It becomes readily apparent how quickly one person can ruin something for an entire group of peopleSupport the show
I have a long story to share. Unfortunately, it takes place across three years. A "Friend" invites herself to DnD group. Her playstyle does not fit the group and she loses interest in DnD, but refuses to leave. The atmosphere at the table has been negative for too long. I'm exhausted. I tell her she has to go. She accuses me for not being a real friend. We go no contact.
I was close to "friend" in high school, mainly because we took the same classes. After graduation, we lost contact. Rest of my high school friend group eventually got back together, to play TTRPGs. The group was RP and story oriented. We did not exclude this friend on purpose, but the friend only liked writing stories, and not playing games. We thought she would not be interested. Yet, when she heard we were playing, she wanted to join.
What followed was her being incompatible with the rest of the table, and occasionally overstepped social boundaries. No one wanted to say anything about it. In first half of the campaign:
She wanted to play a cat person: a girl with cat ears, who acted like a cat. I am sure that's fine at the right kind of table, but no one else in our table was into this. The DM was new and didn't want to say no.
The DM offered us to partake in world building. Friend took the offer to create her character's home province, while disregarding the DM's setting. In short, we got Japan populated by cats, in the middle of Europe. We also got whopping twenty noble clans in one tiny village, in a tiny island where nobility was supposed to be overthrown. The DM is aware that this also was a mistake, but didn't know better back then.
Her character was generic Mary Sue, from a family of Mary Sues. In her looong backstory, she naturally slew a red dragon at level 1. DM had her tone this down, at least.
She wrote erotic fiction about her character, and sent it to DM. She never once asked DM's permission.
She also had kind of a script for her character's story. Story goals are great, but she was upset when there were obstacles to overcome. She ignored plot hooks given for her, if they contained hardships. More than that, she was upset when her actions had consequences. A big example was when our group needed to access a temple to the god of sacrifice. Only those who made personal sacrifice could enter. Her character sacrificed all memories of her lover. Before she did this, it was made clear she could never get her memories back. Afterwards she was upset, because her character "could no longer have a happy ending". In roleplay, she began asking extremely meta questions in hopes of them leading to her regaining her memories. She was also hostile toward me, because my character was the only one in the group who didn't lose memories (my character gave up her dominant hand). We eventually had to convince the lover to give her character, now a stranger, a second chance, because she was so set on them being together.
She was extremely jealous to be a ranger in a group full of casters. She was offered class change, which she refused. Primarily she was jealous about high damage spells I took for my sorcerer. She became convinced sorcerers were overpowered in 5e. She was also jealous about the stories unfolding for our characters. When I agreed to become champion to a forgotten deity, her character suddenly wanted to be champion too. Previously, her character had been nonreligious. Yet, while I worked to revive my deity's religion, she asked the DM for freebies, and on occasion berated her deity for not taking action.
To top of this ridiculous list, she was also a murderhobo. In combat, she got angry when she didn't hit the enemy. She never cooperated with us in combat, because she wanted to win alone. She also perceived our characters as "ultimate good", and she wanted to shoot everyone who was "not good". She was upset when I stopped her from shooting people, including a literal child.
When we finished one story arch, the DM needed a break. We talked a lot about how everyone could improve. The problem friend said she wanted to learn to roleplay. She did change for the next arch, but it wasn't all for better.
We lost one player, because she couldn't commit for another year of DnD. Friend suggested a replacement, someone only she knew. Newbie was a teen, while we were young adults. The DM wasn't sure this was a good fit. I foolishly suggested we should give it a try. Yet, newbie never talked. She didn't answer, when we engaged her. She didn't pay attention. On occasion, she did something random and "funny". Newbie left the group peacefully, after agreeing that DnD was not her thing. Friend told us that she had found newbie's behaviour frustrating, too.
This bit is important, because ultimately, the friend was kicked for the same behaviour.
Fast forward, a big bad dragon from her backstory returned. She wasn't even eager to confront it... but I suggested we should go. We were level 15 or so at this point, and I teleported us over ASAP.
The province was on fire, but she simply shrugged. While we started saving citizens, she saw the dragon and was invigorated. She told no one, ditched her party, and ran to 1v1 the dragon.
She met that previously betrayed lover on her way. They were both killed in two rounds of combat. Resurrection was extremely difficult (for heroes only). After a long talk, we resurrected her character, because she was living in a world of sunk cost fallacy. She literally said "if I don't get my character back, I will have wasted two years for nothing". Our cleric, of god of death, refused to resurrect the lover. She said she had broken the rules enough already. For the rest of the campaign, she was obsessed with bringing the lover back. She would do anything, including evil acts. It was cool character development, except, she got angry out of character every time we pointed out her character is becoming evil.
She did have some okay roleplay moments, but more often she liked to do things for shock value. Often, she devalued others for this end. Such as, she went around telling people about my character's illegitimate child with a politician, because she found infidelity amusing. She also once watched my character be paralysed magically, and then get stabbed by a stranger.
Moments later, she walked away and left my character in a puddle of her own blood. She had many rounds to react, but this was one of the only times she chose not to metagame to help.
Whenever I said my character no longer trusts her character, she took it as real life hostility between us. I didn't know how difficult it was for her to differentiate between character and player, until it was too late.
Admittedly, I added to the negative mood at the table. Towards the end of the campaign, I wasn't looking forward to playing with her there. I came to the table in a bad mood, and got annoyed at small things. Through the campaign, several times, we as players, discussed what was going wrong, and what should be done. Every time it seemed things were alright, they weren't. When we ended, she revealed the campaign had been so upsetting to her, she had cried for months after games. No one knew, because she lied about being alright. Now that we had the whole story, we talked, again. At this point, we should have concluded that she was not fit to play with us, but we didn't.
I took over as DM and invited everyone from the previous game. I don't even know why I was so naïve still.
She was impossible to work with. She disregarded the lore I gave her. She tried to disregard my homebrew races in character creation, after I explicitly explained she cannot take anything from the players handbook. She refused to make a backstory, for which I only asked one paragraph. She didn't want to be a cleric, but as the party had no healer, she offered to be one. She never enjoyed cleric, and never healed anyone but herself. I asked her time and again if she was happy with her character, and if she wanted to rather swap for her original idea, a monk. She kept lying that she had always wanted to be a cleric, until I showed her screenshots of her original character plan. I also discovered that she cheated by not marking used spell slots, and swapping prepared spells during in-game days. After about ten sessions, she didn't participate in the story, and sometimes she didn't even pay attention.
I started asking if she was okay. After a lot of back and forth, she admitted she was upset by something that happened in the game. I tried asking how I can improve the game, and what I should change. She never answered. After a few more weeks, I had to ask if she enjoyed playing at all. She said she doesn't care about DnD. At this point it became clear that she only came to the table to hang out, while we were super story focused. She had most likely realised way back that DnD wasn't for her, but she wanted to not be excluded by her friends.
I was very tired. I had two options. Either I cancel the game, or she goes. I chose the latter. I told her the reasons, including that she was not participating and was disruptive at the table.
Now, she was very upset that she was getting the boot for the same reasons that previously had been valid for booting someone else. She tried to argue that I was not a true friend because I kicked her. I told her that a true friend would not force herself to sit through boring activity every week and drag down everyone else's experience. She did not talk to me for a couple of days, because she thought I was terminating our friendship. Then we sort of talked it out. We hung out doing other stuff for a while. Then, as one naturally would, we found a replacement player. The situation exploded again. She was bitter and had been holding a grudge. Now she came back screaming how she was betrayed and replaced. We tried to explain to her this was not true. She asked me to define our friendship. At this point, I just said "I've not talked to you outside of DnD after we graduated, we are acquaintances". She had however thought we were very close friends, somehow, and things just got worse from that. Our discussion ended up with her walking out for good. Ever since, I've honestly had fun playing DnD.