The best way to get your players to act the way you want is to teach them them via rewards and punishments for each situation. This training doesn't change their way of critical thinking, it just changes the tools they do actions with, and hopefully will open their
Please consider the personality of your players before beginning a 'training' regiment like the ones below.
Positive Reward OOC:
Reward players for not using rote spells with a point or two XP, temporary items, recognition (Temporary status merit from a few followers), to encourage the actions you want in game.
Positive Reward IC:
Employ the use of magical zones that increase the potency of non-rote spells.
Employ the use of another magical zone that takes away some of the potency of rote spells.
- Use of both types of zones would really hammer home the point.
Subject the players to a Mind/Force or Spirit/Force Spell that shocks the player for a level of bashing damage every time they use a rote. Make sure they roll intelligence or another combination of stats to notice where the pain comes from, what triggers the pain, and give them time to think about how to get around it by using non-rote spells. It helps greatly if the players have enough power to overcome this particular spell. If not, just giving them a time limit that overlaps with a goal they need to accomplish will necessitate using non-rotes.
Positive Punishment is giving the players a hard time. Obstacles are an example of positive punishment, but as this is a game of obstacles, overcoming them, and the journey of doing so, this may not be the best way to do so.
Negative Punishment takes away from a players capability for performing an action, a debuff. If the player is in control of when the debuff occurs and can avoid it, they usually will. How often will players walk in severely damaging lava when there's a perfectly good bridge just a foot away?
Positive reward: Giving the players something good for doing an action that you prefer is one of the quickest ways to keep that action occurring. It is recommended to skip a single iteration of a reward to strengthen the bond between action and reward, creating more desire. Players will thrive for that reward a lot longer this way, which may make it habit.
Negative reward: Take something bad away when they do something good. I recommend taking away weak status effects or just make non-rotes more effective at removing penalties. This isn't one of the strongest methods of teaching and training. For instance, if your dog does a trick, you could take off its collar, but then you might lose your dog.
Remember! Always use your powers for good!
Or to tell a really sweet story.