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TheLostNavigator

spoon feeding PCs

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Hey

The group I'm playing with aren't ones for thinking outside the box, or even finding the edges (This is said literally, having started my PCs in a dark room during another role playing a PC asked me "What can I see?" After replying nothing he proceded to sit down and wait until something happened.). They are opposed to even reading rules, fluff or weapon tables. Combat is a repetition of "I shoot it." I've tried demonstrating other actions by having enemies and NPCs perform them. As I plan to create some encounters that will need PCs to apply their skills and imagination I am looking for a method of encouraging them to explore the system without blatantly force feeding them. Even during investigations PC have to literally trip over a clue or have some NPC deliver info to them or it stagnates pretty quickly.

Any suggestions?

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Play a different roleplaying game if they're all so dumb. Or if you're determined to teach them, have them screwed over by imaginative thinking on behalf of the NPCs and try to show them that by not taking cover, flanking, using correct tactics, etc. they're dead.

 

Or just put them in a high-corruption scenario and have them mutate out of control, get hunted down by the authorities and finally die. Idk

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Agree with what Pixels said. While you should ease up on new PC's, Dark Heresy is not the most forgiving environment. If you're not being creative in combat, or standing out in the open, and the NPC's are using cover? The PC's will die. Try giving NPC's comparable equipment and stats to the PC's, in fact. Similar gear, similar stats, the NPC's are using cover and the PC's aren't? The PC's will start learning to use tactics pretty fast.

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Play a different roleplaying game [...]

Or a different type of game altogether. It sounds like your friends perhaps aren't interested in roleplaying. So that's something you should discuss. Find out where your gaming interests overlap, and if that's nowhere, accept it and find a group that shares your interests.

Things not to do: Be a **** when it turns out you can't engage people with an activity they don't enjoy.

They're no more to blame for not sharing your interest than you are.

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Simsum pretty much summed up what I was going to say. It may be a case that if you want to indulge your hobby its not something you can do with this group of friends. Try seeing if there is a local gaming club in your area, or failing that look on message boards like this one or many others in the community (Dark Reign, DakkaDakka, Warseer etc etc) and find a Skype group. With things like Roll20 in place it should be pretty easy to find like-minded people who want to game the way you want to.

Edited by Cail

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If you do want to try and make it work,

 

I'd suggest

a) Asking them what the issue is?

b) Gearing the first couple of adventures very much around what they want to do

c) Be ready to improvise.  Many scenarios are predicated on the basis that the PCs are at least slightly proactive.  If they aren't then you need to do more work.  In the dark room example I would have said 'O.k  You wait for [x] minutes.  What are you thinking about? Who are you thinking about? Are you praying?. Make the player answer questions about his character.  After a while say he feels something scaly brush up against his leg....Go from there.

d) Play the PCs off against each other.  There is nothing like competition to get people interested. 

 

Adventure Seed

The acolytes are doing research in a old military base in the middle of nowhere.  But then they get a transmission from their Inquisitor.  One of the acolytes is actually a shapeshifting xenos horror.  The Inquisitor can reveal it is........and the transmission ends.  Tell them that before the session you briefed the PC playing the traitor xenos thing....and let the fun begin.

(For added fun none of the PCs are actually a xenos horror but don't let them know that).

 

That said I second and third what Simsum and Cail.  My first impression is that your PCs don't want to play an RP game.  Which is fair enough it's not for everyone.  I know people who I play a lot of board games and TT against but don't really like RPG because it doesn't have enough of a competitive edge or because a long term game like an RP doesn't really interest them.  Something like Necromunda or Mordhiem is about as far as they would go. 

 

Also the idea of taking on a 'role' just seems a bit too wierd for people who can get self conscious  about it (old anxieties about being in school plays perhaps?

Edited by Visitor Q

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They're all keen to play roleplaying and I am in no way forcing them to play. They just play an RPG like a tabletop. I have tried avoiding brutally murdering them and did emphasise that taking cover is vital, my campaign missions are designed around what skills and talents they have, but perhaps I should throw something rough at them.

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Are your players experienced role-players? Because if they aren't, perhaps the problem is that they don't understand that they 'control' their characters and thus only react to situations?

 

Or maybe you are playing the wrong role playing game. If combat is what mostly animates them, perhaps you should shift to Only War or Deathwatch.

 

Anyway, I have two simple solutions which you might like to try:

 

1) Give them a corridor shooter kind of game initially. That way, they don't have to think very much about what to do and where to go. Then slowly allow them more choices. For example, let the NPC's use the environment/surroundings against them (shooting at vats of acid, puncturing pipes filled with boiling hot steam) or let them notice scavenger juv's using the duct system to get about unseen.

 

2) Give each player a personal goal. They might not be motivated by the overal mission but surely their personal goal should inspire some initiative on their side....

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I have played with my new group for about 3 months now, so let me give you 2 cents that have helped all of us: sit down and take a talk.

 

Our group was a prime example of what you just said, okay we did turn on the light when we entered a new room, but we did not improve on the lighting situation and found all the clues if there was just an okay level of light. Most of us were new to the system, and some was new to P&P all in all, meaning that sure they wanted to RP, they wanted to set up their own characters without help and they wanted to find out about all the awesome guns in the universe, but being new is that simply just too much for them.

 

But after a lot of talking, no questions being stupid, only the answers, have all in our group now begun to RP a lot, to investigate a lot, and generally just to have a real synergy. On our first adventure was our strategy to throw nades after anything that we saw, but now do we use charm, intimidate and scrutiny to our advance, nades cost a lot of money after all!

 

What I am saying is invite your group over for some fun chilling, buy a bottle or two of soda and a bag of chips as well and just talk about the system. Don´t feed them anything, but let them talk and ask questions, that will get the conversation rolling. To have your books laying on the table, ready to be found forth and showing awesome things could also be used, after all, players are more inclined to look something up when they find it easy instead of hard.

 

If that don´t work... well give your players some roles, make one the guy who more or less have to think about strategy, one to be their quartermaster, one to be their face and so on. Maybe do they all think that they have to do all the things at once, and that gives stress and uncertainty. And if that don´t work... well to make them read up on some lore can you give them handouts, "forcing" them to read up about it to proceed with the game. If that don´t work, that they don´t want to read it or forgets about it, then make a loot list, loot lists and name lists are always good for each and every group since written names and book titles really kick starts ones memory. And if nothing of that work... well let the game grind to a halt, and let the players handle it one way or another.

 

Tl:Dr, don´t be their teacher that force feed them anything, be their guide and GM that give them a little puff in their back to get them going. Talk with them instead of feed them, and try to see things from their point of view

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Great advice all-round.

 

Another good idea is to ask them about their characters. Ask them to tell you stories about their PCs. Where were they born? Who are their friends? Who did they work for before? How did they end up working for the Inquisition? Why did they bring the gear they brought? What is their opinion of each of their fellow Acolytes?

 

If you think they're up for it, try getting them to define their fictional personalities as well.

 

Ask for specifics, and be ready to help them with interesting twists and setting information as required. Get them to set the stage for some drama. Though mind you don't set the party up for violent fractures. That sort of thing can be a lot of fun, but probably not for your first few adventures.

 

Getting the players to start pulling in different directions and discussing things from the point of view of their characters, whether it is in character or not, has been the starting point for pretty much any RP group I've played with.

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Clearly isn't for them? You know the players yourselves? You've been in the lost navigator's game?

 

There is nothing "clear" in an overview from a game master on the forum, which describes something he has seen; we do not have their psychiatric dossier to analyse what they think and who they are and hence determine what game is made for them. (if that can even be possible).

My players were a lot like this when they started. RPG, like anything else, is something you learn to do and to like with time, patience and work well done by the game master.

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Clearly isn't for them? You know the players yourselves? You've been in the lost navigator's game?

 

There is nothing "clear" in an overview from a game master on the forum, which describes something he has seen; we do not have their psychiatric dossier to analyse what they think and who they are and hence determine what game is made for them. (if that can even be possible).

My players were a lot like this when they started. RPG, like anything else, is something you learn to do and to like with time, patience and work well done by the game master.

 

Well, there was enough in his brief description for me to determine that DH isn't for them... at least right now.  I've been at this whole GMing thing for long enough - give or take, 20 years - to be able to come to conclusion about what systems work for what players pretty **** quickly.  Sure, I've been wrong before.  Sure, sometimes players can quickly "get into" a system that isn't initially suited to their styles.

 

No, I don't generally wait around for that to happen.  My advice to this GM is that he shouldn't either.

 

When you are confronted with a group that isn't overly sophisticated and/or fail to initially grasp the "feel" and "mood" of a particular game system, you shouldn't keep bashing your well-crafted scenarios into them, hoping they eventually pick it up.  You change systems, bringing forth one that fit their style.  In this case, the investigation/RP-heavy pseudo-crime noir Dark Heresy should be replaced with something "simpler" and combat-focused.  As someone else said, try Only War or perhaps Deathwatch.  Those systems are simple to grasp and suit players that are looking for blood'n'bolts.  The GM can sneak some RP-heavy moments into what is otherwise a shoot 'em up campaign.  

 

Over time, the players will either become ROLEplayers... or not.  If the latter is true - that your group is little more than a collection of ROLLplayers - stick to the systems that fit what they can do - lest everyone end up disappointed.  If the former is true, and they become the sophisticated RPers you want them to be, you can shift over to suitably-complex systems that reward your brains more than your dice rolls - like Dark Heresy (or Rogue Trader).

 

In following this forum for a while (though not nearly as long as I've been GMing Dark Heresy), I can comfortably say that there is a serious disconnect between what players seem to expect and what the game system is meant to be.  Sure, a GM can easily craft a Dark Heresy campaign that plays like a 40K version of an 80's action movie.  But, is that really what the system is supposed to be about?  Was that the design intent when your average (non-fudged) DH character hits like 8-year old and can take about as much punishment as cheese-cloth?

 

In sum, FFG has provided groups with at least 2 systems that are combat focused and require little in the way of sophistication or the ability to RP.  Dark Heresy is not among them.

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Oh wow... I'd have thought someone with that much gaming experience had shed that kind of attitude. I mean, I agree on the practical advice, but man... People aren't lesser human beings for liking stuff like Descent: Journeys in The Dark and disliking stuff like Dark Heresy :D

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Before all begins to blame the players should people maybe look into things and see a bigger part of the picture. The GM joined the site in September last year, starting out by making a thread in here about how he technically never had RPed before and how it was his first time being a GM.

 

At times is it the gamers fault for not figuring out what the GM wants them to do, but at times are the GM also so green that he isn´t giving the right hints. What there would work on him and be logical in his head are not always the same for the players, something that most new GMs don´t really think on, or new players when it comes to their own teams actions.

 

Beside that, if he wants to play DA is the solution not to pick another game up people! But to give him and his players tools so they can play this game.

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Oh wow... I'd have thought someone with that much gaming experience had shed that kind of attitude. I mean, I agree on the practical advice, but man... People aren't lesser human beings for liking stuff like Descent: Journeys in The Dark and disliking stuff like Dark Heresy :D

 

Being unsophisticated doesn't make you a "Lesser Human Being."  In this context, it merely means you are looking for, enjoy and/or are probably only capable of participating in simple ROLLplay.  We've all been in campaigns like that or had a player or 2 in one that was like that.  He/she rolls up a combat-focused class/career that has high physical/combat characteristics with very predictable "dump stats" (Int, Per, Fel).  The character shines in combat, but ends up quiet and reserved in interaction... or plays the intimidating thug that's quick to anger and solves problems at the point of a gun. 

 

Sound familiar?

 

Personally, I don't enjoy playing characters like that, and similarly find that characters like that serve no purpose in the campaigns I GM.  When something like that is presented to me, I generally ask the player to scrap it, take some time to think about what fits well in the type of campaign I've outlined and then reroll.  As a note, I also don't allow Guardsmen in my DH campaigns, absent really compelling fluff and an interesting backstory.

 

As for the last bit... I actually like it when players know themselves well enough to "not like Dark Heresy."  It's a unique system in that it isn't for everyone, but to a much greater and extreme degree.  Don't waste your own, my and the other players' time by entering a campaign that isn't what you're looking for.  To me, that's just being polite.  It's not self-deprecating.  It's a sign of maturity, in my opinion.

 

When I provide an introduction for a campaign I'm starting, I give enough detail about what it will be like to afford prospective players the luxury of coming in "with eyes open."  So, when I'm kicking off a Radicals (DH) campaign, nobody shows up with a goody-2-shoes Cleric or boyscout Arbitrator.  I make it clear that you'll be expected to think, never go full retard and *gasp* RP in-character.  Can't, won't or don't want to do that?  Cool.  It's not for everyone.  It does not make you  lesser human being.

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Thanks for the advice, perhaps I will try moving to Only War. I admit that I am a new GM, but I do keep in mind that PCs idea of logic may differ. My initial draw to DH was because it is suited to characters that I prefer playing (social less combat orientated), but maybe just isn't what the others want from the system.

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Well... have you tried talking with your players about what it is that they want from the system?

 

If it is rolling dices and killing monsters would I say as the others, change system, because DA is also as mention not made for that (how ironic that I play in a group who all more or less is battle first, second and third, with some talking left over in the corner because its mother sad we should take it.)

 

If they say that they want to roleplay and so on, then ask them how they want they want to roleplay and take it from there. If it is the same group as you have mentioned in your first thread, (the ones that you scrounged up) does it sound to me that you don´t know them so well just yet, and that again can a talk solve most things. No matter what should you all talk, either to find some tools to fix this, or to choose the new system.

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Personally, I don't enjoy playing characters like that, and similarly find that characters like that serve no purpose in the campaigns I GM.  When something like that is presented to me, I generally ask the player to scrap it, take some time to think about what fits well in the type of campaign I've outlined and then reroll.  As a note, I also don't allow Guardsmen in my DH campaigns, absent really compelling fluff and an interesting backstory.

 

In the campaign you GM; it's because you make it that way. I don't have a problem with that, I'm sure, with 20 years of GMing behind you that you're pretty good. But that's a personal choice, and not a rule. In my games, all kind of characters can play very well with investigations, all of it depends on how you create your investigations and how you do it.

 

That's true that if his players do not want to play that kind of game, it's okay to change. It's definitely false to just change the game because they don't get it not. Simplier stories, time to adjust and tricks from the GM to help them get better at it are better ways than juste switch system.

 

Everything is going like it is led.

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Well for starters DH is a role play game it's not 'Citizen Kane'.  There's no reason why DH has to be particularly non-combat orientated. 

 

Plus I would say Deathwatch and Only War require a far better understanding of the setting to make the entire concept work.  Particularly Deathwatch which actually requires you take on a very very specific role.  In addition I would not personally recommend a new group playing Deathwatch, there's way too many rules just to jump into.

 

As to Lost Navigators actual problem it wasn't that the PCs were meat head combat types it was that they weren't really taking many actions at all.  If anything it sounds like they would get murdered in a typical Only War or Deathwatch scenario.

 

No, I would stick to Dark Heresy.  It allows for the most flexibility of scenario and character so that when the PCs do come out of their shells you can fit the campaign around them.  I mean what happens if it turns out they do like investigating over combat and they are in a Only War campaign?  You'd pretty much have to start over.

 

With Dark Heresy you can finely craft it into whatever game best suits your needs.  You can even dispense with the whole Inquisition thing altogether. 

 

Want to play a gang of underhive desperados planning a raid on a Guild Caravan: Dark Heresy

Arbite squad investigating a series of murders and witchcraft on an Agri World: Dark Heresy

Feral worlders fleeing across their tribal terriroty as a Tyranid invasion rains down on their planet: Dark Heresy

Edited by Visitor Q

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