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My play group is currently running a prototype game we made based on Dragon Ball Z using d20 rules; I'm GMing. One player in particular always makes characters that are mentally limited, crazy or with really weird powers, and it usually makes him not take things seriously.

He is currently playing a character that essentially is substituting his own reality on the story. For example once when he was prisoner he interpreted his cell as a hotel and all the guards as employees of that hotel. He spent the entire adventure asking for someone to go fix his room and for management service.

I wouldn't normally have an issue but I plan to run a whole mission about choices and paranoia and I have no idea how to make it so his character would actively partake in it and bend to my story like everyone else. How can I handle this situation and have him play his character straight and not as a lunatic?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I edited quite a big amount of your question trying to make it more readable. As I had a hard time to understand it I may have changed the meaning so feel free to edit it again in that case. I don't agree with the opinion-based-ness of this question which I believe can fall in the good subjective side. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Feb 14 '17 at 10:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I also voted to reopen. How many total players at the table? That detail would be nice to know. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 14 '17 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ How does your player choose what "reality" he plays in? Is it simply what he feels like doing, or is there a method to his madness? \$\endgroup\$ – IanDrash Feb 14 '17 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Dragon Ball Z ... characters that are mentally limited, crazy or with really weird powers." So where's the problem? ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Mason Wheeler Feb 14 '17 at 15:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ When he gives you a reason to kill him off, don't hold back. \$\endgroup\$ – BobTheAverage Feb 14 '17 at 23:59
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The Same Page Tool

The community has developed tools to help align expectations. One successful tool is linked above - the Same Page Tool.

I have personally used it with great success in aligning players with table expectations.

I've used it with new groups, with new members entering an existing group, with existing groups changing games, and even in the middle of a campaign where there were mismatched assumptions.

There is one very important thing about the tool that is often overlooked even though it is stated explicitly: The Same Page Tool is not a survey. You do not ask everyone to fill it out.

The Same Page Tool is a declaration. It unambiguously states what your expectations are for the game.

Your player must accept the premise of the game. If I invite you to play chess and you accept, then you cannot move your rook like a bishop and have a fit when I refuse to allow that move. You have accepted the premise that we are playing chess.

Because RPGs offer more freedom of action within the game than chess offers, it is possible to mistake that freedom within the game for freedom for the players - but players still must accept the premise of the game in order to participate.

You can and should add sections to the SPT to address the issue you have encountered.

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Honestly?

talk to him like an adult, and settle things that way. Just go to him, and tell him the same that you told us.

If he does not listen, then clearly he will not play the game as you want.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 100% Agree. He can play this and follow a reality that makes his character follow the same path as the group. You have to talk to him. \$\endgroup\$ – BobTheAverage Feb 15 '17 at 0:10
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Find out if he's being disruptive because he thinks that's fun to everyone, or if he's just not interested, or what the root cause is.

Then work from that. If he's used to computer RPGs, he may honestly think that's how it should be. (cRPGs are pretty horrible at this...)

But at the end of the day, if he thinks his fun is more important than everyone else's, then you may have to ask him to change his behavior or game with a different group.

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