One of my players heard that during the second game he played (out of a few) that his characters were always antagonistic to every other character in some way.

Personally, as a GM I didn't see this (I only noticed this two times and I had him roll a new char in those instances).

Specifically, he plays characters that are usually the gruff or silent type. Or his character is a prankster who doesn't stop pranking the other chars. The few times where his character attacked other players are countable on one hand, but they were in all honesty foreseeable (like a bounty hunter char always arguing with a Sith char and telling him that he is weak... telling that to a Sith tends to result in a violent response). All of his chars are created to be loyal to a fault although the other players see only the outer or obvious personality traits of his chars and tend to agitate him time after time without knowing or planning to.

After he heard that other players considered his characters to be antagonistic he asked me what he could do in order to broaden the types of characters he plays and not automatically fall into the same trap of creating or playing character that seems antagonistic to the other players.

Sadly I'm a bit out of ideas on how to help him. So my question is: what can be I do to help a player broadens his perspective so he doesn't fall into using the same type of character time and again?

Note: I am tying to help him so he CAN role-play and also stay in role. The problem is that his roleplaying seems to alter slightly over time into slightly aggressive, competitive behavior which agitates other players. He says he does not want to be a problem player and wants to change his behavior. So this is not a question about how to deal with a problem player, but rather a question about how to help the player to broaden the style of characters he plays.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you give a little more detail regarding in what way the player is antagonistic? For example, when his character opposes the others does he become argumentative or combative? If the former, does he need endless persuasion to do pursue the story's macguffin? If the latter, does it become an ongoing thing? I'm specifically trying to determine how disruptive this is to play in order to provide a recommendation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its more that his characters are more of the gruffy or silent sort most often. Or his char is a prankster who doesn't stop from the other chars. The times where it came down to pvp are countable on a hand but they were in all honesty foreseeable (like a bounty hunter char permantently arguing with his sith char and telling him that he is weak.....telling that a sith permanently tends to get a violent response). All of his chars are made though to be loyal to a fault although the other pcs most of the time fail on the outer shell of those chars r agitate him time and again without knowing/want \$\endgroup\$
    – Thomas E.
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 17:27

4 Answers 4


I've come across a similar issue where every character the player created became annoying to the other players, sometimes right away, sometimes after a short while. As it turned out, the problem wasn't the one player, it was all the other players. You see, because his first character had annoyed them, they started to treat all his characters the same way and this led to his other characters reverting into the annoying character he originally played. The worst part was, no-one realised that this was the reality of what was happening until we all sat down over a pint of beer in the pub and discussed the issue. It never completely resolved itself (there are still a couple of players who just can't stop acting as though his character is annoying them) but it did get better.

Perhaps your guys problem is in fact similar to the above. If so, I'd suggest you all discuss openly. As the saying goes "first impressions last" and in this case, that proved to be more true than we would have thought.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ The "over a pint of beer in the pub" comment is important. You should discuss the situation away from the gaming table and normal session, at a venue where everyone is relaxed and comfortable (which may or may not be a pub for you). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 0:13

I think there might be two different factors at work here. First, the player might tend to be aggressive toward other player characters. Second, the player may have a hard time creating characters outside of a narrow scope. I'll address these separately below.

Player Aggression

First, PvP conflict isn't necessarily a bad thing. Disagreements on when to attack the bandits, and how to treat the prisoners after, lead to interesting and dramatic stories. PvP conflict is not always to be avoided.

On the other hand, most roleplaying systems aren't intended to have players trying to kill each other all the time. If the player wants to play a bold, decisive character, be sure they have a focus. Some examples:

  • A fighter has sworn a pact of vengeance to kill all orcs
  • A ranger may simply be racist against kobolds
  • A wizard could feel responsible for stopping Elemental or other planar incursions

Be sure to talk this kind of thing over with the other players at the table first. For the DM, they may not be planning to have Elementals in the campaign. For the other players, they may not be comfortable in a game with racism as a theme, or they may want to play a half-orc half-elemental.

Breaking the Mold

It may well be that the player simply has a hard time creating, or sticking to, new personalities. I noticed many players (myself included) tend to do the same kind of character: a parody of themselves, but with super powers.

My solution was to do a one-shot game I styled as You Are Not Yourself. In these games, the other players have more input on your character than you do. The comedian in the group ended up playing the straight man. The urban street-rat non-caster player got the most nature-y, caster-y class we could find, Druid, and she had a blast with it.

The key here is to get the player to introspect on what they want from a game, and to expand their comfort zone.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the "not you game" \$\endgroup\$
    – WendyG
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 16:17

This is, above anything else, a communication issue. You can throw as many tricks at this as you want, but without bridging some form of communication between this player and the rest of the players nothing will fix the problem. It's one thing to discuss things with the other players and something else to hear about what other players think. As long as people can give healthy, respectful feedback, discussion between all players can result in a solution right there.

As for the player reverting to previous character models, that could be a number of factors. As has been stated before, it could be a reaction to the other players' reactions to his character. It could also be a lack of range to express the other character. The former may be solved with actual communication. The latter could benefit from a sit down about character development. This can be all together or one-on-one.

I find that a lot of DMs/GMs do not encourage character detail and personality notes, even if they do require some form of detailed character background. Having a written background may help to conceptualize your character in the beginning, but players tend not to review their background once submitted. For my own players, especially in my own game, I heavily encourage (read: require) them to write down some prevalent details about their outlook, personality, quirks, fears, ambitions (or lack thereof), and anything else they think would be pertinent to the person their character is rather than all the things they can do. Over time, if they feel events have really changed their character, they'll make a note of that. Then they have those details ready for them on their character sheet (or on the back) as reminders of how their character would feel or react in situations. If you think that might help remind your player, pitch the idea to him (and to all your other players, for that matter). You may even encourage writing down notes on how the characters view each other, which would not only give that player a check on antagonizing but also the other players on their reactions to his character.


There are probably several ways to do this. The one that I found effective was to create a few characters - over several campaigns - that were deliberately different from my default style. That broadened my role-playing ability considerably.

So this player might create a character who specialises in accommodating other people's needs and desires, and finding ways to fulfil them. This is probably going to be quite a selfless character, not especially interested in their own desires. This character is different enough from what seems to be his usual style that it should be obvious to him, and the other players, when he's deviating from it. A question like "Would your character really do that?" would be a signal that he's slipping.

As for what that character does in the adventure, that would depend on the game and the setting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "...create a character who specialises in accommodating other people's needs and desires, and finding ways to fulfil them." OMG - create a thief who is a "people pleaser". A complete nutjob! \$\endgroup\$
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 19:49

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