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My group and I are playing a Superhero Campaign. We are using the Fantasy Flight Games Roleplaying system used in their Star Wars series, with a mixture of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. In the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying system super powers have different levels, for example: A level 1 Teleportation power can be use to teleport around the same building, at level 2 you can teleport around an area of a city, an so on.

To pass this super powers system to the FFG System all i do is make each super power level have a different base difficulty, for example: A level 1 power has base difficulty of 2 dice (purple difficulty die), a level 4 power has a base difficulty of 5 dice, after this base pool of dice I add more difficulty dice or change some into Challenge Dice (red die) depending of situation.

If they want to teleport to somewhere they have only heard of before, I add more difficulty, if they want to use a Energy Blast against a strong Super-Villain, I add more difficulty.

(This is the kind of system we use, i hope is clear)

Now to the actual question. Each of the players on our campaign chose a power that let them get immediately where they want.

One can make portals, one has super velocity, and the other one can just Nightcrawler him self anywhere he wants - so they really don't explore a lot, and just go directly to the quest giver, to their objectives, and then back to their apartments. And then they repeat that. So they miss all the things that could happen in the middle of the road on way to their mission.

For example, there is a big thing that is happening outside of one of the PC's apartment building. But he never notices it, because he doesn't even step out to the front of the building; he teleports from his room to the other side of the city. (It is a neighbour whose daughter is seeing strange creatures rooming around the building.)

How can I motivate PCs to explore more when they have the ability to get to their destination (almost) immediately?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Let's hold this briefly until we get confirmation on which game system is involved. Jeseetv, are you playing using the book Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, or are you playing a different game, or just making up the rules freeform (which is also fine, but we need to know)? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 4 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alight, that kind of mix of systems is unconventional but clear enough and not unheard of, so I’ve lifted the hold. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 6 at 1:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, are you oversimplifying for the sake of example? Marvel Heroic rates its powers as d6/d8/d10/d12, and the d6/d8 levels for teleport... about match your levels 1 and 2, I think? I'm sorry to keep pushing on this, especially because you're relying on an entirely different system to actually drive the plot, but there have been at least 4 Marvel RPGs, and while they all have similar names they have very different systems for modeling powers. \$\endgroup\$ – Glazius Jan 6 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can add a photo of the cover of the book you’re using, we can take it from there. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 6 at 6:27
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Do you really have a problem?

If the players are having fun is this an issue? I believe exploring is part of the game and enjoy doing it, but your players may not. Make sure you discuss the group expectation for what sort of things that campaign should contain.

It is possible that once you point it out they may solve the problem all on their own. If they agree they would like to have exploring in the game but aren't doing it the next question to ask is why?

Why do they play this way?

There are multiple reasons why they might prefer to teleport/super speed around all the time:

  • It's safer, less time traveling is less opportunity for danger. Your players may be worried about encounters on the road or risking their characters lives.
  • It's mechanically efficient. The players feel they have a better chance of succeeding if they take this approach. Either through saved time or some other mechanical advantage.
  • It's cool. Let's face it the ability to teleport around is awesome. It's possible your players are just doing this because they can and think it's the most fun way to get places.

There are many more reasons your players may prefer to get around this way. The perfect solution will depends heavily on that answer (if you know it add it to your question), however I will try to suggest some strategies for dealing with these reasons.

If they are worried about safety

This one is difficult to answer as it depends strongly on the group itself. I would try to assure them that it's not that dangerous. You can either straight up promise not to kill them while on a side quest or you could use some of the techniques below to make it worth their while.

In my campaign I dealt with this by making staying home just as deadly as going out on most occasions. It was a very different setting in a different systems so I don't think it is applicable here but it is certainly effective.

Mechanically give them a reason to do it

Fundamentally the issue here is that the players don't see the point of not teleporting. It's easier, faster and probably safer. You need to come up with a reason for them to explore. Below I've given a few of the things I have used to do this.

Reward them for it

The simplest way to encourage anyone to do anything is to provide an incentive to do it. This can be in items, xp or opportunities. You need to communicate to your players that there is a clear advantage to exploring the world they live in.

Some rewards you can use:

  • XP: Award additional experience for exploring new locations. I have played in an Edge of the Empire game where this was one of our best ways to gain XP. Also High Rollers (a DND livesteam) have recently introduced this mechanic to their new campaign and it works to great effect. By incentivizing exploration with XP the players often divert from the main quest to check out the interesting location that are mentioned. Whereas previously they were focused on their goals and getting to their destination safely.
  • Unique Items: Some items can only be obtained through side quests. Side quests can only be found by exploring. I like to give my players items themed around the NPCs they meet. Meeting more people gives them access to different kinds of items. This directly encourages them to get out more if they want the cool stuff.
  • NPC allies: By not exploring they are missing out on the chance to meet people. Create some clearly useful NPCs that they can only meet through exploring and they will be encourage to look for more. My players love this and go exploring in every location hoping to meet interesting NPCs.

Don't give them a destination

To extend the second point above, maybe there are entire quests or story arcs that requires them to search for something/one and teleporting around won't help them.

Make teleportation more difficult

You say you increase the difficulty when going somewhere they have only heard of, perhaps you should consider increase this penalty to further discourage them from just teleporting to random destinations.

Also if they are just teleporting into a place that they have never been, they have no guarantee they are going to land safely. Yes, you can teleport into the BBEG's base but you have no control over whether you land in the quiet back corner undetected or right in the middle of guard rifle training. If teleporting in gives them issues a few times they might be more hesitant to use it right away.

I would suggest that the minimum difficult for teleporting to an unknown destination would be 2 Challenge Dice plus how ever many Difficulty Die you need to use that ability normally. This gives you a decent chance to roll a Despair and have something go wrong. Teleporting somewhere you don't know should be risky and not having a Challenge Dice by default is pretty easy. I imagine the players have fairly large pools for their abilities anyway.

Penalize them for not doing it

This isn't my preferred approach but something you can try if they still don't get the point.

Have things happen without them there. Riots, billboard wanted ads, or more subtle things. Whatever it is continue that storyline through even though the players didn't show up. Player's didn't walk through town? They weren't there to save that bus load of orphans. They didn't explore that building? They missed the villain's warning that he was going to assassinate the president.

Whatever story you use make it clear that they missed something. Communicate it to them through news broadcasts or tip offs from there allies.

Drag them out through story hooks

They have an apartment right? So they have neighbours? Or they have loved ones? Someone that the PCs would do anything for? Use those characters to lead the PCs out to explore. Maybe grandma needs help with the shopping? Maybe their neighbour owes somebody a lot of money and needs help delivering it? Heaps of classic superhero stories start with the heroes doing everyday errands, so encourage them to go out and do them.

Make exploring fun too

If you group teleports because it's fun and they get to show off their cool abilities, then you need to find a way to make exploring just as much fun.

Figure out what kind of play they enjoy and ensure they get lots of that when they go exploring. Maybe they are the kind of group that just likes completing missions, so give lots of mini-quests that they can complete while exploring. Or maybe they just like boss fights and can't be bothered with the lead up. Put in car chases and big actions sequences that they can only be part of if they are there at that exact time.

I like to fill my world with quirky fun NPCs that my players love. This encourages them to explore the world around them to meet as many as they can. Often they will go bar hoping just to see what I come up with.

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