I have a good friend playing in my game, but he's done things like:

  • Killing NPCs which direct the story, effectively ruining the rest of the group's chances.
  • Spending all of his money on inane items like "appletinis" or "croissants".
  • Killing civilians and guards without regard for consequences.
  • One shotting bosses.
  • Stealing treasure from other characters and refusing to give it back.
  • Refusing to use his powers to help the group unless they offer him all of their best gear.

That's just a small sampling, but I hope it gets the point across.

I know that if I try to talk to him one-on-one he'll get angry. It's sort of his M.O. Whenever one of them confronts him he gets defensive as well.

I want him to participate because he's kinda supported the whole idea from the beginning but I'm worried that he's ruining the fun for the rest of the group. I also don't know the rules as well as he does, since I'm still really new to GM-ing - and tabletop RPGs as a whole - and he's been interested in these types of games for a while.

What sort of things can I do to make him play more effectively with the team?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Hmm, interesting examples. Do you think this is simply the character that's being played, or do you think the player is just screwing around for the heck of it? Because if it's just the character, the answer is totally different. \$\endgroup\$
    – user8248
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 5:01
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/7335/… Is this the question you're asking? Cause I'd be giving the same answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also in his gaming group. He is really just making the game not fun for anyone. Everygame, multiple times a game, we go, "Stop Bill!". But he doesn't, and it's getting to the point where I personally want to kick him from the group if he does it next time. \$\endgroup\$
    – user9916
    Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 6:08
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ One-shotting bosses is a thing that just happens in any group, and it's a thing anyone might do at some point. It isn't anyone trying to screw things over - unless you count screwing the boss over, which is kind of the entire point! In fact, it's a pretty excellent thing. You designed a boss and neglected to protect him from a certain angle of attack. You had a player clever enough to figure out that angle of attack, and that's pretty awesome. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 8:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pick an answer - 3 people have taken time to answer your question, it is courtesy to pick one or make a comment explaining why no one suits you \$\endgroup\$
    – Titou
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 21:13

3 Answers 3


Consider his perspective for a little while.

Most player misbehavior comes from playing around.

A lot of your complaints come from the fact that your player is not taking the game seriously. He is not taking the game seriously. The game is a thing of humor for him. I repeated that for a reason: He's enjoying himself. That's what we tend to do when we play.

Now, with that in mind, let's address the misbehavior:


Clowning around is one of the main things that I've encountered as far as issues go. Fortunately, it's not malicious, nor is it particularly damaging. I had a huge problem with this in my first campaign, where I was being all dark, grim, and serious as a novice cyberpunk GM and my players were exploring the effects of their actions on the poor, hapless denizens of the world they were turning into a mess.

This is when they do stuff like buy nine thousand llamas to crash the economy. They're doing it because they can, but they're not ruining your game. My foremost advice when this occurs is to just let it happen. Your player is enjoying himself, and the other players will likely remember it fondly. If you must clamp down on it, be sure to do so with the consensus of other players, instead of just trying to end the "misbehavior" that everyone but you is enjoying.


I've often had players just not be satisfied with the way my campaigns go (and I've been on the participating side of this as well) and decide to intentionally mess with my plot points to redirect the campaign. Ninety percent of the time this has occurred in my games it's been either the result of good in-character roleplaying (for instance, demanding the best gear if the character being played is a greedy, self-serving jerk), or the result of a total lack of interest in the current direction of the campaign.

To deal with redirection, sometimes a soft approach is better. Give your players what they want. Remember that roleplaying is collaborative storytelling, and even though you're doing the lion's share of the writing and creative process you're still responsible for listening to others' inputs when appropriate. Never assume malice when curiosity is just as likely the driving force; I've had players try to kill important NPC's just to see how I'd react, and while it's annoying it's also a way to prove yourself as a good GM by reacting prudently and without exploding (though specifics depend on you and your style).


Sometimes players troll you. They'll lock all the other players' characters in a bomb shelter, but reinterpret the meanings of the phrase to result in a deliberate invocation of the "chunky salsa" rule and make everyone re-roll their characters following some explosive goodness. This is usually the result of a player who's bored, discontent, or offended in some way and wants to make the campaign more "fun", perhaps at the expense of everyone else.

The important things to look at when dealing with a troll are rehabilitation or removal. Sometimes it's enough just to ask them to stop, politely. Don't place a "red line", either. It's a great way to get a player to quit in a blaze of glory having killed everyone else's characters. Other times you need to just ask a player to leave temporarily or permanently because their behavior is just so disruptive, but this should be a last resort following other remediation (i.e. the one-on-one chat). Manage trolls privately, not in front of the rest of the group.

A closing note:

One thing you may need to do is set guidelines for your player. If they're constantly playing the same character's mindset, but just remaking them according to different rules, you may need to set boundaries and restrictions on them. Consider very carefully that your player sees things differently than you do; if he doesn't know where things are going, he may very well be disruptive without knowing it.

Also remember that he may be playing the villain in lieu of your NPCs; I've seen this happen multiple times in my group because one player or another doesn't think that the core conflict is interesting, and injects another one to the group dynamic just to liven things up.

If you don't read anything else, read this: Get in your player's head and talk to him before taking any action, communicate your concerns and expectations, and be prepared to use in-game consequences or removal from the group only as a last resort.


Besides considering what the other answers recommend (and, let's note that it's worth checking out similar questions - like, as Brian mentioned: "How do I deal with an experienced player who doesn't interact well with my group?" - and their answers as well), I'd say, there are two further options.

First, you can rely on a consequent world to nudge this player's character(s) towards a more responsible behaviour.

  • Killing NPCs which direct the story, effectively ruining the rest of the group's chances.

    I'm sure there are NPCs stronger than his character in your world. And you don't even need to add a Gandalf to your story. Someone a bit more experienced, a bit more well equipped, a bit more paranoid and/or cruel will do. Maybe this new character is a friend of a previous NPC he killed, and knows what to expect and how to expect it. And perhaps this NPC will not kill off his character (in which case he'd just return with the same under a different name), but throw him in a welcoming (by which I mean rather unpleasant) jail for a week or two, or a year, to begin with. Teach him a lesson. Fight fire with fire. Of course, all this strictly in-game.

    I mean: okay, Han Solo, you can shoot Greedo, you can chase around the guard alone, shouting on a practically invincible battle station, but when you try to shoot Darth Vader, a major player established as way stronger than you, he will take your gun with a flick of his dark hand, and will have you tortured a bit just to soften up your friends, errr, I mean, you.

  • Spending all of his money on inane items like "appletinis" or "croissants".

    Oooh, look, there comes Darth Vader, or the 1000 years old troll from under the bridge who ate even Saint Invincible and of whom we've been hearing tales for weeks, and he's willing to let anyone go who can pay him a one time tax of 1000gp. No, he's not accepting appletinis or croissants. He will probably get offended if you try to offer him these, and cut off two of your hands instead of just one. And no, your friends can't pay for you. It's your money or your hand(s). (Again, he won't kill the character. Just steer him a bit. Nudge-nudge, as they say in the Monty Python movies.)

  • Killing civilians and guards without regard for consequences.

    That "without regard for consequences" part, that should be dealt with. See above. Lord Vader doesn't like it when his subjects die, because he likes to have servants and receive taxes. He'll dispatch highly trained assassins / headhunters to neutralize you (not your friends), and should they fail somehow, he'll come after you himself. Because of a consequent, harsh, realistic world that doesn't tolerate stupidity or anti-social people for long. There's always more people out there with guns, crossbows, hundreds of minions, and statistical chance works for them. It's enough if only 1% of a hundred goblins roll 20 a round.

  • One shotting bosses.

    Again, bosses have meaner, more prepared, less "one-shottable" bosses who dislike their minions being one shotted (and have just learned how their minion was one-shotted, so that method definitely won't work against them.)

  • Stealing treasure from other characters and refusing to give it back. Refusing to use his powers to help the group unless they offer him all of their best gear.

    Now, that's the group's problem. Leave something for them to sort out as well. Ask them / remind them to go for realism as well. "What would you do in real life if someone did that to you?" is a nice question.

Let me emphasize that it is important to warn him of the consequences of the possible scenarios in advance both in-game and out of game, so that it doesn't feel like punishment is irrational, and comes deus-ex-machina, out of the blue. Let the group hear of Vader (or the 1000 years old troll) and his deeds first, in a tavern, from minor NPCs, etc. Show off the signposts, establish the rules of the world. When it comes to facing Vader, remind the player out-of-game whom he's about to cross. Also, remind the player of his actions possible consequences, notifying the others of their options, when he acts against his fellows: "If you steal their equipment, they won't be as effective when you come across the troll, and you might be worse off because of that. Also, if they ever find out you're the thief, they may kick your ass for it." Make it all just, for real.

Second, there's always the chance that the disgruntled other players will start a new game to which they won't invite him, only you. Or, sadly, that other group will only have time to play when the problem player is busy elsewhere, and the rest of the players will start having trouble keeping up with two parties, and consequently, start not being able to make it to this party. How unfortunate. (Yes, I've seen this happen in real life. A group has its methods of passive self defense.)

Note, though, that the best answer - in my opinion - is the one @BrianBallsunStanton gave here. I'm just offering a few alternatives to consider. :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ While I completely agree with your final synopsis. (problem players not being worth the time) I wish I could embolden your entire consequences paragraph. THAT IS SO IMPORTANT. Both for running good games in general, and for limiting this exact king of problem. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 17:48

Inherently, if someone finds a loophole to one-shot a boss, you have two choices: let it happen and find a bigger fish / unforeseen consequence, or save your temporary darling with a crank of the plot device.

As far as advice for the rest: First off, I always recommend sitting the player down and telling them that they can't keep doing this. If it's part of their character's nature, make sure they understand that everyone has a hand in making the game work not just you as the GM. Sometimes that means telling them to refine the character's priorities, or as a last ditch effort making them recreate their character.

If you are clear about your expectations of all players around the table, then sometimes it takes the God Hand to smooth things over. If he kills guards and citizens, the city should arrest him with the upper creche of guards that he just can't seem to beat and arrest him, perhaps even execute if it's extreme enough. If he wastes all his money, start keeping track of expenses such as where the group is staying and if it's a particularly devious part of town. Remind the players that they have no need to help him if he persists in these scenarios and should he not actually learn a lesson, the maybe an assassin's guild is in town. It might be worth a look at a question I asked before for some guidelines on how to keep players in line.

Lastly, if this player is a rules lawyer, Always Remember Rule 0: If a rule or ruling is getting more in the way of gameplay than helping, table it and make an ad hoc decision. This may result in a house rule. The terms of any rule bending/modifying should of course be overtly discussed (especially as to how long it is in place)

Is there anything more specific you would like to ask?

  • \$\begingroup\$ To whomever downvoted, could I have a basis as to why so I can improve my answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 3:58

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