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Let's consider a player, whom we shall call Bob. Bob loves to be a warrior and loves exiting stories about how he's the best in killing others and about how badass he is.

Bob's pretty new to Pen & Paper, and has only played rule-less games in chats before. But: He actually is quite content with the rules, and all this dice rolling. He doesn't understand the rules, but with a bit of help all's fine. He's not whining about not being super awesome (not a lot anyway).

But: He wants to play the badass-warrior. You can see it in the way he plays and he always plays this kind of characters in the chat-games.

Problem is: He picks "non fighter" character classes. For his first character he told me the backstory, he was dropped as a baby at a fortress and grew up there, and that he already saw the "guard" class and wants that. I told him: "Oh, that's a great backstory, but guard is more like 'police'," He answered: "Yeah, I know. My Character isn't a soldiers, he was just guarding the fortress". I explained to him what that character build would be good at, and that I don't think it would fight his preferred playstyle.

He quickly grew bored of that character, when he learned that the actual fighter was a lot better at fighting, than his character. Plus he is uninterested in playing the social interactions his character would be good at. (Guard being a cross between fighter and social).

His second character, he is creating right now, is a dwarf, who hunts dragons. Me: "That's awesome, there is a character class for that: Warrior. Dwarven Warrior are specially trained to kill dragons. There is.." Bob: "Oh, no. I don't want to play a warrior. I already looked, there is big-game hunter. I want that."

Big-Game Hunter is a wilderness specialist. Again not a fighter. I already know he will be bored and become cranky, as soon as he discovers that the fighter characters are a lot better at fighting than him.

We are playing The Dark Eye, a german fantasy RPG. (Thus character classes are actually professions in this case.)

TL;DR;

How can I help a player find the character-classes and perks, that would fit his style of play and story, if he actively doesn't want it?

I already tried creating the character with him (both times, we met to create his character) and I also told him I'd gladly create the character rules-wise. But he want's to do it himself (which is fine by me). I tried talking to him, about what the character classes are good at, and what alternatives exists, that would fit the story better.

And while it is true, that The Dark Eye will allow you to become proficient in any skill with enough XP, this takes time. The group as a whole as already complained how long everything takes, so I'm already handing out more XP.

I think he might not want to play a soldier or warrior, because he's mocked in the online games, for always playing that kind of character.

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In short: Let him do what he wants to do, but guide him and help him with your knowledge. Make sure he understands what the chosen profession/class means and what things it offers

Long Answer: First off, those kinds of learning experiences are actually good for him. He has a certain thing in mind that he would like to play, so why hinder him? in DSA (german abbreviation for The Dark Eye) there are many professions to choose from, and thus many different characters to create. Let him gain experience and see what he has in mind.

Now, how can you help? Have you told him what you think? Talk to him about it, ask him if he really wants to be a wilderness focused character and if he knows what that will mean in the game. Help him design the character in a way that he is a good fighter and hunter. That is (very much so) possible in DSA. It is actually one of the great strengths the system has.

You could also show him the alternatives directly. Show him what a dwarf warrior from Xorlosch (which I assume is the dragon hunter warrior you mean) gets as skills and talents and what the big game hunter offers. Also keep in mind that with a profession that does not cost as much GP/AP (depending on what version of DSA you're playing, I can't say anything about the creation prices in Version 5, as I only play 4.1) will actually allow him to still spend points on combat skills and be a good fighter.

If you're concerned that he's avoiding classes he would like more because, as you say, he's been mocked online about only playing warriors, you could also try and tell him how different a warrior in DSA is to other games, and how it is essentially an important and interesting character, not only someone who takes the front row in a fight and does nothing else.

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I find with players like this, it's best not to provide them with one option, but with multiple ones, and explain the pros and cons of each fairly.

For example, someone told me that they wanted to play a character a lot like a Ranger from Bravely Default in DnD 5e. Rather than pointing them just at what I thought was the best choice (archery-focused rogue), I also pointed to another option, fighter, that dealt damage more consistently.

By giving them a selection of options that work for various facets of the overarching idea, you can communicate the pros and cons of each of the options without making him feel like you're forcing him into it.

If that fails, consider working with him to produce a better lore for the mechanics that suit his playstyle. To make another DnD analogy, you could have someone who is described as a ranger, but is mechanically something else, like a rogue or a druid. Maybe this big game hunter considers dragons the biggest game of all, and has learnt the ways of warriors to tackle them on fairer ground. Note that this may lead the player to feel like they are imposing on the game, so consider offering this carefully.

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It sounds to me like you need to discuss with him that this is your playstyle therefore this is the class you really want even if you don't think so right now.

Then go on to explain if he wants to play a different class that his play style needs to adjust to the roles that class offers.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Does he really want to play something else, or does OP just think that he wants to, though? I am not sure about that... \$\endgroup\$ – Patta Nov 4 '15 at 18:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I naturally tried to talk to him already, explainingt that I don't think that this fit's his playstye. And what the character class is about. Sorry if this wasn't clear I'll update the answers to reflect that. \$\endgroup\$ – Cohnal Nov 4 '15 at 18:50
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Let him roll out a character class dwarf warrior with the job description who likes to hunt big animals, so he can play a bad ass warrior but may roleplay/act like a big game hunter. I would not stick to much to the rules here.

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