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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Player Issues (need advice)

    So, me and my group of friends play D&D 3.5, and it was going well for a while, but near the end of the school year, everything started to fall apart. We're a large group, and while we all like D&D, we all don't like the same things in games. Some of us talked a bit today, but I don't see any easy solution for us, so any advice would be appreciated.



    There are 9 of us total, which makes for problems to start, but I think the core of the problem is that we all like different aspects of the game, and a few of us are very opinionated people who hold different views. Between everyone, it's hard to give everyone enough attention, but splitting into groups causes the issue of who is with who, and dealing with people not being able to make it, while in the large group if one or two people couldn't make it, we'd play anyway, and people wouldn't mind.

    The thing is, changing the status quo of one large group would be hard. We're all living near each other, in two apartments which are literally right next to each other. In addition to everyone not agreeing on what they want in a game, some people don't get along great in real life. And, a minor detail is that we don't do much to balance out the party

    It might be easiest if I describe all of the players. (names changed, though I don't think any of them are part of this forum). In the spoilers I'll say Character type to show the type of character they play, and Player type for their preferences/info about them.

    Spoiler
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    Daniel (myself)
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: Good, Talky, sometime offbeat, but follows the plot. Usually Bard or some kind of buffer/healer, but willing to try whatever.
    Player Type: As a player and DM, I'm the same, trying to give each person the spotlight for a while, and making sure the adventure keeps moving. As a DM I know I'm not perfect, but usually I'm able to keep everyone's attention, and they'll listen to me.


    Jack
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: Quirky personality, always combat oriented. Likes fighting. Chaotic.
    Player Type: Says he wants to rp more, but makes his character combat related because that is how games like this end up. In game, will choose to fight rather than talk. Usually contradicting himself, he's opinionated, but won't make a problem while playing. He's been DM before, when I was there he was good. Can be impatient.


    John
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    Character Type: Rogue. Sneaking, Party Face but doesn't really use it since he just sneak attacked the person talking. Says he is neutral. Is really evil.
    Player Type: Likes plot. Likes both rp and combat, but most important is that he likes winning. He's also impatient, and usually has the mentality that anyone not with us should die. Tends to steal the spotlight, and lead the group, even though most people don't want that and tell him that. His sneak attacks generally end up dragging everyone into combat, to the point where 3 of us willingly locked ourselves in jail because he decided to fight the town guard for lawfully imprisoning us. Doesn't get along well with Jack. Jessica doesn't like him. ____ and Brian really don't like him either. And can be annoying to the rest of us, who are calmer than the others. Was DM once, and it did not go over well.


    Larry
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    Character Type: Melee, Splatbook, Complicated, optimized, combat
    Player Type: Will make something complicated, and very dry. Likes combat a lot over rp. If we play with him, we'd limit it to core, so he can't go too far with his wackiness.


    Ray
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: Sneaky, likes to kill
    Player Type: Like I said, not afraid of combat or killing, but not as bad as Jack. He can be reasoned with, but if left alone, will probably end up killing the enemy we need information from, rather than capturing him.


    Wayne
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: fun, unoptimized.
    Player Type: Our level 14 commoner. Likes to have fun, and rp.


    Tim
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: Healer, Good, Magic User
    Player Type: Generally does not like unnecessary fighting, and would like role play, but doesn't like the direction the group has been going.


    Brian
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: ???
    Player Type: New to the group, trying to get back into D&D. Hasn't played with us much.


    Jessica
    Spoiler
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    Character Type: Sneaky, Party Face, but probably willing to try new types.
    Player Type: Likes plot, would rather talk than fight. Has been DM before with a small group, and it went well.





    So, lots of people, and a few problems.

    How do we split ourselves up, if at all? One group? Two groups with one DM? Two groups with two DMs?

    Separating people brings up the argument of how people would be divided, since in general, most people would not be happy with the easiest way of making groups. This year, we had a weekly main campaign run by me, but every two or three weeks had someone else DM a one shot adventure instead. One option could be for me to do this again, but with two groups.


    Week 1, I could run the "main campaign" with Group A, while someone else DM's a one shot with Group B. The next week I'd run the "main campaign" with group B, while group A would have someone else run a one shot. However, this doesn't make the groups feel all that connected. It doesn't let me play (which isn't horrible). There also isn't a good way to split groups, since the best way would leave one group without anyone who would want to DM aside from me.

    Come to think of it,we could do: John, Wayne, Ray, Larry as a combat oriented group (Wayne and Larry will have fun together, and Wayne's lack of combat ability will be balanced out). Then Jack, Tim, Jessica, Brian could be a more role play oriented group.


    A lot of people would like to drop John, as he isn't fun to play with, but we'd be living with him (I'm personally in the same room) and it would be awkward to not include him. To be honest, the separation of who is in which apartment is due to people not getting along with him, but he's been part of our group for over a year, and some of us would feel bad outright excluding him.


    Finally, our group of friends can be indecisive in real life, with Jack and John disagreeing all the time, and everyone else not being able or wanting to make a decision for the group. This generally leads to me dealing with the problem, like I'm trying to now. Wayne and Larry won't care, and Wayne will have fun no matter what. Larry will as long as there is combat. Brian and Tim will be quiet, and agree when there is a decision that sounds good to them. Ray will give his opinion, but not push for it too much. Jessica is the same, but will be a bit more forceful, but sometimes people will argue with her at which point she doesn't push more. Jack and John are both opinionated, and I generally balance them out, and come up with a final decision.


    So how do we work this out and get everyone on the same page? I know I might have found a partial solution up there, but advice on it is still welcome, as is advice on dealing with everyone outside of the game and keeping peace. And if you've gotten all the way down here, thanks for reading my problem, I appreciate it.
    Last edited by smashbro; 2012-07-08 at 11:59 PM.




  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    I didn't read under the spoiler tag. But from my own experience, if you have someone (other than your current GM) willing to run games, I'd say, split it to two groups and two GM's. Who's with whom should depend either types of games (like: one group for hack'n'slash and other for serious plot driven playing) or if there is lot of not-getting along, then by who can play with whom without major disagreements.

    One GM and two groups could work if the GM has enough time on his hands to run both games. Sometimes this works, but more probably not. It's lot of work to have more than one game to GM, and also it takes quite lot of time.

    You say that
    A lot of people would like to drop John, as he isn't fun to play with
    and I'd like to say you should talk to him about that, whatever it is. Serious talking can fix things, if both parties are willing to compromise.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    While avoiding the option to kick out Jack, I'd go with the option of dividing the group. This can be done two ways:

    1 Role Players and Combat Lovers

    2 Draw names out of a hat on big game nights. 2 DMs, one per room (you said the apartments were next to each other, I assume they are where the games happen). The randomness could help stir up the group dynamics enough that people that dislike each other either won't be playing together, or depending on what's happening, they could come to rely on each other's traits more often.


    But definitely tell the two Stabby McStabbersons (Jack and John) to tone down the stabbing a bit, because it's causing group problems, and you're worried about the entire group disbanding because of it. Hopefully they'll choose being more level headed over ruining friendships (you can tell them that too, but be subtle).

    And if noone seems to like John, why is he still living with you?
    Last edited by Crossblade; 2012-07-09 at 12:37 AM.
    Proud watcher of Iskandar's Travel / Let's Plays
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    What about switching to a system that's more friendly toward a large group of players? Not only can you continue playing as one big group and not have to suffer the drama of a forced split, but switching systems can often cause problem players (of which it frankly sounds like you have a bunch >_>) to drop their old habits.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by lady_arrogance View Post
    I didn't read under the spoiler tag. But from my own experience, if you have someone (other than your current GM) willing to run games, I'd say, split it to two groups and two GM's. Who's with whom should depend either types of games (like: one group for hack'n'slash and other for serious plot driven playing) or if there is lot of not-getting along, then by who can play with whom without major disagreements.

    One GM and two groups could work if the GM has enough time on his hands to run both games. Sometimes this works, but more probably not. It's lot of work to have more than one game to GM, and also it takes quite lot of time.

    You say that and I'd like to say you should talk to him about that, whatever it is. Serious talking can fix things, if both parties are willing to compromise.
    Jack and Jessica would be willing to DM, so it would probably end up with one of them being out of that group and running it, with Larry maybe flipping over there. The only problem is that this makes the groups completely separate, and people won't be able to play with friends from the other group, but it might be the best option.

    One DM would take up a lot of time, so I really don't know if that would work, or if we'd just play less often.

    As for John, I've talked to him a bit since he made his own adventure and a lot of people didn't like it, but he's not the type that will change easily. We've all told him that his playstyle gets annoying, and that we don't want him doing stuff like that, but he ends up doing that anyway.




    Quote Originally Posted by Crossblade View Post
    While avoiding the option to kick out Jack, I'd go with the option of dividing the group. This can be done two ways:

    1 Role Players and Combat Lovers

    2 Draw names out of a hat on big game nights. 2 DMs, one per room (you said the apartments were next to each other, I assume they are where the games happen). The randomness could help stir up the group dynamics enough that people that dislike each other either won't be playing together, or depending on what's happening, they could come to rely on each other's traits more often.


    But definitely tell the two Stabby McStabbersons (Jack and John) to tone down the stabbing a bit, because it's causing group problems, and you're worried about the entire group disbanding because of it. Hopefully they'll choose being more level headed over ruining friendships (you can tell them that too, but be subtle).

    And if noone seems to like John, why is he still living with you?
    Role play vs. combat could work, or I really like the idea of pulling names out of a hat to switch it up, but that would leave the people who don't like John playing with him.

    As for talking to them, I mentioned that they're opinionated people, and by that I mean that while they agree that there needs to be changed, they think that means the other person needs to change, and that they are right. Which doesn't work out well. I've talked openly with Jack about it, but it hasn't really helped, and I've been subtle with John. But John is the type that probably won't change, and Jack thinks he is right that he argues his point even once he's proven wrong by everyone there, and disliking parts of my campaign that were literally his fault/choice.


    John isn't a bad person, or doesn't mean to be. He's the type that will say something insulting, not realizing at all that people found it insulting. He became part of our group freshman year. Most of everyone else was in an orientation group, including him. I joined up as more of an outsider then. By now, the people who couldn't deal with him are in the other apartment, and the people who don't mind him and would feel bad throwing him out are with him. At this point I'd feel bad letting him go, and it would make everything awkward.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    What about switching to a system that's more friendly toward a large group of players? Not only can you continue playing as one big group and not have to suffer the drama of a forced split, but switching systems can often cause problem players (of which it frankly sounds like you have a bunch >_>) to drop their old habits.
    Do you have any suggestions? Jack is supposed to be working on something that is easier to get into than D&D and less complicated, but I'm not sure how that's going. We started D&D because a bunch of us had to play it for class, and it just kept going from there. Most of us don't know any other role playing games out there. People would probably be willing to try something new, and we'd have to see what problems are still there with the new system, but it would be worth a try.
    Last edited by smashbro; 2012-07-09 at 08:34 AM.




  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    As I see it, you have several separate issues which are exacerbating one another.

    • #1) You have players who do not like each other.

    • #2) You have players who do not like other playstyles.

    • #3) You have too many players.

    Fortunately, all three of your problems have solutions.

    I'd suggest breaking the group down into smaller groups. Two groups of four, or a four and a three with two DMs would work just fine. Rotate on a semi-regular basis. Everyone will get more face time, and you can sort out folks with different goals. The folks who tolerate John can play with him, and the folks who want nothing to do with him don't have to put up with him anymore.

    I would also suggest playing something besides D&D. There are plenty of other games out there, and your roleplayers aren't really benefiting from D&D as a system. Other games incorporate roleplaying into the mechanics of the game. Exalted gives you bonus dice when you describe your actions rather than say, "I attack the goblin." Pendragon gives you bonuses when attempting something you care passionately about. The Burning Wheel does the same, but in a different way. Legend of the Five Rings is a game where you can roleplay your enemies into disgrace or death -- or stab them, that's cool too! The point is, D&D emphasizes combat and treasure. It does not emphasize roleplaying. Jack, for example, says he wants to roleplay more, but always ends up in combat. This may be because he's stab-happy, but it could be because combat is how D&D resolves conflicts. The system encourages this, and it's not wrong of him to play along with the system. The mechanics of a system influence the behavior of the players -- so change the system and see how behavior changes. There are systems which better integrate combat and roleplaying. Use one of those, and you should bridge the gap between the folks who want combat and the folks who want to roleplay.

    John: The Great Spoiler Adventure
    Spoiler
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    Boot John. Your players don't like him as a person and they don't like him as a player. Is that going to be awkward? Yes. But a little bit of awkward will be a lot better than letting this fester, because unless you take action to improve things, it's not going to just get better on its own -- only worse.

    If you don't want to outright boot him, be straight and tell John some variation of the following: "Your behavior at the table is disruptive towards the group. You, as a player and as a character, engage in Behavior A, Behavior B, and Behavior C, all of which run counter to the fun of the group. We want to play a game involving Theme X, Theme Y, and Theme Z, and your behavior prevents that from happening. If you would like to continue playing with us, you need to adapt. You have [x] sessions, after which you will no longer be welcome playing with us. If your behavior does change, you are welcome to continue playing with us, but if your behavior regresses, you will be booted. Do you understand?"

    The thing is, momentum and inertia are terrible reasons to continue associating with someone. The longer you coddle John, the more you tell him that his behavior is socially acceptable in your circle. Why should he change? Everyone else changes to accommodate him! Sooner or later, someone in your group is going to realize that they do not have to tolerate or associate with someone who contributes nothing positive to their life. Drama ensues. Don't wait for that to happen. You're living with the guy. You cannot afford to be caught up in this on anything less than your terms. Approach it rationally, reasonably, and fairly. Be mature about it, but one way or another, be clear that his behavior is not welcome.
    "Inveniam viam aut faciam -- I will either find a way, or I shall make one."

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fatebreaker View Post
    I'd suggest breaking the group down into smaller groups. Two groups of four, or a four and a three with two DMs would work just fine. Rotate on a semi-regular basis. Everyone will get more face time, and you can sort out folks with different goals. The folks who tolerate John can play with him, and the folks who want nothing to do with him don't have to put up with him anymore.

    I would also suggest playing something besides D&D. There are plenty of other games out there, and your roleplayers aren't really benefiting from D&D as a system. Other games incorporate roleplaying into the mechanics of the game. Exalted gives you bonus dice when you describe your actions rather than say, "I attack the goblin." Pendragon gives you bonuses when attempting something you care passionately about. The Burning Wheel does the same, but in a different way. Legend of the Five Rings is a game where you can roleplay your enemies into disgrace or death -- or stab them, that's cool too! The point is, D&D emphasizes combat and treasure. It does not emphasize roleplaying. Jack, for example, says he wants to roleplay more, but always ends up in combat. This may be because he's stab-happy, but it could be because combat is how D&D resolves conflicts. The system encourages this, and it's not wrong of him to play along with the system. The mechanics of a system influence the behavior of the players -- so change the system and see how behavior changes. There are systems which better integrate combat and roleplaying. Use one of those, and you should bridge the gap between the folks who want combat and the folks who want to roleplay.

    John: The Great Spoiler Adventure
    Spoiler
    Show
    Boot John. Your players don't like him as a person and they don't like him as a player. Is that going to be awkward? Yes. But a little bit of awkward will be a lot better than letting this fester, because unless you take action to improve things, it's not going to just get better on its own -- only worse.

    If you don't want to outright boot him, be straight and tell John some variation of the following: "Your behavior at the table is disruptive towards the group. You, as a player and as a character, engage in Behavior A, Behavior B, and Behavior C, all of which run counter to the fun of the group. We want to play a game involving Theme X, Theme Y, and Theme Z, and your behavior prevents that from happening. If you would like to continue playing with us, you need to adapt. You have [x] sessions, after which you will no longer be welcome playing with us. If your behavior does change, you are welcome to continue playing with us, but if your behavior regresses, you will be booted. Do you understand?"

    The thing is, momentum and inertia are terrible reasons to continue associating with someone. The longer you coddle John, the more you tell him that his behavior is socially acceptable in your circle. Why should he change? Everyone else changes to accommodate him! Sooner or later, someone in your group is going to realize that they do not have to tolerate or associate with someone who contributes nothing positive to their life. Drama ensues. Don't wait for that to happen. You're living with the guy. You cannot afford to be caught up in this on anything less than your terms. Approach it rationally, reasonably, and fairly. Be mature about it, but one way or another, be clear that his behavior is not welcome.

    Thanks. I'll look into those systems, and we'd probably be bale to try out a few.

    As for John, you are probably right. We've tried to make it clear that we don't like his playstyle, but I should be more direct. When we start up, I'll give him a session or two and see how it goes, and if he still acts the same, I'll talk to him.




  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by smashbro View Post
    Thanks. I'll look into those systems, and we'd probably be bale to try out a few.
    Don't take just my word for it! There are plenty of systems out there. I'd recommend starting a thread asking about systems whose mechanics support roleplaying. You'll get some good answers from some good folks.

    Quote Originally Posted by smashbro View Post
    As for John, you are probably right. We've tried to make it clear that we don't like his playstyle, but I should be more direct. When we start up, I'll give him a session or two and see how it goes, and if he still acts the same, I'll talk to him.
    Clarity is a virtue. I like to believe that most problems stem from a lack of clarity at some point, and the rest from opposing values/objectives. Clarity solves one and lets you more easily recognize the other.

    I would recommend, though, take the time to get feedback from your other players. Write out what you want to say. And talk to him sooner rather than later.

    My grandfather collects toy soldiers. I suppose it must run in the family, because so do I! Long ago, my grandfather used to make a semi-annual visit to a shop up in the New York area. Great shop, huge selection, quality layout. The owner, however, was the grumpiest old man you ever did see. So one day, my grandfather goes up to him and says, "Y'know, I've never -- not once! -- seen you smile. What are you so upset about all the time?"

    Turns out, the guy had no clue anyone thought he was angry. No one had ever mentioned it to him before. He thought he was a nice guy!

    The point is, talk to John sooner rather than later. You already know his behavior. Give him an honest chance to change. It's better for him, for you, and for your group.

    In the end, it's your call -- until it isn't. If one of your friends gets fed up first, things can get real ugly real fast. So talk to your friends, get their feedback, let them know that you're going to talk to John, and that he has [x] sessions to prove himself. Say you'll get their feedback again after [x] sessions. That buys you time to handle John the way you want to, rather than reacting to someone who finally lost their patience. But then, follow through. Be clear, be honest, be firm.

    Good luck!
    "Inveniam viam aut faciam -- I will either find a way, or I shall make one."

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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    I'd suggest Savage Worlds. It's quick to play, easy to learn, easy to use (can run almost any setting imaginable), cheap, and damned fun to play, especially when you get enough of a handle on its mechanics to homebrew in additional systems for whatever setting you want to play and modify things that don't fit with your settings.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    With John, I'd recommend a few things:

    1) Focus on the behavior, not the person. "John, you do the following things at the table that cause disruption. Please stop. While you are welcome at the table, these behaviors are not."

    2) Stop allowing him to use the social contract as a bludgeon, while not following it. Generally there's a social contract that says "the characters will stick together." Players like John use that to their advantage, while conveniently forgetting the part of the social contract that says "characters will generally work as a team, within mutually agreed-upon guidelines." In this case, tie those together. Give the party the option of booting John's character - and if they do, he does nothing. Too bad, so sad. He can sit and watch, or work on another character, or whatever he wants. And if *that* character gets booted, so be it. If the characters would have no reason to work with a particular character, then why should they?

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    instead of breaking up the groups, how about keeping them together & using two DM's? a single DM is often daunted running a large group, but with an assistant or Co-DM (depending on the two DM's preferences) the crunch is not as tough since you have another mind working on it.

    as for managing your players that needs to be addressed, usually as a DM i try & give everyone a little of what they want, since you have two DM's, you can temporarily split up the party... (& still have the two DM's coordinate) one tries to parlay with the local authorities while the other goes & scouts out the location of the bandits hideout etc...

    when the group comes back together, they will have accomplished a lot more for the benefit of the entire group while still getting what they want out of it (the bashers get to stab things, the talkers get to converse...).

    hope that helps
    Last edited by zorenathres; 2012-07-10 at 03:16 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    I'm gonna give advice that's probably a little off key here, and a little difficult to implement maybe.

    Run a cloud game.

    http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com...-vs-cloud.html

    Spoilered for extreme length.

    Spoiler
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    Essentially, it's the basic operating assumption, to certain extents, of old school mega dungeon type games, but is actulaly adaptable to newer games, and ones that don't operate within a mega dungeon type assumption.

    Essentially, you keep all 9 of your players, even though they don't always work and play well together, and you base the campaign in, near, or around a "tent pole." For the author of the blog post in question I linked above*, his campaign is based in the City of Greyhawk, and is largely focused around delving Castle Greyhawk (under "Castle of the Mad Archmage", a module that is quite excellent, actually, I recommend it highly). Essentially, each session starts with players in the city, probably waking up in their rooms in the inn where they rent, and then going out to the dungeon, exploring, mapping a bit, finding trouble and/or treasure, and coming back to town for safety. But of course, that's not the only thing that happens. Bits of "plot" happen in the city that the PC's are free to interact with, or ignore, or whatever. And sometimes, the group just up and decides to follow along one of these other threads rather than going out into the dungeon.

    And since the actual group is quite large (last I checked there are about 10-20 characters at any given moment), not all the characters (or players) show up on any given day. So, whoever's there that day gets their character trotted out and becomes active for that period of time, then goes back to the inn and is "dormant" until next time the player arrives.

    Essentially, as the DM, you have to create a relatively safe "home base" within which the campaign can happen. And it has to be well enough detailed to provide you with a source of inspiration for improv, but loose enough that it's not a pair of handcuffs locking you into place. And you need to have at least one thing happening nearby that's always there, such as the eponymous Castle of the Mad Archmage, which provides the "all else fails, we can hit the dungeon for a while" impetus if they don't want to pick up any of the continuing threads you've put around them.

    Strengths are actually quite obvious. It lets you have different sorts of sessions to please different types of players at any given time. Those that want intrigue can get it, while those that want full on killing can get that, and those that wan ACTING! can get that too. A bit of everything to please everybody. And while it might seem that there's no "plot" so to speak, that's a false assumption. There is a plot, but it's not a story with a beginning middle and end. It's really a matter of "there are things happening that you can choose to become a part of, or not" kind of thing. Like the thieve's guild trying to make a political power play. It doesn't happen like a novel, but bits and parts of it might surface from time to time for the players to fiddle with, and might prompt them to go deeper with it, and you can continue to add interesting NPC's and ideas to it as far down the rabbit hole as they might want to go.

    And, for whatever it's worth, by most reports, this is how Gygax and Arneson ran the original campaigns back in the day. So, you know, nostalgia and originnal intent there.

    Weaknesses are a little fuzzier. I don't quite know how it'd work out with a game like 3.x or 4.x. I honestly don't know since it's my understanding that those games rely more strongly on numerical paridy between the various classes and characters. But, I suspect that, with some finagling, you can probably make it work out in the end if you're fast and loose with CR's and encounters.

    Another issue is with disjointedness. If somebody doesn't show up for a few sessions in a row, they can kind of lose track of whatever threads were being followed and can be lost for a while. Less of a problem with less overarching plot oriented players, but storytellers might end up upset by it. You have to compensate, of course.

    It relies strongly (and I can't emphasize this enough) on two things. First, a DM willing to run a sandbox-esque campaign where there is no point A to point B to point C requirement. It can't really be operated as if the campaign were telling a predetermined story. Instead, the story becomes about what the players did while there. The story is about how they tracked down the thieve's guild political schemer and killed him. Or joined him. Or replaced him. Or whatever. It's not "and then the players will defeat the Big Bad Evil Guy." Which is not to say that there can't be an overarching villain who is behind lots of plots and plans or whatever, it's just that the story isn't about defeating him, but about what the players do instead. It's active participatory story telling rather than receptive story telling.

    Second, it relies on active, pro-active players. If the players aren't out to pursue goals of their owns and are just there waiting for you to feed them the next hook to get to the next encounter/plot point, then you're going to run into problems. In a way, it's like DM'ing in reverse nowadays. The players don't follow you around, you follow them around.

    And a final "problem" is that you may have to contrive a way for each session to end "satisfactorily" so that it's largely self contained for that night's action. Ending action when, for example, the players are deep in the dungeon and have to camp the night because it's 3 in the morning and you have finals tomorrow is going to mess with things when some of this night's players can't make the next session. Then what do you do? And, really, this is a very touch and go thing. Sometimes, it's just a matter of saying to your players "hey, will all of you be here next time? Or can we find a way to bring this to a conclusion of some type so we can pick up next time without your characters?" Or, you might just finagle things by stalling or hurrying, or just right out fudging things so that you can come to a stopping point.


    Sorry, that's an extremely long winded post that boils down to a simple recommendation for a new game style. It lets you cater to a bunch of different appetites while keeping folks in the same group. We (one of my groups) has had lots of success with this particular method, though we don't always agree on it. Works for us most days, so yeah, whatever.

    And, for added fun, there's at least one or two campaigns right off the top of my head that fit this model. Ptolus is one. A Forgotten Realms/Waterdeep/Underdark adventure for two. And of course, Castle Greyhawk and the Free City of for three. And, hell, I've always thought Dark Sun's Tyr could do this as well.


    *Just in the interest of full disclosure, the author of the linked post is the guy who wrote Castle of the Mad Archmage, and he's my DM, and also a player in the D&D Next playtest that I've run and a friend. So, take it with a grain of salt. However, if this is up your alley, then I can recommend a number of his articles as he's quite cogent on the subject. He's also got some good reviews of our D&D Next sessions on there, including a home drawn comics version recap of part of one session. It's quite entertaining.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Two DMs working together could work out well, or horribly, depending. What I'll probably end up doing is proposing a number of these ideas to them, and see what they think.

    As for the cloud game idea, I personally like it, but half of our group suffers from Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny. I'd like to set up a world where they can go in whichever direction they want that night, they will probably derail from their own plot, which I suppose wouldn't be too bad. But there is also the problem of people being able to screw up the other players storyline. Let's say the roleplayers made an alliance with a noble, only for the next week, when they aren't around, the stabbies decide to raid that noble's house? It's a great idea, but I'm a bit skeptical about it working for our group, since we range from Lawful Good to Destructive Good to True Neutral to Chaotic Neutral to Neutral Evil.

    Along with that idea, our group is definitely not on the same page for what they want / the type of games they like. I've tried to give everyone their day in the limelight, but they all like to steal it for themselves.
    Last edited by smashbro; 2012-07-10 at 08:15 PM.




  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by smashbro View Post
    As for the cloud game idea, I personally like it, but half of our group suffers from Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny. I'd like to set up a world where they can go in whichever direction they want that night, they will probably derail from their own plot, which I suppose wouldn't be too bad. But there is also the problem of people being able to screw up the other players storyline. Let's say the roleplayers made an alliance with a noble, only for the next week, when they aren't around, the stabbies decide to raid that noble's house?
    So? The noble (or his allies) would remain allied with the roleplaying group, and want to hunt down the stabby mcstabbyguys. Why is this a problem?

    (And yeah, this is pretty much how old-shool games (paleolithic?) games were run)

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    So? The noble (or his allies) would remain allied with the roleplaying group, and want to hunt down the stabby mcstabbyguys. Why is this a problem?

    (And yeah, this is pretty much how old-shool games (paleolithic?) games were run)
    Fair enough, that makes sense. But let's say on the third night, a could stabbers and a couple role players are there... it'll ruin the fun of one group or the other based on which way the noble flips. Either the stabbers learn they can get away with anything, or if the role players stick up for the others, they've just lost an ally through no fault of their own.




  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Player Issues (need advice)

    Quote Originally Posted by smashbro View Post
    Fair enough, that makes sense. But let's say on the third night, a could stabbers and a couple role players are there... it'll ruin the fun of one group or the other based on which way the noble flips. Either the stabbers learn they can get away with anything, or if the role players stick up for the others, they've just lost an ally through no fault of their own.
    It requires a little give and take on the part of the group. And a bit of adulthood, actually.

    Basically, insist that your players not be complete jerks to each other.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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