How Do You Tell a Group: "Maybe This Isn't for Us?"

mythago

Adventurer
My group wanted to play a mystery/story-based game with a different flavor of the usual D&D campaign we've been playing for the past two years. We started a big mystery/political intrigue campaign using a fairly complex system ("The Enemy Within" using WFRP 4e).

This is where I would start to ask questions. When they say they wanted to play a mystery/story-based game, exactly what were they envisioning? It sounds like they were anticipating a sort of F20 Scooby-Doo - where there was an initial plot to unravel and then they went straight to confronting the obvious bad guy, where you had something more like of an extended puzzle going.

Have you checked resources like Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering? I've found this to be very helpful in understanding why players behave in frustrating ways, even when it's a scenario they say they want.
 

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Retreater

Legend
This is where I would start to ask questions. When they say they wanted to play a mystery/story-based game, exactly what were they envisioning? It sounds like they were anticipating a sort of F20 Scooby-Doo - where there was an initial plot to unravel and then they went straight to confronting the obvious bad guy, where you had something more like of an extended puzzle going
I feel like I tried to impress upon them the scope of the adventure, but maybe it's even more than they could've anticipated? Or maybe I'm bad at running it? Or maybe it's the necessary format of our sessions (online, short sessions, late at night)?

Have you checked resources like Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering? I've found this to be very helpful in understanding why players behave in frustrating ways, even when it's a scenario they say they want.
I haven't read it recently, honestly. I do think I have a handle on their player types. I don't think anyone came into the campaign with bad faith. If anything, I think they liked the sound of the campaign but found it a chore in practice. And I think they're trying to spare my feelings.
 

mythago

Adventurer
I feel like I tried to impress upon them the scope of the adventure, but maybe it's even more than they could've anticipated? Or maybe I'm bad at running it? Or maybe it's the necessary format of our sessions (online, short sessions, late at night)?


I haven't read it recently, honestly. I do think I have a handle on their player types. I don't think anyone came into the campaign with bad faith. If anything, I think they liked the sound of the campaign but found it a chore in practice. And I think they're trying to spare my feelings.

I don't think you're bad at running it or that they came into the situation in bad faith - it is most likely a mismatch between what they thought they wanted and how it played out. They're trying to be nice and push through it, but that's not fun for anybody.

This is definitely the kind of thing that requires a debrief, not in an accusatory way of course, but in a "let's air this out and fix it".
 

I feel like I tried to impress upon them the scope of the adventure, but maybe it's even more than they could've anticipated? Or maybe I'm bad at running it? Or maybe it's the necessary format of our sessions (online, short sessions, late at night)?

Well, as I've noted, I don't think I could engage with sessions that short, but that could just be me.

But its always possible you tried to convey how it would be as best you could, and they just heard something different. This is a thing that is an ongoing theme with dealing with players.

I haven't read it recently, honestly. I do think I have a handle on their player types. I don't think anyone came into the campaign with bad faith. If anything, I think they liked the sound of the campaign but found it a chore in practice. And I think they're trying to spare my feelings.

Sounds entirely credible.
 

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