My problem is that I have a player who

  1. Takes everything that happens to his character personally and then throws tantrums, and
  2. Metagames consistently. We run a very homebrew game, all players know this; things will happen in the campaign and he'll make snarky remarks how this is impossible because x and y should be happening instead.

I'm just really not sure how to handle the situations.

For example, the party was just saved at sea by an infamous pirate leader in the area, and after being invited into the crew, his character, a 15th level pirate type, decides to challenge the captain to a duel for leadership. The captain was already made, and was a 20th level character. Naturally, the captain won. He then goes off to say that it's unfair and he's broken etc etc etc.

As for a metagaming example, the world is currently being attacked by a big bad enemy who happens to be a minor God. While the main enemy's army is attacking a city they're fleeing, he says that this guy is extremely involved in the world for a god and it's kind of ridiculous that no other gods have jumped into the fray and swatted him.

I have talked to him about it before. He seems understanding until a situation occurs where it basically sets it off. I've played other games with him, and he generally seems much kinder to other DMs, doesn't have the remarks or throws tantrums to them. (Also, he's my older brother, so I don't know if it's just a weird "my brother is beating me" thing going on or what.)

He's an experienced player, and I'm the only other person who basically plays at his level, so most other games don't really challenge his characters, whereas I do make my game more difficult because I know he and the other players have the skill capability to handle these situations that do occur.

Now these remarks really have no change in the game, it's just tremendously annoying to hear over and over.


4 Answers 4


Pre-warning - I have little experience as a DM dealing with difficult players, but I'm getting pretty used to dealing with difficult tables in general.

A couple of things we found really handy for our horde of uncooperative players:

Talk it out / Remind him

You said in the comments that:

I have talked to him about it before. He seems understanding until a situation occurs where it basically sets it off

So he may just need a gentle, at table reminder about the discussion you've had. A simple prod in the right direction might be all he needs to cool his head. DnD can get pretty intense at times, and it could just simply slip his mind as he gets into it.
Players really getting into your campaign is what you want as a DM, as long as they're getting into in good spirit.

Is the table okay with this behavior?

Is it just you that's bothered by this? How your table reacts to his behavior could also dictate how you handle it.

During our romps with difficult players, one player refused to cooperate with the DM to the point we almost had to kick him out. But the DM pulled me aside, and asked me to respond to every that player said as in character.

If your brother is heavily into role playing, responding in-kind and keeping it to your characters may help stem the OOC poor behavior.

I.E - If he's complaining about the Gods not lending a hand, a NPC (or other player) could take that at face value. "[Gods Name Here] wouldn't care about a single [town/city/country/]! Our lifes are nothing compared to the grand scheme of things. The immortal plane is beyond our understanding..."

If all else fails, are you guys that right group for him?

You also said that:

He generally seems much kinder to other dms, doesn't have the remarks or throws tantrums to them. (He also is my older brother)

So it could very much be as simple as -Younger brother has to do it my way rawr- or that the tables play-style and campaign just doesn't fit him.

Saying that you play to his level, but then having a level 15 player challenge a lv 20 NPC, says to me that maybe he doesn't want that much of a challenge.

He could be looking for something a bit more cruisy, or maybe he just really really wanted to play pirate captain.

But either way, if you can't find a middle ground with him, maybe have another look to see if he matches your table. It could be as simple as a few small tweaks to the campaign to keep everyone happy.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for recognizing the family dynamics. (My solution: Change to the Amber DRPG....) \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 5:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ The table has been on my side when I've discussed with them. They all think he's out of line when he gets into his antics. As for the challenge, I had no intention of having the pirate captain being fought at that time, I had just had him made for a much much later encounter. My brother challenged him out of the blue. And yeah. Ultimately it could just be a matter of, he likes to steamroll things, wherein this game he actually has to try. But thank you, I think some of this will help \$\endgroup\$
    – user29050
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 6:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user29050 let me know if it does, and if it doesn't. There's other things to try or ideas to toss about \$\endgroup\$
    – Asteria
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 6:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Novak I mean, Amber is designed to screw over players a lot more than traditional D&D, and the fact that it's all decisions made by the GM rather than the luck of the dice would make it far worse for a thin-skinned player, IMO. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 18:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SanfordBassett that was a joke, my friend. The was a joke. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novak
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 20:51

I think that in writing out the question, you've already taken us halfway to the answer. Let's rearrange the info you gave us in roughly chronological order:

  1. He's an experienced player, and usually plays in games that don't really challenge him or his characters. In those games, he's fine and doesn't argue with the GM.
  2. You, as his little brother, invite him to play in a game you're running.
  3. You run a more challenging game - players overcome obstacles (they must have to get to level 15), but not without some work.
  4. The other players do enjoy it (based on your comment that they agree with you), but whenever things don't go his way - like not immediately beating a powerful character he just met in a duel you weren't expecting - he takes it personally and throws a tantrum.
  5. You've talked to him about it, but when you're actually playing, his behavior doesn't really change.

Based on my own experience, I'm gonna go ahead and say yeah, there's a weird "my brother is beating me" thing going on. (I was going to ask how old you are but it really doesn't matter; these things can calcify at any age.) Or maybe not; maybe he'd be like that in any game he couldn't waltz through.

Regardless, my answer is the same. Unlike a lot of similar questions we get, you've already talked to him and explained that his behavior is a problem that's making things less fun, and he's still doing it. If you want to try different ways to give him another chance, Asteria has some good suggestions. But he's pretty clearly signaling that he doesn't want to play this game that you are actually playing, and I think that in the end if he can't keep his negative thoughts to himself, you're going to need to ask him to find a different game so all of you (him included) can get back to enjoying yourselves.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a DM but I am an older brother and I agree. I would try playing the "Hey, I'm your little brother and you're kind of ruining my fun," card. You've tagged this new-gm so emphasis that to him. Sometimes older brothers just get so used to being mean they forget to switch it off. He'll also feel like you are picking on him because of the shift in power-balance; he's probably used to ordering you around. Honestly, I think it was brave to have him in the group at all! \$\endgroup\$
    – dtw
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:29

Looks like your brother might be a munchkin.

I don't want to be pessimistic, but if it is true, then you have a great problem which unfortunately may be never solved.

Goddamn it! You are the Game Master!

You must point him out that you are the Game Master of campaign, not him. You are the one creator of this world. He is just a player and should act like one.

You didn't mention how other people react and I wander if you are indeed guilty.

Consider if you are not pushing your players too hard.

You mentioned that your game is challenging. Do you give your players enough time to relax, talk and analyze what exactly is going on? Maybe he is just stressed out and needs to catch his breath.

Do you reward players properly for meeting the challenges?

It is logical to assume that more challenging encounters should also grant magnificent treasures. Aren't you a little parsimonious?


I'm just gonna say it.

Remove him from the group.

Usually that's the last resort answer. These types of games are social ones, and social problems do arise. It's important to try to work them out. It sounds like you have tried though. From what you have said, he's fine as long as he gets his way. It's when he doesn't get his way that these negative things happen.

Now, as a DM your job is to make the game fun for the group. If the group is not having fun, then your doing a sucky job. I can't imagine that the rest of the group is having fun watching this one player whine about your DM choices. So for the sake of the rest of the group, remove the "bad" player.

Now when I say remove, my best advise is more of a time out, at least at first. Tell him outside the group that you want a few sessions off, then come up with some tacky in game reason why his PC is on pause. "A large sea dragon jumps out of the water, sneezes on you, and your frozen." Even make it a side quest for the other members to "unfreeze" his PC. If the group goes through the effort of "bringing him back" then you have your answer, time to deal with it. If they push him over the side of the boat and steal his loot, well, that's an answer too.

Most importantly, it will give the group the experience of not playing with him. Then as a group you can decide which you liked better.

Again, normally, you want to try to work out these differences, but first and foremost this is a game. If it's not fun, then people will go play another game. You certainly sound like your not having fun, and I would be surprised if the other members are.


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