I, DM Patrick, have gone through and redacted or changed a few of the adult terms because I want this site to always be family-friendly. If ever you find anything that I post here to be something that you wouldn’t want your child to read, please let me know and I’ll mark it as such or outright remove it. These horror stories are otherwise unedited and I take no credit for them.
“My character, my rules”, the 5-foot Pit of Doom and other stories of That Guy
from user: Zorothegallade
So, you all know how some players will stretch their alignment and rping to absurd lengths just to cheese something out of the GM ending it with the usual “My character would do it”? Well, you haven’t seen the half of the most glaring example of That Guy i’ve encountered in my campaigns.
I’ve actually had the chance to see his behavior in three different lights: as a player with him being a DM, as a DM having him as a player, and as a player having him as a fellow player. Well, let’s start to recount his epics.
First of all, the man himself, which we’ll call Flint (after one of his characters). He boasts “ten years of professional role-play gaming”. He constantly reminds others he has to restrain himself to avoid unbalancing the game by being the strongest PC in the party, while also (obviously) stating he knows every manual front to back and thus he can beat any encounter with any character. He also fancies himself a “true player”, whatever he means by that.
Now, this is him as a DM.
I’ll preface this by listing some anecdotes I heard from another player who played with him…
1 -A party was fleeing down a dock and trying to sail a boat to escape a burning town. He asked one of the players to roll a Reflex save, out of the blue. He failed. He simply told the player: “You slip in the water and there’s an alligator waiting for you, he swallows you whole and kills you.” That was the first and last thing that player did with that PC.
2- He pits a level 3 party against a CR 20 monster in the middle of a dungeon, which they were supposed to run away from. Except when they tried to, he had them roll an (almost impossible) Knowledge check to see if they knew the monster was dangerous enough to warrant running away from it. One of the player actually made the check, avoiding an otherwise guaranteed TPK.
3 – The 5-foot pit of doom. A simple, 5-foot wide pit. A Medium-sized creature could just hop across it no problem. But he didn’t allow anyone to take 10 on that simple jump. And he decides that the DC of the jump depends on the DEPTH of the pit instead of the WIDTH. One of the players doesn’t make the jump… “He falls screaming…after a few seconds the screams trail off and you hear nothing else.”
4- He boasts giving the players “total freedom” in every choice they make…seems he forgot about that when he pitted a party against an unbeatable bandit ambush (every time they killed some, more popped into existance) until they were captured and demanded they help them commit a heist in exchange for their lives, while OOCly saying the players are free to choose whether they want to accept or refuse. The party’s Paladin refuses to associate with bandits and is killed by them. He doesn’t get a roll to struggle, intimidate, deceive or even attempt escape, he’s just dead, instantly. DM Flint then adds: “Of course I let you choose whatever you wanted, you just happened to choose the option that kills you.”
Now, something about how he runs the campaigns… besides “carefully auditing” the PC’s backgrounds, he likes to randomly roll for everything. Your starting wealth? You get d10 x 20% of the wealth from your class. Have fun equipping your Fighter with 40 gp, the paesant’s rags are on the house. Except when he decides it’s “too much”, such as when the Druid rolled pretty well on that and he slashed his wealth in half, because “You live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have access to that kind of money”.
Oh, but if you roll a 7 on that die, it’s even better (or worse). Your entire Background gets thrown out, instead you become pretty much every amnesiac hero trope ever. Your background ties in with everything in the plot, you gain a bonus to all ability scores and checks, can see “the way” (basically items and doorways necessary to proceed in the quest are highlighted for you), get enough plot armor to bullshit your way through anything, and regularly lose control of your PC with the DM taking over to spout exposition. And yes, this does make all the other players glorified cannon fodder.
First of all, he starts us all up in medias res. All of our characters (mine was a halfling Skald, the others were a Fighter, a Druid, a Magus and a Rogue) are wanted for something or other: I and the other two casters are wanted for witchcraft (apparently magic is banned in the region we start from), the other two for banditry. We start off knowing pretty much nothing except the name of our respective hometown.
In my background it’s stated I’m a Robin Hood-ish local hero with my own little band of merry (half)men generally doing good around the unfortified border towns until they got sold out and slaughtered. So of course I meet up with them. Yes, he “forgot” that small detail about my backstory, and it turns out they’re all holed up in a hideout, too scared to even give me any information and give me a pony so I can ride across the northern border and get the heck out of the county.
DM Flint doesn’t even give me a map of the place or any indication of where I’m headed, he just has me encounter a few wolves and bounty hunters now and then. The Fighter meets up with me just in time for the two of us to stand a chance, and the Druid stumbles upon the two of us during the night camp and joins us.
Meanwhile…the Magus and Rogue dawdle around another town basically witnessing “cutscenes” of someone getting killed by super-powerful inquisitors or something like that. In DM Flint’s words: “They just appear out of nowhere, and precisely stab a long needle through his brain. But they’re so stealthy you don’t see it, they disappear just as fast and now there’s a corpse on the ground.”
After a while, he makes the Magus and Rogue (both at level 1) fight a crooked guard, who has 18 strength and is wielding a masterwork greatsword…that’s 2d6+6 damage, which against an average level 1 character is a guaranteed knockout on a single hit and a guaranteed kill on a crit. The rogue gets out of there ASAP, the Magus miraculously survives a hit from the greatsword (it rolls the minimum damage possible leaving him at 1 hp) and manages to cheese it by knocking the guard out with a Color Spray and coup de gracing it, but then “sounds of approaching guards” are coming “just fast enough that [he] doesn’t have time to loot the guard. You’re wanted for murder now.”
Yes, despite the fact not only there were no witnesses, but nobody even found the corpse yet. Long story short, I (having decent disguise and bluff) enter the town the Magus and Rogue are in to investigate…first of all, my disguise might as well not be there.
Commoners are crying witch and running away as soon as they see me. The Druid also comes with me, and she is given the same treatment even before she(Male player, female PC) starts throwing cantrips around to disperse the ones who come at us with literal torches and pitchforks.
The game didn’t go much farther, with the Rogue and Magus skipping town and the Skald, Druid and Fighter arriving just a bit too late to meet up with them, so we get out of town by stealing a wagon. The DM tries to dissuade us by saying there is nothing valuable and no animals hitched, but we just want to skip town.
I hitch my own pony in the front, the Druid uses her scroll of Mount to make another, and very slowly (as in, the DM asks me to make Handle Animal checks every round because “there are too many things spooking the animals”) we get out.
The session ends, and the DM loudly complains that we took this long to get the party together and start the adventure. After spending the entire session keeping the party from getting together for little to no reason at all.
This campaign of his ended with me and another player getting kicked out for shaming his character in another campaign he was in…
Cue my lame segue, here’s Flint as Player-on-DM.
Flint’s characters have two major distinctions. First of all, they always have a conflicting motivation with the rest of the party. If they want to act honorably, he plays a loose-cannon murderhobo. If they want to act more unhinged, he will make a lawful stupid rules stickler (which means he will take any infringement on his obscure personal code as an excuse to be a loose-cannon murderhobo).
Second, he will always be a one-trick pony, maxing a single aspect of his character and expecting it to get him through everything.
He will max out one of the social skills (99% of the time Intimidate) and use it on everything (up to and including players) while remarking nobody would dare even talk back to someone who rolled [total number he rolled]. It’s both his first and last move, last meaning the go-to action for situations he can’t roleplay his way out of (which, to nobody’s surprise, happen very, very often). Don’t expect him to support any other PC in any way, even a very minor way such as making a Heal check to stabilize or Aid Another for a check: his characters will always be completely incapable of such an action. The only actions he takes in combat (after trying to convince the DM that his unlikely and badly roleplayed stunts are worth insane bonuses to his attacks, such as “always getting the enemy flat footed on the first attack because I’m left handed and they don’t expect that -yes, it happened-“) are either attack (and whine LOUDLY if he misses) or occasionally use a magic item to heal or buff himself.
The setting was pretty simple, homebrewed by me. Devils were about to invade an archipelago and the party would have the choice to stop them or ally with them. With this in mind (and knowing most players already made Good characters and decided they would side with the defenders) he created Flint the pirate. Chaotic Neutral.
He just says “I’ll do whatever suits me, maybe I’ll sell the others off to the devils and then betray the devils too”. Remember what I said about him claiming he liked to play underpowered characters? Well, he started complaining that his character was “too badass” to be a simple Fighter or Rogue, since he wanted both a full Sneak Attack progression and a high Hit Die and full BAB progression.
There are no official classes with these features, so I dug around 3pp content and found a decent one, the Corsair, which filled the gaps between sneak attacks with situational bonuses and mediocre feats. Of course, he immediately started complaining that he didn’t get anything “cool” to show off.
Then, the race. He wanted to be a shark-man. “The normal races are either wimpy or ugly, I have to be a shark man.” I propose a rebalanced Adaro, since he didn’t want to play a Skinwalker (“They’re too scummy” he simply said) and he reluctantly agrees, once again complaining he doesn’t get any special treatment and he “only” gets to be amphibious, have darkvision, a bite attack and a bonus to Intimidate.
So, the campaign begins…and he fills a few rows of the That Guy Bingo straight off the bat. Constantly demanding attention? Of course he is, but not from other players. When he gets attention, he needs to GET attention, as in he hogs the NPCs and starts pestering them (with the explicit purpose of bumming favors or items off of them, even those he barely just met). When he finally realizes he isn’t getting any special treatment from an NPC, he tries to get the other PCs to ignore them completely.
When the party goes around town to gather supplies or information, he just says he’s going “somewhere else”. When asked where exactly he’s going, he replies “I’m going to get some clue on a sunken treasure, the biggest I can find” So, after reluctantly tagging along with the party to complete their first encounters (a few nupperibos that killed a miner) he immediately demands that the party helps him find “his” treasure. He gathers rumors about a pirate gang having an old hideout in an abandoned mine and drags the party there, not before loudly complaining once again because it’s not a “real” treasure hunt and I’m “ruining” his character by not tailoring the entire adventure entirely around him.
They get through, with the help of a NPC they manage to kill the last monster in the cove (a wounded Barghest) and they pull up a metal barrel with some goodies inside it. Halfway around the dungeon he had quit the session, saying he’s “bored” and will come back next session to take the treasure.
His character gets NPC’d and when he opens the barrel every character gets a share of the treasure (eelskin armor for the magus, a masterwork weapon for the fighter and so on). Next session, when he hears what happened, he gets mad.
He says “Why did I even make a character if you decide to ruin it? The treasure is all mine. I pull it up and I take it, and the others get their share only when I decide they do.” He demands a rewind of the game up until the point the battle was over (it was just the NPC and himself still conscious, the NPC had stabilized and healed the others before they got the treasure).
He demands that instead he is allowed to intimidate the NPCs into NOT healing his companions and running away, then grab the barrel, grab everything, and only then to start stabilizing the other PCs. The other players, seeing him offended, offer to give him back the items they took, but he refuses, saying that “My character doesn’t want to be given things, he wants to take them!”
After a few more scrapes (made even closer by the fact he’s the only one getting wealth save for the few times another player gets to loot a monster first; he isn’t even selling or using his loot, he just likes to brag about it) they meet a Lilin that offers to recruit them.
They refuse, and she sics a hell hound on them and starts using her charms to turn them against each other. Of course since he has the weakest Will save he gets charmed first. So, on his turn, the Lilin orders him to sit down and do nothing. His answer:
“She charmed me, so I can do whatever I want as long as I think I’m helping her. So I go to her and give her a hug so she can’t move.”
“Again with telling me what my character can or can’t do. Why don’t you control him all the time then?”
He gets Protection from Evil cast on him, breaking him free from the charm, and the other PCs ask for his help in the battle. Note that they’re pretty much in an open field (outside of the city walls)
“I have sneak attack, right? I run 30 feet away and use Stealth.”
“You can’t, you have nowhere to hide”
“Then I run 60 feet away.”
“You can’t hide without something to conceal you”
“What if I go prone behind a bush?”
Long story short, while the other PCs are holding on to dear life (despite the hell hound being the only active enemy, with the Lilin occasionally throwing an enchantment their way. A mix of unlucky rolls, being underequipped and the healers mismanaging their spells) he wastes several turns ducking behind bushes trying to use his (very low) Stealth bonus to gain a single sneak attack.
All of this when two other characters were in melee with the hound.
And he could gain sneak attacks from flanking.
You get it why I’m skeptical about the “10 years true roleplaying experience” thing yet?
Of course he didn’t get a single sneak attack (or any contribution whatsoever besides wasting one of the Lilin’s turns) in the entire fight. Of course, according to him, it wasn’t his fault: I was a mean DM because I denied him “badass roleplay actions” (read as: describing improbable stunts and then asking “is this worth a sneak attack?”) , the class sucked because it wasn’t strong enough, his allies didn’t save their spell slots to support him and so on.
He always attempts to pull such rule-stretching cheese, by the way. His most common excuses are either “I remembered the manual said so” or “I must be thinking about another edition, unlike you I don’t obsess over this one”
Some more hijinks followed, with him causing the death of two PCs (One he let drown in the sea despite being a swimmer and an amphibian who could save her, the other he let walk inside a den of ghouls alone while he stayed back -of course- combing the place for loot he hoped I would randomly materialize from thin air to give him one more bauble to add to his inventory.) and eventually they reached a large port town…they started investigating a few subquests that were actually linking together (a slave auction for captured fey, a swan maiden looking for her stolen cloak, a kidnapped bride) but he wants nothing to do with that.
He said: “I just stay in town and read up about treasures in the library until I find a map”. And so he did…while the party was out on their adventure, saving a corrupted forest, making friends with an Aranea and setting an entire villa on fire to prevent the cloak from being auctioned off, he just sat there silently, waiting to be called into action.
All the while I had town criers detail what was happening, specifying that it was within his earshot. He replied “You’re making this adventure for THEM, why should I play it?”
When he did intervene, he purposely took another road so he wouldn’t meet up with the party, forcing the game to go back to him so he could make progress. When he did meet up with the party (who were holding a poacher prisoner for interrogation about his boss) he grabbed the poor soul and started “interrogating” him, conveniently forgetting his pretty high Intimidate roll and instead calmly snapping off his fingers one by one until he gave up the information, before finally killing him by using his body to spring and jam a trap (that the group’s ninja had already spotted and explained he could disarm easily)
He finally ticked off everyone else the following session, when the party entered a Redcap den and he said, without any motivation, “I just camp outside the entrance and do nothing.” even as the other party members backtracked to ask for his help, he just replied “I pretend I didn’t hear them”. He eventually did come inside…only to bodyblock his companions in a tight corridor preventing them from reaching the Ninja, who had botched a few rolls and was now fighting several gremlins alone. He gave no real explanation, just said “I feel like staying here. I’m not moving for anybody, they can take the other way around (a side passage they previously decided against going through upon finding it heavily boobytrapped) if they want to fight so badly”.
And then he was banned from the campaign.
*As a small update, I went over the game’s logs and remembered what sparked this last tantrum of his. He tried to convince the last PC to join (A neutral ranger with a trophy collecting hobby who was content with having some exotic beast to slay and take a token off of) to wait for a moment when the rest of the party would be weakened and kill them together, taking the (very few) items they had on themselves. While they were traveling as a group. Only prefacing it with “I whisper to him so nobody else (they were 10-15 feet apart at most) hears it”
I gave the other party members a Perception check to overhear what he was saying (one of them being a ninja who, being the party’s scout and infiltrator, could hear him clear as day), and of course as soon as they knew they decided to immediately distrust him. He threw a fruitless and very uninspired rant about how everyone, especially me, was working against him and that he would have been fine if only I had kept my mouth shut and not interfered in “his” story.*
And now…the joys of playing with him as a fellow player.
The party was pretty small from the start. Two players insisted in joining the campaign, made their characters, then disappeared into thin air. Thus, the starting party was comprised uniquely of my chirurgeon alchemist, an Agathiel vigilante, and…his paladin.
First of all, he claimed to be Griffith. Yep, even kept sending pictures of him to remind us who he was. Even though the DM had named his city of origin, he demanded that its name be changed to Falconia. And when building it…well, he simply cheesed so much he could make a lactose intolerant faint from half a mile.
First of all, he wanted to be a Mind Sword. The DM had banned occult classes, but he “cleverly” stated that since he allowed every class archetype he could take it. He took pride in it too, as if he had outsmarted him.
So, in a party where the scarcity of healers forced me to be one full-time, he decided to take an archetype that replaced the paladin’s (pretty significant) healing potential with “edgy” powers that were glorified attack cantrips at best and minor, situational personal buffs at worst.
With this, he also tried to argue that he didn’t have all the moral obligations of a Paladin, because “since my powers are psionic and not divine in nature I won’t lose them when I lose my goddess’ favor”.
He also wanted to take the Tranquil Guardian archetype because “You don’t need auras anyway”, but was reluctant because it would take away his capability to smite evil. So he asked the DM:
“Can I go without the archetype for a while and then see if I want to take it or not?”
He wasn’t talking about retraining, by the way. He was candidly asking if he could switch archetypes on the fly so he could have an out if his self-proclaimed power player build was complete garbage.
The adventure began…we met up outside the gates of a city where we were to investigate the disappearance of civilians from the street and suspicious activities of the local regent. We searched the moat, accidentally activated some trapped constructs who attacked us, Griffith just focused on a single one and ignored our struggle against the other, only smugly boasting when he got a critical hit.
As we get into town, we visit a temple where we try to cozy up to the local clerics to get some information out of them. He asks what deities are worshipped in the temple, and they say all devouts of non-evil deities are welcome in the town.
He screams at the cleric and calls him a heathen for not worshiping Iomedae exclusively (Goddess of valor, battle and camraderie…keep this in mind for later). He storms out of the temple (turns out he was just weaseling out of paying a minuscule tithe for entering) and kneels on the ground.
“I light up my halo, show off my aura and start praying.”
DM: “Praying for what?”
“I dunno, for Iomedae to give me something cool, like powers or a decent weapon” (He had a “decent” greatsword and we were still facing low level thugs and vermin by then)
DM: “You know she might consider your requests petty at best and blasphemous at worst”
“Then whatever, I’ll just pretend to pray and wait for people to throw money at me”
Of course, he complained and whined while I and the Vigilante were trying to make up for his outburst with the clerics, until he finally got the spotlight on again.
He later further alienated those clerics after he tried to intimidate them for “robbing” him. The “robbery” in question? He was knocked unconscious and almost dead from Con damage from a nest of stirges he had stirred up, so we brought him to the clerics who, despite remembering his earlier skit, healed him with Restoration and asked for a donation in return, a minimum of 100 gp for the material component used. He reacted like they were demanding the money at gunpoint.
After we had looted a cache of firearms worth a few thousand gps earlier in the session.
Some research later, we meet up with a friendly NPC in the sewers, a ratfolk who tinkers with alchemy and mechanics, has been driven slightly insane and quick-tempered from losing his family and being shunned by the townsfolk, but was still fairly helpful and willing to provide supplies and buy knick knacks off of us as long as the trade is somewhat fair. He reveals he has accumulated quite a pile of gold from scrounging up loose change people have lost in the drains over the years.
Griffith wants that gold, of course.
First, he shamelessly tries to cheat him out of it, offering useless mundane items and asking exorbitant prices for them. Then he claims he stole the gold and thus it belongs to the forces of Good, as in, himself.
The rat is savvy to his tricks and doesn’t give his own ass about deities, and quickly throws him out.
The following morning we’re joined by a fourth PC (A proper Paladin) but Griffith is “late” and says “Just make me pray in the inn until I join”, so we start exploring on our own. We enlist the help of the ratfolk to guide us through a trapped courtyard, where we’re ambushed by a large mechanical cerberus and are barely holding our own.
In comes Griffith, who hears the commotion…and instead of heading towards the battle, goes to the now-unguarded lair.
“I pick up all the coins.”
DM: “There are too many to pick them up all at once. You will have to spend several minutes filling a bag”
“Good, then I do it.”
As we’re barely hanging on to life and getting mauled by chainsaw teeth, he’s happily looting the abode of one of our only allies in the city.
We barely make it. As we make our way back to the lair, the ratfolk notices his money is all gone and goes berserk, gathers his weapons and poisons and storms out of the sewers in a hurry. We manage to get to the inn before he does…upon seeing us enter, scorched and bloody, Griffith casually says “Oh hey guys. Hope you had fun, I was busy doing Iomedae’s work here.”
DM: “You notice the HUGE jingling bag of coins on his back.”
“No, I hid it on me.”
DM: “It’s a bulge as big as two basketballs, you can’t hide it.”
“Then I bluff them”
The lie is, of course, impossible and we don’t even have to roll Sense Motive to disbelieve it. The Good paladin starts to lecture him on honesty and theft, to which he replies:
“FIRST, he’s a filthy rat, and rats have no right owning money. SECOND, it belongs to the Church. And since there isn’t a Church of Iomedae in this town, I’m holding on to it until I can build one.”
The ratfolk gets in and demands his money back…he still denies having it, despite having the coin sack in plain sight. At this point, the rest of the party is urging him to just give the coins back and end it. He still adamantly refuses to own up.
He tries to smite the rat (assuming, of course, that he must be evil for trying to take back his livelihood and personal possessions from him)…but of course Iomedae took away his Paladin powers from day one. He was so indolent and useless he hadn’t tried to use them until this moment. As the rat turns invisible and peppers him with poisonous darts (Dexterity poison, which only makes you unconscious if it hits zero) we either restrain him or try to convince him to give up. The Good paladin even rolls to catch his sword with his own body to avoid him harming an innocent.
Long story short, he is knocked out and we give every last copper back to the rat. And then he says “Fuck you, I’ll die.”
The Good Paladin: “You don’t have to die. This is where you redeem yourself and learn the error of your ways.”
Griffith: “No no, I just want to die. I’m not going to keep playing this stupid campaign if the DM keeps stopping me from doing what I want”
TGP: “You played a paladin of Iomedae, the goddess of Justice, Honor, Valor and Comraderie. And you lied and cheated, stole from the helpless, ran away from battle and abandoned your companions.”
G: “But I had a BADASS storyline ready for this character where I got rich and got all of you on my side.And my character just thinks about himself, if you want me to play the way you want then just play my character for me.”
DM: “Okay…Griffith has lost his will to live. You’re dead. You can leave now.” He was booted out of the r20 table, but he went on to whine on Discord about how he deserved that gold and the DM and party members “ganged up” on him. Yeah, despite him not doing a single thing to gain any PC or NPC’s trust from the beginning.