Welcome all, sometimes being the DM means making some tough calls, one of the hardest of which being having to kick a player. It sort of feels like you’re a boss firing someone, and that’s never fun. So let’s read ahead and see if we can help make this process easier.
Have you been dealing with a problem player? Has the group had it ‘up to here’ with said player’s behavior? Are there always issues that cant be resolved without the player getting angry or acting up? Well let me just start by saying I am sorry. You put in all this work and now it’s met with negativity and it feels like people are not enjoying the game. So I am sorry that you have to deal with this. However, you are not alone, many DMs have to make these tough calls, but sometimes it must be done. But here are some steps you can take.
First, have you tried communicating with the player? It’s easy to get annoyed with a player’s behavior but maybe it’s something they can work on. An annoying behavior alone is not enough of a reason to kick a player, unless it is super disruptive. If you or your party are annoyed with a player’s behavior you owe it to them and each other to simply hold your head up high, plant your feet, and tell them; communicate. Is it scary? Of course, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings; but if it is continuously disrupting the game then it must be addressed. This gives the player a fair chance to try and change their behavior and not get unfairly kicked because everyone else was too afraid to talk. Most times they don’t even realize what they are doing is wrong. Communicate the issue clearly even if it is scary to face someone.
Second, if you have spoken with someone on a behavior and they have promised to try and change, give them a bit of time to prove it. We don’t know what’s going on in the lives of others around us, so be sure to be kind and understanding. A little patience goes a long way and if a player is showing improvements, after 2 weeks or so with their behavior, then that means they are really trying. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Third, this isn’t just up to you, check with the other members of the group and see how they all feel about this and see if they agree about the disruptive behaviors. You all have a say in things and it isn’t fair that it should all just fall on you. You’re a group and this is something that affects all of you in the same way. So make sure to check how the others feel and ask their opinions.
Finally, if you have done all of the above and given the problem player chances and still these behaviors continue then it’s time to really consider asking them to leave. If you’re not having much fun because of this player and neither is your team then this person is causing a perfectly good game to become a chore. You and your party are gathering to play every week, you take time out of your day to do this, hours. This is your time, all of yours, and you all deserve to spend that precious time how you want to. Some of you; work full time, go to school full time, have families, and other responsibilities. So if there is a player that is making that time less fun and is not respecting your time then they need to go. Hard as it may be, you tell them as respectfully as possible that it isn’t working out and it would be best if they left the campaign. Now, be aware, the player can potentially get upset and call you names; don’t take any of this personally, hear them out, and respect their feelings but also remain firm and stand your ground. Always be as understanding as you can in these circumstances and make them feel heard, but your decision is final. After it is all said and done, go back to the group and talk to them, I guarantee they will be there for you and I am sure they will respect you more for following through and looking out for them. On top of that, they now all also know that their enjoyment of the game is important to you, they can trust you more knowing that you have the courage that it takes to take a stand.
In conclusion, communicate with a problem player before it gets worse and try to find out why they are acting up. After speaking with the player give them a little time to improve, these things take a little time. Talk to the whole group and see how they feel on this problem player. And when all other methods have been attempted and not enough has been done to better it then it’s time to ask the player to leave. I know these topics are difficult for many of us, I personally never thought I could do something like that because I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings but ultimately once I saw how much fun everyone wasn’t having I had no choice. You can do it too, if it comes to that, I know you can.
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