PDA

View Full Version : Trouble with players



WrstDmEvr
2008-01-12, 07:25 PM
I'm having some trouble with my group. It's been going on for some time now, but recently they have gone overboard with some things.

The Party:

Rogue, Druid/Blackguard, Shadowcaster/Child of the Night, and a Dragon.

Rogue: I think he's the #1 problem. I've noticed he pretty much gives himself whatever skills he needs with max ranks. Arbitrates for DM pretty much every single time to give himself an advantage(disregarding the rules and/or reality in the process). Agrees with druid whenever it gives them an equal advantage, complains when anybody else is more powerful. Due to this, slightly hypocritical.

Druid: Not as bad as rogue. He does bend the rules, but usually gives in if shown proof. Like rogue, also creates certain rulings that may or may not disregard rules/reality.

Shadowcaster: Slightly overpowered due to rules, but not intentionally.

Dragon: Will agree with rogue/druid every single time, without fail, unless they complain about one of his abilities.


The rogue, druid, and dragon all complain loudly if I try to fix a mistake I made earlier, disregarding any rules to the contrary (or maybe they don't understand grammar. Either one.)


In one of the more recent instances, I made a mistake regarding Ioun Stones. (I'm new to DM'ing). When I tried to fix my mistake, they all disagreed and said they did indeed stack. When I showed them the piece of text saying that bonuses most generally do not stack, they all interpreted that as saying that in most cases, they did stack unless it said in the description they didn't. I has to compromise with the druid to get them to agree. The rogue, next session, complained that I could have "just said no" and the druid would have to give in.

My question is, what should I do about the problem players? I know that ,partially, I am responsible for some of the problems, as are the players. However, I cannot kick any of them out of the group, as it would lead to a chain reaction and end up everybody leaving.

P.S: If you have any criticism of my DM'ing, fire away. I didn't just pick my username out of a hat.:smallbiggrin:

Crow
2008-01-12, 07:38 PM
It sounds like a pretty young group that you roll with. Others will provide more in-depth advice, but I'll offer the following;

Take your players aside and explain to them that you are still learning and that you are not trying to "screw them over" on anything. You are trying to do something that will be fair and fun for everybody. Ask them to cut you a little slack when you make mistakes, because it will happen from time to time, and may require correcting.

If your players can't get on board with this, and you feel like you aren't having any fun, either take a break for a little while, or let somebody else DM and just enjoy being a player for a while (be a good player though, and don't try to make things difficult out of spite).

You're not a slave who's purpose is to allow your players to live out power fantasies. You're supposed to be having fun just as much as everyone else.

DementedFellow
2008-01-12, 07:41 PM
I say let them have their bonuses. They'll need it when you send the Tarrasque after them.:smallbiggrin:

Mark Hall
2008-01-12, 07:48 PM
You're new. As such, you don't have great mastery of the rules, and you'll screw things up from time to time. It happens... all of us have done it.

So, they don't want to play by the RAW. Then play by the rules that are common in the group. If something doesn't say it doesn't stack, it does. Your NPCs get to take advantage of this, too; they should do so. Two or three Bull's strengths on a single target; "The wizard cast Mage Armor on himself three times, so you can't hit him with your attack bonus". Play by the rules they're insisting on.

Likewise, start getting rid of magic items. For Ioun stones, have people try to TAKE them; area of effect spells can possibly melt them, too, if they roll a 1 on their save. Bad guys might try to sunder or disarm... they don't have the same "need to gather magic items to gain power" drive that PCs have.

Right now, they're getting their jollies off beating up the bad guys without opposition. Crank up the opposition a bit by playing by the same rules... NOT cheating, but playing by the rules they are insisting on.
You can fix things next game.

Savageman
2008-01-12, 07:52 PM
"Rogue: I think he's the #1 problem. I've noticed he pretty much gives himself whatever skills he needs with max ranks. Arbitrates for DM pretty much every single time to give himself an advantage(disregarding the rules and/or reality in the process). Agrees with druid whenever it gives them an equal advantage, complains when anybody else is more powerful. Due to this, slightly hypocritical."

The rogue sounds like a pain - if he's not obeying the rules (and everyone else is) then you definitely need to explain to him that the rules exist for a very good reason, and more often than not, they add fun to the game, while ignoring them can end a session quickly. To deal with him explain, firmly, that if he wants to continue to play he has to follow the rules for his character. He does not decide rulings, and has no say in that matter. That's your job as DM - never let a player decide a ruling for you. If they're too pushy, thank them for their input and ask them to be quiet or talk to the other players as you decide.

For the party as a whole: it sounds like your problem is that they all side together against you when it's to their benefit and spend the rest of their time fighting each other over powergaming issues. This sucks, and there's no real absolute answer for a group that just doesn't work well together. I'd suggest sitting them down and explaining to them that their bickering is making you not enjoy the game, and that they are not functioning well together. The game is supposed to be for fun - your character isn't real, can't be real, and may be underpowered, weak, cowardly - interesting, in other words. Ask them to try to play as their character, rather than as a gamer. I know this can be a problem for many new to the game. It's not all about uber-characters.

Finally (I know, I'm long-winded) have some damn confidence. Start by changing your screen-name. Then think up a session YOU would enjoy playing with your friends. Simple and quick, with rules you know by heart - a few simple combats and maybe a small dungeon will do the trick. Run your group through it - and don't give them any room for argument. If they complain, tell them you're not trying to give them a hard time, and admit that you want to run simpler scenarios to bone up on the rules and increase your confidence. Try some adventures off of the Wizard website. They give you everything you need for a session. Remember: have confidence. Have fun.

Riffington
2008-01-12, 08:00 PM
Agree with above. Also point out to them very explicitly that however you rule for them, you'll also rule for NPCs. And that your NPCs will get to abuse the cheese more than they do, because an NPC can be a one-trick pony.

And then you get a choice: when they say "but egads bonuses totally stack!" you either say "No, and you seriously don't want me to let my egadsmaster have that either". Or say "Ok, but my egadsmaster will totally do evil things with this. Are you all SURE you want to let egads bonuses stack? I just want to be fair to you guys, let's all vote" with a huge smirk.

loves_to_laugh
2008-01-12, 08:35 PM
Everything above has got it right.
I think the main thing you have to worry about is making sure that they know that you are the DM, meaning you control everything. Your players have to know that you are in charge. Now I'm not saying that you should overuse that but make sure to take charge.
Even if you aren't confident about it, then at least role play that you are. Thats what DnD is about anyway.:smallbiggrin:

shadow_archmagi
2008-01-12, 08:43 PM
I don't see the problem here really.

If the PC's are ALL happy to be overpowered, then go ahead and play an overpowered game. Unless you really have something against DBZ style play, go with the flow.

Methabroax
2008-01-12, 08:50 PM
The perfect fallback position for the DM in trouble for me has always been wave after wave of death commandos.

I was running a game where I let the players bring characters from other games ( a practice I since have abandoned and don't recommend to anyone) where a cavalier character insisted that he had a vorpal sword. The game being 7th level, it was a deal breaker. Unfortunately for me, I was a new DM and didn't have enough confidence in being the arbiter of fun to cry foul. I took what I thought to be the easy way out.

I let him have it.

Literally.

The first town he got to, he encountered a gaint mutant swamp rat in the tavern basement (cliche city) and decapitated it with a single swipe. Upon hearing about his heroic beheading, the Sheriff came by and confiscated his sparkly sword with a platoon of guardsmen behind him. It left him in the position of either fighting the local police and dying in a hail of crossbow bolts or losing his sword. His cries of protest carried on for a while but the other players appreciated being able to participate in the combats.

My point is, no matter what players think they have or how powerful they wish they were, it's all against whatever you as the DM decide to make them face. The most disgusting powerbuild in creation has nothing compared to the legions of broken dreams a DM can unleash since you are bound by neither fairness, deceny or GP spending limit. Used sparingly, the DM hammer can be a wonderful tool for party correction

just my two cents

Methabroax

Wordmiser
2008-01-12, 09:00 PM
WrstDmEvr: If you're the DM, your word goes. Don't let them sway your judgements beyond your own intent.


Literally.You're using this exactly incorrectly.

shadow_archmagi
2008-01-12, 09:02 PM
No, he let him have the sword. Literally, he allowed him to possess it.

Wordmiser
2008-01-12, 09:06 PM
Ah, I thought the trouble with the guardsmen... Never mind. My mistake.

shadow_archmagi
2008-01-12, 09:07 PM
Blame this language, its confusing sometimes.

Lord_Asmodeus
2008-01-12, 09:07 PM
The perfect fallback position for the DM in trouble for me has always been wave after wave of death commandos.

I was running a game where I let the players bring characters from other games ( a practice I since have abandoned and don't recommend to anyone) where a cavalier character insisted that he had a vorpal sword. The game being 7th level, it was a deal breaker. Unfortunately for me, I was a new DM and didn't have enough confidence in being the arbiter of fun to cry foul. I took what I thought to be the easy way out.

I let him have it.

Literally.

The first town he got to, he encountered a gaint mutant swamp rat in the tavern basement (cliche city) and decapitated it with a single swipe. Upon hearing about his heroic beheading, the Sheriff came by and confiscated his sparkly sword with a platoon of guardsmen behind him. It left him in the position of either fighting the local police and dying in a hail of crossbow bolts or losing his sword. His cries of protest carried on for a while but the other players appreciated being able to participate in the combats.

My point is, no matter what players think they have or how powerful they wish they were, it's all against whatever you as the DM decide to make them face. The most disgusting powerbuild in creation has nothing compared to the legions of broken dreams a DM can unleash since you are bound by neither fairness, deceny or GP spending limit. Used sparingly, the DM hammer can be a wonderful tool for party correction

just my two cents

Methabroax

just a question, did he say how he got the Vorpal sword?

And yea, the dungeon master is a dungeon MASTER, your higher than the gods, what you say goes whether they like or not, and if they refuse to listen just have like some random godly-type guy come along and use their own cheese to smite them, and then ask if they still want to keep disregarding what you say. :smalltongue:

Gabriel_Luna
2008-01-12, 09:20 PM
I tend to enforce a simple rule when dealing with players who try to twist the rules: "If you can do it, they can do it."

Take stacking bonuses, as you mentioned. I had a group argue that there was no rule saying that they couldn't stack armors for additional bonuses. (Specifically, it was White Wolf where armor grants additional health levels, and the argument was for multiple kevlar vests to stop more than one bullet.) Naturally, they made this argument in the middle of combat. I tried to point out the absurdity of this. They whined and argued. So I nodded and smiled. They gloated and smirked. They wiped the floor with the combat they were in. I kept on smiling. They were too dense to see the danger of a smiling GM...

In their next combat, every single enemy they were up against had stacked kevlar vests. They argued! That wasn't fair! How could that be? I kept smiling...eventually I relented and told them that if they'd drop the absurd use of the vests, I would as well. They got the idea and started policing themselves, eventually. (Though to be honest it did take a few more examples and some character deaths before this particular group of genius power gamers got it through their heads...)

Point is, if the players exploit something and claim it's based in the rules, there's no reason you can't do it too. And since you're the GM, you can do it better, until they learn to simply take your word for it and play the darn game instead of arguing.

Wordmiser
2008-01-12, 09:21 PM
And yea, the dungeon master is a dungeon MASTER, your higher than the gods, what you say goes whether they like or not, and if they refuse to listen just have like some random godly-type guy come along and use their own cheese to smite them, and then ask if they still want to keep disregarding what you say. Or you just tell them to stop so you aren't sucked into destroying your own campaign.

Either works.

Lord_Asmodeus
2008-01-12, 09:22 PM
Or you just tell them to stop so you aren't sucked into destroying your own campaign.

Either works.

well the idea is that you basically say they can keep going as they are or they can go back to before the giant evil god-thing showed up to smite them, and they would just forfeit their rules breaking, but it was meant as more of a joke than anything serious.

de-trick
2008-01-12, 09:23 PM
remember rule 0: DM has final judgment, if the party can kill CR appropriate monsters bump them up to a higher CR.

-the rogue look at his sheet if thew skills dont add make him reduce his whole character. If it happens again make him reduce it again, he will get tired of wasting character sheets and adding skill points and will fall.

- rule zero applies for stacking, you are the law

-make them face Light monster, dont go into a dark dungeon go into a bright crystal palace, were there no shadows, sometimes so he remembers that hes mortal too.

-foghorn for complaining

F.L.
2008-01-12, 09:28 PM
There's this old 3.0 or 3.5 updated module called the Tomb of Horrors. If your players are being such munchkins, run it, especially without warning them about it. That should take care of your player problem very fast, in about 3 or 4 rooms. And if that's not enough, you could set them up against a slightly more powerful bizarro version of their own party. Complete with skill bonus swapping, munchkinning, etc.

Judging by these suggestions, I'll have you know I AM the WrstDmEvr. I even have a little stamp made up of a dead player that I add to my DM screen every time I kill somebody off.

Mark Hall
2008-01-12, 09:32 PM
Rogue: I think he's the #1 problem. I've noticed he pretty much gives himself whatever skills he needs with max ranks. Arbitrates for DM pretty much every single time to give himself an advantage(disregarding the rules and/or reality in the process). Agrees with druid whenever it gives them an equal advantage, complains when anybody else is more powerful. Due to this, slightly hypocritical.

Missed this. My suggestion is to get vital skills and stats on everyone... keep them on a notecard. I keep their skill ranks, saving throws, etc. next to me so I can roll things they don't know about. In his case, it might be useful to keep them simply to reign in his cheating. Don't tell him the DC... just say "Yes, you made it" or "No, you didn't" based on what he rolled and what YOU have down for his skills.

WrstDmEvr
2008-01-12, 09:56 PM
Whoa, leave your thread for two hours and it gets swamped...

Thanks to all for your suggestions.


Right now, they're getting their jollies off beating up the bad guys without opposition. Crank up the opposition a bit by playing by the same rules... NOT cheating, but playing by the rules they are insisting on.
You can fix things next game.

Yeah, although most issues have been resolved by now. I'll remember this next time, however. :smallamused:


Start by changing your screen-name.
Its a cunning disguise, lest they get on the board :smallbiggrin:

I'm fine with it as it is, I have complete confidence in my abilities as a DM with normal players. It's with munchkins, I.E. my group, that I screw up in.


remember rule 0: DM has final judgment, if the party can kill CR appropriate monsters bump them up to a higher CR.


They misinterprete this too, claiming that it means the DM cannot cheat and therefore must stick to the book.



I AM the WrstDmEvr. I even have a little stamp made up of a dead player that I add to my DM screen every time I kill somebody off.

Thats nothing. I've TPKed my party before:smallcool: on account of munchkinning, however:smallfurious:


My suggestion is to get vital skills and stats on everyone... keep them on a notecard. I keep their skill ranks, saving throws, etc. next to me so I can roll things they don't know about. In his case, it might be useful to keep them simply to reign in his cheating. Don't tell him the DC... just say "Yes, you made it" or "No, you didn't" based on what he rolled and what YOU have down for his skills.

Hmm. I'll do this as well, great suggestion.

EDIT: As to the reccuring suggestion(see quote#1), I can, ironically enough, optimize things better than them. Even while sticking to the books, which they don't do. I'm just praying now it will happen again(which it will, if the druid doesn't get rid of his demon armour)

valadil
2008-01-12, 10:33 PM
If the group is powerful, just ramping up your encounters is usually enough. My current group gets encounters at an appropriate CR. My powergamer group gets encounters at a CR 50% higher. The problem here is that the players aren't just being powerful, but actively trying to take advantage.

For starters I'd make it clear that you have the right to reverse any rulings you make. If they can't accept that, then they shouldn't be playing in your game.

It might also be worthwhile to institute some rule that when rules debates come up, the player who benefits doesn't get to argue. He can only present the rule and the interpretation/debate is left for the DM and players who aren't affected. This doesn't fix things if you have an alpha male player who will tell people ahead of time to go with his interpretation. I suspect your rogue is that type of player.

Still another option is not to present your game as a D&D game. It may be too late for that this time. Whenever I start a game I make it clear that it isn't Dungeons and Dragons, but Valadil's RPG - a game that is closely related to Dungeons and Dragons, but not quite the same. This helps enforce that my interpretation of rules is *the* interpretation of rules, period, end of discussion. So far, I've been able to evade DMing for players who like to twist rules because of this, though it helps that I know enough players that I can be picky like this.

ChaosDefender24
2008-01-12, 11:16 PM
WrstDMEver,


Hate to say it, but I think that your players might figure out who you are if they find this thread, seeing that you described their party in great detail.

You haven't mentioned any problems that aren't easy fixes, however. You need to put your foot down a little bit. Why is the rogue "arbitrating" for you? That's not cool, and you can just tell him something to the effect of, "um, no." Ultimately, it's your call on the rules and everything, you shouldn't let the players push you around on something like that. You could rule that the druid must do 100 sit-ups in real life every time he Wild Shapes if you so chose (but don't). However, Mr. Rogue was right. Go with what you think is right on the rules, because you are probably correct because you seem to be looking at them in a neutral view, taking what you read for what it is and nothing more. Their "interpretations" are a good laugh; devote 5 seconds to pondering the ioun stone thing and you'll see what I mean. This is not too far a cry from the Mr. Gullible sketch of Nickelodeon days of olde (Was he on the Amanda Show or All That?), where his students did things like convince him that whenever the bell rang, he had to eat a stick of chalk.

Also, as for your players' over-poweredness, don't worry too much. What exactly is the rogue doing that makes his skill ranks baleful? Last I checked, that's kinda what rogues are supposed to do. I don't see how the druid isn't making his own life hard by going blackguard and losing wild shape progression (unless he's having Fleshraker fun) and a bunch of other good stuff. I think the designer of ToM admitted that shadowcasters are so weak that they're unplayable. What problems are you getting from this one? You don't have qualms about the dragon and I don't either.

Seffbasilisk
2008-01-12, 11:37 PM
They misinterprete this too, claiming that it means the DM cannot cheat and therefore must stick to the book.

Heh, I had a player try this on me once, after I'd fudged about eight times to save thier sorry asses and I rerolled a single goblin's attack because I wanted ONE of the NPCs to FINALLY get a hit.

I picked up the die in front of 'm. Rerolled it. Rerolled it. Rerolled it. Did that about twelve times. Added them up. 'Does that hit?'

Then I explained how as DM, it's my job to run the game. While I may fudge for the NPCs, I also fudge for the PCs. If they don't like my way of handling it, I can drop all fudging, all such helping out, and build creatures of the CR they should be able to handle, and just drill them with it, 3-4 encounters a day until they die, working entirely by the RaW.

Admittedly, I hadn't slept in 72 hours before that game, and the player in question is decidedly cheerful neigh-constantly (and I can't stand happy people when I haven't slept.) But still.

You are the DM. True, you're supposed to build a world your players can have fun in, but you're supposed to have fun as well. You want a meteor to come streaking down, Reflex DC 27 to half 20d6 falling and 4d6 fire? Describe it, and call for reflex saves.

Someone blatently ignores the rules? Give them ONE CHANCE to fix it. They deliberatly cheat again? Your character explodes. Make a new one. One level lower. Cheating again? An invisible stalker/mage's true-strike'd sneak attack vs your flatfooted AC hits. He does your HP damage +20. Roll a new character. One level lower then your last one. And on and on and on.

Cheating is the one thing that should not be tolerated regardless.

Button Jockey
2008-01-13, 01:02 AM
First: If you are not comfortable with the core rules, you should keep things core. PHB, MM, DMG. Once you are comfortable with these then expand. You don't learn to swim in the deep end.

Second: You got to have your player's respect. You can't have a player arbitrating. suggestions are ok, but who's the DM?

Third: Track any character's stats you think is cheating and put a swift end to it! I give 2-3 chances and ban.

Fourth: It might be easier to start all over. Instead of fixing all the problems you've let your players generate, start over fresh.

Fifth: You don't like it? Doors over there buddy, find another DM. You said you were afraid they'd all leave, I can understand that especially if they are friends. I've never personally had to eject anyone from my game. In my sessions there are established rules about cheating, interference on dice, and several other things. My players respect these. After all, a player needs a DM as much as if not more than a DM needs a player. Don't forget that, they need you............or............some other DM:smallamused:

Xuincherguixe
2008-01-13, 01:43 AM
The DM has the power to do absolutely whatever they feel like. A conversation about firebreathing squirrels came up with one of my eBuddies.

You can even make up rules on the spot. Like deal +5 damage on every attack to goblins if the name of the day has an even number of vowels. Otherwise the players must recite a bible verse from memory on every turn that's a prime number.

But, best to use the actual rules. It's best to use the what's in the books most of the time, though there's a lot of really bad design going on.

Let the players know that the game isn't a competition between them and the DM. If it was they'd all be dead right on the spot, because you really do have that ability. If they really do want to compete, then a whole different set of rules come up. And most importantly, cheating robs the value out of victory.

Tell the guy that you don't want to make a big fight out of things. And that if things keep up like this you'll just stop running the game. And that it's not fun for you.

I don't mind power gaming so much, as long as it's within the rules. But your own mileage may vary.

Thamir
2008-01-13, 03:18 AM
I say let them have their bonuses. They'll need it when you send the Tarrasque after them.:smallbiggrin:

Why don't you threaten to make them adventure with our favourite PC :elan:

Jayngfet
2008-01-13, 03:25 AM
remember, any uppity player can be silenced by a weretrex or the tarrasque

Fuzzy_Juan
2008-01-13, 05:22 AM
Yeah...it is always good practice to be well versed in the rules...barring that, I would say if you are the DM, then it goes how you say it does...no matter what. If they can show you the rule and it makes sense to you, then fine...but barring that, you are in charge...not them. Say, this is how I want to run things.

If you ever 'import' a character from another campaign into one of yours...read the sheet...ALL of it...make sure you know what everything does. Do not be afraid to say no to any item on the sheet (feat, spell, class, whatever) that doesn't sit well with you for whatever reason. Either disallow the PC and have them use another/roll new...or ask them to change certian aspects that are troublesome.

For something like a vorpal sword...(assuming they have a good explination as to why a 7th level character has a vorpal sword)...offer them a weapon of equivalent value (or less if you think it will balance better).

If a mage took the 'orb' spells and you don't like them in your campaign world...don't allow them.

As the DM you have free reign to create the world you want for your players to adventure in. It doesn't have to be exactly RAW...but it should be known what is different straight up front and fair.

Don't be afraid of custom mechanics either...using the spell shocking grasp on a shield with the '(when used)' proviso is amusing to rule that anyone struck with a shield bash, or who misses their AC by an amount covered by the shield (or perhaps misses by 5) takes shocking grasp damage. There are lots of ad-hoc style things that can happen.

WrstDmEvr
2008-01-13, 10:31 AM
WrstDMEver,


Hate to say it, but I think that your players might figure out who you are if they find this thread, seeing that you described their party in great detail.

They don't read the boards, and if they did they would deny they were like that, or complain to me and pretty much confess that they did this stuff.


What exactly is the rogue doing that makes his skill ranks baleful?

Lets say he didn't put any ranks into climb and realized this when he came up against a cliff. He would then put 23 ranks in and claim that he was just putting in his ability modifier. In other words, giving himself 23 extra skill points.


What problems are you getting from [the shadowcaster] one?

"Ha, I'm now incorporeal, so the enemies can't attack me. I shoot them with my longbow." and stuff like that. Also spontaneous casting for his mysteries.

Irreverent Fool
2008-01-13, 10:42 AM
You're new. As such, you don't have great mastery of the rules, and you'll screw things up from time to time. It happens... all of us have done it.

So, they don't want to play by the RAW. Then play by the rules that are common in the group. If something doesn't say it doesn't stack, it does. Your NPCs get to take advantage of this, too; they should do so. Two or three Bull's strengths on a single target; "The wizard cast Mage Armor on himself three times, so you can't hit him with your attack bonus". Play by the rules they're insisting on.

Likewise, start getting rid of magic items. For Ioun stones, have people try to TAKE them; area of effect spells can possibly melt them, too, if they roll a 1 on their save. Bad guys might try to sunder or disarm... they don't have the same "need to gather magic items to gain power" drive that PCs have.

Right now, they're getting their jollies off beating up the bad guys without opposition. Crank up the opposition a bit by playing by the same rules... NOT cheating, but playing by the rules they are insisting on.
You can fix things next game.

There was a time I would have agreed with you, Mark. The DM for my group, however, initially was allowing us to stack enhancement bonuses (We didn't know all the stacking rules at the time). I felt something was amiss, but by the time we figured out exactly what, every character had several such bonuses stacked and he felt that just taking it away would be unfair and unfun for the group.

So he built the NPCs assuming the same stacking rules we'd been using. The result was an overpowered encounter (on both sides) that lasted for four sessions and resulted in multiple one-hit kills followed by revivify spells (again on both sides). While there were aspects of this fight that were fun, NPCs with spell resistance too high for us to beat and dervishes which passed our cannon-fodder defenses to murder the high-hp barbarian, etc. was overall depressing.

If the OP takes this route, keep them balanced to what the PCs have, don't just stack bonuses to make the combat nigh-impossible.

An alternate method that might work is letting the players know that you'll be playing by the RAW from this point forward and that the items they have still function as they did, but provide different types of bonuses. Say, sacred or insight depending on the nature of the bonus. Once this is done, these items become rare and highly sought-after, giving you a handy-dandy reason for enemies who know about them to come hunting them down.

DeathQuaker
2008-01-13, 10:49 AM
"Ha, I'm now incorporeal, so the enemies can't attack me. I shoot them with my longbow." and stuff like that. Also spontaneous casting for his mysteries.

1, show him where it's only a 50% miss chance for being noncorporeal if he's attacking. 2, attack him with other noncorporeal creatures. Especially ones with ability drains.

Generally all advice above is good -- remember, yes, you get all the bonuses they give to themselves.

The other thing is--especially with the rogue--do pull the problem players aside separately and talk to them about being reasonable.

Worst case scenario: the players don't wise up, keep giving you a hard time, and you're not having any fun. You say asking problem players to leave may result in the entire group falling apart. So? If you're frustrated and the game is going nowhere... I'd take the risk of asking a couple jerks to leave even if it means the whole game going south. Frankly, if it were me, I'd ditch that group like a used candy wrapper. There are lots of good players out there in the world; go find them. They'll help you have fun and you'll more easily learn how to be a good GM amongst those who let you make your mistakes and learn from them.

DementedFellow
2008-01-13, 11:03 AM
That's a pretty nice climb skill. Have a wizened old man tell him that high atop Mount Widowmaker there is the GODSLAYER SWORD.

Only someone as masterful as he is can climb it, and rightfully claim the illustrious item.

He'll surely try and scale the mountain and oh look, we have hurricane force winds and all of a sudden a fall that is worth 20d6.

Neftren
2008-01-13, 11:22 AM
Nah, Mountain's gotta be at least 32,000 feet. Which would be 3000 feet taller than Everest. Now add in Hurricane force winds that blow him some three hundred feet out and have him fall onto a field of sharp pointy ice stalactite things... or are they stalagmites... whatever.

But seriously, either eject the problem players, or drop a tarrasque on them. As for loot, if they want that kinda stuff to stack, make the gear come few and far between, as sort of a balancing punishment. Or give the non-powergaming characters bonuses for behaving (extra GP, +1 Magic Sword etc.) and show the miscreants that breaking the rules is bad bad bad.