2 added 1 character in body
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Throw lessfewer monsters and more non-combat challenges at them.

Sure, with enough ingenuity, players might try to brute force their way through, for instance, the castle gates by killing the guards, but if they were to do so, they'd probably get a hefty bounty on their heads and the king wouldn't dare talk to them. Anyway, I digress.

D&D has a lot of mechanics for out-of-combat interaction, which is where the story is. If you end up spending the overwhelming majority of your time killing things (especially since an encounter usually takes at least 20 minutes), it's no wonder your players will lose track of the story.

Intertwine combat with the surrounding world. I think we often, as DMs, compartmentalize combat and story, but if you take the approach that the bandits have lives outside of thievery and make real and lasting consequences for what happens in combat (e.g. bounties, people avenging their wanton murder, callbacks to previous battles, etc...), players might put some more thought into the world and its story. Combat is an interaction and has just as much potential for story as anything else.

It's also possible that you have the type of players who just like combat and killing things. You might be better off finding players who are more interested in story and less interested in combat.

Throw less monsters and more non-combat challenges at them.

Sure, with enough ingenuity, players might try to brute force their way through, for instance, the castle gates by killing the guards, but if they were to do so, they'd probably get a hefty bounty on their heads and the king wouldn't dare talk to them. Anyway, I digress.

D&D has a lot of mechanics for out-of-combat interaction, which is where the story is. If you end up spending the overwhelming majority of your time killing things (especially since an encounter usually takes at least 20 minutes), it's no wonder your players will lose track of the story.

Intertwine combat with the surrounding world. I think we often, as DMs, compartmentalize combat and story, but if you take the approach that the bandits have lives outside of thievery and make real and lasting consequences for what happens in combat (e.g. bounties, people avenging their wanton murder, callbacks to previous battles, etc...), players might put some more thought into the world and its story. Combat is an interaction and has just as much potential for story as anything else.

It's also possible that you have the type of players who just like combat and killing things. You might be better off finding players who are more interested in story and less interested in combat.

Throw fewer monsters and more non-combat challenges at them.

Sure, with enough ingenuity, players might try to brute force their way through, for instance, the castle gates by killing the guards, but if they were to do so, they'd probably get a hefty bounty on their heads and the king wouldn't dare talk to them. Anyway, I digress.

D&D has a lot of mechanics for out-of-combat interaction, which is where the story is. If you end up spending the overwhelming majority of your time killing things (especially since an encounter usually takes at least 20 minutes), it's no wonder your players will lose track of the story.

Intertwine combat with the surrounding world. I think we often, as DMs, compartmentalize combat and story, but if you take the approach that the bandits have lives outside of thievery and make real and lasting consequences for what happens in combat (e.g. bounties, people avenging their wanton murder, callbacks to previous battles, etc...), players might put some more thought into the world and its story. Combat is an interaction and has just as much potential for story as anything else.

It's also possible that you have the type of players who just like combat and killing things. You might be better off finding players who are more interested in story and less interested in combat.

    Notice added Citation Needed by mxyzplk
1
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Throw less monsters and more non-combat challenges at them.

Sure, with enough ingenuity, players might try to brute force their way through, for instance, the castle gates by killing the guards, but if they were to do so, they'd probably get a hefty bounty on their heads and the king wouldn't dare talk to them. Anyway, I digress.

D&D has a lot of mechanics for out-of-combat interaction, which is where the story is. If you end up spending the overwhelming majority of your time killing things (especially since an encounter usually takes at least 20 minutes), it's no wonder your players will lose track of the story.

Intertwine combat with the surrounding world. I think we often, as DMs, compartmentalize combat and story, but if you take the approach that the bandits have lives outside of thievery and make real and lasting consequences for what happens in combat (e.g. bounties, people avenging their wanton murder, callbacks to previous battles, etc...), players might put some more thought into the world and its story. Combat is an interaction and has just as much potential for story as anything else.

It's also possible that you have the type of players who just like combat and killing things. You might be better off finding players who are more interested in story and less interested in combat.