I DM a Savage Worlds game with six players. I'm coming on this problem where some of the characters tend to bully one of the other characters.

For context, the character getting picked on is played by "Bob." Bob's character is young, naive, silly, and his homebrewed power is unpredictable, he summons monsters based on a d20 roll.

Bob is able to get into character much better than any of the other players, taking on a voice and distinct personality. However, his character is somewhat annoying. He tends to mispronounce people's names, he always walks up to random NPCs and asks to be friends, and he can sometimes gets sassy with people. Of all six characters, he's my favorite because he plays his character so well. This character is also one of the most developed, he's gone through some serious trauma and he copes by making, and keeping friends. He doesn't want to lose anyone.

The others have all decided to be edgy, unfriendly characters. They tend to gang up on Bob's character, deliberately trying to cut him out of the story, going off and leaving him places, grabbing his things (sometimes physical items I made for Bob's character) and refusing to give them back, interrupting and talking over him. At one point I had to create an NPC to guide Bob's character back into the story because everyone else ditched him.

I could understand this better if Bob's character was useless, but he's not. He's intelligent, he's powerful, and he's generally friendly, and I feel he drives the story more than everyone else. Everyone else seems happy to spend the session buying armor and comparing prices.

How do I get them to work more like a team and stop picking on one character?

Bob is frustrated because he's created a deep character with a motivation, a backstory, and a personality to match, but he keeps getting left out. It really bugs me because honestly, Bob's character is my favorite. Any advice on how to deal with this?

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    – Someone_Evil
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a small note, but in the event that Bob has a background in acting, the other players might be lashing out because he is upstaging them and/or you're showing favoritism. And that said doing a voice (or voices if the DM) isn't automatically good roleplaying. Part of the joy of RP is being able to do something that you can't IRL... And there's quite a few questions/answers on here about characters using RL skills to gain advantage in game. \$\endgroup\$
    – aslum
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the fact that Bob (and/or Bob's character) being your favorite is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ From the other five guys perspective: Bob keeps using silly voices and getting peoples names wrong. Instead of getting on with it, he keeps chatting up random strangers for no reason, hogging playtime and interfering with the fun. We tried getting rid of him, but DM created an NPC and had him teleport him back. In combat he is useless, some weird random summons that is only useful because the DM forces it to be. When we work on the next combat he goes off partying. How do we get Bob to cut the crap and start being a team player? \$\endgroup\$
    – Odalrick
    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @trlkly Oh, definitely; they aren't helping the issue. Sounds to me like an inexperienced group fracturing because no one known how to communicate their issues. \$\endgroup\$
    – Odalrick
    Feb 3, 2020 at 9:29

2 Answers 2


Tell them to stop

The characters are not picking on Bob’s character: the players are picking on Bob.

That’s called “bullying” and it’s not acceptable in any social setting.

Blaming bad player behavior on the character is called my guy syndrome and it is also unacceptable.

If Bob is using his character (which doesn’t actually exist remember) to annoy the other players then this applies equally to Bob.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I was going to write this whole diatribe with paragraphs and headings, but this does a better job in far fewer words. Thanks, Dale. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that Bob's character has a very annoying perk: he deliberately mispronounces the names of other characters. Personally, I find this very annoying. For one thing, this is a trait of bullies. In real life, I don't associate with bullies like this. \$\endgroup\$
    – NomadMaker
    Jan 31, 2020 at 3:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaleM I think you mean Hanlon's razor ? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 8:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik If it's annoying the other players, but Bob keeps doing it, then that's a sign of "My Guy Syndrome" on Bob's part. If all else fails, I'm sure the GM could homebrew an "Amulet of Getting People's Effing Names Right+10" for them to find \$\endgroup\$ Jan 31, 2020 at 11:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NomadMaker The other players are ganging up on one character's player and deliberately trying to exclude them. That is bullying behavior. Mispronouncing names would only be bullying behavior if they are doing it derogatorily. Or, yes, as the Answer says, deliberately doing it to be annoying. However, it has not been established that the mispronouncing of names is what set these guys off. The guy is doing many things that are possibly annoying. \$\endgroup\$
    – trlkly
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:30

The other comments and answers definitely add a lot, and as we have relatively little information I'm going to do some sum up/add my two cents.

You mention that Bob's character is your favorite. One possibility is that you are unintentionally giving more light/better rewards/etc. to Bob's character than the other 5 players. From their perspective they might be attempting to get some of the attention back on themselves (few people prefer to be the side kick).

It could be the other players feel like the good roleplaying on Bob's part is not fully roleplaying and Bob is just messing around and derailing the plot of the story with meaningless stuff (especially if they come from a hack-and-slash mindset). From their perspective they might think he is being intentionally annoying to get under their skin, and ditching is less overtly confrontational/alienating than deciding as a team to just kill Bob's character.

Dale M's answer is certainly correct if you wish to continue with this group as a whole, but I would add that your job is to determine the 'motivation' of the real life players. If they are just annoyed, it might be a case of limiting Bob's characters quirks/consciously giving the other PCs more light/putting your foot down on the bullying/whatever seems appropriate for the reasons. Just be prepared as, this could fail and/or discourage one or more of the players and break up the group.

I think it is also worth taking time to determine the player motivation for playing the game. From the limited information, it sounds like Bob is more of a role-player who enjoys the social and acting aspects of the game, while some or all of the other players do prefer the hack-and-slash style of play where they really just want to go from one encounter to the next racking up points and prestige (I say some or all, because it might be one or two guys like that and the others are more or less tagging along). Neither play style is inherently bad, and they can compliment each other, but in your specific case it seems that it is creating conflict that may be unreconcilable.

In the case you have a real people issue, you have to look at what you want and make some decisions. If you have time to run two separate campaigns, and enough other RP style players you could just run two sessions. Otherwise you are effectively going to have to 'pick sides' and run the campaign you prefer running, dropping the other group/players. You can approach this many ways, but again it depends on answers to the questions on motivation/personality and real world interpersonal details.


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