What to do when a scene only involves one PC?

Elf Witch

First Post
I would like to know how other DMs handle the scenero of one PC going of by himself? Sometimes I think it is important and necessary for the plot or the character.

The common example of course is the rogue who needs to go and scout or gather information or ply his trade.

So how do you juggle this with out having the other players sitting their bored?
 

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CalrinAlshaw

First Post
You either try to "juggle" it, doing a few rounds of rogueish stuff, then asking the group what they are doing.

Or you simply tell them "Go talk amongst yourselves for a bit" and do all the rogueish stuff.

Calrin Alshaw
 


Herpes Cineplex

First Post
Usually we go with juggling: cutting back and forth between the solo PC and the others.

It's not a perfect solution, because sometimes you can't make quick cuts and that leaves either the solo PC's player bored or the rest of the group bored, but them's the breaks. We've talked about it in our group and eventually came to the conclusion that with five players to deal with, everyone has to accept that they won't be in the spotlight all the time, and sometimes it's actually necessary for one character to go off and do something alone. Everyone tries to be courteous about it.

That said, some games and some GMs have managed it better than others. We're somewhere below average on D&D in general (higher full-group participation for hack-and-slash, lower for intrigue-based games), above average for the Marvel Universe RPG (something about the ruleset encourages more participation, maybe?), solidly average for Farscape d20, above average on Feng Shui and most other one-shots or pickup games, and totally abysmal at Vampire.

Actually, the almost ridiculously lopsided cuts in the Vampire game (where we have had several sessions in which one particular PC has not actually been able to do ANYTHING) has set off a whispering campaign among our group's other potential GMs. Our agreed-upon goal: every game session, every character gets to do something, and ideally just as much something as any other character got to do. With special attention paid to the poor player who has been the most consistently sidelined in the Vampire game, of course, because we feel so bad about what she's had to put up with.

--
and so the great wheel keeps turning
ryan
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
When this sort of thing starts to happen, I try to think about how it ties in with the whole of the campaign. What I've found is that if the solo bit is actually well tied in to the main storyline that the entire party is engaged in, the other players will not mind too much and will enjoy spectating as these events unfold. If the solo scene really only has any meaning to the PC who is doing it, I try to make it as brief as possible or to handle it outside the session (via e-mail for example) if it is going to be strictly roleplaying without any combat.

That's what I try to do. I don't always succeed but it does keep this "problem" from coming up very often.
 

Elf Witch

First Post
Rel said:
When this sort of thing starts to happen, I try to think about how it ties in with the whole of the campaign. What I've found is that if the solo bit is actually well tied in to the main storyline that the entire party is engaged in, the other players will not mind too much and will enjoy spectating as these events unfold. If the solo scene really only has any meaning to the PC who is doing it, I try to make it as brief as possible or to handle it outside the session (via e-mail for example) if it is going to be strictly roleplaying without any combat.

That's what I try to do. I don't always succeed but it does keep this "problem" from coming up very often.

Cut aways seem the best way to handle things then. I think e-mail is a good way to handle things that basically role play.

I am just starting to DM and I have one player who likes to do things by herself. She is not a spot light hog it is just some things that her character cannot do with everyone tramping along after her.


As a player I have often been in this situation and I have to say that I often enjoy listening to others solo stuff. I am as interested in what happens to their characters as I am what happens to mine.

I had rather unpleasant experience in a Dragonlance game my character had to undertake tests at the Wizards Guild. The DM did not have time to run a straight solo adventure just for me so he tried to do cut aways. He had the rest of the party doing something else. One of the other players got irriated with the whole thing and started making loud conversation during my scenes. Finally the DM exploded and ended the session right there. This player was a jerk anyway he did this to everybody. It was relief that he did not come back after that session. Since the test required the use of magic and skills and dice rolling with some combat he did not want to do it by e-mail. The rest of the party was involved in a little trip to clean out some orcs in a near by forrest. He would do three or four rounds with them and then switch back to me for a few minutes. The others except for the jerk did not have a problem with this.
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
Elf Witch said:
I am just starting to DM and I have one player who likes to do things by herself. She is not a spot light hog it is just some things that her character cannot do with everyone tramping along after her.

This being the case, and understanding that this trend is likely to continue, I'd say that you should plan for it as much as possible. If the PC is a Rogue (which I believe you alluded to earlier) who wants to scout out the opposition, anticipate this being standard operating proceedure. Know what the likely approaches are that she'll take and what can be observed from those locations. Figure out in advance how well the enemy is hidden and what Spot DC's she'll need to see them. If there are noteworthy features, have descriptions of them ready to go.

I suspect that if you handle it that way that a couple of things are likely to happen. First, the rest of the party should be thrilled at the wealth of info that she is able to bring back to them. They'll be much better equipped to form a coherent set of tactics (if that's their bag) and avoid blundering into battles that might be too challenging for them. As a result, they won't mind the extra few minutes (so long as it's only a FEW minutes) that she spends doing her recon.

I also suspect that (unless you fudge things) she'll eventually get killed or captured doing this. If you scout ahead by yourself often enough, you're bound to eventually run into a situation where the bad guys get lucky on their stealth rolls and you blow yours. When that happens, your cheese is WAY out in the wind with no support from the rest of the party. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and it may cut back a bit on how often she does the "solo scout" thing.

And of course you should feel free to discuss this matter with the group, out of game, at any time. So long as they know that you're attempting to do what the majority of the group wants, they'll be more willing to give you feedback and comments.
 

knitnerd

First Post
A player hands the DM a note. He cracks up laughing,then grabs some dice and drags the player out of the room to roll the suggestion. You don't get bored, you get scared.
 

cignus_pfaccari

First Post
If such happens, and it's longer than a few minutes, well, I hit the emergency reading.

However, I should amend that. I read the book I'd normally be reading, *or*, if I finished that, I'll hit the DM's library. Bringing something to read, especially a newspaper, leads in no uncertain terms to my character's demise.

Brad
 

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