Dealing with Problem Players in Dungeons and Dragons
As a Dungeon Master, you will encounter all types of players. Some of them will be amazing. Others will not be. These problem players can make your adventure more difficult than it needs to be for many reasons.
Read on to learn more about these players and what you can do about them as the Dungeon Master. With any luck, you can get your campaign back on track and move forward as a group.
Types of Problem Players in Dungeons and Dragons
There are a few different types of problem players that can emerge at a table. Although there are more than listed below, we will go over three of the common types you may encounter as a Dungeon Master.
If you note any of these traits during an adventure, you may need to take charge and repair the situation so you can continue. Nobody enjoys a problem player amid a campaign.
The first type of problem player is the amplifier. This player takes a casual situation and amplifies it into something way more intense than it needs to be. They tend to burst in with exciting actions that ramp up the players but do not push the story forward at all.
Amplifiers often mean no harm, but they slow down the story and keep everyone stuck in one spot. As the DM, you can note this person if their actions make things exciting temporarily but ultimately cause more harm than good.
Although D&D is supposed to be a group effort, sometimes you will run into players that want to take on the game by themselves. They may prove to be a troublemaker with a team set on working together.
Solo players can ruin the team spirit of a campaign. Not only can they be a pain to manage, but they can also quickly cause a group setting to shift from joyous to frustrating. It is vital to fix this mindset as soon as possible.
The final individual we’ll go over is the rule obsessor. These players are locked into a set of rules and are familiar with how each scenario works. Rather than letting things play out, rule obsessors tend to stop everything so they can explain what should be going on for those involved.
While it’s good to know the rules, too much focus can pull enjoyment from the game. If an individual’s explanations are harming your campaign, you have a rule obsessor on your hands.
Dealing with Problem Players
When you encounter these players, it is critical to know how to handle them as a DM without ruining your party. Quick action can save a game. Being a DM with the ability to take on problem players can make or break your team.
Read on to learn about how to deal with each of the personalities listed above. There is a simple action you can take for each of them. Never be aggressive about confrontation. There is a time and place for extreme assertiveness, and a game setting is not one of those times.
Dealing with Amplifiers
When dealing with an amplifier, the best course of action is to talk to them one-on-one. You shouldn’t call the player out in front of everyone present. It’s easy to ostracize someone and make the situation even worse by making them feel terrible for their actions, whether intentional or unintentional.
Talking to them by yourself
- Allows you to gently share your opinion in private
- Permits them to feel comfortable around you and to share their thoughts
- Feels less threatening to the player being spoken to after the game
These are why one-on-one is an excellent way to talk to amplifiers rather than calling them out in the middle of a campaign.
Once you understand their train of thought and have expressed your opinions, you guys can get back on the same page. For your next campaign, you should have a better understanding of each other.
Dealing with Solo Players
There is a way you can deal with a solo player to prevent further disruption to the game. The easiest way to fix a solo problem is to establish the rules and boundaries of the game ahead of time. This action will let them know what they can do and what they cannot do.
You might also suggest that they:
- Take on a solo campaign
- Divert their energy into a team effort
- Engage in a challenge separate from the main effort
These are great options for a person who enjoys standing out.
If you can divert their energy, you can quickly save a game. Solo players are generally easy to deal with because they are passionate about the game, just not in a team effort way. A simple tweak in standards can solve this problem.
Dealing with Rule Obsessors
If a rule obsessor pops up during your adventure, you should act as soon as it makes sense to do so. Establish ahead of time that what you say goes to avoid disruptions as the campaign escalates. If they continue to interrupt, you should do a follow-up after to explain your thought process on the matter.
There’s nothing wrong with being established on the rules, but it can be disruptive if taken too far. Asserting some standards ahead of time and following up should clarify that you have a method you would like to stick with as your team moves forward.
As a DM, you will need to manage the game as it plays out. While some sessions may be perfect, you might run into problem players as you go along. From solo players to amplifiers, there are many different types of frustrating individuals that can appear.
The sooner you can speak with these individuals, the quicker you can resolve the problem and move forward with your gameplay. A good DM should quickly spot problem players and address the issue before it escalates into something that ruins the fun of the adventure. It’s a talent that will prove useful in this setting.