Dealing with a frustrating player

I have been a part of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for almost a year now (I am not the DM) and we have a player who has, within the past few months, quickly become very difficult to deal with.

  1. He is notoriously late, often an hour to an hour and a half regardless if we met online or in person. When he finally showed up, he would get on his phone to watch unrelated videos with the volume up loud, carry on conversations in the middle of a battle, and not pay attention until it was his turn. When it was his turn he would ask "alright, so what’s happening?" and proceed to reiterate everything that happened while he wasn’t paying attention. If it wasn’t his turn, he would attempt to force the story back onto him.

  2. While we met online, we noticed was that this player suddenly starting rolling really high for someone in a single digit level and succeeding in everything that he wanted his character to do. When we met back in person, he started hiding his dice behind a "plastic bag fortress" and grabbing the dice before we could confirm the number and call out "Nat 20!" (which in our campaign is an automatic success and less than a 5% chance of rolling it per game, let alone an individual session). This made the rest of us annoyed because we couldn’t prove it and obviously couldn’t do anything against him. (but come on, players don’t need to hide their dice!)

  3. His character is a gunslinger and therefore, before the rest of us got a chance to do anything, he would take out his gun and shoot anyone who disagreed with him, regardless if it was an NPC or another player. And his alignment would change with whatever he felt his character needed to do in that moment. This would naturally lead into sometimes an unwanted initiative where he would be unstoppable thanks to his suspiciously high rolls.

  4. Our DM’s younger sister joined us for a brief period with two young (female) characters, one a rogue, the other a sorcerer. This player decided that his character would take them "under his wing". In other words, tell the rogue she wasn’t allowed to steal from people and tell the sorcerer to train to use a sword and not wield her magic. He went after multiple female NPCs (and a couple of player’s female characters) to try and force in-game relationships that (while fun) were quite unnecessary.

  5. Despite his high rolls and ability to succeed, he constantly asked where his initiative modifier was located on his sheet, he didn’t know which one was the six-sided dice, and refused to call characters by their real name (because he didn’t try to remember them). He claims that the out-of-game arguments are "playful banter". Also, that he has been under a lot of stress (which is no excuse to cheat!). Everyone in our campaign uses D&D to de-stress and he takes the fun out of playing and ends up causing more stress to the evening. He has even caused two members of our group to quit.

Our DM has put up with his antics for a lot longer than he should have. While these are obvious red flags, he wasn’t like this at the start of the campaign. It felt like once we started meeting online he took it as an opportunity to mess with us and it carried over when we met back in person. We don’t know if he understands how much stress he is causing or is simply ignoring it in order to feel better about himself. We know that if we do confront him he will oppose the charges, or, if he does change, will only revert back when we become comfortable in our game-play.

We can’t deal with his cheating, manipulative, disruptive behavior any more. How do we gently (or not-so-gently) tell him that he straight up needs to leave?

How do I present an unbeatable encounter without frustrating my players?

So, I have run Curse of Strahd sometimes, but every time I run it I find a new problem in my DM’ing haha.

I will try to make it answerable without specifically CoS experience and keep it spoiler free.

Strahd, a powerful Vampire, is the main villain of the adventure, and, as the book describes, he is not a villain that will only show up for the final encounter. Strahd will, certainly, appear many times during the adventure, either to probe the characters, to scare them, or generally to play with them. In the many times I have run the adventure, I never had any problem with this encounter until now.

Recently, in one of the tables I am running, for reasons I am still unsure, my players felt very frustrated with this encounter. Let me tell how the encounter went:

The party met Ireena, helped with her request, and stayed a little bit too long in the Town. Long enough for Strahd’s spies to inform him about Ireena leaving her house in company of the characters (they insisted) and, well, pay a visit to the characters when they were returning from the Tavern to the Burgomaster mansion. Strahd had no intention of actually harming the characters or even getting Ireena here – it was just to, well, make an introduction and… be Strahd.

However, the party has a very beautiful Half-Elf with 16 Cha who grabbed the attention of Strahd. He proceeded to Charm her and Bite her, just as a sign of "affection" – again, no intention of harming, I was not even rolling damage here, I only made the character in question roll the Wisdom Saving Throw and told her to "role play as if she was charmed by a vampire" when she failed – the player was fine with it and joined the role play nicely.

The other two players, however, tried many things. They tried to enter an abandoned house hoping that he wouldn’t enter without invitation, or "talking the charm out" – all to no avail.

From one point, I can understand their frustration: they felt powerless. On the other, that is… kinda one of the points. At this point in the adventure, they are powerless against Strahd. He presents himself as an unbeatable encounter, who is there for his own amusing.

Other than that, there were many points – most sadly missed by them due to they worrying about how unfair the encounter was – in that encounter, which I tried to convey at the best of my abilities. These will be listed in the spoiler below as they are part of the Curse of Strahd adventure, but essentially, it was a nice opportunity to give some hints about the relationship of Strahd and Ireena, as well as introduce some Vampire Features to them.

So, overall, I think there are many reasons for the encounter to happen, both from an in-game perspective, and simply to provide some useful information to the players and characters. However, they felt powerless, that the encounter was unfair and generally frustrated, even asking me "what is the point of this encounter?" in the middle of the encounter.

So, how can I present such an encounter, which is essentially unbeatable at this point, without frustrating them? I am asking because I plan to have them meet Strahd after the events in Vallaki again, and actually have a little bit of a combat this time, depending on how they behave, but I don’t want it to end up being a "again this unfair fight? There is nothing we can do at this stage please stop throwing him at us".

Some things: First, I do not want to tell them "Don’t worry he won’t kill you" – they should be scared. And he will kill them, depending on how they act, and how bored he becomes with them. And I also would prefer to not disclose the spoiler’d reasons for the encounter, I would prefer them to find out by themselves that those were clues. I also think, even without them, there is enough in-game motivation for the encounter to happen from Strahd’s perspective, and he is a character that I want to develop as well.

PS: I should note that this was fairly soon after the Shambling Mound encounter in the Death House, where they also felt powerless because they couldn’t beat the monster in combat (and two characters actually died there – the players were back in this session with new characters).

PPS: I should also mention that, while Strahd himself was unbeatable, they had a feasible goal in sight: run to the Burgomaster mansion, where Strahd would not enter uninvited – which they understood quite quickly and managed to accomplish. That is to say that they had an objective in the encounter and even successfully managed to complete it, but obviously it lacked some sense of reward for them.

System agnostic answers get extra internet points.

Related questions:

How can I best invoke the trope of a foe who radically outclasses the heroes in Fate without compromising player agency? – but this is specific for FATE and the answers are very system-specific.

How can I present an "unsolvable right now" puzzle without frustrating my players? – Same thing, but instead of an enemy NPC, it’s a puzzle.

How do I add a recurring fantasy villain without frustrating the players?

Should I continue to play with a frustrating DM?

[Sorry if this is really long]

I don’t usually do this but I’m having a hard time with my current D&D group and I’m not really having fun anymore because of it. I think our DM is having us play a combination of I think 2 modules that take place in Faerun and using AL rules.

We have recently been going on one of the modules but are constantly hitting a wall with almost every single session to the point where we even joke about how rare it is that we succeed at anything. At this point we come out of sessions more times frustrated than satisfied. In our last session we actually decided at the end that we’d give up on this story and go pursue the other module’s story.

I’m also having some personal issues with this campaign and I’m not sure if it’s just me being difficult or problematic. So far I’ve played 4 different characters in this campaign because they keep dying or otherwise become unplayable. My first character just died in a TPK which was completely on us. Then my second character (human) permanently aged from being in his 20s to being in his late 80s which kind of messed up that character concept so I retired him. My third character is still alive but I’ve set them aside (as a backup character) to try playing another character that I really wanted to play but he was arrested (which was also on me) with no way of being bailed out because it’s too high of bail plus too long of a sentence (if he isn’t sentenced to death).

Because we’re all keeping track of XP individually, the other party members are level 7 or 8 and each character I’ve brought starts at level 1 and all of my characters except for my backup character have not made it past level 3. Since my characters are such low levels in comparison, they can’t really contribute that much especially in combats so I usually have them hang back during combats (ranged/spells) until they can get a level or two. I don’t really mind bringing in new characters that much since I have a bunch of character ideas I want to play but my last one that got arrested was a rebuild of my very first character so he was a little special to me.

However, recently I’ve been getting the feeling that there is some mild favoritism going on at the table by DM leniency and I’m just not one of those favorites. I try to be a good player for the DM and a good party member for the rest of the players. I just feel like whenever I try doing something creative that it never turns out well and my character either fails completely or gets mocked by an NPC in social interactions. At this point I’m starting to consider roleplaying more passively and reserved and just not try doing anything crazy.

I’ve already taken a pretty long break from this campaign because of some of my frustrations with the game. Another player in the group also has been getting pretty frustrated with it but has had his character do fine and he had talked to the DM about his it though not much changed because the DM is pretty confident and set in his DMing. We’re all friends IRL and I just don’t want to cause any conflict or anything between me and the DM. I don’t know if I’m just being problematic or complaining.

When it’s good and we’re all having fun, it’s great, but when it’s not it just kind of sucks. I still haven’t decide if I’m going to just bring in a new character (my backup isn’t that fun) or just leave the group again but permanently. D&D is one of my favorite things to look forward to each week but I’m just not really having fun anymore with this campaign but I still want to play. I’m just not sure whether to suck it up and keep playing and hope that it’ll be different with the new module or not.

Why is that the UI/UX of Facebook Ads Manager so frustrating?

Here are the list of things that frustrates me.

  1. List of campaigns with horizontal scrollbar. You have to scroll just to see other info, and the other labels are in ellipsis.
  2. The home button. Im expecting it will bring me to my list of campaigns since it was the first screen I see when i click the ads manager from facebook. Instead it brings me to Business Home.
  3. The call the list of campaigns, ads as TABLE. Why can’t theny not just add Campaigns menu from the side navigation?
  4. The export option box is behind the collapsed side navigation, you cant see the entire box, you cant see other labels.
  5. You want to logout? Its not on the upper right of the screen. Its on the bottom left and its title is “Your personal ad account..”, your name is ellisized.

Im sure facebook can do better, Its just not what I expected.