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this is my first time asking on here so I hope I'm asking a viable question.

So I'm currently GMing for a four man party in my Force and Destiny game. The party is made up of three Force-users and a droid. Things started off well but as we started to progress though the story a few concerning behaviors began to creep up. First off, my players aren't the most dedicated roleplayers. This itself isn't a huge deal as long as they at least try to play their characters and not themselves. They only play their characters in the third person and when addressing NPC's in game they would rather say, "I tell him X," or, "We tell them Y". Their lack of roleplaying isn't the issue but it probably contributes to it.

The problem I'm having is that they over analyze everything and they prefer to take "realistic" shortcuts to challenges in their way.

For example, if the party discovers a locked door with a magnetic shield over it, they would just cut through the wall next to it. If I were to tell them the shield extends to the wall I would just get a collective sigh from the group. If a bunch of outlaws were using a cave as a base, my players would just pile up logs at the entrance and ignite them in an attempt to suffocate the inhabitants. If I give the occupants oxygen masks it looks like I'm just railroading them inside. Tracking beacon aboard their ship? They just tell me that they're going to take X minutes to just find it instead of wasting their time rolling.

A few sessions ago they were ambushed in the jungle. Before the first round of combat even began they took ten real minutes to strategize their entire counterattack and to calculate the damage it would take to take out the attackers. I'm all for creative solutions but their constant pausing of the action to engineer the perfect solution for everything just removes the immersion or any sense of tension for everyone involved.

Should I just play along as long as they're having fun? Do I just make every enemy they come across irrationally over prepared? Should I plate every mundane wall in starship armor just so they bother with the door? Maybe I'm the problem for preparing a campaign for Jedi when they want to play as Soldiers?

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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI the current popular term for this dichotomy is Combat As Sport vs Combat As War, cf. enworld.org/forum/… \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 31 '16 at 3:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note that speaking in character is neither the definition nor a prerequisite of role-playing. Even someone very dedicated to playing the role of their character can be uneasy speaking in 1st person, and shouldn't be forced to speak that way. It's role-playing, not acting. \$\endgroup\$ – Angew Oct 31 '16 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Let them try cutting through the wall -- breaking gods know how many wires and conduits, making gods know how much noise, attracting the attention of every imperial in the are, possibly causing other malfunctions that could be life-threatening later... ("...I think I blasted it....") Realistic actions have realistic consequences. \$\endgroup\$ – keshlam Nov 1 '16 at 0:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, if I'm not getting it, but are you expecting your players to do nothing and/or wanting them to fail? For instance is the magnetic shield door supposed to be utterly impossible to get through? Should the players just look at it, shrug and go somewhere else, whilst sighing wistfully that they'll never learn what is behind that door? If it is NOT supposed to be impossible, then what does it matter if they cut thru the wall, pick the lock, cut the power to the shield, bribe the janitor to loan them the keys or any other solution? \$\endgroup\$ – DrBob Apr 24 '18 at 15:40
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Maybe FFG Star Wars is not the right system for them

RPGs cater for all types of roleplayers: from those at the tactical simulation (almost wargame) end to the immersive end (almost improv acting). FFG's Star Wars system is more at the improv acting end of the scale. It sounds like your players want a system at the wargame end of the scale.

The best solution may be to find a system that suits their playstyle and tweak it to fit in the Star Wars universe.

Tell your players "Realism doesn't work here"

FFG Star Wars about reproducing the cinematic action that you see in the films. The resolution mechanic expects that the players will try the sorts of crazy things that the character's in the films try and succeed at.

If your players are unwilling to unhesitatingly drop from a speeder a mile above Coruscant knowing their target will be there when they arrive, or shooting the Sarlacc to free a companion even though they are blind, or turning off their targeting computer and relying a lifetime total of 15 minutes Force training just because these things are stupid crazy then you need to tell them that all of these things are awesome and that million to one shots in Star Wars come up 9 times out of 10.

When you throw to them for there input don't just ask "What do you do?", ask "What is the most awesome thing you could do right now?" and find a way to make awesome work.

Star Wars is a morality tale about space wizards - what's realistic about that?

Your specific questions

Should I just play along as long as they're having fun?

If you are having fun too, yes.

Do I just make every enemy they come across irrationally over prepared?

Depends on what irrationally means. People put deadlocks on their houses even though all that's keeping a housebreaker out is 3mm of easily breakable glass - now that's irrational.

Notwithstanding, I fail to understand what would be irrational over preparation in:

  • having patrols to protect whatever it was that was worth magnetic shielding so that if e.g. someone decided to take the time to cut through the way, the patrol would find them before they finished. Anyone can get into or out of anywhere with their fingernails if you leave them alone for long enough: why would you leave them alone?

  • launching an ambush and then waiting 10 minutes to take your second shot! Fair enough, let the player's take as long as they want when they are setting the ambush but once the blaster bolts start flying it is perfectly reasonable to tell your players "You have 30 seconds of real time to tell me your actions or I'll rule that you stand there panicking instead."

Should I plate every mundane wall in starship armor just so they bother with the door?

It might be irrational to make a mundane wall out of starship armour if, for example, modern plasteel isn't stronger than magnetic shielding: if so it would be the first time in human history where a door was stronger than a wall. If you go with the door stronger than the wall theory, why bother with the wall at all: just make the room out of magnetic shields.

Maybe I'm the problem for preparing a campaign for Jedi when they want to play as Soldiers?

Nope - the problem is you prepared for FFG Star Wars when they wanted D&D 4e.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Immersion" is not incompatible with wanting to solve problems in a realistic, risk-avoiding way. That approach just means that the characters want to stay alive and are willing to be methodical about it. I agree that Star Wars doesn't seem like a good setting for this group. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dallman Oct 31 '16 at 8:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ "it would be the first time in human history where a door was stronger than a wall" isn't really true; in real life when reinforced metal doors in e.g. apartment buildings are involved, then a quick break-in (either by robbers or firefighters) is often easier through the wall next to the door. Also, internal walls in many modern houses are not much sturdier as the doors, so in close combat situations it's feasible to choose breaching a wall (instead of breaching a locked door) just for the surprise effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Peteris Oct 31 '16 at 9:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Besides being ambushed while you're cutting through a wall, cutting through a wall in a high technology setting seems like it might not be the safest idea. Who knows what kinds of high voltage power lines or plasma conduits there might be running through those walls that could have nasty side effects such as arcing electricity or flesh melting plasma gas. \$\endgroup\$ – Shufflepants Oct 31 '16 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "What's the most awesome thing you can do right now?" \$\endgroup\$ – Gustav Bertram Nov 1 '16 at 8:24
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First off, my players aren't the most dedicated roleplayers. This itself isn't a > huge deal as long as they at least try to play their characters and not themselves. They only play their characters in the third person and when addressing NPC's in game they would rather say, "I tell him X," or, "We tell them Y". Their lack of roleplaying isn't the issue but it probably contributes

This isn't a big problem, in the grand scheme of things. I understand that you might prefer a little more effort, and by all means feel free to ask them for it, but I don't think the lack of role-play is really a factor here.

For example, if the party discovers a locked door with a magnetic shield over it, they would just cut through the wall next to it. If I were to tell them the shield extends to the wall I would just get a collective sigh from the group. If a bunch of outlaws were using a cave as a base, my players would just pile up logs at the entrance and ignite them in an attempt to suffocate the inhabitants. If I give the occupants oxygen masks it looks like I'm just railroading them inside.

No offense, but you ARE railroading them. This is a situation that can best be resolved by adjusting YOUR behaviour to suit them. Let your players' ideas work, and come up with new twists, rather than immediately shutting them down with the most obvious counter move possible.

Your players want to solve the problems you put in front of them in their own way. As other responders have already said, this is generally a good thing. Better a player who cares in a way you didn't expect than one who doesn't care at all.

Instead of telling them the force field extends over the wall to stop them from cutting through, simply allow them to cut through and move on. Later, an enemy patrol will find the hole and sound an alarm, preferably at a dramatically appropriate moment (ie: worst possible timing for the players.) Or have a patrol stumble across them while they cut, as was also suggested. OR, have there be guards on the other side of the wall, ready and waiting because they've been watching the pointy end of a lightsaber cut through the wall for the last several minutes.

Instead of magically giving the outlaws oxygen masks when the fires start, allow the outlaws to escape through a second entrance on the other side of the mountain. The players don't see any sign of outlaws while they wait for the smoke to fill the cave - maybe they notice a plume of smoke after an hour or so and realize there's another way for it to escape the cave. The outlaws can run away, circle around to ambush the players outside the cave, or hole up near the second entrance (where they can still breathe) and prepare for a forthcoming assault.

Tracking beacon aboard their ship? They just tell me that they're going to take X minutes to just find it instead of wasting their time rolling.

Answer that it will take a lot more than MINUTES to find a tracking beacon on a star ship. For all they know it's stuck on the outside of the hull - this isn't just a case of turning over all the throw pillows. If they want to go over the entire ship meticulously rather than rolling a skill check, they'll need to land somewhere and spend a few HOURS doing so.

Also let them know that this option will remain valid even after they've tried (and potentially failed) the skill check, but the skill check might let them find it much faster. That will probably leave them inclined to try the roll.

As an aside, if your players complain that making dice rolls is a "waste of time" that may be an indication that you're asking them to roll for too many things. Not everything NEEDS to be resolved by the dice. In particular, things that are not time sensitive or don't have serious long-term consequences can generally be hand-waved without too much ado.

A few sessions ago they were ambushed in the jungle. Before the first round of combat even began they took ten real minutes to strategize their entire counterattack and to calculate the damage it would take to take out the attackers. I'm all for creative solutions but their constant pausing of the action to engineer the perfect solution for everything just removes the immersion or any sense of tension for everyone involved.

How to handle this kind of situation is highly subjective. Invoking a time limit of turns or threatening to skip player turns is one way to go - although given that they're already grumbling about you railroading them too much, I doubt that would go over well.

Another option would be to let them take their time strategizing. Thematically speaking, their characters are all highly trained warrior-monks, and would probably be able to run through the tactical options in their minds a lot faster than a group of teenagers who've never been in a real life-or-death fight before can. In the meantime, you can LISTEN TO THEM TALK, and take notes about what they expect will happen, which you can then work with to make the game exciting and fun for everyone. Keep the ideas you like and use them, twist or toss out the ideas you don't. Keep in mind that you probably want the players to win the fight in the end, so don't come up with escape clauses for everything.

I've had more than a few games where the players praised "my great ideas" for things, when the truth is they were the players' ideas cribbed from these sorts of planning discussions.

Should I just play along as long as they're having fun? Do I just make every enemy they come across irrationally over prepared? Should I plate every mundane wall in starship armor just so they bother with the door? Maybe I'm the problem for preparing a campaign for Jedi when they want to play as Soldiers?

Jedi ARE soldiers, in their own way. They can wade through armies of droids, reflecting lasers left and right. They can lay waste to entire planets with a handful of men.

Don't make the enemies OVER prepared, but don't make them entirely ignorant either. There's a fine line between making the enemies SMART and making them TOO SMART.

If the enemies have a fortress that the players need to break into, they're probably prepared for the idea that SOMEONE might try to break in. That's what fortresses are built for, after all. You don't need to line the walls in starship armor, but absolutely do set up patrols through common areas. Have guards posted in logical choke points and outside important doors. Use security cameras, dogs (or alien dogs from Chekov-9, whatever), laser beam fields, etc. DROIDS come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used to secure ventilation shafts or hide in less obvious positions. If there's a sith or other force-user among the enemy, he can monitor for force presences and things like that (although if there's NOT a force-user among the enemy, they would probably be weakly defended against such things.)

Whatever you prepare in advance for a given session, be prepared to throw it out the window if the players come up with an idea you hadn't considered. LET THEM DO THEIR THING and respond to it logically, rather than shutting them down immediately because it isn't the approach you planned for. In quiet moments (while travelling, camping for the night, etc) ask your players what they're doing, or how they're preparing for the fight ahead (whatever they expect at that moment they will be facing.) Encourage them to talk and plan ahead, and take notes while they do.

You have as much right to have fun as they do, so consider your own feelings while you do all this, but try to think of it an an opportunity to make your friends' enjoyment better, instead of as a problem you need to fix.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the dynamic solutions to these problems. I was going to post an answer to that point. If the world is alive with patrols and bounty hunters and rebels that know not to only have one exit from their cave, they will move in response to the players, rather than just waiting for the players to come to them. Once the players understand that every action they take has consequences, they'll be more likely to make interesting nuanced decisions for you to capitalize on. \$\endgroup\$ – Cort Ammon Oct 31 '16 at 15:47
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A couple broad principles for you to consider:

  1. It's a game, so as long as everyone's having fun, you're good. That said, remember that you are also playing this game, albeit with a slightly different role, and it sounds like you aren't having fun.

  2. Your players are finding creative ways to address situations you put in front of them. This is generally considered to be a good thing - it shows that they're engaged and trying to achieve their goals in ways that keep their characters alive.

  3. Different people get different things out of RPGs at different times. It sounds like you were hoping this game would be a high-action, fast-paced space opera, and they're looking at it as more of a strategic exercise. Those are both valid ways to play and valid things to want to see!

So with those in mind, the main thing you need to do is get aligned on the style of this game, and the rules that support that style. In a time-sensitive situation, how long is it reasonable to pause and think about your approach? Is it OK to discuss things with each other all the time, or only when your characters could actually be conversing? Will the group usually kick down the door and go in swinging, or are they expected to come up with detailed plans if they don't want to die? (Be especially honest about this one - do your players think they'll get hurt if they're not cautious, and have you given them reason to think that?) For that matter, how big a deal is it if someone does die? These are questions you need to sit down and discuss, as a group.

You could also point out that GM prep is work - "there are going to be times when the adventure I have prepared is in the cave, so if you don't go inside the cave I'll be winging it at best." With that perspective, they may be more willing to play along and apply their creativity to finding reasons for their characters to follow the story. As a matter of fact, you might ask one or more of them to help you design adventures, check for plot holes, and figure out what would qualify as appropriately prepared enemies and/or compelling reasons to do things a certain way that you can plan for. (Yes, this means sacrificing a bit of surprise/mystique, but I think most of us GMs over-value those compared to not burning out trying to create the perfect experience on our own.)

Once you've had those discussions and agreed on the sort of experience you're going for (assuming you're able to find a compromise everyone can live with), everyone gets to do their best to make that experience happen. For you, that probably means designing the kind of adventures your players will enjoy. Put them in a difficult situation that requires creativity to resolve - a jailbreak is classic, but diplomatic, infiltration, or hostage situations can also call for a non-obvious way of getting things done. Let them feel the satisfaction of getting around the obstacles that they clearly crave, and see if that's less frustrating for you when it's intentional.

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As a player of Star Wars DnD who also likes to overengineer the perfect solution to everything, I have to say that I had the best DM ever. I know it's a different game than FFG Star Wars but please hear me out.

Our DM was very concerned with keeping both her dice rolls and the rolls we needed secret. This made the game considerably more fun for my group. Even when we wanted to do something like fly over a toxic swamp using the force (actual example), she would have the required roll (in her head) be very high. If we got a 20 then we only got so many turns of flight and burned a LOT of force points. It kept the game balanced and allowed us to have our fun.

I honestly have no idea how FFG works but if you can let them have their fun then you might get enjoyment out of designing consequences for their out-of-the-box solutions.

From your example, when they tried to cut through the wall you could have had the wall collapse and then guards become alert (giving the guards something like an initiative roll bonus). If they succeed in cutting the wall down, just add more enemies in the boss room because the enemies weren't lured to the magnetic field generator that should have been broken.

TL;DR. Design harder scenarios assuming that they will come up with some off-the-wall solution that makes it balanced. If they fail, they fail.

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