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Archlyte

I love this game but it draws munchkins

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On 8/12/2017 at 1:15 PM, whafrog said:

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

I actually ran into that the other weekend. The game was the Rebels saying "we need you to go to Planet X and negotiate with the natives for badly needed natural resources" to which they said "We're not negotiators, we need a diplomat to come along to do the heavy lifting." - and yes, if this were real life the fellow sitting across the table from them would be a savvy and shrewd negotiator with 4 ranks of Bargain, but really all they need to do is go there, show off their awesome PCness and shoot the Imperials when they eventually arrive. Everything will fall into place - or at the very least I'm not sending you with the intent to fail*, so just roll with it.

*Unless that failure is built into the plot for some reason or another.

Fortunately I was able to play the "We're the rebellion. We send the teams we have, not the teams we want. If I had negotiators, I'd send negotiators, but I don't so I'm sending you." card, which got things back on track.

Edited by Desslok

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I don't have a munchkin problem, but I do have a paranoid player problem.  Both of my friends play D20, and have for decades, and they default to assuming scenes are going to play out with the intent of killing them both.

One player in particular has a terrible habit of blurting out what he thinks is about to happen, based on how I describe the scene.  Whether its correct or not, it's almost always the worst case scenario, and then he starts to act in a way, assuming that outcome.  In essence, he winds himself up to his own paranoia, based on zero input from me the GM.

What I always try and say to them, and I think this might work with your munchkins as well, is to simply tell them what you, as the GM, are trying to present with the story.  You're not trying to run a game focused on gear, but on trying to capture that fun Star Wars feeling you all had as kids.  Where the couch was the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, and finger guns where perfect blaster pistols.   And where a flashlight, and a "vrrsh, vrssh, woosh, buzzz" sound effect from your mouth was all you needed to be a lightsaber.   That childish fun feeling that Star Wars gave us.   Gear is irrelevant.  Credits are irrelevant.  Nobody in Star Wars gave a crap about the gear they had on them, the stuff hardly ever came up.  And the only time credits was important in the original trilogy, was due to Han's debt.   And it was really more the bounty on his head that he was worried about, the credits were simply a means to an end in that regard.   

So try to remind them that the point is to try and have a fun story, that they all contribute to.   To not obsess about the tiny equipment details.

A good way to help foster this feeling, and this is very important, don't have everything be focused on combat.   Have several situations that involve social issues to resolve.  Where going in with blasters and thermal detonators is absolutely the WRONG CHOICE.    If you continue to give them issues to deal with, that can't  be solved by shooting it in the face, they will (hopefully) start to focus less on amassing the most gear so they can survive, and focus on, you know, playing their role.  The whole point of the game IMO.

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As much as I enjoyed D&D and d20-style systems, they've got that problematic focus on combat baked into the rules. I've ended up drifting towards systems with less emphasis on combat, Star Wars EotE being one of them. It doesn't help that D&D has its share of old "Gygaxian" DMs who lay out all sorts of hidden dangers (Every treasure chest is a trapped Mimic!) who instilled that paranoia. Star Wars should encourage the opposite: Being smart is good, but players shouldn't feel discouraged from zany schemes or winging it when Plan A fails. It's also not like a high-level MMO dungeon/raid/worldboss where everyone has to have all the best gear, an "optimal" build, and perfect teamwork to win.

I agree with the sentiment: Let your players know that it's about playing Star Wars like the older players among us did as kids. It's not a trial by fire or an unsolvable puzzle to outsmart. Play your PC like you're one of the stars of the show, because that's who you are.

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4 minutes ago, BronzeDog said:

As much as I enjoyed D&D and d20-style systems, they've got that problematic focus on combat baked into the rules. I've ended up drifting towards systems with less emphasis on combat, Star Wars EotE being one of them. It doesn't help that D&D has its share of old "Gygaxian" DMs who lay out all sorts of hidden dangers (Every treasure chest is a trapped Mimic!) who instilled that paranoia. Star Wars should encourage the opposite: Being smart is good, but players shouldn't feel discouraged from zany schemes or winging it when Plan A fails. It's also not like a high-level MMO dungeon/raid/worldboss where everyone has to have all the best gear, an "optimal" build, and perfect teamwork to win.

A lot of D&D being straightforward depends on the GM.  I ran a series of convention games for the RPGA many moons ago, and had players track down my next session to get in it because I let them game the way they wanted to, rather than strictly follow the adventure.  One group never made it out of the starting tavern, they got sidetracked gambling and wenching.  (I had to apologize to them, because they received almost no XP for the adventure, but they all loved it.)  Another group wanted to roll a barrel along in the sewer, just so they would have partial cover at all times.  I made sure they knew they would immediately fail all stealth rolls, then coughed up a price for a barrel.  They were happy.  My favorite was one character, who at character creation got a ventriloquism potion, which everyone laughed at, and he swore he would find a use for by the end of the adventure.  As they were opening the final chest, he drinks the potion and starts screaming from inside the chest, just to scare the guy opening it.  Turned out the chest had a gas trap on it, I gave the player a -1 penalty for being startled by screaming.  He failed by the penalty.  Yet everyone thought it was awesome.

TLDR; combat based system can still be RP fun, depending on the group and GM.

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3 hours ago, BronzeDog said:

I agree with the sentiment: Let your players know that it's about playing Star Wars like the older players among us did as kids. It's not a trial by fire or an unsolvable puzzle to outsmart. Play your PC like you're one of the stars of the show, because that's who you are.

It's about whatever a particular group wants it to be about. If you've got a group that largely prefers a play style different from the one you like, you're better off adapting or finding another group. That means if 3/4 of your group are munchkins and you're not, then you are the one doing it wrong. Many of the younger players won't give a crap about playing to the nostalgia-fueled masturbation that older players might want to push. If those make up your group's majority, you might need to let that go (the style or the group).

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Here's a thought. So if the pursuit of that filthy, filthy lucre is foremost in their minds, causing them to loot and pillage the dead and is a stumbling block to your game - give them what they want. Yes, Star Wars is driven by chasing the almighty credit - Han owes Jabba big, so he takes risky but well paying jobs. On the other hand, we also see that the rich and powerful have troubles too. Lando's got mo credits, mo problems - and that's before the Empire comes along and takes away his plush Baron Administrator gig.

So let them get fantastically wealthy. Buy and sell planets wealthy. The Star Wars equivalent of the Sultan of Brunei (or whoever is the most richest man in the world). Money doesn't make the problems go away, it just changes the caliber and flavor of those problems. But hey, they wont be stopping to pick the pockets of dead Stormtroopers anymore!

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On 8/14/2017 at 9:40 AM, Desslok said:

Have you tried straight out talking to them? Lay out your expectations and get everyone on the same page?

This is usually my approach.  It tends to work at first, but you may need to have a conversation again later. The munchkin/underwriter mentality has a way of creeping back in.

 

 

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Ultimately, a lot of players tend to play "I loot the dead guy!" at every opportunity. 

As noted, time pressure is key.

As is maintaining an open dialogue with the players. Having a million variations of the blaster in the games armouries tends to lead to people being desperate to get stuff for XYZ game rule, rather than narratively 'because they want X because it looks cool'.

 

Above all, as noted, this is PCs versus NPCs with the GM overseeing. If the players are trying to fight the GM, the game is going wrong. Yes, there are games with an 'adversarial GM' (Imperial Assault springs to mind) but those have much tighter restrictions on rules.

Ultimately, your job as a GM is to provide a positive gaming experience for your players. 

You need to talk to your players and find out what kind of story they want to tell, and if it's not working, change the setting, the rules. your approach, or your player's approach.

 

Remember, ultimately everything that happens happens at the GM's approval. People cannot add items, or do anything, without GM's approval, and if the GM disapproves, he has an essentially unlimited Manpower and Special Effects budget to make his displeasure known. c304709d9fda0290b93c5c7a606de064.jpg

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 8:40 AM, KungFuFerret said:

I don't have a munchkin problem, but I do have a paranoid player problem.  Both of my friends play D20, and have for decades, and they default to assuming scenes are going to play out with the intent of killing them both.

One player in particular has a terrible habit of blurting out what he thinks is about to happen, based on how I describe the scene.  Whether its correct or not, it's almost always the worst case scenario, and then he starts to act in a way, assuming that outcome.  In essence, he winds himself up to his own paranoia, based on zero input from me the GM.

What I always try and say to them, and I think this might work with your munchkins as well, is to simply tell them what you, as the GM, are trying to present with the story.  You're not trying to run a game focused on gear, but on trying to capture that fun Star Wars feeling you all had as kids.  Where the couch was the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, and finger guns where perfect blaster pistols.   And where a flashlight, and a "vrrsh, vrssh, woosh, buzzz" sound effect from your mouth was all you needed to be a lightsaber.   That childish fun feeling that Star Wars gave us.   Gear is irrelevant.  Credits are irrelevant.  Nobody in Star Wars gave a crap about the gear they had on them, the stuff hardly ever came up.  And the only time credits was important in the original trilogy, was due to Han's debt.   And it was really more the bounty on his head that he was worried about, the credits were simply a means to an end in that regard.   

So try to remind them that the point is to try and have a fun story, that they all contribute to.   To not obsess about the tiny equipment details.

A good way to help foster this feeling, and this is very important, don't have everything be focused on combat.   Have several situations that involve social issues to resolve.  Where going in with blasters and thermal detonators is absolutely the WRONG CHOICE.    If you continue to give them issues to deal with, that can't  be solved by shooting it in the face, they will (hopefully) start to focus less on amassing the most gear so they can survive, and focus on, you know, playing their role.  The whole point of the game IMO.

Great advice, and the paranoia thing was really bad until I expelled one of the players. I am going to make sure the emphasis cannot be on gear and minutiae, because you are right that's not what it was about back then. I can't stand that blurting thing, it's terrible. Even if they are way off it puts a big dent in the immersion as people start voicing mechanical plot anatomy. I denied them combat completely last game because I was so irritated by them that I refused to amuse them with combat. This week I can take your advice and have combat be what it should be, the consequence of events and tension. Thank you again for the input. 

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15 hours ago, GM Stark said:

This is usually my approach.  It tends to work at first, but you may need to have a conversation again later. The munchkin/underwriter mentality has a way of creeping back in.

Yes I stopped the game at least 4 times but they went right back at it after each time I thought I had it straightened out. It's definitely ingrained in this newest group. Other groups I had were more receptive and were able to change their approach. 

15 hours ago, GM Stark said:

 

 

 

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 0:33 PM, HappyDaze said:

It's about whatever a particular group wants it to be about. If you've got a group that largely prefers a play style different from the one you like, you're better off adapting or finding another group. That means if 3/4 of your group are munchkins and you're not, then you are the one doing it wrong. Many of the younger players won't give a crap about playing to the nostalgia-fueled masturbation that older players might want to push. If those make up your group's majority, you might need to let that go (the style or the group).

This is a common sense answer up to a point, but it doesn't take into account the incredible tensile strength of the desire to have a live game and to get along as players together. I know it's an uncomfortable problem but anyone is free to bug out, I don't lock the door. I also agree that I need to provide an experience that G in GNS can enjoy, but I don't think that means the dichotomy (give up and quit, or provide a game with no appeal to you as the GM) is the only answer. Yeah if its that bad you are right, and everyone has their playstyle, but I spent a week before the game detailing my style and what I felt was needed in the game for everyone to have fun. I think we are going to try and tough it out for now, but it may go the way you suggested and be determined as a lost cause of irreconcilable gaming differences. 

Many people who play role-playing games start by power gaming, and then later they move out of that. Some people never move out of power gaming or having a distant frame with the character. For those who moved beyond that stage and changed this can seem like the Gamists are stuck in a relatively regressive state. That can be frustrating for character or drama driven gamer who is looking for fellowship. I agree that no one's fun is wrong, but there are some counter active drives in these games that can cause problems, and they are not always cut and dry in magnitude. 

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What I did at the start of the campaign, was that I planned out few easier PC centered sessions, and took it easy on them. Basically I teached players to relax. I made it sure they understood that as a GM I'm not against them, but we are having fun together. I still sometimes use use session to remind them about this. At the beginning players were amazed how easy some things were, and there was no traps or hidden agendas. We came from harder Pathfinder and SLA ind backgrounds, which are more traditional games than FFG SW. After PCs realized what they can do with destiny points, and that I'm not against them, but to trying to build encounters with agenda of making PCs do cool things, they relaxed a lot, and e.g. paranoia lowered to acceptable (sane) levels. Actually, sole purpose of our current campaign for me is to acclimatize players to different play style. Hindsight is that I may have been too lenient sometimes, which may have been a slight detriment to this campaign.

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21 minutes ago, kkuja said:

....I'm not against them, but to trying to build encounters with agenda of making PCs do cool things

^This^

My main conversation is trying to convince players that I am introducing complications and challenges to make it interesting, not to try and kill them. 

One strategy I've considered (but not tried yet) is to let them play out an adventure their way; planning out, getting specialized gear to account for and avoid every possible bad thing that can happen to them, and then win a battle in a couple of rounds. Then I say,

"Now imagine this was the opening scene in a new "Star Wars Story" movie. Would you feel you got your money's worth?" 

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9 hours ago, Archlyte said:

Yes I stopped the game at least 4 times but they went right back at it after each time I thought I had it straightened out. It's definitely ingrained in this newest group. Other groups I had were more receptive and were able to change their approach. 

 

4 times and you think what I said is too extreme? :)

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Back to threat and advantage.  Things tend to become a little more reasonable when the players have to describe narratively why they are getting the advantage.  "So, how exactly did that missile end up in your backpack?".  When left to strickly picking from a chart, the players are going to maximze their advantage without regard to the situation.  When they are held responsible for weaving the narrative story along with the GM, things tend to become a little more plausible.  And, as the GM you still need to reserve the right to disallow things that just don't fit into the story.

As for looting anything not welded down, time crunch certainly is one way, but so is requiring a method of simply transporting all the stuff acquired.  "So where exactly are you putting those four rifles and a case of grenades?"  Then, work whatever scheme offered into your disadvantage rolls...  "The bounty hunter missed you, but you get wedged in the crevase while diving for cover as the rifle all splay in different directions while strapped on your back." or "You try to sneak by the guards, but the grenade case strap snags on the entry keypad and several grenades tumble to the floor with a great clatter".

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12 hours ago, korjik said:

4 times and you think what I said is too extreme? :)

I think your way would be too extreme at first, but becomes appropriate well before the 4th time. 

A different approach might be to let them make preparations and have it turn out that they are just being paranoid.

Example: They're meeting a client at a Cantina and are asked to check their weapons at the door. Paranoia (or the old school term: meta-gaming) sets in.
"We're going to be ambushed, let's make sure we all have weapons before we go in."   Let the use skulduggery, deception, stealth, or whatever other means to get in fully armed and armored. Then, run the encounter without any ambush happening.

Of course, you can have the fact that they are armed affect the negotiation negatively. Call for Cool skill checks vs. NPC's Perception to avoid giving any "tells" that they snuck weapons in. Or just put Setback dice onto the social skills to represent the likelihood of the NPC noticing something off and being wary. 

edit: In truth, I don't mind this kind of caution, especially if it involves skill use and rolling the dice. In fact, when players have Talents that remove Setback, I try to throw those in as much as possible. 

Edited by GM Stark

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