I'm a new DM because the old DM wanted to play for once. No big deal right? Man was I wrong in accepting.

Let me explain.

This "DM" knows everything. He is always right. Even if he is wrong he is right because you are either too logical or forgetting logic, depending on the situation.

So I took over this game. Built an entire world for us. Whole new setting. Uses the D&D 3.5 gods and rules.

I've tried limiting my homebrew changes only to things that make no sense at all or to extract more fun for the group.

The problem


The old DM is my best friend. But I have to face it: his stories while DMing lacked descriptions. He did those sneaky DM things like if you didn't say specifically what you looked for you wouldn't find it. But if you're specific you overlook things.

He actually forced players to play classes he suggested simply because the party needed it.

He tried multiple tines to force a player to RP a sex scene he put them into. Not physically but he wanted them to describe exactly what they did and preferably in a manner that sounded a little like phone sex.

Needless to say half the group left and I took over as DM. Got the guys back.


Now this is him in the current game.

Most of the players are fairly new. Don't really understand the rules and are trying to learn. I'm a long time player but new DM so its a learning experience for us all..


Except my friend.

He builds his Uber barbarian.

So far level 8. That's 5 barbarian levels, 1 champion of Gwynharwyff, and 2 Frenzied Berserker.

He also rolled superb stats. 3 18's and nothing less than 15. That's 4d6 dropping lowest so his base stats outclassed everyone from day 1.

Plus he is the Forgotten Realms version of Dragonborn of Bahamut.

Now that sounds bad but apparently according to him one of the feat prereqs allows him to frenzy without attacking allies, so no worries there. Can't remember the name but according to other posts on here, it's either yes it does or DM choice. I prefer he not kill everyone so yeah it does.


He refuses to do sunder normally ever. With his massive strength he just breaks it outright on raw Str checks. His defence is the rules don't say he can't do it.

I had to house rule the DC on it to be 10+hardness+2/inch thick just to make him roll to succeed and by his interpretation of the rule our wizard could have punched through adamantine... I understand a 35 strength after raging should possibly do so but a 14 Str should not.

Then the problems escalated. Door locked? Punch through it. Trap in the way? Punch it till the wall collapses. No more trap.

Our rogue skillmonkey sneak thief leaves each game feeling useless.

Came across a magic item. He demands to use his 15 intelligence as a raw check to determine if the item is magical in nature. Even after I already told them all it's a crystal with gold tipped ends wrapped in a pulsing purple light... Seems pretty magical to me bro.

He refused to accept he could not do this citing rules about raw stat checks and how they don't forbid it and it devolves into a full out argument. He refuses to accept that core rule of the DM adjudicates and makes judgements. Flat refuses. He wants to argue his point now.

If I let him get away with this raw check then our wizard loses that part of his job. The wizard is specced for crowd control and utility with only minimal damage spells.

(BTW I went with only a slight variation on Unearthed Arcana's spell point system for casters. I'll note it below if anyone asks but he complained for a week about how I was making casters super OP with it.)

His stuff

Now today he is demanding that I allow him to seek out something called Thor's belt and win it from him in a contest. Let me explain in case you don't know.

Deities and demigods provides statistics on the Norse pantheon. One of which is Thor. This isn't Marvel's pretty boy Thor. This is old Norse god Thor. One item it says he has as part of fluff information is a belt that doubles his strength. The book leaves the belt unnamed so player calls it Thor's belt.

I tried to explain to him it's impossible because Thor doesn't even exist in the world I created. The only gods are the D&D gods.

His response was that I needed to give him the belt regardless. He has to have a belt to double his Str stat. I'm allowed to call it something else but it needs to do that. He's willing to wait till epic levels because it's so OP but he still needs to get it because he asked. It's his one relic item he searches for. According to him he's allowed to specify a particular relic to find.

Did I forget to mention his other demand? His home made berserker armor. That doubles his Str score (including the bonus from Thor's belt apparently) and as a balance thing it rakes 10 HP per round the effect is active.

Let's check the math. According to him:

25 Str normally. Pop both frenzy and rage for 35 Str. Thor's belt doubles this for a 70 and then the berserker armor doubles that for a 140 Str. (140-10)/2 for normal bonus to hit. That's a +65 to hit and damage. Even more since he is using a greatsword for Str and a half. Oh my bad, not a greatsword. He took the feats for monkey grip. He wields a large great sword. And is planning on taking two weapon fighting tree and improved monkey grip plus this apparent epic monkey grip so eventually he can dual wield large great swords with no negatives.

The argument

I've tried asking him to give other people a chance to actually do what they're meant to do such as picking locks and traps. We will see how that goes, but knowing how defensive and angry he got at even the thought of holding back I don't fully expect him to do so.

I don't want to kick him because he is my best friend and when he is being a team player he freaking rocks. Assuming he's not bent and shattered a rule and works as a team he's awesome. But he's a spotlight hog in a game of newbies.

Please does anyone have a suggestion on how to deal with this guy that doesn't involve either kicking him or house ruling so heavily against him that the game's no longer fun for anyone simply because it's so complicated?

I thought I might put this here as I looked it up again to be certain. This information is hand copied directly from the masters of the wild book under the frenzy ability in the class frenzied berserker.

Frenzy (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, the frenzied berserker can enter a frenzy during combat. While frenzied, she gains a +6 bonus to Strength and a single extra attack each round at her highest bonus. (This latter effect is not cumulative with haste.) However, she also suffers a–4 penalty to AC and takes 2 points of subdual damage per round. A frenzy lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the frenzied berserker’s Constitution modifier. To end the frenzy before its duration expires, the character may attempt a Will save (DC 20) once per round as a free action. Success ends the frenzy immediately; failure means it continues. The effects of frenzy stack with those from rage.

To clarify we used a rule on rolling of 4d6 dropping the lowest for stats.

He rolled before all eyes as did everyone else. He unfortunately got these rare unheard of rolls legitimately.

All players where limited to a race of no more than 2 LA.

Each player had a month to research races before character creation and game 1.

I cannot fault him on his build. It is within the rule set.

His main core issues are; Demanding special privileges aka demanding 2 artifacts of his own choosing guaranteed.

Using his own interpretation of the rules as reasons he can do things he actually can't.

Overshadowing other players during exploration like demanding to kick in doors cause the rogue didn't get it try 1.

Trying to be the "face of the party" dominating rp on top of already dominating combat and exploration.

And as of today refuses to cite official source books stating the wiki is always right ( not the dndwiki. Therafim. And not in any srd section. )

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; feel free to have conversation in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 5:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ How has your game gone Zakier? Just checking up to see if it went alright. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 4:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I spoke to him privately about it first. He didn't take it well that I wasn't going to just give him the armor and belt. So I compromised. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I let him build his charavter to the level he thinks he should be to battle Thor and gave him the armor her wanted. (Separately from the main game) with no limits. He failed to beat Thor. I watched his abilities and moves very carefully making sure he understood exactly what his abilities did and added them together correctly. Anyways the entire campaign fell apart for completely separate reasons (not because of him) and he went back to being a DM. Lol he now dms the current campaign and I co DM helping players understand rules \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 13:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Heh. He failed to beat Thor? I'm not surprised. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 21:04

9 Answers 9


Alright, it sounds like you have a lot of problems going on here that I'm going to address individually using the ruleset that you've chosen for your game.

First off, you're being taken advantage of.

There's no easy way to say this, but your friend is attempting to take advantage of you during the course of this game that you're playing. An item to double someone's Strength score (whether it be armor or a belt) would cost millions of gold pieces and be at least an artifact level item. Under zero circumstances should you ever agree to such a demand within the confines of the rules. He can buy a +6 Belt of Giant Strength just like everyone else.

A barbarian (no matter how "special") can't determine whether an item is magical unless you the DM make it obvious.

A magical item has a 20%ish chance of having a magical glow that would indicate that it's magical. It sounds like in this instance your item has this, so a check isn't even necessary. If you want to know its magical properties (and you do not in fact have access to the Wizard spell Identify), your barbarian must roll Spellcraft with a DC of 70 + caster level of the item. If he can't make that check? Tough. He can't identify the properties of the item.

If you want to be nice you can use the following descriptors in my answer on this question to give the players a hint at the items purpose. But that's entirely optional.

Sunder doesn't work that way.

With sunder there are steps that you need to follow, that are written so a Barbarian doesn't steal your sword and attempt to snap it over his knee.

You take an attack of opportunity, and you roll an opposed attack roll. If he wins? Deal damage to the sword or shield or armor as per the hardness table for materials in the DMG. If he has Improved Sunder he doesn't incur the AOO. There shouldn't ever be an occurrence where process fails to happen if he's attempting to break a weapon. If you cave on this guy you're showing him that he can bully you, the GM, around, which complicates things.

What he's attempting to do with a door isn't really sunder, and ties into the type of door he's trying to use brute force to break through, and the Break DC of that door. Wooden doors are the easiest to break through, then stone, then iron. All the information about doors, and their break DCs can be found here.

"The rules don't say I can't" isn't a valid argument.

The rules don't say you can't, but the rules don't say a lot of things that common sense would normally take care of. The rules don't say a wizard can't spit lasers or vomit lightning at will, but the rules do say what you can do within the scope of the game. If the rules don't say you can't, it also means they don't say you can also. What information isn't covered by the book can just be fielded by common sense, or house rules.

Well if it's not in the rules...

He's attempting to punch through a door?

Bones aren't as strong as iron or stone, or even wood. If he attempts to punch through an obstacle that isn't meant to be broken he breaks his fist, suffering a penalty to all melee attacks until he receives healing of any kind. Making other players useless is awful. It's even more awful if its allowed to happen. So make him useless for attempting to act outside the confines of his role. This will teach him some humility hopefully.

The best way to get rid of this mentality is to punish his kick-in-the-door style of play. There was a module a long time ago published called The Tomb of Horrors in which everything was a trap meant to screw with and punish characters or players with preconceived notions on how the game itself was played. It had things such as Pit traps with poisoned spikes (Save or Die), fake doors that when opened or forced will conjure a spear to stab the closest person, a sphere of annihilation for those who attempt to backtrack to an area after they fell into an area triggered by a prior trap, and secret doors hidden slightly above spikes at the bottom of pit traps.

If you do play something like this module your barbarian friend will trigger every trap, die, and then he can roll up another character, but if you do decide to run something similar to The Tomb of Horrors be sure that everyone you're playing with has at least a minimum of two characters on hand, there will be lots of death involved.

Puzzle doors.

If your barbarian friend is that insistent on trying to brute-force his way through solid objects, implement a series of puzzle doors that require brainpower to solve instead of trying to punch things. It will give your group a chance to converse at length and find a way through the doors using thought and teamwork instead of one guy attempting to brute force through something he has no business trying to break.

Create a skill challenge that requires the Barbarian to be preoccupied while the rest of the party solves the rest.

Lets say for example your party is in a dungeon, and there's a portcullis in a dungeon. For those of you who don't know a Portcullis is a door normally with bars that falls down instead of opening up. They normally have bars. For this example we'll be using a standard portcullis. On one side of the gate is a large iron wheel which connects to a chain that when turned will raise the Portcullis, However, the wheel is rusted and requires great strength to turn. Once the barbarian turns the wheel, as its pretty much expected for him to do, he will have to attend to the wheel to insure that the Portcullis remains open while the other PCs finish their own challenge.

"Now today he is demanding that I allow him to seek out something called Thor's Belt and win it from him in a contest."

This is probably your best opportunity to shake the mentality that because he is a player and your friend he gets whatever he wants. Put your foot down. Let him fight the level 40 Demigod with over 1200 hit points who always hits and only has to roll to confirm criticals, with DR 71/+5 and ninety-two strength, to get his belt.

The fight will end in one round and he can roll up another character that might be a little more humble. If you don't want to be this drastic you can do this outside the actual canon of the game to show to him what a ridiculous notion he's attempting to pass.

If you want to be less drastic...

Just give him a warning. Just warn him that what he's attempting to do doesn't exist or function within the confines of the game rules and if he raises an objection put him in time out for five minutes while you resolve combat for the people who DO want to follow the rules. If he doesn't want to follow the rules, time him out for five minutes. Eventually he'll get the picture that what he's doing isn't all right, but you're going to have to be strict.

What he's doing to you isn't okay. His actions are railroading the game the way HE wants it to be played, not the way you're trying to run it, and that just isn't a cool thing to do at the game table.

"And as of today refuses to cite official source books stating the wiki is always right (not the dndwiki.) Therafim. And not in any srd section."

While there are valuable tools online for 3.5 related games, such as the Online d20 SRD, Herolabs, etc., sites such as Dandwiki, D&D Tools, and Therafim should be taken as sources with an extreme grain of salt. Oftentimes things on Dandwiki are homebrew content unless specifically marked with the "SRD" descriptor on their title pages. And generally Therafim and D&D Tools (while usually having correct information) host their information illegally: most information you find published on those sites is from books not covered by the OGL.

If he doesn't cite the sources for his character decisions from actual sourcebooks, I would make him find the information before allowing him to even sit down and play at the table, as there's a possibility that he could even be making it up as he goes along to give himself an edge. If he can't find the information about his abilities in an actual sourcebook, have him roll up a new character with the books you have at the table.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "Let him try to take Thor's Belt off Thor's waist." alone ^_^ \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ You mentioned door traps, so I feel it's worth mentioning that Grimtooth had a whole chapter dedicated to them! For this particular case, I might recommend the Giant's Razor... \$\endgroup\$
    – Passage
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 16:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Even better with the "Thor's Belt": let the group decide if they wanna come with them, but Thor spares them, seeing that it was not their idea \$\endgroup\$
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 15:12

"OK, you're refusing to accept the rules of the universe. What are the rest of you doing while he is arguing with the universe?"

It really is that simple. You do not have to justify your rulings to him, and every time you argue with him you strengthen the impression (for him and the rest of the group) that his way is the only way to play, which would be wrong even if he owned Wizards of the Coast.


Short answer:

Tell this player that he can either play the game with the party, or go home and turn the cheats on Skyrim and play that if he feels like being a god character that doesn't need to bother following rules.

Long answer:

First: Frenzy and Rage can stack. The wording in Complete Warrior leaves no room for misinterpretation (CW pg. 34). Note that all of the effects stack, including the fatigue suffered afterwards, giving him a level of exhaustion.

The effects of frenzy stack with those from any rage ability the character may have.

Second: He can either sunder normally, or not sunder at all. Again, it's in the rules. If he says he wants to break a targets armor, he needs to obey sunder rules. I don't care how strong he is, if he can't land an attack on the target, then he can't sunder it. Fun side note on this: Put him up against a ton of psionics and invisible creatures. If you want something that annihilates idiots like this, I would recommend some jacked up Gelatinous Cubes or a Gibbering Mouther or two.

Third: Homebrew magic items are up to you as the DM. I don't care if he throws a plate through the window, his demands are irrelevant to story and balance in the game.

Fourth: This guy sounds like he took offense to the fact that people were fed up with his DM'ing, and now he's being a petulant jackass. Since this seems to be the core of your problem, you really have just two direct options, and one that I would personally do in game first:

  1. Discuss it with him. You said he's your best friend, which means you should be able to be candid about it and direct.
  2. This is the hard one: Tell him he's done playing because he can't play with others and just wants to be a bully.
  3. The fun option: Next time he goes ahead and face punches a trap, make it a Sphere of Annihilation. Problem solved. If he wants to reroll another Barbarian, you can let him know that he won't be rerolling the same character, and force him to roll 3D6 for stats. I promise he won't have an absurdly powerful titan walking around with those rolls.

Side note: You can also give him some awesome magical items that are incredibly misleading. Example: A fully covered Helm of Water Breathing. Once placed on the wearer's head the curse kicks in and the wearer drowns unless another player determines what is happening through an INT check and is able to dispel the magic. After all, this is a Helm of Water Breathing, and you need air to live.

Credit for the following addition to this answer goes to Xanderh.

Most importantly: Get rid of all of HIS house rules. This is your game, you're the DM, it's your world and your rules. If you haven't really done this before, stick to the rules for now and make rulings whenever he tries to hold up the game. Don't let him derail the game and hold up the whole table because he wants to argue semantics about a rule.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There really isn't anything you can do if someone insists on disrupting the game like this former DM is. It also seems like he doesn't understand the rules (or willfully misinterprets them), so Lino Frank Ciaralli's answer is all you can do. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ If he doesn't listen after the talk we had... then yes. I love the fun idea. I know as of right now no one in party would waste the gold on a Rez. Even if possible. They definitely won't waste something like a god level wish or alter reality on him. Not to mentioned. He has a rule bahaha if your character dies permanently you burn your character sheet never to raise them again and the name is perma banned. His rule not mine. Also his rule is in this event you reroll at half the parties avg level. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 22:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ If he gets destroyed by a sphere of annihilation, there's no res, ever. Also, you are dm'ing the game, the rules are yours, not his. As the DM, rule 0 applies. You play with the world, he plays with his character. If his character doesn't want to play in the world, then let the world punish him appropriately. As per the text in SoA, only the direct intervention of a deity can recover a character destroyed in this way. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 22:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree completely and I've let him get his way far too long. I just figured I would let him one last time. I completely shot down his suggestion that dead characters are perma dead. I'm not an ass I won't do that to my players normally. but its his personal rule. He is sworn to do this personally so I say let him do so when he dies \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zakier - How did this go? Did he punch that sphere yet? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 15:20

I'm not going to address the specific rules-lawyering cases; others have done so better than I could.

I will point out that your ex-GM seems to want all of the great parts of gaming (the creative control, as evidenced by the demand to be able to quest after an artifact that has no place in your game; the mechanical control, as evidenced by the rules lawyering and the demand that artifact with certain properties be found; the playing, as evidenced by, well, being a player) but shove all the actual work parts off on you.

That's good work if you can get it. There's no reason he should get it, though.

Generally, when a player is causing problems, I have a private talk with them and explain as best I can why what they are doing is unacceptable. In this case, I would tell him politely but certainly that he cannot have it both ways: He cannot wield GM-like authority over the game, while playing in it but delegating the actual work to you.

He can either cede all the authority over the game to you, or he can run a game himself as a proper GM, but he can't have it both ways in the same game. Be advised, though, he may very well take you up on your ultimatum. He may also try to take the some or all of the rest of the players with him, so be prepared to talk to the rest of your players as well.

(On the other hand, it is possible that he really does not realize that this is what he is doing, because he is so used to wielding that authority. I am skeptical, because I have seen this before, but it is possible, and I try not to burn bridges when I don't have to. Tactfully, but firmly.)


While we only have your side of this story, it does not surprise. Small group dynamics often play out like this: in offices, in families, on sports teams, in schools. Someone tries to be the alpha dog.

This answer addresses personality styles. The red flag was confirmed by other points, but these two stand out.

  1. He actually forced players to play classes he suggested simply because the party needed it.
  2. He tried multiple tines to force a player to RP a sex scene he put them into. Not physically but he wanted them to describe exactly what they did and preferably in a manner that sounded a little like phone sex.

The personality style you are dealing with is a bully. A bully needs humble pie, served generously, to change behavior.

Whether it's that battle with Thor that he won't win, or any other humbling, that serving is required before he can begin to function less as a bully and more as a friend.

I have long experience with bullies. It's an insidious behavioral model that can infect other people in subtle ways if it is seen to succeed. Decades later, I discovered that I was starting to act like one, long after the bloody noses and fights in grade school. The drinking bout that accompanied that self awareness was semi-epic, thankfully I survived it. (To assess that you have become what you hate is hard, hard, hard).

This bully needs a few servings of humble pie. I won't pretend to offer the "how" as each situation needs the group to come to its solution, just as a few of us in grade school arrived at the whipping administered to the class bully.

Bullies can only be checked when they are stood up to and stood down.

As adults, without using fists, this will take use of your wits collectively as a gaming group.

Among solutions is "you are no longer invited." Shunning and ostracizing are very old human means of punishment for unacceptable behavior.


Why don't you have an NPC suggest that he challenge Thor to a duel for Thor's belt? Thor can probably pummel him into the ground. Or, a minor demigod aligned with one of the existing D&D gods in your world can take offense at this fellow's hubris and show up dressed as Thor (perhaps from the legend where Thor had to dress as a woman to get his hammer back from a giant) and have that minor demigod finish off this annoying hubristic PC. Time for him to roll a new Level One character.

And, of course, when you are the DM, you should get to use your own rule interpretations, and not allow players to tell you what interpretation to use.


Your friend will be unhappy if you punish their character. The character didn't do anything wrong, the player did.

This isn't a roleplaying issue, it's a social issue. So talk to your friend about it.

  • Ask them why they are munchkinning the living daylights out of their character, when the real aim of roleplaying is for everyone to have fun.
  • Ask them how you can help the other players have fun when this character steals the limelight all the time.
  • Ask them what they want from the game.

Basically, explain that their behavior is a problem, because they're not letting anybody else have fun, and it's not fair that they are getting special treatment.

As a note on GMing, if one of my players has an unusual request (like getting Thor's belt), I usually have a couple of questions for them:

  • Why do you want this?
  • Why should I allow you to do this?
  • Will it be fair to the other players?

If they can't convince me, my answer is no. That said, often there's an alternative solution that is fair to the other players, that will get the requester what they want.


So you already asked the first question and he straight up told you: he wants to be able to kill everything. That leaves the other two questions. Discuss his answers and the consequences of those answers with him.

Why should you allow him to do this?

  • If you allow him to kill everything, where is the challenge for him?
  • If he doesn't want a challenge, why is he playing?
  • If he does want a challenge, why does he need the belt?
  • Does he just want to be better at killing than the other characters?
  • If he just wants to be better at killing than all the other characters, why does he also try to do things that other characters should be doing, like opening locked doors, and identifying magic items?
  • Does he just want to be better than the other characters at everything?
  • If so, do you even need other characters?

Will it be fair to the other players?

  • If he kills everything, what does the rest of the group get to do?
  • Where do they get their fun?
  • When do they get to kill something?

Ask him these questions with an open mind, and with no judgement. Try to really listen, and try to understand his reasons. Think about the situation as if you're a neutral third party that wants the best for both of you.

It might turn out that what your friend really wants is to play solo adventures. If you're willing to run them for him, then your problem is solved.

However, if your friend just wants to feel superior to other people, and therefore needs them around to watch his character be better than their characters, then you are basically enabling his narcissism. You need to decide if you're OK with that.

If your friend wants to be better at fighting than all the other characters, but he wants to be better at just fighting than other characters, then get him to agree with that, and punish his character when he violates that role.

  • If he agrees to let the rogue check for traps, and he forces open a locked chest, fireball him. The treasure is destroyed.
  • If he agrees to let the rogue pick locks, when he forces open a locked chest, let everyone hear the treasure inside break. The treasure was fragile, and is now completely destroyed. Potions are good for this.
  • If he agreed to let the rogue check for traps, but still kicks in doors without checking for traps, fireball him.
  • If he lets the rogue check for traps, and the rogue finds a trap, and he still kicks in the door, fireball him. Give the rogue a dodge roll to jump away to safety when he sees what the barbarian is doing.
  • Put something innocent looking in a treasure chest. Make sure it doesn't glow. Find a good in-game reason for it to not glow. If he says it isn't magic, pass a note to the wizard that magic items often don't glow. Then let something else unrelated in the room glow when the wizard casts detect magic. Make it something good.
  • Create fights where the others have roles. I don't care how big and bad the barbarian is, he still can't kill off a hundred level 1 goblins. They'll swamp him, and even if he kills 3 a round, the others surrounding him still get their stabs in. Remember, 20 on an attack roll always succeeds. That means the wizard is needed to do area control. Also throw in a big bad for the barbarian to kill. Tailor your fights to the group's talents.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed. I did ask him why he wants it. I already know giving him such an overpowered item is unfair and his response was it was an integral part of his character build. Build being that he can "kill everything" . I don't see from what he has built thus far how this belt is integral. As a powerguage and a part of the story I put them up against a black dragon with a lich template. Cr 14 with adjusted health up to 180 and a 5 point increase to ac. They are level 8 \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Their ecl is 9 because there are 6 people. With only 15 damage done before hand his turn came up. He full attacked with rage and frenzy total 3 hits and crited twice. First and third. It killed this overpowering enemy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Only 1 person other than him got to go during this boss fight. I believe him ever obtaining this belt would make the game less fun because he can do exactly what he says. Kill everything before anyone else gets a chance \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 17:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I added extensive examples of how to use the questions to understand what your friend wants from the game, and if he wants to play the role of big bad barbarian, how to punish him when he breaks role. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ That makes a lot of sense. I've been a player for a long time and as an experienced player in other groups I always acted as a backup DM. I didn't do stories but I helped with character builds and gameplay questions. Played mediator on rule disputes and always backed my DM on his rulings but showing him later in the book if he was wrong. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zakier
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 10:26

There are some good answers about the rules themselves and the need to be assertive. This answer should complement them, and isn't an alternative for addressing the disruptive behaviour directly. In particular:

He tried multiple tines to force a player to RP a sex scene he put them into.

Behaviour like this is totally unacceptable and unless a genuine and full apology has been made and accpeted to the satisfaction of all parties you need to be extremely careful that agreeing to DM for him isn't going to make the game intolerable for others. He should already be aware that he needs to be 'on his best behaviour' to reestablish trust.

Assuming those issues have indeed been properly dealt with...

Have a few tricks up your sleeve for session when the player has been dominating. Find tasks that are fairly dull but take the player out of the action so that others can shine. Maybe there is some machinery that requires enormous strength to operate, and an area is only safe to explore while the machinery is in operation, therefore the barbarian must be left behind. Maybe the barbarian needs to clear some rubble to escape as others stave off an impending TPK. It may be tempting to come up with strange traps that react badly to shows of strength - quicksand, illusions, that type of thing. But be careful - these may be opportunities for arguments and taking the focus.

The second very important thing to do is keep things to yourself. Don't tell the player anything the character doesn't know. Let's say there's a door which doesn't break, no matter how hard you punch it. Don't be drawn into conversation about it. The character doesn't know. The player can't rules-lawyer if you don't give them evidence. Maybe they'll find out why. Maybe the character will decide to forget Thor and make an example of the wizard who developed the unpunchable door spell. Maybe they won't pick up the clues in time and they will never find out (you might hint after the fact that they missed clues which are now long gone). So long as you're not pulling tricks all the time or just targeting the one character, this is fine, just don't make it seem like an arbitrary or contrived decision or part of a coordinated campaign against the player. You need to establish and maintain trust within your party that you're playing by the rules and they don't need to check up on you. That doesn't come from winning at rules-lawyering, it comes from being consistent, honest, and fair in how you apply the rules, how you use fiat, and how you assert when a discussion is ended.


You've had answers that point out he's taking advantage of you and/or the rules, that he's power-playing, and how to prevent that. They're good answers, and I upvoted most, but I'd like to propose another point of view, which, to summarise, is:

There's nothing wrong with minmaxed invincibility. He finds it fun. You and he are both there to have fun. So, let him minmax to the hilt! But plan each session so that he can't take all the fun for himself, and everyone gets a fair bite at the apple.

I've had players with invincible builds. They are a fun challenge: they have weaknesses that you can play to. Can they swim in all that plate when the boat goes down? How fast can they take it off? Will it protect them from lava? Poison?

But in general, physical danger like that is just to make fights and situations fun, to make the players feel like they're legitimately in danger.

Other dangers, though, are there to give other party members the opportunity to shine:

  • Can all his magic equipment stop a diseased friend from dying? No, but the healer can.
  • Can it help him climb the tower, squeeze through that little arrow slit, and pick the door behind the man holding the princess hostage? Nope, but the halfling thief can.
  • He could try negotiating with that guy who's going to leap off the bridge, but... well, he doesn't speak dwarvish, and the monk does.
  • He could try getting involved in politics, but... well, while they're fine for fighting, barbarians just don't get respected or listened to in upper class circles. They're jolly amusing at parties, of course, but they'll never make it as the power behind the throne. Nobody would ever confide the intrigue to them. The mage, on the other hand, put points into contacts...
  • Can immense strength and fantastic armor save him from a child's hug? From the child begging to be protected? No? That's a shame, because though he doesn't know it yet, the child they are protecting is the bad guy they're questing to kill. That amulet that they have to guard from the bad guy has protective properties, so who better to put it on than the child, who they are also guarding? The kid's super proud of his penmanship and command of languages, they're really his only skill, and with his small hands can write far finer than anyone else's, so who better to write the secret messages they put on their carrier pigeons?

His life goal is to get the Girdle of God-Strength? Certainly! But you can subvert the thing you give him.

Along comes the god (or one of his lackeys), flattens the barbarian as other suggestions say he should, and then contemptuously rips off his girdle and throws it on the unconscious barbarian. He's got what he wanted. He'll have to launder it, since the god was VERY contemptuous, and as a physical manifestation of a god's power, it will be as reliable to use as the wabbajack, with unpredictable extra effects, which might even change over time. Perhaps the God can use it to make the barbarian dance whenever he wants? Perhaps the odor of god-contempt can never be washed out? Perhaps it has a geas upon that requires him to offer to hand-wash all girdles he sees?

He can argue "But it isn't a cursed item in my copy of this non-standard manual!" - and the answer is, yes, it wasn't cursed, and still isn't (so remove curse won't work). It's just a manifestation of the god's will, and the god currently wills it to make fart noises when beautiful women go by.

It could, done badly and played for slapstick, make him a super-powerful laughingstock in every town he enters. Sure, he has a high charisma, so people like him... they just don't respect him. I'd recommend against taking it that far except for extreme situations, though.

Done better and more subtly (remember, everyone, including him, is there to have fun, not to be mocked), it can become something that's irritating, but "worth it". If he does things the god respects, the effects become less annoying and more useful and more powerful: that is, if he plays well with others in the group.

But otherwise, his superpowers never end up being really useful, except once or twice a session, because the problems the party are facing are things he's minmaxed out of his character.

And then he finds out later in the campaign that every time he's done something with his strength and prowess... it's been either deliberately planned by the bad guy in advance, or something that the bad guy has turned to his advantage. He didn't destroy the gem that would resurrect BadGuy's greatest general as a lich; he destroyed the gem holding the lich imprisoned. He didn't vanquish a party of henchmen searching for the Sword of Ward Shattering for BadGuy; he defeated a party who were trying to protect it from BadGuy, then (by carrying it with him) shattered the ward on the bad guy's tower, freeing him, too.

And so forth, you get the idea. He's egotistical, which means he should be reasonably trivial to manipulate. We all are, really :)

And if he loves keeping magic items to himself, never underestimate the utility of Nystul's Magic Aura. Perhaps he unknowingly carries something that sends his location or even his every word to the bad guy? Or which poisons the nearest water source, causing them to run through the country trying frantically to catch the poisoner who keeps poisoning village wells, but never catching up, until the law becomes suspicious.

How would the law handle a heavily armored non-vulnerable person? Well, a giant magnet would incapacitate them. A teleport spell to a cell dug out of bedrock, or a pocket dimension, would work (remember to provide some kind of air generation). What about an attack that welds all the seams of his armor together? It's repairable, but it'll take a gnomish enchanter of great skill, a whole quest line to find the pieces...

If the law can use approaches like these, then why cannot the bad guys? Why do bad guys have to be stupid or unprepared? A man so powerful will be well known, and easy to prepare for, but his lesser-known companions' abilities, much less so.

Essentially, he has a mental narrative about how this character will play out. But he doesn't write the story, you do. So long as you give him the ability to shine once or twice a session, equal time to the others, he has nothing to grumble about when other characters shine, too.

I'd have it so they get to rescue him, regularly. It could even become a running trope. Have them rescue him from the bad, wicked, naughty Zoot of Castle Anthrax! It might not quite be in his idiom, but...


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