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Author Topic: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions  (Read 56410 times)

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Online HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #175 on: January 21, 2012, 05:50:08 AM »
And now for something completely different .. a little light relief








Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #176 on: January 21, 2012, 10:57:32 AM »
LOL...I love the hitpoints and corridor one!

I prefer leaving people post their own sheets (in a specific thread) and letting them go back to edit at their leisure, also saving me from a MOUNTAIN load of PMs every morning.

Yes, I can see this as a benefit. It does change once you get a big group game, but in the beginning you can put so much effort into the character posts it is pretty insane.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #177 on: January 21, 2012, 05:58:24 PM »
Personally, I've never had enough players in a game to make it more than an evening's work to sort all the char sheets out and post them.

I guess my group games are a pretty niche market type of thing....

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #178 on: January 24, 2012, 08:43:26 AM »
What do you do if you find your game starting to stall? Do you increase recruitment? Throw out a plot twist? Close it? Panic?

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #179 on: January 24, 2012, 09:05:37 AM »
In my experience, you first find out why its stalling. Ask your players if they have any ideas. Find out who is still active or inactive. Maybe  there need to be set rules on posting so the stalling doesn't cause an untimely death of the game. I have found in one of my groups that we had to renew interest. Put up a new interest thread instead of reactivating the old one. Sometimes people will see an older thread and get overwhelmed with all the posts that are in it, chalked full of a swarm of information between posts of randomness. Plot twists are good too. I recently started adding in more plot hooks into another group game to try and get people more involved than just the whole sandbox chatter. I find that often in a group game if left to just chatter, it dies out quickly. People become bored. And if there are posting waits that go for too long the same can occur. Even if you need to toss in temporary NPCs for flavor it does help to get things moving again. Thats the main key there. To keep it moving and to keep communication open with the players. Ask them if there is anything you can do to improve the flow of the game. Ask if they have any ideas to contribute as far as their character goes or any background they'd like to see brought up in a plot or mini plot regarding their characters. If a player is fully submerged into a plot, so that they feel they are making a difference or are a star player or at least co star.. they will be more apt to pay closer attention and post more frequently. Its when they feel like they aren't doing anything of worth that they tend to sit back and idle more.

Just my two cents from online and tabletop GMing. :) Hope it helps!

Offline NileGoddess

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #180 on: January 24, 2012, 09:42:18 AM »
For the free-form games I do, issues with stalling usually generates from player inactivity as they lose interest. This can arise from numerous things: poorly worked plots, people playing scenes too fast (or too slow), or sometimes people can just be inconsiderate and ignore the game.

Fixing it varies on the problem. Inactive players due to loss of interest might be remedied by recruiting more players to fill in the gaps. Interested and active players not posting might need a twist or a new scene to work from.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #181 on: January 24, 2012, 02:59:57 PM »
What do you do if you find your game starting to stall? Do you increase recruitment? Throw out a plot twist? Close it? Panic?

Yyyeeeaaahhh...

The question on everyone's lips who has never managed to gain that elusive orange badge!

My usual first port of call is to post in the OOC thread asking who is still in and if they have a reason why they haven't posted. If that gets sufficient response (usually "we're waiting for x"), I check to see when x last logged in and if it was in the last couple of days I PM them to ask if they are still playing.

If that gets no response or if they haven't logged in since their last post, I will declare their player to be "dormant" and ask the rest to work around them.

However, if my OOC post elicits a minimal response or no response, I'm afraid I tend to give up and go home, because that usually means all the players have lost interest!

Of course if the reason for not posting is something else, then I will do my best to fix it, but so far it has never been something else.

Offline alxnjshTopic starter

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #182 on: January 25, 2012, 07:31:05 PM »
Josi brings up an interesting idea of posting frequency rules. Has anyone used those and do they work?

In my experience I've found they don't work very often and can actually lead some good players away. I really, really wish they worked!  ;D

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #183 on: January 25, 2012, 07:57:40 PM »
Josi brings up an interesting idea of posting frequency rules. Has anyone used those and do they work?

In my experience I've found they don't work very often and can actually lead some good players away. I really, really wish they worked!  ;D

I think with the posting rules, it should be stated that in my experience.. in my group games, we give decent amounts of leniency.  We usually ask for 1-2 posts a week or at least notice in an "absence thread" if you can't post and when we should expect them. That way people aren't stuck wondering when or why.

At the same time I have seen games that ask for posts at least every other day or once a day. Those I tend to shy away from myself due to my own posting speeds. But then others like to be in a group that requires faster posting. I recently had a player who had a valid complaint that they didn't realize the game was  slower on the posting rates and had  they known, they wouldn't have joined. So it comes down to the players.

That said, Its a good idea to have a posting rate set or stated when you put up at interest thread or once you get people involved and ask their opinions on it. I always ask if people are okay with a certain speed or if they prefer it slower or faster.  Most players are good with the twice a week sort of ruling, again in my
experience that is. :)

EDIT:

I recently had to put up a thread asking for activity levels from players. Most responded as active and then after some time if they still didn't post we'd ask for an honest answer if they could commit. Mind you those players that were "poked" for commitment were given 1-2 month leniency's with posting, as in they hadn't made a post in 4-8 weeks.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 07:59:57 PM by Josietta »

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #184 on: January 26, 2012, 01:24:24 PM »
I would love to ask all players in my games to post once a week, but in reality that would result in me dropping myself from most of my games! *eyeroll*

Personally, I think that being patient with players suffering muse-block is more likely to yield results than trying to bully them into posting. I have a large number of one-on-one threads active with the same player, and she is one of the slowest posters I know. (Haibane knows who I mean).  But the two of us write so well together and share a lot of interests in common, so I am happy to wait and give her the occasional nudge when more than half of her threads become older than my youngest "dead" story...

Offline Josietta

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #185 on: January 26, 2012, 02:02:41 PM »
I completely understand where you're coming from there.

I think however one on ones are a completely different animal than group games.   I have one on ones where I don't get posts but every 4-8 weeks. Which in that case is highly understandable and acceptable. Heck my rp partners are told I'm super slow. 

Group games however rely on a number of people and I find that if you don't keep a decent posting rate going, people lose interest quickly and either forget about the game or give up on it. That is a main reason why in most of my games we have a posting rate. However, having said that, we understand that some peoples muses don't work with "time constraints" and there is a leeway in there for those sorts of people, but again we need communication for that. There are always options, its just for the majority there needs to be some set structure or else, I find things tend to crumble. Again this is just my experience and in most of the games I've been on in the past 3+ years I've been on E.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #186 on: January 26, 2012, 02:34:15 PM »
Yes, I agree. Having a lot of players who are all waiting on one or two who have a really slow posting rate is frustrating - in fact I've been in that situation myself where the player who's character mine is currently interacting with has gone off on holiday without telling anyone, and suddenly my girl is left standing like a cardboard cut-out while the action proceeds around her...

As you say, communication is everything. I have no problem with people taking breaks or holidays, so long as they let the GM know in advance, or at the very least create an A/A thread and post there to let people know.

I have in the past put in an unofficial posting rate, which basically states "if you haven't posted in X number of weeks, I will PM you to see what is happening and if we still haven't heard from you Y weeks after that, we will assume you have dropped the RP".

I have to say that I've had no success with either approach, so... *shrug*

Offline DarkWorld0BrightHope

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #187 on: January 27, 2012, 08:18:49 AM »
When I host group games I often go into it with the mentality that every PC likes to feel like they're the star of the story, and that they'll be more invested in the story I have to tell of they feel this way. Few PCs I have encountered have liked being a supporting character to another PC.
With this in mind, I work to find a way to provide the illusion the PC is the focus of my story while simultaneously making it a group game where they can at their own discretion-'less the story guide them that way regardless-interact with the other PCs, as well as having their actions affect the events of other 'main character' type PCs.
This enables me, as a GM, to control the posting rate, in an albeit more subtle way than normal, and if done correctly, the individual PCs can feel like they're posting at a rate suited to their muses simply because this is mostly true. Some players can fall behind the main events, but still not affect the flow of the game for the other players.
It only gets bogged down when the players are teaming up or fighting each other, but usually my method was to avoid that entirely if at all possible by giving each of the players equally important but relatively nonconflicting tasks, each a full sized adventure waiting to happen, even should the players decide fo deviate from the plotted path-lovely part is, thers is always a way to bring the main plot back to them with ghe right planning.

My most successful RP followed this general strategy, and since it was halfway automated, it was less hassle than it probably sounds.

Now I admit, this usually won't work as well with games where everyone is mingling with everyone else, but for the more adventure based ones... particularly the system games, it is a rather useful strategy for me.

If the above made sense anyway.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #188 on: January 27, 2012, 08:35:52 AM »
How do people handle players who want to import or re-use pre-existing characters, rather than creating a new character for the story? Sometimes, it's entirely appropriate - primarily for just ordinary human beings and RPs centered around the real world. In this case, though, I'm co-running a freeform superhero RP where the average power level of costumed heroes is somewhere between Watchmen and Classic X-Men. One prospective player, though, is trying to bring in what is apparently a superpowered character of his from a previous such RP where either there was no restrictions on power, or the typical power level was in the area of cosmic/Justice League. To complicate things a little bit, the character was negotiated and approved at a lower power level, but sometime between being approved and being moved to the Characters thread, his sheet sprouted about 4 new powers, some of which are significant gamechangers if not gamebreakers. What's the best way to handle this?

Offline LunarSage

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #189 on: January 27, 2012, 08:40:29 AM »
I'd politely put my foot down.  If the player is adding powers and abilities after approval without the GM's knowledge or consent, they're cheating, plain and simple. 

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #190 on: January 27, 2012, 08:56:01 AM »
Well, like I said, it's complicated by the co-GM issue. I'm the one who mainly approves and reviews character submissions, but the main GM also looks them over (though mainly only to rubberstamp my decisions) and moves them to Approved Characters. I had approved this character in its weaker state, the new powers popped up, and the head GM gave his rubberstamp and activated the PC without realizing I had never seen the 'second draft'.

Online HairyHeretic

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #191 on: January 27, 2012, 09:39:43 AM »
I'd put the character on hold, and start a three way chat. Explain that the older draft had been ok'ed, this one hadn't, in particular if there are game breaking powers involved.

Offline Haibane

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #192 on: January 28, 2012, 08:31:41 AM »
How do people handle players who want to import or re-use pre-existing characters, rather than creating a new character for the story? Sometimes, it's entirely appropriate - primarily for just ordinary human beings and RPs centered around the real world. In this case, though, I'm co-running a freeform superhero RP where the average power level of costumed heroes is somewhere between Watchmen and Classic X-Men. One prospective player, though, is trying to bring in what is apparently a superpowered character of his from a previous such RP where either there was no restrictions on power, or the typical power level was in the area of cosmic/Justice League. To complicate things a little bit, the character was negotiated and approved at a lower power level, but sometime between being approved and being moved to the Characters thread, his sheet sprouted about 4 new powers, some of which are significant gamechangers if not gamebreakers. What's the best way to handle this?
You just politely say "no", and please reset your character sheet back to where it was when the character was approved.

I can actually take a good guess who this player is! If my guess is right you may be better off removing him from the game ;)

Also - a lesson to be learned in such co-GMing situations, once you, the character approver, says yes to a submitted character then YOU forward it on to the other GM to be placed in the charaacter sheet thread. That way it can't be interfered with en-route.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 08:34:40 AM by Haibane »

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #193 on: January 28, 2012, 08:40:43 AM »
I think we will be putting in a bit more reliable co-communication procedures from now on, to avoid this sort of thing happening.

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Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #194 on: January 28, 2012, 08:55:11 AM »
Good communication is essential if you have multiple GMs running a game. Even with the best of intentions, everyone is going to have their own understanding of the setting, and that can lead to crossed wires.

Offline NileGoddess

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #195 on: January 28, 2012, 09:15:45 AM »
Good communication is essential if you have multiple GMs running a game. Even with the best of intentions, everyone is going to have their own understanding of the setting, and that can lead to crossed wires.

This. It's important for GMs to be on the same page, as well as the players. Personally, I think that if you are going to have multiple moderators, there be one 'primary' moderator that okays all the decision making. That way, you don't get an inexperienced mod okaying or disproving something out of ignorance. Communication is promoted, in fact, necessary to move forward.

In the case where the player is slowly tweaking things as they go along, yes, foot down, immediately. I've bumped into this once or twice, where suddenly a seemingly normal character sprouts a bunch of quirks that weren't there to start with.

Offline LunarSage

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #196 on: January 28, 2012, 09:17:50 AM »
It also helps to have the GM be the one to post people's character sheets.  That way the player can't go in and edit the sheet unless they go through the GM to make any modifications.

Offline NileGoddess

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #197 on: January 28, 2012, 09:30:37 AM »
It also helps to have the GM be the one to post people's character sheets.  That way the player can't go in and edit the sheet unless they go through the GM to make any modifications.

The edit would show up timestamped on the thread, however, so if they posted it, then made edits, it would be at least clear that they were tweaking the profile. You'd think that players would have some kind of honor system where once it's posted, they don't edit it.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #198 on: January 28, 2012, 09:47:56 AM »
The edit would show up timestamped on the thread, however, so if they posted it, then made edits, it would be at least clear that they were tweaking the profile. You'd think that players would have some kind of honor system where once it's posted, they don't edit it.

That'll probably be what gets instituted for us, though in this case it'll be a timestamp on the GM 'editing' the sheet. There's only two of us, so if the last edit timestamp is not the other GM, we'll know something got changed.

Offline Chrystal

Re: GM Lounge - Bartenders Answer All Your Questions
« Reply #199 on: January 28, 2012, 01:43:26 PM »
NG was referring to the automatic date-timestamp on  every post that is edited. I'm actually still trying to work out the exact circumstances this appears. I THINK it's when you edit a post after someone else has viewed the thread? Because I know if you go back and edit right away, sometimes it doesn't appear.

This thing down here (keeps editing until the thing appears!)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 01:44:33 PM by Chrystal »