Pace and Progress in your game.

TheSword

Legend
So I signed on to be a player in an online game. I only get to be a PC once a month compared to the many sessions I run so it was a good opportunity to get a different perspective on the game. They’re a nice bunch of people, quite entertaining and funny. The DM is quite theatrical, does some great voice work, very descriptive and is running his own homebrew adventure. Advancement is sped up a bit so our characters are feeling more competent.

However, nothing of significance has happened. We’ve several sessions in - about 12 hours total and I don’t really know anything more about the world or the stuff that’s happening in it than was set up in the first 30 minutes. All the combats seem to be random encounters - there’s know explanation for them beyond the fact that they happened. We get to decide what our characters do but that too is pretty random. In short - while my character is improving I don’t feel like he’s getting anywhere or doing anything of substance. It probably doesn’t help that there are 8 players in the group. In short, it doesn’t feel like anything is happening. I’m enjoying the game, but it is totally alien to the AP/campaign style gaming I normally run and play in.

Is this normal? Do your homebrew campaigns end up being random encounter and random combat centered? If they aren’t, what do you do to create pace and momentum in your game so your players feel like they are getting shiz done.
 

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I have experienced this, though not with D&D, but with DSA/The Dark Eye - we played 3 hours and by the end of the session, we had successfully reached the marketplace...
I have played games where random encounters played a larger role (mostly in OSR and OSR-adjacent space), and there was no obvious pre-planned plot, but still it was always pretty clear what we were heading out for next (e.g. looking for a particular ruin we want to investigate, follow-up on problems with a member of a particular faction, etc.). We did sometimes revise our plan according to events on the way, but still we didn't just walk/(hex)crawl around randomly. And I tend to say at least that level of goals is a must.
In your case, I would probably have an OOC conversation about what kind of game the group wants to play - if it's intended to be more player-driven, then the next step would be in-group conversations about what goals to pursue; if it's intended to be the classical plot/pre-planned story game, then I think it would be fair to ask the GM to provide a bit more guidance and/or increase the pace.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
...If they aren’t, what do you do to create pace and momentum in your game so your players feel like they are getting shiz done.

Well, I generally find/create a goal the players will choose to pursue, and then allow them to make progress toward that goal. Then, even if the encounters are random, they are at least "challenges on the way to the goal".

The real question for your situation is what did the GM tell you all the game was going to be about?
 

GrimCo

Adventurer
This looks like 3 part problem.

First part - sandbox style game with players who don't have clear ideas about their characters goals

Second part- too many players, which builds on problem no 1

Third problem - fairly inexperienced DM who doesn't do good job of giving juicy plot hooks for players to bite into

And with that, you get aimless group wandering like headless chicken.

Big groups and sandboxes don't mesh well. You need strong DM to keep that many players focused and on track, preferably with more linear adventure.
 

TheSword

Legend
So the premise of this particular campaign is that we are signed on as mercs to help a lord reclaim his lands. So the goal is pretty clear and we have agreed to that. The campaign so far (4 sessions) is a travelling montage filled with random combats every stop / in between every stop.

This might just be the problem with journey-style adventures. It isn’t a sandbox - where we are free to play where we like.

How do people like to add pace into their campaigns?
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
However, nothing of significance has happened. We’ve several sessions in - about 12 hours total and I don’t really know anything more about the world or the stuff that’s happening in it than was set up in the first 30 minutes. . . Is this normal?
It's called Story Now gaming. Perfectly normal. (/mild snark)

Do your homebrew campaigns end up being random encounter and random combat centered? If they aren’t, what do you do to create pace and momentum in your game so your players feel like they are getting shiz done.
My PCs each have a little compass on their character sheets and in my GM notes: a character goal. It doesn't have to be huge, but it gives them something to focus on when needed. Also, I set a goal for each adventure - that's my compass. Like in land navigation, though, you don't always get there. Anyway, I generally let my random encounters arise from game play, and my "random encounters" are actually planned encounters that pop up when I need them to. . .

But it sounds like OP's GM needs to hear it from a PC: "hey, what are we supposed to be doing?"
 


TheSword

Legend
It’s interesting how pace can come about when PCs feel like they have achieved something.

  • Cleared a level of a dungeon.
  • Ended a threat permanently or at least temporarily.
  • Improved circumstances for people around them.
  • forming or improving a relationship with a group or NPC that will be relevant.

That’s how I usually try and create pace. For me pace is a story element. Also maybe why I am so against procedurally generated gaming.
 
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