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Here for a while
(3/22/03 8:01 pm)
Things that make DM's sad...
I have a player in my group who's fairly new to the game (by most standards; he's the third most experienced in our party of six, though), but extremely eager; he's always IM'ing me about various things in the campaign and about his character.

Unfortunately, he's of the powergamer sort, always looking for ways to make himself stronger and ways to get more loot. (His character is a LG cleric of Moradin... he went as far as asking me if Y'dey would offer him
magic items if he converted to St. Cuthbert.:x )

Now this would be alright--every DM has players who are like this. However, I think he's been doing a little studying of a RttToEE pdf on the side.

I got a little suspicious when he referred to the ghoul tunnels in the moathouse as "the warrens", but I'd never used that term in-game; the only place I'd seen it was in the module. I highly doubt he'd use a term like that without reading it somewhere, but I figured it was just a

However, the party just got done tangling with the hobgoblins in the ruined ToEE. (Log will be updated soon...) Rarkus was the last to arrive on the scene. He wound up charging into combat; as I declared the charge, this player made some comment to the effect of "He doesn't get his sneak attack damage, right?"

Now how in Tharizdun's name was he to know that R was a rogue, unless he'd been cheating?

I responded with something like "Why would you think he'd have sneak attack damage?"

Player: "Well, if he did, he wouldn't get it, right?"

I didn't force the issue, and I kinda don't want to confront the player without some other concrete thing happening... however, I don't want this to ruin our campaign!

They're (probably) about to head to Rastor, with a trip to V-town in the meantime possibly. I'm thinking of changing a few things around in Rastor; things that wouldn't affect anything, but that would definitely throw someone off who'd been reading the pdf. If the player does something that would be a nasty giveaway, then...

For instance: Tal Chammish may turn out to be an innocent man who's been duped by the cult (or who has been blackmailed through his drug addiction), while the real drug pusher is named something different. "Tanbrosh" may become a perfectly normal tea (or something) favored by the Rastorians, while the real drug is called something else. (If the player refuses to drink "Tanbrosh tea" even though everyone else in the inn is...)

Of course, he may be reading this forum too...:( >:

Any suggestions on how I should deal with this?

Here for a while
(3/22/03 8:31 pm)
Re: Things that make DM's sad...
Everyone has their own style to deal with this kind of thing, but it sounds like you're right on track with what I'd do. If something really obvious comes out from your suggested changes, I would talk to the player in private about the facts and try to let him know that you're pretty disappointed. From there, you'll have to see how he reacts. I wouldn't let the other players know about it unless it's becoming a more serious problem.

Although it's frustrating, if the other players are still having fun, try not to let it overshadow your game prep too much. If they start to wonder what's going on as well, then you'll probably have to really confront the player about it hurting the game.

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Here for a while
(3/22/03 10:33 pm)
Re: Things that make DM's sad...
Yes, those sorts of changes would help identify whether he has been cheating - if it turns out that he has, you need to talk with him privately first, without the others there. He would need to agree not to do it any more, and you'd have to make the occasional change to check up on him every so often. You don't want to generate too much work for yourself, because you don't want to kill your own enjoyment of the game.

You may want to have separate chat with him anyway about what LG really means - offering to change deities should always be a really big deal, and is much more like CN behaviour in my book (which, in my observation, is the natural alignment for most powergamers in real life :) ).

Cordo Crowfoot
Here to stay
(3/23/03 1:05 am)
Re: Things that make DM's sad...
I would talk to him about it as soon as possible. You don't have to make any accusations, just ask. I think you have plently of reason to ask with the two incidents you bring up, and it is my guess, especially from the sneak attack comment, that he is reading the module.

Since you guys use IM, that might be a good way to do it if you are afraid of sounding too emotional...

I can see where a new player used to CRPGs might think that using spoilers is par for the course, so if he owns up to it, you might need to explain to him that it is detrimental to not only his own enjoyment (explain that he will never feel a true sense of success in figuring out something on his own, and the won't feel the fun chill factor of not knowing what he will face next), but lessens the enjoyment of his fellow players and doesn't show respect for all the work you do running the game.

Of course, everyone's experience may be different, and some people may not mind playing in such an environment, but to my own sensibilities this is bordering on the unforgivable. If someone was truly a good addition to the group, if he admitted it I would tell him to write up what he knows already and promise never to look anything up again, on penalty of immediate expulsion from the group. If he didn't own up to it I would say "Good because I would have to kick you out of the group immediately if you were."

"They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers. They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came... They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits" China Mieville, Perdido Street Station

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