I am both a DM and player for our group in two separate campaigns. Some of us are brand new and some are semi-moderately experienced.

I have a noticed a pattern in both games where some players, (about 2 or 3 out of 5), really enjoy the socialization of talking up npc's and persuading and getting the most of whatever dialogue they can get going. The others seem bored during that portion of role play. I think there are two factors; 1 - their character is someone with terrible social skills and they may feel like trying to engage is sub-optimal or not a good idea, 2 - they want to get to aspects of the game they find more interesting for them.

So when I am GM I want to try to balance between the two and when I am a player (playing a barbarian) I try to stay engaged and input my low intelligence/high ego and let people see that I don't get punished for opening my mouth.

So I am trying to come up with a balance between the two, which leads to my question: What are common strategies GMs use to balance socialization time for these players with different priorities?

I will mention that the campaign I am GM'ing for is in its early stages, so I am currently facing the setup of the main campaign hub for early-mid game and looking at all these different threads and NPCs the characters have to meet, and knowing that their tendency is to do the online MMO thing of optimizing quest gathering by sweeping through town and collecting all the quests before deciding which are worth pursuing and whether they can complete several at once... which would be one heck of a giant information dump and socialization session.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The first step to solving any problem with a gaming group is communication. You say they "seem bored," but are they? You're guessing at what their issues might be, but you haven't talked to them and simply asked? Without knowing why they don't like this part of the game, it is difficult to provide you with a strategy that will be effective. \$\endgroup\$
    – ruffdove
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 18:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is natural differences in players that causes them to be interested in different areas of the game so I'm a little confused by your comment. Why do you like one food more than another? The answer invariably comes down to your taste. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 21, 2020 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ My comment was simply addressing the fact that your question left room for doubt that you'd actually talked to the players and found out exactly how they felt about the different parts of the game. "Seemed bored," "I think there are two factors..." \$\endgroup\$
    – ruffdove
    Commented Nov 21, 2020 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


Time Can Still Work in Rounds

When it comes to splitting the party and wanting to give them all fair face time in any scenario, I've gone to turn based actions. Even social interaction can be broken down into bite sized chunks, allowing you to cut away to the more roll-play moments fairly. Depending on what you divide the segments into, it could be two combat rounds to (more or less) five meta-minutes of role play per parallel scene. You can always expand/contract from there. I've also found this useful when their goals converge at the end.

If you're saying the party frequently splits up and gauges what they do based on individual quest rewards,then you may have to restructure your game so that the party has incentive to stay together - whether different characters, setting, or the introduction of overarchs. If their style is "MMO", why not make the "unimportant" quests done in the "downtime" and the major game itself be the ones they do together "raid" style? You can finagle development however you wish to account for it.


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