GM Workshop

A community-created and maintained place for Game Masters of all systems to bounce ideas around. It's a place for inspiration and sharing tips.


Players that demand too much, specifically about story

   
Players that demand too much, specifically about story

Well, it's been getting on my nerves that one of my players has been demanding a LOT, such as "I want more storyline", and "experience for puzzles and more things". The thing is I've been trying to get across to him that he needs to play THROUGH some more sessions so that I can actually get to the storyline. And if he doesn't DO a puzzle he isn't gonna be rewarded bonus exp for picking an apple out of a tree (which he hasn't done either). He's the only player that HAS enough free time to play often enough so I have to deal with his complaining about story and stuff and I'm just about tempted to pull out a completely and random story from nowhere. The main thing is ... SINCE I might as well just find a way to get him to be quiet about the story. How can I really jump a player right into a story? Like what could I do for a story, normally any story (and by story I mean MAIN story) I would involve a little bit of time to get the players adjusted to the world and to let them learn things they need to know. Rather than THROW them into a barrel, rolling them down a hill and telling them to get up and go NOW.

So how do I ... "THROW them into a barrel, roll them down a hill and tell them to get up and go NOW" without making the player be confused or have difficulty.

Breadcrumbs. I sympathize with you, having created a number of vast and intriguing storylines for games only to have maddening instances where the players aren't biting. Here are a handful of ideas:

1) Have you set the framework for the story in your mind? Because if you haven't, this may be a good time to evaluate where you want the game to go and where the players want the game to go. If you can't get those two to align, the whole game will be a frustrating experience for all of you.

2) If you've got the story ready, it's time to think about hooks. You really need to personalize it for your crew, but in general they've got to have something that helps them discover the main story. Rarely can you expect players to be self-motivated enough to try and catch the plot on their own; the only reason that works in novels is because the authors are responsible for both characters and plot, and would be insane to antagonize themselves by creating a rift between the two. An example from a game I'm currently running: the PCs are a group of bored teenagers amusing themselves by exploring a local abandoned mine. They're going to stumble across something that hints at a much larger world beyond their village, and when they emerge from the mine, they'll witness a hostile army conscripting people from the town. It would be unlikely that all five of them would agree to up and leave town before, but now they have reasons to do so.

3) If you want something more subtle than the world-turned-upside-down approach, consider small quests that gradually expose the characters to the plot. Video games are famous for this approach, but it will work for gaming groups also. This is also a good way to get them to know (and hate) the BBEG and his minions, particularly if their success on the side quests is directly hurt by the actions of the enemy.

One final thought: left to their own choices, the players will rarely end up wandering in the direction you've planned the game. It takes careful planning and continuous prodding to keep them going towards your goal. Above all, your pushing needs to flow naturally such that the characters (and players) are excited about exploring the opportunity; avoid forcing them to do something IC that wouldn't make sense given the information they (not you) know, because that's the essence of "railroading" that most gamers gripe about The key is making it seem like they have choices while making the one you want them to pursue the most interesting and logical option.

Your main problem seems to be that you have a group of players at one speed, and one other player at another (faster) speed? I'd curse him. Literally. Give him a sidestory that can happen to him while the rest of the regular campaign is continuing. Make it effect what's going on, but make it unique to him - something only he can experience, but something that he has to figure out.

I don't really know what your setting/campaign is, so I can't really offer more pointed suggestions suitable to your campaign. For me, if I'm looking to set a trap, I will actually put out a variety of hooks - is there something shiny on the ground? Is there some obscure writing in a book that seems vaguely familiar? A lot of ways to hook them in - and then come up with something that they can struggle with or RP with independently of the group, but on a parallel line. Something that doesn't require them to leave the group, just to do this between when others can post.

Alternately you can tell them to knock it off and kill the character.

Is this table top or online PbP? Always set clear expectations. The first thing you need to do as a GM is to make it clear what type of game you are offering to the players in order to avoid this sort of dispute. If they are demanding bucket loads of story where you plainly told them you were running an old school dungeon crawl then you are very right to take issue with them for wasting your time.

If this is more of an ongoing pickup game between friends with unclear aims then you’ll need to be flexible to meet player desires. It’s the nature of the job. That means more improvisational play and less pre planning as you are the man responsible for pointing them toward the fun.

A good way to get people focused into play early is to start your game session / act / chapter at a point of conflict or with a decision that has consequences right then rather than in a bar or letting them wander around to get “comfortable.” This forces them to define their character right now… It’s putting them in the barrel, already down the hill, with cause to run.

Thanks for the help . Mainly him being a wizard I know theirs plenty of ways to attach him to things (such as in this campaign). Where a small rebellion of mages are trying to over through the main power in the land. Of course he will have the right to choose to join them or NOT join them, otherwise because of the recent events he'll have some difficulty traveling around due to the impact the rebellion will have on the people who are not mages. Once he realizes that there's almost no where else to turn to for support(of anything really) he will most likely join the rebellion. I also have some major plans for plot twists such as betrayal ,full scale war. And I have another plot twist (will be probably suspected and unsuspected) that I'm kind of working out the quirks(somethings have to make sense ) cause I know there is NO WAY he could possibly get to that point that fast.

For the other questions(I think there was REALLY only one)
Q:Table top or online PbP?
A:Table top - I haven't tried online PbP for GMing

Sorry if this got a little bit (just realized that's like epic level improvised weapon ... ANYWAYS) but I was just hoping to give some more info if you needed and thank you

I realize I'm coming way, way late to the discussion, but I figured I might as well throw in my two cents anyway.

From what I got what you're trying to do is introduce people to the world before getting into any real intrigue or high-level plot points. This approach makes a good deal of sense, but something I've found useful is the tactic of mixing both. I don't have that much info on your specific setting to know whether this is feasible or not, but a starting adventure could be the players being hired (possibly covertly) by a semi-major group or individual within the game to help, unknowingly, in a major power-play. In that way the players get into the action right away while also giving them a feel for what your game is all about. Not to mention the interesting role playing implications of that type of manipulation. How will they react when they learn that they were essentially used to do the dirty work of a major player in your world?

If it's a bit less intrigue and more epic, again, getting them started on the plot without necessarily realizing it can do wonders to keep things moving. Introduce a supporting NPC, not a fellow adventurer but someone cool that the players enjoy interacting with, and then have the big Bad of your game stomp them to bits. This (if you've done it right) gives the players significant investment with fighting their enemy, and causes them to seek out information on him/her/it which helps catch them up on the plot.





Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Myth-Weavers Status       Advertise with us