Friday, December 20, 2013

Problem Players & Drama Llamas

There is a stereotype that nerds (in general), and D&D players (specifically) are basement dwelling troglodytes (who know what that word actually means) that wouldn’t know what to say to a woman in the unlikely event one dared enter their subterranean shrine to eternal virginity full of comics and action figures.

The vast majority of the time this isn’t anywhere close to the truth. However… there have been times I’ve had players who just completely lacked any understanding of social behavior. For whatever reason these players tended to be the worst muchkins, and they didn’t much appreciate my stomping on that, and tended to drift away pretty quickly. Most of these I encountered when I was running games at the comic shop I used to work at. It was always a delicate balance between discouraging their participation, yet trying to keep them as customers. Maybe not the choice I'd have made it it had been my store, but that's what the boss wanted.

It's hard to come up with a single memorable encounter, as it's been more of a amalgam of experiences. I've yet to have a table flipping moment, though there have been one or two times when people have left the table upset over a turn of events. These don't stick out as drama llama type reactions though.

What sort of crazy over-the-top problem players and drama llamas have you seen?

This is #25 in the 30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge.


  1. I've had folks show up in a costume dressed like their PC. One fellow told me he collected swords and when he had a chance he'd dig some up out of his yard (he kept them bagged and buried in his yard just in case). There's always folks that freak out and rip their sheet into shreds when a PC gets captured for being captured is worse then death.

  2. 1: A guy showed up with his sword, which he has named "Shieldbreaker", even after we laid out the basic guest rules (basically, be 18+, don't be drunk or high, don't bring weapons, BYO snacks and drinks).

    2: A guy complained that my orcs weren't total tactical geniuses and explained, as a vein bulged on his forehead, that HIS orcs used MARINE TACTICS. Then he pointed at the orc figurines and, overwhelmed with emotion, intoned "OOOOOH!" This became a running joke long after he was uninvited from the group.

    3: A fellow player saved up and searched and finally was able to buy a gold dragon egg at 6th level. Despite the hints from the Good clerics in the group that stealing a Good creature's baby and raising it to carry you around and be Chaotic Selfish like you might be offensive. He gets it anyway. We engineer its rescue without our characters being directly involved. He got super pissy like a four-year-old and sat there with his arms tightly folded around himself, not communicating except to snarl at anyone who talked to him, mentioned him, or moved past him to leave the gaming room.

    4: One player who claimed to be autistic but I think was just a jerk who was good at math, kept bringing up hypothetical scenarios with rules interactions, like "If I had this feat and used it against this monster, what would happen? What if it was really windy?", but my DMing style wouldn't give him a satisfactory answer. I answer questions that the character should know the answer to, or if it's a question about how a rule works so the player can make an informed decision on making his character. But if it's something that the player would benefit more from experiencing in the course of the game, I just smile and shrug. Guess you'll have to find out! In this case the guy was just a rules lawyer itching for confrontation. I guess he ended up moving? He stopped playing with us anyway.