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Thread: Help getting my players to do their part

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    Help getting my players to do their part

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    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!

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    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.
    "Hey wich one of you punks stole Dr.Rockso's banana?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark View Post
    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.

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    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.
    "Hey wich one of you punks stole Dr.Rockso's banana?"

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    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.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    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.
    Last edited by emblasochist; 06-07-2009 at 01:26 PM.

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    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.
    "Hey wich one of you punks stole Dr.Rockso's banana?"

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
    --
    Grimwell

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    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...
    'Justice, like lightning, ever should appear to few men's ruin, but to all men's fear.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by emblasochist View Post
    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?
    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!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Otakar View Post
    Are we, as DMs supposed to get a wish list of magic items from our players?
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
    --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.


    Quote Originally Posted by emblasochist View Post
    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!

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    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.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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