Problem Players 2: The Brick Wall
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Welcome to part two of my series on Problem Players and how to deal with them.

Bluntness warning!

Let me preface this by saying that none of this is personal toward anyone in particular. This is just based on information gathered during my career as a Dungeon Master.

There are a few primary types of problem players you will get. In no particular order, you have the following primary types:

  • The Special Little Snowflake
  • The Butthurt Avenger
  • The Whinebag
  • The Brick Wall
  • The Overcompensator
  • The Flake
  • The Exit Finder
  • The Overzealous A-hole
  • The Power-hungry Douche
  • The Hoarder
  • The Collector
  • The Silent Type
  • The Videogame Character
  • The "Everyone's an NPC!" Guy
  • The "Wrong Rules, Asshole!" Guy

Each one of these, and possibly more, will get their own blog entries in no particular order, and now I will discuss…

The Brick Wall!

Everyone knows at least one person like this. This is the kind of person who, no matter what you tell them, how effective your advice, how clear your tone, and so on resists your every word as if you're speaking directly to a brick wall. Might as well be in some cases, right?

In the context of gaming, this type of player will do whatever they want, when they want it, and damn anyone who tries to tell them otherwise.

Got a door in your way and some time to deal with it silently? The Rogue wants to detect traps and try to pick its lock? Well, too fuckin' bad if The Brick Wall is in your party. They'll rush the door, whether your Rogue is out of the way or not, and crush their way in whilst causing as much noise as possible and, quite likely, alerting every single guard in a Waterdeep city block! Conversely, if the door needs to be broken down because you're being pursued by a pair of Umber Hulks, and the Rogue takes the mantle of The Brick Wall and holds up the party to pick a lock on a shitty wooden door, then you're going to have the same problem.

Need to be stealthy to get by this sleeping Ancient White Dragon? A Kobold is standing in the way, so your Ranger gets out in front and quietly draws her bow while taking a knee for steady aim. Here comes The Brick Wall! The Ranger gets knocked over, her bow clatters to the floor, and this asshole's yelling a battle cry while running toward this one single kobold! Yeah, after that, the Kobold's going to be the least of the party's woes. Ancient White Dragons usually equal TPK.

Did you let this character go off on his own, only to hear later that it resulted in the destruction of thousands of gold worth of property damage, smashed priceless artifacts, and stolen exhibit pieces? Conglaturation, guys, you're now stuck with the burden of travelling with a fugitive.

This player frustrates the party to no end because The Brick Wall thwarts every plan except for the one he/she wants. They will not budge despite every possible effort.

Well, here's how to budge The Brick Wall:

  1. Let them get the party into a situation, and then slam that PC into a situation far worse via the use of a pit trap, teleportation trap, blink door, portal, etc. The party will not come to his or her aid.
    • They should quickly realize, "Well, I'm fucked! Maybe I should think ahead and listen to the others."
  2. Penalize them for rushing forward by the use of magic traps, poison traps, mechanical traps, etc.
    • "Every time I don't listen, I get a Lightning Bolt up me arse…"
  3. Have an NPC party be nearby with a similar character. Once the two parties cross paths, make a brutal example of The Brick NPC.
  4. Create a spider dungeon wherein all the captives will bitch and complain about not having listened to the party.
  • Obviously, if the above steps don't work, and the player continually ignores the party's plans and going on his or her own path, then, as before, walk the player outside and confront directly. If still no change, then boot the player because chances are good that the character wasn't all that great either and/or the player was just bringing the mood of the party down.

Once the kick happens, tell yourself and the other players DM Havok's holy mantra of…

And nothing of value was lost.

How to easily spot The Brick Wall!

  • They create their character at the table without considering party balance, construction, cohesion, or concept.
  • They will usually be consistent in asking if doing what they did gained them any EXP.
  • They will very often whine about not being first in the initiative.
  • They will often complain about there being a lack of action.
  • They are a big fan of Leroy Jenkins.

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