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Comments: I apologize beforehand if this question has been asked before, I was not able to find one, except this, which may be related: Dealing with players who try to run from everything?. Also I'd like to note that english is not my native tongue, so please be gentle.
I have a player in my group which tends to approach local authorities (may it be guards or churches) when facing a threat. He thinks that, given his role (a bard in a medieval world, so, more or a less, a civilian), this is what one of his kind would do in such situations. The other characters, more powerful (knight, ranger, sorcerer, ...), are the passive kind of players and do not prevent him from doing that.
While this behavior is not unjustified, the whole point of playing the game is to solve problems on your own (IMHO), even if they seem to be overwhelming. Sometimes it is justified, but most of the time it makes things only more complicated in terms of:
•The storyline, like the one time they faced a single undead raised by a curse in a city at night, where he handed over the ring which has caused the curse to the local temple, instead of trying to find out about the origins of the curse and how to break it. As soon they have found out that the curse has not been broken and it only affects a certain party member, the required ring was out of reach ... ooops, now they are in trouble (including the storyline).
•The threat level, because the encounters have to be extended, so that they are a threat to a group of adventures AND a bunch of guardsmen. One time the same player in another group abandoned the whole group for a 14 days travel to contact a befriended inquisitor about a serious evil thread to get the support of a bunch of knights.
The examples above are presented in a more superficial way than they actually are. The true story behind is way more complicated, including aspects of personal motivation.
I could tell the player to stop doing that, but I'd prefer to solve the issue in the game, without overstretching means like:
•Authorities are too ignorant/busy/incompetent to care (which in the long run will seem like all authorities in the world are essentially only decoration)
•The adventure is happening in a "closed" environment like extreme wilderness, a ship on the ocean, an area locked because of a plague etc.
What can I do ? How do you deal with such behavior ?
Gamer Forger Response:
This one was a long question, but we got your solution in one neat, tidy packet! Your party needs a spoony bard, and here's some good reasons why you should keep doing it. But being a bard ain't easy. When it comes to really confusing situations with your bardy-bard, DCR says:
1. Bards aren't really fighters, anyway. Not fighting is just as legit as getting your hands dirty. Indeed, the concept of "bard" was never intended to be a heavy damage dealer. They were meant to supplement the others in their duties and function as spokesman for the party. Playing a coward is just as valid as playing a fearless barbarian. There's no need to encounter the pressure of others to behave as they do. Other players should worry about how they play, not how others do.
2. You've encountered the consequences of your actions, now you get to deal with it. Not much else to say about that. Running away is just as good, but there's still consequences. No matter what you do, this will always be the case. Ain't no running away from your fate.
3. Talking is your job. If you're not feeling up to snuff keeping up with the "tanks" and "casters", maybe "bard" isn't the right choice for you. Nothing wrong with that. The classes were created to have distinct strengths and were meant to played to those strengths. Frankly, it's best and easiest to say that it's time to consider trying a different character class. There's no shame in realizing you may be wrong. Just remember to handle that gracefully, please. Firebird suggests that you ask "What do I want to play today?" Think of how you like to do things.
*Bonus XP: When running and/or playing any tabletop RPG: Everything is a variable. Never count on players behaving a certain way. Never count on a GM to behave a certain way. You may no always be comfortable being outclassed or overmatched, but you must be okay with the circle of life. Just because you see a mountain, doesn't necessarily mean you have to be the one who climbs it. Its just a mountain.
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