Dealing with Dumbasses Around the Table

Today we learn how to deal with difficult people:

How do I kick out players no one else wants in the game? There’s one girl in my game and her character is an attention hog, and the rest of the girls in the group are getting tired of it. I agree with them, but I don’t know the best way to go about it. She’s my friend.

Your problem is a somewhat common one.  Although Roleplayers are pretty damn awesome, we’re not so awesome as to be immune to the assery and general crappiness that plagues humanity.  In your games, as in life, you will come across people that irk you slightly, and other people that you just want to punch in the mouth every time they try to open it.

As with any functional group or team activity, you need to have ground rules.  These should be ideally decided upon by the group and be know to all (I’ve compared D&D to Social Anarchy in the past, so check it out if you’re interested in a more detailed discussion of game table governance).  If you have not yet laid out your game table rules, it’s something you need to get on right away.

As for dealing with the problem Player, if you have any hope of enjoying the game, you need to address the problem quickly and directly.  You’ve essentially got three different ways to deal with the problem.

1. The Fuck You Approach

This is pretty simple and straight forward.  You just kick them out, and tell them they were ruining everyone else’s enjoyment of the game.  I generally avoid doing this until I’ve tried at least one other solution, otherwise you just seem like a bad friend and an incompetent DM.  After all, only shitty bosses fire employees without a warning, and the DM is the boss (regardless of what Tony Danza thinks).  And as with any good breakup, if you can’t do it to their face, you shouldn’t be doing it at all.

2. The Sniveling Weasel Approach

This involves making the Player’s life a living Hell until they leave.  This is reserved for anyone who despises confrontation and doesn’t know how to deal with problems.  It’s the perfect way to continue avoiding problems in your life and hoping they go away.

Try removing their PC’s eyes, taking away levels, penalizing experience, having them contract genital herpes – whatever you need to do to make sure they hate the game, and you don’t have to ever address the real problem.

3. The Direct Approach

This is of course the only real solution to the problem, or, at the very least, where you need to start from.  I know it’s not easy telling a friend to grow up and stop being a pain in the ass, but one of the roles of the DM is to make sure all of the Players are enjoying the game.  If you can’t take charge of your table, than DMing might not be for you.

To begin with: Take her aside, talk to her alone, and do it face-to-face! No one likes being called out on shit in front of other people.  It makes them uncomfortable, and it makes them defensive.  And I know we live in the world texting and chatting and science, but we’re still human beings, and it’s really hard for us to interpret emotions unless we’re face-to-face, regardless of how many emoticons we might employ.

If she’s a good friend, hopefully you have an open and honest relationship with her.  Tell her that she’s being ta loud-mouthed ninny-muggin and trampling over the other players.  If you’re not comfortable being straight forward, try saying something along the lines of:

  1. I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the game, but some of the other players are quieter and shier than you, and they have trouble speaking up around you sometimes.  It would help me a lot if you would be more aware of them when they get quiet and give them a chance to join in the game.Or, if she’s someone that really needs her ego stroked:
  2. I’ve noticed that you get very involved in roleplaying your character, and it seems like you’re really invested in the story.  Some of the other players seem to be having a harder time with it.  Do you think you could help me get them more involved?

Those are just a couple of examples, but the main point here is utilize the Player and their loud-mouthed nature to help you out.  Tell them what they’re good at, what you appreciate about them, and why the other Players need her help.  If you can get her to fix the problem on her own, you’ve sidestepped unnecessary drama, and perhaps even the complete ruination of a friendship.

Once you can manipulate your Players to suit your needs you will be on the path towards true mastery of the Dungeon.

Good luck!  And roll it like you mean it!

Don’t forget to check out my RPG Web Series, One Die Short!

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This entry was posted in DM Advice, Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Geek Culture, General Roleplaying, Personal Advice, Player Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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