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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Handling overly cautious players

    In my current campaign (Dark Heresy for the record) I have a player, who I'm going to refer to as Bob, for the purposes of this thread, who has been playing incredibly cautious, to the point of stagnation if he cannot figure out a move in the campaign that does not put him in an advantageous situation regardless of the circumstances he may be trying to go into. Thus far in the campaign he's run through two scenarios, substantially easier than I expected him to, mostly because I can't figure out how to hem him in without either A. being a "gotcha" GM (which I am desperately trying to avoid), or B. Causing the entire campaign to stagnate for sessions at a time as he tries every option at his disposal to reclaim an advantage, instead of pushing forward.

    It's starting to feel like I can't challenge this player if I play fair, because whenever I indicate that there IS danger, his character's decision seems to most often be: "Don't approach the danger at all, back off, and come back later with vastly more firepower than should be reasonably expected."

    To provide a D&D equivalent, I feel that Bob would look at a camp of ten goblins raiders, order the party to back off, and refuse to come back to deal with the camp unless he was backed by an entire team of third level fighters. And if I told him there were no third level fighters available to help out, he'd then try to "settle" for a dozen first level fighters instead, and so-on and so-forth, and overall refusing the enter a situation where there is any actual sense of challenge.

    But in the same vein, I don't want to be a "gotcha!" GM. Having lost one of my own characters to something I feel I couldn't have reasonably foreseen or avoided in my last campaign, I don't want to repeat the process, and so I don't want the characters to say.... be walking through a starship and then go: "And then a bunch of bombs under the floor go off. Roll Agility or take X damage, and by the way you guys are all now separated in a Xenos-infested starship." Unfortunately, if Bob SEES the bombs, his response has thus far been to say: "Yeah whatever's down that hall isn't worth the trouble, let's just leave guys."

    So I'm at a bit of a pinch where I do not know how to properly handle Bob's.... let's just say, "overestimation" of the threats I send his way, but don't want to just screw him and the party over with no agency to deal with it.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Time sensitive threats. If they aren't dealt with right now they're going to get a lot worse.

    Ambushes and other related threats. You don't have to be railroady or cheaty to ambush the PCs. If they spot the ambush and get out of it without a fight, that's fine, you can do it again another time. Sometimes they'll fail the roll and then you'll have them.

    Give other sorts of challenges that aren't violence related. It's a lot harder to run away from, say, an important diplomatic function without messing everything up. And they tend to be less scary too.

    One shot opportunities. You know where the target is right now, but in a couple hours he'll be off the planet and out of your reach if you don't want to spend months tracking him down across the galaxy.

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    Imp

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Tell him he's supposed to play the character like it's expendable.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    As the saying goes, it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you.

    Let's face it, if this is WH40K setting, being "overly cautious" is the only sane way to be both in-universe and ouy of it. Don't fight your player for playing it smart.

    Instead, make your game scenarios harder. There are few key ways to accomplish this:

    1) Scarcity of resources. You say Bob always looks for an advantage, well, what are these advantages he looks for and where he gets them? If he wants more firepower, make firepower expensive, rare, and possibly in the hands of the enemy.

    Identify key supplies for your scenario: weapons, ammo, spaceship fuel, food, henchmen, goodwill and time. Then make acquiring each an adventure of its own. Never, ever just hand key resources to the PCs.

    2) Calibrate the scenario for those advantages. Increase difficulty of enemies so much that Bob needs to do what Bob does to have a chance of victory.

    Alternatively:

    3) Just let Bob win for a time. Challenging your players is not self-important. Chances are even Bob will drop his guard when things go his way long enough.

    Then, when he's not prepared, put him in a scenario where 1) and 2) apply.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2017-12-30 at 07:50 AM.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    That's easy, just put time pressure on him. If he leaves to get more backup fighters, the goblins will eat the captives in the mean time (or do something else that the player/character cares about). It's not 'gotcha' if the risk of this was telegraphed before.

    Is it a single character party or what? If not, ask the other players what they want to do instead, and don't wait for him...

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Firstly, let me thank all of you for your suggestions. I'm likely to try and use some of these, and a few I was planning on using anyways, but I feel I should address some of these comments first.

    Time sensitive threats. If they aren't dealt with right now they're going to get a lot worse.
    I feel like Bob would, in many cases, LET them get worse if he couldn't go in 100% certain of victory, and then simply use the problem getting worse as justification to get even MORE resources. "Sure it was 10 goblin raiders THEN, but now there's thirty of them getting ready to attack the town, you really expect me to be able to deal with this without those ten third level fighters I asked for?" (and if told: "Yes." would be as like to say: "That's utterly ridiculous, and is just gonna get us killed, you're on your own.")

    One shot opportunities. You know where the target is right now, but in a couple hours he'll be off the planet and out of your reach if you don't want to spend months tracking him down across the galaxy.
    See above. I feel like in this situation, Bob would say: "Well, if I can't get those reinforcements and heavy armaments, I'll let him get away this time and if things are worse when I encounter him down the line, that's just a reason to requisition even more high-end stuff." And then would get salty and upset if I denied him those resources because "how am I supposed to deal with this guy without this stuff now?" And to which, I would feel like a colossal tool for telling him: "Guess you should have dealt with him back then, shouldn't you?"


    1) Scarcity of resources. You say Bob always looks for an advantage, well, what are these advantages he looks for and where he gets them? If he wants more firepower, make firepower expensive, rare, and possibly in the hands of the enemy.

    Identify key supplies for your scenario: weapons, ammo, spaceship fuel, food, henchmen, goodwill and time. Then make acquiring each an adventure of its own. Never, ever just hand key resources to the PCs.
    Something I have tried doing, but as I mentioned in the original post, this tends to lead to stagnation in the campaign, as Bob instead decides to just push for those resources harder. I'm all for making it a little more difficult for him to get what he's looking for, I don't really want to spend five sessions of Bob going to increasing lengths to get those third level fighters just so he can fight a camp of goblins. Also in some circumstances, it doesn't make sense for an organization NOT to have what Bob's looking for. Given this is Dark Heresy, he's been drawing HEAVILY on the: "We're the Inquisition, give us what we ask for or else" and ranting and complaining when that doesn't work or exclaiming that: "This makes zero sense that this organization wouldn't have these resources" when I try to run that card, and while it hasn't necessarily STOPPED me using it, I'm starting to feel like the jerk in the room, and overly railroading when Bob goes to ten different sources, all that would likely have those third level fighters for hire, and they arbitrarily don't have them, just because I don't want to give him something that would potentially trivialize the encounter.

    2) Calibrate the scenario for those advantages. Increase difficulty of enemies so much that Bob needs to do what Bob does to have a chance of victory.
    While I agree with this idea in theory, the issue is that if I make it obvious that this is the case, then I feel he's going to revert back to form and refuse to go in without even MORE obscene resources (and refuse to do anything if I deny him them). It would also make it fairly obvious that I am tailoring the encounters to what Bob is doing, and that there would be no feasible way to deal with it unless he did exactly that.

    Is it a single character party or what? If not, ask the other players what they want to do instead, and don't wait for him...
    Three person party, the other two players are pretty content to do what Bob asks. Possibly moreso in-fact, after last session where one of them BREAKING from Bob's plan, ended up costing them a Fate Point.
    Last edited by Chijinda; 2017-12-30 at 06:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    I kind of think that's the right way to do it, though.

    As the Inquisition, you have all the resources of the Imperium at your command, [or at least your Inquisitor does, and you act on her authority], but you need to find where to direct it. I generally make requisition tests entirely automatic if the item in question is found in the appropriate codex.

    I almost always want my party to go back, get their stuff, and come back prepared for the enemy. If they have to fight the enemy in open combat, they've either prepared extensively for it using all the intelligence they could gather or something's gone very wrong, usually the latter because that's how things work in the 41st Millennium.


    This is Dark Heresy, not D&D.



    I run DH quite a bit, though I have been informed that I run it pretty differently from other GM's. My players really like it though, and request DH whenever it's time to start a new campaign. Anyway, when the game stagnates and the party has reached decision paralysis, I encourage everyone to sit down and review all the information they've uncovered. We call it the "red string board". After they sort through what they know and how they think it connects, I ask them what they don't know what would help them make a decision, followed by where they think they might need to look to find that information, and that typically gets things rolling again.

    If they don't want to act because they don't think they have enough troops, they probably don't have enough troops. If they're really stuck, prompt them to consider alternate courses of action, and remind them of the objective of their current task and the ultimate objective of the campaign.
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2017-12-30 at 06:49 PM.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    The Inquisition has a lot of resources, but they always have more fires to put out than firemen to do it with. Have you tried reminding Bob that while his player character is central to the game's narrative, he's not the only protagonist in the setting? Other acolytes on other missions are also clamoring for the resources he thinks he needs to guarantee success.

    I think you do need to ratchet up the 'gotcha' a bit, and make it clear why, otherwise he will continue his pattern of believing the narrative entitles him to victory under any circumstance. If he's flashing his Rosette around and demanding help in the name of the Inquisition, spies that the cult should logically have watching for threats will hear about it. He'll get his ten third-level fighters, and storm the hideout only to discover it's been emptied. If he delays from unfavorable circumstances, don't have the villain just be stronger next time, have something permanent and negative result from the hesitation.

    If all else fails, remind him, at bolt pistol point if you need to, that he's actually completely unimportant. If he lets the villain complete their demon summoning ritual and slaughter a town because he couldn't get the plasma grenades he wanted...his Inquisitor should just have him shot. Outright refusal to do his job is both treason and heresy. It's harsh, but Dark Heresy is meant to be a harsh world, and a player who can't handle taking risks isn't engaging with the game the way they need to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    The Inquisition has a lot of resources, but they always have more fires to put out than firemen to do it with. Have you tried reminding Bob that while his player character is central to the game's narrative, he's not the only protagonist in the setting? Other acolytes on other missions are also clamoring for the resources he thinks he needs to guarantee success.

    I think you do need to ratchet up the 'gotcha' a bit, and make it clear why, otherwise he will continue his pattern of believing the narrative entitles him to victory under any circumstance. If he's flashing his Rosette around and demanding help in the name of the Inquisition, spies that the cult should logically have watching for threats will hear about it. He'll get his ten third-level fighters, and storm the hideout only to discover it's been emptied. If he delays from unfavorable circumstances, don't have the villain just be stronger next time, have something permanent and negative result from the hesitation.

    If all else fails, remind him, at bolt pistol point if you need to, that he's actually completely unimportant. If he lets the villain complete their demon summoning ritual and slaughter a town because he couldn't get the plasma grenades he wanted...his Inquisitor should just have him shot. Outright refusal to do his job is both treason and heresy. It's harsh, but Dark Heresy is meant to be a harsh world, and a player who can't handle taking risks isn't engaging with the game the way they need to.
    I agree. The importance of subtlety cannot be understated. You should be very aware of how aware the enemy is of the party's actions. As a rule, I don't make it a matter of success or failure in the entire campaign, but if you implement it logically it can change the entire dynamic of the game.

    When the party isn't particularly discreet, they'll find strong enemies are prepared for them and dug in, and weak enemies have fled and burned their documents. Enemies will also counterattack if they feel particularly confident in their force.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Try playing a different game? Something like Toon, Paranoia, or Fiasco where failure is another source of comedy.
    Or something like Dread, where no matter what you do, you're probably still doomed.

    Of course, the biggest question is, HOW MUCH caution do you want from your players? Less than this guy, obviously, but I doubt you want him going full-on Leeroy Jenkins.
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    That sort of behavior is really frustrating in a player (on either side of the screen), so I certainly sympathize. That said, I think this is a metagame problem-- the player is convinced that, without massive paranoia, they'll fail and die, and they've decided to come down against that. I recommend sitting down away from the game and having a talk about things like what cues you've been trying to use to show when things are appropriate challenges verses when they're supposed to be overwhelming. This is a metagame behavior, and needs metagame solutions.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    - the player is convinced that, without massive paranoia, they'll fail and die, and they've decided to come down against that. I recommend sitting down away from the game and having a talk about things like what cues you've been trying to use to show when things are appropriate challenges verses when they're supposed to be overwhelming. This is a metagame behavior, and needs metagame solutions.
    The strange thing in this situation is, while the player in question DOES have a propensity for getting incredibly salty and frustrated over set-backs and hiccups in his plans of action, his previous character was NOT like this. While both his characters seem to enjoy needlessly complex and convoluted plans to accomplish fairly minor tasks he was perfectly fine with his original character taking major risks which did eventually kill him-- though consequently the session before that character died, he gave me the heads up that he didn't want me pulling any punches, and even then he took agency for his character's own death: (He broke into an area that I had put neon flashing signs around saying: "It is a bad idea to try to break into this area at this point, don't do it" and then snarked off to a Space Marine when he got caught).

    Which does make me feel like this is a largely in-character thing, but it's still frustrating. The incident in question that got me to set up this thread was last session, he'd seen an ambush coming, and there was no real way around it. The group (and a large squad of troops they'd been moving with) had been lured into a one-way passage, and he'd figured out that there was an ambush waiting for them at the other end (for the record they DID know exactly the capabilities and numbers of the ambush). And I think he and I just had very different assessments of the situation. Given that he had a ton of troops, I'd run the numbers and knew that even in a worst case scenario, the ambush would result in a large number of NPC casualties, but that it would definitely have been a solid win for the PC's. He looked at the scenario and threw his hands up in the air going: "I give up. This place is stupid" as though he somehow expected to get through a space hulk, crawling with nasty and dangerous Xenos with no casualties whatsoever.
    Last edited by Chijinda; 2017-12-30 at 07:36 PM.

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Have you tried just sitting him down and talking to him about the issues you're having with his play style? I'm not saying you should confront him during the game or around the other players, but maybe after you're next session sit him down and ask some questions. Find out WHY he plays that way. Does he even know that he's doing it or is it something that he thinks is a crucial part of his character? If you can find his motications then you'll have an easier time solving the issue in my opinion. Sorry you're having to deal with that kind of player.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster
    And then would get salty and upset if I denied him those resources because "how am I supposed to deal with this guy without this stuff now?" And to which, I would feel like a colossal tool for telling him: "Guess you should have dealt with him back then, shouldn't you?"
    You are entitled to be that kind of a tool. It's called informing the player they lost the scenario because they picked the wrong strategy. Of course they'll get salty, people tend to get salty over losing.

    That. Is. Not. Your. Problem.

    Let them deal with it. If they're half smart, they'll swap strategies for the next similar situation. The possibility for failure is necessary for learning, because failure is the greatest teacher.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    Tell him he's supposed to play the character like it's expendable.
    Exactly this.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Chijinda View Post
    The strange thing in this situation is, while the player in question DOES have a propensity for getting incredibly salty and frustrated over set-backs and hiccups in his plans of action, his previous character was NOT like this. While both his characters seem to enjoy needlessly complex and convoluted plans to accomplish fairly minor tasks he was perfectly fine with his original character taking major risks which did eventually kill him-- though consequently the session before that character died, he gave me the heads up that he didn't want me pulling any punches, and even then he took agency for his character's own death: (He broke into an area that I had put neon flashing signs around saying: "It is a bad idea to try to break into this area at this point, don't do it" and then snarked off to a Space Marine when he got caught).

    Which does make me feel like this is a largely in-character thing, but it's still frustrating. The incident in question that got me to set up this thread was last session, he'd seen an ambush coming, and there was no real way around it. The group (and a large squad of troops they'd been moving with) had been lured into a one-way passage, and he'd figured out that there was an ambush waiting for them at the other end (for the record they DID know exactly the capabilities and numbers of the ambush). And I think he and I just had very different assessments of the situation. Given that he had a ton of troops, I'd run the numbers and knew that even in a worst case scenario, the ambush would result in a large number of NPC casualties, but that it would definitely have been a solid win for the PC's. He looked at the scenario and threw his hands up in the air going: "I give up. This place is stupid" as though he somehow expected to get through a space hulk, crawling with nasty and dangerous Xenos with no casualties whatsoever.
    Well, the intelligent thing to do when faced with an enemy in ambush, where you know about the ambush, would be not to get ambushed, yes? Sounds reasonable.

    Now, it might be useful, depending on how aware the party is of how aware the enemy is of the party, to walk into the ambush, but be ready for it, but that strictly depends on the situation. If it does not aid the mission to do so, it may prove prudent to do something else.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Have you tried just sitting him down and talking to him about the issues you're having with his play style?

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Chijinda View Post
    I feel like Bob would, in many cases, LET them get worse if he couldn't go in 100% certain of victory, and then simply use the problem getting worse as justification to get even MORE resources. "Sure it was 10 goblin raiders THEN, but now there's thirty of them getting ready to attack the town, you really expect me to be able to deal with this without those ten third level fighters I asked for?" (and if told: "Yes." would be as like to say: "That's utterly ridiculous, and is just gonna get us killed, you're on your own.")

    See above. I feel like in this situation, Bob would say: "Well, if I can't get those reinforcements and heavy armaments, I'll let him get away this time and if things are worse when I encounter him down the line, that's just a reason to requisition even more high-end stuff." And then would get salty and upset if I denied him those resources because "how am I supposed to deal with this guy without this stuff now?" And to which, I would feel like a colossal tool for telling him: "Guess you should have dealt with him back then, shouldn't you?"
    Well, frankly, at some point you get to remind him that he's a small fish in a big pond. If an Inquisitor isn't getting his job done because of cowardice that's the sort of thing that eventually leads to some very stern questions getting asked of him.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Kail11 View Post
    Have you tried just sitting him down and talking to him about the issues you're having with his play style?
    What kind of crazy talk is that?
    Imagine if all real-world conversations were like internet D&D conversations...
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    It could be a matter of perspective. I have been in games in which players get overly cautious and begin to run away from encounters because they cannot adequately anticipate the outcome of the oncoming fight. It could even be in a fight we were winning, but because the DM happens use a slightly too scary description of events the players begin to have enough doubt that they feel the need to run. This can have an unfortunate spiraling effect. I would recommend talking to him and asking why he chose that course of action.

    Alternatively you could give some examples that they can win fights even if they don't have enormous backup. Thus boosting confidence.

    And if you don't want to talk, or compromise the tone of the game, you could just make time sensitive things that have repercussions if the party fails. You mentioned that he might ask for more backup if the situation gets worse. Then let it get worse. Force the inquisition to nuke a city from orbit, and then have their superior blame them for not having dealt with it. And if he still asks for more resources claim that there aren't enough resources, and that if things get that bad again then they will be executed and replaced. And if he still complains, say that the reason they don't send armies every time is so that they can limit the population's interaction with their enemy's corruption and because armed battalions are not very subtle, basically tell him flat out that he is expendable. Logically, the definite threat of execution at the hands of his superior should be more pressing than the possible death at the hands of his enemies. The downside is that you would have to kill his character if he steps out of line.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    I dont know how suitable these suggestions would be, but just to try something different...

    You could encourage and reward solving problems creatively, whether it be through stealth, combat, diplomacy or other, just to build up confidence.

    You could make 'failure' not necessarily mean a 'loss' and instead just open up to another path. Obviously that wont always work, but I used to be an overly cautious player (although it resulted in me tending to be indecisive rather than just go back to get more reinforcements/firepower) and my DM started making alternatives to death and failure which would open up new plots or second chances. It made me take more of a risk because I knew it wouldnt necessarily be the end if I messed up.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    What happens if bob gets killed ?

    Will bob be resurrected with ease at ye olde church of Cuthbert ? Are there escape routes if a fight goes south ?

    If the answer is no then Bob has every right to be as cautious as possible .

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Pugwampy View Post
    What happens if bob gets killed ?

    Will bob be resurrected with ease at ye olde church of Cuthbert ? Are there escape routes if a fight goes south ?

    If the answer is no then Bob has every right to be as cautious as possible .
    When a critical effect would kill you, you reduce your fate threshold and survive with significant injury [and the mission is probably failed, since your comrades now have to extract you], probably including the loss of one or more vital organs or limbs requiring cybernetic replacement. If you have no fate left, you die in a suitably grisly manner as dictated by the 16 critical hit tables.

    The average Dark Heresy character has about 11 hitpoints, with between 5 and 8 points of damage reduction from armor and toughness. On a Space Hulk, probable enemies include Tyranids or Orks. Tyranid Genestealers [a common enemy on a Space Hulk that likes to stage ambushes] can attack 4 times [once with each arm] for up to 6 hits each [24 total with straight 1's] that deal 1d10+12 R Damage with 5 pen, and come in units of 5-20.

    He has good reason to be cautious.



    The problem is when play stagnates. Here's the way I see it: if the game has come to a halt because the players are indecisive, then the GM should provide prompts for alternate plans, or try to get the players thinking about where they can find their next lead or how to connect the clues they have.

    If the players have a plan and the plan is "More Soldiers", then the game isn't stopped because of the players. Let the players have a company of Leman Russ tanks or Chenkov's Conscripts to command if they ask for it, they are the Inquisition after all, it's their right as granted by the God-Emperor. The battles are secondary in a game of Dark Heresy anyway. There are repercussions to calling in the Imperial Guard, and the enemy isn't likely to stand and fight if the Cadian 7253rd Armored Regiment is knocking at their door. The players will eventually start to think of other, better plans.
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2017-12-31 at 04:25 PM.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Chijinda View Post
    The strange thing in this situation is, while the player in question DOES have a propensity for getting incredibly salty and frustrated over set-backs and hiccups in his plans of action, his previous character was NOT like this. While both his characters seem to enjoy needlessly complex and convoluted plans to accomplish fairly minor tasks he was perfectly fine with his original character taking major risks which did eventually kill him-- though consequently the session before that character died, he gave me the heads up that he didn't want me pulling any punches, and even then he took agency for his character's own death: (He broke into an area that I had put neon flashing signs around saying: "It is a bad idea to try to break into this area at this point, don't do it" and then snarked off to a Space Marine when he got caught).

    Which does make me feel like this is a largely in-character thing, but it's still frustrating.
    I can't agree with that last sentence. The way I read it is clear - the player was being less paranoid but also did a stupid thing, the character died, so now he proceeds to play overly cautiously to not die.

    The best thing you can do is have a talk with him and make him realized that no, his previous character didn't die because he wasn't incredibly overly cautious, he died due to doing a very stupid thing that should've had him killed, so it did. He can play the game normally and it won't mean his character will die, as long as he doesn't go into situations that scream "certain death" and not expect, you know, death. If both of you reach an understanding there, everyone will end up having a better time in the end.

    What you should not do: validate his stance by really making the game as lethal as he expects. There are other players at the table who I assume aren't as paranoid, and won't appreciate the game shift. Heck, Bob won't appreciate the game shift either, he'll just think all his cautiousness was 100% justified. Also it's an outdated, antagonistic GMing style that belongs more in the 80s than in a modern RPG. Yes, even a WH40k one.
    Last edited by tensai_oni; 2017-12-31 at 04:38 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Are you doing 1st edition or 2nd? In 2nd edition DH you can potentially use Subtlety as a counterbalance to more resources. If Bob is waving around an Inquisitorial Mandate then the Warband's subtlety is going to be pretty low. The rules suggest giving a +/-20 modifier based on how the warband's subtlety relates to it's goals (sometimes being subtle can be to your detriment). In general though a low subtlety will hurt with tests related to investigation since the bad guys know Inquisitorial agents are about and cover their tracks better. You can also use low subtlety as justification for ambushes and such.

    The other side is time pressure. After all if the cultists are preparing to summon a demon there isn't exactly time to go and round up a couple of platoons of PDF soldiers.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    I can't agree with that last sentence. The way I read it is clear - the player was being less paranoid but also did a stupid thing, the character died, so now he proceeds to play overly cautiously to not die.
    The reason I think this is an in-character decision is because the session before he died, the player actually approached me to tell me: "By the way, just as a reminder, I'm well aware this is probably a bad place to be, you've given me adequate warning that what I'm doing is probably lethal, so you don't need to pull any punches. If my character messes up, go ahead and kill him". So he /was/ well aware what he was getting into. And he has thus far defended his current character's hypercaution (a military veteran that was stranded on a Chaos-tainted planet for years) with having had to spend years where every single resource available was sacred, and you died with one misstep, so that he's developed into a guy that NEVER goes into any situation anymore without six backup plans, and abhores the idea of "acceptable losses", constantly pushing for 100% perfect success, in which, if I give the PC's a team of redshirts, he will never enter any situation that has any reasonable probability of even one redshirt dying (even if the alternative is essentially: "Sit in a hole and starve to death, because there's a group of enemies you outnumber 10-1 outside the hole")

    Quote Originally Posted by Adeon Hawkwood View Post
    Are you doing 1st edition or 2nd? In 2nd edition DH you can potentially use Subtlety as a counterbalance to more resources. If Bob is waving around an Inquisitorial Mandate then the Warband's subtlety is going to be pretty low. The rules suggest giving a +/-20 modifier based on how the warband's subtlety relates to it's goals (sometimes being subtle can be to your detriment). In general though a low subtlety will hurt with tests related to investigation since the bad guys know Inquisitorial agents are about and cover their tracks better. You can also use low subtlety as justification for ambushes and such.

    The other side is time pressure. After all if the cultists are preparing to summon a demon there isn't exactly time to go and round up a couple of platoons of PDF soldiers.
    First Edition. One of our players in our group, the rest of the group has agreed would be a nightmare to play DH2. We've found that even DH1 is almost too complicated for him, we don't want to see him try to struggle through the Aptitude system.

    Thus far, I've run this as a pseudo-sandbox campaign. While there is a clear objective and threat, I've wanted to leave it MOSTLY up to the party how they address the issue, and due to the nature of the Big Bad's plan (who have also been consolidating their forces for a major operation in the campaign), there's been little opportunity for time-sensitive threats. And the few time-sensitive threats I have thrown at them have been ignored (which yes, will have dire consequences for the party in the end-game where certain NPC's that were killed due to a lack of PC intervention or operations that they could have stopped or sabotaged will end up paying off well for them come time), which has largely discouraged me from throwing them out at the PC's since they're not picking any of them up.

    I don't want to necessarily punish my players because they want to play a different game than I'm giving them. I'd rather adapt my campaign to be the sort of campaign they want to play, then force them to play the campaign I want to run and punish them heavily if they refuse. But most of all, I just want to be able to actually give them a fair challenge, without having to arbitrarily stonewall attempts to break my campaign without any justification.

    "No, you cannot recruit a team of 50 PDF to go and take out these three Cultists. Yes, I know you technically outrank the highest commanding officer on the planet, and have the Gelt to pay for the job, and can always flash the Inquisition badge if you don't. Yes, I know you've falsified all this document to make it look like there's a significant threat in this area that needs immediate PDF intervention from a force of approximately the size you've requested.* No, you still can't do it."

    --------


    Thank you for the suggestions made so far though. I'll see if I can't work in a few more time-sensitive threats that will require their intervention, with clear and obvious consequences for failing to do so prior to the end-stage of the campaign.


    *For the record the player in question DID do this, drawing upon a clerk the party and some Inquisitorial resources to draw up some falsified documents to help persuade a faction to lend them an excessive amount of resources.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Chijinda View Post
    "No, you cannot recruit a team of 50 PDF to go and take out these three Cultists. Yes, I know you technically outrank the highest commanding officer on the planet, and have the Gelt to pay for the job, and can always flash the Inquisition badge if you don't. Yes, I know you've falsified all this document to make it look like there's a significant threat in this area that needs immediate PDF intervention from a force of approximately the size you've requested.* No, you still can't do it."

    *For the record the player in question DID do this, drawing upon a clerk the party and some Inquisitorial resources to draw up some falsified documents to help persuade a faction to lend them an excessive amount of resources.
    I don't actually see the problem with this. This isn't negating all challenge, this is switching challenge away from combat to tricky solutions instead. It's not like falsifying documents is something that couldn't potentially bite them in the ass if they fail the roll or get caught later or whatever.

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    I don't actually see the problem with this. This isn't negating all challenge, this is switching challenge away from combat to tricky solutions instead. It's not like falsifying documents is something that couldn't potentially bite them in the ass if they fail the roll or get caught later or whatever.
    Exactly. It sounds to me that they did rise to the challenge, and found a solution.

    Combat isn't really the primary challenge of a DH game, as I see it. That would be finding clues and piecing them together to unravel the enemy's secret plan, and at then end you go and have a big fight to end the archenemy's scheme.


    And, if all else, surprise Bloodthrister will always leave them challenged.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    If all else fails, remind him, at bolt pistol point if you need to, that he's actually completely unimportant. If he lets the villain complete their demon summoning ritual and slaughter a town because he couldn't get the plasma grenades he wanted...his Inquisitor should just have him shot. Outright refusal to do his job is both treason and heresy. It's harsh, but Dark Heresy is meant to be a harsh world, and a player who can't handle taking risks isn't engaging with the game the way they need to.
    That would be my suggestion - if missions are getting failed due to cowardice and indecision, and other Imperial organisations are seeing massive unnessercery requisitions of troops and hardware, potentially threatening other missions and battlefronts, then it is time for the characters superior to step in and in no uncertain terms, make it clear that if he is unwilling or unable to perform the tasks he has been assigned, the Inquisition will "terminate" his employment and find someone willing to do the job.

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Handling overly cautious players

    Quote Originally Posted by Chijinda View Post
    The reason I think this is an in-character decision is because the session before he died, the player actually approached me to tell me: "By the way, just as a reminder, I'm well aware this is probably a bad place to be, you've given me adequate warning that what I'm doing is probably lethal, so you don't need to pull any punches. If my character messes up, go ahead and kill him". So he /was/ well aware what he was getting into. And he has thus far defended his current character's hypercaution (a military veteran that was stranded on a Chaos-tainted planet for years) with having had to spend years where every single resource available was sacred, and you died with one misstep, so that he's developed into a guy that NEVER goes into any situation anymore without six backup plans, and abhores the idea of "acceptable losses", constantly pushing for 100% perfect success, in which, if I give the PC's a team of redshirts, he will never enter any situation that has any reasonable probability of even one redshirt dying (even if the alternative is essentially: "Sit in a hole and starve to death, because there's a group of enemies you outnumber 10-1 outside the hole")



    First Edition. One of our players in our group, the rest of the group has agreed would be a nightmare to play DH2. We've found that even DH1 is almost too complicated for him, we don't want to see him try to struggle through the Aptitude system.

    Thus far, I've run this as a pseudo-sandbox campaign. While there is a clear objective and threat, I've wanted to leave it MOSTLY up to the party how they address the issue, and due to the nature of the Big Bad's plan (who have also been consolidating their forces for a major operation in the campaign), there's been little opportunity for time-sensitive threats. And the few time-sensitive threats I have thrown at them have been ignored (which yes, will have dire consequences for the party in the end-game where certain NPC's that were killed due to a lack of PC intervention or operations that they could have stopped or sabotaged will end up paying off well for them come time), which has largely discouraged me from throwing them out at the PC's since they're not picking any of them up.

    I don't want to necessarily punish my players because they want to play a different game than I'm giving them. I'd rather adapt my campaign to be the sort of campaign they want to play, then force them to play the campaign I want to run and punish them heavily if they refuse. But most of all, I just want to be able to actually give them a fair challenge, without having to arbitrarily stonewall attempts to break my campaign without any justification.

    "No, you cannot recruit a team of 50 PDF to go and take out these three Cultists. Yes, I know you technically outrank the highest commanding officer on the planet, and have the Gelt to pay for the job, and can always flash the Inquisition badge if you don't. Yes, I know you've falsified all this document to make it look like there's a significant threat in this area that needs immediate PDF intervention from a force of approximately the size you've requested.* No, you still can't do it."

    --------


    Thank you for the suggestions made so far though. I'll see if I can't work in a few more time-sensitive threats that will require their intervention, with clear and obvious consequences for failing to do so prior to the end-stage of the campaign.


    *For the record the player in question DID do this, drawing upon a clerk the party and some Inquisitorial resources to draw up some falsified documents to help persuade a faction to lend them an excessive amount of resources.
    I see a lot of parallels from your story to my own D&D game and some of my players.

    It seems mostly like a Motivation issue. The player/character is not motivated enough to risk anything. Even if risk averse, the mission should be important enough to make him want to risk his character/life. If not, a more urgent mission should be presented or a more suited character needs to be made. A character that does not care about anything, and just want to stay alive is not generally suited as a PC (maybe in a Mad Max game?).

    Do the players like the game of gathering troops to fight for them, more than the tactical combat game? If so, you have no problem, unless it is boring for you.

    Do they understand that by playing strategic cowards, they will not experience a challenging tactical combat game? Talk to them, and make them responsible for that. Let them know that if they only recruit a lot of troops, the combats will be uninteresting, OR, you can artificially adjust the combat difficulty and thus invalidate their strategic efforts.

    I have experienced players making characters that want to do things that the players don't really enjoy. Players don't like feeling like idiots, and will avoid walking into ambushes, bring allied NPCs as cannon fodder, and so on if that is possible. So even if the player really enjoy tactical and challenging combat, he may feel that he have to play true to his character, and avoid combat if possible or try to gain extreme advantages. The result is that the player is actively srewing himself out of challenge and will not enjoy the game. To reduce this you may have to engineer situations where he can't just get back up. Say in an exploration mission, where there are no extra troops around.

    My players actually told me that they want less of a sandbox, and I now try to give them more clear short term goals. I think it also helps with their motivation to present the rewards/consequences of the missions to the players before they start, and it helps avoiding gotchas. It feels bad to me as a GM to spoil the results early, but they don't neccesarily recognize the consequences as such otherwise and rewards can feel less earned.

    Maybe it's not that they don't want to play the game you are running, it might be that they don't know what you are going for. Tell them.

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