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Ender07

Losing 2 players because of the roleplaying aspect of the game...

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I know always tend to post negative things, but once again I need the group’s wisdom...

I sat down with my group in Oct. and told them that I wanted to run an F&D campaign in 2016. I let the table know that I wanted to experience some new things when running this campaign, since we are starting a new game after playing EotE for over a year. Here is the list I talked to everyone about, that they approved:

 

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1. All characters must be **NEW** -- This means that you should move out of your comfort zone a bit and play something different than what you played in EotE. Since we were all just starting to roleplay a year ago, everyone pretty much built a character off their own personality. Since we have been playing for a while and are starting anew, I do expect everyone to play someone that is different from what you played previously.

2. This campaign will not be "all about dem moneez." – Honestly our first campaign really didn't have an end goal besides getting rich. Since we are all going to be playing people/aliens that want to be Jedi, I will be assuming that we will be helping people and hoping for hospitality as compensation as opposed to a buttload of credits. We will also not be starting any money-making endeavors this time around (i.e. the bar & store on Ryloth). We will go by the rule that everything that happens out of session is a zero-sum game, meaning any money you make in between sessions will be used to pay for food/shelter/etc.

 

3. This will be a Light side based game -- Even though everyone wasn't thrilled that we weren't going to be Sith or running a Dark side game, I think it is for the best of storyline to keep this campaign Light based with a sprinkling of Dark to keep things interesting. If you decide to play in this campaign your PC should be an overall good-hearted person who wants to help others and not profit for personal gain. You may have some tendencies that may lean towards the Dark side, but for all intents and purposes you are a good person

 

4. Expect more difficulty and injuries -- Since we had one or two PC’s ever get injured on a regular basis, it made the rest of you seem a bit OP because no matter what you did, you always won in the end. This campaign will be riddled with more opportunities to injure/maim yourself or others by your actions. If you truly want your PC to do something that will jeopardize your characters life, you can, but you must be aware that you might die and you will not be given many "second chances" like you were when we were learning how to play this RPG.

 

5. When you are at the table you're "in-character" -- I want to try this for at least a couple of sessions with no phones and no outside or off-topic conversations (unless they are happening as your character). So far we have done pretty well with keeping things on track even with some distractions, but I want to see how a true RP game does for us and if we enjoy it or if we should go back to a more laid-back type of RP.
 

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Now that we are coming to the end of the EotE campaign and the beginning of F&D, I brought it up that we are making this a more heavily RP-based game and that we will take the first 3 missions to find and construct our lightsabers. I also touched again on everything above and this time I got a negative reaction from 2 out of the 5 people in our group. The two people in question tend to not roleplay very much in the current campaign. They don’t really get into that aspect of the game, but they still have fun with it and enjoy the company and the story.

One of the people that expressed concern has been a difficult player since the beginning, but I recently had a long talk with him so I am hoping that he can resolve some of the issues he was facing in and out of game. He said he will give this a shot for the first 3 sessions and see if he enjoys the full immersion RP experience. He also told me that he is not comfortable trying to “think as his character,” meaning he can’t get inside the head of someone else and think how they would, which he feels limits his ability to RP.

 

The other person is not very talkative IRL and doesn’t seem to come out of his shell until he’s had a few drinks...which is fine, but over the past year I thought he would get more comfortable with us because we are all friends and know each other outside of the game. He told me that if this is a heavy immersion RP-based game he will sit this one out, not to be mean or vindictive, but just because he doesn’t feel comfortable with RP’ing very much.

 

I really want a RP-heavy campaign this time around because I want this game to feel like you’re reading a book and your PC is a character in it that you get to make the decisions for. My main question is this:

Should I alter this campaign so it's not high immersion/high RP even though 3 of the players are really psyched for this type of play (myself included) so I can keep the other 2 involved, or should I just let them go?

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I don't think anyone can answer what you should do but you. Having said that, having to be in character all the time I would find annoying and would just detract from the overall reason I play RPGs for me.

 

Yeah, I know it is ultimately up to me :) . I just want some input from outside sources and see what other people think of the situation, that way I can get some more clarity on where I should be focused.

Edited by Ender07

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The first four are about campaign tone, and at least the others have forewarning, so it's not "personal" if you drop them or they drop out.  Maybe start the campaign with a short arc, so people have time to see if they like it.

 

The last:  depends what you mean by "in character".  If you have to be acting all the time, then a lot of people find that a chore.  If you just mean "no non-game talk", that's easier, maybe..depends how often you meet.  For my regular group, it's easy to chat for half hour on arrival and get into the game.  For my irregular group, because a lot of time can pass between games, I bet half the game is littered with "oh, just gotta tell you guys about..."

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When I say "in-character" I mean no out-of-game talk. For example when we are going through an interaction, I will set the scene, they will ask clarifying questions out of character, then we will delve into the actual interaction itself in-character. That way it still feels like a narrative, but we don't get the "Oh, I just gotta tell you guys about..." stuff that whafrog mentioned during the question or in-character part.

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When I say "in-character" I mean no out-of-game talk. For example when we are going through an interaction, I will set the scene, they will ask clarifying questions out of character, then we will delve into the actual interaction itself in-character. That way it still feels like a narrative, but we don't get the "Oh, I just gotta tell you guys about..." stuff that whafrog mentioned during the question or in-character part.

 

This clarification does change my answer significantly. And were you clear about this in your discussions with the players? Because if someone told me that I had to play my character In-Character all the time at the table I would likely drop out myself. I tend not to get that immersed in the RP. I like to RP but kind of like an onlooker. That is, I tend to describe things with an OOC tone or voice. I want to attack the stormtrooper with my blaster pistol. Or I'm going to try slicing into the terminal at the back of the room while the others hold off the security team. In more social settings I will also use a similar style such as: I will ask her about the gungan we're looking for. Or I'd like to try and use my diplomacy skill to make a deal with the port officer to keep our ship off the books.

 

I do not personally enjoy trying to speak as my character or carry out the full conversation. This may be the preferred way for some and I applaud them for their ability to really get into their character. This is just the way it is for me. And a game that wanted everyone to play this way wouldn't be the game for me, no slight intended on whoever might be running it.

 

That said, I do find people constantly getting off track a huge distraction and somewhat frustrating and annoying. The expectation that while at the table the focus will be on what is going on at the table seems very reasonable to me. I have played in PFS adventures and having some people constantly starting side discussions about the session they played last month or whatever is a distraction to the game and to everyone at the table as well as a not at all uncommon problem. So I think that it is a fair expectation that people remain focused on the task at hand as much as possible.

 

However, over all, you are the GM and have every right to enjoy the game as much as the players. Very often you see comments about making sure the game is fun and to find out what the players want but that holds true for the GM as well. But, you have to be willing to accept that what is fun for you is not always fun for everyone else and it isn't a slight on you or them taking offense either. So it may be worth being prepared to let some people sit this game out if you really want an RP centric game and that isn't currently what they are interested in.

 

I would stress being clear on your expectations, prioritize what is most important and perhaps be willing to make compromises in other areas, and then let the players who are interested join. I am sure if everything is upfront and clear there wont be hard feelings and those players who don't find it to their liking or style will still be there ready to play in the next campaign which might be.

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When I say "in-character" I mean no out-of-game talk. For example when we are going through an interaction, I will set the scene, they will ask clarifying questions out of character, then we will delve into the actual interaction itself in-character. That way it still feels like a narrative, but we don't get the "Oh, I just gotta tell you guys about..." stuff that whafrog mentioned during the question or in-character part.

I still wouldn't be interested in that. RPGs are about socializing not just the details of the game. The socializing shouldn't detract overwhelmingly, but to tell people no other interaction would just be too rigid for my tastes.

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All of the things on your list would be things I'm very fine with. So I have to set aside any bias I might have before answering. But GM'ing a game takes a lot of work and you're entitled to run the sort of game you want. Games also tend to go badly when a GM finds themselves running a game in a way that doesn't make them happy.

I think a large part of your decision comes down to how much the game is about you all being close friends and regularly meeting, and how much it is about the game itself. If you meet up outside of the game, if it's not just something you picked up as an obligation to have something to do amongst five friends or something, I think letting people sit it out is a reasonable response. I.e. if you're a tight social group who all started getting together and then you introduced RPG'ing as the thing that you do, and then you asked someone to leave - that would be harsh. But if it's the case that you started a game and invited in various friends to play it, seems reasonable.

Not sure how much that helps, but it's what I can offer based on what you said. I think it's a shame if the shy person leaves. I've seen many people who started off like that come out of their shell through playing and seeing how others enjoyed it.

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When I say "in-character" I mean no out-of-game talk. For example when we are going through an interaction, I will set the scene, they will ask clarifying questions out of character, then we will delve into the actual interaction itself in-character. That way it still feels like a narrative, but we don't get the "Oh, I just gotta tell you guys about..." stuff that whafrog mentioned during the question or in-character part.

 

I think if you can find 3 other people to try out that level of immersion, more power to you.  Lots of people do it that way...World of Darkness certainly had their devotees of "Live Action Role Playing", and this would come close.  The people who can't/won't do it aren't missing out except in the loosest sense of losing an opportunity to game at all.

 

Personally I'd pass on it, for two reasons.  First, I'd feel like I was in drama class, being judged for the quality of my immersion.  Second, I'd feel like there was more emphasis being put into the acting itself than the actual story.

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So, for my part, I also prefer to minimize out-of-game talk. But there is a certain amount that is going to happen, and you just can’t get around that. What you have to do is decide how you’re going to handle it.

If all the players fully understand what is being discussed, and some of them don’t feel like they can or want to do that, then I don’t think it’s a crime for them to sit out the game.

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Everything on the list I have no issue with. I'd be fine playing at your table. . . save for this:

 

5. When you are at the table you're "in-character" -- I want to try this for at least a couple of sessions with no phones and no outside or off-topic conversations (unless they are happening as your character). So far we have done pretty well with keeping things on track even with some distractions, but I want to see how a true RP game does for us and if we enjoy it or if we should go back to a more laid-back type of RP.

 

 

While my game tends to have no issues role playing, sometime real life leaks into the conversation. We try and keep it down as best we can, but we're all only human. So I would give Number Five the boot.

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Going into this I was expecting to get some more positives towards #5 if I'm going to be honest  :) . I thought that going further into the RP aspect of the game would allow people to be more immersed and allow for more creativity and fun because it would all be in the "game-world." However looking at it from the majority here it seems that may be a bit too immersive if I ban the out of game talk altogether.

 

I guess I went into this game thinking that we would eventually get more into the RP aspect of it and it would naturally shift towards that as time went on. But with the group I GM for (we were all a group of friends that hung out together before the start of this) I feel as though we have kind of plateaued and if I don't change things up then it will get stale.

I thought adding that rule would separate the people who were really into it with the people who weren't but didn't have anything better to do with their time...and honestly just bringing up the fact that it would be more RP-heavy did exactly that, it showed who really like the game for what it was.

My main problem is that I don't want to be bored when prepping for this game, I don't want to give the group a half-@ssed version of a mission because I am getting frustrated with all of the off topic talk and phone usage (which wastes a lot of time during some sessions)...I want everyone to be more engaged.

Naturally I thought making it more RP heavy would be a positive thing and would make people better at RPing and therefore allow players to flesh out their characters more.

I can see why that would be a bit taxing, does anyone have any good examples of play on youtube or something so I can get a better idea how some other groups interact together?

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I think this comes down to what your group wants. You said you got negative comments from 2 of 5 players so that means 3 players and you the GM like this new course. So 2/3 of your gamming group seems to want to more down to earth and roleplaying heavy game.

 

Options at this point seem to be to let the two players sit this game out. Make it clear there are no hard feelings. Maybe this particular campaign just isn't their prefered playing style. One thing I have done is built an hour into the game for people to socialize we get together at 5 and start playing around 6ish. That way people who don't see each other outside of game night can catch up and trade stories and this seems to help.

 

The other option is to not make the RP element so heavy (however to be honest with 2/3 of the group in favor of I would have a hard time scrapping it) and continueing to play as you have been and deal with the interuptions. Gaming is ment to be fun but at the same time the feeling of something being accomplished is also a lot of fun. Balance is hard to find sometimes.

 

All that to say I would personally role with what the majority of the group seems to favor let the two players sit out if that is what they want to do.

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Going into this I was expecting to get some more positives towards #5 if I'm going to be honest  :) . I thought that going further into the RP aspect of the game would allow people to be more immersed and allow for more creativity and fun because it would all be in the "game-world." However looking at it from the majority here it seems that may be a bit too immersive if I ban the out of game talk altogether.

 

I don't think that's right.  I think you're conflating two different things and treating them as one.

 

Banning out of game talk, distracting phone usage, etc isn't too much to ask.  That's simply a matter of respect for you, the time you put into the game, and the other players who are more into it.

However, asking everybody to "act" in character might be too much to ask because it imposes a certain type of behaviour.

 

These are not the same thing.

 

If your troublesome players are always reaching for their cell phone when it's not their turn, then drop them like a hot potato.

If your troublesome players are engaged but simply describe what their PC is doing rather than acting it out, then you have to decide whether the "drama-differential" is going to ruin the immersion for the more drama-oriented among the group.

Edited by whafrog

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Going into this I was expecting to get some more positives towards #5 if I'm going to be honest  :) . I thought that going further into the RP aspect of the game would allow people to be more immersed and allow for more creativity and fun because it would all be in the "game-world." However looking at it from the majority here it seems that may be a bit too immersive if I ban the out of game talk altogether.

 

I don't think that's right.  I think you're conflating two different things and treating them as one.

 

Banning out of game talk, distracting phone usage, etc isn't too much to ask.  That's simply a matter of respect for you, the time you put into the game, and the other players who are more into it.

However, asking everybody to "act" in character might be too much to ask because it imposes a certain type of behaviour.

 

These are not the same thing.

 

If your troublesome players are always reaching for their cell phone when it's not their turn, then drop them like a hot potato.

If your troublesome players are engaged but simply describe what their PC is doing rather than acting it out, then you have to decide whether the "drama-differential" is going to ruin the immersion for the more drama-oriented among the group.

 

I think I am as well now that you are describing it to me from your POV. I didn't want to necessarily make the people who describe what their actions are instead of talking in-character stop doing that, I figure that is a type of RP and it's focused and on topic so I have no problem with it. I guess what I need to do isn't necessarily tell people it's "only talking in character" but just enforce the no phones or outside conversations more.

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I don't mind asking everyone to save the non game related chat for before/breaks/after the session. But they can jump in and out of character all they want to discuss their ideas for a situation.

Try a short adventure or even the Beginner Box if that helps. It may be worth your time asking the group what they want, rather than telling them what you're going to do. You do lots of the work and in the end have final say on the sessions, but they deserve an input.

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I'd recommend encouraging the players to review and take to heart this list:

 

11 Ways to be a better roleplayer

 

I totally get it.  As a GM i get frustrated with all that stuff too.  But at some point you just have to let go and accept the dynamic of your group of players or find a group that suits your needs.

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I will just go with each point telling you what I think about your restriction:

 

1) Let ask you a question. If the player playing an Hired Gun previously want to play a warrior agressor, what are you going to do? Let him play what he want or forcing him to play a consular sage? Wanting your player to build a new character with one of the career of FaD is understandable but I will not recommend you to refuse a build because it is not the opposite of what the player played previously. The desir of playing something different should come from the player first.

 

 

2) Handwaiving money use is fine. On the other side, I will said be careful about expecting your players to always do what you want. Players have a tendancy to surprise their GM by doing exactly the contrary of what was expecting.

 

3) Considering you're going against the will of all your players, let me ask another question. What are you going to do if, let say after 5 session, 2 of your players fall to the dark side? Play along with them or vetoing every actions they want to do because it cause conflicts? If a player want to be a dark sider, let him be. That would not stop him helping granny crossing a street if he want, like being a light sider would not stop a PC to murder someone in cold blood if he feel the need to do it. 

 

4) Wanting a grittier game is cool. Just be careful about not falling in the adverserial GM syndrome who want to kill PC just for the sake of killing them. On a off topic subject: You realize you are going to play a game where PC cut down opponents like butter with their laser sword, Hurl starship at extrem range with their mind, magically heal their friends with the Force or uncover your plot with forseen before you even start to think about it? You are no longer running a game with mundane people, you are running a super hero game now. So the more they will gain XP, the more you will find hard to threatened them in game.

 

5) Like others already said, expecting non-actor to play non stop a character during a session is too much and the reaction 2 of your players got reflect that. Just make sure they understand you just want to limit out of game distraction.

Edited by vilainn6

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I applaud you, good sir!

 

I wholeheartedly agree with what you are doing especially points #1and #5.

 

#1: I tire of having to game with Steve*, you know the player who plays the same character, no matter the system or genre.  That's not limited to always playing the "rogue", it's also Ed* roleplaying the same attitude(arrogant butthead).  Really, really bugs the poo outta me.  A hobby about using your imagination...and you play the same thing over and over again?  Really?

 

 

#5 I would suggest using something like say one of those tap lights to signify "immersion-time".    That way you can take breaks, I have a rather large sarcasm streak and I need to be able to say something every so often.

Also may try to give bennys when they do something nifty in character, an extra destiny point, free upgrade, etc.

 

 

*names changed to protect the guilty

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#1: I tire of having to game with Steve*, you know the player who plays the same character, no matter the system or genre.  That's not limited to always playing the "rogue", it's also Ed* roleplaying the same attitude(arrogant butthead).  Really, really bugs the poo outta me.  A hobby about using your imagination...and you play the same thing over and over again?  Really?

*names changed to protect the guilty

 

Honestly, I think this is unfair to Steve and Ed. Why should Steve and Ed have to play something that they are not interested in because YOU feel they should have more imagination and variety in their choices? If Steve enjoys a Rogue or a Rogue-style character why should Steve now have to play a Wizard (or say Consular) because YOU think Steve plays a rogue too often? At this point you are telling someone else how to enjoy the game, and that is just unfair, rude and inconsiderate. Now, on the topic of Ed there's some wiggle room there in that if Ed plays an arrogant butthead all of the time and in being an arrogant butthead and this is taking the form of taking actions which impact the fun of others beyond some players feeling it is boring that his character choices are unvaried and unimaginative such as he is stealing from the players or constantly starting fights with NPCs that might need addressing. However, if the issue really is just that his character attitude and personality tends to be the same for all of his characters then why does that matter? If he is enjoying that let him enjoy it.

 

Now, in the context of the original posting. I fully support the idea that the character they play needs to be a new character. No carry over story, etc.. and I trust the poster to know if his players enjoy varying up their characters or not and that he (I hope) wouldn't force one of his players to play a different character archetype when he knows said player really prefers to and enjoys sticking to that archetype. In which case I take the point #1 to mean that they are starting a new campaign, with new stories and new characters and no ties to the old story.

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I'll list some of the reasons why.

 

  • I think it is unfair of Steve and Ed to always play the same thing.  When others ask to play "the rogue"  Steve says go right ahead, but still plays "the rogue", not all games handle that all that well which makes for extra work on the person running the game.
  • Stephen took it a step further and made all sorts of p/a comments about how the person playing "his class/archetype" was playing it wrong.  I kicked Stephen from our gaming group because of this. Now we have Steve who is slowly working towards Stephen.
  • Steve and Ed are predictable.  I have a hard time gaming with you if I, with near perfect accuracy, know what you will do in every situation.   Steve was recently out of town and missed two sessions we still used his character, just as a NPC.  Yeah the first session it was amusing, lots of "that totally is what he would do", that second session, it really hit home to the other players.
  • Steve and Ed are cheating themselves out of the enjoyment of playing other concepts.
  • Steve and Ed are putting their own enjoyment above everyone else.

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I'll list some of the reasons why.

 

  • I think it is unfair of Steve and Ed to always play the same thing.  When others ask to play "the rogue"  Steve says go right ahead, but still plays "the rogue", not all games handle that all that well which makes for extra work on the person running the game.
  • Stephen took it a step further and made all sorts of p/a comments about how the person playing "his class/archetype" was playing it wrong.  I kicked Stephen from our gaming group because of this. Now we have Steve who is slowly working towards Stephen.
  • Steve and Ed are predictable.  I have a hard time gaming with you if I, with near perfect accuracy, know what you will do in every situation.   Steve was recently out of town and missed two sessions we still used his character, just as a NPC.  Yeah the first session it was amusing, lots of "that totally is what he would do", that second session, it really hit home to the other players.
  • Steve and Ed are cheating themselves out of the enjoyment of playing other concepts.
  • Steve and Ed are putting their own enjoyment above everyone else.

 

 

I will still have to respectfully disagree that forcing someone to play something they aren't interested in is simply unfair and discourteous to that player. Now, Steve trying to tell someone how they are playing their character is wrong is equally unfair and discourteous.. it is their character to play as they see fit and as is suited to their enjoyment of the game it is not Steve Mk2.

 

There is a little to be said for a game where you need a certain balance of party and someone else wants to try playing a rogue, that is a different issue in my opinion to the fact that Steve enjoys playing rogues and should just be forced to play something different because others feel he needs to try new things. And either a) the GM may need to be prepared for a little work to balance things for a somewhat uneven party or b) the group needs to discuss as a whole how to address two people wanting to play the same role and how to handle the balancing.

 

Your second last point is, again, enforcing your opinion on what is good on Steve and Ed. If they are happy then let them cheat themselves. It's like saying I should be tied down and force fed Lemon Raspberry Sherbert because I've never tried it before and I am cheating myself by deciding that I would rather not try it.

 

For the last point, unless their is a specific reason that their choice affects what others can do, as in your example with two players wanting rogue archetypes in a system that needs a balance of roles, they really aren't. If your enjoyment of the game is THAT caught up in what kind of character another player enjoys because you feel they need variety and they are too predictable, perhaps you need to focus a little more on your character and what you can do rather than what others are doing.

 

My wife enjoys playing the healer type role in any games we play. She has tried a few other types of characters and she has found she really doesn't enjoy them so that is what she now plays. If a group told us she was playing healer all the time and they wanted her to change it up because it's too predictable and she needs more variety, both her and I would politely excuse ourselves from their game. Now, again, if someone said they really wanted to try healer for a change and with two healers we would be lacking a defensive tanker that is a different story and we would work with them on that. But really, in almost all games I've played with a variety of GMs and systems, most GMs are not that heavily concerned about party balance and build their encounters with the party composition in mind.

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