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thesaviour

PC's ship - GM's pain

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Hey, folks

I wanted to run the following issue past you to see how you are handing it (if you do at all).

I find my characters' ship to be somewhat of a problem sometimes in terms of the narrative. This seems to be an issue to be spcific to SW RPG, so there might be some useful technics outthere that you can share.

Here is a classic example:

The PCs arrive whereever the adventure takes them and need to leave the ship to go on adventuring. They decide that someone should definitely stay on the ship for backup while the others press on.

My first response is to either come up with a reason why this is not possible and everyone should go OR let the PCs split up and come up with encounters for the PC(s) that stay on the ship.

The problem is that both options may grow old quickly and the downside is that the PC(s) staying on the ship are missing out on the main fun.

Do you have this a lot in your campaigns? How  do you deal with his?

 

Edited by thesaviour

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Well, why not have separate encounters with the guys on the ship?

How about a person of "importance" shows up and starts claiming the ship is theirs?

They can be found out by a random patrol / flight / pack of animals and they have to fly off.

Maybe they need to fix up some problems on the ship that they might have just noticed now, which could influence when or if the party can leave a place.

Maybe the bounty hunter they're running away from has decoyed most of the party to either get their mark / find someone or something to ransom with?

Or if your characters are doing some shady stuff, maybe an unsuspecting witness shows up at the wrong time?

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Pay docking fee. Tell the PC's the ship is considered safe. Done. 

I don't mean to be curt to be rude, i'm simply stating that I don't put any more effort into it. For our group nobody cares, so its just a GM hand wave, and lets move the story onward.  If someone was genuinely interested and not just because of paranoia I would say just buy a NPC security Droid, or alarm system, or some other fancy doodad. If it is purely Paranoia, just straight tell them its safe and move on. If your players are super paranoid perhaps they have a bit too much of the "Us vs the GM" mentality.

The only time this wouldn't apply is if you [the GM] don't want it to be safe for a specific Narrative purpose, ie plot reasons. Even then in a single campaign I would probably only ever "steal/take away" the Pc's ship one time.

 

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49 minutes ago, ThreeAM said:

Pay docking fee. Tell the PC's the ship is considered safe. Done. 

This is essential. If the players still wonder about planetary scale backup > Pilot Droid Brain includes an auto-pilot which can bring to ship over. 
If you really don't want to deal with this kind of backup: Patrol ships in orbit, traffic control on urban words, etc can prevent the option to just unleash an air strike against some punks on the ground. This is especially true on planets with a planetary shield, because on those worlds not even burning bridges is an option, because traffic control will not be so friendly to open the shield for you after burn the ground after you. ;-)

It is still fun to actually account for the air strike option, especially as the players most certainly are not the only guys with spaceships on most planets. Especially extractions are fun, catch the rest of the group, deal with chasing ships and try to jump into hyperspace. :)

 

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3 hours ago, thesaviour said:

Hey, folks

I wanted to run the following issue past you to see how you are handing it (if you do at all).

I find my characters' ship to be somewhat of a problem sometimes in terms of the narrative. This seems to be an issue to be spcific to SW RPG, so there might be some useful technics outthere that you can share.

Here is a classic example:

The PCs arrive whereever the adventure takes them and need to leave the ship to go on adventuring. They decide that someone should definitely stay on the ship for backup while the others press on.

My first response is to either come up with a reason why this is not possible and everyone should go OR let the PCs split up and come up with encounters for the PC(s) that stay on the ship.

The problem is that both options may grow old quickly and the downside is that the PC(s) staying on the ship are missing out on the main fun.

Do you have this a lot in your campaigns? How  do you deal with his?

 

Ask at the end of the next session who is staying on the ship next week and tell them not to come to game nite next session, they'll get the hint...............:P

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3 hours ago, thesaviour said:

Hey, folks

I wanted to run the following issue past you to see how you are handing it (if you do at all).

I find my characters' ship to be somewhat of a problem sometimes in terms of the narrative. This seems to be an issue to be spcific to SW RPG, so there might be some useful technics outthere that you can share.

Here is a classic example:

The PCs arrive whereever the adventure takes them and need to leave the ship to go on adventuring. They decide that someone should definitely stay on the ship for backup while the others press on.

My first response is to either come up with a reason why this is not possible and everyone should go OR let the PCs split up and come up with encounters for the PC(s) that stay on the ship.

The problem is that both options may grow old quickly and the downside is that the PC(s) staying on the ship are missing out on the main fun.

Do you have this a lot in your campaigns? How  do you deal with his?

 

Ask them as players why they feel safe leaving their car in the parking lot while they go into the FLGS to buy stuff/play games.

The Star Wars universe is no different in this regard. People leave their transportation unattended all the time, and expect it to remain safe. I mean, Han and Chewie left the MF in a "wretched hive of scum and villainy" and never thought twice about it.

If the campaign includes the GM occasionally having bad stuff happen to their ship when it is docked, then you need to make sure players have plenty (and in most cases, easy) opportunities to detect and neutralize these attempts.

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5 hours ago, thesaviour said:

My first response is to either come up with a reason why this is not possible and everyone should go OR let the PCs split up and come up with encounters for the PC(s) that stay on ship.

Why bother catering to the people on the ship by creating encounters for them? If they don't want to go on the main adventure and want to stay home. Let them! But don't throw encounters at them. It sounds like they expect it and that's why they're hanging back.  Make it obviously boring and they'll eventually get the hint.

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Whether or not leaving the ship is justified by the narrative. The players currently may feel that; if they don't leave some "hard" protection on the ship in the form of the PC's, you might chose to ****** the ship from under them and whisk it away. One way of addressing this is to clarify expectations; that you aren't going to pull a fast one on them most of the time. If they land in a show port then the ship will still be there; or at the very worst it might be held on lockdown if the PC's chose to do something within the local area that can be traced back to them. Make it clear that you are not going to make a habit of targeting their property and that they won't need to protect it. I imagine most ships are more then equipped to keep random animals from crawling in the wilderness so unless they do something utterly silly, like packing it in the middle of a massive battle (my party did that once. I was so furious. "Wait, you chose to land MY ship right next to the temple that is being attacked by imperials? THAT THING IS OUR LIFE LINE IN GETTING OUT OF HERE!") then nothing will happen most of the time. The worst that will usually happen is that NPC's might wait outside the ship. Establish that trust and do not betray it unless they actually have a reason to be watched. The main exception is if the PC's start stealing a lot of NPC ships, in which case you would be more then justified to start poking at them if they continue spreading a horrible reputation.

Now there may be certain circumstances that staying with the ship would be justified. Landing in a hot landing zone is one of them, making a very short stay/shopping trip is another if they have to craft a device. The Jewel of Yavin is one such adventure where the party is required to spilt up and delegate if they want to have any chance of being ready and the entire party or there are some situations where they need a hot pickup (oh my). Otherwise be up front and specify that you aren't under any obligation to craft adventures for those that chose to stay behind; your job as the GM is to provide an engaging story, you cannot provide an engaging story for those on guard duty. See K2-S0 in Rogue 1, especially during the first half. He barely does anything because he always stays with the ship. 

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Truly you just establish the expectation that it's okay to leave the ship there, by getting your players to trust that everyone is there to have fun and tell a story.

As a GM and Player, I can think of a hundred reasons why you want to keep a guy on board.  However, it is quite boring. You merely need the buy in of your players. Convince them that nothing will really happen to the ship because, for story purposes, it will be more fun if they are all together. And IF, for story purposes, their ship is tampered with or, Force forbid, stolen, then they should trust that it is for story purposes and that there will be ample opportunity to find it, or get another ship, or find its tracking beacon activated over Jakku after 30 years. 

The only time anyone is really left on the ship is so they can swoop in for the hot pick up. Han leaves the Falcon alone in Mos Eisley spaceport. Han, who doesn't trust Lando and tells Chewie to keep his eyes open, leaves the Falcon alone on Cloud City's landing pad. Han even leaves it alone in the Death Star docking bay. And even in the latter two examples, GM Lucas screwed with the Falcon. To what end? Well for Bespin, Han couldn't hit the Mechanics difficulty check that was set for his repair attempts on the hyperdrive, so the GM had Cloud City mechanics fix it but deactivate it, and changed it to a side plot point that could be found with a Computers check by the party slicer. For the Death Star, the GM needed a way for the Empire to find the hidden Rebel base. Just .... only do that sparingly.

You just need to convince your players that it's not You vs Them and woe is they who leave their livelihood unguarded. Let them know that it's okay to leave the ship so that everyone can play and have fun, and that yes, occasionally, you'll use that for story hooks, but that at the end of the day, you're all there to have fun and tell a story.

 

Edited by R5D8

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When my PCs had this issue, I suggested they invest in upgraded security and an upgraded computer system. It made the ship harder to break into, and they felt more comfortable with it. 

Alternately, let them modify the ship's systems to suit their characters. Is the navigation chart all in Durese? That might be an issue for a thief. Are some of the controls deliberately mislabeled? Awesome. Better not roll too many threat (or let someone else fly it), but it sure is harder to steal. Give the ship more character, and they may feel like it isn't a constant magnet for thieves. 

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To me this is a deeper issue. The players don't fee that they want to have the adventure that would ensue if their ship is stolen, and while it is natural and good that they don't want their ship stole, they are essentially competing with the GM here, although on a very minor level. I think that having a risk-averse mechanism that takes a character completely out of action on a serial basis is saying that the players feel they are having to do the equivalent of saying ok don't eat the last donut while I go to the bathroom. 

But, if you are trying to run the type of game where you are constantly polling the weaknesses in order to take things from them for no other reason than they forgot to do a mundane checklist in favor of going on the adventure, then they have to leave a guy on the ship and I don't blame them. Is your game more cinematic in style, or more of a resource management game?

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3 hours ago, Archlyte said:

To me this is a deeper issue. The players don't fee that they want to have the adventure that would ensue if their ship is stolen, and while it is natural and good that they don't want their ship stole, they are essentially competing with the GM here, although on a very minor level. I think that having a risk-averse mechanism that takes a character completely out of action on a serial basis is saying that the players feel they are having to do the equivalent of saying ok don't eat the last donut while I go to the bathroom. 

But, if you are trying to run the type of game where you are constantly polling the weaknesses in order to take things from them for no other reason than they forgot to do a mundane checklist in favor of going on the adventure, then they have to leave a guy on the ship and I don't blame them. Is your game more cinematic in style, or more of a resource management game?

thanks for the comment!

our game is very much cinematic. I have initially thought about this being my PCs reaction to some of the ruses I've tried to pull off and them just trying to overplay me instead of playing the game. We've discussed this and it seems that the problem is a bit different. The players do think that this is exactly what the characters would have done cause it is smarter. and if you think of any cinematic examples of the same situations this would only support this view.

so the main responses to the problem I have so far (much similar to the points proposed above) are also meant to be plausible and cinematic (rather than purely mechanical):

- leave NPC (including droid) behind to play this backup role

- ensure the environment feels safe (instead of me just telling them that it is safe) that the PCs want to all go

- the story makes the PCs feel that they all must go (again, not me telling them that this is the case - has to be their choice)

the second thing would be to be ready for situations where some of the players still decide to stay so that they don't feel. 

I don't really like the idea of PCs actually being left out of the session and using this as an incentive to take different decision next time. This does ultimately feel like meta-gaming to me. I would even give all PCs same base XP for the session so they would only have less options to get bonus XP. 

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Our group has ended up with an old HK droid. We often have to leave him behind in order to not raise too many questions, and of course, I don't want to think what would happen to anyone who broke into our ship !

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Give them some kind of secutrity system upgrade, that they can purchase. If someone enters their ship, they get notified via comlink.
A droid as a guard would be doabl, too.

Besides that, we now had two situations, where someone sayed at the ship, they just left their comlinks open, so the player was able to hear, what happened with the rest of the group, and so the whole group was still able to discuss.

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9 hours ago, thesaviour said:

thanks for the comment!

our game is very much cinematic. I have initially thought about this being my PCs reaction to some of the ruses I've tried to pull off and them just trying to overplay me instead of playing the game. We've discussed this and it seems that the problem is a bit different. The players do think that this is exactly what the characters would have done cause it is smarter. and if you think of any cinematic examples of the same situations this would only support this view.

so the main responses to the problem I have so far (much similar to the points proposed above) are also meant to be plausible and cinematic (rather than purely mechanical):

- leave NPC (including droid) behind to play this backup role

- ensure the environment feels safe (instead of me just telling them that it is safe) that the PCs want to all go

- the story makes the PCs feel that they all must go (again, not me telling them that this is the case - has to be their choice)

the second thing would be to be ready for situations where some of the players still decide to stay so that they don't feel. 

I don't really like the idea of PCs actually being left out of the session and using this as an incentive to take different decision next time. This does ultimately feel like meta-gaming to me. I would even give all PCs same base XP for the session so they would only have less options to get bonus XP. 

Yeah man sounds like you are a great GM. I think they will be able to see the forest for the trees on this one with your guidance :) 

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On 2017-12-01 at 4:31 PM, thesaviour said:

I find my characters' ship to be somewhat of a problem sometimes in terms of the narrative. This seems to be an issue to be spcific to SW RPG, so there might be some useful technics outthere that you can share.

This is not a SW issue, it's an antagonistic roleplaying issue.  In a fantasy game, our GM stole our horses once when we left them tied up, now the other players are paranoid about it.  Definitely dampens the game, because waaaaay too much time is spent micro-managing resources like that.  My group has been playing since this kind of thing was "how it was done", and it's hard to wean them off it.

First time it happened in my game I tried telling the players that I wasn't playing an antagonistic game.  If they took reasonable precautions, then things would probably be fine.  And if things weren't fine, it would be for legitimate story reasons.  Aaannd...should their ship become a target they'd have a chance to do something about it, since even the ship's dumb computer could at least alert them to a break in.  This seemed to work, and I haven't had a lot of paranoia since.

However, I've since rethought this and I think should it ever come up in the future I'll just roll with it.  People on the ship can also coordinate via comms, do remote slicing, etc, so they can be part of many missions.  However, if those opportunities aren't present, I'll just add encounters.  From panhandlers, to potential thieves, to mynocks chewing on the power cables, whoever stays behind will be busy.  Even failing that, the ship should *always* be in need of fixing :) .  

Basically, the action is where the PCs are, even if they are split up.

@warchild1x it's not that hard to invent ways to keep the stay-at-homes busy, and this system does excel at letting you split the party.  What I would try to do though is coordinate the narrative and structured portions between the two parties.  So when the away-team is facing down stormtroopers, the local cops are knocking on the ship and wondering why you're not parked in a space port...

Eventually the players might notice that no matter what they do, they're busy, in which case they might be less tempted to micro-manage against potential GM "interference".

Edit:  there seems to be a lot of "penalize them!" responses.  I don't see the point, it's kind of railroady and it just feeds that antagonistic vibe.  I think it's better to be clear up front what kind of game you plan to run, but you can also be flexible with how to handle what the PCs do.  Creating encounters in this system is as easy as grabbing a card from one of the adversary decks, it doesn't take a lot of prep.

Edited by whafrog

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3 hours ago, whafrog said:

However, I've since rethought this and I think should it ever come up in the future I'll just roll with it.  People on the ship can also coordinate via comms, do remote slicing, etc, so they can be part of many missions.

Yeah. Watchtower and Alfred are both important characters in the DC universe and so can a slicer on board of a ship with access to ship sensors, slicing gear on the ground connected to the ship's computer or some squadron commander with the situational awareness talent, etc 

On top does it slip up the group, which can be result in interesting decisions for the players when different elements of the group get into trouble. From forcing the pilot into a rescue mission for his crew to having an infiltrator on board which the pilot tries to deal with, while the rest of the group got into a speeder chase with a target .. right when they don't have their ace to drive the thing ... and help is still always just a call away. The benefit of having complex communication devices is that distances become relative and help can be always quickly on the way when the need arises. In  many ways it does makes sense to have an operator on board of the ship to coordinate the group, especially when the rest of the group is splitting up on top. 

And as someone mentioned that Han and Chewie left their falcon alone in the hangar. Sure, but they were paranoid enough about it to install a AX-108 automatic blaster cannon to deal with anyone touching their precious baby. On top of three droid brains, security systems, etc so they had reasonable expectations that their ship does not get stolen easily and reason to stick together, with bounty hunters on their tails. 
 

 

Edited by SEApocalypse

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19 minutes ago, SEApocalypse said:

And as someone mentioned that Han and Chewie left their falcon alone in the hangar. Sure, but they were paranoid enough about it to install a AX-108 automatic blaster cannon to deal with anyone touching their precious baby. On top of three droid brains, security systems, etc so they had reasonable expectations that their ship does not get stolen easily and reason to stick together, with bounty hunters on their tails. 

The only problem I have with explaining things this way is that players then think their ship won't be safe until they get an AX-108, 3 droid brains, and a security system.  Personally I'd rather not have them feel paranoid just because they don't have those things...unless that's part of the story of course.

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Depends really on the groups. we play often very rational and professional characters, which means all those things are desired anyway :D
The OP's group seems to be similar his players want someone on the ship from their character's perspective. Having a decked out sports car and parking it just anyway, even in east european cities would be a no-go for reasonable persons. Having extra security systems for you car are a normal thing to have, etc 

If the issue is the mindset of the players and not related to the mindset of their characters, it's different. But in this case it seems more like that the characters and not the players need to feel safe about their ship. And considering my example and that the falcon basically looked like garbage, it must have been even easier for Solo to leave it alone. And actually the look might be part of security measurements. ^_^
 

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On 12/3/2017 at 2:36 PM, whafrog said:

This is not a SW issue, it's an antagonistic roleplaying issue.  In a fantasy game, our GM stole our horses once when we left them tied up, now the other players are paranoid about it.  Definitely dampens the game, because waaaaay too much time is spent micro-managing resources like that.  My group has been playing since this kind of thing was "how it was done", and it's hard to wean them off it.

First time it happened in my game I tried telling the players that I wasn't playing an antagonistic game.  If they took reasonable precautions, then things would probably be fine.  And if things weren't fine, it would be for legitimate story reasons.  Aaannd...should their ship become a target they'd have a chance to do something about it, since even the ship's dumb computer could at least alert them to a break in.  This seemed to work, and I haven't had a lot of paranoia since.

However, I've since rethought this and I think should it ever come up in the future I'll just roll with it.  People on the ship can also coordinate via comms, do remote slicing, etc, so they can be part of many missions.  However, if those opportunities aren't present, I'll just add encounters.  From panhandlers, to potential thieves, to mynocks chewing on the power cables, whoever stays behind will be busy.  Even failing that, the ship should *always* be in need of fixing :) .  

Basically, the action is where the PCs are, even if they are split up.

@warchild1x it's not that hard to invent ways to keep the stay-at-homes busy, and this system does excel at letting you split the party.  What I would try to do though is coordinate the narrative and structured portions between the two parties.  So when the away-team is facing down stormtroopers, the local cops are knocking on the ship and wondering why you're not parked in a space port...

Eventually the players might notice that no matter what they do, they're busy, in which case they might be less tempted to micro-manage against potential GM "interference".

Edit:  there seems to be a lot of "penalize them!" responses.  I don't see the point, it's kind of railroady and it just feeds that antagonistic vibe.  I think it's better to be clear up front what kind of game you plan to run, but you can also be flexible with how to handle what the PCs do.  Creating encounters in this system is as easy as grabbing a card from one of the adversary decks, it doesn't take a lot of prep.

If what the PCs do is give the GM a headache, then he should just tell them to knock it off. 

I just wouldnt want to have to take into account the player that is staying in the ship for no reason. I would explain this to the players when I told them to knock it off.

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On 12/3/2017 at 11:07 PM, Archlyte said:

Yeah man sounds like you are a great GM. I think they will be able to see the forest for the trees on this one with your guidance :) 

this is just a "perfect GM" I am trying to be (failing all the time with great fun in the process) :))) 

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On 12/3/2017 at 11:36 PM, whafrog said:

This is not a SW issue, it's an antagonistic roleplaying issue.  In a fantasy game, our GM stole our horses once when we left them tied up, now the other players are paranoid about it.  Definitely dampens the game, because waaaaay too much time is spent micro-managing resources like that.  My group has been playing since this kind of thing was "how it was done", and it's hard to wean them off it.

First time it happened in my game I tried telling the players that I wasn't playing an antagonistic game.  If they took reasonable precautions, then things would probably be fine.  And if things weren't fine, it would be for legitimate story reasons.  Aaannd...should their ship become a target they'd have a chance to do something about it, since even the ship's dumb computer could at least alert them to a break in.  This seemed to work, and I haven't had a lot of paranoia since.

However, I've since rethought this and I think should it ever come up in the future I'll just roll with it.  People on the ship can also coordinate via comms, do remote slicing, etc, so they can be part of many missions.  However, if those opportunities aren't present, I'll just add encounters.  From panhandlers, to potential thieves, to mynocks chewing on the power cables, whoever stays behind will be busy.  Even failing that, the ship should *always* be in need of fixing :) .  

Basically, the action is where the PCs are, even if they are split up.

@warchild1x it's not that hard to invent ways to keep the stay-at-homes busy, and this system does excel at letting you split the party.  What I would try to do though is coordinate the narrative and structured portions between the two parties.  So when the away-team is facing down stormtroopers, the local cops are knocking on the ship and wondering why you're not parked in a space port...

Eventually the players might notice that no matter what they do, they're busy, in which case they might be less tempted to micro-manage against potential GM "interference".

Edit:  there seems to be a lot of "penalize them!" responses.  I don't see the point, it's kind of railroady and it just feeds that antagonistic vibe.  I think it's better to be clear up front what kind of game you plan to run, but you can also be flexible with how to handle what the PCs do.  Creating encounters in this system is as easy as grabbing a card from one of the adversary decks, it doesn't take a lot of prep.

thank you for your toughts! Indeed this issue is much deeper than one can originall think. I am being more and more reassured that I should go with the flow and be ready to support the PCs staing on the ship than trying to resist their plans.

also, fully agree that PCs who stay on the ship should not be penalized. From my point of view - they are deliverately making a choice to stay out of the main adventure so they should sometimes even be awarded. I recall one time my players have roleplayed how they've killed time on boad of the ship so awesome, so the group that went on adventuring wished they could be back "home" on the ship)))

not to mention splitting up the team - I was thinking of starting another thread on this actually when I have a moment to put my thoughts together on this issue.

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