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xvillia
2016-02-12, 02:31 AM
I'm trying to see what I can do to have my players more interested in playing DnD. All of them are fairly new and I have run a few sessions for them already but I have started to notice that in my games they tend towards more brutish tactics than "smart" play (things like running through the hallway instead of checking for traps and the like).
I have come to the realization that while I tend to do around a 50/50 style with combat and non-combat encounters they tend to only really enjoy the combat encounters as they tend to not try and explore all possible avenues with their social skills.
I'm trying to figure out how I can keep the non-combat encounters in while still keeping it interesting enough for the group but i'm not too sure how I could go about creating an interesting campaign for my group that is mostly combat but still with enough story to keep an overall plot going on.
Is there a specific kind of campaign style I could use or would it be best to just stick with pre-made modules.
I am not new to dm'ing(started around the age of 14 with custom campaigns, so around 4-5 years experience) and I enjoy making worlds for my players to explore. However, like I said, I'm more of a social campaign DM and they enjoy combat more than anything.
Any and all help/advice would be appreciated!

lacco36
2016-02-12, 08:07 AM
I have only limited experience with DnD as a play system, but I think this is something each GM encounters at some point. So I'll bite into this one.


I'm trying to see what I can do to have my players more interested in playing DnD. All of them are fairly new and I have run a few sessions for them already but I have started to notice that in my games they tend towards more brutish tactics than "smart" play (things like running through the hallway instead of checking for traps and the like).

First point - maybe they just need to unwind. I know from my own experience, that sometimes I am tired, I had a bad day and the only thing I want is to crush some ork/goblin/dragon/whatever skulls. I don't care about the NPCs who want to talk to me, or the traps - I just want to relax while killing some imaginary evil thingie. So the question is - do you game after work? Do they seem tired?

Also, if they are happy with the game, maybe they belong to the "killer" category of players - I had a player, with a stressful life/job/everything, who came to the gaming table, made a combat-monster PC (something like the Barbarian from Diablo 2)...let's call him Miles... and his whole roleplay consisted of him saying "uh-huh", "hmmm?" and "naaaah". He never showed any interest in any hooks or NPCs other than girls working in taverns.


I have come to the realization that while I tend to do around a 50/50 style with combat and non-combat encounters they tend to only really enjoy the combat encounters as they tend to not try and explore all possible avenues with their social skills.

Social skills of players or of characters?


I'm trying to figure out how I can keep the non-combat encounters in while still keeping it interesting enough for the group but i'm not too sure how I could go about creating an interesting campaign for my group that is mostly combat but still with enough story to keep an overall plot going on.

This is actually a two-sided idea. On one hand, they will enjoy the campaign maybe a bit more. However, they will not have any incentive to get their non-combat RP better. What I would do is either show them what can be achieved with the social part.

However, to really get them going, you should target their "weak points". Specifically - think of a social encounter, which they enjoyed. I am sure they enjoyed at least something.

Find the type, put more of it into the game. Also, find the weak point in the chain - at least one of the players should - statistically speaking - like RP more. Find out who, work on him. If they see it in someone else, they will start sooner.

Example:
I seated the player that played Miles to my best RPer, who also built the "strong and simple" archetype. Together, they started shouting obscenities at enemies, roaring, chest-beating and competing with each other in intimidating their opponents with showing off.

I noticed they enjoy the "tavern" scenes - drinking and eating, harassing the tavernkeepers, generally having fun.

I added more of these. I added marketplace scenes. I added camping scenes. And then I added the (I took my inspiration from Betrayal at Krondor) the chess tavern. And I noticed the two barbarian-playing dorks loved roleplaying how they fumble at chess. All these were light-hearted, no hardcore roleplaying, just having fun.

And then, I started hitting them with possibilities for roleplay. One of them fathered a child. Another lost his village. They were still the happy-go-lucky barbarians, but their characters matured.

However, the start was - I found one thing they enjoyed and gave them more possibilities.

...so, what do they enjoy?

One idea that just occured to me is - gladiatorial arena. Place them there. Give them some battles, then downtime. Let them have their fun - but then present them with possibility to select their opponents. And give them time to watch them/talk to them/discuss next combat, intimidate opponents... and then let them leave the arena.

No idea if this is what you expected :smallsmile:

Darth Ultron
2016-02-13, 09:33 AM
Is there a specific kind of campaign style I could use

Yes, and I'd guess you'd call it ''combat adventuring''.

So first off, you really need to drop the whole ''like Earth was like between 1000 and 1300 in Europe''.

So you want to drop the whole idea of ''Blacksmith Ton works in a small shop and has some goods on display in his window. He will haggle a bit, but his prices are fair."

And make it more: ''Blacksmith Ton's place is large with an arena pit in the middle. He will only deal with someone after they have fought in the arena.''

And see, you can build up a huge amount of role play around the arena. It's a lot like the typical guy says they don't like drama and feelings on ''soap operas'', yet they love the drama and feelings on ''sports''. The game will have tons of combat, but also tons of role playing.

For an example: Blacksmith Ton makes a Sword of Sharpness, and offers it to a winner take all arena fight. So dozen sign up to fight for the sword. And the PCs sign up too. Now they could just sit around and wait to fight....or they might want to find out more about the others. Maybe the PC's might to to ''rig'' the out come in there favor. There will be others ''rigging'' things, of course. Maybe the PC could team up with others...or maybe take them out all sneaky before the arena fight. And what if someone just tries to steal the sword....or the sword is fake or a dragon shows up or....

Bulhakov
2016-02-16, 10:57 AM
Players can enjoy combat for a variety of reasons, they might:
- want to show off how awesome/badass they are
- have a strong need to be the good guys/destroy evil
- be most motivated by the reward waiting at the end of the fight.

Basically, try to find out why they enjoy combat and give them RP related to that (give them an audience for their heoric deeds, a smartly designed villain they will love to hate or allow their actions to influence the prize they get).

Jay R
2016-02-16, 12:06 PM
My experience is that almost all new players focus primarily on combat. When the combat rules get internalized so much that this isn't as exciting, they will branch out.