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3

I don't know if this answer will be pertinent to your group and it doesn't strictly answer the question, but mine was once in a very similar situation and, as we learned to play the game (this was 2nd edition), we noticed that the problem eventually disappeared due to a slight change in our combat approach. We were somehow doing it "wrong", and it was ...


11

The problem you have encountered was once known as the 15-minute workday. Since health, spells, etc are all things that are regained over time, the safest strategy is usually to do one fight, then back off to a safe distance and regenerate to full power before tackling the next challenge. SevenSidedDie wisely suggests ensuring that the world does not wait ...


7

There are two techniques that can go 90% of the way to making playing-initiated retreats like this not boring or tedious. "Time passes" Use your role as DM to control the passage of time. Skip the uneventful parts. Do you know that nothing will inconvenience them on the way out of the dungeon? Narrate to skip ahead then. You backtrack through the halls ...


9

You have several major options depending on your desired playstyle. Easy Game Mode - Either level them up so they overwhelm the dungeon, or sprinkle in more magic (especially healing), or just change the rules so they can recover everything with a short rest. There are infinite variations on this. No death penalty! If you kill an enemy you regain your ...


0

A bonus by any other name My advice would be to grant your player some kind of stat increasing bonus, since it is the simplest way to level the playing field numerically. You said you aren't a fan of just giving her a stat boosting item so I'll try to give you a few other options to consider. Give her a stat boosting item Now, bear with me here, because ...


1

The thing is, no amount of lucky rolling is going to solve this problem I think. A Halfling Barbarian is going to have, at best, 16 strength at the time of her creation because of the strength penalty. Ending up with 14 is really not that bad for a Halfling, because that means she had 16 before modifiers, which is well above average. However, they do get a ...


5

Let them die or be a hero despite their flaws. Those who live by the [dice] die by the [dice]. By rolling characters, and choosing not to build for combat prowess, you clearly have a very specific and challenging game in mind. While I would recommend investigation into other systems that may better fit your needs; the situation you've set up here has a very ...


6

Presuming a single "canonical" timeline, with alterations to that timeline always having had been true, the language you're looking for can be found in the Continuum role playing game. You can get a sample glossary, sans philosophy, at the Continuum glossary. Of particular import are the concepts of "up/down." and "age/yet". Therefore, "Down [in the ...


4

Use Marvelous Initiative This strategy is a formal rules-based implementation of basic "turn-taking" etiquette. It is probably only necessary if your group really likes rules, or as training wheels toward the group figuring out its own conversational rhythms. I haven't tried this with freeform conversational RP, but it's worked well in Fate where tense ...


12

Release the Wombat of Discourse! This is my default strategy for the first time a group starts talking over each other so much it hinders play: I bring a stuffed animal to the session, and name it The [Animal] of Discourse. The GM may speak at any time, but only the player with the Animal can talk. They pass the Animal amongst themselves however it suits ...


21

Setting Expectations Whenever I as GM am dealing with multi-PC/NPC conversations, I first remind my players that I am a single-thread processor and can therefore only handle one conversation at a time, then proceed to deal with them one at a time as appropriate for the configuration of speakers. 1. One-to-Many Conversations The easiest way to handle this ...


-1

As gamemaster try to push them into quarrel, your shy friends have to be driven by emotions (sorry for my english), today I was playing on Skype (as always I was shy) and in no moment I just said "no way!!!" against one idea. Avoid to put your shy friends in situations where they can just answer "ok / whatever / meh", force them to make important decisions ...


2

You may want to try what I do when I want to 'warm up' a character for an upcoming session - do a bit of sidelined character interaction outside of the actual session. Set something up so that the players can interact as their characters outside of the setting of the campaign. You could set it as an in-canon downtime interaction between the characters, or ...


14

Let them know that they don't have to do theatrical stuff. Ease them in with third person statements like "My character chats up the female manticore" or first-person "I tell the guard I'm working for the King" etc. and let them develop into deeper immersion. Some people never do; it's not a requirement and there's no need to penalise them for not doing it ...


5

Lead by Example Exhibit the behaviors you want to see. When your players type a question, reply to it by voice. Be sure not to exclude them, or even to let the comfortable players hog the spotlight. Make sure you query them directly - OK, Joe, what do you do? (of course, if your table's convention is to use character names, do that instead) When they ...


5

Bringing someone into RP over a voice medium for the first time is difficult, especially if you have players who do not know each other. I would recommend getting the group together on skype for something not related to gaming, where you are not putting anyone on the spot for decisions or roleplay. A fun option is to pick a movie off netflix if everyone ...


-1

This is a really big challenge when playing online games. You're not there IRL, you don't necessarily have a shared trust yet, and you're doing something that can feel a bit off, in that you're putting on a character and need to get into it. I'll be honest, I'm still feeling out these elements, but here are the things I'm trying in my online game, and they ...


2

I can't post this as a comment, but I feel like it's worthy of an answer anyway. it expands on what Bankuei answered about pre-planned scenes. Be flexible in your plot If at all possible, allow the investigators to go at a faster pace than you accounted for. Maybe they figured out where the criminals will strike next before you expected them to, even ...


2

With questions like these, I always point to Alexandrian's Three Clue Rule essay. http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/1118/roleplaying-games/three-clue-rule As Alexandrian says, have at least three clues per thing that you want the players to figure out. And as Bankuei says, make at least some of them obvious. Generally I use two tiers when making a ...


6

I watched a whole lot of Law & Order with an eye toward trying to understand how they structure their mysteries. I noticed a few things that I think ought to help run a mystery game. (Life has gotten in the way of testing my theories in the game I was to run, so do report back if any of this helps!) First, a mystery is not a confusing story--it's a ...


4

"Just the facts" just isn't enough Plan more flavor and context into your scenes, and your story. WoD games often lend themselves to strong thematic overtones, so don't skimp. Small side stories, or a growing tapestry of NPCs can both add a feeling of depth to the play experience. As you write later scene, call back to those "useless" or "flavor" ...


30

The big thing is how a game structures its facts when you want to have clue scenes. Pre-established Facts The GM decides what happened beforehand, and now the point is to have all clues and witnesses eventually point towards that fact. This is the most common way games handle things, but there is rarely good advice towards doing it well. Start with Free ...


11

The GUMSHOE system (used in Trail of Cthulhu and some other games) is a whole game system designed to keep things going during investigation games. Investigation is generally hard to play in some systems because either you flat out give the information to the players with no effort on their side or there's some kind of roll that, if failed, stops the PCs on ...


2

Without using established relationships to do the job? Heavens, why? That's always the answer. Relationships—personal or professional, healthy or harmful—are why any two humans associate closely and preferentially over a long period of time. They don't have to be relationships dictated by the GM, but the existence of "ties that bind" can be dictated. Let ...


0

You have two questions here, but I'll cover both. 1. How to form a party that feels natural? In real life, disparate people gather together mostly because they work together. A police force. A military unit. A rescue team in a disaster. Etc. Notice that this is the opposite of most adventure fiction, where really random people gather together on the ...


3

You Don't You are asking impossible, contradictory things. In essence, this question asks How do I get an impossibly rare and delicate social structure to occur spontaneously and persist in inhospitable conditions? Let's talk contradictory first: All members of the group should be roughly equal in value/respect The party must contain at least ...


3

You have reached the point where you like the story and not the exploration. You have fun when you see your players grow, explore, and have fun, and you are happiest when they are happy. You have reached a point that most don't get to and you should now (some GMs do this too soon, and it goes bad) explore… Building your own world Build the base ...


1

You need help from Alex and Lulu Having proactive and imaginative players is a bless, because you have to work less, and because the story is more personal if they look for their own goals instead of you throwing challenged at them. So, talk with Alex and Lulu and make the part of the solution. Tell them you want the other two players involved on their ...


1

History: Make a history with the two players where they develop a back story that needs to be solved. Work with them alone to make it interesting and have multitude of ways to create hooks for the group. This way the players rely on them for quests instead of NPCs. Go in deep with them so this way the "Shining Stars" of the group have to rely on them to ...


1

It seems to me that your player prefers a black-white morality spectrum where he's the white guy and the white guys win. You, on the other hand, seem to be more of a gray-gray morality spectrum and now you two have the problem of getting on the same page. In this situation I would recommend to change your game to a blue and orange morality spectrum. The ...


2

Especially when improvising social scenes I found it best to have one or at most two NPCs there to interact with. A larger social event (like a party) usually never takes more than two sentences from me because I found them to be bad for gameplay. The reason is that usually only one PC interacts with one NPC when many are there so I basically have to play ...


4

The basic math is this: A difficulty of [the rating of the skill being rolled] will succeed almost 40% of the time (and succeed or tie about 60% of the time). Increasing the difficulty rapidly increases the chances of failure: a difficulty 2 higher than the skill being rolled means the chances of tie-or-better is less than 20%, forcing the player to spend at ...


1

Time for an NPC The quickest solution to this problem is to take a little break from this plot line, and develop a relationship between the players and an NPC. This NPC is what I like to call the 'plot giver'. This NPC is used to fill in the gaps of a party, to get the plot back on track. Don't be a jerk The plot giver is not a god, and is only there to ...


0

There are some interesting answers here, but apparently the question got a major re-write, because almost none of them are actually on topic now. The Angry DM has a lot of great advice, and part of that advice covers adjudicating actions. Specifically, step 3 of this process has these steps (which are elaborated upon in the linked article): 3a. ...


-1

Well, it's kind of a dirty trick, but you could always just let him run away, particularly if you think the other characters will not go with him. If he decides to go it alone, he may encounter a trap or other hazard on the way out of the dungeon. Or he may get out just fine (the player then has to just sit around or go home while the rest of the party ...


0

I was like that friend of yours for a long time. You can call it white knight complex but it is not an unconscious driven "problematic" one imho - actually your friend possibly could classify that mind state perfectly. It can be a defense reflex to counter the extreme grey-scaled multilateral responsibility reality we live in. This is compensation ...


2

From reading your description, it sounds to me like your friend likes to play certain types of characters and role-play that type of character. For some people, the RPG is all about the role playing. I find the key to scripted events is to either put them out of reach, or find a way to make them seem unscripted. A lot of players hate railroading. What makes ...


3

Psychology Handling a hostage crisis and Stockholme Syndrome of the NPCs. Perhaps, unless dealt with, the hostages intervene on behalf of their captors? Or, the PCs are the captors and must diffuse the stressful NPCs and keep them in line (or win them over). Don't just have them roll, have them explain exactly what they're doing and saying. Mitigating ...


5

I greatly agree with Joshua's answer, but I feel he's taking some shortcuts in his understanding of the player you have a problem with. It is not so much that he likes idealized stories, whilst you like realistic stories. For one, people do change, and with effort a lot of people can be convinced, so from that perspective scripted stories are the unrealistic ...


7

Put him outside of his comfort zone Disclaimer: I don't know your friend at all, so take what I am writing here with a grain of salt. I know it worked on myself and on friends of mine, but take a moment first and try to imagine how your friend might take this. It might be fun and challenging for him, broadening his personal horizons. Or it might make him ...


34

You simply might have creative differences Your player seems to enjoy idealized stories, where the only thing necessary to make a things right is effort by a willful, and well-meaning individual. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to tell, hear, and be a part of stories like this for a campaign.You on the other hand seem to be interested in a ...


23

Nitpick Try not to script things as immutable. That may be one thing that is frustrating your player. It is in general advisable to avoid making immutable plot points. The Savior You have a player with a very specific thing they have in mind for what they want in a game. My advice is to use this to your advantage, and create plots where saving the day, ...


-2

Your Problem isn't optimized characters, it's Armchair Strategists. Often a leftover from GMs who like to spring 'surprises' on players through overlooked technicalities like 'you didn't say you were wearing a glove when you touched the door handle! 450 electrical damage!', the Armchair Strategist is a player who likes to ask about 500 questions before ...


1

You've put your finger on one aspect: MacGyver, and television in general. Players used to such shows (the A-Team is another classic example) are thinking in that frame. In essence, they're playing one genre - comic adventure drama - and you're trying to run some other one, depending on the game. I've seen untrained people try to use molotovs and set ...


6

The problem as I understand it isn't so much that they optimize characters as trying to optimize how they play while they are supposed to roleplay an encounter. One tactic I've often seen used when "table talk" gets in the way of the game is: The GM can announce "You're in the middle of battle and your lives are in peril -- I expect you to stay in ...


-3

You've got a handful of issues it seems. The easy one is dealing with the whole RLD your PCs seem to have. What's RLD? Rapacious Looting Disorder. :P Then there's the clear Cocaine Addiction of the one PC. Finally, there appears to be the same PC's (and player's) requirements for Custom Magical Bling. RLD To deal with Rapacious Looting Disorder... Step 1 ...


-2

So this borders on being a rude answer, but if you/your players actually know the rules, rules discussions/disputes/shenanigans shouldn't dominate the time. Discussing obscure rule interactions/exceptions can be a lot of fun, but is very different from optimizing characters or disputing/explaining rules in play, and it's also different than actually ...


2

With a 99 cent spiral notebook. No, I'm serious. Any campaign that's goign to take up more space than a spiral notebook is going to be too complicated for you to keep track of in the first place, and with a physical spiral notebook with campaign notes in-hand, you can refer to any campaign-based rule by reference with ease. Just as long as you keep the ...


5

You've been playing RPGs in the same style for many years. Consider breaking out with a sledge hammer. Run a couple of one to three session "quickie" games that are in unfamiliar and rules-lighter systems. Give out pre-made characters, or use a system that includes a quick character-gen method where optimization is difficult or pointless. Tell your ...


0

Not sure if you have looked at http://roll20.net but they have some great tools on that site.



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