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Player Engagement Conundrum

   
Great idea, I like it and Iv'e done it before where every character had at least one other PC that they knew prior to the game beginning. I still think there is a period where you are dipping your toes in the water of "Who is this character and what is his/her personality?", but having a built in character connection certainly helps. Discord is a great idea too, but I have found that many Weavers are hesitant to embrace discord. A lot of times it's simply a lack of understanding what Discord actually is. I love Discord, but some of us older players are resistant to it for some reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRoot View Post
"Who is this character and what is his/her personality?"
I am the worst for this. I always have to play to find out who the character is. And I always change my character sheet after the first session once I know more about her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butchern View Post
I am the worst for this. I always have to play to find out who the character is. And I always change my character sheet after the first session once I know more about her.
Indeed, i cringe each time the GM asks for a personality. Unless I've used the character before it's cheap lies.

I find qualities such as goals and outlooks to be much more useful than "personality." That always seems like such a vague notion, whereas goals are concrete things that the character can push towards and a character's outlook gives a GM a good idea on how much certain PCs will clash or meld.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raveled View Post
I find qualities such as goals and outlooks to be much more useful than "personality." That always seems like such a vague notion, whereas goals are concrete things that the character can push towards and a character's outlook gives a GM a good idea on how much certain PCs will clash or meld.
I'm going to have to steal this idea. I've always struggled with the personality section of characters, as I have a hard time putting it into words.

I think a common issue with all RPG's is how to bring the party cohesively together in such a way that everyone wants travel with each other. So in the set up as presented, I think it is logical to spend some time talking with the other arrivals and to get a feel for the character.

But equally there is no reason you cannot bring the players together if that's what you as GM think is best. Something like, The Green Devil glances down at the person speaking to him, looking around square agitated as if he was expecting more. After a moment he apologises to the person who was clever enough to follow his instructions, "Sorry, i'll be just a moment." He then snaps his fingers and four other adventurers suddenly appeared next to first one to approach him. "Excellent, now that everyone is here we can begin."

In the game I am in that has lasted the longest, we were given some time to meet and greet and when the GM decided that enough time had passed, the sky ruptured and part of our life essence was sucked away, forcing us all to band together with a singular purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kreytari View Post
I think a common issue with all RPG's is how to bring the party cohesively together in such a way that everyone wants travel with each other.
Apparently. And it was the player's responsibility in this, not the GMs, I was wondering about.
I think its safe to say that most people on this board spend more time as players than as GMs and they do so, presumably, because they want to play.

Yet, most of the responses here, don't address the challenge I posed in the beginning, but instead suggest solutions that largely revolve around things the GM can do to engage the players. Putting the onus on the GM.

For the most part, a response to the original question, simply put as 'why don't the players engage the game they've elected to play?', remains unanswered.

This thread has gotten away from me. Someone here suggested I might be looking for an answer that doesn't exist or for one specific answer where there are many. Let me make it abundantly clear that I completely understand and accept that there may be as many answers to this question as there are players on this board. But my point is simply to bring to attention how counter intuitive and productive it seems to me to join a game and expect the GM to cater to you before you've made any effort to cater to them by engaging whatever set up they have made, instead of some set up you'd have preferred.

Anyway, I realize in reading this response that I might sound frustrated and that is not the case. I simply find it baffling and was curious to hear what some of the logic might be behind this type of activity and I believe that some of these responses have given me some insight.

My point in this thread aside, where the suggestions and ideas for the GMs are concerned, I think there are plenty of great ones on here and I would not wish to belittle them. So by all means, let the suggestions keep flowing!

Well, I think it is hard to comment without seeing the game ad in full. The answer I expect is potentially just that the players do think they are playing the game they joined. That either they have misinterpreted it, or placed expectations from other games onto it. For example, every game where I have started with strangers has had an introduction phase. Every game I have started where we were an already made adventuring group we jumped straight into the action.

The reason why I suggest the GM responds is so that the GMs expectations is clear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorithar View Post
Apparently. And it was the player's responsibility in this, not the GMs, I was wondering about.
Um... No it is not. Not out of context like this.


But your opening post had the proper context. Reposted here;
contextSetup (This is a conceptual scenario): A GM has created a new game/adventure. This is not a sandbox game. They select their 5 players and post the opening post: "You have all been summoned to a town square in the metropolis of Sigil by flying fiery gerbils. with acidic smelling breath, carrying personal missives to each of you, delivered by a screeching magic mouth cast on each gerbil.
You are to meet a devil in a green cap in the town square. You each arrive in the town square around noon and spot a devil in a green cap."


Obviously this tells us a great deal;

GM posted game Add. Hopefully fulfilling his responsibility of giving players a reason to play and a reason(s) to party up.

Players come with characters

Five are chosen. Who, supposedly, want to play the GMs game. These five are likely a collection of introverts and extroverts. Being a diverse group they could be multiple player types each, they possibly cover them all with at least one person.


Then;
contextThe next thing to happen is that the GM gets four lengthy response posts (the first in the game) describing each character, how they arrived in the town square and how they're doing all sorts of great or sneaky stuff, some of them even speaking to each other, but none of which includes speaking to or engaging the devil in a green cap, with one player approaching the devil to engage.

That one player and the GM will now wait anywhere from a day to several weeks RLT until all five players deign to speak to the devil and the adventure can get under way.


Here is now your Conundrum;


A near complete failure on the playe's part to engage with the story. Four of five don't seem to care about the devil at all. Yes, most would put the GM at fault; you have heard ideas how to avoid this.

Even i, in my last post, admited to not immediately engaging the devil. You could argue i engaged with the story;
my postTo go back to the devil (or elf, whatever) example i too would not approach. But i also wouldn't interact with the scenery unless it was compelling enough. I would watch and study the quest giver (whether as a skittish deer or predatory wolf) before approaching. I don't do my characters like that often as it slows things down which brings me to;




You are GM; it's your boat, it's all your fault.
(I hate it but I've learned that is how the Weave works)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorithar View Post
For the most part, a response to the original question, simply put as 'why don't the players engage the game they've elected to play?', remains unanswered.
I'm sure it is different for every player. Here are just a few of the reasons I've encountered in PbP for non-engagement.

-They can't keep up. They liked your game and they liked character creation and the short sprint that is applying to a game. They liked the idea of PbP, but writing and playing in PbP takes real effort. Writing is not easy for most people. PbP also takes discipline and good time management over time. All those things are all in short supply on gaming websites. You'll identify these people easily enough. They tend to make posts well below the posting schedule and when they do posts their posts don't actually do anything. They follow the typical Myth-Weavers do-nothing formula: two paragraphs of silent, actionless introspection and one short paragraph of dead-end dialogue.

-They are bored already. They liked your game and they liked character creation and the thrill of the application process, but the actual work of playing a game was not as exciting on the screen as it was in their heads. You'll identify these people by noticing that though they aren't posting in your game, they are applying to other games already. If they are nice people, they will lie to you when you ask them if they are bored with your game. But if they give you some version of "It's not you; it's me," it's you.

-They are disappointed. The game didn't start the way they wanted, or it started in a way they actively didn't like. Or the other players/characters aren't interesting to them. Or once they see your GM style in action, they realize this game isn't for them. These are harder to identify clearly, but it is usually best to just ask them why they aren't posting and invite them to leave the game if they want.

-They are confused. Maybe they just don't know the GM and the other players/characters well enough to know how to engage. Maybe they are still trying to figure out their own characters. Also, many players have been programmed to think that "The world belongs to the GM; you just play in it." These people tend to wait until they are told what to do by the GM. You may think you have been clear in your expectations, but you might also be wrong about that. Clarify, clarify, clarify, and if they start posting again, they were confused.







 

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