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View Full Version : Dealing with an in-game personality problem



Mark Hall
2008-12-19, 02:28 AM
I have a slight problem when we're playing, 4e especially, though I imagine similar things would happen with 3.x... namely, I become a mentula towards the other players. I snap at them. I somewhat condescendingly tell them their totals (because they'll forget a modifier or two). I explain reach weapons while strangling them and kneeing them in the crotch.

Ok, the last one is an exaggeration. But not by much.

The thing is, I'm keeping about five or six characters (mine and the rest of the party's) in my head, at the same time. I can tell you their modifiers for most of their attacks. I don't track their HP, but I do track how much damage they're able to do on a given attack. I explain reach weapons every week, sometimes multiple times.

Really, the reach weapon thing is getting to me.

I try to control it, but every week its the same thing. They forget a modifier. They stare at their dice for a few seconds before they're able to total the number shown and +6, +5, or whatever their bonus to damage is. They insist that they can take an attack of opportunity because they have a reach weapon. And I get snappy. I get annoyed, and try to restrain it, but it's the same problems every week.

I honestly have no idea what to do about this.

Malacode
2008-12-19, 02:36 AM
Let them make mistakes, expecially if it's to their, (NOT your) detriment. Doing this is probably ruining their fun, and it sure as hell looks like it's ruining yours. Sure, your concience may hurt when they do something incredibly stupid, but oh well. You'll get used to it, and they will learn, eventually... Live and let live.

Grail
2008-12-19, 02:58 AM
Get a swear jar. Add a coin to it everytime you do it. When there is enough, get pizza for everyone. Eventually you'll get sick of shouting everyones dinner.

Alternatively, talk to the players and DM. Maybe they can come up with solutions. (Take damage, etc).

Take a week or two off.

Take some valium.

Get laid.

Get drunk or stoned.

Shpadoinkle
2008-12-19, 03:13 AM
Does this ONLY happen during games, or does it carry into other parts of your life too? If it does, it might just be a stress thing.

As for the "I have to explain reach weapons every damn week" thing, try writing out what you have to keep telling them, in simple terms and diagrams if neccesary.

Kizara
2008-12-19, 03:56 AM
Make up a duence cap.

Make the next person that asks you about/screws up reach weapons wear it.

KIDS
2008-12-19, 04:22 AM
I understand that such cases, particularly when the players are doing it to steal advantages for themselves, is extremely frustrating. You can gently point out something or ignore it. But I don't know how to deal with exploding at them, honestly. It's a matter of how well you tolerate unfairness I guess :)

For example, in the game where I'm playing, I frequently have other players:
a) drawing weapons as a part of the charge
b) taking multiple standard actions in a round (heck, that's like a free time stop!)
c) adding wrong or double modifiers to their rolls
d) attacking creatures adjacent to them with a reach weapon (3.5e)
e) stacking modifiers that weren't meant to be stacked together (like a ton of different morale bonuses to produce a +15 at level 1)
f) taking AoOs for all kinds of inappropriate actions
etc....

I don't know. It's frustrating. But shouting at them is the worst thing you can do. Letting angst build up inside you is a close second. The only one who can solve it is the DM, by knowing his rules or being less lenient to various abuse (I don't mean to clever ideas, just to abuse). You have to accept that such things just happen and you probably can't change them.

What Shpadoinkle posted seems important to me:

Does this ONLY happen during games, or does it carry into other parts of your life too? If it does, it might just be a stress thing.

Chineselegolas
2008-12-19, 04:51 AM
Find myself doing similar stuff from time to time...
Mostly I catch myself giving the totals from rolls. And get it right all the time including modifiers from this and that... Course loving maths probably does some of this but...

Yeah, understand your problems too.

valadil
2008-12-19, 09:44 AM
How about if you only mention forgotten modifiers when relevant? If that +2 is the difference between success and failure, ask them if they remembered to include the bonus. If they succeed or fail without the bonus, let it go. Wean yourself off of correcting them this way.

Also, would it help if you didn't know all their character sheets? I have enough trouble keeping my own character in my head.

Finally, and this is a little more work on your part, have you considered printing up some cheat sheets for combat? We've been doing that in my group lately because we're using some new systems. It helps a lot.

kalt
2008-12-19, 09:59 AM
I second the idea of cheat sheets especially if they are just new or your DM is too lenient. It sounds like you might be taking D&D a little too seriously though and your probably just need to drink a little booze/beer while playing god knows it helps me and tends to brighten the mood. Especially if you play a dwarf that loves to drink it really helps you get in character.

Raum
2008-12-19, 11:21 AM
And I get snappy. I get annoyed, and try to restrain it, but it's the same problems every week.

I honestly have no idea what to do about this.I have to ask, are you having fun? Are you enjoying the game? If not, why not? Are rules / not learning the rules the root cause? What about the players? Are they having fun? Why aren't they engaged enough to learn the rules?

If learning the rules is the only issue, I'd suggest two things. First print a list of the most common mistakes and the correct way to interpret them. Hand that out to your players. Second, ask the most knowledgeable or most engaged of the players if he's willing to track and correct obvious mistakes so you don't have to. That way you can smile and concentrate on plot while he explains reach weapons for the umpteenth time...

Do make sure the rules are the root cause though - fixing that issue won't help much if the real issue lies elsewhere. Whatever you do, create an environment where everyone can have fun. Including yourself.

Mark Hall
2008-12-20, 01:29 AM
I'll address a few things.

For the most part, I'm enjoying the game a lot. I look forward to it every week, and not just because Hzurr buys pizza. Last week was kinda rough, but that's because I didn't hit with a single attack, which just sucked.

I don't do this a lot outside of the game; I've put my "impatient voice" on for the guy who I have to help with the exact same things on the computer every week, but I don't get snappy about it. I think part of it stems from the fact that it happens sometimes every round. Not just "I can't total my die and my bonuses" but "What the hell are my bonuses again?"

Defiant
2008-12-20, 01:49 AM
I had problems myself with such issues. People forgetting modifiers, not adding things right, etc. I even managed to briefly alienate my best friend because I said that he's not very experienced at D&D because he got his stat array all messed up, with him retorting (in private) "So because I made a math error, I'm not good at D&D?".

Anyways... The solution here is that you get a nice boost to your Diplomacy training :smallbiggrin:

xPANCAKEx
2008-12-20, 02:25 AM
the bonuses thing i can't really get my head around - this is why you have character sheets

as for reach weapons - it might be worth drawing up a cheat sheet on an index card so they see what they can and can't do with a simple-easy-to-read piece of card they can keep to hand

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-20, 02:28 AM
For example, in the game where I'm playing, I frequently have other players:
a) drawing weapons as a part of the chargeI'm fairly certain you can do that. If not, it's at least sensible, since I know you can do so as part of normal movement.

Still, Mark Hall (and KIDS), you're dealing with people who don't know the game. I say, if you're fed up with explaining it every time, either stop and let them fix their own mistakes, or leave. There's no need to play a game where you're too annoyed to have fun.

RebelRogue
2008-12-20, 02:45 AM
You just basically described my job!

THAC0
2008-12-20, 03:24 AM
Actually, this is something that my group considers to be a large problem. There's too much math that goes into 4E. Once you get to mid-high heroic tier, you're always adding double digit numbers, even if there are no situational modifiers.

We happen to play online, so we are able to make macros and have the computer do the work for us, but playing face-to-face, I might kill certain group members whose math skills are weaker than mine.

Rutskarn
2008-12-20, 03:32 AM
I'm going to second the Cheat Sheet idea. In the interest of precision, I would also recommend that you make them--that way, you don't have to worry that your players have gotten a number wrong, or have forgotten something.

Hopefully, that will quicken the pace of combat. As for adding the numbers: there are several dice rollers online, including one on the WotC website, that automatically add bonuses to randomized rolls. I myself had to use them when, in a rare case of competent optimization, I was rolling more dice than could be comfortably furnished by most of plastic-producing sweatshops of the world (rogue dual-wield cheese, Win to the For).

Hawriel
2008-12-20, 08:37 AM
Cheat sheets are a great Ideal I bump it.

I have a hard time with math. Im a little OCD with math so I have to do it over again because I convince myself half way through adding that Im doing it wrong. Its like trying to grab small bars of soap in dish water some times. There is alot of crap to keep track of. What skills/feats/abilites do what when and how. Rolling a sneak attack or a fire ball is a pain because Im trying to add alot of numbers and I mentaly drop them.

This is how I try to cope. I put as much info on my character sheet as I can. Fore example In 2nd ed I had a ranger with a +4 defender. A defender (for thoughs who dont know) in 2nd ed worked like the feats power attack and combat expertice combined. That is I can add the full +4 to attack/damage or AC. Or devide it any whare inbetween. Thats alot of work. To make it easy I wrote down 3 weapon stats on my sheet. Full attack, full defence and half and half. It was a basterd sword so I also put down one and two handed grip.

I do this for attacks in 3rd ed. I write down in the bab slot 15/10/5. in the melee slot 17/12/7. In the weapons listing I put that mod. like so Rapier +2 (with weapon finess) 21/16/11.

I also mark what skills are class skills for what classes the character has. I put a note in the margin below the saves chart for any conditional mods. Like the dwarves poison bonus. I also wright all this stuff down in short hand as feats on the back of the character sheet. Basicly I use the full sheet as intended and then some.

I find that peaple forget buffs the most. If I had a dollar for every time some one said 'did you remember the bulls strength/bless/prayer/prot evil/blink/aid/bardsong bonus to that roll? I could bail out the auto companies. Extra note cards should be used for spells. The wizard in the group should have a note card spell book in hand. With multaple critters written down for the familiar and summoned critters.

Of corse I assume you know all this and do it or dont need to because you have a better memory than me. I recomend asking (unless your the DM and telling) the player to see his character sheet. It might be a mess. offer to help them clean it up so its in order. IF your not the DM let him handle it. if they are taking the delay in stride so should you. After all its the DMs responsability to keep the game running smoothly. Take the time to consider your next action, drink beer or contimplate on why you are getting more agressive at an activity that is supposed to be fun. From your post I think you may be headed toward resentful snert rules lawyer. In which case you my be will get flack yourself.

Tengu_temp
2008-12-20, 08:52 AM
Make up a duence cap.

Make the next person that asks you about/screws up reach weapons wear it.

Seconded. People who have trouble with grade school-level math or remembering simple rules deserve no better.

Vikazc
2008-12-20, 11:36 AM
The worst I have to deal with so far is a player who consistently cheats on his die rolls, not well, or even in a sneaky way. He will "pre roll" for 9 out of 10 attacks and skill checks. Despite having a perception bonus of 2 (4E) he manages to have a 20 or higher skill check on that every single time. Sometimes its as bad as he will just keep one die on 20 and push it forward on the table when his turn comes up and say he already rolled it. The GM made a rule that you had to roll at the time of your action, and now he just rolls right in front of himself most of the time, cups his hand around the die, says its an 18 when I can see its a 2, and knocks it back into his pile right away so no one checks. Its gotten rediculous.

Dannoth
2008-12-20, 11:40 AM
You need to relax before each game.

Perhaps something that makes you a bit less focused/irritable.

esorscher
2008-12-20, 11:42 AM
Get drunk or stoned.

High DnD is always fun.

Rutskarn
2008-12-20, 11:42 AM
Seconded. People who have trouble with grade school-level math or remembering simple rules deserve no better.

I would object to that, actually.

People are there to play a game, not to be mocked about their math skills.

arguskos
2008-12-20, 11:46 AM
I would object to that, actually.

People are there to play a game, not to be mocked about their math skills.
However, when their lack of ability to add is detracting from everyone's enjoyment, action needs to be taken to fix the situation (though, a dunce cap is not the solution :smallannoyed:). Personally, I suggest a cheat sheet.

xPANCAKEx
2008-12-20, 12:21 PM
Seconded. People who have trouble with grade school-level math or remembering simple rules deserve no better.

yeah, coz treating someone like an idiot for forgetting a rule or 2 to a game is going to make it fun for all involved...

Tengu_temp
2008-12-20, 12:34 PM
yeah, coz treating someone like an idiot for forgetting a rule or 2 to a game is going to make it fun for all involved...

If someone has trouble adding two numbers ranging from 1 to 20 together, or remembering a simple rule after someone keeps telling him about it every damn session, then treating him like an idiot is probably not far from the reality.

Prometheus
2008-12-20, 12:41 PM
Happened to another friend of mine. Here's what I recommend:
a) Tell the problem players that they should maybe pay a little more attention, but continue helping them.
b) Play guru. If they ask about the rules, tell them how to look it up. If they insist they have the rules right and you have them wrong - tell them they are mistaken and continue on as they look it up again. If they add or roll wrong, tell them, but not what the right answer is.

Qanael
2008-12-20, 01:05 PM
If someone has trouble adding two numbers ranging from 1 to 20 together, or remembering a simple rule after someone keeps telling him about it every damn session, then treating him like an idiot is probably not far from the reality.

I don't know if it just me, but I'm really quite good at math and have no trouble totalling stuff in D&D, and I find that attitude highly childish and offensive. Some people simply aren't any good at math; I have a psychologist friend in my campaign who usually takes a long time to roll for an attack because of this. He's a good roleplayer, and quite intelligent, but his mental arithmetic just blows.

His long-ass turns have pretty much become a staple of our group. Nobody minds much.

Tengu_temp
2008-12-20, 01:14 PM
I am aware my stance is offensive to some people. It doesn't mean I will change it. If you have trouble with grade school-level adding, something is wrong with you and you should go back to school.

I should probably qualify - if someone has any problem, no matter gow trivial, with understanding the game mechanics, the others should usually help. Not laugh. But the people Mark Hall describes look as if they don't want to be helped. When you describe how a rule works, every week, only to be met with "no u wrong", the time to be nice is over.