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I recently saw a video talking about different kinds of players in DnD and I always understood that people play the game for different reasons. I myself am a roleplayer and enjoy the conversations and acting side of things. But its becoming clear that our group is getting more and more chaotic stupid if you know what I mean.

So one player, lets call him Tom, ends up always being the same character in every campaign, and that character is Tom. Don't get me wrong I like Tom, but Tom is an Elitist Conservative Christian radical feminist. In every game he refuses to kill enemies (really enjoyable since he's the only wizard). Now thats not so bad but the problem is his reasoning, see Tom says its "un-godly" to kill someone, again that can be an interesting character trait. But: in every conversation with an NPC he goes either Radical Feminist (EXCUSE ME YOUR HIGHNESS BUT YOUR TREATMENT OF WOMEN IS INSULTING YOU B****) super awkward (hey, i know you're a level 20 wizard but do you want to join my cult) or just downright insulting (you slaves are really good at building pyramids despite all the dying). The problem with Tom is that when he insults the king, I the roleplayer and others have to get him out of the situation, we can't let him die. Why? Because we're playing at Tom's house and last time he had to do death saving roles he said to the DM "You won't be able to play DnD here if I die". Another time he actually tried to bribe the DM with real money in order to gain plot armor. So that's just a taste of Tom's antics...

Next we have Max and Daniel who are basically clones of eachother. When I started playing DnD I played the Edgelord character and in hindsight that was a bad move because everyone loved my character. So when we started a new campaign, Max and Daniel turned up with "tormented souls from the underworld". Most likely deformed assassin's in a blood pact with satan, hellbent on fulfilling their master's will. Now again there is nothing really wrong with that kind of character but Max in particular is a complete MURDER HOBO. I swear there have been times where he just says "I slit his throat". One occasion he performed detailed information on how he tortured someone alive in game, he did this behind the party's back, and on many occasions he would be talking to a villain or a count and say right in front of him "What are you gonna do you F***-wit you can't hurt me". As a DM its getting old now because I have tried to punish Max for all his killing sprees but while he says its "character development" I know he will NEVER change. Daniel isn't really that different either, his job is just to talk Tom out of predicaments after he gives a 5 minute speech on the treatment of women.

Finally we have Alex and Mark. Mark is the nicest one, he's the one who introduced us to DnD but I can tell he's getting bored of everyone messing things up. I think that's why he stopped being a DM. He means well but he's not an Actor like me so he usually takes a back seat when Tom and Daniel start arguing. Alex is exactly the same but really he's universally considered the best player in the group because he's not disruptive, he's a so called "Audience Member" and he doesn't do roleplaying at all. He just sits back and does whatever the DM tells him to do.

But while Mark is teeming with irritation at the group I feel Alex gets his fun from seeing us all fail and be chaotic stupid. We all laugh about it afterwards and I suppose if everyone's having fun thats all that matters but I'm about to DM this group and I'm worried that like Mark I'm going to regret asking this group of people to play cause they just mess up the story and we have to spend 2 hours escaping a castle cause we set fire to the queen. How do I keep the group from destroying the plot and game?

Also they are all prone to fighting each-other, we're like the avengers, the biggest threat is ourselves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: What is a Session Zero \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jun 21 at 16:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ For those answering: Please remember that all answers, even subjective answers, need to be supported. Answers that are opinions and unsupported should not be upvoted(but possibly downvoted) and may be removed. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 21 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not an answer per se, but I'd just start looking for another, less dysfunctional and toxic group, because these people seem like absolutely no fun. \$\endgroup\$ – schroedingersKat Jun 25 at 12:59
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Say No - say it early, and say it often with this group. Talk to them about it.

Even though I highly discourage railroading sometimes "No" is the appropriate answer. A lot of DMs are afraid to say no because they are worried the players will feel raidroaded. This can create a lot of problems like the ones you listed above.

If you are starting a new campaign take a look at the characters the players have created. If you want don't allow neutral or evil alignments. Don't allow characters who are murder hobos. I'm not saying require all lawful good paladins, but don't allow the types of characters that won't move the campaign forward. Start saying no at Session 0. Set that expectation.

Before every campaign/every new character creation my players send me their back stories. I have said no to certain things many times (usually to Chaotic Evil alignments or murder hobos), and no one has pushed back hard against it. On the "say it often" players can attempt to rob a store/overthrow a government. But when a player consistently tries to harm every NPC and the in game consequences don't change anything a no is necessary. Often.

I have a feeling in game punishments won't work (i.e. when they set fire to the Queen the lvl 20 fighters in the room attack the party and kill them). In this case, you're going to need to meta and say "No." The players probably won't like it, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

Don't be afraid to bring it up. Let them know they're making it hard and unenjoyable for you. If they are people who are worth playing with they will change their playstyle for you. If they don't, then let them know the group just isn't for you. Most players are understanding. I've never had an issue that I've addressed that has been ignored (but normally I am host and DM, so I have a lot of "clout"). Still, if your players are good humans they'll be understanding.

There was one guy who went to find another group when I wouldn't let him attack a child for "RP" reasons. Before every campaign/every new character creation my players send me their back stories. I have said no to certain things many times (usually to Chaotic Evil alignments or murder hobos), and no one has pushed back hard against it. On the "say it often" players can attempt to rob a store/overthrow a government. But when a player consistently tries to harm every NPC and the in game consequences don't change anything a no in necessary. Often

As far as "Tom" goes... some people forget D&D is just a game. As you said, with him being the host things are more difficult. But if it creates such a problem then look into another place to play. I know finding someone to host can be difficult, but it might be worth the effort in this case.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Of course. I haven't had any problems with it. There was one guy who went to find another group when I wouldn't let him attack a child for "RP" reasons. Before every campaign/every new character creation my players send me their back stories. I have said no to certain things many times (usually to Chaotic Evil alignments or murder hobos), and no one has pushed back hard against it. On the "say it often" players can attempt to rob a store/overthrow a government. But when a player consistently tries to harm every NPC and the in game consequences don't change anything a no in necessary. Often. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Tydryszewski Jun 21 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is the paragraph about starting a new campaign repeated again later in the answer? \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Jun 21 at 17:13
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You do not

You can establish rules as a DM. You cannot force anyone to follow them; As far as the game (and the surrounding social context) is concerned the only thing you can do is to choose between playing and not playing. You should always set expectations before the game starts, and make sure the players are on board with them (and, if appropriate, adjust your own expectations to better line up with that of the players).

However, in this particular situation you seem to have already come to the conclusion that your expectations for how the game should be played are completely incompatible with that of the rest of the group. If that is indeed the case, the only thing you can do is not DMing for that group, and find some other people to play with that have preferences that are more in line with yours.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you had a similar situation that you weren't able to resolve? Are you saying that there is never a resolution and no possible path for resolution based on that experience? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 21 at 16:32
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You Should talk with Tom about his views and outbursts. Obviously he is someone with strong beliefs and opinions but you should talk to him and ask him to relax them for the game because the game isn't targeting anyone or making anyone a evil person it is a character in a story. Also the bribing a DM or guilt tripping them in a sign of bad player behavior and should be its own conversation. As an addendum for his viewpoint behaviors remind him that this is a game and a fictional story where Tom doesn't have to be anyone close to himself. He can be a scholar of the arcane, a filthy barbarian from the wastes, a chivalrous knight or a dark and deadly assassin, a charismatic diplomat or even a evil Necromancer or a being who made a deal with a Devil for their power he is in this game who he wants to be and he doesn't have to be Tom the Wizard.

Max and Daniel you should talk to about their Murder-Hobo Antics, obviously it's fun to be a evil character or to be that strong edge-lord with few cares but actions have consequence and you need to both in-game hold him to that and out of game talk to him that such antics will result in him placing himself and the party as a whole in danger from backlash. Daniel if his issues are murder-hoboing and arguing with Tom, talk to him about holding back the arguments and same anti-murder-hobo antics I suggested above.

As for Mark and Alex, You should talk to Mark ask him if everything in game is going as he wishes and if he expresses concerns and complaints you should handle them as they come. Alex you should talk to him and ask if he is having trouble playing or adjusting, sometimes people who are really passive lack experience playing or the want or sometimes the ideas and perhaps you should talk with him and think of ways to invest him within his character and the world at large. Obviously if he just wants to watch, it is up to you to handle that but it seems most of them have conflicting attitudes and ideas about what is going on. I suggest you address every privately and converse with them about their issues and then address them as a party as a Session Zero. That can help iron out issue and create a playable game, however as DM you do have the authority to not DM with them or not DM so ultimately the only thing progressing and keeping the story alive.

To help I'll give you my hopefully not too rough but usefull example of me working with a group I DM'd with earlier last year only me and one other player had played D&D at all beforehand so we had a varied party of people. We had a group of six plus me. They had a few issues between passive players, to murder-hobos and then righteous values that often made in-game event seem very awkward. I approached the players privately to work with them on the issues which turned out well enough.The hardest part was working with them because some can take private conversations personally as an insult and in my experience the best way is to ask they how they feel and respond with how you feel. My party was a bit hardier on the interpersonal relationship aspect so saying that your actions/inaction in the game were not the greatest was easy and the hard part was figuring out why and how to fix it. which for some can be a simple character redesign for other it's working on understanding what they wanted out of the game

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Good first answer! \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 21 at 20:30

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