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Thread: Drew's Soapbox: Seeing Games Through

  1. #11
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    Well i guess its up to every DM.. Could make a nice twist in a Official adventure as well..

    But I think its about the strict part thats need to be worked over.
    Players : 'Dont join unless you are sure to commit to the game' 'Make sure to gives a heads up if you gonna be able to post' 'Even if you waiting for someone make sure to do your daily post *He sure takes a long time... OH PRETTY BIRD!* '

    Dms : Make sure to keep to the rules you set. 1-2 warnings then the person is out. . . That will probably keep the good players to stay active (or in fear mohahaha)

  2. #12
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    I've never thought of this before, but the discussion here has given me an idea for when it comes to adventure paths. As the GM, you'd have to read the whole thing first and know the adventure pretty well. Then you could pick a few points in the story to break it up into smaller adventures and add something here and there to make them more self-contained. The overall plot doesn't end, but something smaller both starts and finishes in each piece of the main story.

    Now it's a lot like a TV series, where each episode has its own specific plot and also moves the season's plot forward a little bit. And you can check on player status between episodes and recruit new players if need be. New characters are common as new episodes play out. You'd just have to be careful during recruitment to make sure you don't take on a player that throws a wrench into the game's gears and you'd be fine.

  3. #13
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    But how do you pick the perfect player? Not picking the new players? I'm not saying all new are bad.. But how do you avoid the non active? I try to look at how many post they have per day. But that's not always the truth as when games are deleted, so are your post... Maybe do a interview with atleast 2 players to give you thumbs up.. Or ask the dm he plays with at the moment?.. Hard one.
    Last edited by Krivak; 09-03-2018 at 08:45 PM.

  4. #14
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    Rellott is currently doing 2 episodic campaigns on the site. I believe that is the style you are referring to.

  5. #15

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    I would like to share my limited experience. I have played in a fair number of games and DM one. The game I DM is an adventure path and is just over a year old. I started the game with four players. Every single original player dropped the game with no notice. In my original recruitment, I asked for daily posting M-F. No one met that except me. They started to get flaky fast. I didn't want to just kick them though. We had literally just started the game. I had plans. I wanted the game to be successful. I kept trying to wait on them. I kept trying to be patient thinking that we could turn it around.

    I was wrong and it nearly killed the game. It was weeks with no posts. I had set up a discord for the players and I to be able to chat about the game. I still had two players at this point. One had already dropped. The other was just MIA. I had barely gotten any responses from my recruitment so I was afraid the game was just going to die if I didn't wait. I finally pulled the plug and officially kicked the absent player (not that they were around to know it). Then, I got creative in finding new players.

    I PM'd each person that made an introduction post on the site giving them an open invitation to the game. The game had some houserules, but I was willing to work with anyone to get them playing. You would think that you would get a ton of players that way, but only one was actually willing to jump on board. The others declined and promptly vanished from the site. As I'm incorporating that player, I lose the next one. I actually worry about him. The last message that I got was from his girlfriend/wife on the discord saying that he was sick and that he wanted us to know that he would post as soon as he could. I tried to give him time, but eventually decided to keep the game moving with the promise that I would work him back in if and when he ever came back. At this point, I didn't want the game to die so I reached out to two of my friends in real life to see if they would interested in trying PbP. They jumped on board. Right as I'm integrating them in, the final original player dropped with no notice. I bit the bullet and ran a new recruitment thread for the game. I got three interested players and immediately accepted them.

    After that, I switched the game to being played fully on Discord. The goal was to hopefully help people post on their phones while they're going through their day. I also got more vigilant with my rules. I set a 24 hour timer on combat actions. I do grouped initiative so if three PCs are up next in the initiative order, they can post their actions whenever so that as much as possible, they aren't waiting on other players. If they haven't posted after about 12-18 hours, I usually ping them on the discord as a reminder. If they don't post before the 24 hours hits, then I take their turn for them and we move on. I make it very clear that they aren't in trouble or in danger of getting kicked for this. I'm just making sure the game keeps moving. Kicking would only be an issue if it was a consistent issue.

    The six players that I have now are incredible. They are all dedicated and we have a great time. Discord has helped a lot. It's really easy to pop on and do your turn. It also breaks people of the need to write a lot of prose that they get self conscious about so that they don't post. It feels much closer to just playing around a table. If anyone is going to be busy for whatever reason, they chime in, let us know, and we plan accordingly. If I ever feel like the pace is dragging, then I talk to them out of character and ask what I can do to help them along or if they have any more goals for this scene. It's a collaborative medium and I have tried to build a relationship with my players where we'll talk out of game to make sure the game is fun for everyone.

    I got all six of my current players by early December of last year and we have had an incredible game since then. We have gone through a ton of content and had a lot of fun. Adventure paths aren't impossible in pbp. They're just impossible with bad players. Find good players.

    In short, here's a few lessons that I've learned to have a good game.

    1. Don't be afraid of kicking a bad player. Good players are out there. You may have to expand your search a little bit, but your game and your efforts deserve good players. Go find them.
    2. Don't be afraid of having high standards for posting. You can show grace to your players, but keep the game moving. If you commit to keeping the game moving, the players that need to go will show themselves.
    3. Adapt your game to the medium that you're using. From my perspective, grouped initiative is one of the best things you can do to help keep combat moving in pbp. Look at the things that bog your game down and try to find solutions for them. As the DM, don't be afraid to constantly repeat and update information during combat so that your players follow along. As a player, don't be afraid to put the in game terms of your turn in plain language after your prose. It'll help the DM keep it straight. I'll also plug Discord as being incredible for pbp, but there is nothing wrong with a forum game.
    4. Posting is always better than not posting. It's easy to get trapped wanting to make the perfect post. This isn't a novel though. It's a game. It's better to make an okay post that moves things forward in five minutes than it is to spend a whole day crafting an immaculate post that will be forgotten after the next wave of actions.

    In terms of holding bad players accountable, of the four players that dropped out on my game, only one ever showed back up to the site. At that point, I reported their behavior to an admin and allowed them to make a judgment on what should be done. They got into another game and it looks like they flaked out on that one too. The cold reality is that most people who drop will just leave the site and never come back. That's fine. There are good players out there. Don't get worked up over the bad players that leave. They need to find a game that fits their commitment. You deserve to find players that match yours. Don't be afraid to do the work to find them. As someone with an incredible group, please hear me when I tell you that it's worth it. This hobby is so much more fun when you have a great group.

  6. #16
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    Great reply with a ton of super-helpful points. Thank you very much, Matthan.

  7. #17
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    Default Drew's Soapbox

    I am currently running 6 games. One of these is a one-shot to let me test out DMing on Discord.

    Two of them are full published APs, which have been running for several years now. In both of those, most of my original players are gone and I have had to have a couple of follow-up recruitments. I try to break these APs into chapters at logical breaks in the story, but that doesnít always mean thatís the best place to work in new characters.

    The others are episodic games (Iíve got two groups running the same adventure, and another group doing some league play style adventures). The league play style adventures will eventually have something of an overarching story like was suggested above, but the others wonít - theyíre designed to be enough adventure for a single levelís worth of XP - essentially a string of one-shots.

    Iíve lost so many players. Itís disheartening sometimes, and has made me come close to just shuttering some/all of my games in frustration. I know some of the blame is on the players, but I also blame myself as discussed by others above. ďI shouldíve pushed harder, held them more accountable, made the game more interesting and engaging, etc.Ē But thereís only so much you can do, even with just one game. I usually require a few posts a week in my games, and do my best to post every day that my players have given me something to respond to. Iím not always successful at that, but my players are generous in their forgiveness. I have definitely seen worse tardiness from DMs, as well as actual DM abandonment of the game, which is about as bad as it gets in my book (especially when the DM straight up disappears with no notice). Whose fault is it there? If DMs can and do disappear like players can, is the problem really with DMs?

    This seems like a community-wide issue, that players as well as DMs need to address somehow. Certainly those staple members of our community can and will (and often already do) nudge others toward engagement in the game, but that doesnít seem to have been enough. What recourse is there, then?

    I would disagree on the issue of Drew saying there is never a good reason to drop a game. I have stepped out of two ongoing games in my time here. The first was because the game had made little progress in the year Iíd been a player in it, and I wasnít enjoying the hardcore, combat-only, high-lethality of the game. The second was when I was trying to learn a new system and discovered that I did not enjoy the system or the dark, struggling tone of the adventure. In both instances I informed the DM at what I felt were good off-ramping times, offered to stay in the game longer to help the DM write me out, and offered input on ways that seemed logical to write me out. I feel that, when handled politely and with consideration to others, stepping out of a game you donít enjoy will ultimately help the game. Then thereís situations where due to DM action (or inaction to stop fellow player actions) a player no longer feels happy or welcome in a game. This hasnít happened to me, but I have heard stories from others here on TTW, and feel itís always appropriate to step out of toxic games with inconsiderate (to put it mildly) people.
    Last edited by Rellott; 09-05-2018 at 02:39 AM.



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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berenion View Post
    Rellott is currently doing 2 episodic campaigns on the site. I believe that is the style you are referring to.
    It may be, and I'm not surprised at all that, when it comes to dropping names of GMs who are doing things right, Rellott is on the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    I have definitely seen worse tardiness from DMs, as well as actual DM abandonment of the game, which is about as bad as it gets in my book (especially when the DM straight up disappears with no notice). Whose fault is it there? If DMs can and do disappear like players can, is the problem really with DMs?
    No, you're right. There are problem GMs here just as there are problem players, and I didn't mean to make it sound otherwise if that's how it came off. I agree that it's a site-wide problem, and I'm not sure exactly how to start addressing it. We can be the change that we want to see, but if not enough of us are doing it, I fear it won't have enough of an effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rellott View Post
    I would disagree on the issue of Drew saying there is never a good reason to drop a game. I have stepped out of two ongoing games in my time here. The first was because the game had made little progress in the year I’d been a player in it, and I wasn’t enjoying the hardcore, combat-only, high-lethality of the game. The second was when I was trying to learn a new system and discovered that I did not enjoy the system or the dark, struggling tone of the adventure. In both instances I informed the DM at what I felt were good off-ramping times, offered to stay in the game longer to help the DM write me out, and offered input on ways that seemed logical to write me out. I feel that, when handled politely and with consideration to others, stepping out of a game you don’t enjoy will ultimately help the game. Then there’s situations where due to DM action (or inaction to stop fellow player actions) a player no longer feels happy or welcome in a game. This hasn’t happened to me, but I have heard stories from others here on TTW, and feel it’s always appropriate to step out of toxic games with inconsiderate (to put it mildly) people.
    Yes, maybe I should amend that a bit. If someone goes through the very respectful process outlined above, that's the way to leave a game, especially if it's for the reasons given as well. My issue is really with the much more often used approach - posting less and less until the player has practically ghosted out of the game and isn't even checking in anymore. No contact with the GM, no attempts to stay a little bit longer for an organic write-out, just zero respect for the game, its GM, and the fellow players as they phase the game out of their priority list. It may sound extreme but it's actually the most common outcome I've seen in my time here. And for some reason, the behavior is infectious. One player doing this will cause others in the group to do it, too.

  9. #19

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    The issues Rellott had with the games above also highlight a thing DMs can improve on and that is making it clear already at the recruitment thread what kind of DM you are.
    For example I'm a very combat-driven high-lethality DM and I mention it in the recruitment thread already, so Rellott, knowing he doesn't like this style of game, would never even apply in the first place.

    Also as for running games as DM I think the following things should be considered:

    1. Never ever WAIT for someone to post. The game continues once per day no matter what. If someone doesn't post, his punishment is simply that he didn't play a part in the story / decision making here. Really, just ignore that PC is there, don't act for him, don't mention him, it works fine and there's absoluetly no problem with story consistency either.

    2. During combat, I personally have a 22 hour time limit. Why 22 and not 24? Because I need 2 hours to prepare my post and want to prevent situations where my daily post is slightly later every day. No action within time limit just defaults to "Dodge". Why dodge? Well, that's because for me a golden DM rule is "Due not kill a PC when his player is absent" and dodge really helps with that. When a player misses a turn here, he will actually NOT get the XP for this round of combat. For example say you have 4 PCs, the encounter gives 2000 XP total, the encounter lasted 5 rounds and one PC A missed 1 of those rounds. Then instead of every getting 500 XP, PC A only gets 4/5 of that so 400 XP. The XP removed here will then be distributed to the other 3 PCs (so they get ~530 XP). I find this nice because the XP then also gives me a good average indication on how reliable a player is and also ensures the really reliable players get some kind of XP bonus (after all, they are effectively losing out on XP when there are more PCs due to the XP sharing, so if a player drops out, the XP he got is actually lost).

    3. Never ignore an issue. I already step in if a player just missed two days within a week. This IS an issue. Not an issue you should directly kick the player, but you definitely should make him aware that YOU are aware of him missing his turns. With many players a small reminder already helps.

    4. Be reasonable. Every player that tells me ahead of time he can't post gets full XP and can even decide on how to handle his PC during his absence. I still won't wait for him of course. I guess if someone was "Too busy to post" more than 30 days a year, I might talk about this with him too, but so far that never happened. Unreliable people tend to just disappear.

    5. Don't be afraid to cut the cord. This is something I'm really bad in myself, but I think that if you really realize a player is no good and talking with him multiple times didn't help either, you really should be consequent and kick him after a final warning ("One more missed day this year and you're out!").

  10. #20
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    Hi. I'm one of the bad people Drew is talking about. As a dm and a player.
    I admit, all games of mine that died were my own fault. No one else's. It has taken me a long time to recognize my limitations. Same goes with games I joined and left.

    It is impossible to impose restrictions or concequences on droppers because... It's the faceless internet. That's why they drop by the way. It's only letters on a screen, not real people with time and effort. So, they feel no obligation to act in a polite and courteous manner. People are jerks. Just look at Facebook.

    I have in the past set restrictions and concequences. It doesn't help.
    From my main campaign there have been around 15 droppers. And that's a good steady game going on three years now. My other campaign I started out with 6 and even before the first month was over 5 had already just quit.

    The problem is perception as well. People see pbp as a quick fix rpg. Which is exactly what it's not. It's slow but steady. And when people find out it's slow but steady they lose interest and go poof.
    Characters:
    - Executor Divine Katharina Durmond - Rise of the Runelords
    - Freya 'Forcefox' DeVos - Power Corrupts
    - Tycho Boughbreaker - Fall of Melior

    Campaigns:
    - Against the Shadow - Pathfinder Midnight campaign
    - Chronicles of Misthaven - Pathfinder Homebrew campaign

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