12
\$\begingroup\$

I play small role playing activities and games with some friends of mine, and one of them always has highly destructive and somewhat unpredictable characters. He will consistently attempt to kill other PCs, interesting people he comes across, or entire ecosystems if he gets the power, and will sometimes just do really random stuff like trying to cast spells to make people look like Eragon. This comes across a lot more childish in writing than it does in person. He's quite aware of what he does and sometimes makes more intelligent decisions when prompted to. Right now I have to keep preventing him from killing everything, which isn't very fun for him (although he enjoys the attempt), and the other players get a bit tired of his constant violence and strangeness (although mostly they laugh at the absurdity of his ideas and the nature of his failures).

So, how could I put this behavior to good use? I've had a few ideas, but they tend to center around him being a villain, which will inevitably end up in being defeated all the time, which is too much like the problem I have now. I would like to let him be destructive, and somehow use that for the benefit of the other players on adventure or leading kingdoms or whatever.

To answer some comments: He's not actually being very detrimental to the game play. He tries to kill some random guy, other people react to him accordingly, and the story moves on. He takes it surprisingly well and seems to mostly have fun in the attempt at violence or weirdness, although he also likes to succeed sometimes. We've never run into "my guy" syndrome because... well, everyone already knows that's what his guy would do, including him. Fortunately his plans aren't well thought out and usually when they succeed it's more by chance than design. I'm seeking ideas for how I could use this to benefit game play.

We don't use any systems but my own little designs, which are usually simple. Our stories go everywhere from building worlds to figuring out what happened in an abandoned near-future city. I do plan to start using official systems soon, and at that point it will become crucial to know what to do with this player.

\$\endgroup\$
16
\$\begingroup\$

What you've got here is a player who seems hell-bent on wrecking your campaign for grins... and, more importantly, a group of players who, in your own words, are tired of his antics.

I postulate that there really isn't any way for you to channel his "violence and strangeness" constructively, as the appeal to him is figuring out how best to be obnoxious. I don't think that your players would enjoy being on the receiving end of his shenanigans any more if he were a villain than if he were to continue to be a PC.

Now, that said, if you haven't already done so, I'd take this guy aside and ask him why he insists on doing this. I get the feeling that he's not enjoying the game and is acting out because of it, or that he's on a radically different page than the rest of you are regarding what's fun. That said, I feel that the wishes of the other player carry as much, or more, import than his; pull them aside as well and tell them that you get that they're not happy with him and ask them what you think you should do. Based on what answers you get from those two questions, you'll at least have a starting point. But honestly, my gut feeling is that unless the guy shapes up, he'll need to ship out.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually the other players take it pretty well. The things he tries are so absurd, and often fail so terribly, that everyone laughs about it. I don't think he likes the wrecking of the campaign to much as the doing of ridiculous things, that are most often destructive. That being said, your solution is probably still necessary. \$\endgroup\$ – The Red Mezek Oct 29 '14 at 2:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ ..."and the other players get a bit tired of his constant violence and strangeness." \$\endgroup\$ – Sandalfoot Oct 29 '14 at 2:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ They do, but they laugh at it more. I have edited the main post accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – The Red Mezek Oct 29 '14 at 2:30
17
\$\begingroup\$

This player sounds ripe for being the Badguy's Dupe. He can be the one who's offered a simple scheme that involves betraying the PCs at the right moment. His character can profit and advance from this betrayal, and whatever it is will set some Big Evil plan into motion.

Why a Dupe, and not the Big Bad himself? Dupes have choices to make. They can try to redeem themselves, or they can revel in being bad. Dupes, unlike Big Bads, can screw up or switch sides and the story still goes on. Their acts always have an impact on the story without ending the story or invalidating other characters' actions. Best yet, an incompetent Dupe is just as interesting as a skilled one, given the right situations.

Feed your "special" player some off-camera information. Take him aside before a game to give him his instructions from the Big Bad. This could be roleplayed out as a scene between his character and the Big Bad, it could be a coded message he receives, or anything else that fits. Whatever it is, he primed to know a little more about what's going to happen next, and how he has been asked to sabotage it.

Be ready to tell your story with him sabotaging successfully, attempting to sabotage and failing (possibly being thwarted by PCs), or with him sabotaging the Big Bad and actually helping the other PCs for a change. Either way, he gets to be a plot point (he clearly loves this), and his actions help your story rather than distracting from it.

\$\endgroup\$
10
\$\begingroup\$

So, it sounds like this guy is playing Richard from Looking For Group.

In the comic, Richard is a gleefully evil warlock that pretty much gets his power from slaughtering innocents. So he kills random bystanders, cute animals, and children. Heck, he has a little coastal town full of undead minions.

This works, because the group is largely composed of characters on the wrong side of the human-lawful-good scale. The comic is also all about comedy. Richard is irreverent in a world that largely takes itself seriously, but the story is played that way for comedic effect.

So basically, if your player is playing a heroic comedic sociopath, and if the other players are willing to buy into the paradigm of the game becoming somewhat comedy-based, go for it. Dangle uppity guardsmen in front of him. Give the landscape lots of cute baby animals. Fill the city with orphanages to burn down. Make the peasants grovel and scrape if "Eragon" shows up.

If the characters end up being villains, you can do what the comic does - paint the world so that the "good" guys aren't exactly good. The head of the town guard? Corrupt. The King of the land? An oppressor, hated by the people. The mage who told the characters about a prophecy? A schemer trying to manipulate the players to his own ends.

It makes for a world where no-one is truly good, and even the people who try to do good often end up doing more harm. This leads to an inevitable slide to the darker side of the moral scale, but even ostensibly "evil" characters can end up looking good in comparison.

In summary:

  • Check if everyone would be okay with playing a comedic game.
  • Make it so the world either doesn't care much about petty evil, or if it does, make it work for you.
  • Give his character opportunities for shenanigans.
  • Be flexible. If he pulls hijinx on your important quest-giving-NPC, make an opposing NPC that needs the player to oppose or thwart the NPC they just pissed off.
  • Read up on improv roleplaying, and take what he gives you, and run with it.
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good answer. Better he is on your team than against you, eh? Your party just has to keep apologizing for him! :D \$\endgroup\$ – Gary Hayes Oct 29 '14 at 21:20
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ +1, this looks like a way to create a 'fun for everyone' campaign. Would've given a second upvote for a TvTrope link - it can lead to many a story seed for this campaign. @The Red Mezek , Belkar from Order of the Stick (poster guy for heroic sociopath) is also your player exactly. \$\endgroup\$ – Nox Oct 30 '14 at 13:09
-4
\$\begingroup\$

If you want to deal with him, you have several options, depending on your ultimate goal.

If your goal is to force him back onto the "team" of the party, you could simply have the gear in his backpack end up "missing", so when he reaches for his weapon to kill someone, it isn't there, and he is outmatched.

He can either then take a severe beating, and be left for dead, or he could be taken prisoner, which would set up another story arc for his rescue.

The party may not realize he is missing immediately and would have time to play without him interfering with their objectives as they "search" for leads to his whereabouts.

If the player doesn't take the hint, being sidelined, more drastic measures may be required.

If your goal is to nurture this behavior, then give them a story arc that involves storming a castle, where he can revel in killing all the guards he comes across.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.