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emblasochist
06-07-2009, 12:35 PM
Well, I guess there are 3 problems here. First, I've got 5 players that have claimed very emphatically they all want to play, and I don't even have 5 character sheets. We've all agreed on 4th edition, which works for me. But like I said, I don't have character sheets for everyone yet, and they want me to basically build a whole new campaign setting, complete with my own monster manual and world setting. So I asked for character sheets by about 2 weeks ago, and I'm still short two. On top of that, none of the PCs have given me a back story, nor a wishlist for magic items. And that bad part about it is that I know these people; they will really blow a fuse if I fill those in for them. Worse than that, I am not terribly good with maps so I enlisted the help of one of the PCs that a) likes doing maps, and; b) is good at it, but he has killed plans four times now to help me with maps.

What bugs me is that I express my needs to these people and they fight me every step of the way, and even worse, I plunked $300 into stuff to be a half-decent DM for them, and now I'm loosing my faith in the game because they don't want to help me out with the front end stuff. HELP!

Dark
06-07-2009, 12:39 PM
Well you can put your foot down and ask each of them if they truly wish to play. If they say yes then explain to them that you need this information and the sooner they give it to you the sooner you can play.

emblasochist
06-07-2009, 12:47 PM
Well you can put your foot down and ask each of them if they truly wish to play. If they say yes then explain to them that you need this information and the sooner they give it to you the sooner you can play.

I actually did, twice. That's what I was talking about when I said they claim very emphatically that they want to play.

Dark
06-07-2009, 12:52 PM
Then tell them once more if they wish to play then they need to do this and you will not repeat yourself give them say until next Friday to have it in your hands. Those who don't will be able to observe only but not play until they complete it.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-07-2009, 01:08 PM
I agree with Dark. If it were me, I'd tell them the game is on hold till i get everything i asked for, thereby putting the responsibility on them.

Valdar
06-07-2009, 01:10 PM
I'd make a passing remark about looking for players on PNPG, and say that the first five people who give you character sheets, wishlists, and concepts get to play, whether or not they're online or old friends.

Not getting magic item wishlists is a simple fix- just give all the treasure to the players who give you lists. Players with no list get generic gear with only a plus and no special powers.

It's been my personal experience that there are good players out there- replace your stinkers with new people, and your game will benefit from it. For your other friends, do other stuff with them besides game.

My personal theory is that lots of gamers these days have been spoiled for years by having a computer do all this stuff for them- nobody wants to go back to reading rules and doing their own math, it seems...

emblasochist
06-07-2009, 01:15 PM
Then tell them once more if they wish to play then they need to do this and you will not repeat yourself give them say until next Friday to have it in your hands. Those who don't will be able to observe only but not play until they complete it.
Well, thats the thing. I'm not at all convinced that the three that HAVE given me character sheets really want to play; I'm willing to give the other two a pass because their lives have been pretty heavily been hindered by having to move out of their home due to mold. They're currently looking for another place to live, and I'm not going to fault them for not having stuff together for such extenuating circumstances. The other three, don't seem to mind not playing. And what's even worse is that we haven't even played a single night.


I'd make a passing remark about looking for players on PNPG, and say that the first five people who give you character sheets, wishlists, and concepts get to play, whether or not they're online or old friends.

Not getting magic item wishlists is a simple fix- just give all the treasure to the players who give you lists. Players with no list get generic gear with only a plus and no special powers.

It's been my personal experience that there are good players out there- replace your stinkers with new people, and your game will benefit from it. For your other friends, do other stuff with them besides game.

My personal theory is that lots of gamers these days have been spoiled for years by having a computer do all this stuff for them- nobody wants to go back to reading rules and doing their own math, it seems...

Sounds tempting to replace these three, but then again, I joined the community here because I was having quite a hard time finding enough people to sit for a game in my area to begin with. Besides, if I were to just replace these three, I'd lose them as friends, and while I am bugged by what they've failed to do, I don't have enough friends to afford losing the two that've been around for literally half my life.

Dark
06-07-2009, 01:19 PM
Well then perhaps you shoul look for some more players to play your game. There are plenty here who may be near by or you could always play on our chat or play by post.

RoryN
06-07-2009, 04:01 PM
I agree with everyone else...tell them that until you get the things you need from them, the game will be on hold (this actually gives you more time to prepare things as well), and tell them you will be exploring other options for players should they not want to commit to their part. The DM and player dynamic is kind of like a marraige...a committment from both sides to at least try and do their fair share. If one side isn't pulling their weight, it makes the other side much less enjoyable.

Malruhn
06-07-2009, 04:38 PM
If you are really Jonesing to play, I'd have a session... and set up a cool, "Let's stop the bandits," adventure. The "spoils" can be confiscated by the local Lord (hey, they belong to him anyway, right?!), and he can then "pay" the characters.

For the ones that have provided info and wish-lists, you can give them level-appropriate stuff for them - that they requested. For the ones that haven't, I'd give them stuff from the following list:

--A magical dolly that scares away normal sized, not-summoned (and non-biting) houseflies.
--Magical socks that keep your feet dry and sweet smelling.
--Magical fork and spoon set that doesn't allow appropriately sized food from falling off of it (made for a dowager with the shakes).
--A magical brooch that won't let the cloak it is attached to from accidentally untying. Doesn't protect against knock spells affects.
--Magical mittens that help warm your hands. Won't impact chilling cold effects.
--Magical arrow fletchings that make a "WHEEEEE" sound when the arrow is shot.
--A magical butterfly that sits on a ring. When activated, it flutters within 6" of the ring. That's it.

When they complain, you can just tell them that, "Hey, you didn't say where you were from or what you wanted - so I made stuff that _I_ thought you would like. If you want different stuff, you should get the info to me before our next session."

It'll work - nearly every time. For the one that doesn't - he'd better be happy with his +3 set of bright pink, knitted leggings that MUST be worn on the outside. I've done it before to great success.

Grimwell
06-07-2009, 07:44 PM
Given that you want to keep these folks around, I'm going to suggest a rolling party. Communicate with all five of them and pick a date on the calendar that is fair. Tell them they all need to show up and that you will be putting the final touch on all characters on this day, as well as discussing the campaign world.

Then you aren't waiting for them to complete a task, you are asking them to show up as if it's a normal play session. If they can't make it, tell them you are putting the campaign on hold and starting a new one with the intent of finding folks who can play. Not as a challenge to their egos -- their game is on hold until everyone is able to play -- it's to make it clear that you are going to game one way or the other.

Perhaps you run a micro campaign for the two folks who are working out well. The other three are welcome, but not mandated, etc.

I don't think you have to attack the folks who are being difficult to rally -- you just have to give them a clear message that you are ready to start, and if they aren't you will put their game on hold until a later date. No big deal.

Baron_Samedi
06-07-2009, 08:52 PM
With regard to everyone else, i will say that i have a similar problem...players who want to play but scheduling conflicts cause problems...to write and prep and everything else, only to have the date, pushed back further and further...we're still trying to get together from our February meeting...the only thing i can add is wait them out...if they want it bad enough, they'll get the hint...if they don't...well as previously stated there are other players available...don't stress yourself out to much...you've got a great community at your disposal here...it'll work out...:D

Otakar
06-07-2009, 09:15 PM
So I asked for character sheets by about 2 weeks ago, and I'm still short two. On top of that, none of the PCs have given me a back story, nor a wishlist for magic items.

Are we, as DMs supposed to get a wish list of magic items from our players? :confused:
In all seriousness, I like Malruhn's suggestions. That might be the hook. When I started my game 2 of the 5 players didn't have sheets, I had the sample characters from the starter set and from Keep on the Shadowfell. They've kept and used those since and one even finally started a background. D&D stuff I've seen with sample characters are: Starter Set, Keep on the Shadowfell and D&D 4e for Dummies. D&D 4e for Dummies even has "leveled-up" characters in it, if you need them. Good luck!

Valdar
06-08-2009, 01:03 PM
Are we, as DMs supposed to get a wish list of magic items from our players? :confused:


Yep- it's a suggestion in the DMG. Basically, the characters will know what magic items will work for their build, and what items will get turned into residuum. Since the price break between using and selling/disenchanting is so steep, the party's really crippled if they have to hock or drain too many items.



--A magical dolly that scares away normal sized, not-summoned (and non-biting) houseflies.
--Magical socks that keep your feet dry and sweet smelling.
--Magical fork and spoon set that doesn't allow appropriately sized food from falling off of it (made for a dowager with the shakes).
--A magical brooch that won't let the cloak it is attached to from accidentally untying. Doesn't protect against knock spells affects.
--Magical mittens that help warm your hands. Won't impact chilling cold effects.
--Magical arrow fletchings that make a "WHEEEEE" sound when the arrow is shot.
--A magical butterfly that sits on a ring. When activated, it flutters within 6" of the ring. That's it.


This is an awesome list- in the spirit of my favorite level 0 item, the Pan of Frying. I might throw this stuff in with the regular treasure just to spice things up.



Besides, if I were to just replace these three, I'd lose them as friends, and while I am bugged by what they've failed to do, I don't have enough friends to afford losing the two that've been around for literally half my life.

Harsh- friends you've known half your life will ditch you as a friend if you don't let them play in the game they're holding up and preventing from happening? That's why I suggested doing other stuff with those friends on other nights- keep in touch, keep doing non-gaming stuff with them, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that DMing is the price you pay for having friends!

yukonhorror
06-08-2009, 01:21 PM
I say you let them know that if you can't get something from them, you are going to somebody else to fill in the desired number of players so the game can happen. This can be an empty threat, but a bit of warning may indicate their level of interest.

If they have lost interest, they will probably be apathetic about your threat. If they are interested, an argument may happen, but you can express how unfair it is for him/her to hold up the game because of laziness.

OR, you fill in their character info, and if they don't like it, tough.

Razmus
06-08-2009, 02:03 PM
I say, run with the players who have sheets, maybe bring in a third (ultimately sixth) player thru some mini-adventures. They get a little extra experience, loot, background... you all get to play a game you love. Let the other characters remain a little behind in experience and loot. *shrug*


This is an awesome list- in the spirit of my favorite level 0 item, the Pan of Frying. I might throw this stuff in with the regular treasure just to spice things up.
I was gonna comment on the original, but I'll toss it in here instead... a few more on a similar vein I've seen over the years:
-- A wooden spoon, which when placed in an appropriate sized container, generates a serving of oatmeal, usable once per day.
-- A silver bell, which when run, produces the effect of an Unseen Servant spell, usable once per day. (I don't even know if the spell still exists in current iterations of the game.)
-- A small metal disc worn on a leather strap on the wrist. It responds to simple time commands, and will make a buzzing noise when it's most recent command is fulfilled. (e.g. Sunset, Vespers, Moon rise, etc)
-- A magic cloak which sheds water continuously, and miraculously sheds all manner of foul soil at sunrise.
-- A ring, which when tossed into the fire reveals in a magical script the lines, "One ring to rule them all, and one..."
... oh wait... that's on the wrong list...:o

emblasochist
06-08-2009, 04:30 PM
I say, run with the players who have sheets, maybe bring in a third (ultimately sixth) player thru some mini-adventures. They get a little extra experience, loot, background... you all get to play a game you love. Let the other characters remain a little behind in experience and loot. *shrug*


I was gonna comment on the original, but I'll toss it in here instead... a few more on a similar vein I've seen over the years:
-- A wooden spoon, which when placed in an appropriate sized container, generates a serving of oatmeal, usable once per day.
-- A silver bell, which when run, produces the effect of an Unseen Servant spell, usable once per day. (I don't even know if the spell still exists in current iterations of the game.)
-- A small metal disc worn on a leather strap on the wrist. It responds to simple time commands, and will make a buzzing noise when it's most recent command is fulfilled. (e.g. Sunset, Vespers, Moon rise, etc)
-- A magic cloak which sheds water continuously, and miraculously sheds all manner of foul soil at sunrise.
-- A ring, which when tossed into the fire reveals in a magical script the lines, "One ring to rule them all, and one..."
... oh wait... that's on the wrong list...:o

Wait... Isn't that last one supposed to be on the DM's wishlist? It certainly shows up on MY wishlist... Which reminds me, one cool thing my past groups have implemented that seemed pretty cool was having the PCs pitch in a few bucks, or more, depending on the length of the campaign, at the end, to buy a thank you gift for the DM. My DMs always loved it, and it helped me to be able to have a good DM, knowing that their work was appreciated, even when the whole party died.

Moritz
06-08-2009, 04:32 PM
Get new friends - or in this case, a new gaming group. They don't want to play.

templeorder
06-08-2009, 06:47 PM
I have to say i'm still a sucker.. because i want to game. If you can't keep putting the date off or don't want to... give as good as you get. When they show up, don't have anything prepared but a little side trek, make all the other players wait while the remaining ones fill in character sheets, and generally hold the mirror up to the quality of participation and preparation that they put in. I had to cancel my own main game for a while because of lack of prep and engagement - even though everyone said they loved it, they eventually took it all for granted. Now most of them i moved to a weeknight game thats just about theives and no 'adventure' is longer than 3 hours. For the rest, i expect top notch performance - help through interaction, email updates, party leaders managing actions and coordinating with me in encounters + gentle nudges in the right direction to other characters in-game.

emblasochist
06-08-2009, 07:17 PM
I have to say i'm still a sucker.. because i want to game. If you can't keep putting the date off or don't want to... give as good as you get. When they show up, don't have anything prepared but a little side trek, make all the other players wait while the remaining ones fill in character sheets, and generally hold the mirror up to the quality of participation and preparation that they put in. I had to cancel my own main game for a while because of lack of prep and engagement - even though everyone said they loved it, they eventually took it all for granted. Now most of them i moved to a weeknight game thats just about theives and no 'adventure' is longer than 3 hours. For the rest, i expect top notch performance - help through interaction, email updates, party leaders managing actions and coordinating with me in encounters + gentle nudges in the right direction to other characters in-game.

I'd love that, to be able to run two games and treat the one that does a great job of wanting to play to an AMAZING campaign, but then again, I know that they'd not take my lack of effort as a reflection on their part but rather as the status quo and they'd drop off even more in interest. And it really bugs me because I have a really cool (in my mind) campaign that they will remember for years to come... Something that feels like a hack'n'slash during the individual game nights, but is in the macro scale, a roleplay experience. Some of each ideally in each scale...

Tamerath
06-09-2009, 12:41 AM
I'm just throwing in my two cents.

I feel like a gaming night where you all sit down to play a game together...any game...requires everyone to do their part. DMs run the game and have enough to worry about on their side..and players are responsible for running their own saga. I agree with most of everyone here...all good ideas from waiting them out to actually finding other players who actually want to play....all great ideas. I've had players that kinda "just show up" to a game...they don't do anything, including leveling their own characters...they are just there for the social aspects of hanging with friends...which is fine...but if there will come a day when they turn to you and ask, "Wait a minute!...this guy is a demigod...this other guy has a sword that can slay demons....what about my guy?..."My guy just sits in the back polishing his sword"...and that's when you answer, "What about him?...help me by putting more effort in on your end..and we'll see where the story takes you"

I do agree with giving the players that want to play a really great game, while not investing as much time in for the ones that don't. At one point I was banging my head against the wall like you, showing some of my players week by week a great campaign if they just reached out and embraced it...and week by week I was dissappointed...and when a game stops being a fun time...it's time to change, talk to the players and try to make it better...or find better players that will enjoy the game. At any rate, I wish you the best of luck no matter what happens. We work too hard in this world and at the end of a hard week's work we deserve a little time for ourselves to go slay some demonic fiends and have a couple of drinks along the way.