Quite recently, I replaced a friend as DM for a D&D game. During that game, I came across something I did not expect: One of the players was just too good.
When I am saying "too good" I am not talking about his character being overpowered, but the player himself having the time of his life roleplaying his bard.
Now I have no problem with someone enjoying roleplaying, quite the contrary, the problem came from the fact that the rest of the party (3 players), weren't quite on the same level of intensity.
This disparity caused the game to basically devolve into a 1 on 1 with the bard. Usually on that kind of situation I tend to give more attention to the withdrawn players, by interacting with them a bit more often. But in this case, whenever I did that, they almost always found a way to give the spotlight back to the bard.
A simple example:
At one point the group witnessed a girl being annoyed by a group of ruffians, so I asked one of the other players (a paladin) what he was going to do, his answer was, word by word:
I think we should let the bard handle this.
This is the kind of answer I got for almost every problem I threw at them.
The adventure is heavily puzzle based, with combat encounters being pretty rare. So the DM had prepared a dungeon with custom made puzzle for each class.
- 1 puzzle for the paladin, where the goal was to identify which object between several was wicked.
- 1 puzzle for the ranger, where the goal was to guide the party through a labyrinth that took the form of a forest
- 1 puzzle for the cleric, where the goal was to reconstitute a story from fragments, related to different deities
- 1 puzzle for the bard, where the goal was to sing the correct song to a creature to put it to sleep
Of all these puzzles, only the paladin did his puzzle without asking the bard to do it for him. All the other puzzles were basically done by the bard, on demand from the other players.
So my question would be:
In that kind of situation, how can I prevent a single player from hogging the spotlight, when all other players always refuse to be in the spotlight?
This problem has also been noted by the usual DM of the group, and he did not find a solution either.