The one who insists on his character going off and doing his own thing.
The one constantly distracting the GM with notes or wanting a private conversation.
The one so wedded to his character concept he won’t bend with the consensus of the group.
The one who always wants to be in the spotlight.
A lot of the time we go along with these people and games often suffer because of it. You don’t want to ban anyone from the table and the usual social contract between players of give and take – that normally evolves organically – isn’t working or isn’t established yet. What can you do if you don’t want to kick them from your group, upset them and disrupt the game?
In the past, one thing I’ve found useful to help groups focus is to ‘gameify’ disruptive behaviour so that it penalises the player engaging in that behaviour. They are still free to do all these things if they really want to, but it stacks up negatively on their character and gives them penalties, making it harder for them to do things.
I called these ‘Black Marks’ and I would award them for engaging in too much non-game banter/discussion, playing around with phones and laptops (other than for game related things), taking too many smoke breaks and arseholey things in game like needlessly splitting the party, fighting your fellow party members, thieving from them or hogging the limelight.
We used little black tokens to mark these negative points and 1-3 were awarded each offence. I would then cash them in during play to reduce a player’s damage, make them miss or – at the end of the game – to penalise their experience points.
Assuming a d20 basis, each point was equal to a -1 to a roll and these could really make a difference during play.
Not all groups will go for this, some will react poorly and it can lead to more argument over whether they deserved the black marks or not, but for many groups this may offer a solution to bad habits and disruptive players.