How to Kick Someone Out of Your D&D Group
The Board Game Group is an odd social engagement that sits halfway between “project” and “just hangout.” Some groups are casual about things and players come and go all the time; some refer to their usual games as a strict constant meeting, and the composition of the group as a permanent composition. This makes it especially difficult when one player makes the other unhappy, and very difficult when you have to ask the player to leave the group.
What you don’t want to do is get rid of negative feelings from the real world in the game. It works great as a Community episode. But even the imperceptible “punishment” of players in the game for real problems can turn sour or even provoke ridiculous behavior. You need to approach this as an adult. Or, conversely, like a coward.
How to prevent conflict
“Getting a player out of your party should be a last resort,” says Hunter Elliot, RPG coordinator at Brooklyn Strategist . As a professional dungeon master in D&D and other tabletop RPGs, Hunter tells Lifehacker that he tries to make sure everyone communicates their expectations and desires in the game so that conflicts can be resolved without getting rid of the player.
“Presumably all of your friends are playing together because you get along and everyone is interested in D&D and the storyline of the game,” he says. But players can want a lot from the game. Hunter advises making the balance of desires more explicit for the players:
It is possible that one player is interested in fighting and defeating opponents, while the other is bored with combat and wants to delve into character. Not everyone is comfortable with intense role play. In these cases, discussing the goals of the different players together can help everyone understand what is at stake and respect that the other player is, so to speak, “getting his turn” right now.
How to kick a player
But some players refuse to respect each other’s wishes to play. This can be from players who take completely different approaches to the game session, and players who do not respect their playmates as people, even make fanatical or hostile remarks.
Depending on where the problem is, you may want to pull someone out of the playgroup, but not end the friendship. In fact, this can cause more feelings than just a complete cessation of ties. But Hunter suggests making the break as reciprocal and non-confrontational as possible:
As a DM, you may want to have a one-on-one conversation with the player because you are closest to the leader of your group. In one-on-one situations, try to be honest with them and explain that their style of play just doesn’t work with the group. Remind them that you can be friends with someone without playing with them. Suggest that they might check other communities for a group that suits their needs better.
This approach is possible even when the whole group is discussing the problem with the problem player:
They can understand the problem if it is presented from the point of view of the whole group. Keep in mind that it is important to ensure that this discussion does not turn into an aggressive dynamic when the player is feeling constrained. Traditional intervention tips (such as avoiding accusatory “you” statements and speaking purely from your own point of view) are important and helpful in this situation.
Split the party
You may find solutions that are not more like “kick someone out” but “spread the group”. For example, my playgroup has expanded over time and it has now become impossible to include everyone in every game. It was sad that we could not always keep the same weekly game, but it gave us new possibilities.
As a result, we split into different gaming evenings: wilder solo games with players who prefer to play character-based sagas for some players, heavy fighting adventures for others, and calm dungeons with puzzles for those of us who have a whole universe. opportunities, I want to play a virtual quest. (It’s me.)
We started scheduling lessons for shorter periods of time or one at a time. We found games that didn’t require much planning from the DM or the host. If people with inconsistent playstyles still wanted to spend time together, they just needed to find other things to do – usually no further than board games, beer, and Magic: The Gathering.
A more cunning method
If you’re careful, you can avoid many grievances by “disbanding” the group and “forming” a new one with all but one player. (I have to make it clear that this is my proposal, not Hunter’s.) Instead of changing the group, state that you have a scheduling conflict and that the group needs to “take a break.” (As with many awkward social situations, blaming an outside force relieves a lot of social pressure and saves face for everyone.) Then calmly assemble a group without specific players.
This is as insidious as your motives for it. This is not a healthy way to deal with low-level problems, but it can be appropriate when the problem player is prone to escalating conflict, which often occurs in game groups! But only try this if your players don’t spend much time together outside the game, or if you don’t intend to see a preempted player again. If there is a high likelihood that someone discovers that they have been secretly kicked out, they will be furious or depressed.
There is also a risk of the group breaking up. If you’re in a group of adults who already find it difficult to meet regularly, even a fake disbandment gives other players a chance to admit that they wanted to leave anyway. The tension of the whole situation may seem too strong to them. Be prepared to take it gracefully. This is the point: you cannot force people to play games with you.