he's all that fun.

To quote a comment by @Chepelink:

There is a fine line between happy-go-lucky and a bully that thinks he is being funny. For your question, I think Chirp is [leaning towards] the second type.

A statement with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Of course, everyone has their own ideas of "fun" and "interesting", but I just wanted to point out that just because one person thinks something is "fun", doesn't mean they're automatically right and can go unchallenged on that; indeed, aligning differing opinions on what fun means is partly what session 0 is all about.

As for whether this is up to the DM or not, I'd say no. I think what you need is another "session 0". You mentioned that you've already aired your feelings and that whilst they were met with sympathy, nothing has changed. This second "session 0", then, should contain either actions to how the game will become more "heavy" (read: the other player plays the tone they originally agreed to play) or re-evaluate the tone (i.e. lighten the tone up, but at least you know that's what's happening now rather than playing a different tone than the other player).

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Aside from talking to the player outside the table as other suggested (second session 0), there are options that you can do while in character.

Remember that people have their limits. Different people act different towards the same type of abuse. First, think on your character. She is a depressed gloomy type of PC, but at the same time she seems to be a solid adventurer. This mean that she has the courage to take actions and is not a pushover per-se, even with her gloomy personality.

Separation as confrontation: First confront Chirp about how fed up you are about her abuse (in character) and lack of cooperation, and storm out. The best moment is when there are no imminent danger and you can separate from her easily. Play the session separated. Chirp will lose her target for the rest of the session and she would understand (in character) that even gloomy people has their limits. After that session you can have a second session 0 and talk about the root of the problem. Maybe is that your character is too gloomy, maybe is hers or maybe are both of you and could end reaching a neutral point.

Remember that you have to heads up your DM so that he is prepared (and help you) with the break up. Also, this technique is helpful to defuse the momentum of the relationship of both PC, opens the opportunity of a second session 0 and a reconnection the following session in a pub.

Finally, remember that characters are not statics, they grow and mature. Usually things like this are the breaking points for a more mature character. Nasa could learn that her gloomy personality is not helping to reach her goals and Chirp that people have feelings and her pranks are not helping anyone. This can be addressed in the second session 0, too providing a true opportunity of personal development.

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