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Thread: Ask a GM [10/16/08]: Shy Players

  1. #31
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    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.

  2. #32
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    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!
    Last edited by Magesteff; 09-24-2009 at 05:49 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #33
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    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 ---
    Quote Originally Posted by coggro View 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
    Last edited by XeroDrift; 10-05-2009 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Automerged Double Post

  4. #34
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    Forcing that shyness out the door! LOL

    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

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles View Post
    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

  6. #36
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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by SirSlither View Post
    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.

    Incarna; Role-Playing Game System
    www.incarna.net
    Running: 3+ campaigns set in single custom milieu world.

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    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.

  9. #39
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    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.
    Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.
    - Edward Everett

  10. #40
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    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.

  11. #41
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    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.

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    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.

  13. #43
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    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...
    Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.


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    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.

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