Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Archlyte

I love this game but it draws munchkins

Recommended Posts

I love FFG SWRPG, but I am noticing that players who want to play seem to be the type who want to read "Narrative" as I can have whatever I want and pull it out of my ***. I had to ban electronic sheets because a triumph somehow meant people could add an item to their inventory. The players act like insurance underwriters, and try to make sure that they are in the least amount of risk possible. If they were in the movies, they would be screaming at Luke Skywalker for going off to Dagobah without an army of back up soldiers, they would have swooned when Han and Leia went on the same ship together and risked both being killed. 

Can anyone help me with some ways I can communicate how to get that Star Wars feel from them? I'm not a killer GM, and I went out of the way to assure them of this in both word and deed. This has been my experience with this game in all my groups except for one, but they were friends and we knew each other before play. 

 

So yeah, how do you keep the player paranoia at bay, and also combat item worship? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eliminate options.  Put them at risk where they can't mitigate it.  Force them into confrontation.  Compress time frames and don't give pauses for long winded consideration of tactics. Break their ****.  

Spending dice results is always at the discretion of the GM.  I don't know about always having whatever they want, the easiest way is to say no.  

Star Wars aint Amazon, and they can't just roll the dice and have everything.  Don't sweat items that much though, there are always more Stormtroopers around every corner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any game can suffer from munchkins, D&D is notorious.  This is easy to control by just saying "No".  For responsible players, "No" is rarely a good option, but for people abusing the system, "No" is perfectly valid.

Triumphs and Despairs are vastly overstated in the fluff.  Compare the fluff to what is actually printed as an option on the combat chart for spending narrative dice results, and you'll see it's hardly overwhelming.  One of the options for a Triumph is upgrading the next person's dice pool...and all that does is increase the chance of another Triumph.  So you spend a Triumph to get a 1/12th chance of getting another...not exactly earth-shattering.  So whatever they want out of a Triumph, it has to scale appropriately, and be related to the roll they just made.  IOW, they can't find a missile in their backpack because they shot somebody at medium range.

As for fear of involvement...I've had that situation too, and it's kind of frustrating.  One way to get around over-preparation is to make sure everything is on a clock.  If they want to gather up soldiers for a raid, there's no time for that, the <girl is gonna die, the bomb is gonna blow, etc>.  I find this works most of the time.  But also, rather than urge them into action I've just brought the action to them, once with the comment something like "too bad you didn't take the mission with the Hutt, and the Empire found you."  Luckily in my case it's mostly based on the player's moods, and they're usually game to be heroes...just sometimes real life creeps in and colours their enthusiasm for risk.  One game it was so bad that I'd practically planned a sermon, something like "You know, the intent of these stories is that you succeed, despite all the challenges I throw at you", and "You know, whatever prep you make I'm just going to scale the opposition"...and I hated the thought of saying that, true though it might be...but luckily I never had to, as the prime non-mover of the group suddenly decided that risk was a hoot and he pulled everybody on board.  So maybe determine who the worst culprit is and either find a way to appeal to their sense of story, or just have an open talk with them about it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that you just stumbled across a group of immature players.

Though my first Star Wars Role-Playing Game (SW RPG) is replete with Munchkins (most of them very young and new to RPG's),  We just started a new ST RPG group and it is blessedly devoid of munchkins . . . except for me . . . :ph34r:

Each group is different (obviously) but establishing your expectations with the players is always important, just as it is important to have the players express their expectations too.  There are so many different way's to enjoy RPG's that getting on the same page is vital in a session zero.

 

But you're past that point.  But according to the Rules as Written (RAW) the GM gets the final say in any decision.  Or put anther way, (and to coin a phrase) "As the GM you drive a Fiat, not an Accord."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make it where their risk minimization does the opposite. If they are afraid of all being on one ship, blow up all but one of the ships just after they launch. If they always have to have a whole bunch of ablative meat shields, have a Star Destroyer show up and drop an entire stormtrooper legion on them. Have the stormtroopers completely ignore the players, and only shoot their soldiers. Have it be when you roll a triumph, one of their items dissapear. Like their blaster out of their hand.

And tell them to stop being cowardly little fools

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, korjik said:

Make it where their risk minimization does the opposite. If they are afraid of all being on one ship, blow up all but one of the ships just after they launch. If they always have to have a whole bunch of ablative meat shields, have a Star Destroyer show up and drop an entire stormtrooper legion on them. Have the stormtroopers completely ignore the players, and only shoot their soldiers. Have it be when you roll a triumph, one of their items dissapear. Like their blaster out of their hand.

And tell them to stop being cowardly little fools

There has been some wonderful advice in this thread... but this just seems awful. There are many ways to penalize not taking risks organically within the game, and saying "Star Destroyers fall, everyone but his guy dies" just tells the players that they are RIGHT to worry about insane attacks that must be defended against. You aren't telling them not to be cowards, you are telling them that the campaign is hopeless and run by a sadist, and that if they didn't split into five ships then the entire party would be dead. All this advice will do is encourage the DM vs players mentality they already know from other systems rather than collaboratively telling a story. It tells them that they are expected to play a certain way, and deviating from that preordained path will result in swift death. In short, this advice would not fix the problem, but actively make it worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Munchkins all have weaknesses. As an example in Palladium's Rifts RPG I can easily design a munchkin that could easily stand-up to a battalion of regular troops without taking a lick of damage, but be taken down by a 1st level wizard. Play those weaknesses in your game, there's a reason for Duty/Obligation/Morality.  A majority of the best games I've played were when the GM didn't hold back, they weren't killer GMs, but occasionally a character is going to die, or maybe frozen in carbonite. 

Set down some ground rules with your players, let them know you are not out to kill their characters, but it might happen. Just have them think about how many Triumphs and Destiny points were used when Luke, Leia, Han and Chewbacca were stuck in that trash compactor. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RickAllison said:

There has been some wonderful advice in this thread... but this just seems awful. There are many ways to penalize not taking risks organically within the game, and saying "Star Destroyers fall, everyone but his guy dies" just tells the players that they are RIGHT to worry about insane attacks that must be defended against. You aren't telling them not to be cowards, you are telling them that the campaign is hopeless and run by a sadist, and that if they didn't split into five ships then the entire party would be dead. All this advice will do is encourage the DM vs players mentality they already know from other systems rather than collaboratively telling a story. It tells them that they are expected to play a certain way, and deviating from that preordained path will result in swift death. In short, this advice would not fix the problem, but actively make it worse.

you are missing my point. You tell them that their actions are causing the reaction. If they dont do it you dont.

Dont be nice to muchkins. Tell them to knock it right the heck off. Dont be nice to people who are too paranoid to let the game play. Tell them to knock it right the heck off. If they persist, then destroy them for their stupidity. If they dont, you dont. 

Make it very very very very very very............................................very very very clear that stupid behavoir that kills the game kills the game. Thats why I said 'are afraid of all being on one ship' and 'have a whole bunch of ablative meat shields'. If they didnt do that, you dont stomp them. AND YOU TELL THEM THAT!

I will say it again: Do not tolerate the sort of behavoir that is wrecking your game to the point where you are going on an internet forum to ask for advice. Tell your players what behavior is the problem and tell them to knock it off, and if they dont knock it off, come down on them like a Delta Base Zero order.

I did not say do these things for no reason, I told you you should do these things to punish bad behavior. Tell them exactly why you are doing it and tell them what sort of behavior is not helpful. That is how you change their behavior, by making their bad behavior counterproductive, and their good behavior productive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience, munchkins are types of players, not disposable bad habits. If you find yourself seated with an entire group of them, you will probably have to accept that there will always be some level of munchkinism in your game, unless you want to go home. "Item worship", as you put it, has been around in Star Wars rpg's since West End games and it's part of the enjoyment for even non-munchkin players. So, my first point is that you are going to have to tailor your expectations if you find yourself with another group of munchkins.

But really you want to know how to mitigate their munchkinism. The best and most reliable ways to do that, from my experience, is to make their characters seem like total badasses when they succeed at challenges they didn't munchkin for and to make a lot of their over-preparing/min-maxing moot by throwing challenges at them that they are not prepared for. When you show the munchkin player that they can be awesome without min/maxing and that over-preparation is often fruitless, it can help to change their ideas of risk and reward (although I've never seen munchkinism disappear completely from a player who has those tendencies). There are a lot of good ideas in this thread to do that, and even punitive measures can work if you are fair and even-handed. This isn't necessarily easy and will require some really good improvisational skills as you will be changes things on the fly a lot.

Being extremely clear with your players about your expectations (and vice-versa) before the game starts is a really important lesson that I had to painfully re-learn recently. But it's not too late to talk even if you're deep in the campaign. I often find that post-game discussions are the best for figuring out what everyone wants, as you can point to specific actions and decisions relatively soon after they happened. Stop the game early and find out what everyone thought of it and don't be shy about bringing up things you think didn't work, both PC decisions and your own. Good luck, and at least they aren't cheaters...

Edited by bloody malth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Star wars is a game where you can win a ship in a game of chance and go from a scoundrel to the ruler of cloud city. Players are going to be able to imagine quite a bit of money and thats part of the dream.

A simple triumph should not give them any equipment it is your absolute right to say no. If they want to get any little piece of equipment then let them take the utility belt talent. That talent is a money maker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bloody malth said:

"Item worship", as you put it, has been around in Star Wars rpg's since West End games . . .

 

It's actually been around far far longer back when a game called D&D revolutionized the gaming hobby.  I recall my character's first +3 Sword and giving it a name!  (Behold!  I have a sword +3.  IT is a good sword.  And I shall give you a special name!  I shall call you . . . Sword! . . .)

And being (part) Munchkin doesn't make me bad, it just defines how I want to enjoy the game and what kinds of goals appeal to me.  IIRC there's a book called Robin's Laws (of Gaming) that may make a good reference for you and help you understand how to work with Munchkins.

But on pain of repeating myself, I don't think you're dealing with 'Munchkins' per se.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2017 at 9:29 PM, HappyDaze said:

Games and other forms of entertainment are not meant to incorporate punishment/coercion. BDSM is something different.

Yes, which is why GMs need to stop being the M when their players are stupid.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may be a bit off topic, as not as much related to star wars feel, but more to munchkins.

My tip is: change the focus. If your munchkins invest on combat skills, throw social encounters for them. And make it so that turning them into combat encounters means a failure. But also remember to sometimes give satisfaction to munchkins. If they invest on combat abilities, that tells you they want combat. (Or if they don't want it, it tells you that your style is combat heavy.) Usually players want to have their moment in spotlight, remember to give it to them.

Personally I give very much narrative power to players. It has somewhat reduced munchkinism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/12/2017 at 11:55 AM, Archlyte said:

So yeah, how do you keep the player paranoia at bay, and also combat item worship? 

Player paranoia is entirely dependent on the players previous experience in RPG's.  In my game groups players have several habits (paranoid tendencies by some players).   One is to never go off alone (Stems from D&D campaigns, everyone who wandered off alone got their rear handed to them).  Another is a need to secure their vessel (Best locks they can get, etc.  Don't know where that came from in 20 years playing with these players, I only had an uninvited visitor on their ship once when they weren't there.  Although it may come from fear I would use their tactics against them.).  

Item worship is another problem.  Saying no, and limiting funds are the only way to stop that if your players want to do that.  You need to keep the pressure on them so they don't stop and loot every body in sight.  I have the problem that the basic stormtrooper isn't loaded the way it lists in the book, or else my players would have dozens of frag grenades.  Even with pressure, they usually find time to grab loose items like that off the bodies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Edgookin said:

 I have the problem that the basic stormtrooper isn't loaded the way it lists in the book, or else my players would have dozens of frag grenades.

A party full of players each running around with a satchel full of fragment grenades is just waiting for a Despair to happen.

"Frank, you got a double despair on shooting the Nemesis Moff? Well, you hit him, but in the exchange he gets a lucky shot back on you. What's your wound threshold? Yeah, you're unconscious. Joe, you were next to Frank, right? What's your wound threshold? You're unconscious too. Bob? Emboldened by seeing your cover disappear and your two companions drop, the three squads of Stormtroopers advance on you, opening fire. . . . " 

"So, you guys wake up in the security medical bay of the ISD Thunderstruck, naked in the bacta tanks. . . . "

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, copperbell said:

I need to reread this thread, but I thought they have to spend destiny points to pull that extra gear and not Triumphs?

Sometimes I would allow a triumph to provide gear.  "Do something useful in the battle" is rather vague.  They could stumble over a piece of gear to make that fight easier, bypass enemies, etc.  I.e.  I knifed the guard, got a triumph and realize he is wearing nightvision goggles that I can use on this night mission.

But again, it is all subject to GM approval.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Edgookin said:

Player paranoia is entirely dependent on the players previous experience in RPG's.  In my game groups players have several habits (paranoid tendencies by some players).   One is to never go off alone (Stems from D&D campaigns, everyone who wandered off alone got their rear handed to them).  Another is a need to secure their vessel (Best locks they can get, etc.  Don't know where that came from in 20 years playing with these players, I only had an uninvited visitor on their ship once when they weren't there.  Although it may come from fear I would use their tactics against them.).  

Item worship is another problem.  Saying no, and limiting funds are the only way to stop that if your players want to do that.  You need to keep the pressure on them so they don't stop and loot every body in sight.  I have the problem that the basic stormtrooper isn't loaded the way it lists in the book, or else my players would have dozens of frag grenades.  Even with pressure, they usually find time to grab loose items like that off the bodies.

Thank you for this, very helpful. I feel like I am carrying baggage from other GMs they have experienced or at least their perception of what the GM had done to them. The looting every body, playing the game like an MMO or CRPG where they can collect 200 flasks and them redeem it at the NPC, and just plain not doing anything but housekeeping and turtling is boring. 

As for the Item worship I think you are right, and it's time I oiled and sharpened my old No. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

Thank you for this, very helpful. I feel like I am carrying baggage from other GMs they have experienced or at least their perception of what the GM had done to them. The looting every body, playing the game like an MMO or CRPG where they can collect 200 flasks and them redeem it at the NPC, and just plain not doing anything but housekeeping and turtling is boring. 

As for the Item worship I think you are right, and it's time I oiled and sharpened my old No. 

This is getting towards something very important. If the players are playing against the GM, as opposed to their characters playing against the game world, then the game has very serious problems. This is one of those things that sets me right the heck off when I am GMing. Playing too for that matter. 

Make is abundantly clear that you are not going to carry that baggage. It is vital that this is said out of the game and in no uncertain terms. Dont be afraid to stop the game for a minute or two to call them on their behavior. Dont be afraid to say that their behavior is driving you nuts/making you bored.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...