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06:49, 24th July 2024 (GMT+0)

GM Questions.

Posted by spectre
supporter, 920 posts
Myriad paths fell
away from that moment....
Sun 10 Mar 2024
at 08:34
  • msg #1

GM Questions

 When you tell your stories GMs, how do you deal with attrition vs. making your players feel special here on RPoL? On the flipside, if you have a hard core group and people begin to change the narrative, like rpg players should do in my humble opinion; how do you roll with those changes generally in your quest to make a fun story?

 I have my own way, which is try to continue with those characters if the players are cool with it and give them a tertiary role as a support character. Otherwise, Doctor Doom uses his time travel abilities to erase them.

 Everyone has their way of doing things even between different games probably. I was just interested in how people deal with these things, and who knows maybe someone having a plot issue can take a cue from some common wisdom.
This message was last updated by the user at 08:35, Sun 10 Mar.
supporter, 592 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2024
at 14:40
  • msg #2

GM Questions

What works for me is having campaigns made of many short adventures (connected, but not too deeply connected between them) and players, when joining, commit to staying along until the end of every adventure they start. This way, between an adventure and the next one, there is a good time for players leaving or joining without creating big problems to the flow of the overall story.
member, 356 posts
Reality is 10% perception
and 90% interpretation.
Sun 10 Mar 2024
at 15:13
  • msg #3

GM Questions

It helps if the players know ahead of time that the GM will put words in the character's mouth if the player doesn't. If you've set that sort of precedent, the attrition can be used as an object lesson. My policy for those that wish out of the game (whether expressed or not) is to have the character do something stupidly lethal. "Shmendrake the magician charges into the room filled with goblins and excitedly casts a fireball on them, filling the room with roaring, lethal, flame."
This message was last edited by the user at 05:49, Tue 16 Apr.
member, 3036 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2024
at 17:01
  • msg #4

GM Questions

 for my games, the  scenes  and flow of the story/game   are there. They  react and fit  in. some players stand  there   waiting for stuff to  happen, other  folks  will react to stuff, or make  stuff happen.  The  N{PCs  and world    are 'alive' so things  are happening, even if  they are  there to 'see it" ( GM has to make sure they keep notes)

 Attrition is a thing, when playing PBP... players   Bail and Ghost...RL slaps  people down . For   players  who left  in a bad  way, or were troublesome, I will use their  character  to 'help drive the story"..for Good players..they are set on the back burner  until they can come back...if they cannot  come back, then they are sent off   'on a mission"...or  sent  'elsewhere' in the Game world.

sometime, just for  'honor  sake"  I will post for those  'good players' and let them  live a  bit  , like a TV show that has some one  from two seasons  ago pop up.

as the GM?  its   all on you...  troublesome players  who rage  quit, or you have to cut  because they are taking the joy away from other players..yeah. use them   to have bad things happen. Been doing this  a long time, we have  had serval players  die in RL. If  we  find out , i  'send them off"..and they  'live on' in the outskirts of the game

No one here is getting  paid  tom play or Run the Games. The folks who are running the game  can deal with players  as they wish, when it comes  to players leaving.... in the Space Game..i had  a player  that was there about  two years, that wanted the character  to  go out 'big'.. i worked out  a scenario where  that Character  could  make a difference, and have that'big end"..had a   guy who rage quit and tried to  kill the   Admiral.. I let it stand, did the rolls, he lost,,SEC shot his knee caps out, and he  died on a prison colony. I could go on..but those  are the two best examples.

 Do what you want/need  to do  as long as you keep it in the frame work of the game.
subscriber, 649 posts
Sun 10 Mar 2024
at 17:39
  • msg #5

GM Questions

When you tell your stories GMs, how do you deal with attrition vs. making your players feel special here on RPoL?

Sometimes, a player gives you a character concept that's easier to make 'special' within the context of your story - usually because it works with said story - and sometimes you get characters that are obviously 'filler', but might grow to be more central or 'special'. Those players don't tend to fall by the wayside as victims of RPoL attrition, because they've vested something in the game if just by choosing to make their characters "belong".

When players inevitably quit, though? Well, it depends on the game and the manner of quitting. In the case of players that quietly quit, either by speaking just to the GM or by just ceasing to log in, the PCs stay around. If it's a game setting like D&D where the party routinely has stopovers in inns, then the abandoned character might tag along quietly until the next stopover, and then just...leave on their own adventure or some secondary business. If it's useful for my to take over the abandoned character and keep them as a GMPC to push plot, that's handy too. In either case, the PC remains 'around' in case the player comes back.

...if they've quit publicly, or with bad blood? That PC is going to die, probably horribly, and if it's a game setting that allows it, I'm going to let the other players loot their body and take their stuff. An abandoned character is useless to me if the other players know it's being puppeted by the GM, and if you quit by burning bridges, there's no reason to keep your character around in case you come back, because you're never coming back.

On the flipside, if you have a hard core group and people begin to change the narrative, like rpg players should do in my humble opinion; how do you roll with those changes generally in your quest to make a fun story?


Is it a sandbox game? How much of the narrative is being changed? If you signed on to play a specific module for D&D, for instance, then no - the PCs don't get to just decide they're going to go do something else entirely, because that's not what I as GM want to run. A game shouldn't be on rails, but it should follow the basic direction of the road. If the party refuses to follow that direction, fall, everyone dies.
subscriber, 222 posts
Wed 13 Mar 2024
at 02:43
  • msg #6

GM Questions

I suppose part of the issue can be resolved with some prior planning and experience. If your game is dependent on a single player or their character which can then act as a failure point, then you need to rethink your game. More generally, I think a good GM both has an idea of a contingency plan for what to happen when every player leaves and how to absorb the damage, and indeed enough confidence/experience to fold the exit of a player or the character into the story in a way which satisfies the players and keeps the main plot rumbling along. Depending on the circumstance, that can either be an event in its own right, a sudden and heroic death, a bit of NPCing a PC until they can slink off stage, or indeed just slinking off into the night never to be seen again.

I think its also worth recognising that 'special' isn't the same thing for everyone. Some people want their characters to be the chosen one to break the world, some people want their characters to work as part of a team and do their bit, some people want their characters to be there and useful, but are mainly there to crack jokes and be funny, and some people don't mind whether their characters are going up Mount Doom or tending bar in the shire, as long as they can tell their personal stories and get something out of it. So you can give players what they want (within reason) and make them feel special without making them so central to the plot that it gives you a headache if they go.

Personally, I don't tend to like using other people's characters as NPCs, and I also don't want to burn bridges (however deserved) by trying to reverse a slight by beating their character over a stick in game more than is strictly required to get them off screen - it tends to feel like a waste of energy and usually I just want that PC out of my game, because it's a reminder of an interaction which went to hell and which more likely than not carries with it a feel of failure and regret.

In terms of the player evolution point, I'd say a GM needs to be flexible and reactive to their players within reason, but also needs to be honest about what they're willing to put up with. There's a fair expectation that if you join a specific game, it's going to play in a certain way, and if that changes more than the GM is comfortable with, then it's worth having a conversation with the players and working out what is the best solution. It could be putting a game on hiatus and workshopping in changes, it could be pausing the game and getting someone else to GM something different as a palate cleanser or to scratch an itch.

Ultimately, good communication and planning is key to all of this. If you are a bit selective about who you let join, then you'll reduce attrition rates for people either ghosting or being unpleasant, if you keep an open channel to your players then you can both take feedback, manage their expectations for tonal shifts, and often predict fairly well who is more likely to vanish or stick around for the long shot, and then use that to plan accordingly and give yourself room to move and shift.
subscriber, 3714 posts
Member before Oct 2005
Been here for appx 20+yrs
Sat 13 Apr 2024
at 22:41
  • msg #7

GM Questions

Well good question!

After well over 20+ yrs running freeform games on here I am proud that I have players who have been with over these years.  I have my stories in my head and no end.  Even my coGMs don’t know what I am thinking most of the time.  I make my games action vs action.  I play characters and use them to steer the game and can rein it in if it goes too far out of my storlines yet still allowing players to react to rach character.  Some might call it semi sandbox.  I call it reactive freeform writing.  Its definitely NOT scripted and I let the game flow naturally.  I also care sincerely about my players as they are real people with real lives and stuff happens so workarounds happen to keep the story I have started keep growing.
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