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D&D 3E
complaint about a player. 
5th-Nov-2006 05:21 pm

i have a friend i play dnd with who isn't the most reliable guy as far as showing up on time, or even at all. i try to be pretty understanding. he lives relatively far away from the rest of us in the game. i'm also not always the most reliable or organized guy so i try not to give anyone a hard time for stuff they could be giving me a hard time for. our group has three games running. he was involved in two and he's sort of downgraded to one and a half because of his lack of ability to make it up to our area on a regular basis.

the game that he's not committed to is an age of worms campaign that i'm running. he's playing a chaotic neutral dwarven cleric. his character bugs me on a number of levels. first of all chaotic neutral bugs me. i think its a hard alignment to roleplay well and i think most of the time a player who chooses it just doesn't want to bother giving their character any thought. this is not to say i haven't played CN characters. i'm playing one now. my wife is too. and i don't want to start another chapter of the great alignment debate. so anyway, other stuff about the guy's character that bugs me:

i gave him some leeway in character creation. i told everyone to roll 4d6 dropping the lowest 7 times and keep the best 6 scores. everyone was allowed to make characters on their own without my supervision. i didn't give anyone a hard time about stats because high stats make players happy and if they want to fudge their ability scores i have faith in the karma of dice coming back at them eventually. given all that, he's the only one whose scores made me raise an eyebrow: 18, 14, 18, 13, 16, 13. on top of that (and this is not really my problem, it's his fellow player's problem) he doesn't accept the common roll of a cleric. he rarely heals other party members even if they're near death.

he came to the game with some custom content he'd found online. it was for second edition (we play 3.5) and it looked like it had been written by a twelve-year-old (no offense, twelve-year-olds!). it was way overpowered and it didn't make any sense. other than the fact that it would just make his character a superman, i couldn't even see a logical way of integrating it into a 3.5 game. so i said no. even still, he kept referring to it.

THEN he talked me into allowing him to worship tempus, but allowing him to use the dwarven waraxe as his deity's preferred weapon. this gave his cleric a free martial weapon proficiency with the weapon which made him a formidable tank right off the bat. that didn't throw the game or anything, it just bugged me. he wants to retroactively change feats he's chosen. his character had taken power attack and never used it so i let him change it. but he decided he wanted to take leadership.

leadership. in one of the other games we play in, one of the other players is a cleric who took leadership. she plays it well and her cohort is an asset to the party. her cohort is not overpowered, he's clearly a secondary character. i imagine this is where my friend got the idea.

so my buddy says he wants to take leadership and would that be ok. i told him it would and we could meet up and work on the character together before we next played. well, because of my work schedule i couldn't come the next time we played.

the game i had to skip out on wasn't my game, but it was the first time i ever had to cancel on one of our games. i'm not always the easiest person to work out a schedule with, but when we have one i stick to it 99% of the time. so in this case i'm not the pot calling the kettle black. i'm like, a silicon potholder.

anyway, we couldn't meet and never worked on his cohort. so we got together yesterday and played AOW, and surprise, he showed up. and surprise, he had his cohort all rolled up. i got a glance at the character sheet, saw three 18s, cringed, told him he couldn't use the cohort this time because i didn't want to have the conversation i'm going to have to have with him right then and there. we played the game, it went okay (other than the paladin dying, she'll be back).

we're meeting up next friday to play again and my friend says he's not sure he can make it. so i asked him to leave his character sheet with me so i could run it as an npc if he doesn't show, and to leave his cohort with me so i could "look it over and make sure it's okay".

so i'm looking it over and... it's not okay. the stats: 18, 18, 18, 14, 17, 10. it's a dwarven ranger. it wields a dwarven waraxe. it's the same god-damned broken character he's been playing. so in addition to his tank of a dwarven cleric that refuses to heal, he wants to play a tank of a dwarven ranger who, i can only assume, will refuse to track. aside from that, this so-called "ready to play" character has a lot of mistakes and missing stuff. he didn't bother to allocate any skill points, totally ignoring one of the ranger's advantages.

when he and i spoke on the phone he said he wanted to make a dwarven ranger. i thought it was an interesting idea. we discussed a character who specializes in underground tracking and survival, a kind of prospector type. the cohort would be a friend of his characters from "back home".

this character is not what we discussed and it's totally unacceptable. i'm tempted to just make him a dwarven ranger and tell him to use it as his cohort. but i think that would be too heavy handed. i think he'd accept it but i don't think he'd like it. i know if i tell him to recreate it on his own the "improved" version will only have two 18s and still won't have any skill points assigned. and the odds of he and i finding time to get together to work on it are slightly less than the odds of him showing up for any given game, which are slightly less than 50/50.

to be honest i don't even know if its worth discussing with him. he doesn't show up to the game consistently and i really think its only a matter of time before he drops out altogether. i think my best bet may just be to tell him that i have too much to keep track of in this game already, and i need to make a house rule that we aren't using leadership in this party. i'll spin some BS at him about it throwing off treasure splits or experience or something.

i don't know.

anyway, thanks for letting me vent. not that anyone will actually read this long diatribe...
5th-Nov-2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
I read it all. Make him use standard point-buy for his cohort and demand regular skill-checks, to make sure that he's allocated his skill points properly.

Remember you're the DM, so what you say goes. I know it's hard to be harsh to friends, but you have to put your foot down at some point, for the stability of the game.
7th-Nov-2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
I agree about point-buy. It solves EVERYTHING.

If my players aren't powergamers, I'd probably let them roll 4d6, but any whiff of powergaming and it's gone.
5th-Nov-2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid the guy is taking the piss. He's showing neither commitment to the game nor the group. I think he's here to take all he can get.

I would insist that stats are rolled in front of you. If he uses non-cannon and non-approved rules in a game then come down on him like a ton of bricks. Harsh? Yes - but only fair. Those who play by the rules are suffering because of him.
5th-Nov-2006 11:24 pm (UTC) - non-cannon and non-approved rules
i tend to agree with you. but to clarify, he kept referring to this stuff during character creation and i kept telling him no. he didn't use any of it. i wouldn't allow that.
6th-Nov-2006 12:10 am (UTC) - Re: non-cannon and non-approved rules
Sorry if I was harsh. I just don't think this fellow is in the spirit of things at all.
5th-Nov-2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
If you've got somebody who cheats on their rolls and tries to use stuff outside the core books, simply require them to make their char in front of you, or make them use the point buy method for their stats, and just be 100% firm about which specific books they are allowed to use for character creation (Just the phb is perfectly reasonable). This of course presumes that there is a reason for the person to even be in the game, if this is a stranger who isn't adding anything to a group of friends' enjoyment, then it isn't worth the effort, just stop inviting them to play.

5th-Nov-2006 11:39 pm (UTC)

A cohort is an NPC that you hand over. Write up a few, and then RP the scene where he asks one of his buddies from back home to come along. Include a like-minded cleric, and a ranger, and a few others.
6th-Nov-2006 12:37 am (UTC)
That's pretty much what I've always seen done, only usually with the cohort remaining an NPC-it seems to work. I like the idea of having a few genned up and doing a special scene for it, could be really interesting with the player not ending up choosing the one they expected.

To the OP:
Sounds like one of those awkward situations, I've seen stat rolls like the character's come out (I've even had one or two that were close), the cohort looks ridiculous though. The skill points thing??? what does he think he's doing? I think either you make the cohort or if you haven't time/inclination get him to do it with the point buy system.

Seems like maybe you've made a couple of errors of judgement(not a criticism, I've done it a fair few times myself-some players can make anything sound ok at the time:>). Having just had a real problem player in our Shadorun group, I sympathise.

Good luck;-)
6th-Nov-2006 01:04 am (UTC)
i admit to some errors in judgement. i'm usually pretty lenient because the people i've played with don't usually try to take advantage of it. i don't think this friend of mine is consciously trying to see how much he can get away with. but i do think this has gone too far.
(Deleted comment)
6th-Nov-2006 01:17 am (UTC)
yeah... sometimes i think i'd like to. but he was a friend first and a fellow player second and i don't want to hurt his feelings. besides, like i said, i'm not terribly organized so having him around to screw up deflects the heat off of me.
6th-Nov-2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
Exactly what I'd expect to read from Yuber Jackson. :p
6th-Nov-2006 03:18 am (UTC)
Well you might want to suggest that he drop out of the game he's half-committed to, and then you can all make a stronger effort for him to play in a single game 100%.

As for Leadership, as people have said, that's very much a DM controlled feat. You are perfectly within your rights to not allow him to take it (though if he's playing a cleric, it probably would be hard to come up with a reason why not other than meta-game reasons). And even once he takes it, you choose the cohort. In all respects. You design the character from stats to skills. Any input you allow from him is totally a curtesy. But I'd really support the just not allowing the feat in the campaign at all. Just make sure you disallow it for everyone (which probably shouldn't be a problem).

Oh, as for the cleric not wanting to heal... let it go. Clerics are nice, flexible characters who don't have to be walking band-aids. We recently had a girl playing an evil cleric; the player didn't want to just heal people, so had focused more on offensive spells. She still had some emergency healing, but that wasn't her focus. This is perfectly acceptable. The problem became when one of the other players expected her to always heal him, simply because she was "the cleric." And so she refused to always heal him, both IC because "she's evil" (which I was irked about) and OOC because the guy was a munchkin dick (which I totally understood). Anyone (besides the DM) who tried to tell someone else what to do with their character bothers me. If you think the party needs healing, provide an NPC (or have another party member take up the role). Heal-bots are not necessary for the game.
6th-Nov-2006 03:26 am (UTC) - Holy Mackral.
Tell him his cohort is going to be a Dwarven Barbarian and that's that.

Seriously. Barbarian is a great role for a dwarf, and it's almost as simple as a fighter. He might never rage, but even without rage, a barbarian gets devently roudy.
6th-Nov-2006 04:09 am (UTC)
The ranger he's trying to recruit with Leadership won't follow him. He's more powerful than the character with Leadership, and can do better. This is totally in character.
6th-Nov-2006 10:03 am (UTC)
From what you've said about this guy, and what I get from your DM style in your post.

Check and double check his remaining feats.

The feat he swapped out - power attack, is one of those that are in the prereqs for many popular for tank types feats. If he's gotten rid of power attack, that means he can no longer use his cleave as he no longer meet the requirements for it.
Your player sounds just like the type that would 'forget' things like that and no offence, but you sound like the type of DM that would miss that kind of details and let him get away with 'forgetting'.
6th-Nov-2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
Howdy folks. I'm a player in the AoW game and the DM for the other game the player in question is in. If have thoughts.

First, I'd just disallow the Leadership feat for this game. It's the easiest thing to do. Sure, he'll repeatedly talk about, "If I had that cohort..." but he's unlikely to get really angry about it. Besides, that's less to deal with than, "If I had that 18 strength I rolled," and "If you had let me use the dwarven waraxe," and "If I could just..." Just keep it to a single irritating persistant comment.

There seems to be some concern in this thread that this guy's cleric is really overpowered (and it might be in the hands of another player) but it's just not. Sure the high strength and constitution, heavy armor, and dwarven waraxe were pretty impressive at 3rd level, but at 9th not so much. Make no mistake, this player would like to have an uber character that was good at everything, but either because of his lack of experience with 3e or his short attention span he's never quite achieved it. Basically he has a 9th level cleric that he usually plays like a fighter. I was shocked in the last game when he actually used some of his spells. Most games we can go through the entire evening and the only spell he's cast is Enlarge Person (from the strength domain). Nobody is asking this guy to be a walking band-aid. Some times the other players get a little crabby when they have to beg him (after the combat is over) to burn some of the spell slots he isn't using anyway to heal them.

It won't make any difference if he swaps out Power Attack because he never got around to taking Cleave and he's never actually used Power Attack. That's right, he's playing this character as a tank, has had the feat since 1st level, and he's never used it.

You could certainly argue that gernboken should have been more strict during character creation, but the fact is that it really hasn't mattered. The cleric isn't overshadowing the rest of the party or waltzing past all the challenges. On the contrary, I'm concerned that it is only a matter of time before we get crushed because the cleric is so bad at his job.

Just to be clear, while we're never going to be best pals I do enjoy hanging out with this player. I wish he'd show up consistently, but any other complaints are very minor.
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