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rowdyoctopus

My players try to weasel out of everything.

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Rowdy came here for help, you only offered that he "was pissed" with his players, wanted to "walk the hell away from the table" and that the problem was him. Decidedly not helpful. Very far from the fun roleplaying is supposed to be.

 

Okay, I'll quantify my advice - from the evidence I've seen presented here (Which, to be fair is just a small sample of what could be going on at the table and I could be wrong), the Face is not too far out of line and that he needs to lighten up. Addendum: if it bothers him that much, then he needs to talk with the players and get on the same page. He needs to air his concerns, his players need to say what is on their minds - and then everyone needs to compromise. Give the Face his Crowning Moments of Awesome and The Face dials it back some from trying to cheat the doorman, the cabbie, the meter maid, the dog washer. . . . .

 

Of course, but the player has to make it somewhat reasonable, and it's not a replacement for Influence.

 

That's fair enough - although I'll contend that sometimes the completely outrageous lies (backed up with judicial use of Unmatched Expertise) can give the player that happy glow that makes games memorable.

 

Of course I don't see claiming poverty to the vigo as that far outside of reasonable. "You're my long lost dad" - not so much. "Sorry man, I just made the last payment to my other loanshark debtor and I'm skint" isn't that far outside a smuggler's normal operating parameters anyway.

 

(Quick aside - actually, as a GM I could have fun with a player going "But you're my long lost father!" - sure it closes one door, but man, having a Vigo think you are his son opens up SO many more. You think he's just going to let you fly away after that. "Good going, you've convinced him that you're his son that he never knew. Now go to your room." But I digress. . . . )

 

Perhaps I read wrong, bit to me it sounded more like the OP was having problems with players continuing along exhausted lines of action.  To take the second example, if I was running.  I wouldn't have an issue with "Maybe I know something."  I have a problem if the Face insists on talking and and bartering it for half an hour of real-time.  Its the same problem one can have with a slicer that wants to spend all his time slicing into the kitchen computer.  

 

That I'll agree with - monopolizing the game for a half hour of real time - I could seen need having to put the kibosh on that. There's a difference between "That was well roleplayed. Here, have a blue die" and filibustering.

Edited by Desslok

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I want to thank everyone that has provided input here. I can't quote you all.

Everyone definitely understands some of what is going on. Part of it is me and my flexibility. More to do with my planning though. I was definitely under-prepared for the last session, and I can get flustered easily.

In general though, this topic came up because when my players do hit a dead end, they don't seem to get it and keep pursuing that line of action, trying to steamroll themselves into making a check. Part of that is on me. I need to do a better job articulating when one approach will not work in character.

I do need to talk to the players, and I will. I believe we are coming at social situations in different ways. The players think they can tell a lie or say something charming and it will lead to a check, but they aren't looking closely enough at who they are talking to, what is being said, what they are saying, etc.

I have no problem with my faces being great (my group has a scoundrel and a performer).

I think the tavern example, while hyperbolic, best describes how I feel. I am fully ready to admit part of it is my own failures, but I believe some of it is on my players as well. The advice and discussion here has helped me. Thank you.

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I think some of the debate here also comes from different styles of GMing: I'm a sandbox GM (and I get the impression Desslok is too), and therefore my players can't ever really hit a dead end. Trying social checks and failing because they haven't prepared properly just leads to more and new situations. To GM that way, you have to be highly flexible and let your players lead.

 

Other GMs, however, prepare stories beforehand, and need some buy-in from their players that they aren't going to immediately and wilfully go off the rails. There's nothing wrong with this style of GMing either, but it involves more preparation from the GM and more complicity from the players, and so the issues you mention here are more pronounced. I agree that there are few problems that can't be solved by directly talking to your players about, and it sounds like your players are generally invested and good-natured and you provide them with interesting and well thought-out situations.

 

I think the biggest issue I try to emphasize with my new players is that actions have consequences, and that my world is set up as a living world, not just a set for them to do their thing on. So not everybody they interact with exists exclusively for them to hoodwink or kill, and that doing so to the wrong person can have consequences. Perhaps if your players realize that you're not out to thwart their fun, they'll be okay with the understanding that trying to swindle everyone they meet is going to have real consequences.

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So, I've talked to them a little (though I'm still waiting for our scoundrel to chime in), and it turns out they didn't quite get what I was looking for on social checks, which left them fumbling around and trying to brute force the one thing they think will work.

Here is what I wrote for them:

NPC has X that you want, or they want X from you. They won't give you X because of Y, or they want X from you because of Y. How is the player going to address Y? If they don't address Y, then X won't be given, or the NPC won't give up on getting X.

Now, I try to tip off on what Y is through what I say. I know I don't always do the greatest job. However, if there isn't an appatent Y, the NPC is probably beyond being reasoned with, or its so mundane it doesn't matter. Now you are probably thinking, "But rowdyoctopus, I'm a liar/charmer, why won't you let me lie/charm?" Bear with me for a moment.

Let's give an example. Saturday night you guys were in a cantina asking about a pirate. Let's pretend the people in there were actually willing to talk. In reality they weren't, because the adventure was written so that you had to pay the information broker, but let's pretend they were.

So Devaronian A knows of Bandin Dobah and he knows the guy has a smuggling crew that operates out of a warehouse a few streets over (this is X), but he is afraid to talk about him because Bandin is ruthless and he fears repercussions if it comes back it was him who talked (this part is Y). You guys don't know this yet, obviously. So the Wookiee performer approaches Devaronian A, with 2 drinks in hand and asks him about Bandin? No.... He makes small talk.

The Devaronian gives him a funny look, thanks him, but doesn't really know what to say because he doesn't know what this Wookiee wants. So he politely puts up with him but gives off the feeling he doesn't want to be bothered. So now the Wookiee performer has no idea if this guy has information on Bandin, let alone what might be preventing him from giving it. He walks a way thinking the NPC can't help him. (Side note, this is actually how an interaction played out in our session. The player had like 6 lines of small talk and flirting without actually getting to any type of point, then asked me for the "talkative drunk" patrons when the NPC didn't really do anything).

So the Wookiee performer approaches Devaronian B. This guy has pretty much the same information (X), and pretty much the same reason for keeping it to himself (Y). This time the Wookiee performer comes right out and says it. He buys a drink for the gentleman, compliments his head horns, and asks if he knows anything about Bandin. The guy tries to push him off. "C'mon man, what makes you think that? Look, even if I did, if he finds out I talked its my head coming off." So the Wookiee performer sees this as his in. He tells the guy that he is looking for Bandin to take him down, remove his negative presence from the community, and an upstanding Devaronian like him would want to help. Surely once we succeed there is nothing to worry about.

Now here, as the GM, I see that the Wookiee performer found someone with X (info on Bandin), figured out their Y (afraid of repercussions), and applied his charm to overcome it. He would roll charm.

I then go on to talk about how they can still roll against those NPCs that don't seem to have an apparent conflict of interest (Y) and I can do better at allowing it. Additionly, in all cases, success on the rolls might not always lead to the exact, specific results the PC is looking for.

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(Side note, this is actually how an interaction played out in our session. The player had like 6 lines of small talk and flirting without actually getting to any type of point, then asked me for the "talkative drunk" patrons when the NPC didn't really do anything).

 

As a GM and player, this annoys me. It annoys me because we should be getting to the point. It also annoys me because I know I've done it without noticing too. I think how much this comes up will depend on the level of immersion your role playing has. I have some friends who will play every detail of every conversation. (They are actors and/or hang in actor social circles.) They will do all the small talk before getting to the point. For them that's the fun of the game, which is great.

 

However, I'm like the GM in that goblin tavern example above. I want the players to get to the point so that we can move on to the real adventure. (Note: I find it disrespectful for a player to monopolize a lot of a GM's time when it results in the rest of the players sitting around doing nothing. Examples are face characters who talk to everyone for way too long and stealth characters who want to go on solo missions.)

 

My group usually states what they are trying to do first then does some role playing. We assume our character's stats represent that they can do much better than what we can sitting at the time. Usually it comes out something like this.

Player: I'm going to bring him a drink, sweet talk him a bit, then be subtle when I ask him about the bounty. "Hey there big guy, how's about a drink?"

GM: His dour face lightens up at the drink and your words. Charm for two purple and a boost.

Player: "What can you tell me about that bounty?" <rolls charm dice>

Edited by Jamwes

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(Side note, this is actually how an interaction played out in our session. The player had like 6 lines of small talk and flirting without actually getting to any type of point, then asked me for the "talkative drunk" patrons when the NPC didn't really do anything).

 

As a GM and player, this annoys me. It annoys me because we should be getting to the point. It also annoys me because I know I've done it without noticing too. I think how much this comes up will depend on the level of immersion your role playing has. I have some friends who will play every detail of every conversation. (They are actors and/or hang in actor social circles.) They will do all the small talk before getting to the point. For them that's the fun of the game, which is great.

 

However, I'm like the GM in that goblin tavern example above. I want the players to get to the point so that we can move on to the real adventure. (Note: I find it disrespectful for a player to monopolize a lot of a GM's time when it results in the rest of the players sitting around doing nothing. Examples are face characters who talk to everyone for way too long and stealth characters who want to go on solo missions.)

 

My group usually states what they are trying to do first then does some role playing. We assume our character's stats represent that they can do much better than what we can sitting at the time. Usually it comes out something like this.

Player: I'm going to bring him a drink, sweet talk him a bit, then be subtle when I ask him about the bounty. "Hey there big guy, how's about a drink?"

GM: His dour face lightens up at the drink and your words. Charm for two purple and a boost.

Player: "What can you tell me about that bounty?" <rolls charm dice>

Yeah, I'm with you on those points.

I do plan to talk to the player one on one (we have a group discussion thread going on Facebook currently). I want to make sure he knows its OK to go over those details, but he should make sure he is actually making progress to some type of goal. He has to be the one to initiate action when trying to get something from an NPC.

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Let's pretend the people in there were actually willing to talk. In reality they weren't, because the adventure was written so that you had to pay the information broker, but let's pretend they were.

 

I think I may have an insight about why at least some of your players are approaching situations expecting you to just hand over information their characters aren't directly asking for. In my above post, I mentioned sandbox GMs and prepared storyline GMs. As a sandbox GM, I'm not entirely happy with the above quote, since I like letting my players go where they will and do what they like, unless there are in-character reasons why they can't (However, your follow-up example is an excellent example of why NPCs might be reluctant to talk, so good job there). Simply not being able to get info from someone who has it because "the adventure isn't written that way" would frustrate me and my players.

 

From a planned storyline perspective, it's reasonable, as more thought and effort has gone into the pre-planned narrative. However, this plot point (They buy info from the information broker) now becomes crucial: if they don't meet or agree to buy from the broker, for whatever reason, their investigation is now stalled. While you can put obstacles in their way, you can't make getting information from her too difficult, or the adventure goes nowhere.

 

Here is the possibility I see: if your players are confused about which NPC is the plot-critical information dispenser, they may approach the one they believe to be placed there to give them information (the Devaronian) and expect him to tell them what they want to know. When he fails to cooperate without any obvious obstacle being presented, he is acting in exactly the opposite manner from the important NPC (If your adventure hinges on them buying info from an info broker, and they met him, and he obstructed their attempts to buy the info from him without any indication as to why, you'd be pretty clearly sabotaging your own campaign). I can only assume that if the Wookie had taken a similar approach with the info broker, the conversation would have at least continued, perhaps with the bandit they were looking for being raised. Therefore, your players are put in a situation where if they can't distinguish between plot important NPCs, who must be spoken to to advance the story, and unimportant NPCs, who can be spoken to but won't advance the story, they frustrate you and themselves trying to pursue the wrong character until they get what they believe you're withholding so they can continue.

 

One option would be to adopt a slightly more sandboxy approach of allowing them to pursue unexpected lines of conversation and investigation, even though it wasn't what you had written, and end up at the same result, through a different means. Another would be to drop more in character hints about where the actual plot is located, so that if they find themselves stone-walled, they at least have another avenue of investigation (The Devaronian may be too scared to talk, but not to scared to take a few credits in exchange for pointing them to someone who will give them the info they're looking for).

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Hey man, I was just following the adventure in the book (Trouble Brewing in the back of the CRB). It says no one in the Cantina will talk and after a few attempts the information broker will approach them. Then after that, goons of the pirate show up and make trouble.

If the players don't get the info from the broker, or don't take interest in the goons, the pirate they are looking for shows up anyway looking for a fight to teach them a lesson for asking around about him.

I didn't write that portion of the adventure. I wrote surrounding circumstances, then followed the book adventure for one part (tracking down and apprehending a pirate).

Edited by rowdyoctopus

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So if the players are supposed to go to the information broker and pay him, and all the other NPC's are scared and unhelpful then you need to have them behave in a manner as to draw attention to the person who will help them. The solution to this puzzle is clear to you, but not so clear to your players. Sometimes too you have to think about the script for the NPC's and how you give the information you want them to have briefly and succinctly.

 

Ever see the special features of a movie, they cut out a lot of film that doesn't drive the story forward, sometimes you have to jump to what is important too. Keep in mind that the players may think this is the key encounter and that it is worthy of 30 minutes of their time. If the PC tries to spend time with some trivial NPC then treat the encounter as trivial, if you make anything out of an encounter then to your player you have made it seem worthwhile.

 

Think about taking the initiative away from the player and letting the NPC act into the role you have for him. The Wookie walks up to Devaronian A with two drinks in hand. The Devaronian looks up and then looks around the room, his gaze fixes on "this guy" and then in fear he looks away and down to his own drink. "I cannot talk with you, I know why you are here and can't help."  Now the Wookie has had a small hint about who the information broker is, and you have told him "I have nothing", you have also established that there is an element of fear here too.

 

Now he may pick up on some of that or none at all. Perhaps he walks up to Devaronian B, now you may then have this guy be slightly more obvious. "Go talk to that-guy he can help you." Now, the Wookie wants to charm him, now here you have decided that the fellow is too scared to be of help, so form a pool, and explain that the roll isn't to get help from this fellow but to see if the Wookie's efforts go noticed by someone in the cantina that would snitch. Now regardless of the dice roll the wookie has been given a bigger clue, "talk to that guy" and he is also being told that if he goes around hitting on everyone eventually he will be in trouble as his actions will be noticed. 

 

Now when the Wookie goes to talk to that guy, keep in mind what the Wookie did getting there. Perhaps he was generous and left the Devaronian's drinks and was nice to them even though they were not helpful. Give him a blue dice or two. Now that you have the players talking to the information broker you can let them move the questions forwards. The wookie can charm him, the face can get him to lower his price. Now, we know the party will try and talk him down from say 100cr an answer to 5cr, just roleplay past that. He will go to 80cr so bargain with them until you get to 80cr, then see if they get him down or have to go up. If the players notice that a bargain starts at 80% and then you are happy to form the pool you'll slowly train them to be more reasonable in their initial opening.

 

Now, if you have done that you may want an NPC to be unreasonable themselves, in which case you may need to pre-empt the players and have a knowledge check about the item, or a social check to pick up on the fact that they are not being negotiated with in good faith.

 

Pacing is hard, I am improving all the time but like anything it is going to take practice. But you have to act as a filter for the players to ensure the information they need is given to them or at least available to them, while they don't spend time and effort chasing butterflies.

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So if the players are supposed to go to the information broker and pay him, and all the other NPC's are scared and unhelpful then you need to have them behave in a manner as to draw attention to the person who will help them. The solution to this puzzle is clear to you, but not so clear to your players. Sometimes too you have to think about the script for the NPC's and how you give the information you want them to have briefly and succinctly.

Ever see the special features of a movie, they cut out a lot of film that doesn't drive the story forward, sometimes you have to jump to what is important too. Keep in mind that the players may think this is the key encounter and that it is worthy of 30 minutes of their time. If the PC tries to spend time with some trivial NPC then treat the encounter as trivial, if you make anything out of an encounter then to your player you have made it seem worthwhile.

Think about taking the initiative away from the player and letting the NPC act into the role you have for him. The Wookie walks up to Devaronian A with two drinks in hand. The Devaronian looks up and then looks around the room, his gaze fixes on "this guy" and then in fear he looks away and down to his own drink. "I cannot talk with you, I know why you are here and can't help." Now the Wookie has had a small hint about who the information broker is, and you have told him "I have nothing", you have also established that there is an element of fear here too.

Now he may pick up on some of that or none at all. Perhaps he walks up to Devaronian B, now you may then have this guy be slightly more obvious. "Go talk to that-guy he can help you." Now, the Wookie wants to charm him, now here you have decided that the fellow is too scared to be of help, so form a pool, and explain that the roll isn't to get help from this fellow but to see if the Wookie's efforts go noticed by someone in the cantina that would snitch. Now regardless of the dice roll the wookie has been given a bigger clue, "talk to that guy" and he is also being told that if he goes around hitting on everyone eventually he will be in trouble as his actions will be noticed.

Now when the Wookie goes to talk to that guy, keep in mind what the Wookie did getting there. Perhaps he was generous and left the Devaronian's drinks and was nice to them even though they were not helpful. Give him a blue dice or two. Now that you have the players talking to the information broker you can let them move the questions forwards. The wookie can charm him, the face can get him to lower his price. Now, we know the party will try and talk him down from say 100cr an answer to 5cr, just roleplay past that. He will go to 80cr so bargain with them until you get to 80cr, then see if they get him down or have to go up. If the players notice that a bargain starts at 80% and then you are happy to form the pool you'll slowly train them to be more reasonable in their initial opening.

Now, if you have done that you may want an NPC to be unreasonable themselves, in which case you may need to pre-empt the players and have a knowledge check about the item, or a social check to pick up on the fact that they are not being negotiated with in good faith.

Pacing is hard, I am improving all the time but like anything it is going to take practice. But you have to act as a filter for the players to ensure the information they need is given to them or at least available to them, while they don't spend time and effort chasing butterflies.

We didn't have a problem with the particular cantina encounter aside from the Wookiee not really getting to the point, but it was moot anyway, the info broker was supposed to approach the PCs directly, per the written adventure.

But again, this is DIRECTLY from an adventure in the back of the CRB.

I appreciate the help, but I didn't write it so critiquing it won't really help me. :D

Edited by rowdyoctopus

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I appreciate the help, but I didn't write it so critiquing it won't really help me. :D

 

It might though, because it can help you recognize a poorly written adventure and give you options to run it differently in the future.  Basic rule #1:  never expect to run the adventure as written.  When you're reading it over it's with an editor's eye, and the editor's eye's point of view is from within your campaign.  Toss or modify whatever doesn't work.

 

I haven't run that yet (probably never will), but when I first read it (a long while ago) I wasn't impressed with that cantina scene.  I would definitely make structural changes depending on how the players were introduced to the situation.  What I would not do is make the players have to flounder around not getting anywhere, feeling aimless, which is how the adventure is written.  Amanal has the good example of how to modify that, but it's the principle behind the example that is the key point.

Edited by whafrog

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I think some of the debate here also comes from different styles of GMing: I'm a sandbox GM (and I get the impression Desslok is too), and therefore my players can't ever really hit a dead end. Trying social checks and failing because they haven't prepared properly just leads to more and new situations. To GM that way, you have to be highly flexible and let your players lead.

 

Kinda sorta. I am a "roll with the punches" sort of GM. I'll come up with a structure of a game, figure out the "what needs to happen to move the plot forward" bullet points and then try and plan for 3 or 4 courses of action for each: They need to steal a MacGuffin from a warehouse. Do they storm the front gate, guns blazing? Do they sneak in the back way? Do they charm their way in? Do they ignore the warehouse all together?

 

Once I know that, I can lay out an optimal flow based on what I know my players like to do but leave options open for me to improvise as necessary.

 

Remember what Sun Tzu said: "no written adventure ever survives contact with the Players." (at least I think he said that)

 

But again, this is DIRECTLY from an adventure in the back of the CRB.

 

I have never run into a canned game where I didn't do some kind of retooling, from flaws in logic to changing NPCs around to fit better with my campaign to completely overhauling whole climaxes to integrating that adventure into a much larger game. You have to remember that Adventure Writers have to write for the lowest common denominator - so trimming the fat and tooling for your table is almost mandatory.

 

And honestly, I thought that whole "go talk to the snitch" part of Trouble Brewing was pretty poorly written. There were some logic leaps that just didnt fly for me.

 

I appreciate the help, but I didn't write it so critiquing it won't really help me. :D

 

No, but you did run it. A GM has to be familiar enough with the source material that they can improvise on the fly. They don't investigate the smashed 3PO down a dark alley? Fine, they see some kids kicking the remains in the street they are going down. They don't go to the cantina at all? Move the information broker to a location they ARE visiting. Come up with an excuse for them to talk to him.

Edited by Desslok

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Can we not focus on how I did or didn't utilize Trouble Brewing? I did a lot of the things people have mentioned to fit it into my campaign. Guess what though, I ran the cantina how it was written and it worked perfectly for my players.

This is starting to feel like one of my games. Mention one little thing as a negligible aside and I get paragraphs and paragraphs in response. :D

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So, in my line of work, we use a variety of techniques to analyze things that we’ve done, what went well, and what didn’t go so well. And in the area of things that don’t go so well, we try very hard to stay away from blaming anyone, and we try to focus on what we think we could have done better and how.

The specific technique is called a Retrospective. While the specifics of that technique might not be useful here, I think the overall concept is.

So, we can look at what went well and what didn’t go so well with regards to a particular event in the game, as well as with regards to events in general in the game.

And we can also look at that with regards to the conversations in this forum regarding what did or didn’t go well in the game.

While there have been several people chiming in on what could have been done differently in a particular scenario, I think it would be a mistake to focus exclusively on that one scenario.

Likewise, I think it would be a mistake to casually disregard all that analysis simply because it appears to focus on just the one scenario.

I think there’s lots of good analysis and advice that has been surfaced here, and I think much of it is generally applicable beyond this one particular event. Only time will tell how much of the advice can be usefully applied.

At this stage, I think what’s going to be important is what are the reactions of the players to the feedback they have been given so far, and how this process continues to evolve in the game.

I do think that it would be good to continue the conversation, but I think it would probably be a good idea for us all to take a step back and try to remind ourselves of the bigger picture.

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I'm friends with these guys, so I am comfortable talking to them, I just don't know how to get my point across without sounding like they suck at playing and need to play my way.

 

Psst... there's a group out there that really enjoyed your turn as a GM. Plus, I still hear "what happened to Tortie? I miss Tortie" on occasion :).

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They don't take anything I say in character as the GM at face value.

Example 1:

They unknowingly stole the ship of a Black Sun Vigo (someone else told them it was his ship and they could have it). The Black Sun Vigo confronts them, pulls them aside with a large entourage of heavily armed men, and interrogates them. He understands the misunderstanding, but asks for 25k credits as a down payment on the ship, and requires work from them going forward.

My group has about 30k credits between them. They lie and say they only have at most, 2500 credits on them. Realistically, I couldn't think of any way the Vigo could have known they were lying outright, so I let the player roll deception. Can you believe the stats in the back of the book for Vigos have no ranks in discipline? Anyway, I add 2-3 setback dice for the situation, remembered Nobody's Fool, and the player still succeeds.

I put this encounter in there to get credits away from them as I made the mistake of giving too much to start. I put them in a room with a powerful crime lord, one of his top lieutenants, and 4 heavy blaster rifles pointed at their heads. They lie their way out of it. I think I'll have to damage their ship. Repairs are costly and don't have a lot of negotiating room.

Example 2:

They were tasked with capturing a pirate. I basically did Trouble Brewing from the back of the Core Book, except their employer wanted him dead and offered more money than the Imperials, but only if he was alive. Well they killed the guy, but got the 2k reward from the Rodian for the droid which made up most of the difference between their employer's lower price and the Imperials (they didn't realize the Imperials wouldn't pay up) and took the body to their employer.

Their employer made a simple comment lamenting that he wished he could have questioned the guy before he died, but would still pay out the lower rate. The player took this and ran with it. What did you want to know? I might know what he knew, how much would you pay me? Etc.

I stopped him before he could get all those questions out, because I knew it wasn't something that their employer would accept, but I felt like if I played it out as the employer, the player would have kept pushing, and searching for some way to get more money out of the guy without realizing the guy wasn't interested. I hate saying things like, "As the GM, no that won't get you anywhere."

Example 3:

Their ship is approaching the space station they are headed to and the docking bay hails them and reminds them of the 200 credit docking fee. The party has around 10k credits per person. The Wookiee performer immediately jumps on the comms and tries flirting with the guy to waive the fee. And he doesn't stop when the guy on the other end says that's the fee.

Everything has an angle, a sidestep, or a way for them to profit and it gets rather frustrating as the GM. I feel like I have to keep breaking character and telling them GM to player it won't work. Then the one player says when I do that he shuts down and gets less interested in doing anything, and then the group misses things they are SUPPOSED to chase after.

I'm friends with these guys, so I am comfortable talking to them, I just don't know how to get my point across without sounding like they suck at playing and need to play my way.

1) he is convinced the party only has 2500 credits: "oh? Fine, give me that and step away from the ship, and we can end this with little fuss. Oh, and I might have an errand that needs running." Or "fine, but you now owe us for that, with a 40% interest fee (e.g. Debt obigation)

I mean, the potential to lessen the cost was definitely there, but they were too greedy and should have used a more realistic value. Even stating 20000 might have swayed a crime lord who was otherwise going to give them work anyways. 2500 credits between 5 people just makes them easy targets to milk and tie down as cheap labour, basically adding a good deal of obigation.

2) "oh? Well I might have believed that more from his mouth" followed by "you know what, I don't like your tone, every second of my time you waste now is 1% out of you cut."

Though, if he did legitimate knew that, then I would allow him to try and relay that info over.

3) depends on what tact players adopt. I probably would not allow players to weave the intia

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Remember what Sun Tzu said: "no written adventure ever survives contact with the Players." (at least I think he said that)

Actually it was Helmuth von Moltke (a german military leader) who first said that "no adventure plan survives first contact with a PC". Sun Tzu as a strict Confucian actually disliked role-playing games and pretty much exclusively played board games.

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They don't take anything I say in character as the GM at face value.

Example 1:

They unknowingly stole the ship of a Black Sun Vigo (someone else told them it was his ship and they could have it). The Black Sun Vigo confronts them, pulls them aside with a large entourage of heavily armed men, and interrogates them. He understands the misunderstanding, but asks for 25k credits as a down payment on the ship, and requires work from them going forward.

 

So... he was one of those reasonable crime syndicate heavyweights we're always hearing about?  I must have missed that episode of The Sopranos.  The one where Tony lets guy who just robbed him off the hook with a stern talking-to...

Edited by cupajo

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So it turns out my Scoundrel thought we were playing a Sandbox game, without even knowing what a sandbox game was. I've made it pretty clear I have a story to tell and this is a campaign with some structure. I'm still a pretty new GM, and NONE of my players have played a pen and paper RPG before. I'm bound to make mistakes, and I know I have.

Anyway, I had explained to my players ahead of time how I was going about the game. Long term story told through one-shot mission/jobs (due to concerns with consistent player attendance)

Well one of the "weaseling" players is my Scoundrel. At times he would essentially ignore plot hooks I was throwing out and chase anything that tickled his fancy. He didn't realize things I was introducing to the game were there for a reason. I'm not sure how this detail escaped him, because I thought I made it pretty clear. Additionally when we do play, I'm the one leading them through a vague plot, you would think I would be more passive if it was sandboxy, but I digress.

He took offense to me explaining how I'm going to work harder at clearing up NPC interactions, as well as me encouraging them on how to better go about NPC interactions and take cues from what the NPCs say. You know, that example I posted before.

He was up in arms. It shouldn't matter as long as we play our characters, why do you care what we say, you clearly don't understand our side of things, stop controlling us, etc. So I told him it wasn't a sandbox game and we need to better utilize and understand NPC interaction to cut down on in game frustration on both sides.

He said he had to look up what a sandbox game was, but once he did he realized how mistaken he was. Based on the description, he thought that was what we were playing. He's on board now and understands I wasn't attacking his playstyle or forcing him to play a certain way, just explaining how I set up and utilize NPCs so they (the players) can better react to them and get more out of interacting with them.

At the same time, I've reassured him that I want to provide freedom to the players and allow them to approach things how they like as much as possible.

So I just want to thank everyone again for the help. Helped me process and identify where things were breaking down, and in a roundabout way helped one of my players realize where a source of his frustration was unknowingly coming from.

Edited by rowdyoctopus

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Excellent! Glad to hear it. Sandboxes are fun (and I obviously have a bias towards them) but pre-scripted adventures can be great too, and a lot less work on newer GMs and players, they just require some additional buy-in from the players, as you noted. It's kind of like one of those old Hollywood sets: you have this really immersive locale that's a great backdrop for a cool story, as long as everybody agrees not to try going behind that row of buildings that are really just one-dimensional wooden stands.

 

I'm glad that your player not only realized how the game he was trying to play wasn't the one you were trying to run, but also that he was okay altering his play style. Some players are only comfortable with one play style or the other, and don't adjust easily, so it sounds like this got resolved the best possible way for everyone!

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So I'm curious - what was his definition of sandbox?

He had never heard the term before. He had no idea how it related to RPGs, or even gaming in general. He had to look it up. When he did, the definition he found matched what he thought our game was.

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I prefer a good mix of scripted encounters and story paths and sandbox myself, to get the most out of it though the GM has to put the work into developing as many recurring characters on a number of worlds as they can manage.  Done well the players may not even realize where your scripted adventures are starting and where they end.

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