I’ve noticed that a lot of game tables have “That Guy” at the table. You know the one. He performs actions that make the rest of the group cringe, engages in casual cannibalism of his fallen enemies, carries and uses every grenade listed in the equipment chapter, he names himself Tim while everyone else chooses legit fantasy names, and, in general, when he performs an action that doesn’t make any sense, simply prompts silence at the table.
Now, not all of my tables have experienced it, but some have. Generally, it’s at tables where I haven’t chosen the players, though in one or two cases, I chose the player before realizing how uncomfortable it would get around the table. I’ve experienced it not only with D&D, but also with Star Wars, as one player stepped well beyond the PG-rated violence level typical with Star Wars and began performing gristly and detailed maiming and killings of the group’s enemies. I’m not one to mitigate anyone’s enjoyment, but how do you handle that player? Here’s a few things we’ve done.
1. “That happens.” When the player announces they’re decapitating the cultist to use the head as a trophy, and their character is a noble elven wizard, I simply say, “that happens” and move on. I’m not really sure the reason some players do odd things like this, and I’m not sure what they want my reaction to be. They’re obviously doing it for their own enjoyment, so simply letting them perform whatever weird actions they want and move on without a strong reaction will often show the player that they’re the only person enjoying their weird head-games.
2. Talk to them. You can talk to the player, asking why it is they’re doing what they’re doing. Explain that they’re pulling everyone out of the narrative by doing odd things. Talking to them can help a lot. Find out what it is they’re enjoying about what they’re doing, and see if you can do to help them with their enjoyment at the table while reining them back in. No one at the table should be enjoying themselves at the expense of everyone else.
3. Chicken out and stop inviting them. I have done this once. After taking a two week break, I simply “forgot” to tell them about the next session. This didn’t go over well, and I finally had to do #2, and talk to them. If the person is acting weird, but it’s not bothering anyone at the table, let it go! Let the person do their own thing to enjoy themselves. As long as everyone’s having fun, that’s the important part.
Keep rolling 20’s!