Player Engagement Outside of Session Time


I understand this with one exception, character rules. If you choose a new class, prestige class, archetype, etc.. that bends or breaks the core system rules I expect you to know how it works. I'm pretty lenient as a GM in allowing 3PP homebrew things, but I expect a level of responsibility from the player. You at least need to be ready to understand how it works and explain during the session. If we end up sidelining things while you flip through books and net searches I'm going to lose patience with you. /end rant
I'm a bit more tolerant of that b/c knowing that stuff is self-rewarding. Like in 7Worlds, one of the players runs a Psion (psionic). SWADE rules aren't that complicated tbh. So if that player hadn't read the general rules on Psionics beforehand, I would be fine explaining it (roll this to activate, spend X points, etc.) - again, mainly bc it's not that complicated. I've read horror stories of players who simply "don't get it" after several tries, but I hadn't experienced that myself.

But there is a point. I wouldn't explain what each of your powers could do. And that's why it's self-rewarding. If a player doesn't read what they do, they won't use it and hence not realize the full potential of their character. That's why IME these players will eventually learn or change their PC.

Since we play online, we don't flip through books ;)

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I find about half of all the players just don't care enough to engage about much of anything. They won't do anything most of the time. You are lucky if they even read the rules. Most of the time, they just want pure endless combat. A lot of the other times they just want to "hang out" and (not) be part of an adventure as they where there. They will dance around all happy "the group" killed a dragon, even if they only did the attack action each round and only said five words in the last hour. This is the player that will refuse to remember "Dorn the Blacksmith" and will just say "That blacksmith guy".

The other half, well at least have a chance. Though most need a lot of encouragement.

I run long-term campaigns with linked sub-plots running through it. And like so many above, I have the frustrating experience of players who can't be bothered to give a thought to the game when they are not sitting at the table.

I find that playing on-line has garnered me more players who are interested in the depth of the setting than when F2F. My current group of 6 is split about 50-50, with half burning up Discord with discussions and IC chat, and the rest more distant, although still more involved than was the custom in F2F.

I We are only playing every other week for 3 hours at a time and I was hoping to hit the ground running.
This is part of the problem, IMO (shot sessions separated by gaps). I personally will not play for less than four hours, and weekly sessions.

Again, an advantage of on-line gaming. But I think this is essential to keep a campaign fresh. When you are gaming a couple times a month, there is less motivation to take a long-term view for a campaign, because it could be a couple months of real time before situation X comes to pass..


Update: one of the players that couldn't be bothered dropped so now I am on the edge of a quorum. Ugh.

I think your best bet is to talk to the players about it. See if there’s a better way to engage with them in between sessions. Something like a group text or a discord channel may work really well. Or maybe emails. Maybe different methods for different folks.

I think an investment or effort on your part may likely result in effort on theirs.

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