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Thread: How do you keep your players focues on plot

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    Default How do you keep your players focues on plot

    I've tried to open a few rp threads myself, but they always seem to derail super early because i'm trying to avoid forcing characters into plot situations.

    has anyone found a good way to keep players focused on the story without revealing your entire hand to them as a game master?

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    Normally I try to start with something super plot based to get them into it, then give them a goal that makes sense for each of their characters and then I open up after that to allow them to derail a bit but usually keep the plot thing with some from of negative for waiting "too" long.

    As long as they are having fun though I do not mind a ton of side quests and meeting new people.

    This however has only worked outside of forum rpgs since I have yet to hook a gmed based game on ehre with players. I think asking first what people are looking for is important. Sometimes people just want a random goofy game.

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    Make them important to the plot and the npcs. Make them be as big part of the plot as possible.

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    I suppose I can't answer, since the two times that I had more than one person interested they disappeared without a trace. The only reason that I decided to join this thread is to figure what I am doing wrong and what everyone else seems to be doing right.

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    What Kris said, but also make a leader to guide them and have back up plans in place to nudge everyone when needed.


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    Don't seal them into a plot. While it isngood to have an end goal, don't attempt to railroad them into reaching that goal. Approach it like building a video game. While the end game is to assassinate some guy in a big fancy mansion, don't expect ever player to grab a sniper rifle and blast him away from that building three blocks away. They may prefer to hide in a pile of dead guards with a hammer and pop up to smack the next guard who approaches in the head with said hammer until they are all dead.
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    Define limits. That might sound counter-intuitive, but it can really help. Put up strategic but logical (within the game world) invisible walls. Give room to move and make decisions, but all of which either contribute to or mount up to the endgame (your next plot point).

    For example, if there is a ship to prepare for a voyage and you are in a port city, let the characters pursue side quests that involve gathering crew, supplies, and information. Making the area outside the city walls filled with deadly magical radiation might seem a bit gauche, but it will also help stop them from wandering too far off while still giving them a good sandbox to play in. Instead you might want to create legal obstacles, like people needing a pass to leave the city, or make the countryside too dangerous to venture out into alone. Alternatively, you might require character to swear oaths to sail with the ship or tie them down with magic.

    On the reverse, avoid issuing needlessly punitive measures to players for breaking rules that you didn't make clear. This can be tricky since players by nature will make characters that they will use to test boundaries. Encourage them to be realistic, but also work within those boundaries.

    For example, if you give a player permission to have an animal companion that is hyper-lethal, don't be surprised when something gets mauled by it and certainly don't destroy that animal companion just because you underestimated how powerful it could be. On that note, always balance hand-holding with assuming that your players are smarter than you are - the good ones will always be ready to game the system you set up, even if they are polite enough to not actually do it... too much.

    Also be careful when letting players begin to color your world. Parody RPs can fall victim to this in particular, but it holds for all RPs. A little scene here, like a fling with a NPC they make up; a chance bit of fortune there, like making gold in a dice game, can be let go. But if you let someone begin making up sizable factions in the new region you travel to, expect them to play out their character how they would have written that story - and don't be surprised if they take exception to you breaking up their fantasy. There are really only two options here: either refuse them permission to create anything big in the story or make sure you are the guiding hand when they create new bits of lore. The less involved you are in making their section of the RP, the more they feel that it is THEIR RP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dnafein View Post
    Don't seal them into a plot. While it isngood to have an end goal, don't attempt to railroad them into reaching that goal. Approach it like building a video game. While the end game is to assassinate some guy in a big fancy mansion, don't expect ever player to grab a sniper rifle and blast him away from that building three blocks away. They may prefer to hide in a pile of dead guards with a hammer and pop up to smack the next guard who approaches in the head with said hammer until they are all dead.
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