Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
thesaviour

PC's ship - GM's pain

Recommended Posts

Your group is telling a fictional story set in a fictional space-fantasy setting, not writing a manual on proper starship maintenance and security procedures.

If I have a player who wants to stay behind to "guard" the ship, I'll ask him what he plans on doing while everyone else is out adventuring. If he can't come up with an answer other than "guarding" I'll remind him that we, as a group, decided to play this game with the reasonable expectation that every player is going to participate in the story. Metaphorically staying behind is that player abdicating his responsibility to participate with the other players.

Share this post


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

Your group is telling a fictional story set in a fictional space-fantasy setting, not writing a manual on proper starship maintenance and security procedures.

If I have a player who wants to stay behind to "guard" the ship, I'll ask him what he plans on doing while everyone else is out adventuring. If he can't come up with an answer other than "guarding" I'll remind him that we, as a group, decided to play this game with the reasonable expectation that every player is going to participate in the story. Metaphorically staying behind is that player abdicating his responsibility to participate with the other players.

To quote myself from two sessions ago to exactly that question. "I start playing sabacc with the crew, while keeping on eye on the sensors and change position of the ship in the debris field in a random pattern."

Man, you really would hate me :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, SEApocalypse said:

To quote myself from two sessions ago to exactly that question. "I start playing sabacc with the crew, while keeping on eye on the sensors and change position of the ship in the debris field in a random pattern."

Man, you really would hate me :P

You don't do that every adventure though do you SEA? 

Share this post


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

You don't do that every adventure though do you SEA? 

It is the usual procedure how things get started. 
So in a way I am doing this every adventure at least once. 

In that specific case the ship got attacked by a group of specialists formed by an Inquisitor, while the ground team managed to get captured on the way out. Meaning that I first had to deal with a hostile Conqueror-class assault ship, after that prepare a rescue mission, try to stay out of the sensors of an imperial Arquitens on the way to the ground, which was achieved by riding a large comet down to the ground which I may have giving a gentle push out of its nearly geostationary orbit. 
Which means as well that my entrance was literally earth shaking while totally stealth at the same time. And totally pointless because the ground team managed to rescue themselves already. 

What I am getting at? There are plenty of reasons to stay on the ship and most of them can be pretty story relevant. A good deal of them will force a pilot out of his comfort zone as well and right down on the ground. Speaking of that. On the ground was that stupid inquisitor already waiting. I had broken his ship before, he broke my arm. While he was chasing  me and the rescue team, the ground team stole his personal fighter. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, SEApocalypse said:

It is the usual procedure how things get started. 
So in a way I am doing this every adventure at least once. 

In that specific case the ship got attacked by a group of specialists formed by an Inquisitor, while the ground team managed to get captured on the way out. Meaning that I first had to deal with a hostile Conqueror-class assault ship, after that prepare a rescue mission, try to stay out of the sensors of an imperial Arquitens on the way to the ground, which was achieved by riding a large comet down to the ground which I may have giving a gentle push out of its nearly geostationary orbit. 
Which means as well that my entrance was literally earth shaking while totally stealth at the same time. And totally pointless because the ground team managed to rescue themselves already. 

What I am getting at? There are plenty of reasons to stay on the ship and most of them can be pretty story relevant. A good deal of them will force a pilot out of his comfort zone as well and right down on the ground. Speaking of that. On the ground was that stupid inquisitor already waiting. I had broken his ship before, he broke my arm. While he was chasing  me and the rescue team, the ground team stole his personal fighter. 

Yeah if I'm being honest then I will stipulate that it's too absolute to say that always staying on the ship is wrong. What maybe I could say is that being repetitively formulaic from either side of the screen, and competing against each other (Player vs. GM) is a bad idea. If you guys are able to make it work then obviously it is fine, but in general I would say the potential for problems is high when the players are meta-competing with the GM and vice versa. 

I think that is really the thing that bothers me about the OPs situation, because it sounds to me like a case of players trying to outwit an omniscient and omnipotent foe: the GM. That is a fool's errand and really a rookie unforced error on the part of whomever is doing it. To me the GM should be as impartial as is humanly possible with a lean toward the players. I play to watch the players do things when I am a GM, and I don't delight in hurting the players even when I must damage their characters. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the OP already stated: This case is a RP thing. It's about what their characters would do. And I can relate to this.

A spaceship is an extremely powerful asset. The ability to bring basically air support to most encounters is an extremely powerful, even when just used for extraction. Sometimes it will simply not make sense for a group to leave their ship alone. Notice btw how rarely to Ghost is left without crew. ?

edit:
At the other hand, when we reached centerpoint station to meet with an shaddy information broker to get the data we stole back to the alliance. Guess what, having an extra sniper with the team made more sense than having him on the ship in some docking bay with CorSec being right around the corner, especially when the GM established tight traffic control within centerpoint station.

Edited by SEApocalypse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

As the OP already stated: This case is a RP thing. It's about what their characters would do. And I can relate to this.

A spaceship is an extremely powerful asset. The ability to bring basically air support to most encounters is an extremely powerful, even when just used for extraction. Sometimes it will simply not make sense for a group to leave their ship alone. Notice btw how rarely to Ghost is left without crew. ?

edit:
At the other hand, when we reached centerpoint station to meet with an shaddy information broker to get the data we stole back to the alliance. Guess what, having an extra sniper with the team made more sense than having him on the ship in some docking bay with CorSec being right around the corner, especially when the GM established tight traffic control within centerpoint station.

Yeah, it's a more strategic style of play than a cinematic one, but like I said you guys are doing it and it's fine from what it sounds like. There are some good uses of meta, and I think that telling the players to go ahead and leave the ship as it will be fine is ok from time to time, but for other people that breaks immersion so I get it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, it's not even about a strategic style of play, but more about strategic thinking of the characters involved currently. Some less analytic characters may ignore those advantages and head right into trouble. Which ironically tend to be in our group more often than not my characters ... just not this time … at least not constantly, that ace is still an hotshot at heart, but this whole being away from the "hive" scares him and cools him down a little. At least outside of the cockpit. ;-)

Edited by SEApocalypse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

BTW, it's not even about a strategic style of play, but more about strategic thinking of the characters involved currently. Some less analytic characters may ignore those advantages and head right into trouble. Which ironically tend to be in our group more often than not my characters ... just not this time … at least not constantly, that ace is still an hotshot at heart, but this whole being away from the "hive" scares him and cools him down a little. At least outside of the cockpit. ;-)

Your original post made me think about this topic a little more, and I think what it comes down to is that you have people who play their characters largely from the point of view of what you could call the Character's Interest. This includes both 1st Person Perspective and meta-info that combine in some ratio to inform actions that steer the character toward the most advantageous behaviors. Character Interest has a counter force that I would call Dramatic Interest. Dramatic Interest is something that, unlike Character Interest, can be more easily shared by everyone at the table, and could best be described as the effect of being an objective but sympathetic audience watching the events transpire and enjoying the play of Tension and Resolution of those events. 

In the case of a story in which the ship is left behind when there is a risk it could be taken (and thus a whole adventure set in motion) serves Dramatic Interest and goes against Character Interest, where the Player/Character entity is simply looking to strategically keep the ship under firm control of the player. 

The thing is, of course, that the GM has the ability to have the character babysitting the ship be overcome by any sort of overwhelming effect that essentially forces the character to lose the ship, and therefore fiat had to be applied where maybe it didn't need to, if the player been more concerned with Dramatic Interest that Character Interest.  

You may argue that the GM should have just let the character keep the ship instead of using the omnipotence of control because the player had refused to leave it. This is a dangerous thing to screw with though, as once you start acquiescing to players in this way (letting them stave off risk or danger through mother hen, or risk averse behavior) they will be encouraged to do it more often and the only time they won't do it is in their favorite situation of opposition--which is usually combat. The GM will quickly find that the players are interested on in Character Interest and the GM will be sitting through hours of stroking the Players while they seek out their sanctioned form of risk and balk at everything else. A casualty of that situation is that the world will lose its unpredictable and independent qualities. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now we are getting fundamental to the bases of roleplay and to be honest this is neither a debate I want to have right now, nor one that's helpful outside of your own group or when designing a system. I still give you my perspective.

For me roleplaying a character always comes first before following a pre-written narrative. Walking past the dungeon because having a picnic on a field of flowers sounds so much more fun than searching treasures in a dusty crypt is legit. Not pissing on the GM is still part of basically any group's unwritten social contract, so better make sure to visit that dungeon later, maybe it's raining tomorrow anyway or you run out of money two months later, which can be skipped over in a single sentence by the GM or a Player.
But as you said, metagaming against the GM is pointless. A GM who wants to steal your ship will steal your ship. He might as well just start in medias res with establishing this fact, which is totally fine.  

PS.
Groups which prefer combat as conflict resolution are imho not dying often enough. And while it is fine to pass on a dungeon which was set along the way, it is as well fine to place an encounter along the way which can not be solved by combat at all and actually has as correct solution to just walk by … just leave the group with enough signs and warnings that combat might be undesirable.  RP is for me all about choice and consequences. The choices of a imaginary person who is not you, someone who does not think or feel like you and the consequences of that person's choices on himself and the world around him. Combat is a choice, but it is not necessary the correct one. The beauty of this approach is that the developing narrative is truly unique each time you play and very rewarding for the GM as well, because he gets not to see the narrative that he has prepared, but the narrative his groups creates. 

PPS. Enough hints that a combat encounter might not end well without more guns on the ground is btw the best way to get everyone together. It does not even need to be always true. ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/3/2017 at 4:43 AM, 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. 

Here is how you solve it. You before the game give them your word you will not mess with there ship. Then you DON'T mess with the ship. Give them your word and keep it. Then they should not feel the need to do so. Just like your players likely feel no problem leaving their car in the parking lot at the mall for a few hours.

Edited by Daeglan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Daeglan said:

Here is how you solve it. You before the game give them your word you will not mess with there ship. Then you DON'T mess with the ship. Give them your word and keep it. Then they should not feel the need to do so. Just like your players likely feel no problem leaving their car in the parking lot at the mall for a few hours.

Very true. I think every GM learns this lessor quickly - if you start to play dirty with your PCs, they will constantly feel threatened and will be trying to outsmart you all the time instead of playing the game. 

the other thing is that the PCs sometimes want to leave someone behind not for the safety of the ship but for other tactical/narrative reasons, and you must be prepared to such turns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/1/2017 at 2:31 PM, thesaviour said:

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.

Straight out tell the Ship Guard "Yes, you can stay behind - but that'll be boring as **** for you, player you not character you. Go chase down the MacGuffin with the rest of the party, the ship will be just fine."

"But what if the ship gets stolen?"

"You've taken reasonable precautions. If it's not part of the plot, then the ship will be fine. If it IS part of the plot, then one lone PC will not stop a GM who needs to make that happen. Go play the game."

Problem solved.

(That or give them a guard droid who can hang out on the ship.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

Now we are getting fundamental to the bases of roleplay and to be honest this is neither a debate I want to have right now, nor one that's helpful outside of your own group or when designing a system. I still give you my perspective.

For me roleplaying a character always comes first before following a pre-written narrative. Walking past the dungeon because having a picnic on a field of flowers sounds so much more fun than searching treasures in a dusty crypt is legit. Not pissing on the GM is still part of basically any group's unwritten social contract, so better make sure to visit that dungeon later, maybe it's raining tomorrow anyway or you run out of money two months later, which can be skipped over in a single sentence by the GM or a Player.
But as you said, metagaming against the GM is pointless. A GM who wants to steal your ship will steal your ship. He might as well just start in medias res with establishing this fact, which is totally fine.  

PS.
Groups which prefer combat as conflict resolution are imho not dying often enough. And while it is fine to pass on a dungeon which was set along the way, it is as well fine to place an encounter along the way which can not be solved by combat at all and actually has as correct solution to just walk by … just leave the group with enough signs and warnings that combat might be undesirable.  RP is for me all about choice and consequences. The choices of a imaginary person who is not you, someone who does not think or feel like you and the consequences of that person's choices on himself and the world around him. Combat is a choice, but it is not necessary the correct one. The beauty of this approach is that the developing narrative is truly unique each time you play and very rewarding for the GM as well, because he gets not to see the narrative that he has prepared, but the narrative his groups creates. 

PPS. Enough hints that a combat encounter might not end well without more guns on the ground is btw the best way to get everyone together. It does not even need to be always true. ;-)

Well I'm going to honor your desire to not have this debate/discussion here on this thread :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Desslok said:

Straight out tell the Ship Guard "Yes, you can stay behind - but that'll be boring as **** for you, player you not character you. Go chase down the MacGuffin with the rest of the party, the ship will be just fine."

"But what if the ship gets stolen?"

"You've taken reasonable precautions. If it's not part of the plot, then the ship will be fine. If it IS part of the plot, then one lone PC will not stop a GM who needs to make that happen. Go play the game."

Problem solved.

(That or give them a guard droid who can hang out on the ship.)

Wish I could like this more than once.  

I ended up having a similar discussion with my players who were super reluctant to use the obligation system/take on more, because of a fear that I (the GM) would use it "solely to screw them over". To which I indicated "Being the GM I could screw you over anytime I want, I don't need your obligation to do it :P. Your obligation just helps me tell the story/give you missions."  I also indicated it's not them vs the GM, we're all there to have fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a similar situation for this with one of my players. He's mostly quiet (though when his character does speak up, it's usually comedy gold), and it's hard to get him to talk about what he wants to do in the game between sessions. His character is a droid named GI-01 (Smuggler/Pilot) who was literally designed to fly the group's custom Ghtroc 720, and being very protective of his ship, it makes in-character sense that he'd stay behind. I'm not about to try to force him off the ship, but I am interested in ways to keep him engaged.

Upcoming attempts:

1) He's had some memories damaged, and the ship was previously a pirate ship, before our crew showed up. One of the former captain's associates is going to show up with a job offer and an item that belonged to the good captain. Said item apparently interests a squadron of TIE fighters, led by an ace pilot in an unusual model.

2) The group is about to arrive at a Granee Noopa. If GI elects to remain on the ship during the event, I'm thinking about having some escaped slaves seek shelter onboard while all eyes are on the event. Also, on the off chance that the PCs lose then event, he'll be in a position to perform an extraction.

---

On the issue of in-character paranoia, I've had an NPC Technician/Modder join the crew as the ship's engineer, who'll stay on board most of the time. Guarding the ship is also a default behavior for absent players.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-12-07 at 1:51 AM, SEApocalypse said:

Now we are getting fundamental to the bases of roleplay and to be honest this is neither a debate I want to have right now, nor one that's helpful outside of your own group or when designing a system. I still give you my perspective.

For me roleplaying a character always comes first before following a pre-written narrative. Walking past the dungeon because having a picnic on a field of flowers sounds so much more fun than searching treasures in a dusty crypt is legit. Not pissing on the GM is still part of basically any group's unwritten social contract, so better make sure to visit that dungeon later, maybe it's raining tomorrow anyway or you run out of money two months later, which can be skipped over in a single sentence by the GM or a Player.
But as you said, metagaming against the GM is pointless. A GM who wants to steal your ship will steal your ship. He might as well just start in medias res with establishing this fact, which is totally fine. 

I know, you said you don't want to debate this, and I'm going to respect this... by not demanding a reply. But I am going to comment on it. ;)

Roleplaying and staying in character is all good. Except when it's not helpful, and I like to be helpful. To my fellow players and to my GM. I have, at times, been a die hard proponent of staying in character to the point that if the GM, in my opinion, failed to engage my character I'd pretty much turn my back on any kind of adventure or intrigue dangled before me. Often at the very start of campaign. I'm pretty sure I was a pain in the butt to my GMs.

Nowadays, I try to have my cake and eat it. I will stay in character, but rather than diving in head first for total immersion, I try to keep one foot on good old narrative dry land and consider the needs of the story. Or to put it more bluntly, keep in mind the things I think are fun, but my character wouldn't. If I play an antisocial curmudgeon that prefers to stay on the ship, when every one else is taking shore leave, I'd probably want to tag a long as a player. My character on the other hand, probably wouldn't, so to solve this dilemma while staying in character, I make up an excuse. My character, doesn't want to leave the ship on Tatooine because it's seems like a terrible planet and someone might steal the ship, and he hates sand because it's coarse and it gets every-... aaaanyway. Unlucky for him, there's some reason for him to get off the ship, maybe he needs new batteries for his datapad, or he needs to see a medical droid about a toothache, or maybe he doesn't trust the others to get the right convection manifold for his swoop bike. Or I just ask the other players for their characters to give him a reason to come along. And he'll mope and whine about having to leave the ship, but me as the player, I'm happy as a clam, because I can go out and do fun stuff with the other PCs, and if the ship does get stolen, my character can "I told you so!" at the others until they throw him out the airlock. From a player persepctive, that's win-win! Well, maybe not the airlock...

Basically, when I realized I was using "playing my character" as an excuse, I had a big rethink on the matter. This is also why I have a low tolerance level for people that behave as jerks and then use "playing my character" as a shield. You can be a civil and helpful player, while still playing the asshat of the year.

Of course, there are hardcore immersionists that would disagree with me and I wouldn't dream of telling them that their way of playing is wrong....

...

...to their faces. ;)

Edited by penpenpen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only Sith deal in absolutes. Just because something comes first, does not mean that other things can't come second, third, …
Most conflicts about different character motivations and goals can be solved by properly building the group in session zero or just being mindful of the rest of the group when building your character.  ;-)
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, penpenpen said:

Basically, when I realized I was using "playing my character" as an excuse, I had a big rethink on the matter. This is also why I have a low tolerance level for people that behave as jerks and then use "playing my character" as a shield. You can be a civil and helpful player, while still playing the asshat of the year

^ This.  We get a lot of GMs coming through wondering how to deal with players that take it too far, your post should be stickied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to security systems, Droid brains (including ones that could shoot the guns, my PCs eventually got an NPC guard pig (Gamorean named Ke'Vin [as in Bacon]),  Jabba was displeased with Ke'Vin (he participated in the killing of a pit monster, a giant sand crab, 2 or 3 PCs also went into the pit along with the 3 NPCs Jabba intended to drop in the pit, Jabba only required the PCs to replace the giant sand crab with a young kraft dragon, it helped that the giant sand crab was a crab and they had a crab bake), and was happy to get credits for getting rid of him (the PCs  bought Ke'Vin's contract from Jabba).  Ke'Vin was happy to have the PCs as his new employers, he got some new nifty gear and his own room (on a cec consular class cruiser).  Ke'Vin, came with an added bonus... a weapon of mass distraction.... Gamorean opera, which when the PCs' ship was boarded by pirates the PCs took one of their community and piped Gamorean opera through it, forcing them too either take 2 black dice (from being distracted) or shutting down their comms (the pirates shut down their comms).

Share this post


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

Basically, when I realized I was using "playing my character" as an excuse, I had a big rethink on the matter. This is also why I have a low tolerance level for people that behave as jerks and then use "playing my character" as a shield. You can be a civil and helpful player, while still playing the asshat of the year.

This is a very good example of the adage "players are not their characters."

Immersion and amateur theater are important but it's tertiary to bringing fun to the table and moving the game forward. 

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...