Are your players into your campaign? - Page 4

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  1. #31
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    Jul 2003
    Meridian, ID, USA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nighthawk
    Momentary "Hijack"
    Hello Genshou. I also live in the area. The Treasure Valley area has a fair amount of gamers, but for some reason they do not interact much. It's more like they are a multitude of isolated groups. I have always had a difficult time finding new groups to be a part of. Fortunately, persistence has paid off for me more often than not. After all this time, though, I have yet to find a consistent method to find other playing groups.
    As for stores with RPG products, the selection is narrower than it used to be, mainly for economic reasons, AFAICT. There is a bookstore in downtown Boise called Book & Games (located at 9th & Main) that I recently discovered. I hope it is able to be successful, because it is even open on Sundays, which is unsusual for small downtown businesses. It has a section on RPG products, similar to Dark Horse Games, which is still around (at 23rd & Main). Hobbytown USA in Boise at Cole & Ustick is also available, but they have less of an emphasis on RPG products. Hastings at Cole & Fairview in Boise is something to look at as well, if there is the desire to. All are hit or miss, because product stocking is less than it was in the past (special orders are more common these days). Incidentally, Meridian has a small comics shop which I visit infrequently. Weird but true.
    End Momentary "Hijack"
    [HIJACK]Hey! You mean there are actually D&D players here! You should come pick me up sometime for one of your games! I haven't had enough experience as a player, as all my friends always wanted me to DM a short adventure or something one afternoon! I'd be happy to join in a campaign. I'm like the perfect player people describe. I can play something more in between as I enjoy both min/maxing and character development. Or sometimes min/maxing THROUGH character development, if I feel like it.

    Just send me an e-mail about it. As in above post by me: Lan@ theddkdotcom[/HIJACK]

    As for the main point of this thread, I have found that this has been basically true for all the years that I have been gaming. People have different expectations and playing styles, and most game so as a form of enjoyable escapism. Part of this includes not having to put too much effort into personal gaming. I can understand and accept this, because we are talking about a social/leisure activity made by chioce. Note that this belief is based on my personal gaming experiences and interacting with others, and not that this is indded true for nearly everyone. I happen to think it's the most popular truism, so to speak, but I could be wrong.
    The following is a comment directed at no one in particular, and is based on my own experiences again. I would be very careful at trying to have players act in certain ways about specific things that matter to you as a gm. This is mainly because not every player fits one mold, which, IMO, is a good thing. If one is interested in having players share the same, or nearly so, interest in what you favor, then an effort needs to made to find the players, not alter or change the current ones for one's purpose alone. I know the gm typically puts in a good deal of time and effort into a campaign, but it is easy to lose perspective on these sorts of things because of that.
    I learned the above through experience as a player and a gm, which was both good and bad. What I have learned is that either one accepts what the playing group is like, or one discusses it with them to find out what can be done about any such issues, if possible. A key here is discussing it without it becoming a personal and/or scorecard conversation. If the issue is important enough, perhaps a change of some type is a possibility to explore. If not, it's one of those things that simply are always there.
    Hmm... D&D is definitely just a hobby. But for me, it's the only hobby I have left. Plus I like it a lot as I've been role-playing since the day the doctor slapped me bum. I happen to enjoy the more serious role-playing; it's how I get leisure time. But I'm often in groups where players just want to kill stuff. The DM's work does largely go unnoticed, but that's just part of the game I guess.

    As for me and my games, I expect the players to be more than merely min/maxers. I expect them to be min/maxers with two pages of pre-written character bio
    'Genshou is the ruler of Genshouland and the creator of one thousand and one house rules; some of them good, some of them mediocre. Genshou likes cheese and root beer (but never together). Genshou is a young man who is always ridiculously cheerful. He has been described as a madman, a potato, and "cuddly".'


  • #32
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    Philip's Avatar

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    Mar 2003
    Leiden, Holland

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    Quote Originally Posted by ForceUser
    Do your players take notes? Do they remember campaign events that happened two, six, twelve months ago? Do they remember NPCs relevant to their backgrounds? ?
    Generally not. I have been DM'ing the same campaign for the same group for 7 years now. I insist on 100% attendance, because it is a story based campaign, and attending every session is essential.

    I throw a multitude of storyline related items at my players, clues, prophecy's, interesting tales, NPCS, whatever. I even write up a short history of every magic item they find. The player's never realize most of this, they just coast along and enjoy the ride. But occasionally the coin drops, so to speak, and they suddenly realize something, or notice the consequences of some of their actions years of real time later. Sometimes much to their suprise.

    And sometimes a player surprises me. A player once remembered an obscure password ('Marashme') I had given them more than 4 years ago (real time). While I write extensive logs, I never included the password, and then, four years of game time later the same NPC who had given the phrase the first time asked for it. The NPC (and myself) counted on the players not remembering it, but one of the players did! I was utterly amazed to say the least!

    Recently one of the players developed a renewed interest in a prophecy I had given them a years earlier. An he actually managed to partially decipher it. It has been a slow going, but its beginning to dawn on the player's that many more events have been interconnected than they had ever realized.

    My advice would be, don't push your players into a particular style of play. Just keep dangling your precious carrots in front of them. Eventually they will bite, although maybe not as you expected (and certainly not as much).

    Of every five engaging storylines I dangle in front of my players, they pick up on one.

  • #33
    As many gaming groups do, we have a mix of those who chronicle everything, to those who enjoy playing but refuse to remember anything past last session, to those who can't tell you what the group was doing so much as what the group was fighting:

    "Yeah, that was that fight with the Displacer Beast - remember we were in the Zhentil Keep ruins, and the Devourer came along, and we ran, and then we fought the giant rats, and then the Beholder, and then next game we ran from the Lich..."

    Then, I have one player who I could depend upon to tell me what the innkeep charged them for their stay in Selgaunt 5 months ago, and what the going rate for potions of cure light were at the time.

    Different frames of mind and different means of investment. In my last survey I took a couple months ago (I highly recommend this, by the way) They were generally happy with their characters and the campaign - it was totally out of game issues that bothered them the most! (Due to problems with player schedules and energencies, and lots of pre-game chatter, we had a long stretch of weeks where we took at least two hours to get started. However, I had never really noticed. Until two people brought it up in the survey, and I addressed the group about it, I had never even realized the problem existed!) We addressed our problems, and things got even better!

  • #34
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    Speaking as one of ForceUser's principal players, I will respond.

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceUser
    Do your players take notes? Do they remember campaign events that happened two, six, twelve months ago? Do they remember NPCs relevant to their backgrounds? Do they have backgrounds, or do they just throw a bunch of stats together and slap a name on it? Do they remember the name of the NPC they're working for? Do they remember why they are on a particular adventure, or why it's a bad idea to throw your weight around with the soldiers of the local lord? Do they establish binding ties with NPCs? Do they run with your adventure hooks, or do you have to beat your players over the head with them? Do they pick up on clues you drop regarding campaign events, or do you sigh in disappointment when your players overlook the clues?
    I think this became worse in your campaign when we started to play it on Monday nights. Short sessions played twice a month doesn't go a long way to make lasting impressions. Speaking for my wizard, as he was pre-gened, it is a little bit harder to associate myself with a background I didn't experience first hand or had real time to explore in game. This is exactly why I am an advocate for slowing down the game sessions and letting players role-play personal character stuff for longer durations to give more meaning to the character's outlook.

    I knew it was a bad idea to throw my weight around. Then again, Eremund (my wizard) had had enough and was committed to not being given the short end of the stick yet again. If he would have died, so be it.

    We've jump started games a lot recently (Viet game, d20 Modern (which was an odd hook into the Viet game), and now this one) and I think some of the players are ready to have some higher level characters in one of your games, ForceUser.

    It can take time for a player to grow attachement to a character. Realistically, we've played around seven short sessions where a lot of our valuable time is attributed to character attrition (one guy is on his third character...not to suggest this is ForceUser's fault as the player has to learn some caution...and two others have switched of them twice) that makes us introduce new characters and get them up to speed. Two steps forward, one step back. I'm not a fan of allowing players to switch characters whenever they get a fancy for a new flavor-of-the-month. I think we have to introduce a new character in our next session as a matter of fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceUser
    If your answer to any of the above is negative, your players might not be as into your campaign as you'd like them to be. I have run into frustration over the past year with players who just seem to be floating along, unengaged with the story and looking for the next fight/magic item/phat loot. It's a subtle thing too: they roleplay their characters well and have fun, but have no sense of continuity or desire to integrate into the campaign setting, preferring to remain aloof outsiders with no loyalties and all options open. They don't take sides in adventure unless forced to by circumstance or enticed by reward. They monitor their character wealth closely and let me know when they are under wealth for their level according to the DMG.
    I agree, the players are not as into the campaign as much as you'd like...or as much as I would like either. Also, I have this same problem when I'm DMing this same group (swapping you with me, of course).

    Regarding integrating into the setting, it just hasn't been inviting (to me) thus far is all. That is a personal hang-up I will shoulder (and try to get through). We don't tend to take sides because we haven't identified the personality of the group. We have no major goals and direction so we just kind of move our way through whatever presents itself. Nothing has really gripped us so far.

    As far as I know the only mention of character wealth is when you ask. You just don't like what you hear in response. =P At this point, we expect to be poor (I won't say it...).

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceUser
    In short, they are playing the game but not experiencing the campaign. For me this is frustrating, but I grin and bear it. They are, after all, having fun. It would be more fun for me if the players got into the setting more, though. If they pieced together Event A with Event B to realize that, with a little creativity, they can set up Event C how they wish, especially if they get the support of various helpful NPCs.
    Agree 100% here. I think a level of depression has set into the group at this point, however. Until we find our way out of our funk I wouldn't expect any major turn arounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceUser
    Are you, as a DM, frustrated by your players' detachment from the setting and story you are trying to put forth?
    All the time...all the time. One thing I will require from my next campaign is for each respective player to write a strong background (working with me) to integrate themselves into the setting. Those who don't want to put forth that effort will not be playing.

    It only surprised me up until around 1977, ... I had thought we were going to have a considerable audience of gamers and science fiction and fantasy fans. I thought easily with those we'd have 50,000 or more [buyers], but when people began to write me [with questions] about what fantasy books to read, and I saw the wide range of both younger and older people who were attracted to the game, I understood that it was reaching a deeper chord, something deep within us. E. Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 March 4, 2008)

  • #35
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    Boise, ID

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    Quote Originally Posted by genshou
    I moved to Meridian, Idaho, which is 10 miles away from Boise city limits.
    *Waves from Boise, ID*

    Well Meridian has very little in the way of shopping, since the community relies on the Boise Towne Square Mall shopping complex for clothes, books and whatnot.

    In Boise the best place to meet other gamers is either at BSUs gaming club: Pair-a-dice, or better yet, head to downtown Boise and visit the Dark Horse (ADDRESS) which is Boises best gaming store. The Dark Horse has slaughtered the other competition over the years. The owner Wolfgang Tripp is friendly and knows just about every gamer in the Treasure Valley. I'm sure he could point you at a couple of tables in Meridian for you.

    If you can't make it all the way to downtown Boise, head over to Borders, right next to Barnes and Nobles. The staff there has filled their gaming section with a pretty good supply of material. The Hastings on the corner of Fairview and Cole has a strong gaming community and book stock too. Look around for fliers and I'm sure you'll see some game looking for players.

    If you're into wargamming Hobby Town in the shopping center at the corner of Cole and Ustick is another good place to check out. You'll be able to hook up with a pen and paper table there too if you ask around.

    Welcome to Idaho, there are gamers here!
    Benjamin Lyons

  • #36
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    You reading this stuff Nylarlathotep?

    I had this problem all the time when I used to DM and the source I found isn't always that the players aren't interested but that they're looking for something else in the game, or don't have a common frame of reference with the DM. Back in my home town when we used to play, the group had common experience in where we lived, what we did etc. As a result the DM could more effectively paint a picture of the world he was DMing, and the players could follow along better - They more easily slipped into the world that the DM was placing about them and thus could intereact with it. Suspend their disbelief easier I guess.

    With our current gaming group, a home made world was almost impossible as the players were each taking something different from the gaming world. Because each were essentially playing in a different world there was frequent conflict between characters, and a large missing out of most plot hooks or major events in the world. Its tough and fustrating when the players can't see the forest of the game world for the trees, but I agree with whoever said above that it has to be a cooperative effort on part of the DM and players to make the game world believable.

    One thing that I find that helps is the use of a common reference ie. a premade campaign world. We currently play a SR campaign. With all players having the common refernce point for character behavior, background story, and game world culture it is that much easier to immerse oneself within it.
    Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket!?

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