A fellow player in a game that has run for 4 years now has become more and more inconsistent as time goes on. I wouldn't normally be worried about this, however, the player in question is playing a Paladin, which is what is leaving me confused. The latest instance of this which flabbergasted the GM and myself is as follows:

  1. Character confesses he has wanted 'since he was a child' to help put an end to a mystical environmental anomaly that has existed for over a hundred years and resulted in two races losing their home and threatens to do the same to another 7 (not to mention various dragons, etc). The character did not mention this at any other time before this.

  2. Six months later (about an equal amount of time in real life), the group receives a large amount of potentially unique information about the interior of the anomaly, including information on how it's mutating local fauna, wildlife, and the people lost inside. This character and player both reacted with non-interest at the new information.

I usually wouldn't mind the inconsistency, but it does make it hard to role-play with the character if I don't know his goals and aspirations. Plus, there is the other issue of him being a Paladin, which are usually seen as the model of consistency (though that may be a bias on my part).

Now we have hit level 20, and are starting to be in positions to have major and lasting impact on the world as a whole. How do I, as a fellow player, work with this player to bring him back to being more consistent? Or is this more for the GM to handle?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure if this is a "problem player" issue or a "role playing" issue for you, since your last paragraph asks for help in how you/your character can help him/his character be more consistent. Perhaps the tag "problem player" is out of place. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


Inconsistency is an indicator of disinterest

If someone is truly important to the player, then it is not likely to be inconsistent. On the other hand, if the player doesn't care too much about the trait, then it's likely to fade away.

For example, I play with a group that loves hewing to outlandish character concepts. Once, our group decided that we hated civilization and wanted to return the world to its "natural" roots. After a few sessions of this conceit, however, we found our characters regularly interacting with cities and other "civilized" things. Eventually, we realized that this conceit wasn't very fun, and agreed to drop it. From your standpoint, perhaps our party was horribly inconsistent, having made loud proclamations about how buildings, money, and even things made of wood were abhorrent, and then joining a pirate crew on a wooden ship.

The point is, even if the player makes strong proclamations on these points, his behavior regarding them as the game progresses will demonstrate his disinterest.

Playing Along

Ultimately, as you point out, this is mostly a problem for the GM to handle. As a player, I'm going to suggest the (likely very controversial) position that you simply play along with whatever position that your fellow player has taken at the moment.

The key assumption in my answer is that you're playing this RPG to have fun in the moment. If this isn't true, you should let me know and I'll modify my answer.

If you are playing an RPG to have fun, then historical accuracy should be secondary to that fun. Especially in a long-running game, players might want to try out different character archetypes and traits, rather than being locked into the decisions they made a long time ago. In the games I play and DM, we frequently retcon or contrive ways for players to try out new things or modify their backstory. We do this because we realize that certain things that we thought would be fun or cool simply weren't.

In this paradigm, calling out your fellow player on these changes doesn't really help, and simply adds more baggage to these changes. Moreover, because this is more of a metagame issue, there aren't many logical ways to handle this issue in-game.

Ask him to codify the changes

One way to handle these changes is to simply ask him, out of character, if he is making a retroactive change to his character. This will help everyone at the table be clear on what exactly has changed. For example, I recently declared to my group that I missed playing a stupid character, and I was going to drastically decrease my character's intelligence. Doing so meant that there weren't any shocks when my character suggested profoundly unwise decisions, and I wasn't called out on being inconsistent.

Such declarations can simply be "hey, didn't you say your character was super interested in [thing]?" The player can then say something like "Yeah, but not anymore" or even "oh right, I forgot". Questions like these can help everyone be on the same page in the moment, which seems to be the end goal of your question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Although controversial, "do nothing" is in that case the easiest solution, by far. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 7:42

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