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View Full Version : Ask a GM [10/16/08]: Shy Players



Farcaster
10-16-2008, 04:44 PM
boulet asks,

What techniques can a GM use to have the shy player at the end of the table play his/her role a little more?

gdmcbride
10-16-2008, 04:46 PM
Handling shy participants in RPGs is really no different from handling shy people in any sort of social situation.

There was an article recently on a website that offers advice for managers. Read the article, replace 'manager' with 'game master' and the advice is still perfectly useable.

Here is the link. (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/13142)

It's all pretty common sense stuff. Be a good listener. Respect them. Establish communication and try to make them comfortable. Get them involved. Set some clear goals.

If they're having fun, they'll come around.

Gary

Grimwell
10-16-2008, 04:46 PM
Talk to your shy player and see why they are shy. Be tactful and don't challenge them as doing anything wrong. Just let them know that you've noted that they tend to sit back and participate less, is there anything you could be doing to encourage them to actively participate more?

It might not be a shy player, but a bored player. Perhaps you aren't catering to their play style and they are just going through the numbers hoping you will figure it out? The easy way to find out is to just ask and initiate some open communication. Probably away from the actual gaming table -- you don't want to put them on the spot and create an awkward situation.

Now, if they are actually just shy, talk to them a little about it and then start calling on them more in game for their input. Unless they indicate that this makes them very uncomfortable, it could lure them out into more active participation. As you begin to call on them with regularity they might develop a larger comfort zone and start to initiate on their own. It isn't likely to happen overnight, but it will happen -- provided you aren't making them uncomfortable.

I think the keys to winning here are to be acutely aware of the person's response to your actions, and clean communication. If you are talking to them, and looking for points that they might be touchy on (and avoiding them) you should do OK.

It's also entirely possible that they are just happy as is, which is why you should talk to them. There is nothing wrong with the enigmatic and silent hero type being played by an enigmatic and silent player. As long as it's not killing the fun for folks, it's not a problem that has to be fixed!

Anaesthesia
10-16-2008, 04:46 PM
What I've generally seen used is to make that player the "leader/pseudo mastermind"-such as requiring that person having the Leadership feat-whether it be leading the party or a group of NPCs. Also, I would work on the person (or the party as a whole, to not "pick on" one person to do this) to create a background on their character, to maybe encourage some role play-like they were from Town A, and now the group is going there and the player knows someone at the Druid Grove that can help the party in general.

For example-
One campaign I was in, when I was realtively new and didn't say much, I was a leader of an evil group, where everyone in the party in effect my "advisors" and were a commander of a subgroup (like one was head our rogue/assasin group, another head of the fighters).

cplmac
10-16-2008, 04:46 PM
If possible, make some situations that require the shy player's character to be the front person. Find something that only that character is able to do, so that the other characters aren't able to cover the needed action. With any luck, by having them be the one in the party that is able to resolve the situation, this will bring them around to being a little more proactive.

Of course, another possibility would be to make shyness actually the way this character actually is. Just because someone is with a group doesn't mean that they are a person that is very outgoing. I'm just looking at the aspect that this is a role playing game. I don't ever remember reading that every character has to be very outgoing and always wanting to be noticed.

Webhead
10-16-2008, 04:46 PM
I think the key to encouraging "shy" players to more actively participate is giving them plenty of opportunities to do so. When the party is formulating a plan and the shy player is just sitting back and observing, take a moment to get them involved. Have the party discuss how their character will contribute to the plan and what their thoughts and opinions are about it. Ask them if there is anything that the party hasn't thought of or possible flaws that they didn't consider.

Try to get each player engaging with the "shy" person (not all at once, but spaced out so as not to be overwhelming) through role play and by asking them for their input during the course of the session. This way, you'll help foster a better comfort level within the group and they may feel less intimidated about offering their active participation.

Also, make sure the actions and decisions of "shy" players have meaningful and exciting results. By showing them that they can have a great impact on the game and the story, you are showing them that you want them to be engaged, that they are important. And try to give the player an occasional encounter or plot where they are the focus. The other characters are of course there to help out, but make it clear that it is the "shy" player's character whose decisions are the most important.

Cortosis
10-16-2008, 05:05 PM
Some players are not shy because they play a character who likes to stay in the background, but just are comfortable in the background themselves. I remember reading something about the "Watcher" playertype in the DMG of 4th edition.

Maybe the person who is shy just doesn't like to play an important role, instead he is just here for the social event. In that case its best if you leave that person be ;). And you don't have to change anything.

frank634
10-16-2008, 05:23 PM
That is a great question that I must comment on. As a DM for many years, I have, until recently, believed it was my duty to bring out the shy person.

Recently, I have learned differently. People play our games for different reasons. Some love to act, some love the tactical aspects, and others, well some just love the math. But to each his own. The most important aspect of the game is to make sure people have fun.

If the shy person returns to the table each session, they are obviously enjoying the game enough to return and play. They make great supporting cast for the players who are the hard core role players.

The shy person is enjoying the acting that is happening in front of him or her. So let them enjoy it. Don't prompt them to get into the acting, just make sure that person has the opportunity to join in the acting. They will when they feel they need to be heard.

My final comment here is there is such a thing as a shy character. So perhaps the shy player is simply role playing there character very well. :)

If you insist on breaking the shyness, then there is always a good mixer. :D But that is another thread.

Grumpy Old Man
10-16-2008, 05:39 PM
Just grin, bring them into the conversation with questions, low key it and listen to feedback. Some will open up when they get more comfortable, some you won't be able to shut up when they get their sea legs under them and some just like to sit and observe the confusion. Different strokes for all of us folks. Just don't try to make them be the kind of player you are if its going to be a forced issue for them. They won't like it and they will fade away. Some of the best comments and situations come from the quiet guy or gal who has been watching and thinking. Something I should do more often.

Greylond
10-16-2008, 09:44 PM
I agree, make them a part of the action. Encourage them to come up with a detailed character background and then use something from that as a major subplot.

1958Fury
10-17-2008, 09:28 AM
I am extremely shy. I don't have a whole lot of tips to drawing me out, but here's what I know... It takes me a long time to become comfortable with a group. So early sessions, I'll probably hang back and just go along with the crowd. I have to study the rest of the group's interaction, see where I can fit in, and get used to these people enough to where I'm not afraid to talk and be myself. The longer the campaign runs, the more active I will become. So really, in my case anyway, the GM doesn't need to do much but give it time.

The worst thing a GM can do is actually try to draw me out, by putting me on the spot (well, above what's necessary for running the game, anyway). When it comes to getting me to open up, I can spot a trick a mile away - I'll know if this was an attempt to get me out of my shell. If they're not careful, I will back off and become even more quiet, and it will take even more sessions before I start asserting myself.

Of course, if you really want to help a shy player feel comfortable, encourage the rest of the group to show up naked. It kind of puts everybody on the same level, ya know? (Disclaimer: This paragraph should not be mistaken for actual advice.)

Grumpy Old Man
10-17-2008, 01:35 PM
In the last couple of groups I was in that would have been a gruesome sight and justification for making it a play by long distance phone group, camera phones definitely off limits.

chosenderrick
10-17-2008, 02:59 PM
I would first suggest that you find out more of what that person is interested in. For example, I might be a bit shy or timid are physics professors, but I would feel more at home around music professors. Roleplaying with all its rules and doctines can be intimidating if your not familiar with them. Move the game to include something that the person is very interested in and you will see the shyness go away.

TAROT
10-18-2008, 12:47 AM
I think most of it has already been said, but I might as well spill anyway.

First. Is the player having fun? If so, then great. Does the player actually want to participate more? If no, wonderful. However, there may be ways to make the game more fun and make sure that they will tell you if it ever stops being fun or if they think of any ways to make the game more fun.

Otherwise. What's the problem?

Character concept. They accidentally made themselves a "strong, silent type" and are staying in character and can't figure out how to get out of it. Give the character a personality changing event (fall in love, bonk on head) or get a new character.

New player in established group. Some people take a while to warm up to new people. Wait and it'll generally work out. You can make this player's character's Contacts, Favours and Backstory pop up a little more often than other players'. Recruit one of the other players to remember to ask "What do you think we should do?" when the group is in planning mode. If you know of any hobbies or areas of expertise that the actual player has you can try making these fields of interest relevant or prominent.

Attention hog at table. If you have a player at the table who is particularly bombastic, or an overpowering personality, others, especially new players, may be avoiding a potential conflict. "Shut up! You're not even in this scene." might be a useful phrase. Similarly, never let a player dictate the actions of another's character. Ask the withdrawn player specifically; "Where are you?", "What are you doing?", etc.

Not my favourite (genre/system/activity).
Genre. The player might like science fiction. The game is fantasy. Maybe some steampunk elements might perk them up.
System. There might be something in the mechanics of the game that is distracting, or irritating or confusing or off-putting or something else that is causing the player to become disconnected from the game. Converting the same story to another system might bring about a change.
Activity. Player would rather be watching a movie or whatever, but, if this is what the group is doing, they'd rather hang out and do this than be at home alone. Not really much that can be done here, especially if the problem is with the base idea of pretending to be other people. Sometimes, experimenting with other genres can cause the player to take another view of the activity.

Oh. And sometimes a little booze can help.

Meatbag
10-19-2008, 09:23 AM
boulet asks,

What techniques can a GM use to have the shy player at the end of the table play his/her role a little more?

Kidnap them, let them find an important item or clue, and make them the focus of a high paced session. It worked for me...now she won't shut up. If that doesn't work, disfigure them. People never stay silent when you've just stabbed out one of their eyes.

1958Fury
10-19-2008, 09:33 AM
If that doesn't work, disfigure them. People never stay silent when you've just stabbed out one of their eyes.

Um, you do mean in-game, right?

Grimwell
10-19-2008, 12:21 PM
LOL, let's hope!

A follow-up question for you Fury... would it set you off bad if you are settling in with a new group and the GM politely inquired about your shyness? In a private conversation naturally. This would give him/her the chance to learn more about you, but I'd hate to do that if it's going to trigger a negative reaction from a person.

Talking to them away from the table is what I've always gone for, but this could be a learning moment for me. Not that I've ever had someone react negatively to me when I've done it, but just in case I'm pushing a button and don't know it.

1958Fury
10-19-2008, 12:40 PM
A follow-up question for you Fury... would it set you off bad if you are settling in with a new group and the GM politely inquired about your shyness? In a private conversation naturally. This would give him/her the chance to learn more about you, but I'd hate to do that if it's going to trigger a negative reaction from a person.

Nah, I think that would be perfectly reasonable. As much as I'm afraid to talk to people, at my core I really do like to talk about myself. It's like there's a hump there - once I get past that blockage, I'm a lot more forthcoming from there on out. If you ask them privately about their issues, maybe they can give you advice for making them more comfortable.

I guess it could backfire if you present it badly - they might think their shyness is causing a problem, which would make them even more self-conscious, and then become even more withdrawn. And some shy people get embarrassed by any attention at all, good or bad. But one-on-one is still less embarrassing than being drawn out in a group.

So I say go for it, just don't fail your Diplomacy check.

nijineko
10-19-2008, 10:17 PM
may i suggest that when you have said discussion that you bring magic chocolate (or insert other favorite food of subject) of diplomacy +10?

saytrsam
11-10-2008, 12:22 PM
Build a plot element into the game that could call for the character to interact w/ NPCs in a non combative way that generates role play. For example, I had a similar situation. The character in question was a member of a special fighting order called, Order of the Golden Bow. This fighter, game after game only participated in melee and when the rest of the session revolved around role playing, which is a big part of my games, was absent from helping the game move forward. So after several missions were successfully completed a promotion was offered to the fighter character, which was accepted, more prestige and all that. The fighter became responsible for 6 trainees. The fighter also had to interact with the leaders of the order which was experiencing an internal schism. After establishing relationships w/ the trainees I killed one off and all hell broke out within the order. The character was invested in the role and stepped up to perform. This worked out very well for the player and role play picked up from there. Needless to say I took advantage of the player's being involved in management in her professional career to weave role playing into how she ran the character. Look at what a person is interested in with real life and find a parallel to build on, not the same but something for the player to relate with. Good Luck.

DragonDM
12-20-2008, 11:28 AM
would it set you off bad if you are settling in with a new group and the GM politely inquired about your shyness? In a private conversation naturally. This would give him/her the chance to learn more about you, but I'd hate to do that if it's going to trigger a negative reaction from a person.

Talking to them away from the table is what I've always gone for, but this could be a learning moment for me. Not that I've ever had someone react negatively to me when I've done it, but just in case I'm pushing a button and don't know it.

Talking to them seperate from the Group usually works for me as well.
There are times that I have gotten negative responses, and they leave the Game. However, I get more 'dedicated' players this way.
One cannot please everyone. Best to be true to yourself, and let others decide if they like it, or not. ;)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
While it is true that some of your 'shy' players are unsure of what to do, or afraid of others making fun of what they try to do..
– This can especially be true for players that are new to the game.
They want to be involved, but are afraid that asking questions will disrupt the game, and that the other Players will be annoyed with them.

Some of your “shy” players are actually rather smart, and quickly become bored with the regular “Hack and Slash” style of play.
However - watch out for too much "Soft RP", since this will lose the interest of the other Players in the Game. Finding the Balence can be really hard.

I usually tell the Players at the Table that they can take over almost any NPC slot, and add their flair to the Games.

:Rant:
I think that the problem stems from a few outside sources: America is the worst of all the Nations about conditioning people to stop thinking when doing something:

TV – it is called the Idiot Box (or Boob Tube) for a reason. Everything is done for the viewer. Sure, people have opinions of whatever it is they watched – but usually only after it happened.

Movies are just another form of what the TV does, but costs the person money to go do.

Video Games – Click a button, and figure out the Plot of the Game, and you win. There are no changing the outcome of the game.

Online MMOs – are a slightly more advanced Video Game. But again, there are severe limits to what can be done by the Players. If the programmers did not place into the game that something can be done, then nothing the Player does will make the attempt succeed. In a Tabletop RPG, if the Player(s) want to attack the NPCs, there is no game mechanic to stop them, the DM has to find ways to either stop them, or punish them for doing it.

Books – There are only a few authors that show the strength of Good, and the 'rewards' of Evil – while still keeping the “humanity” in all their Characters. I could list a few of my favorite authors, but I think that I will wait to be asked. Since people have such strong opinions about Alignment, suggesting any reading material on such things is risky.

Getting people to break free of this “passive participation” trend can be a challenge. Especially when the RPG is based on the same 'style' of play that an MMO is.
:/Rant:

hueloovoo
12-21-2008, 08:53 PM
As another of those shy-at-first players, I have to agree with the consensus here, personal and private attention helps a LOT. Time can be effective too, but sometimes it takes a LOT of time. I've been playing with a group for over 5 years now and only recently realized that I won't be ostracized if my character develops a relationship with another character. Yeah, with a decent group it's not a problem, but randomly people get upset about that kind of thing.

The point is, I think more often than not, a little honest and openminded discussion with a shy player will really help make her feel at ease, though only time and experience can really completely solve the problem.

Moritz
12-25-2008, 09:02 PM
I read a lot of these answers and chuckle.

I don't have time or the interest in coddling or ego stroking players to get them to come out of their shells. I tell them as Morrissey would, "Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to." and then if they're still shy or timid, then it's time to cut the umbilical cord and send them out into the world.

Least I'm straight up with them, unlike their moms were.

PS: Another good way to break them out of their shells. Take them to a strip club, they'll spend 100 bucks for a girl to sit there and listen to their ramblings. That'll help build their social skills - especially because the girl isn't going to tell them to 'get lost'. She knows where the money is. Heck, she's even role-playing (for a fee).

akela122301
12-26-2008, 12:25 AM
Personally, I'm one of those shy-to-begin players. But, usually it's just because I'm waiting to see how to match my playing style with that of the rest of the group. If I still seem shy after a few sessions, then it's just because I don't desire the limelight for the time being. Trust me, when I feel it's time for my character to shine, then shine he will.:cool:

hueloovoo
12-29-2008, 10:30 PM
*lol* I agree with akela122301, but even more so. Once I get past the initial shyness, I'm a total attention whore. I mean, I share the limelight, but when it's on me, I LOVE it.

Oh, and Moritz, if you wanna take me to a strip club and spend a hundred bucks on me, by all means, feel free! ^.^

templeorder
05-08-2009, 10:21 AM
As a GM, when i encounter shy players, i will know at the time of character creation. I always take new players aside right after i bring them into the game and give them some sort of unique knowledge or insight to make sure they understand their character is just as important as the others, and even that they have an advantage over the others in something. Prior to game sessions i use the character creation process to help get them enthused about their character and the potentials it has in-game. But, once the character starts, i really let the players work to draw them out and establish the in-game flow. If the player wants to stay supporting and not get involved too deep thats just what they get. My core players are VERY good at working with all sorts of players... all of them are 20+ years of gaming. I let the group dynamic build without any interference unless its asked for or required to keep things on track. I do make sure each character has a part to play wherein their knowledge or skill is important - i try to adjust to the level of participation a player is comfortable with. The more shy the player is, the less i depend on their abilitiy and action and more on bits of helpful knowledge that can be teased out by other players or NPC's.... but i do make sure all characters have an important role over time.

coggro
05-09-2009, 06:55 PM
The last game I played with my old D&D group was with one of my friends' girlfriends, who had never rolled a die before. We rolled her up a sheet and she sat for the first hour of the game with her silent just following everyone around: she didn't know what to do. We stopped and asked if she was okay, if she wanted to stop, and she said, "No, sorry, I'm just nervous. I've never done anything like this before."

At that point, the DM (at the time, we switched on and off) had everyone put down everything and, one at a time, shout "BLOOD AND THUNDER!" at the top of their lungs. The new girl asked why we did it, to which the DM replied "We all look like idiots now. It doesn't really matter."

That's how we deal with shy players: help them realize that you can't be nervous playing an elven wizard because the person next to you is pretending to be a half-orc barbarian. We're ALL pretty silly.

Killwatch
06-08-2009, 03:05 AM
without reading all the posts I will just blindly reply;
Make them the center of attention. Use their history. Every character should have a history even a sketchy one
If you don't want to use history, what skills does the character have that the others dont? What abilities?
Make them the only person who can hear a "voice" leading them to a secret grove or treasure or whatever, and the voice for whatever reason doesn't like being talked to by the other players.

So focus on the things that make the character an individual, make it center stage.

I have my players roll up their histories and take advantage of them. One player has rolled up a number of lovers and one of them manufactured a masterwork FNP90, which has been recently damaged. He is going to seek them out and have to relive them not parting on the best terms. next series I will pick something out from another players history and rotate on and on and on

1958Fury
06-08-2009, 08:06 AM
without reading all the posts I will just blindly reply;
Make them the center of attention.

Well, when you do get around to reading all the posts, see mine (#11). If you make me the center of attention too early, before I've had a few sessions to get used to the group, you may well never see me again. Not all shy people are permanently shy, they just take a while to warm up to a group's dynamic. Rush it, and you lose everything.

Killwatch
06-09-2009, 02:54 AM
I wouldn't demand it of course. I simply give you the opportunity. That's all I can do. If you let soemone else take the reigns then that's on you. but I wouldn't do this to soemone just sitting down, uncomfortable with the group. Maybe 10 games in once I get a sense of you, if you are pleased as punch to be sitting int he background fine. If you want something to healp you break out and take center stage I can do that to.

I give what I expect from my players, a good attitude and patience.

WhiskeyFur
09-16-2009, 03:02 PM
I suppose one tool that a DM can use, is to piss the character off! (not the player, his character)

If the shy/reserved guy is a good Roleplayer he'll let that come out, if nothing else then to tell that NPC to go stick it where the sun don't shine. If the NPC then steps back, and apologies.. that's rewarding the player's role playing, and encouraging him to be more involved as you just proved that he /can/ have an impact on what's going on.

Just something to think about.

Magesteff
09-24-2009, 05:48 AM
As a player I am generally one that tends to accidently roll over the quieter players, so when a new person joins the group I tell them "If you want to do something and we are accidently skipping over you, don't be afraid to kick us to do something you want to do." Everyone laughs and it seems to make a good ice-breaker for the new person. If it seems we have a shy player, and I notice it (sometimes I am as thick as a board, sorry) - I try (hopefully) to make certain the shy person gets a chance to do things - I'll ask "Hey Sally (or Sam or whatever) is there anything you want to do in town while we are here? Anything you want to buy or check out? Sometimes it seems the quiet ones get missed when it is not an "encounter" situation and the GM isn't keeping track of whose turn it is to attack/cast/shoot.

When I am the "new" person in a group, I tend to hang back a bit the first few session until I see how the group interacts with each other as players and as characters. I do speak up if there is something in particular I want to comment on or get done, but it takes me a little bit to get into my comfort zone and learn where I can make jokes in game and out of game; or push the other characters a bit if we seem to be bogging down on something. Doesn't mean I am shy, just means I am trying to figure out where I want to fit in.

Most of the long running groups I have been in occassionally had pot-luck, barbecue, or order chinese take out sometimes. Some days we might all get together to go to a movie we all want to see. I think that this could give the shy person a chance to learn more about the people they are playing with, and might make them more comfortable with the other players. Plus it's added fun!

XeroDrift
10-05-2009, 07:20 AM
Do not directly address the person in questions shyness, in most cases it will only result in making them feel even more self conscious and likely affect an intensification of their reserved demeanor. It is up to you to draw the person out, pay more individual attention to them, but not in an overt manner. Seek out their opinion and ask them more questions in the context of the game, engineer occasional situations where they have more responsibility for the well being and success of their own and the groups characters and quests and cannot always rely on others for decision making, solving tricky situations, besting enemies, etc... Nothing will serve to build their confidence better than their actions resulting in successes, or even entertaining or memorable failures, especially if their successes benefit others in the group, it creates that "way to go!" feeling that can work wonders on a persons self-esteem. The key is subtlety, you cant let on that you are trying to affect this change, nobody wants to be a charity case, and to challenge their wit, ingenuity, and ability, they must come away with a sense of accomplishment, anything given freely or too easily will have little impact. Lastly, never underestimate familiarity, sometimes it just takes time for a person to feel comfortable enough around a group of people to open up and "play make believe".
--- Merged from Double Post ---


That's how we deal with shy players: help them realize that you can't be nervous playing an elven wizard because the person next to you is pretending to be a half-orc barbarian. We're ALL pretty silly.

Amen

Charles
10-13-2009, 12:24 PM
The best way to deal with a shy player is 1) Let them remain shy. For the time being. The trick is not to worry about the person, but worry about the character. Try to get that player to play a character with an important part, like being the fighter. And really work on getting their storyline into the game. If they like their character, even a little, they'll come out of their shell for that.

Charles

XeroDrift
10-15-2009, 12:24 PM
The best way to deal with a shy player is 1) Let them remain shy. For the time being. The trick is not to worry about the person, but worry about the character. Try to get that player to play a character with an important part, like being the fighter. And really work on getting their storyline into the game. If they like their character, even a little, they'll come out of their shell for that.


Thats what I said! Lol

SirSlither
07-16-2010, 11:23 AM
I agree with most of yall, to not to try and force a shy player. Personally I don't try to manipulate them either, people don't like to be manipulated. Just give them constant casual chances to jump in their and get their feet wet. What has worked for me is to very casually ask them what their character is doing during a role playing scene. But don't try to lead them let them to much either that can come across as controlling.If you have to put them on the spot, like asking them what they are doing, do it to someone else first so they don't feel singled out.

Also make sure your loud attention hogs don't well hog the game. In my last group I had to constantly stop one of my players to give other players a chance to speak. This is particularly important with a shy player in the group. A shy player wont speak up and interrupt so you have to do it for them. Do not make a show of it or you will just make them feel awkward.

SirSlither

templeorder
07-17-2010, 09:39 AM
A shy player wont speak up and interrupt so you have to do it for them.


I find that its just as bad as trying to manipulate them in some other way. No matter how you accomplish it, you have to be an voice to help them, otherwise its like a bump on a log - and thats not something i am interested in having in my game group. As a GM with family, job, and a life i cant spend a lot of time helping shy players out of their shell - i could when i was younger and did. Now i find i want assertive players that work with me to keep things going in the times we do have.

The Wolf
07-21-2010, 04:57 AM
I tend to make sure that the shy player in question has a specific role. For example, In my sci fi based game one shy player is the master of the ships guns and it is his responsibility to call in the firing procedures both in space and when they are on the ground to annihilate something from orbit. This ensuring someone has something to 'do' rather than just being able to sit and pull a trigger or hit something repeatably means that they can get used to for short periods of time the attention and duty being theirs. This can also be helpfull for players who make characters who are weapons with a person behind it.

Lord Captain Tobacco
08-11-2010, 04:45 PM
Like cplmac suggested, the best way to bring a character out is the 'star of the week' plan. Just create a situation where the player can use a skill or background to increase chances of or even enhance the results of victory. The player may even be the focus for the adventure. A word of caution - nine out of ten times this works with good or better effects; the last chance scares the player off if they really feel like they are 'on the spot'.
There are lots of reasons why a player might be shy at the table. One of the more common ones I have is the one here because the significant other is here. I try to talk with them and have them view a session once or twice before trying to insert a character.

Valar
08-21-2010, 08:08 AM
I find the best way to get people to open up, is to get my other players to engage them in role-playing conversation. It usually takes a single session and manipulating my game a bit to get them involved. But I don't manipulate the player per se. Once they've been able to get involved with the other characters on a role playing lvl, they ALMOST always seem to relax and get into the storyline.

Arkham
08-26-2010, 05:06 PM
I tend to be the shy player, but as I tend to GM, I force myself out of that mode when at the head of the table.

When dealing with other shy players ( or as a player in other people's games ) in non-combat RP scenes, it seems to work well to go round-robin, making sure each player gets a chance to do what they want to in any given scene before moving on to the next. First, go around the table asking them what they intend to do. Then go around again and deal with what happens. Then keep going until everyone is done, or something happens to force closure, like a fight breaking out, or the group being run out of the wherever they were.

Griznuq
09-28-2010, 08:56 AM
First, I admit that I haven't yet read all the replies, so if I'm saying something that's already been said, I apologize. Shy players are generally shy because they either don't want to take the spotlight away from the rest of the gang, or they're afraid of doing something "wrong".

Players can be engaged in the story without taking the spotlight though. Get them to develop some kind of story of their own, be it a character background or what have you, and work with them off the game time, maybe via email or something. The more comfortable and involved they get with their own character, the more comfortable and involved they'll get with the campaign.

rabkala
10-01-2010, 07:36 PM
I never get over the shyness in a new game, unless I feel comfortable. I will not feel comfortable by somebody trying to force me into the spotlight. I am not built that way... Once I get to know the people playing the roles, I get comfotable.

I generally try to get players more comfortable with me, as a result. Send e-mails or talk on the phone, get to know the people not just the characters. Invite them out to the bar or over for diner, It is better to have friends than just a person to fill that character spot.

Rinse and repeat. Results may vary...

decline
11-17-2010, 01:42 AM
A campaign I'm currently running is very open ended and has a mix of personalities, some very outspoken and some not so much. We currently meet every few week to play and developed a forum for the game which we use in between sessions. This is the first time I've ever tried using a forum alongside a running game and it has worked out rather well and I think can help in cases like this. Essentially I keep a spot on the forum for general talk and chatter. Nothing happens there that actually requires rolling and if it comes to that or a conflict or something that might become a larger even we stop the forum and wait to resolve it during the next session.
Basically it works like if the characters end a session in a town then on the forum they might seek out an NPC and chat them up. Or if we are getting close to the end of a session and the characters are talking to an NPC then in order to roll things along a bit to a better stopping point I will say something like, "Everyone talks for a couple of hours." And then we can have that actual chat on the forum.
This has worked particularly well to foster relationships between the player characters and the NPC's which might take many sessions to achieve otherwise.
For a shy player I can see this helping as via the forum that player could communicate with these NPC's which then invests them a bit more and might draw them out in the game to be more inclined to speak up especially if a situation involves those same ones.