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Author Topic: Help! My players broke the game!  (Read 1621 times)

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Offline AndyZTopic starter

Help! My players broke the game!
« on: April 07, 2012, 04:08:03 PM »
I'm making this thread for GMs, especially those starting out, who have had players do something unexpected and are now stuck.  It is my hope that new GMs can post on this thread whenever they need help, and that more experienced GMs can offer suggestions and assistance.

When you have a question, don't forget to give some information about your game, so that we have some understanding of what's going on.

If the GMs want to keep something hidden from the players, put the name of the game as the first line and put the rest in a spoiler tag.  Responses should be similarly spoiler tagged, with the header of either the name of the game or naming the GM to make it clear where the responses are going.  However, if the GM asking the question doesn't see any need for a spoiler tag, responders can use one or not as their choice (but if used, please have a header).

This may be what the GM Lounge was supposed to be for, and if so, I can take this down.  I just thought it might be helpful to have a specific spot where new GMs could put up their problems.

If it's popular enough, it may even become another sub-thread, where any new GMs could just post the name of their game as the title and have their own thread.

Offline Antisoul

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 11:34:02 PM »
Pro Tip: "Say No."

If that doesn't work, fall back on the illusion of choice (all actions ultimately have the same outcome).

Hint: "Remind the player they can not win D&D. And to stop trying."

If for whatever reason you're game breaking player is still a problem, there is a secret last weapon.

Give them all you junk and let them GM. At most they'll take on one session before giving up.

Still a problem? Don't play with that person. Or make them buy all the pizza.

--Antisoul

Offline Haibane

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 05:52:10 AM »
I think the purpose of this thread, Antisoul, is for helpful responses and for specific instances of games being hijacked/scuppered/stalled/etc and for other GMs to offer advice on that particular instance.

Online Chrystal

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 12:08:11 PM »
Okay....

First cry for help:

I had my first ever go at running a sandbox RP. Set in the Wild West, I have created a small town called Gator's Crossing, with everything in it one might expect in a small Wild West town in Texas in the 1880s.

Additionally, outside this town, I have placed a power-hungry rancher called Tom Gator on the GX ranch to the south. To the North are a number of smaller ranches and farms. The land to the immediate South of town is cut with gullies and canyons and a swamp, while to the North it's fairly flat and level.

And guess what? The Railroad is coming through! And of course they are going to pay good money to purchase the land they will be building on... And guess which side of town they are going to go? And Mister Gator is not happy!



Sooo.... I have in my control: the Town Marshal, the Saloon Keeper, Gator and all his men, the man from the railroad, and a rancher who wandered in to town to buy some goods from the general store. I have also just created a "red-shirt" (trekie term). Basically one of Gator's hired guns, who has ridden into town because he's bored, and if the player with whom he is picking a fight comes back, he is hopefully going to get shot!

But I think I may have left it a little too long before bringing this NPC in to play. I'm a patient sort, but one of the two game threads hasn't had a post in ages, and the other seems to have died out too.

I was doing what I believe one is supposed to do in a sandbox, and leaving the players to write their own story, only intervening with my characters in order to move things along where necessary and to introduce details of the back-ground plot as and when required.

Firstly, did I do anything wrong, other than leave it a bit long to respond to a player's request for someone to shoot...?
Second, should I start PMing the players and asking if they are still in yet, or should I leave it a bit longer?
Third, is there anything else I can do?

Chrys

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Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 12:25:26 PM »
Sandbox games can be tricky without the right sort of player. Some players are happy to push the story on, others prefer to react to the GMs posts and let the GM direct the flow of it. It's good to know what kind of players you have, so that might be something to ask in the OOC. See how your players feel about the game, the sytle of posting, the frequency and so on, and see if you need to modify things any.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 05:36:10 PM »
A sandbox GM doesn't have to leave it all to the players. You can have, say, a timetable for actions the railroad people are going to take, and a timetable for the actions of the rancher. That's what's going to happen unless the players intervene.

Also, the players are, supposedly, an unknown force in the city, guns for hire. The rancher might try to make sure they don't take the side of the railroad. The railroad might offer them cold hard cash. Have both sides look to get allied with them, each of them approaching a different PC ;D!
Make it clear in the OOC that they don't have to accept either offer, and might also try to take over the city, found a charity, or whatever their PCs' goals are.

And PMs never hurt, at least after a protracted silence >:)!

Online CarnivalOfTheGoat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 11:56:20 AM »
Everything Hawat says. I world also add that the Sandbox, as I have seen it, means the players can push new plots and elements - not a game that is mostly "hands off" for the GM. Present some options in the form of IC events, not just timetables of what will happen it the players don't stop it, but also simple 1-shot events that they can (if they wish) pick up and run with.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 12:37:37 PM »
Indeed, as CarnivalOfTheGoat* says, the player characters pushing new plots and elements is kinda the goal of the sandbox. It's about being as proactive as the GM when you're a player ;).
And yes, one-shot events are always welcome, and might get more significant than you anticipated ;D!

For example, if I was a player in the above game, I might try to open a bar, and use it to gather information that I'd sell to both parties afterwards. With some manoeuvring, I might become the go-to source for info on the opposition, cut a deal with the losing party and feed the others info that allows to ambush them. Then the bar manager becomes the king-maker behind the throne >:)!

Online Chrystal

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 01:13:43 PM »
One thing I should probably mention is that I asked for all my players to be on the same side, simply because when guns are involved PvP usually ends up with someone dropping out of the game! And let's face it, what's a Western without a gunfight or fifty?

What I'm sensing here is that people are giving me some good advice, which I will indeed act upon, but it is general. Yes, I know I didn't post any links - well actually I did. The button in my sig?

I have tried to bring in a couple of One-Shot side stories, but they have, thus far, been ignored. Maybe I didn't do them very well...? Anyway, I shall send a PM to the players who haven't posted in a while asking them if they are still interested.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 04:43:29 PM »
Well, first, your sig isn't obvious in the GM's corner ;). So until you pointed at it, I simply haven't noticed it, personally.
Second, I admit I'm a bit confused. In both the game's threads I have found, you aren't the last one to post! To me, that would mean people are waiting for a reply from the GM, not that there is a problem with them dropping out.
What are the odds your barber PC would like to act on a one-shot random event you might throw his way? I'd say they're actually pretty high. Give him something that might be relevant to his interests, and watch out for his reaction.
Now, if there are other players that haven't acted yet, by all means, PM them! Still, I'd reply to the ones that seem to be still in the game before PMing them, they seem more reliable ;).

Online Chrystal

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 05:23:21 PM »
Uh? Okay... I missed something.

*facepalm*

The two players in the Saloon thread who are active don't need any intervention, I think they are managing quite well. The "main street" thread could use some activity as you say and I had totally forgotten the barber. I did create a character for the sole purpose of spending some money in the general store, and I guess he could use a haircut.

See, this is what I call really useful help and advice!

Thanks!

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 12:58:56 AM »
You are welcome. And really, the barber was used just as an example ;)!
I mean, maybe they're managing it quite well in the Saloon thread. You might still consider throwing them some of the one-off event, like a fist-fight starting in the far end of the room. If you do that, just make it clear it's up to them whether to get involved or not!
Of course, if think this would interrupt the flow of their interaction, don't do that, that's part of why you're the GM ;D!

Offline Google

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 04:37:47 AM »
Well if anyone here has watched Counter Monkey by the Spoony one they have learned a few tricks... and if not then I suggest taking a look at his videos for a good chuckle and a lesson.

But if they take the game off the rails, its because... at least in my experience, you let them get away with things early on... or sometimes they accidentally break it, a door opens and on instinct they throw a fireball through it... killing the Diplomat who was on his way to thank them... sometimes you just got to roll with it and have your fun,

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 11:36:29 AM »
But if they take the game off the rails, its because...
It's quite likely "because there were rails in the first place". And that's actually a good thing >:)!

Also, as pointed out by Haibane, that's not what this thread is about.

Online Chrystal

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 03:17:25 PM »
Okay... I just checked and the player who is supposed to shoot the bad guy is still in, she just hadn't got to it yet. Another player has just offered up her character's NPC brother as a "redshirt", and I have a plan... :D

Thing are gonna start a-poppin'! *giggles*

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2012, 02:42:46 PM »
And that is how the thread is supposed to work :P!

Offline Haibane

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2012, 07:14:32 AM »
And that is how the thread is supposed to work :P!
[HannibalSmith]I love it when a plan comes together.[/HannibalSmith]



Online Chrystal

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2012, 10:02:49 AM »


Just in case there are any people under the age of 35 who have no idea what H is on about...

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2012, 04:53:40 PM »
I pity the fool who did not get the reference.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Help! My players broke the game!
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2012, 05:54:38 PM »
I pity the fool who did not get the reference.
I'm going to live without your pity >:)!