[RPG] Problematic Players Help (2/3); The Vanishing Veteran


A follow on from Problematic Players help (1/3); Newbie Declaring Solo . In that question, I covered one of the problematic players in my online group. But she's not the only problematic player, not by a long shot.

I should mention, because it's more relevant here: this group is scattered all over the world. We communicate using discord for OOC, and roll20 for IC. Everything is text.

The other problem player is the most (and only) experienced player in the group by several years… but they are also a sneaky powergamer, and often try to sneak around using whatever version of the rules suits whatever shenanigans they're up to. An example of this is rolling up their character when everyone else is made with point-buy, and then somehow (using a personal dice roller, no screenshots or even the slightest fanfare, of course) getting such good rolls that none of their stats started below 16 in the game. This was pretty quickly corrected when it was spotted, but whenever I try to confront them on something, they have a tendency to vanish into thin air until the subject changes. This makes it incredibly slow and painful to get anything from them.

What can I do to change this behaviour, or best confront it?

Best Answer

Talk (yes, this is getting repetitive, but that's the base answer for this sort of problem)

Does this player realize that he does things that puts him above others and thereby takes away the spotlight and fun from others?

You are playing a cooperative game where everyone is supposed to play an important role. Especially with new users like the one from your last question this is important. Someone who does everything different and suddenly gets the best magic items and has the highest stats and other stuff like that may make it un-fun for others - which is bad.

You adjudicate the rules if everyone uses standard array/point buy/rolling then he will have to do so, too

It's your table, you adjudicate the rules. If you say everyone starts with the standard array stats then everyone starts with the standard array. Not some "Yeah, you can't see it, but I rolled really well and this is one of the methods described in the PHB". Make it easy for everyone - your new players are important here - to know how stuff works. The veteran can only do what you allow him to do and he should accept that and guide the others.

Mention that he can't just ignore problems

Vanishing into thin air? Great, that means you are the only one who can say something about the matter. Go with standard array and according to what the PHB recommends for the class. (You might want to give him a warning, though.) If the player doesn't want to cooperate then they have to accept what you decide. The moment you do this they will come out and rant - which is the moment you explain to them that they have to discuss issues with you when they arise or otherwise you decide something to keep the game moving. You can't wait for them forever. This will happen one or two times and then the power gamer will realize that talking will give them more power than not talking.

Just keep in mind that they might try something cheesy when they ask you whether you could make a certain houserule. Don't be afraid to go back on houserules if they don't work in the game. "Yeah, I know, but that's far too powerful. We did it the last three sessions, but from next one on we will do it the old way."