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27

Give bonus skill points for a good backstory! If someone writes up a good backstory, and the character should logically have certain skills from that backstory, that aren’t actually useful (or, at least, unlikely to be useful) in the campaign, turn those skills into rewards for writing a good backstory. That’s a great story of how a former ...


22

I DM a 3.5 game and have a one year old. Yes, they will cause disruptions. They won't be the only things that do. Disruptions Happen The truth about "immersion" is that disruptions happen. That's the reality of tabletop gaming. They happen because the kids are running around, or they wake up, or the phone rings, or you need to pull something out of the ...


21

As I see it you have 2 main issues: Spotlight Hogging and disconnect on world/tone Share the spotlight Emphasize to the player (and the rest of the table) that everyone will get their time in the spotlight, but that they should act in a supporting role when its not their turn. Its totally fine for the PC/Player to want to have moments worth of song (or ...


16

From Experience I wish I could point you to a guide, but alas, I must rely on my own experience introducing people to role playing. There are a few things to help people get into the swing of things: Directly address the social contract, and how the game is going to work. This is really basic. I usually address this by saying something like: "We're going ...


13

Ask Her There are a lot of possible causes for why she could be bored. Maybe it turns out she doesn't like roleplaying, or doesn't like the system, or is lost in what is a fairly complicated ruleset and tunes out. That last one is important. 3.5 is a complex game. Newbies can easily get overwhelmed, especially when surrounded by veteran players who know ...


12

You've run into a common problem - "Party RPGs with non-Party Characters". Same Page Tool can't fix groups who want different things, and it also can't fix game design that works against it's own game premise. You have a few options: Class Limiting "Hey, we're playing X kind of game and these classes/types in this game don't fit that. Can we just ...


9

To the extent its not disrupting things, let him be cool People come to role playing for different reasons and enjoy different things about it. If he wants to be "cool", and it is not disruptive, I would let him. It seems to be something he enjoys, so let him have fun with it. Dealing with disruption The problem comes with the fact that his actions ...


9

I'm assuming your players already understand the basic concept of roleplaying. The Ground Rules of Roleplaying Tell your players that roleplaying is supposed to be fun. They should do what they think is fun, but they shouldn't ruin other people's fun. Forget not that the GM is also a people whose fun can be ruined. Also explain to players that sometimes ...


9

In my experience, the best way to find uses for obscure skills is to let the players come up with them, and just go along with their suggestions if they're halfway plausible. If your players are creative enough, as yours seem to be, they will come up with ways to use their oddball skills if you let them. To make this work best, you'll need to let your ...


7

Another solution is play tabletop RPGs online with your friends in the evening, after your children's bedtime. This avoids problems with finding babysitters, interruptions while playing, and of course the huge disruption to your kid's bedtime routine if there are a bunch of people in your house talking & laughing. I'm a father of a 4 year old and have ...


7

I will expand on this tommorow, but three things from my personal experience. Obviously it will depend on the individual children. Feel free to invite the 7 year old to play. If your child is mature enough, and depending on the relationship between the children, it's possible to have a 7 year old play a character, as well as have the younger children be ...


7

Based on your description, she doesn't really enjoy the game. Yet, she keeps coming to the sessions. I can see two reasons for that: either she feels obligated to the party or her significant other, or she partakes in the game as a social event, not because of the game itself. Both happen. Regardless of what is causing the problem, you need to talk to the ...


6

... Clearly, your players will try to experiment with their new found powers. Can they first reproduce the effects they are "familiar" with? If so, they will probably start developing training regimes to increase both power and control over their respective abilities. This, in and of itself, is a good plot seed. Now, would this approach work? That ...


6

My answer was to this question that has been made a duplicate of this one. In the former, the bored/passive player was the girlfriend of a veteran player, and that's why you can read that assumption in my answer. As Tridus said, you must ask her. It's the best way to try to know what's happening. I have had similar situations in the past. When a veteran ...


4

First, I will echo the comments left: Electronic Communication during the week if possible, and Keep it Interesting. That said, session length need not have a major effect on the quality of play. Each session can build right where the last left off, with perhaps a minute of recap. Questions and clarifications could ideally be done over email/instant messages ...


4

I believe that if you have a definite plan for a genre/setting for your campaign, you and your players have to work together to make it work. This includes character creation. It's going to be tough to fit a pacifist, privately educated art historian into a campaign based around the mob and violent crime. The first thing I do with any campaign is to present ...


4

What's wrong with just letting them use the skill? Even if it just happens once or twice in the entire session, give them an opportunity to have their skill become useful. Often, allowing a story to go in this direction becomes a memorable experience for the player. For example, one of the characters has a "Boating" skill. Perhaps the players could normally ...


3

The essence of sandbox play is following where the players lead, and it sounds like you're already doing that. What adding randomness does is make the world feel more alive and larger than the thread that the PCs are pursuing/creating, allowing the players to make informed decisions about where they want to drive the game. You don't need to be constantly ...


3

Reading the comments, I understood that what you're looking for is a way to immerse them in the story and to give them a taste of what role-playing is really about. And maybe even to encourage them to play the characters. Here's how I do it, when I come to a group with completely new players. Hopefully, it will help you a little. Explain to them quickly and ...


3

Reward Individual Goals at odds with each other There's a lot of games that do this well, and they do it by having characters with cross goals that get XP/hero points, etc. Now, the trick is that if you want the characters to mostly cooperate with a little bit of friction, you make sure they have enough goals in common with smaller stakes ones at cross ...


2

I've done this! It's super fun! You really need player buy-in for best results, and it helps to know and trust your group. But I've done it two different ways. The first might work best for a "surprise everyone" Everyone Gets A Note This is useful for many situations besides this specific question. Pass a note to each player. All but one of the notes will ...


2

For starters I would like to say that I've been in the Rogue situation, and it was actually a little more frustrating. The Fighter would just bust down doors and take enemies head on knowing he had a health battery in the party druid, but I digress. Not Really for Players A lot of the most problematic classes aren't really designed for the players, unless ...


2

Generally, when I player picks a skill that is to help flesh out his background, he doesn't expect it to come up very often (if ever). You could treat knowledge skills as passive in the sense that the character knows a little more than the others at appropriate times. Telling them that they know something interesting or relevant when describing a scene ...


1

That's a matter of personal taste and your group dynamics. We usually make a slow immersion. If I am the GM, after a reasonable social time, I start distributing character sheets (it's a good signal, and generally forces players to think about their characters), and asking questions: "Do you remember what happened last session?" or "Your character didn't ...


1

Use Music. I have been running with a group of people and what we found helps bring out the story and get everyone into the mood, is to play related music in the background. Don't get me wrong, there is no such thing as a perfect gaming group that does not get distracted, and you may have to say "Okay guys we're starting now" but atleast this way your 'magic ...


1

Have the player use that character only in scenarios that work for it. In the case of the thief/rogue, keep him for city play and have the player roll up something else for dungeon stuff; perhaps make the thief the henchman of the new character so that the player can take them both on the adventure, but you can focus spotlight time on the one that's most ...


1

Some of the techniques you will use will be the same as in my other answer about transitioning long-time roll-players to roleplaying, but in this case you have the benefit of working with new players without a lot of preconceptions built up. The biggest thing you can do is to make sure you are, explicitly and implicitly, encouraging in-character roleplay in ...


1

PipperChip's answer is solid. One thing to add... We know there are different types of player, who play for different reasons and get different things from the experience. Even though they have never role-played before, your friends will emerge as one of the types. Let them. Take care not to make too many assumptions about what styles and preferences may ...


1

It sounds to me like there are two issues here. The tone of the setting, and the desire to play the main protagonist. Setting Firstly, it sounds like your preference is for a game of gritty realism and low fantasy, and his preference is for playing heroic high fantasy of mythic proportions. To address the issue of setting, you need to negotiate with your ...


1

If you can't beat em' join em'? Run games like SLA or X-Crawl that encourage players to be the biggest badass in town and become rich and famous doing it: Do some high profile BPNs, appear on the news covered in blood, gain a Karma sponsorship and then knock off and go for a drink in The Pit. of course, if you get to famous you might wake up with Haloween ...



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