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I need advice on how to handle the behavior of a fellow PC.

Situation

Our group formed about 4 Months ago, we are 4PCs + 1DM. We are playing D&D 5e Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. Our DM puts a lot of effort into the campaign. I really like it (it's my first time playing). We are now 7 sessions in and at LVL 3.

But there is one player with whom it didn't quite click right from the start, and now his play style kind of annoys me. He plays a Wildfire Druid. He claimed he has some experience with D&D, but he constantly forgets how his class feature works, like we look it up every session when he uses it. At the moment he is cursed and can't long rest, so I'm honestly happy he's limited to cantrips (fights went on a lot faster) but even there he couldn't remember how much damage his one attack cantrip does and he nearly killed himself by walking into melee with the Big Bad Evil, despite having Firebolt which has got 120ft range. So maybe he is a slow learner and druid might not be the best class, with all their options, and I could maybe live with that.

But recently he also started to metagame quite more and role-plays way less. Our role-play is rather light (I myself got still a lot of room for improvement) but most of the time our characters speak to each other in character, which he mostly doesn't.

I already told my DM, that I disliked his recent play style. But we are the first group he DMs and I don't know if he can handle this situation.

For now I will wait how our next session plays out, but should (if nothing changes) I confront him directly, or ask the other 2 PCs first, if it's just my problem or if they feel the same?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello, and welcome to the site! While this site can handle opinionate questions, and can certainly answer problem-player questions, it also heavily relies on a 'question and answer' format. While your post does contain a question mark, it also does not look like there's an answerable question in there. I think if you take a moment to clean up the post and ask a specific question or two, you'll have a much better chance at getting a helpful answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NFeutz
    Aug 20, 2023 at 1:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is he "metagaming" in any way beyond speaking out of character? The degree of out of character talk varies by table, and people's styles can differ. If he's spending ten minutes plotting out tactics mid-round, okay, maybe excessive, but just chatting with you guys out of character instead of in character with no time pressure seems insufficient to count without additional evidence. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2023 at 11:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is very light on details or examples of what kind of metagaming or what they were like before the recent shift. All we know is that it bothers you, we have no clue to their motivations or what they might want out of a D&D game and find fun. What kinds of player knowledge are they using to have their character make decisions? And you connected this to role-playing less? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2023 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm interpreting this as a confusion between metagaming and not being in character, but I thought my answer was long enough already. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Aug 20, 2023 at 21:06

3 Answers 3

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Share your concerns with him

It looks like you have kind of accepted that the other player tends to forget their character rules. There are good answers to this problem, for example What can I do to help the players remember the rules? in case you'd like to help them with that.

General consensus is that it should be up to each individual player how much they role-play in character, and how much they just say what their character does. There is also a lot of good advice on how to encourage roleplay, for example How do I, as a player, encourage more role-playing in Adventurers League?

That said, for your actual question what you should do: talk to your fellow player. Do it one on one, outside the game, keep it friendly, and accept whatever they decide to do. At the moment, they probably do not know that what they do makes the game less enjoyable for you. So sharing that in a friendly way should be possible. If they don't even know, how could they change? If I had a habit that annoyed another player, and they told me, I'd be grateful they did and try to avoid it. That said, there is a good chance that they'll slip back to their old ways and if that happens, do not nag about it, because if it is hard for them to play as you'd like, all you then do is make them feel inadequate and reduce the fun for them.

I'd recommend that you do not try and rally the players to ask him to change. Forcing someone to play in a way they don't like or are unable to is not going to lead to a good experience for anyone. You should be able to get a feeling during play of how annoyed the others are with him, and he'll too, because it is hard to suppress all reaction. My impression from your question, with you description of a light roleplay approach is that it is not so important to the group. So, if a friendly talk does not help, let it go, set a good example, and help him where you can.

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You've really got two questions here, and while they would probably be better asked separately, they're really tied together as, "This player's play style annoys me, what do I do?"

The two questions are, briefly restated:

  1. What do I do about this player who never remembers the rules?
  2. What do I do about this player that doesn't spend as much time in-character as I prefer?

Both of these topics have been addressed before, for example here and here. I haven't done any kind of systematic survey, I just grabbed the first ones I found. I'm sure there are more.

But over the course of several decades of both play and GM-ing, I've come to two broad observations that are useful here:

  1. There are lots of ways to play D&D and lots of them, while different from each other, are perfectly acceptable. That's not to say that all gaming behaviors are acceptable, or are right for every group. They aren't. But a difference in emphasis between different degrees of in-character narration isn't something that has a right or wrong answer. That's a little like saying science fiction is superior to fantasy, or vice-versa.

  2. Generally-- and this matches the way those questions are written, too-- these are questions best addressed by the GM or by a player wanting to improve their own style. If there's anyone at the table with a place of privilege, it's the GM, not one isolated player. And you've already raised this issue with the GM, so I'm not sure what more you're looking for. Are you looking for permission to confront the other player directly and tell him he's doing it wrong? Or to get the other players on your side and deliver an ultimatum to the GM? Well, you don't need my permission, but you definitely don't have it-- I would not look kindly on either of those courses of action, as a GM.

Unless there's some deeper and much more serious grievance or bad behavior going on, my most solemn and friendly advice is to relax, let the other guy play his character, and learn to embrace a multitude of styles.

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New GM, new group--I would advise being careful about disrupting what you've got going. Try seeing how much of this you can fix on your own.

How about printing out a cheat sheet with the relevant references you are having to look up for his class? Just keep it with your stuff. When it comes up you have the answer right to hand. This "shouldn't be your job"--sure. But how much work is this, really? And since this delay/interruption is annoying you, this is a way you can make that annoyance go away.

I would advise seeing how much you can do yourself--like some of the linked answers suggest, take every opportunity to answer questions in-game instead of continuing the meta discussion, stuff like that--before resorting to trying to pressure the GM into forcing a change or a potentially awkward one on one.

I think your instinct to give it time is correct:

For now I will wait how our next session plays out,

But I think that, even though it's not you doing the thing that annoys you, you could start by asking yourself if you've done everything that you individually could to address it.

For example: when the druid tried to get in melee range of the big baddy, did you tell him to back up in-character, or did you meta-game?

All I'm suggesting is this: you are the person that you have the most control over, so, in addition to seeing how things develop over the next session, why not try to be as creative as possible in seeing what you can change to change the situation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As others suggested, I will try to step up my own game first, especially RP wise. Also I dont want to force him to drastactly change his behavior, and I definitly dont want to set my GM an ultimatum. If the last resort would be either one of us leaves the Group, and I am the onlyone having a Problem with his behavior, I would leave. For the example of him running into Melee. I quess he didnt run into melee on purpose but rather underestimated the movement range of the BBE, and that I (as the Barb) cant reach the BBE first. Maybe he lacks a bit of strategic overview or has analysis paralysis. \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterHartz
    Aug 25, 2023 at 10:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I will let him play his turns as he seems fit (nobody likes backseating). But I already made a cheat-sheet of HIS class feature, for quick referance and also gave my DM a copy, so he doesnt have to look it up too. \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterHartz
    Aug 25, 2023 at 10:47

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