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Marwynn

Salvaging our game

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So, yeah. Our eight-month old game is struggling at the moment. At first, the group was really into the campaigns set by the GM. The starter Forsaken Bounty campaign let us have some fun and get familiar with the rules, then the Frozen Reaches was run and toned down for our level. 

 

But we stated, back in December, that we wanted the sandbox experience. Most of our group have never played tabletop RPGs before, and were less familiar with 40K, apart from myself (as the rogue trader) and the GM who have played since I don't remember which edition. 

 

We established, before the game started in January, that after we ran some campaigns we'd really like to simply play with the setting. Grow the "Strom Dynasty" through misadventures.

 

Damaris was going to be our base, a trial to see how we could get along with the Stars of Inequity rules and our own imagination. The group was excited by the prospect! Our astropath player played up the communications angle and petitioned for a series of relays for us to establish to make trade with Damaris easier. We had plans to forge new routes and so on.

 

The GM then decided to move up our plans to eventually make our way to the Heathen Stars. And instead of making way for Naduesh, we were dumped over Vaporious. We then killed and destroyed the GM's planned rival rogue trader dynasty in one afternoon. 

 

Since he and I were conspiring to tell the story, I provided much of the specifics and he picked and chose which ones to use where, I went along with it. I went along with the railroading even though our players' enthusiasm waned.

 

We should've played three games this month already. Each player approached me in turn. They like their characters (who through my own writing I provide a biased view on) and what the premise of the campaign was. 

 

For those familiar with our campaign, we eventually establish a base of operations in the Heathen Stars. We wanted to leave the place and return to Damaris but then a Warp Storm descended and we couldn't leave. Then, when things were finally going right, we get plucked out of the region.

 

Then we got thrown back in time a few years. 

 

Twice we built something up, and not through our actions or inaction did we lose it, but only because the GM didn't like that kind of game.

 

So we played the Svard adventure, with our own twists to it. This was the third and final time we'd attempt to build a base of operations, grow our dynasty, kill (or join) some pirates even though there was a rather cliche time-travel thing and destiny thing we didn't really like.

 

I bring the complaints to the GM (who plays our Seneschal from time to time). He says we'll enjoy the next part... when the Maw closes and we're stuck in Calixis, maybe with just our ship.

 

Again we lose everything we've built. Just because. 

 

And if you think the story's good, well I'll take the credit for that. I provide the characterization and write up details that is glossed over or not at all explored by the campaign. The GM does the big stuff and lets us sort it all out.

 

Our group doesn't want this. I don't want this. 

 

I see no need to continue doing something that is no longer fun for myself or my friends. But we've grown attached to our characters. So, I'm asking you GMs and even players, what can we do? I can appreciate what the GM is doing, telling this story of getting beaten down and striving against it, but he's not willing to change the campaign or its direction.

 

 

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You & Me both know you need to sit down and talk with your GM. I sense that you are a part-time GM yourself? If not then you could be. Anyways. My group is currently doing a free-roam/sandbox RT and this is my first time as a GM for RT. I have Gming experience under my belt but I have none in RT. What I've been doing is lightly guiding them do things. I know the gist of what they want is to start a empire, be pirates and most importantly, have fun! They recently just killed a gang leader to gain more control of their profit with them and awarded them. They are now on their way to the main pirate hub in the sector. So just sit down with your GM and tell him while you guys like the adventuring that it would ALSO be nice if you guys could set up a base and carve out a chunk of territory to be a empire you rule. Problem for him could be is that he isn't good at free-roaming and sandbox's? While its not incredibly hard its definitely not a piece of cake. Sit down and talk to him/her. The campaign is suppose to be shaped by you guys with him helping to mold it into something beautiful. Hoped this help.

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I've spoken to him about it several times. It's resulted in the group sometimes trying to meta and sabotage his plans.

 

The group wants a redo, turning back the game at the climax of the Damaris campaign. Wipe everything out, we're all Rank 1 again. 

 

I'm thinking we just move on with the campaign without the rails. Resolve the meta-situation quickly and make it about exploration and exploitation. 

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Honestly, if the group isn't digging the game and you've all talked to him several times about it, it sounds like it's time for someone else to take over the GM chair. I would make it straightforward, put it to a group vote on what you want to do (wipe and restart, continue, or continue with a new GM being possible options), and go from there.

Edited by Trailblazer

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A very similar thing actually occurred in my Star Wars group, though it had more to do with mental block/personal issues with the GM that resulted in our game deciding into a randomly generated soap opera.

 

Step 1, which you appear to have already done, is to talk to your GM.  Step 2, which also appears to have been completed, is to have everyone collectively talk to the GM, indicating that they have no interest in continuing the game as they’ve been running it.  Step 3, which is unclear if you’ve completed, is to stop playing or if you like the characters/game nominate someone to take over as GM.

 

In the end we decided that continuation from the point of departure would be the best way to continue.  A lot of what makes characters interesting and compelling has to do with their actions & reactions in the past.  You not only loose this if you jump back, you also risk creating character/personality confusion because even if the characters don’t remember, the players will.

 

We did, however, allow all players to make minor ret-cons to their characters/situation with the approval of the (new) GM.  Two players, for example, decided to remove the familial relationship “discovered” between their characters a few games before.  This can allow the players a chance to ‘brush off’ any particular part of the history that’s seriously bothering them without losing the character development that comes from such history.

 

So ultimately, I agree with your ‘plan’ posted just above: Spend a session or two resolving the existing open plots, or let them dissipate, then move on to the newly designed sandbox.

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There is no sandbox in RT.  Any sandbox is contrived (Warp Storms or what have you).  By definition, that's railroading, and if players know about it they tend to resent it.  You have a ship (or ships) that can travel the galaxy and maybe beyond.  The option to pick up and move has to be there.  Any other contrivance, such as time travel, is a failure on the part of the GM.  Hey, we've all called "redo" at one time or another, so I get it.  Figure out the mistakes and resolve not to do them again.  I don't recommend going forward until you've identified the problem.  You will repeat it if you don't figure it out.

 

You know your whole group needs to sit down and talk about it.  You want a sandbox, that's really up to the players.  Find a group of stars near each other and explore them, looking for the "right stuff."  If the GM throws you a bone on the other side of the Expanse you don't have to chase after it.  There are thousands of stars for every one marked on the map.  I like Stars of Inequity for generating my systems.  It saves me tons of time that I can dedicate to maps and photos and playing atmosphere.  I won't be using it for my PF system.

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Talk to your GM as a group, with everyone, telling him about your collective expectations about that "Empire-Building" stuff, as directly as possible (But be polite, as I won't be responsible for any injuries during a potential brawl. I endorse violence only against NPCs and PCs)

 

If things doesn't change, hire a new GM. Roleplaying is about fun and if the majority of the group (the players, mostly) are not having fun, the GM has failed. 

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I'm pretty much echoing the sentiment here. Although the GM crafts the story, it's the characters who are meant to populate it and flesh it out. I agree with your assessment that the impression I'm getting is you're being treated like you're not playing the story the "right way", which is ridiculous.

 

From a story perspective it's far from unsalvageable, but if talking things out with your GM hasn't resolved things then you and your group will probably need a new GM. Hopefully your existing one will be willing to rotate out, but if not then you may just have to peacefully exit the situation.

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I've given your problem some thought, Marwynn, and there's really only 1 solution.  You're the one that wants to save the game.  You're the one that has a vision about where it should go.  You're the one that's here on the forums looking for answers.  You're the one that needs to GM the game.  Give up your character and jump in with both feet.

 

And feel free to reset it.  Your buddy has done that before.  Just don't do it again after that.  Give them their sandbox.  I used the system generator and came up with a dozen systems that practically drew up the campaign plot on its own.  I could easily place those systems in close proximity to each, make them hard to get to from outside, but easy to get to from each other...voila...sandbox.

 

Those systems already come with plenty of ruins to explore, good colony options, a couple human-inhabited planets already in place, and a pirate base.  Throw in a rival, draw up some villains and some allies, and you've got yourself the makings of a good campaign.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate your replies.

 

For those who read my ramblings in the Fan Fiction section, this is why my Rogue Trader 'sploded. He's alive, but there's room to pass the torch while he recuperates and I take the mantle of the GM.

 

Our Missionary player chose not to burn a fate point and let her character die. She stuck around as an Eldar for a bit, but didn't want to continue with the way the game in its state. They've all grown attached to characters, so I can step back and let them play it. There's room for one more to be the Rogue Trader.

 

Looks like I'm going to be GMing two games now, both rather open-ended.

 

I'll speak with the GM one last time, but there are options available.

Edited by Marwynn

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Thanks guys, I appreciate your replies.

 

For those who read my ramblings in the Fan Fiction section, this is why my Rogue Trader 'sploded. He's alive, but there's room to pass the torch while he recuperates and I take the mantle of the GM.

 

Our Missionary player chose not to burn a fate point and let her character die. She stuck around as an Eldar for a bit, but didn't want to continue with the way the game in its state. They've all grown attached to characters, so I can step back and let them play it. There's room for one more to be the Rogue Trader.

 

Looks like I'm going to be GMing two games now, both rather open-ended.

 

I'll speak with the GM one last time, but there are options available.

 

Not just you - get everyone in the group involved, in order to really get your point across. 

 

One player talking to me about the game sucking? For me as a GM a reason to ask everyone else if there are problems, but your GM does not seem to be that type. 

 

I do hope you find whatever solution is best and most fun for all of you though :)

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Our Missionary player chose not to burn a fate point and let her character die. 

 

Any time this happens and the player isn't doing it because they had a massively awesome death scene, or they like playing super harcore mode, is a warning that something's gone very wrong.

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So it's going to be like an intervention then? I suppose I can organize that.

 

And yeah, Erathia, s he turned down all attempts to save her character. But she says she's interested in continuing if the game changes.

 

That was just before we time-travelled. She had an inkling and well, she was right.

Edited by Marwynn

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You know, I never realized how frustrating it was to have something you've worked so quietly and fervently on just be ignored. Our void-master player worked hard in our time during the Heathen Stars. We gave him the ships and he set out patrol routes, even did a lot of roleplaying and fleshing out. He brought that up during our talk.

 

It turns out, our GM has no intention for us to return to the Heathen Stars as we left it. In short, the Maw closes, Calixis goes to crap, and he hasn't figured out what to do from there.

 

You know what the sucky thing is? The GM lost our VM's plans. He gave a small binder of stuff he worked on his free time. And it's gone, probably thrown away, I know the guy.

 

The look on his face when his hard work was just brushed aside... He doesn't have a copy, it was hand-written. I quit. We quit.

 

We players spoke today. They're all still attached to their characters, even the dead missionary. In a subtle bit of revenge, we're going to use the Maw closing as part of our new backstory. As it currently stands, the Blessed Enterprise has its lord-captain in a coma halfway through the Maw. Somehow, the whole convoluted space hulk/karrad vall storyline will force the Koronus end of the Maw to close.

 

We're going to give Koronus time to reset. We, on the other hand, having a ship with a piece of an STC, will be sitting fairly pretty all things considered. We had a PF of 39 at last count, and we'll stay there (because I say so as the new GM).

 

So, because there's now a crazy need for resources that came from Koronus, the Imperial Navy has begun spreading the word about the Jericho Reach a bit more to some reliable rogue traders, like my now retired character was. We're heading to support the Achilus Crusade, brand new territory for us, with a lot of potential fun and exploration. We need to support the Crusade after all, and more importantly, the Calixis Sector.

 

Maybe some time next year we'll revisit the Koronus Expanse but we're happy not to.

 

Ugh, so much things to write.

Edited by Marwynn

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It's a shame that things had to end with your GM in the way that they did, but it sounds like all of you are willing to move forward.

 

I know abandoning the Koronus Expanse makes sense to keep the story going, but I can really quickly think of one or two ways that you could get back into the Expanse with the Maw closing, and also at least one major threat that would make you want to do so (which I'm planning on using in my campaign).

 

Hope you guys can recapture the fun. Anyone who casually destroys or loses something a player worked that hard on is not in my good books.

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I can't help but think your GM had his/her own share of frustrations.  GMs don't usually reset after reset unless their players are circumventing all their well laid plans or the GM is plain loco.

 

Sounds like you have the classical problem of a broken game.  The GM doesn't really want to run it.  It's no fun for him, but he doesn't know how to tell his friends.

 

Well, it's time to pass the baton.  Good luck with it.

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We've arrived at an agreed-upon backstory.

 

We'll keep the Blessed Enterprise as she is, but the dynasty will be "trimmed". We're actually adding two new players, but really just one more since I'll be replacing the GM.

 

Crimes Willfully Committed by the Strom Dynasty:

- Unprovoked, and premeditated, attacks on various Rogue Trader Dynasties

- Several unverified accounts of Piracy

- Trucking with Hereteks

- Time travel

 

However, at the cost of several bonuses and rewards, namely our fragment of an STC printout, some examples of archeotech, and after the successful fight against the space hulk Midnight's Lair we have been granted a clean slate.

 

Our holdings in the Koronus Expanse will, uhh, hold for now while we're charged with establishing new colonies and exploiting resources in the Jericho Reach. 

 

Of course, as the GM, I fully intend to punish the group for my choices as their former Rogue Trader. Eventually.

 

Frankly, I prefer just removing the "epic space opera" bits from the Koronus Expanse our former GM placed and I didn't want something like the Maw closing (permanently) to affect us. We keep our progress, our hard work, I'll make sure the group will face consequences for their actions, but the stuff we had no say in (time travel, mostly) won't affect us. I think that's fair. 

 

 

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Time travel per se isn't a crime in the imperium. It's a sometimes unfortunate consequence of warp travel, that's it. Now, if you committed crimes -while- time travelling or used a heretekal device to do so, different story, but it's nothing anyone would get in the PC's hair about usually.

 

I'd also avoid pushing the group in any direction. Some of what your char did will probably be ignored or forgotten (people don't generally remember everything), and you have two new players on board, which changes the group dynamic anyway. If they want quest hooks or something, that would be the point to bring in some prior decisions. But not before that. Let them do their thing for a while, or maybe, if it keeps being cool, indefinately. Just my two cents :)

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I think you have great idea there by pushing your group into the Jericho Reach.  Maybe their Warrant gets amended to only permit them to operate there until conditions X, Y, and Z are met.  That gives you the classical storyline: protagonists have something taken from them; protagonists must travel and grow to find redemption; protagonists reclaim what was taken from them.

 

Good luck

 

P.S.  And good idea to leave the epic space opera behind.  Too many GMs like to go that way.  It's kitsch at best.  Give your players a sound basis in a vanilla setting.  They will provide the epic for you; you just have to wait for the opportunity.

 

I have that SoI system generator and using it gives me so many stories.  After you've generated a system, analyze it.  How did it get that way?  Then let your players find and analyze it.  They'll come up with more stories.  Put the stories all together and something epic will crop up, I promise you.

 

Last campaign I generated about a dozen systems and it provided an excellent sandbox cluster that my players never even fully explored (hey, those derelict stations and ship graveyards don't wave solar flares at you).  I'm working on my next campaign (won't be ready for some months yet) and I've done the same thing...generated a dozen systems.  I'm still making the roll20 maps for them.  Great fun.

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You know, I have almost the exact opposite problem. My players are like a cat with a laser pointer. No railroading is required. Every time I put anything in front of them they go at it like a fat kid at the last slice of pie. Note, this has led them to making a lot of bad moves that I will gleefully bring home to roost all at the same time in what will hopefully be a glorious dogpile mess.

 

Ghost ship? Climb aboard, looks fun. Find a case with the seal of the Inquisition on it? Nobody will mind if we have a quick peek. I'm sure the bloodlock and stasis/time blenderizer trap are just tests of worthiness.

 

While we are doing a modified Lure of the Expanse campaign I've scattered around a few hooks for other stuff to do once that's done (like aforementioned inquisition suitcase) since the intention is to go more sandbox than before. Hilariously their penchant for jumping at everything and anything, and my attempts at keeping an open mind to altering things on the fly, has slowed down finishing the written campaign itself.

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I wouldn't call it a problem: RT is about perilous adventures some of which are profitable, while others being disastrous, and about people who are bound to be ambitious, even reckless sometimes, while staying resorseful, clever and strong enough to make all the difference.

All you need to do is feed them with fair share of opportunities, dangers and rewards, and everyone will stay happy.

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Twice we built something up, and not through our actions or inaction did we lose it, but only because the GM didn't like that kind of game.

 

So we played the Svard adventure, with our own twists to it. This was the third and final time we'd attempt to build a base of operations, grow our dynasty, kill (or join) some pirates even though there was a rather cliche time-travel thing and destiny thing we didn't really like.

 

I bring the complaints to the GM (who plays our Seneschal from time to time). He says we'll enjoy the next part... when the Maw closes and we're stuck in Calixis, maybe with just our ship.

 

Again we lose everything we've built. Just because. 

 

And if you think the story's good, well I'll take the credit for that. I provide the characterization and write up details that is glossed over or not at all explored by the campaign. The GM does the big stuff and lets us sort it all out.

 

Our group doesn't want this. I don't want this. 

 

I see no need to continue doing something that is no longer fun for myself or my friends. But we've grown attached to our characters. So, I'm asking you GMs and even players, what can we do? I can appreciate what the GM is doing, telling this story of getting beaten down and striving against it, but he's not willing to change the campaign or its direction.

I know I'm a bit late to the party, but... swap ya?

One of my (late) RT groups had a sad plot-addiction that would probably have suited your GM.

While I wanted to GM ... pretty much what you're describing

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