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Dealing with a powerful personality player


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#1 ThenDoctor

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 11:28 AM

So in a game I'm currently running there are three players. I made a different character Prime on the mission hoping to put a bit of the spotlight on him instead of another player who has a very...powerful and demanding personality.

 

Essentially he's taken over much of the procession of the adventure so far merely asking permission of the Prime. Regardless that's not my issue, I can get through what I need to and it can be dealt with.

 

What I need help with is how to get his character to understand, in no pleasant terms, that he's an acolyte. His power is fleeting, even more so since he isn't Prime, or at least wasn't.

 

He'll certainly get a talking to by his inquisitor. As will the prime for letting himself get rolled over. He's a legate investigator so I think for the next mission I'll have that authority removed. Anyone else have any suggestions on making sure the character understands, and trying to blunt the impact the player might take as a slight?



#2 Kaihlik

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 11:34 AM

Have the group put in a situation where they are investigating undercover and have it known that the Inquisition will deny any involvement should they be discovered. Then put them up against a threat that genuinely has a chance to find them out and neutralise them. That way they don't really have power, just a goal they need to achieve.

#3 ThenDoctor

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 11:40 AM

That's what the next adventure actually is. Running House of Dust and Ash. At least I'll be running it where they aren't to be found out.



#4 Magus Black

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 04:50 PM

Just going by what I seem to understand so far but if an acolyte seems to do a better job than the Prime then majority of Inquisitors will likely make them Prime. In the Inquisition ability is 7/10ths the law and if this BRIAN BLESSED player does it better than the one you choose he's likely better suited for the job.

 

...unless, of course, he's just running around abusing the Inquisitors Authority...then by all means bring the hammer down.


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#5 ThenDoctor

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 05:08 PM

More the second one. He was explicitly told not to anger the local adeptus if he can help it. The first thing he did was to start treating the second in command of the local arbitrators like a servant and demanding entire control of a crime scene while purposely keeping many personel there longer than they needed explicitly because they wanted to get back to the precienct. He also arrested a dredge that was an info giver, even after I explicitly told said player this person had nothing to do with anything, because of a botched scrutiny roll.

He'll get a stern talking to minimal I was wondering what more I should do to hammer the point home.

 

The Prime in question will get spoken to about being more assertive and not get rolled over.



#6 ak-73

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 12:17 AM

He'll certainly get a talking to by his inquisitor.

 

First mistake. Not by the inquisitor. His Inq hardly knows him nor cares much about him. Instead, he gets a pep talk by the scribe of an Interrogator of the Inq - on behest of that Interrogator. Not even by an Interrogator him/herself. Threaten him with placing a (temporary) oath of silence on him if he keeps messing things up. Have spies of the Interrogator follow the acolytes and report their conduct to the Interrogator.

 

In short: be more catholic-fascist. And have them no being able to talk to anyone of importance on the organization directly.

 

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Edited by ak-73, 12 June 2014 - 12:18 AM.

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#7 ranoncles

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 02:44 AM

I agree with the notion of not letting the self-important player be punished by someone important. Getting punished by the deputy assistant to the vice-manager of the sub department of not very important issues generally has a deflating effect... ;) 

 

But a good way of deflating ego's is how you use acolytes and the authority they wield. As I see it, they are low level agents for an inquisitor. They are NOT mini-inquisitors!

 

So flashing a badge/Inquisitorial ID card will intimidate factory dredges and such, get the assistance of crew chiefs and other low level bosses but anyone with rank or importance will know them for what they truly are. They may have to defer to an inquisitor but not to the inquisitor's flunkies. I once had a nobleman tell my players that he didn't deal with underlings and if their inquisitor asked politely in person, he would comply....

 

Arbites would certainly know exactly what the authority of an inquisitor would be and what an acolyte can do...and especially what they can't do.

 

In short, IMO acolytes can request assistance from other imperial organisations but unless given exact authorization by their inquisitor (and that can be challenged by equally important people), they have little outright authority and thus can't order anyone around.



#8 ThenDoctor

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 06:55 AM

Good point. The next adventure is House of Dust and Ash, and while I want to have the introduction properly I think I'll handle it as follows.

 

There are three people in the group, the detective (major problem), a psyker (is currently prime), and a guardsman (new guy, so he just goes along with what the other two want).

 

Psyker and detective will be disciplined by an adjunct of a throne agent under the inquisitor for their performance. I'll likely remove the detective's fraction of inquisitorial power over the next investigation. The psyker will be told that he is expected to have a bit more steel in the future.

 

The guardsman on the other hand will go meet his inquisitor for briefing, and be made Prime. Which I feel will be good for the player putting him in the forefront of the roleplay.



#9 HandyX

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:32 AM

create a situation were he has an opportunity to make a decision which will blatantly help his inquisitor out as far as all evidence suggests. make sure it won't for some unknowable reason. when the guy does it and reports in for reward, have him punished and sanctioned. detail how he has absolutely ruined whatever it is he thought he was helping and give him a 'strike'. make the inquisitor reveal he has a three strike policy.

 

three strikes, you're out. players like that hate stuff like that i find. they can weasel their way out of other stuff, but not an arbitrary and unreasonable in character black mark against their name. also have the inquisitor announce that he does not appreciate this acting-on-his-behalf and will always remember it.


Edited by HandyX, 12 June 2014 - 08:32 AM.


#10 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 02:16 AM

I tend to avoid letting any party member become "Prime" exactly because of situations like this. There's always That Guy who uses it as an opportunity to hog the spotlight and goes on a power trip, ruining it for everyone else. I've seen a Dark Heresy and a Rogue Trader game both meet their demise because the player in a position of authority abused their power. Same player both times, too.

 

So usually I try to make sure the acolyte cells are truly democratic, with no Prime among them. This prevents any of the players from seizing power, and it also means that the heretics won't be able to single out a leader to target, because there is none. Of course, if the players WANT someone to be Prime, then by all means, go for it.


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#11 ranoncles

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 03:04 AM

I tend to avoid letting any party member become "Prime" exactly because of situations like this. There's always That Guy who uses it as an opportunity to hog the spotlight and goes on a power trip, ruining it for everyone else. I've seen a Dark Heresy and a Rogue Trader game both meet their demise because the player in a position of authority abused their power. Same player both times, too.

 

So usually I try to make sure the acolyte cells are truly democratic, with no Prime among them. This prevents any of the players from seizing power, and it also means that the heretics won't be able to single out a leader to target, because there is none. Of course, if the players WANT someone to be Prime, then by all means, go for it.

 

That looks to be a problem with that player, not with leadership in a play group. I think it does help to have a party leader. A good party leader will allow each player to contribute ideas/suggestions and will only intervene if there is no clear consensus. This helps speed things along, otherwise there will be pointless bickering as each player defends his suggestion and/or becomes bored and wanders off to push the inviting red button...

 

My solution would be to have a private chat with said player or to not appoint him party leader....


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#12 ThenDoctor

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 07:13 AM

Private chat wouldn't work out. He's not open to personal criticism. Howerver a point was raised that having a prime is a hinderance. I'm tending to agree in this case. However a second issue is the third player simply going with the flow.

 

They're currently in Damned Cities, I think I'll have Skarmen get upset at him that he took over the investigation, and if/when he tries to pull the Inquisition card he'll state that he knows the extent of his reach and stepping on the feet of the local adeptus arbites is just a bad move. Not to mention treating essentially the second in command of The Folly like a servant was just rude (as Constantine is quickly reaching his wits end by trying to play nice with inquisitorial representatives).

 

The player is at least making noise so Skarmen will likely try to kill them or advance his plans.



#13 Cail

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 09:29 AM

I like using Prime's. The trick is to remind the Prime that its his job to utilise every member of the teams abilities to the best ability. I always strongly recommend people read the New world of darkness werewolf stuff for things like this, because it governs roleplaying advice for a structured party (wolf pack) really really well.

The other thing is that remember that if the team screws up, its on the Prime. Only a poor leader will point fingers at subordinates. Mantle of responsibility and all that.

Ok, as for suggestions.

1) Usually a good way to handle this is to give the players far more limited power than the whole 'I am the inquisition' thing would allow. I often limit my players to ten basic rights that being an acolyte grants them, which basically amount to a certain level of diplomatic immunity when dealing with the authorities.

2) Remember that interplanetary communication can take months in the 40k universe and that the Acolytes will probably have to blow their cover to get it. One of the most satisfying encounters I've run like this was with a player who pissed off the arbites too much and got cornered in a hive sump. He kept evoking the name of the inquisition until they said "well, if we just kill you now and leave you for the sump spiders, who'll ever know?". Think of that scene in game of thrones where Jamie Lannister keeps talking about how much his father will pay for his release. Make bad things happen.

3) Any acolyte throwing his weight around like that is going to draw the wrong kind of internal attention very very quickly. For a start the inquisition has very little centralisation, which means its impossible to keep track of every active cell or who they are working for. Entire worlds have been lost to "false prophets". Someone acting like this much of an ass may very well find another group of acolytes under the command of another inquisitor tasked with apprehending them and getting the truth of whats going on from the painful end of the excrutiator kit. I particularly like this one because even if they 'succeed' and kill the other acolyte party, well... that's just proof of heresy.


Edited by Cail, 14 June 2014 - 09:31 AM.

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#14 Alrik Vas

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 03:28 PM

Hahaha...you guys crack me up.  PC's as acolytes have authority.

 

*falls over,rolls around, cackles*

 

Sorry, just the games we played with DH were almost ALWAYS undercover, so authority came at the end of a gun and the GM had more than us.



#15 Covered in Weasels

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:28 PM

This sounds like a problem with the player rather than the character, and in situations like this I feel an out-of-game discussion is the best solution. In-game punishments are not a long-term solution to this sort of attitude; you'll keep him in check for a few sessions at best, and at worst he'll become angry at what he considers personal attacks.

OP, you mentioned that the player is not open to personal criticism -- have you brought this issue to his attention in the past? Does he not realize that he is making the game worse for the other players, or does he keep acting this way despite knowing everyone else doesn't like it?

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#16 ThenDoctor

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:37 PM

The other players don't mind his behaviour. It's a matter of the rammifications of the character's ego rather than any off the table issue. Which was why I asked about possible punishments.



#17 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:44 AM

Maybe try firing him. The Inquisitor sends a message saying "Your progress has been unsatisfactory, you are being replaced. X is Prime now."


"Oomans are pink an' soft, not tough an' green like da Boyz. Dey'z all da same size too, so dey'z always arguin' about who's in charge, 'cos dere's no way o' tellin' c'ept fer badges an' ooniforms an' fings. When one o' dem wants ta lord it over da uvvers, 'e says 'I'm very speshul so'z you gotta worship me', or 'I know summink wot you lot don't know, so yer better lissen good'. Da funny fing is, 'arf of 'em believe it an' da uvver 'arf don't, so 'e has ta hit 'em all anyway or run fer it. Wot a lot o' mukkin' about if yer asks me. An' while dey'z all arguin' wiv each uvver over who's da boss, da Orks can clobber da lot."


#18 Alrik Vas

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 12:37 PM

You don't fire someone in the holy ordos. they either want you or you end up with a bolt round through the skull. After that they may turn you into a servitor. Well, actually, the mind wipe option is always there, but honestly, its hard for a player to pull that off when they actually know their past.

#19 Robin Graves

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 05:05 PM

Have the inquisitor put a bolt round trough his head. "You are not running this show! No accolyte is. The rest of you got that?"

That might be a bit to hard core, but it does fit the theme of the game...



#20 Majeh

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 04:26 PM

Constant abuse of authoriaty tend to have a more "universal" impact. If the right adversary group gets wind of the identity of one of the inquitsitions lap dogs and that dog has been a hinderance. That groups influence will start to actively hinder to the point of assassinations.so it may get very interesting for them.