I have a player in my group which tends to approach local authorities (may it be guards or churches) when facing a threat. He thinks that, given his role (a bard in a medieval world, so, more or a less, a civilian), this is what one of his kind would do in such situations. The other characters, more powerful (knight, ranger, sorcerer, ...), are the passive kind of players and do not prevent him from doing that.
While this behavior is not unjustified, the whole point of playing the game is to solve problems on your own (IMHO), even if they seem to be overwhelming. Sometimes it is justified, but most of the time it makes things only more complicated in terms of:
- The storyline, like the one time they faced a single undead raised by a curse in a city at night, where he handed over the ring which has caused the curse to the local temple, instead of trying to find out about the origins of the curse and how to break it. As soon they have found out that the curse has not been broken and it only affects a certain party member, the required ring was out of reach ... ooops, now they are in trouble (including the storyline).
- The threat level, because the encounters have to be extended, so that they are a threat to a group of adventures AND a bunch of guardsmen. One time the same player in another group abandoned the whole group for a 14 days travel to contact a befriended inquisitor about a serious evil threat to get the support of a bunch of knights.
The examples above are presented in a more superficial way than they actually are. The true story behind is way more complicated, including aspects of personal motivation.
I could tell the player to stop doing that, but I'd prefer to solve the issue in the game, without overstretching means like:
- Authorities are too ignorant/busy/incompetent to care (which in the long run will seem like all authorities in the world are essentially only decoration)
- The adventure is happening in a "closed" environment like extreme wilderness, a ship on the ocean, an area locked because of a plague etc.
What can I do ? How do you deal with such behavior ?