Recovering from bad players

In my long running pbp Dungeon Fantasy game, Northport, I have had a number of troublesome players. Most of the time, this only amounts to people leaving unexpectedly after I have put in work to integrate them into a group, and wrote out stats for the projected likely course of adventure, incorporation of backstory into the setting, and even assistance with the character builds.

I have several players running multiple characters that were abandoned by their creators because they left in the middle. Life happens, and the speed of pbp is not for everyone.

When I was running a version of this game on playbyweb, I did have characters left hanging because their behavior on other forae got them booted by the admins.

I have had some players abrasive enough that other players quit in frustration after attempting pvp actions that were so disruptive I had to ban them.

This player was different, and had played for a while, rubbing other players the wrong way, and eventually being banned for a time; his characters were always complaining to guild authorities for maltreatment, when they had deliberately witheld information from the party, including party members who held guild rank.He also continuously demanded to be in charge, and was generally a real pain, and were so disruptive I had them removed.

After a year or more they came back, wanting to play a character with guild rank who had a loyal ally group. As had been previously discovered, characters built mostly on allies tended to be weaker than their base template; most of the juniors group I run had started as allies of a character, who while 250 points, was effectively only a 150 point character with a ton of allies. This one ended up being an agent with about 40 points extra.

I had another character, a wizard who had a golem servant, built as expensive property on the $500 to one point ration, and with all of the prerequisite enchantment spells, a while before enchantment was officially written out of DF.

So this new player wanted a golem as well, and suggested that it colud be built as a dwarf sized iron golem, as suggested in a pyramid article. This was fairly pricy, and I explained that the character would be built from a much lower pool or resources.

Fine, it was not much worse than an ogre barbarian another player had, so it was permitted. I had plans for weak floring and ladders that would not support its 600lb weight, and penagrams embedding in the floor, and no-mana areas it couldn’t enter, so there were suitable checks and balances.

Eventually, his group, which had been dealing with other guild interests that resulted in points in secondary guild businesses, like my assorted underground tavern schemes, needed more party members for exploration. (A lot of the senior guild folk get their income from interest in caravan guard companies, gambling houses and taverns instead of doing adventuring; that kind of work is for player characters.)

Several of my standard hireling NPC’s joined for brief excursions; Ludlow and RazakeelMolag, and Dolpho, a cutpurse who originally worked for the same PC who had the rest of tne juniors as his ally group.

Because of another player’s intolerance of thugs, ruffians, and other lowlifes (i.e. half of the guild membership) that player and his friend had their characters join his group after seeing him recruiting retainers in the guild common area, and after a very short period, they walked out and abandoned him. They later spoke down about him in the common areas, and when he next looked for hirelings, he got some very dubious characters. Most of these questionable types were built using the suggestions for unreliable hirelings in DF 15 . Unlike other recruiters in the guild, he made no attempt to vett them in any way, such as use of Area Knowledge: guild, a skill the character actually had…

Here are four of them:

Frer Noe, who was presented with the same avatar portrait as all of the other cultists encountered in this game. To be fair, I have used that picture to represent pilgrims of good gods, but I hadn’t done so at the time Frer Noe joined the party, and this image had been used for years for the evil cultists.


Frer Noe is a cultist from DF 1, buffed up to 125 points, but no true initiate.

ST:11 DX:11 IQ:12: HT:12
Hp:11 will:13 per:12 FP:16
Bs:5.50 MV: 5 D: 8
5 clerical investment
20 power investiture 2,
1 natural elder cultist
(variant of natural demonologist,
allows planar summons without prerequisite)
3 knows the words (planar summons)
5 Will+1
12 energy reserve 4
1 Adventurer’s guild membership
-5 Voices
-15 Fanatic
-10 delusions
-5 disciplines of faith
-10 struggling
-5 reduced move
mumbles his prayers constantly,
not particularly hygenic,
Has scratches on his face
Fingernails stained black

Theology (elder) 1 10
religious ritual 2 11
occultism 2 12
Meditation 2 11
demon lore 2 12
Elder lore 2 12
undead lore 1 11
Knife 2 12
Ax/mace 4 12

and the following spells:
Lend Energy 2 13
Share Energy 2 13
Lend Vitality 2 13
Steal Health 4 14
Decay 2 13
Planar Summons 8 15

The next up was Gaspard the pseudo swashbuckler, built on only 72 points

Guard with a little extra

St: 12 dx: 12 iq:10 ht:11
Hp: 12 will: 10 per: 10 fp: 11
BS: 6.75 MV: 6 dodge: 10 parry: 11
15 Combat reflexes
5 Rapier wit
1 guild membership
-5 compulsive carousing,
-5 compulsive gambling,
-15 greed,
-5 Overconfidence
-10 Impulsive,
-10 Bully
dishonest face,

Rapier 8 14
Main gauche 8 14
Throw knife 1 12
Crossbow 1 12
Brawling 2 13
Sex appeal 2 11
Gambling 2 10
Carousing 2 13
Climbing 1 11
Dancing 1 11
Fast talk 8 12

Cheap Rapier
Main gauche
Cloth gambeson armor DR1 overall
Jack of plates torso armor DR 4

Then came Timeon, a killer posing as a thief:

Timeon is a killer (125pt)
At: 110
Sk: 39
St 11 dx 14 iq 10 ht 12
Hp 11 per 12 will 9 fp 12
T/s 1d-1/1d+1 (1d+1/2d+1)
Bs:7.5 mv:6 dodge:7 parry:12
15 combat reflexes
5 Resistant to poison+3
2 night vision 2
8 surprise striking ST+4
1 guild membership
-10 bloodlust
-15 greedy
-10 Struggling
-10 no sense of humor
Q always dresses dark,
smokes his blades black (immediately post combat)
Will only eat what he has seen prepared
Mildly paranoid
Aspires to the torturers guild, practices when he can

Knife 4 16
Fast draw knife 1 14
Garrotte 1 14
Stealth 4 15
Crossbow 4 16
Brawling 1 14
Poisons 4 10
Streetwise 2 10
Urban survival 2 11
Wrestling 2 13
Broadsword 4 15
Traps 2 10
Lockpick 2 14
Intimidation 2 10
First aid 1 10
Climbing 1 13
Shadowing -12
Proffessional skill: torturer 1 9

Wears a gambeson (DR 1) with an anti garrote collar
He carries three vials of monster drool
A cheap thrusting broadsword, crossbow, quarrels,
About 5 assorted knives, a garrotte and a tallow candle for blacking.

The final member of the quartet was Margeaux le Manifique, a charlatan allied with her husband’s ghost, at 187 points:

Mageaux is a charlatan.

ST 10 DX 12 IQ 13 HT 11
hp 10 per 13 will 13 fp 11
Bs:5.75 mv: 5 dodge: 8

Advantages 41
Magery 0 5
charisma+1 5
Attractive 4
Ally 16, appears on a 12 (her former husband Claude)
Spirit empathy 10
Spirit Talker 2 10
guild membership 1

Voices -5
overconfidence -5
greed -15
selfish -5
struggling -10
Acts mysterious,
argues with Claude,
acts as if she has real access to oracular abilities
Wears layers of scarves and many bangles,
Avoids real mages
She has most of the skills of an apprentice, and magery 0.

Skills: 42
Occultism 4 14
fortune telling 6 15
thaumatology 1 10
alchemy 1 10
fast talk 4 13+
Performance 2 12
Acting 2 12
Current affairs, Guild 2 14
magical ritual 2 11
sleight of hand 8 12
streetwise 1 12
knife 4 13
throw knife 4 13
Sex appeal 2 14
Theology 1 12
Hidden lore: spirits 1 13
Meditation 1 12

Light 1 11
ignite fire 1 11
simple illusion 8 15
Sense foes 1 11
Sense emotion 1 11
Persuasion 8 15
Foolishness 4 13

She does have a variety of low rent spells,
Along with performance and fortune telling.
She also has a ghostly ally with aportation, for 8 pts.
Medium, spirit empathy,
delusional, voices, wierdness magnet

Her ghost is Claude, a bog standard ghost from DF9, he has magery 1 (affects substantial)For 30 points, and the spells apportation, poltergeist, complex illusion, all  at 15,
And has a habit of writing angry things on damp mirrors,
(Which she also fakes with sleight of hand.)

ATT 110
ad 51
dis 50
sk 44
spells 24
187 pts


The bad behavior got worse from there. The player kept adding orichalcum items to his characters, (the enchantress had the requisite spell chain, but the process involves an immense amount of energy as per Dr.Krom’s rules, and needs to be played through) and started inflating the points and rewriting the characters until they were completely blown out of proportion.  I offered him the chance to fix them, and he couldn’t even do that, so out he went, booted and banned from returning.

The one advantage to this mess, is that I will be running a tabletop game using 187 point characters at the next Manhattan Minicon, and will use the same adventure,  with the addition of the undead forms of most of these characters.  In my timeline, only Margeaux and Timeon escaped, along with a young otyugh (they unlocked it from its cage in the sewers, to which it returned.) The others were slain by a void brute summoned by Frer Noe, and the golem was left to rust in a pool.


3 thoughts on “Recovering from bad players

  1. People who can’t even get along in an RPG must be psychotic. It’s nuts. Glad you sent him/her to the cornfield.

  2. Pingback: Thursday is GURPSDay! June 7 to June 27, 2019 - Gaming Ballistic

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