[RPG] Power player is a problem. Any fix



I'm a new DM because the old DM wanted to play for once. No big deal right? Man was I wrong in accepting.

Let me explain.

This "DM" knows everything. He is always right. Even if he is wrong he is right because you are either too logical or forgetting logic, depending on the situation.

So I took over this game. Built an entire world for us. Whole new setting. Uses the D&D 3.5 gods and rules.

I've tried limiting my homebrew changes only to things that make no sense at all or to extract more fun for the group.

The problem


The old DM is my best friend. But I have to face it: his stories while DMing lacked descriptions. He did those sneaky DM things like if you didn't say specifically what you looked for you wouldn't find it. But if you're specific you overlook things.

He actually forced players to play classes he suggested simply because the party needed it.

He tried multiple tines to force a player to RP a sex scene he put them into. Not physically but he wanted them to describe exactly what they did and preferably in a manner that sounded a little like phone sex.

Needless to say half the group left and I took over as DM. Got the guys back.


Now this is him in the current game.

Most of the players are fairly new. Don't really understand the rules and are trying to learn. I'm a long time player but new DM so its a learning experience for us all..

Except my friend.

He builds his Uber barbarian.

So far level 8. That's 5 barbarian levels, 1 champion of Gwynharwyff, and 2 Frenzied Berserker.

He also rolled superb stats. 3 18's and nothing less than 15. That's 4d6 dropping lowest so his base stats outclassed everyone from day 1.

Plus he is the Forgotten Realms version of Dragonborn of Bahamut.

Now that sounds bad but apparently according to him one of the feat prereqs allows him to frenzy without attacking allies, so no worries there. Can't remember the name but according to other posts on here, it's either yes it does or DM choice. I prefer he not kill everyone so yeah it does.


He refuses to do sunder normally ever. With his massive strength he just breaks it outright on raw Str checks. His defence is the rules don't say he can't do it.

I had to house rule the DC on it to be 10+hardness+2/inch thick just to make him roll to succeed and by his interpretation of the rule our wizard could have punched through adamantine… I understand a 35 strength after raging should possibly do so but a 14 Str should not.

Then the problems escalated. Door locked? Punch through it. Trap in the way? Punch it till the wall collapses. No more trap.

Our rogue skillmonkey sneak thief leaves each game feeling useless.

Came across a magic item. He demands to use his 15 intelligence as a raw check to determine if the item is magical in nature. Even after I already told them all it's a crystal with gold tipped ends wrapped in a pulsing purple light… Seems pretty magical to me bro.

He refused to accept he could not do this citing rules about raw stat checks and how they don't forbid it and it devolves into a full out argument. He refuses to accept that core rule of the DM adjudicates and makes judgements. Flat refuses. He wants to argue his point now.

If I let him get away with this raw check then our wizard loses that part of his job. The wizard is specced for crowd control and utility with only minimal damage spells.

(BTW I went with only a slight variation on Unearthed Arcana's spell point system for casters. I'll note it below if anyone asks but he complained for a week about how I was making casters super OP with it.)

His stuff

Now today he is demanding that I allow him to seek out something called Thor's belt and win it from him in a contest. Let me explain in case you don't know.

Deities and demigods provides statistics on the Norse pantheon. One of which is Thor. This isn't Marvel's pretty boy Thor. This is old Norse god Thor. One item it says he has as part of fluff information is a belt that doubles his strength. The book leaves the belt unnamed so player calls it Thor's belt.

I tried to explain to him it's impossible because Thor doesn't even exist in the world I created. The only gods are the D&D gods.

His response was that I needed to give him the belt regardless. He has to have a belt to double his Str stat. I'm allowed to call it something else but it needs to do that. He's willing to wait till epic levels because it's so OP but he still needs to get it because he asked. It's his one relic item he searches for. According to him he's allowed to specify a particular relic to find.

Did I forget to mention his other demand? His home made berserker armor. That doubles his Str score (including the bonus from Thor's belt apparently) and as a balance thing it rakes 10 HP per round the effect is active.

Let's check the math. According to him:

25 Str normally. Pop both frenzy and rage for 35 Str. Thor's belt doubles this for a 70 and then the berserker armor doubles that for a 140 Str. (140-10)/2 for normal bonus to hit. That's a +65 to hit and damage. Even more since he is using a greatsword for Str and a half. Oh my bad, not a greatsword. He took the feats for monkey grip. He wields a large great sword. And is planning on taking two weapon fighting tree and improved monkey grip plus this apparent epic monkey grip so eventually he can dual wield large great swords with no negatives.

The argument

I've tried asking him to give other people a chance to actually do what they're meant to do such as picking locks and traps. We will see how that goes, but knowing how defensive and angry he got at even the thought of holding back I don't fully expect him to do so.

I don't want to kick him because he is my best friend and when he is being a team player he freaking rocks. Assuming he's not bent and shattered a rule and works as a team he's awesome. But he's a spotlight hog in a game of newbies.

Please does anyone have a suggestion on how to deal with this guy that doesn't involve either kicking him or house ruling so heavily against him that the game's no longer fun for anyone simply because it's so complicated?

I thought I might put this here as I looked it up again to be certain. This information is hand copied directly from the masters of the wild book under the frenzy ability in the class frenzied berserker.

Frenzy (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, the frenzied berserker can enter a frenzy during combat. While frenzied, she gains a +6 bonus to Strength and a single extra attack each round at her highest bonus. (This latter effect is not cumulative with haste.) However, she also suffers a–4 penalty to AC and takes 2 points of subdual damage per round. A frenzy lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the frenzied berserker’s Constitution modifier. To end the frenzy before its duration expires, the character may attempt a Will save (DC 20) once per round as a free action. Success ends the frenzy immediately; failure means it continues. The effects of frenzy stack with those from rage.

To clarify we used a rule on rolling of 4d6 dropping the lowest for stats.

He rolled before all eyes as did everyone else. He unfortunately got these rare unheard of rolls legitimately.

All players where limited to a race of no more than 2 LA.

Each player had a month to research races before character creation and game 1.

I cannot fault him on his build. It is within the rule set.

His main core issues are;
Demanding special privileges aka demanding 2 artifacts of his own choosing guaranteed.

Using his own interpretation of the rules as reasons he can do things he actually can't.

Overshadowing other players during exploration like demanding to kick in doors cause the rogue didn't get it try 1.

Trying to be the "face of the party" dominating rp on top of already dominating combat and exploration.

And as of today refuses to cite official source books stating the wiki is always right ( not the dndwiki. Therafim. And not in any srd section. )

Best Answer

Alright, it sounds like you have a lot of problems going on here that I'm going to address individually using the ruleset that you've chosen for your game.

First off, you're being taken advantage of.

There's no easy way to say this, but your friend is attempting to take advantage of you during the course of this game that you're playing. An item to double someone's Strength score (whether it be armor or a belt) would cost millions of gold pieces and be at least an artifact level item. Under zero circumstances should you ever agree to such a demand within the confines of the rules. He can buy a +6 Belt of Giant Strength just like everyone else.

A barbarian (no matter how "special") can't determine whether an item is magical unless you the DM make it obvious.

A magical item has a 20%ish chance of having a magical glow that would indicate that it's magical. It sounds like in this instance your item has this, so a check isn't even necessary. If you want to know its magical properties (and you do not in fact have access to the Wizard spell Identify), your barbarian must roll Spellcraft with a DC of 70 + caster level of the item. If he can't make that check? Tough. He can't identify the properties of the item.

If you want to be nice you can use the following descriptors in my answer on this question to give the players a hint at the items purpose. But that's entirely optional.

Sunder doesn't work that way.

With sunder there are steps that you need to follow, that are written so a Barbarian doesn't steal your sword and attempt to snap it over his knee.

You take an attack of opportunity, and you roll an opposed attack roll. If he wins? Deal damage to the sword or shield or armor as per the hardness table for materials in the DMG. If he has Improved Sunder he doesn't incur the AOO. There shouldn't ever be an occurrence where process fails to happen if he's attempting to break a weapon. If you cave on this guy you're showing him that he can bully you, the GM, around, which complicates things.

What he's attempting to do with a door isn't really sunder, and ties into the type of door he's trying to use brute force to break through, and the Break DC of that door. Wooden doors are the easiest to break through, then stone, then iron. All the information about doors, and their break DCs can be found here.

"The rules don't say I can't" isn't a valid argument.

The rules don't say you can't, but the rules don't say a lot of things that common sense would normally take care of. The rules don't say a wizard can't spit lasers or vomit lightning at will, but the rules do say what you can do within the scope of the game. If the rules don't say you can't, it also means they don't say you can also. What information isn't covered by the book can just be fielded by common sense, or house rules.

Well if it's not in the rules...

He's attempting to punch through a door?

Bones aren't as strong as iron or stone, or even wood. If he attempts to punch through an obstacle that isn't meant to be broken he breaks his fist, suffering a penalty to all melee attacks until he receives healing of any kind. Making other players useless is awful. It's even more awful if its allowed to happen. So make him useless for attempting to act outside the confines of his role. This will teach him some humility hopefully.

The best way to get rid of this mentality is to punish his kick-in-the-door style of play. There was a module a long time ago published called The Tomb of Horrors in which everything was a trap meant to screw with and punish characters or players with preconceived notions on how the game itself was played. It had things such as Pit traps with poisoned spikes (Save or Die), fake doors that when opened or forced will conjure a spear to stab the closest person, a sphere of annihilation for those who attempt to backtrack to an area after they fell into an area triggered by a prior trap, and secret doors hidden slightly above spikes at the bottom of pit traps.

If you do play something like this module your barbarian friend will trigger every trap, die, and then he can roll up another character, but if you do decide to run something similar to The Tomb of Horrors be sure that everyone you're playing with has at least a minimum of two characters on hand, there will be lots of death involved.

Puzzle doors.

If your barbarian friend is that insistent on trying to brute-force his way through solid objects, implement a series of puzzle doors that require brainpower to solve instead of trying to punch things. It will give your group a chance to converse at length and find a way through the doors using thought and teamwork instead of one guy attempting to brute force through something he has no business trying to break.

Create a skill challenge that requires the Barbarian to be preoccupied while the rest of the party solves the rest.

Lets say for example your party is in a dungeon, and there's a portcullis in a dungeon. For those of you who don't know a Portcullis is a door normally with bars that falls down instead of opening up. They normally have bars. For this example we'll be using a standard portcullis. On one side of the gate is a large iron wheel which connects to a chain that when turned will raise the Portcullis, However, the wheel is rusted and requires great strength to turn. Once the barbarian turns the wheel, as its pretty much expected for him to do, he will have to attend to the wheel to insure that the Portcullis remains open while the other PCs finish their own challenge.

"Now today he is demanding that I allow him to seek out something called Thor's Belt and win it from him in a contest."

This is probably your best opportunity to shake the mentality that because he is a player and your friend he gets whatever he wants. Put your foot down. Let him fight the level 40 Demigod with over 1200 hit points who always hits and only has to roll to confirm criticals, with DR 71/+5 and ninety-two strength, to get his belt.

The fight will end in one round and he can roll up another character that might be a little more humble. If you don't want to be this drastic you can do this outside the actual canon of the game to show to him what a ridiculous notion he's attempting to pass.

If you want to be less drastic...

Just give him a warning. Just warn him that what he's attempting to do doesn't exist or function within the confines of the game rules and if he raises an objection put him in time out for five minutes while you resolve combat for the people who DO want to follow the rules. If he doesn't want to follow the rules, time him out for five minutes. Eventually he'll get the picture that what he's doing isn't all right, but you're going to have to be strict.

What he's doing to you isn't okay. His actions are railroading the game the way HE wants it to be played, not the way you're trying to run it, and that just isn't a cool thing to do at the game table.

"And as of today refuses to cite official source books stating the wiki is always right (not the dndwiki.) Therafim. And not in any srd section."

While there are valuable tools online for 3.5 related games, such as the Online d20 SRD, Herolabs, etc., sites such as Dandwiki, D&D Tools, and Therafim should be taken as sources with an extreme grain of salt. Oftentimes things on Dandwiki are homebrew content unless specifically marked with the "SRD" descriptor on their title pages. And generally Therafim and D&D Tools (while usually having correct information) host their information illegally: most information you find published on those sites is from books not covered by the OGL.

If he doesn't cite the sources for his character decisions from actual sourcebooks, I would make him find the information before allowing him to even sit down and play at the table, as there's a possibility that he could even be making it up as he goes along to give himself an edge. If he can't find the information about his abilities in an actual sourcebook, have him roll up a new character with the books you have at the table.