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Being a Good Audience

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think it's a personal thing, some players still see the game as competitive, and they may compete for spotlight.
You say this like it's a bad thing.

As a DM I'd far rather see them actively competing for the spotlight than just passively sitting there waiting for it to (maybe) find them; because if they compete the chances are they'll end up sharing it with each other far more of the time than otherwise. And shared spotlight is almost always better than individual spotlight, all other things being equal.

Yeah and why does such player get bored?
For a whole myriad of possible reasons of which this...
one player gets bored by someone else's spotlight mostly because he is someone who wants the spotlight on himself all the time.
...is but one.

Other reasons could be:

--- the fiction being played out in that scene simply isn't engaging to that player, and that player would rather move on to something else regardless who ends up in the spotlight next (maybe even the same person!)
--- the player - be it in or out of character - thinks the party's current course of action is a dumb idea, and-or that an idea put forward by someone else (could be the bored player, could be a third party or even the DM) has a much better chance of success (this one covers the fight-v-talk scenario in the OP)
--- the player might be finding the humour-seriousness level off-kilter e.g. the spotlight's on someone playing pranks and the player wants to get on with the serious storytelling; or the reverse.

They're still our friends though, so we just learned that when they are around we have to accept that if we play a game with them we should not even bother playing seriously that night.
These sound like my sort of players!

I've played in games with people like these; often my evening would be largely spent doing nothing except roar with laughter at the ridiculous things they'd do and the even-more-ridiculous arguments they'd get into.

Best entertainment anywhere! :)
 

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Fauchard1520

Explorer
--- the fiction being played out in that scene simply isn't engaging to that player, and that player would rather move on to something else regardless who ends up in the spotlight next (maybe even the same person!)
That's one that I struggle with personally. Especially if the group finds itself in the midst of a sessions-long arc that my guy doesn't have stakes in.... Pontificating at length can really draw the old "GET ON WITH IT" out of me.

Weirdly though, I think that one is more on the GM than the player. If there's a storyline that focuses on one PC as the primary, you've got to give some business to the rest of the table to help keep them relevant.

Being a good audience is one. Being expected to serve as an audience for hours on end is not the path to a fun interactive experience.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
That's one that I struggle with personally. Especially if the group finds itself in the midst of a sessions-long arc that my guy doesn't have stakes in.... Pontificating at length can really draw the old "GET ON WITH IT" out of me.

Weirdly though, I think that one is more on the GM than the player. If there's a storyline that focuses on one PC as the primary, you've got to give some business to the rest of the table to help keep them relevant.
Or get them to buy in to the primary plot.

For example, in BTVS, the whole game centers around whomever is the slayer... so group consensus on who plays the slayer, and how the slayer and each other character are related, is important.

Everyone having buy in to the setting and the arch of the plot is useful.

It only takes 1 bad player to scare off some others. (I just had to inform a buddy that he's not invited to the saturday game, the wed group is tossing him, and I know he's not willing to take the hour to do CGen for the sun group, and isn't a good fit for the setting.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
You say this like it's a bad thing.
In a lot of cases, it is. I really don't have patience for competing prima donnas. If there's anyone in the group who isn't the type to push other people out of the way to grab the spotlight, they get drowned out. We are all playing with the same toy, so we need to share.

As a DM I'd far rather see them actively competing for the spotlight than just passively sitting there waiting for it to (maybe) find them;
There's a third option, of people actively cooperating to lift each other into the spotlight.
 

I agree with the clapping and high fives. Also, the memes, I've recently learned, is definitely participation. Not sure if I enjoy staring at a six-second clip of a falling baby for twenty minutes (kind of an immersion killer), but it is definitely participation. And to echo someone else in this thread, the speed of the game is probably related as an inverted bell curve directly tied to the participation. As far as phones, they are a scourge. Fortunately, our group doesn't really use them except to cheat and tell another player to do something or formulate a plan. Outside of that, we don't use them.

I saw someone mention before phones there was making out, books, magazines, etc. While true, it's all the same, it is not the same by degree. And, on a personal note, I am glad my friends and I cared enough to participate and not always be distracted. Because as much as participation is linked to the speed of the game, it is also directly linked (and maybe more so) to caring about the people around you.

And caring about the people around you, whether encouraging them or adding punch lines or feigning how bothersome their character is, is directly tied to the enjoyment of the game. You can like something. Make it a habit. Then just do it - because it's a habit, not for the enjoyment any more. Some people run everyday - and they hate it. But it has become habit. When they were young - they may have loved it. The same is true for D&D. I have sat at tables where everyone is on their phone, or watching tv, or grading homework. It's a completely different game.

I do think that's one of the reasons viewership for D&D tabletop shows has been so high - all players participate and are in the moment. Yet, even with those shining examples, the lure of distraction is strong and society at large demonstrates otherwise; monkey see, monkey do I guess.

As a side note, one alternative to "train" players for skill checks is to let the barbarian make the arcana check, but if they fail, it imposes disadvantage on the wizard because it leads them down the wrong trail. Same can be true for nature, tracking, history, religion, etc...
 

uzirath

Adventurer
For example, in BTVS, the whole game centers around whomever is the slayer... so group consensus on who plays the slayer, and how the slayer and each other character are related, is important.
Buffy is a great example. I've also played in plenty of GURPS and D&D games where this sort of thing happened. In one game, a PC was a minor lord and the rest of us were escorting her on a diplomatic mission. In another, a PC was the commander of a spec ops team comprised of the rest of the PCs. If people's egos don't get in the way, this sort of structure provides a solid foundation because you're never left wondering why this group hangs together. I've been surprised at how fun it can be to roleplay a follower or employee. If I'm the bodyguard of another PC, then I know exactly what I'm supposed to do and can dive into the role.
 

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