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A player at one of the games (D&D 5E Adventurers League) I go to has decided his character is a dumb smasher. This is fine, I have no problem with this.

He is in my Friday game and does it every time which is a part of why I don't enjoy the Friday game that much. Now he started showing up at the Tuesday game I'm in with a different group and different DM doing the exact same thing. I like him as a person but that playstyle is really annoying. If he did it once in a while fair enough but it's literally every single room and encounter making it impossible for anyone else that might want to play a different style.

It's ruining the game for the rest of us that would like to play with other strategies. Not just in dungeons either but all sorts of situations like meeting X while walking and before we can even attempt to talk to X he's already "smashing." This week, which was his first time at the Tuesday group, the DM had to roll back time because he said we wouldn't be able to progress if we don't know what the NPC was supposed to tell us --- the NPC was of course killed by him while the rest of the party was trying to get answers.

Other than try my best to tactfully ask him to tone it down, or feel like a tattle talking to the DM, are there any options for something like this? Is the best course to just wait outside the next time he dashes into a room and let his character get the fate it deserves?

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    \$\begingroup\$ [Related] Do I have to allow someone to play at my table in Adventurers League public events? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 26 '17 at 20:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hey all. Comments are not for answers here on RPG.SE. Use comments here to get clarifications to improve the question, contribute answers below. Note that "Have you tried answer X" is often an answer, not a constructive question clarification. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 27 '17 at 12:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would the other characters in the Tuesday group, as characters, approve of a member of their party killing a stranger before they have a chance to question him? \$\endgroup\$ – Patricia Shanahan Apr 28 '17 at 3:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the character named, by any chance, Black Dow? \$\endgroup\$ – Asher Jun 21 '18 at 0:21
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Storytime:

In one of the first games I ever ran at a convention, there was a player that was doing exactly what you described: charging ahead, thinking he was better than everyone, not playing as a team, etc.

The next time he charged ahead though, all the enemies were of course waiting to gang up on the first person in range, which was enough to take him down. The rest of his party waited a few rounds before healing him (rationalizing it as "cautiously dealing with the enemy", but it was pretty obvious what they were doing). This was all orchestrated maturely and politely by an older lady (a mother, playing a cleric), and was one of the best examples of subtle peer pressure I've seen.

He only missed a few rounds of playing, but the subtext was clear: "your team-mates are not happy with you, and have the ability to hang you out to dry". He played much more nicely after that.

TL;dr - yes, let his character get the fate he deserves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe that you can't...you could, however, rule that the charger is surprised by all the enemies in the room since they weren't paying attention, but none of the enemies are since they heard him coming, essentially giving the same result (a free round for the enemies) \$\endgroup\$ – firedraco Apr 26 '17 at 20:22
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Your best bet is to talk with them OOC first. Yes, this may be his character design/flaw, but if it's getting in the way of fun for you and other players it's worth discussing. Some talking points to help him clarify his character's actions:

  1. Does he realize that his actions may lead to his own and everyone else's deaths? If that isn't a problem, ask him why it isn't. The second question may help clarify.

  2. Why does he do this? Not just the simple "Hulk Smash", but what is the driving force behind his actions. Is there another way for him to get the same RP response without the doing something that makes it less fun for others?

If the conversation goes nowhere, talk to the DM about your concerns. They have some more control, but ultimately they also realize this is going to continue to happen if the player doesn't change - and the DM will need a solution for it themselves.

It's possible that the DM is already thinking about how to deal with this situation - but to hear that it's a problem for other players is still a good thing. And maybe there's a way to deal with this as characters that the DM can help facilitate through a scenario. That scenario can go a lot of different ways:

  1. Traps that immobilize the Character (have you learned your lesson? No? We're not letting you out until you promise to stop doing this. AKA the 4 year old punishment technique.)

  2. Traps/surprises that Kill the character(maybe the player?) . Problem player? Problem solved.

  3. Situations where barging in would cause a massive RP issue (into the king's chambers, guards go nuts, etc.)

There's obviously more, but those are a few ideas to present to the DM if they ask for your help.

Finally, it is up to the DM to fix or you as the player to find a new table. If the other player doesn't want to change and the DM doesn't want to try and change it, then there is little recourse besides a new table.

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Obligatory talk to your player(s) first, yada yada yada...

Now, from experience, with the right group this can make for a really fun game.

In one of the groups I played with we had this one player, we'll call him Bob, who was kind of like your dumb smasher, but with his mouth. In the beginning of the campaign he caused us a lot of trouble, angering allies and enemy npc's alike. Eventually another player, Sam, had enough. As we were walking into the governor's mansion, Sam tells the DM that he trips Bob. The DM is confused but allows the attempt, Sam's roll beats Bob's. Bob falls prone, Sam rushes us all through the door and locks it behind him, leaving Bob outside banging on it. We had our first civil conversation with an important NPC!

Now, Bob could have been angry about this, but he just rolled with it. It created a new dynamic within the group, Sam saving us from Bob with some crazy antics, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, and sometimes with unexpected results (Bob's missing a tooth now, and whistles when he talks). It made it fun and brought in some great RP opportunities.

TLDR:
See if your players can accept and rp this as part of the way their characters interact with each other. Sometimes the group will benefit by allowing their Bob to run in and soak up some damage, other times it might be better to knock him out and have him join in a couple rounds late albeit slightly dazed. Let the 'problem' become part of the fun!

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is similar to what I would have done, use Charm Person to control him or put a sack over his upper torso and put him on a leash, turning him loose when you need damage/distraction. \$\endgroup\$ – Arluin Apr 27 '17 at 22:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Deliberately working at cross purposes with another character is against AL code of conduct. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Apr 29 '17 at 1:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L., isn't that what the Smasher is doing by launching straight into combat at every encounter? \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Apr 29 '17 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, this is fighting fire with fire. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Apr 30 '17 at 15:01
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There are tons of good ways to teach that lesson, but I think killing off a character and letting him re-roll and then sit out the game a while until the DM figures out a way to bring him in would be the best.

Another would be having him caught and imprisoned. As long as there's some hint of the trap before hand, it's not unfair to have consequences for bad tactics.

Rolling back time was a really bad response to this. It's natural to want your friends to succeed, but it kinda kills the game.

Player to Player interaction

If you have to work from the perspective of a player trying to persuade another character to change, do it in character.

  1. Ask him point blank what he was thinking, and express your desire for a reasoned, strategic approach to tough situations.

    An expedition member of any sort would be foolish not to.

  2. Alternately try to ask him outside of the game why he charges in without a plan. Listen and communicate with respect, and then see if you can take that discussion somewhere constructive so that he grasps how he's intruding on the fun of other players.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is an interesting approach, the question was asked from the perspective of a Player in an Adventurer's League setting, Not from the DM point of view. This question is about how to deal with a fellow player who is stampeding on other people's fun in pursuit of their own fun. What advice do you have for this player in dealing with another player? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 27 '17 at 17:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The player has fewer options than the DM, and in my mind less responsibility to try to resolve this because they aren't in a position to easily create the expected results of his actions. If we have to work from that angle, do it in character. Ask him point blank what he was thinking, express your desire for a reasoned, strategic approach to tough situations. An expedition member of any sort would be foolish not to. Alternately try to ask him out of game why he charges in without a plan, listen and communicate with respect, and see if you can take that discussion somewhere constructive. \$\endgroup\$ – jorgenjer Apr 28 '17 at 11:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ A pleasure to serve. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 28 '17 at 17:23
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I once created such a character.

I wanted to get to know the group as well as the world before putting effort into a character. So I created this dwarven warrior with alcohol problems and a massive death wish. I thought, I'd play him for one or two sessions, until some ogre bites his head off and then create a new character with deep background and all.
I wanted that character to die an early and probably painful death and then create a new one with a deeper background and a less suicidal behavior. I had so much luck with the dice, that I once singlehandedly killed 3 ogres before the rest of the group could catch up and the character survived so long, that the group started to like him... but that's not the point.

My point is: If a player designs such a character, he has to live with the consequences. Let him rush forward and die, if he wishes to do so. Or trip him or otherwise hold him back, if you think, it is better for the group (or is just the kind of thing you char would do). Accept it as a role playing challenge and let him run into his doom, if need be.
Don't risk your characters life to save his. Perhaps he wants his character to die...

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with much of this answer, but with one caveat: Characters in a party tend to get stuck together because of players in reality. They must work together. The issue in the Question seems to be that the character (and player) are negatively impacting the rest of the party in ways that can't be avoided necessarily (e.g. killing the NPC they are talking to). \$\endgroup\$ – Marshall Tigerus Apr 28 '17 at 14:44
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There really are two sides to this: The player either likes a character that is this way and is roleplaying him accurately, or the player is impatient and plays this way as an expedient, regardless of his character. The former can be solved in game, and the latter must be solved out of game.

I have had impulsive Characters in my campaigns, and am currently playing one who is quite impulsive. They can be really fun roleplaying experiences (watch how Grog is "managed" on Critical Role). Let me provide a few examples and how they were "fun."

In one of my campaigns, there is a dwarf barbarian who always wants to smash in any door he sees. He is dedicated to smashing doors in every way. Initially this caused some problems, as he would smash into every room, often triggering traps before the rogue could disarm them, or alerting enemies. This was largely played for laughs, and the party eventually started telling him about doors in different areas where they wanted him to rush off to. It helps that he had relatively low intelligence (as a barbarian). The important piece here is the players enjoyed it.

My character, a Tiefling Bard, has a flaw that she has no patience for planning or discussion. While we haven't quite gotten to the point of "resolving" the problem, she has rushed ahead in a few circumstances (with more or less success as she has had terrible stealth rolls). Under one of these circumstances, she yelled back for someone to come look at something, and when he didn't respond, she used thaumaturgy to shout for him, causing a group of oozes to stream out and attack. While that was at the very end of our last session, and none of the players minded it (most thought it was funny, and were waiting for my character to get eaten by something, as most of the rest play more cautious players), and I do not know what the overall reaction will be to continued playing of this trait, the important thing is, again, the players enjoy/don't mind the action.

The harder part is if the player is this way just because of their attitude. This must be approached out of game, first directly with the player ("Hey, the rest of us really would prefer you to tone down the impulsiveness of your characters. It is causing real problems and making the game unfun for us. If that's how your character is, then can we work out a way to keep him in check sometimes, even if he grumbles about it in-character?") and if that doesn't work, with the DM.

I had another impulsive character (not in the group I am with now, thankfully) that also had problems with metagaming and some other things that made him a less than ideal player. His character, an elven ranger, rushed ahead all the time, and had some luck avoiding most traps. While most of the group decided, with reaching their carry limit in equipment and gold, they should go back to town, he decided to continue searching the orc occupied caves for a secret door he "knew" was there (I had caught him looking through my notes, but he didn't know that I had caught him). He tore apart and burned down a room that served as a library for an orc shaman, trying to find a secret door that was no longer there (as I had changed the layout after I caught him). As he was getting ready to leave, one of the many orc from side rooms he rushed past to get to the library found him, and killed him. The party later returned, killed off the rest of the orcs, and found his body, eventually resurrecting him, but he was a lot more cautious after that.

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In the end, this will come down to the group, as a whole, deciding what the group wants. If the group wants a cohesive, team-work-based, solid gaming session that isn't based on some 1990s-era FPS computer game, then they need to let the GM know this.

Then, It is the GM's responsibility to set the rules of the game as stated in the OP comments link to another question, the GM can kick the player at any time. And probably should, if the majority of the players aren't enjoying the game.

If that's too extreme, the GM has options.

  • Trap the player in something vile that takes a while to escape. The Players can help or not, depending on their own moods.
  • Prove the discretion can be the better part of valor. If the character keeps becoming a pin-cushion by coming through the door first each encounter, then eventually they'll die or learn to try a different tactic.
  • If the problem isn't about doors, perhaps that seemingly unimportant NPC has friends. Or is in fact a high-level character class "slumming it" as a normal, non-adventurer. Pissing off a 15th level wizard or monk is generally a bad idea.
  • When in doubt, use a bigger club. If your particular campaign uses gods, perhaps the GM can decide that indiscriminately attacking people is evil. Maybe the gods don't like using their healing magic to heal evil people. Maybe healing spells begin to get a percent chance to fail until the PC performs some atoning acts to cleanse their evil ways. Hilarity ensues as they try to be good on demand.
  • Or give them a reputation. If the region learns that person X is known to be a vile hothead, maybe no taverns will serve him. Maybe no merchants will trade with him.
  • My personal favorite though, is to give them an enemy that he can't beat. Find a wizard who's really good at charm spells and make the PC his/her henchman by brute force. Or a mind flayer. Or a druid who casts polymorph other and turns him into a newt cochroach.
  • Or the Players can gang up and refuse to enter a dungeon with that PC. No way I'd enter a potentially deadly environment with someone "guarding my back" that I couldn't trust, implicitly, with my life. Simply refuse to move into an encounter at all until PC (In character) promises to behave. (I've used this same argument with PC rogues who spend an entire dungeon crawl sneaking around stealing treasure from the dungeon/us and not ever helping us even a little.) If they can't commit to their player being reasonable, then either they get asked to leave at the point of a sword, or... (Note, this approach can go sideways quickly, leaving the PLAYER pissed off at you / the group. Tread lightly.)

I can come up with mean ideas all day, but this mostly comes down to the GM.

Or more importantly, making the Player aware that he's being a and that this behavior will not be tolerated. OOC approaches are generally the best. Either the player gets the message and plays the game with the group instead of against it, or the player moves on to some other group that's more in tune with their style.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You're not taking the Adventurer's League context into account. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Apr 29 '17 at 1:26

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