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62

Powerful drama requires powerful motivations. When everyone at the table agrees that they want a Horror game, they must craft their characters around these motivations. If they don't buy in, then you get the kind of power-fantasy where the heroes do the quite sensible thing of feeding Cthulhu a couple cases of dynamite and legging it. That isn't horror, ...


41

My very first time as a GM, I showed up to the session with a great pile of notes and plot. Half an hour later I threw it out and started improvising because they'd gone in a totally different direction. Over the years most of my players have been willing to follow a railroad if I ask them to, but I've developed a totally different kind of session prep which ...


31

Tell Them Your Goals If you haven't already, I would start by telling them essentially what you just said here. That there is no "one true plot". Tell them that introducing an evil person / problem does not make it the overriding campaign unless they want it to be. Tell them that you are willing to follow along with their character's background goals. ...


22

I think you're metagaming. You, the GM and player, know that continuing to pursue the truth will lead to madness. Your characters don't know that. They don't know the risks yet. Your characters are just finding out (possibly for the first time) that "magic" or something like it is real. If you, in real life, just found out that magic was real, wouldn't you ...


19

The great thing about a rotational DMing system is that you can propose things to the group to check out without making it seem like you're targeting a specific person. They might realize they're the biggest offender, but it's still a more tactful solution when you present something like, "Hey, here's something that I think could help us all improve as DMs!" ...


14

Different playstyles You virtually say that you and the GM in question do not want to play the same type of game. The answer, as with so many things, is to talk to them. But the topic should be how to get into the same style of game. If the GM is playing a mostly tactical game and expects most of the drama and fun to come in handling tactical situations, ...


13

In addition to the excellent answers already posted, let me suggest that you look at the kinds of protagonists that Lovecraft wrote about; police investigators ("The Call of Cthulhu", "The Horror at Red Hook"), artists looking for unique experiences ("Pickman's Model"), and people who actually wanted to find out more about the squiggly things under the bed ...


12

It's a good idea to make sure everyone in the group understands what the point of the game is about, so they can build appropriate characters. Sometimes people go in building "survivalist" characters, which means the motivations also don't fit the genre expectations. It's also important to remember that the key point of horror stories is some point of ...


11

It sounds like your problem is that your adventure's plot requires your players to have a specific set of encounters in a specific order. This kind of required linear progression is, as you have realised, a railroad. The way to avoid a railroad is not to require any or all of the encounters, and to not require them to play out in a specific order. Have you ...


11

TALK TO YOUR DM Simply talking to your DM may entirely solve this problem. Talk before or after play, not during play; this allows the DM to plan, adapt, and see what you are talking about. Say that you feel like "all we're doing is bashing people's faces in," and you'd like to solve problems in different ways. Perhaps your should mention that you enjoy ...


9

How to run this, procedurally Consider this - every week, the players show up and they manage to improvise and play, without having to preplan every "if this happens, then I'll do this". They simply look at their character sheet and improvise based on a basic understanding of their character, right? As a GM, you can do that too. Set up your characters, ...


7

There are a variety of ways to do this: Focus on the prophesy itself. If you cast doubts on the validity of the prophesy, the players may be more likely to leave it alone. For example, well-respected representatives for the forces of good declare that some of the named parties in the prophesy couldn't possibly be involved in something nefarious like that. ...


7

1. WALK AWAY In your case, since he's on the rotation, simply opt out when he's GMing. Hopefully, you get asked why, and it starts the conversation needed. If not, well, at least you are no longer suffering his GMing. 2. Discuss with the group Don't discuss it with just him - discuss it with the group as a whole. It's a group level issue. Odds are that ...


6

4E has rules for this So, you know how you can give Quests and Quests can result in XP? Make that your primary way players get XP rather than combat. Structuring your Adventures/Dungeons "We need to get the Ruby Cloak to heal the King!" "So, you need to find out where it is, travel to get there, and acquire it. You can make deals, negotiate, sneak ...


4

As I see it, there are two types of ways to deal with it, directly and indirectly. My answer, thus, will be divided according to this. Indirectly With some GMs, and/or in some groups, approaching the problem indirectly may work better. As you've stated, the group has rotating GMs and the problem is only that the person GMing now is not what you're looking ...


4

Write down the major NPCs who will be influencing the situation the characters are involved in. This might be kings and dragons and such, or it might be stuff like the local sheriff and the mayor of the town and the head of the Northside gangs... scale it appropriately. Give them personalities, goals and problems they're dealing with - have these intersect ...


4

While improvising is always the way to go in my opinion, it seems like you're using a system (Roll20) that encourages a more planning-heavy approach. With that in mind, here's what I suggest: Players feel railroaded when it seems like their decisions don't matter. In order to keep them from feeling railroaded, you need to 1) make them feel as if they had ...


3

Emulate water A good approach is to make things fluid -- not everything has to be very linear. If the party makes lots of noise in combat, have mobs leave their posts to investigate. Allow different exploration mechanics You could try giving the players more options with how to explore, or have set-piece elements that make for memorable experiences, like ...


2

Examples of responses: Librarian in Dark Heresy searches a database: "You can't find anything." - It's possible that there wasnt anything of interest in that specific database. Illusionist in D&D casts a spell: "The spell has no effect." - Illusions have a lot of drawbacks, they require the target to not be mindless, insect, undead, construct and other ...


1

I think it's best not to force anything. It seems unnecessary and ultimately undermines the logic of the situation and its dramatic effect and immersion. As a player, I would come up with clear understandable motivations that make sense and yet can get the character hooked into the scenario. Then I would discuss with the GM to see if the GM finds them ...


1

The simplest solution is to build them up over time and introduce them along with other conflicting requirements at the same time. For example my current sandbox campaign has a were-rat bad guy. He was only active on the full moon (at least at first) and I very deliberately never introduced him in person (they still haven't encountered him, although they ...


1

I would suggest a 5-by-5 method. Essentially, you create 5 major goals for the party, and for each goal, 5 requirements. This allows you to have a loose story, with set milestones for the players to strive for, but still gives them the ability improvise. Here is an example: Stop Dragon Invasion: Recover Tome of the Dragons Decipher Tome Find Chromatic ...


1

As others have mentioned, "railroading" means taking normal, reasonable options out of the players' hands, and forcing them down a specific choice/path - like being stuck on a railroad. There's two ways this can go, one is good, the other is bad. Participationism The players know that this is how the game is going to go, and have no problem letting the GM ...



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