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Author Topic: Remarkable Player Apathy: Is it just me?  (Read 11920 times)
Eric J.
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« on: June 05, 2002, 12:58:58 PM »

Game: Star Wars D6 with modifications done by me.

Timeframe:1:30-3:00 {break} 6:00-11:00{Episode 1} 8:00-11:00(AM)

Characters: Vyroth Pthero (Human Slicer);Ray Wind (Near-Human friendly commander played by a newbie);Ron Wind (Near-Human content researcher-{Scratchware});Velona Mar (Human Jedi Knight)

GM: ME

Scenerio: In the old republic, near after Episode 2, the Sepertists are becoming a growing threat to the planet Aurora, a world that values it's independance from the galaxy at large.  The adventure starts on one of it's space stations, Frost.  The Friendly Commander is in charge of security and needs to protect the ambassidors from sepertists in 2 days.  He's briefed and informed that the Republic is sending a Jedi Knight to assist him.  She has extrodinary sense abilites and is very calm and serene.  I messed up, big time, with Ron (the character), as I made him read books most of the time.  The player chose his template, so I thought that he wouldn't mind.  The slicer is hired to be the auxillary assistant camera maintenance provider.  The security is almost impossibly well placed, and the Ambassidors arive, and are escorted to the diplomacy room.  They are protected by 3 consecuative force-fields which can only be changed by computer, presumibly by security.  The time comes and the room is flooded with poison gas, and they are trapped by what was designed to give them protection, the forcefields.  I give the pary 15 rounds before the ambassidors die, with a minute to think about what they're going to do.  Vyroth, the slicer decides to try to deactivate the force fields, but can't get all three.  Securty is ausalted by a man with a vibroblade making it Ray's (the commander's) job to protect every one.  The guy with the vibroblade has much more skill.  The Jedi is trapped with the deligates and can't do much to protect them from the gas.  The slicer finds it easier to deactivate all power in the space station and it works.  The amabssidors are freed.  The man with the vibroblade is thrown forward by a fragment grendade the commander uses.  Similtaniously the gravity turns off.  As the forcefields turn off, the Jedi thinks that the worst is over, but 5 seperatist infantry appear and fire at the Republic deligate and the Auroran deligate and the researcher is trapped in the library with thousands of floating books.  The player had the hard desision of deciding which one to save.  She saves the Auroran deligate.  The body guards, assigned to protect the ambassidors kill off the seperatist soldiurs and the gravity turns back on.  Ron (the character) was unable to save himself and dies. The Jedi confronts a Dark Jedi (the guy with the vibroblade) and he runs away again.  Scratchware gets to use another template I made and get's the entire party into his ship (except Ron).  They dodge fighters and crash land on the planet.

Now, how does this have ANYTHING to do with the title? Well several things.  

First: Scratchware's character was killed by falling books when the gravity was turned back on.  I found this humerous, because I caries a flare of poetic irony (researcher killed by books).  I asked him, afterwards what he liked most about the session, and he said that he didn't like anything because his character died, and complained that I didn't carry over his experience.

Second: When they were crashlanding, Scratchware used some of his experience to save the ship.  The jedi's player told him that he shouldn't have used experience to make his roll better because I, as the GM, wouldn't kill off the party, "because then his campaign would be ruined."  This severelley ticked me off.

Third: The Jedi's player refused to answere some basic questions about how he felt that the session went.  He is the GM, some of the time, and I asked him what experence he would most likelley retell or remember (as GM guidelines often times ask of you to do).  He insisted that he would never post on the forge or anywhere else, "Why would I do that?".  He has always insisted that "Fine.  Kill off my character.  It's just a game.  It may be a game that I play for 14 hours but it is still a game." Yes.  He IS correct but what kind of attitude is that?

Fourth: The player's threats to boycott my campaigns, that occasionally happen, usually when they don't like my decisions.

I'm sorry for making this so dissorganized, but it's hard to summerize something that took about 10 hours to make.  Do your player ever have these kinds of reactions.  Do they display any emotion whatsoever, besides humor?  Mine don't.  This was a reasonably researched and prepared campaign, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm doing something wrong.  Thanks in advance.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2002, 01:37:06 PM »

Uh...wow...I don't know exactly where to start. I'll try here, but I'm actually a bit lost on things, so if my answer doesn't work for you, let me know...

Quote from: Pyron
First: Scratchware's character was killed by falling books when the gravity was turned back on.  I found this humerous, because I caries a flare of poetic irony (researcher killed by books).  I asked him, afterwards what he liked most about the session, and he said that he didn't like anything because his character died, and complained that I didn't carry over his experience.


First, you're doing the right thing by asking the players what went well. The thing is that no one cares what you think is funny, they came to play and live through their own fantasies, not to get killed by "poetic justice" or anything else. Now, I have no problem with players dying generally (I wrote TROS...), but I realize that it's a sensitive thing and not everyone can handle it. Scratchware, it seems, can't. Was there any reason for his character dying there? Did it add to the story or atomosphere?

Quote
Second: When they were crashlanding, Scratchware used some of his experience to save the ship.  The jedi's player told him that he shouldn't have used experience to make his roll better because I, as the GM, wouldn't kill off the party, "because then his campaign would be ruined."  This severelley ticked me off.


Is that a precedent you've set? Another thing to say works like this (I do this playing TROS all the time): If someone doesn't spend a force point, then you are all probably going to die. I mean, I'll roll and stuff, but chances are huge that you're all going to die? So, who wants to spend that force point (and, because it was a heroic thing, they'll get it back with a friend at the end of the game, IIRC). Be prepared to kill everyone, but let them know that's what is going to happen and give them a say in it.

Quote
Third: The Jedi's player refused to answere some basic questions about how he felt that the session went.  He is the GM, some of the time, and I asked him what experence he would most likelley retell or remember (as GM guidelines often times ask of you to do).  He insisted that he would never post on the forge or anywhere else, "Why would I do that?".  He has always insisted that "Fine.  Kill off my character.  It's just a game.  It may be a game that I play for 14 hours but it is still a game." Yes.  He IS correct but what kind of attitude is that?


It's a bad one. We used to play with someone like that. We don't anymore.

On the other hand, it's possible that he didn't have a good time. He should have been more willing to help you out, but he might be a little upset that he's not running/ in control (a lot of GMs don't really know how to play, just how to run). The answer, I think, is group-authorship (Kickers, OOC info, whatever). Ask him where he wants his story to go. Ask him why he chose to play a Jedi--what's he trying to get out of it? Then give it to him.

Quote
Fourth: The player's threats to boycott my campaigns, that occasionally happen, usually when they don't like my decisions.


Maybe your group would be happier playing with someone else or in a different style of play. When they create their characters ask them why they chose their templates and what inspiration they have for them. Ask them where they want to go--not "in this adventure," but rather, "how do you see your character--Vader, Fett, Skywalker, Obi-Wan, Han Solo, etc. Then create adventures that are like that, allowing them to do "what they wanted to do."

Quote
I'm sorry for making this so dissorganized, but it's hard to summerize something that took about 10 hours to make.  Do your player ever have these kinds of reactions.  Do they display any emotion whatsoever, besides humor?  Mine don't.  This was a reasonably researched and prepared campaign, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm doing something wrong.  Thanks in advance.


Maybe you're doing too much. Let them take responsibility for their characters and the games. I find that when the stories matter to the players, then they "get into it," no matter what. If the stories don't mean anything to them, then they won't. End of story.

I hope that this didn't sound too harsh, but your problem is a serious one (as far as gaming goes) as well as a common one, and somtimes the problems we have are both internal and external.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2002, 01:49:22 PM »

Hi Eric,

Man, your post is serious stuff. I have no easy answers, but I'm familiar with a lot of what you're describing.

Tell me if the following situation is at all like yours.

A man and a woman are dating. One person tells the other, "I love you, and I trust you to meet my needs."

"Okay," the other replies. Some time goes by.

"Hey," says the first person, "you aren't meeting my needs! I'm miserable! How could you do this to me?"

"Wait a minute," says the second, "You never told me what your needs were."

The first person bursts into tears and says, "If you loved me, you'd know without having to ask!"


GMs and players often get into this trap together. Someone in the group is basically saying, "Entertain me, but I'm not going to tell you how. If you don't know how, then obviously you're a lousy GM/player."

This whole attitude is not fair, and even worse, it simply doesn't work. Some form of accord has to be reached about (a) why we are all doing this in the first place and (b) the way we'll do it.

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2002, 01:53:05 PM »

Hey, Eric.

Wowie Kazowie! What a post. You asked what you're doing wrong and I hardly know where to start. So I'll roll randomly.

Quote from: Pyron
...I messed up, big time, with Ron (the character), as I made him read books most of the time.  The player chose his template, so I thought that he wouldn't mind.
Quote


Whoa! you made his character read books all the time? SO basically Scratchware sat there the entire envening doing nothing because his character was off reading?

(edit: others made better comment about character death above so I'll leave it to them)

Quote
Second: When they were crashlanding, Scratchware used some of his experience to save the ship.  The jedi's player told him that he shouldn't have used experience to make his roll better because I, as the GM, wouldn't kill off the party, "because then his campaign would be ruined."  This severelley ticked me off.


OK, we seem to still be on character death here. Maybe we need more clairification. WHy did this tick you off?

Quote
Third: The Jedi's player refused to answere some basic questions about how he felt that the session went.  He is the GM, some of the time, and I asked him what experence he would most likelley retell or remember (as GM guidelines often times ask of you to do).  He insisted that he would never post on the forge or anywhere else, "Why would I do that?".  He has always insisted that "Fine.  Kill off my character.  It's just a game.  It may be a game that I play for 14 hours but it is still a game." Yes.  He IS correct but what kind of attitude is that?

Fourth: The player's threats to boycott my campaigns, that occasionally happen, usually when they don't like my decisions.

Clearly your players aren't enjoying themselves. This may be why they don't display any emotion. They have no emtion invested into the campaign.

Boy-o-boy. I'm not even sure where I was going with this post but I think your play group has much deeper problems than you kill their characters. I think your group is playing more out of habbit than out of any real desire to play anymore.
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J B Bell
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2002, 02:29:20 PM »

Wow.

OK, Eric.  I hope you don't mind the critiques other people have handed you, because they're true.  They don't mean you're evil or stupid or anything like that, but this looks like one of those groups that has probably played together a while, and has the fictional notion that there's "no one else to play with."  I say this because "threatening a boycott" is the most asinine thing ever, and play groups that don't feel stuck with each other just don't do that.  Boycotting a GM means nothing; a "boycott" is when consumers organize to ruin a producer's reputation (and possibly affect the bottom line) by publicly refusing to do business with that producer.

I'll try to cover stuff I see that has not been mentioned already, though it has had mention previously on other topics:

1. You are not stuck with each other.  Frankly, if I were a marriage counsellor, I'd say "um, yeah, time for as amicable a divorce as you can manage."  What you describe is very dysfunctional.  There are other players and GMs out there, and they can show up in unlikely places.  I've met people I'm sure I could have gotten to try at least one game at my gym, and just last night at a meeting of the Co-op Housing Federation of British Columbia Delegate's Meeting.  All I did was mention that I like RPGs, and people were curious about it, because I wasn't defensive of my hobby.  (I did not launch into complaining about how there are "no players" in BC.)

Anyway.  Take that for what it's worth.  Maybe you were upset and things are not as bad as they seem.  But just knowing that walking away is an option, and an honorable one, for you and anyone else in the group, sometimes takes a lot of the pressure off that is causing so much heartache.

2. For God's sake, play something else.  Just Monopoly or whatever.  If your group can't even do that and maintain some fun and peaceful problem resolution, that is definitely it.  If you find that you get along well, then the problems may not be really low-level social ones, and you might then try re-building trust with your players.  Play an RPG that gets its fun from something besides nail-bitingly horrible consequences for failure, especially consequences that make it so that a player can't continue play.  InSpectres comes to mind, but there are plenty of free ones out there too.

I could keep going on here, but that's my most concrete suggestion.

--JB
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2002, 02:30:48 PM »

The jedi's player told him that he shouldn't have used experience to make his roll better because I, as the GM, wouldn't kill off the party, "because then his campaign would be ruined." This severelley ticked me off.

You, Eric, are in the middle of power struggle with your players to rival the Middle East peace conflict. Each side is set in white-knuckled determination to deny the other what it wants and needs to be happy. They can ruin your game, and you know it. You can irrelevantize their characters, and/or make them look ridiculous, and they know it.

And believe me when I tell you, it won't end through escalation. It will only end when one side makes a substantial overture toward the other side. And because they can't possibly coherently make an overture to you, it has to be you. This is what that overture looks like:

When you prep for the next session, and at all times when you're running it, keep one thing in mind: my job is to do the things that cause the player characters emerge as significant. The player who chose to create a researcher didn't do so because he wanted the character to sit around reading books all the time. He did so because he wanted a character whose significance emerged from out of being a researcher. Your job is to do whatever it takes to make that happen. Strange books bound in jedi skin need to be translated...whatever. Look at each character. Think about each player, the character they created, and what they most enjoy in movies and books, and do whatever it takes when you're prepping and running the game so the things that are important to the player (not reading books or whatever that you think is important to the character) are things that occur and cause the character to emerge as significant.

Good luck,

Paul
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Blake Hutchins
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2002, 02:48:32 PM »

Yark.  Pyron, I don't exactly know where to start either.  Sounds like it ended up as a horrible experience for everyone.  I think you're asking the right questions, so hopefully our comments and feedback prove helpful.  Warning -- It's your game, Pyron.  As you read, please remember my ideas and comments are offered from a desire to help.  If something I say pisses you off, take a deep breath, stick a pin in my URL, and e-mail me.

OK, I'll start with this:  When you recount experiences in Actual Play, please-please-please don't give us the huge infodump of "and then, and then..." story.  We're interested less in the details of the story or plot and more in what significant things happened during play, in terms of how the rules worked, the decisions the players made, what techiques seemed to work, etc.  The blow-by-blow retelling of game events tends to get muddled and hard to parse in a hurry.

I say this because the meat of what you're concerned with had nothing to do with story and everything to do with group dynamics and in-play decisions of group members.  Dunno about you, but when I hit a breathless whomp of a paragraph like your initial plot summary, my eyes glaze over, my mouth fills with stomach acid, and the keyboard makes a nice grid pattern on my face.

OK, having restated the obvious, I can breathe a bit easier.

Let me break out the elements of what I see: (a) a random, deprotagonizing death of a player character, (b) negative player attitudes, including what I'd call open baiting of the GM, (c) post hoc resentment of game events, (d) a character whose concept was at variance -- or even in opposition -- with the thrust of the game, (e) inter-player sniping, and (f) a mission-based plot that appeared to be on rails.

Finally, I see sheer fatigue playing a part in all this, since ten to fourteen hours is IMO a (forgive me) fuckin' insane amount of time for a session.  I mean  *snort* yeah, OK, I'm not a young whippersnapper or a CON 18 RP monster like say, Mike Holmes or Valamir (see thread on 2 hour sessions), but Holy Mother of God in a boxcar full of chocolate jimmies, I'd have been a freakin' zombie by the end of that session, brain-scarfin' appetite, bad breath, the works.

Random player death. Scratchware's guy died in a meaningless, random, "failed to save" kinda way.  There's been a lot of discussion on the Forge about how players can be empowered or disempowered during a game, and the general problem here is that Scratchware didn't die "heroically" as a result of a decision he made.  Consequently, Scratchware's player is likely to feel cheated.  Doesn't matter that you liked the irony.  I submit character death should result as a consequence of player choice.  Just doing the "save or die" routine is like telling someone they got crushed by a stone slab ten feet into the dungeon.

Negative player attitudes. If I have a player who says something like "don't bother with X, because the GM won't really do Y," that puts you in a helluva bad spot, doesn't it?  Talk to the player who said that, and don't play with him anymore if he keeps up that sort of behavior.

Post-hoc resentment of in-game events. To be honest, I think Scratchware has some justification for feeling burned, given how his first character ended up.  Saying it's just a game is a distancing reaction on his part.  On the other hand, I read you saying you're pissed because you worked hard to set up the game and the players didn't appreciate it.  Instead of roleplaying seriously, they joked around and didn't react to the cool stuff you set up for them.  I suggest you all revisit why you're there playing in the first place, get your goals out on the table.  Scratchware's player might like mystery-oriented games, for example, and others may hate them.  If you come at the game like it's YOUR story, YOUR show, and expect the players to be grateful to run through it like good guinea pigs, you're going to encounter conflict.  Mission-based games tend to be linear.  If your style of play pushes linear plots and doesn't let players deviate to pursue their own choices, I think problems like the one you've described are going to come up, vitriol and all.

Overall, my hit here is that your guys act up because to them it just ain't that important to be emotionally invested, maybe because they don't feel they have much control over gameplay, maybe because they're not into Star Wars.  Talk to them.  Get their feedback.  The fact that one or more (unclear from your post) of these guys threaten not to play with you because they're pissed at how you ran the last game -- dude, that's a signal if there ever was one that a persistent disconnect exists.

Apples and anvils. Worse, Scratchware's player built a character that just sounds wrong for the genre, let alone the specific gameplay you'd set up.  I mean, who wants to play a non-action character in Star Wars?  When you pushed him to read books, that's just shuffling him offstage, it seems to me, while other players got to do the interesting things.  Again, some frank planning ahead of time might fix this.  If it's Star Wars, you don't wanna play retiring bookworms.  If it's Call of Cthulhu, you aren't going to play a superhero.  Make sure characters are appropriate to the kind of game you're running.

Inter-player sniping. Personally, I'd hate it if a fellow player -- aka bizatch -- started second-guessing my character's decisions based on rules interpretations.  Did you defend Scratchware's choice?  One way to handle that might have been to tell the guy who quibbled with the force point expenditure to quiet down and then give Scratchware two force points at the end of the session.

Linear mission stuff. Generally speaking, if you've got a gauntlet in mind for the players to run through, a path they can't really leave, you're railroading.  When folks are getting railroaded, their decisions don't have any impact beyond the tactical, and they become hamsters in the wheel.  While a lot of people enjoy that style of play, your players may not, particularly if you're heavy-handed (don't know if you are, but as invested as you are in your plot, you may have come off harder than you realize).

This is tough stuff, to analyze what you're doing and try to adapt to make things better for yourself and your friends.  Railroading is easy to do, unfortunately.  You'll find a lot of help here about what to look out for and what you might do to avoid it.

So before I get off my horse here, I'll reiterate that everything that happened seems to stem from the following problems:  (22) lack of agreement among players and GM about what expectations each individual brought to the gaming table, (67) a linear, likely railroading plot, and (9.23) random events deprotagonizing a character and disempowering/frustrating the character's player.

Thoughts?  Pyron, you still breathing out there?

Best,

Blake

(Edited to clean up some slop in my text.)
(Edited a second time to say I agree that the core issue is power.)
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Bankuei
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2002, 03:08:08 PM »

I'd like to elaborate on a point made earlier:

Quote
When you prep for the next session, and at all times when you're running it, keep one thing in mind: my job is to do the things that cause the player characters emerge as significant.


Step that back and make the golden rule: My job is to make sure all the players(including myself) are having fun.  

To quantify that, of course if someone has decided that they're not going to enjoy the session no matter what, if they're tired or in a bad mood, there's nothing you can do, BUT, aside from that, your goal is to try to help everyone have fun.

This means you have to burn your backstory, watch your favorite NPC get slashed in half even though you wanted a reoccuring character, watch 3 hours of prep time in writing and stats never get used.  This is what you have to do, period.  

The GM traditionally has all the power, but can only succeed in making the game fun by giving it up.  Why are your players double guessing what you will and will not do?  Simple, they sense railroading, they feel they have no power.  They're not playing, they're listening to your story, and occasionally rolling dice.

Let's look at what you're playing: Star Wars.  Star Wars is not about realism, its about kicking ass and looking cool.  Books crushing someone is not cool.  Sacrificing your life to save someone from the badass with the double lightsabre is cool.  Death in Star Wars has meaning, and its rarely based on realism in any fashion.  

Your goal is to give the players the Star Wars experience, which means that they're the heroes of the story, and they kick ass.  You set up scenes where they can show you how much of heroes they are.  You don't have them fall to their doom cause they missed a jump roll, no, they slide down into a shaft and find themselves hanging from the bottom of the city!  The basic rule of action heroism is that failure only makes it worse, but it never makes you dead(unless its self sacrifice, in which case, it really is a success).

The main reason you're finding that your players aren't talking much after the session, is because you didn't listen well during the session.  They feel betrayed, because everything they tried to do got stonewalled and overpowered, so now their view is, "Why say anything?  It won't make a difference."  Now you've got broken trust, and that's a serious issue.  

My recommendation: 1) go play some other sorts of games, like card and board games where the power is balanced.  2) Let someone else GM for awhile, take notes about what you like, what you don't like, and compare to how you do.  You'd be amazed at how much you can learn from watching other people.

Chris
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Eric J.
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2002, 07:54:50 AM »

WOW.......................................
WOW...............................................
{sigh} {brethe slowly}...
My gosh... That makes PERFECT sense. All of it does.  I tried railroading because of bad campaigns in the past.  I will sumerize what I think most of you are saying.

1: Your players are in a gripe for power.
I say: Now that I think about it DAMN RIGHT.

2: You should try playing other games, and try a little less. Play games that are more balanced.
I say: We take regular breaks at the right intervals.  A fact is that we played Magic: The gathering at the session durring breaks.  I started playing a month ago (with less than 100 cards total), and with a deck with only 1 Rare, I can beat Scratchware over 95% of the time (who has been playing for over 2 years and has 1000 cards). He actually has started modelling his deck after mine and is now trading rares for some of my commons in an attempt to get better. Yeah... We actually tried playing Risk and Risk 2210 awhile ago and I mastered each and we stopped playing...  I don't think that this helps the problems.

3: I should boot the Jedi (some of you).
I say:  His only fault is being unresponsive to my questions.  I should have given him more controll.

4: I should try to communicate better with my players.
I say: I've tried.  They've been unresponsive, but I'll try harder.

6: You feel that my session was a complete dissaster.
I say: I tend to exagerate.  One player called what I did a "Damned cool scenerio."  The slicer liked his role, but didn't like how I de-protagonized him.  I think that this is a response to the different playing styles.

7:  I don't want to re-read everyone's post, but I know that someone said something like, "You sound like you've been a group for a while.  You need to know that you can find more people."
I say: You can either read minds, or you're some kind of a genius.  The problem is that, as much as I've gone throughout my entire clique( what they call a group of friends in Nebraska) teaching about RPGs; they are all newbies and can't usually come over.  I have most of the people who can come on a regular basis.  There is a hobby store that regurally plays RPGs but I haven't tried that yet.

8:You viewed Scratchware's role (life and death) as negative.
I say: He did die senselessly, but I didn't roll a single die.  His job was to research.  I forced him, as that was his job, but it was ultimitelley his choice.  This was my fault.  I hadn't made him a major part of the conflict so I decided to give him a challenge.  Excape from a library with no equipment and no light.  He failed to survive.  Oh, and technically I didn't deactivate the gravity.  That was the slicer...  You also must understand that at this point I was motivated by the power struggle that DEFINITELLEY exists.  I wanted to make an example of what can happen if you fail.  I'm not justifying my motives.

Now for a few points to ponder:

1.  I tried this style, as other ones had fallen flat in the past.

2.  I thought that the adventure went well.

3.  You are all very empathetic and I thank you.

4. I am wondering what movivated you to make so many (long) posts in such a short time.  Is this problem common to many newer gaming groups?

5.  I am seriously thinking of disbanding my RPG group.

6. Thanks.

7. I will try, in the future, to be more of a protagonizing bunny
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2002, 08:01:51 AM »

Hi Eric,

"Protagonizing bunny ..." I love it. A goal we can all aspire to.

I think that nearly everyone who's role-played for any length of time is familiar with many of the details you provided. The empathy is sincere and based on personal experience. So yes, your situation is common. (I'm curious about your thoughts regarding the last section of my GNS essay, actually.)

In the interests of full disclosure, after reading your first post, I private messaged a few people (just some that happened to be logged on at the time) and asked them to help. It struck me that despite our various tastes in role-playing, we all agree that a functional social contract, and what I like to call Balance of Power (although Fang thinks that's too negative) really matters. Therefore I decided that getting as many different angles expressed was a good idea.

Best,
Ron
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2002, 08:23:17 AM »

Quote

4. I am wondering what movivated you to make so many (long) posts in such a short time. Is this problem common to many newer gaming groups?


It certainly rang big, raucous bells in my head.  I don't think its necessarily limited to NEW groups - my group had been together for like 4 years before we hit this point, and I felt it as a steady degradation of our play.

Thing that made the biggest single change: two of us said "fuckit" and tried playing with a new group.  Came back with our eyes bugging out and startled to see how the other half lived.  Things got better after that.

One of my favourite/unpleasant memories was of an argument as to whether or not a kitchen maid with a bucket of spuds-in-water could really have made it to a door in X seconds.  This was finally resolved by a live demonstration, with bucket, water and spuds, in the back yard.  Fortunately mess = funny so humour lightened the contentious moment.

Thoughts: don't play till your too tired to walk and talk: play focussed, to-the-point, punchy sessions.  I learned an old rule of showbusiness this way: Always Leave Them Wanting More.  Learn to be cruel about this.

Ditch us vs them, and even fairness.  It might have been Fair in a sense to kill scratchware, but it evidently wasn't fun.  Fair is less important than fun even amongst gamists (who can IMO be satisfied with an illusion of fairness).  This is one reason I tend to prefer fuzzy rather than precise systems - more "give".  Being fair also demands more of you - your integrity, your sense of right and wrong.  Fuck all that - Fun is all that its about and if you have to lie, cheat and steal to make it fun thats fine.  You'll find you care less about whether it was "Just" for scratchware to die under a hail of books if you embrace the Fun-over-Fair approach.

Thats all I can think of.  Overall, our group (indeed a group of buddies rather than gamers specifically) survived, and still plays (but not with me, for different reasons).  There are still some bad habits - if you're lucky you'll catch em earlier than we did.  Good luck.
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Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Eric J.
Member

Posts: 396


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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2002, 10:10:37 AM »

Thanks, every one.  I can relate to your scenerio, contracycle.  They were arguing on how to move in zero-g.  They said that you could blow air through your mouth and that newton's third law would take care of the rest.  I said that the mass to do so would be so insignificant that it wouldn't matter.  They argued with me.  Oh, and there are problems that you're addressing that I don't see there.  I made it my mission to stop at the correct dramatic moments last adventure.  Times: When the gas was flooding the room.  When the Jedi revealed himself with.  "Before you is the man with the golden blade." Response: "Vibroblade right?" I walk downstairs.  I felt that the campaign was quick and punchy.  I even set a time limit on their actions and gave them 15 rounds.  You could say that we don't play long sessions.  We play many sessions that are close together.  I'm going to start ANOTHER campaign next week, and I swear that "Damnit! I'm eventually going to get this right!"  I think that I have the situation handelled for now, and will post when we have our next session. Thanks again.
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Scratchware
Member

Posts: 27


WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2002, 11:24:17 AM »

Okay, what we need here is some player feedback for them to hear. Here I go..

First of all, I had a lot of fun playing as the researcher until I died. Sure, I didn't get to do a lot of stuff but I got to roleplay about 5 sentences and eat waffles with my twin brother, the commander. I was thinking that I could have become some sort of important person like a philosopher (seeing is how I had 5D+1 in philosophy). I thought that it would be fun for a change because I usually don't play with non-combat oriented characters. And it was... Until I was killed by some freaking books. How pathetic is that?

Second of all, Doug (the slicer), was constantly bickering and interrupting gameplay, insulting me and saying "Shut up! Let me talk!" when the camera was not on him. He has an arrogant attitude towards me even though he is 3 years younger and is a worse roleplayer than me. Exampe: Back when we played D&D, he punched his commanding officer and got him jailed. He escaped and was jailed 6 more times before the campaign was scratched. He just annoys the living daylights out of me..

Third of all, we only had enough for 1 Pepsi a piece and that was during our break when we watch Star Wars episode 1. That is just not enough. And we needed more pizza...

A point I need to make is that we ALL love Star Wars. It's just we have arguements and things go wrong and we don't know what to do so we just leave..

Hopefully we can get this fixed.
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"I refuse to date a girl who would rather play Baldur's Gate than be with me... wait, that didn't come out right".
Walt Freitag
Member

Posts: 1039


« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2002, 12:11:57 PM »

Quote
Third of all, we only had enough for 1 Pepsi a piece and that was during our break when we watch Star Wars episode 1. That is just not enough.


You're right, and that explains a lot right there. Dehydrated people = bad decisions. Inevitably.

The cure is a glass for each participant, and pitcher of water, within reach of everyone and never allowed to be empty. Never game without them.

- Walt
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Wandering in the diasporosphere
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2002, 12:19:17 PM »

I was also particularly struck by the 1 Pepsi limitation. It really does sound like a recipe for disaster.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
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