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I started a D&D 3.5 campaign with some friends. One of the other characters is kind of a lone wolf and rarely cooperates with us:

  • Doesn't share supplies
  • Lets others take the risks
  • Goes alone a lot of the time
  • Rarely communicates info, etc.

I roleplay my character as hostile to him because of that. Some examples:

  • Using the Intimidate skill to make him follow the group
  • Intentionally let him trigger traps

Overall, I don't really help him.

But the DM came to me in private, asking me to stop acting hostile against this character even though it fits my character's view of his character's actions. He told me that he didn't want to see this hostility leak out of the game and hurt other players. For now I've let it go, but it's not really what I consider good roleplay considering the characters' situation.

As a beginner in RPGs, what to do in this situation?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not posting small or incomplete answers. Please use answer posts to submit answers instead. Prior answers in comments have been removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 2 '15 at 2:11
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You may be encountering My Guy Syndrome.

There is a fine line between role playing in depth and falling into "My Guy Syndrome" where the cooperative fun at the table between players is influenced in a negative way.

This may be what your DM is concerned about. Review what is at the link regarding the My Guy Syndrome and see if it applies to how the play is going, or if it applies to you. Then discuss with your DM. You may wish to share the link to the My Guy Syndrome with the group, as it's one of those things that can happen to anyone playing an RPG.

The objective of an RPG is that everyone at the table have a fun experience, including the DM. The DM may not like a table where there is too much conflict within the party, or some of the other players may not like it and have mentioned it to him.

Each group of people who form a party should be open about their likes and dislikes, and discuss it before beginning play. The objective of everyone having a fun and enjoyable experience is improved by not letting problems or player conflict (not character conflict) stew beneath the surface.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It appears to be exactly my case, thanks for sharing this. I indeed try to act like my character would, maybe it's too much, i'll try to work on it, thanks again \$\endgroup\$ – Erasmus Oct 1 '15 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Best wishes and happy adventuring! :-) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 1 '15 at 13:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's good that you acknowledge the behavior in yourself, @EnzoAguado, but you might suggest the GM have the other player give it a read, too. The statement "kind of a lone walker and rarely cooperates with us (that's his RP, why not)" makes me think the other player is suffering from the same condition. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Oct 1 '15 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I added a suggestion to share the My Guy Syndrome link with his group. Beyond that, I will not make assumptions about the group. We only have one side of the story. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 2 '15 at 2:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erasmus the point of averting My Guy Syndrome isn't to "not act as my character so much", but to realize that our character's aspects are chosen by us, and we can, and should, choose to play characters whose behaviors don't disrupt our optimal party behavior. \$\endgroup\$ – lisardggY Oct 2 '15 at 4:47
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Consider how you and everyone else feel about this.

Like @KorvinStarmast said, My Guy Syndrome is a very real possibility in this situation. However, that's not the case unless it's causing others (and, in many cases, yourself) to have less fun. Do you feel frustrated when the other player's character doesn't offer assistance when needed? Does he give you dirty looks when you let his character walk into a trap that you knew about? If that's the case, then you have a real passive-aggressive conflict outside of the game brewing and you should nip it in the bud. You should explain to him that you were only roleplaying what you thought your character's reactions would be to his character's very unhelpful attitude. This should make him realize that he was not roleplaying his character in a way that is appropriate for the game, since he was not expecting that reaction.

If this isn't annoying anyone, then it could be an opportunity.

However... since you seem to be okay with his character's behavior out-of-character, if you know that the other player is okay with your character's less-than-friendliness, then the conflict could be a mutual opportunity for interesting character development, which leads to fun! Just be sure that you aren't hogging the spotlight from everyone else at the table.

I think you should have a discussion with the player and the DM to let them know that you had no bad intentions and that you are able to separate fantasy from real life, but ask about pursuing it. Your DM is likely simply concerned with keeping the game enjoyable for everyone, and is taking the safest course of action without knowing how the players really feel. Discussion will allow those feelings to come to light.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for taking the opportunity for character development. \$\endgroup\$ – jpmc26 Oct 3 '15 at 5:27
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Try to remember that Dungeons and Dragons is a cooperative game. Even though it may fit your character's background, it's possible you are being too aggressive with the other character and he is taking it personally (this is bound to happen if you are singling his character out with the aggressive behavior).

Maybe the other player told the DM that he didn't feel comfortable or that he wasn't having fun. The number one goal of playing a tabletop RPG is to have fun, so if your actions are making the game less fun for someone, then it's a reasonable request.

However, much of the details of your situation are not present here, and we don't have the DM or the other player's side -- we're only getting your (biased) perspective on the situation. You might try to tone down the aggression (hard to tell how aggressive you've been since you haven't given any examples) and see if that changes things.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd rate D&D just below Paranoia on a scale of how common player conflicts are. Also, using intimidation to get a lone wolf to cooperate is one of the tamer (and pro-cooperation) actions I've heard of. ("Intentionally let him trigger traps" may be more aggressive - hard to say.) Fairly good suggestions but I think you greatly overstate the need to avoid conflict in general. \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Oct 3 '15 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dronz, I have to say I disagree. D&D IS a cooperative game. The goal of the game is to have fun, and conflict between players (not characters) almost always results in at least one player not having fun. It should be one of the primary goals of the GM to mitigate any conflict between players. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Oct 5 '15 at 12:44
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Three of the necessary factors for a roleplaying group to work are:

  • That the players can get along enough to play the game
  • That the characters can cooperate enough to achieve party goals
  • That the way the characters act and the story progresses is credible and consistent enough that players can suspend disbelief

Your DM is expressing to you that character cooperation is a problem, and is worried that this will lead to player tension or just people not enjoying themselves. You are worried about consistency, which is important - but you still need to satisfy the other concerns. It might be that everyone round the table is 100% fine with the tension between the characters, If you're sure that's true, fine. But it sounds like that might not be the case.

So talk to the DM and the other player, out of character and outside of the session. Start by establishing trust: agree that you all have an interest in finding a way for your characters to cooperate that fits the narrative. Talk about the reasons why they currently don't, the problems that causes, and what could change that might make them cooperate better.

Ideas for events that might trigger the change:

  • The characters realise they are going to be working together for a while and gradually open up.
  • The characters are forced to exchange revelations about themselves which lead to them respecting each other more
  • One character makes a serious blunder which endangers the party. They apologise, and look for an opportunity to make amends.
  • One character blames another for endangering the party. They all have a massive argument... and eventually everyone regrets the tensions and sheepishly apologises.

RP is not just about expressing your character concept in its pure, immutable form, but about telling how your character learns, grows and changes in response to new and unexpected experiences. If the thought crosses your mind that "there's only one way my character can react" take that as a challenge to find a way to confound expectations. Try to find something all three of you can agree on, and if something seems wrong, talk about why.

You should try hard to reach a clear conclusion, probably one which fits neatly into one of these categories:

  • It goes well and the DM is confident they can trigger a situation that will resolve the conflict and fits with the plot (and you'll have to wait to find out what it is!).
  • It goes well and you between you come up with an idea that will resolve the conflict. You perhaps don't know exactly how it pans out in advance but you both agree as players that the end result will be that the characters' respective 'antisocial behaviours' are dropped.
  • You decide that the conflict is not solvable. The characters cannot possibly work together well enough for you to enjoy playing the game and you need to decide how to fix the enjoyment issue. One (or preferably both) of you plans for your character to leave the group.

Remember, you can always tear up a character sheet and roll up a new one. Not so for your real-life relationships.

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I think your GM is worried about the conflict escalating, so he did the mature thing, ask you to play easy.

It's possible, but not sure, that he is also worried about the other player's behaviour and has already talked to him. Anyway, if his behaviour is annoying you or forcing you to play in some way, you should talk it back to the GM.

Maybe all together can find a solution in which both characters begin to earn respect one for another, and to cooperate. Compare to a film where the heroes' individualities and strong personalities are replaced by teamwork, thus the heroes conquest their weakness.

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Lot's of great answers here. I'll throw out one more piece that I didn't see addressed directly:

Adding some depth to your own character can help you find alternatives to the My Guy behavior you're fixated on. When you're thinking, "But this is what my character would do!", dig deeper. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What else might your character do?
  • What other aspects of their personality/history might come into play?
  • Are there longer-term goals beyond the current situation that might be served by a different approach?

Your character typically has more options than you're considering, and some of those will lead to role playing that's consistent with your table's mood/culture. If you think that any other reaction would be out of character, then your character's personality could be too narrow. Take the opportunity to add dimension; reveal new sides of your character that they rarely show.

Case in point: there are other ways to react to a relatively anti-social loner in your group other than with hostility. Your character could:

  • Ignore them. Your character is trying to get things done and doesn't have time for their attitude. This is probably the best course for novice role-players.
  • Work to become their best friend. Have your character go over the top to assist/support/advocate for the other character. If done well, this can win over even the dourest hard case. If done really poorly, (and hopefully with a lot of humor), this can become such a nuisance that the target character grudgingly gives in more often just to fend them off.
  • Pity. (Again, a strong dose of humor and a good-natured attitude goes a long way here.) Have your character treat their character with compassion, but with a healthy dose of sadness and a touch of condescension. Explicitly explain their bad behavior to the other characters and give excuses. Ask them to indulge the character, because they can't really help themselves and they're doing their best. Protests from the target character can be met with quiet comments like "Yes dear, we know. It'll be ok. We understand."
  • Emulate them, badly. Have your character noticeably follow them around and take notes, preferably speaking out loud to themselves as they write. Insist that you be allowed to take unnecessary risks. Refuse to share things no one else wants anything to do with. Declare that you are keeping information to yourself, especially if it's useless information and preferably while inadvertently revealing that information as part of the statement. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, (especially when it's obviously insincere).

Important: Note that all the things I'm suggesting are character actions, not player. If the other player starts to get upset, dial it down or explain what your character is doing/thinking, why they're doing it, and what outcome they're hoping for. Your character is trying to complete an action that has a goal, just like leaping a chasm or picking a lock. This kind of task has more emotional content and requires more skillful role-playing, but it's still an attempted action in an RPG.

Warning: Some of these approaches may be too strong, depending on the maturity of the people in your group. If the other player is particularly insecure/touchy, and isn't interested in role playing this directly with you, then this could cause player conflicts. If someone's not having fun, it's time to change your approach.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for ... If you think that any other reaction would be out of character, then your character's personality could be too narrow \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Oct 7 '15 at 19:07
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Your DM is the ultimate "god" of your world. If he need to do such solutions as he did, only shows to me that he isn't on the top of his task.

Instead of it, he had to construct situations where you are dependant on eachother. Or where you confront openly.

Although you don't mention, it seems to me as if your characters aren't confronting only because the out-of-game reason: you are playing in the same party. It is also the DMs mistake, he shouldn't had let this. Either you should openly confront, or you should depend on eachother for the survival. Out-of-game agreements are worst in the roleplay.

I don't know what to do. Maybe you should look for a party with a better DM. Or, you could alter your character (or start a new one), which doesn't construct such unsolvable problems for him.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The unpopularity of my answer really surprised me. Any idea, about the reason? \$\endgroup\$ – Gray Sheep Oct 3 '15 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't speak for all the downvoters, but your answer doesn't seem to actually answer the question of "what should I do in this situation?" In fact, you explicitly state that you don't know what to do in this situation. Answers should answer the question. (Also you put all the blame on the GM, which is potentially counter-productive.) \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Oct 5 '15 at 1:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Beside providing no actual solution, your answer also condemns the DM for trying to resolve the problem outside the game (or anyone who'd try that, really). The current cutting edge of thought on RPGs is that out-of-game communication is healthy and important, especially for resolving social tension between players. Look through our problem-players and problem-gm questions and see how many answers recommend talking to someone out of game, and the use of out-of-game tools like the Same Page Tool. Attempts to resolve social problems in-game only is often an unhealthy option. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 5 '15 at 14:37

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