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I have just started a Cyberpunk campaign. 2 of us are experienced RPG-ers, 1 hasn’t played in about 10 years and the other 2 are complete newbies. The GM is not new to RPGs, but is new to Cyberpunk, and this is his first time as GM.

Both myself and the lapsed player have Cyberpunk experience; everyone else is brand new.

My character is a Solo, the only one in the group. My backstory is that I have no personal memories from beyond 6 months ago, but I do remember a lot of “stuff” (how to shoot and fight, history of the world, some local knowledge etc).

The other experienced player is a Netrunner whose personality is that of a weak, sniveling coward who tries to stay out of the way as much as possible if he isn’t hacking.

We have run 2 sessions, and I am finding that I am naturally leading the group - partly because this first mission came from an NPC fixer to me and the other players happened to be around and also looking for work allowing me to put a crew together. I am trying my hardest not to direct the new players’ characters too much and give them a sense of agency to make there own choices, to the point of telling the crew in-game that I am not a leader - I shoot and I kill - but I have so far found myself being put in a position to lead every scene and conversation by the other players, both in and out of game.

The other experienced role-player is playing his role really well, so he allowing himself to be led, becoming distracted and not coming up with many ideas. The ideas he does come up with, he feeds through me, due to the fact that in-game we have known each other the longest and I have protected him the last 3 months.

The lapsed player is a Nomad, as is one of the first-timers. The other first-timer is a Rocker and, to my mind, has the stats that should be leading most conversations; she just doesn’t know at the moment what to ask or do.

Since I've never been in a group with such inexperienced players, what techniques can I use as a player to help the new players get a sense that they can come up with ideas and choices? The last thing I want to be is “that player” who makes all the decisions and chooses the route we take, but at the moment, the players are leaning very much on me.

Should I maybe have a chat with the other experienced player and suggest he change his approach slightly to allow him to take a more direct role in making suggestions, so that at least it isn’t all coming from me?

An added complication is that currently we are having to all play online, so we have the vagaries of webcam chat to deal with, which might be stifling things a little more.

How can I ensure that these new players don’t get bored within a few sessions and feel that all they are doing is making up the numbers for dice-rolling in combat?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Has anyone else voiced any concerns about the current flow of the game? Or have you sensed any such signs from them? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jun 26 at 0:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: As a player, how to engage new players more? \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Jun 26 at 0:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not familiar enough with the system to know if the game mechanics are relevant to the issue, but what version of Cyberpunk are you playing? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 26 at 0:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Playing cyberpunk red but this is more a role playing issue then a game system issue, once combat starts and we have our distinct turns all is good, it’s the more general role playing aspects, eg you go into a bar what do you want to do, who do you want to talk to etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Richard C Jun 26 at 8:27
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MikeQ linked an excellent and relevant related question. The accepted answer for that has some similar advice.

My own experience trying to get new players to participate more has led me to use the following techniques and principles.

  1. Ask the "Experts": Each character is made with a particular set of skills. When a relevant situation arises, ask that character in character to deal with / help with the challenge. Need to get into a club without killing the bouncers? Ask the charismatic rocker to get you in the door. Need to drive, plan a route, or load a vehicle? Ask the Nomad because they know as much about transport as your Solo knows about killing.
  2. Be Patient: Players usually hate to have silence at the table, but sometimes the other players just need a little time to think about their approach (or work up their courage). Before I jump in with a half-baked plan, I try to ask if anyone is working on an idea. Being patient with new players, showing them that they can get the time needed to comfortably participate, can welcome them in a way nothing else will.
  3. Helpful Suggestions: This is a big one, especially in existing settings that I know well and others don't. Sometimes I have to pop out of character and provide some background information and some ideas that fit the situation and character. Don't tell them what to do, instead provide some good options and then let them figure out what they want to do.
  4. Wrangle the Other Players: Sometimes players try to grab the spotlight without realizing that they are stealing it from other players. Keep an eye on that and keep participating players from hogging the spotlight. You don't want to silence participation, but you don't want to let others silence participation. It's a fine line to walk, but really helpful if you can walk it.

Good luck.

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