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Author Topic: Help me inspire my players!  (Read 5196 times)
Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« on: August 07, 2003, 02:33:55 AM »

Currently I'm running a campaign which has a pretty relaxed style. Many ingame jokes, and it would probably pass as an action comedy. However, the final session is approaching. Afterwards, we'll start on a new, more serious campaign, inluding bigger character backgrounds and so on.
The problem is, my players seem to have grown into a certain set of SA which they always use. With a few exceptions, the majority of SA's are:

* Passion: Hate of someone(or a certain race)
* Passion: Loyalty to something (King/group/friends)
* Drive: Become famous/hero
* Drive: become the best XXX, where XXX is usually a fighting skill.
* Conscience
* Luck

We also have a house rule that you define your Conscience by adding two or three virtues that your character values the most. These are also almost always the same, namely Courage, Honor and Honesty.

These are fine, but how about some variance? It makes all the characters look the same. That was okay for the last campaign, but I want some more variance in the new one.
So, does anyone have some tips on how to inspire my players to come up with new SA's? That, and actual SA's would be highly appreciated.
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Draigh
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2003, 03:16:43 AM »

Hmmm... My suggestion would be to mix things up a little bit in your world.  I don't know what setting you are playing in, but when this kind of stuff has happened to me, I've always thrown the PCs into some shit they never thought would happen.  Change cultures, societies, or just the overall feel of the world.  One thing that I really try to do is to stay away from the "central Europe in the middle ages" type of game, it seems to me that when your PCs have that kind of setting, they expect things to be "business as usual".  Try tossing them into an Incan inspired culture, full of human sacrifice, dark and angry gods, public sporting events, and such.  Just try to make them think twice about their characters and every action they take... If they, and their characters aren't familiar with what's going on, then, chances are, they'll be more willing to just let go, and see where the story goes.

Hell, it might even spark some imaginative flames that you can strategically place under their asses in game.

Hope it helps.
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Drink to the dead all you, still alive.
We shall join them, in good time.
If you go crossing that silvery brook it's best to leap before you look.
Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2003, 04:46:12 AM »

Thanks for the reply.
Yeah, it's a good idea. The new campaign will be in a new setting as well, which isn't entirely fleshed out yet, so there is room for mixing it up a bit. As of now, it'll be about exiles coming to a new land. For some reason, as of yet undecided, they have no idea where they came from, nor why they where exiled, or that they where exiled and didn't just flee, for that matter. I could include a piece of familiarity by letting the exiles be classic fantasy humans, but letting the land be completely different. There will still be some difference since metal is *very* scarce. Just enough for spearpoints, some tools and such.
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Draigh
Member

Posts: 151


« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2003, 06:05:55 AM »

Mokkurkalfe wrote:

Quote
Thanks for the reply.
Yeah, it's a good idea. The new campaign will be in a new setting as well, which isn't entirely fleshed out yet, so there is room for mixing it up a bit.


No problem man...  Just a suggestion, try not to go overboard fleshing out your setting... I've found that the best things to flesh out are:  Major cities, trade routes, basic military structure, societal attitudes and predispositions, and overall climate.  From there, it's easy to wing it for the rest... just remember to keep it as true to life as you can.  Good luck.

Quote
There will still be some difference since metal is *very* scarce. Just enough for spearpoints...


Just remember kids... the only thing cooler than a knife; is a knife on a stick :)
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Drink to the dead all you, still alive.
We shall join them, in good time.
If you go crossing that silvery brook it's best to leap before you look.
tralese
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2003, 06:07:50 AM »

I think Riddle of Steel is one of those games where you don't have to play an all nice valiant hero, seeking justice and peace for the world.
Try and have a little more involvement in their character creation, whitout necessarily forcing their hand too much.
Think of a tragedy or special event that might have happened in the persons life.
Maybe a person's passion would be to die in combat because his beloved died a few weeks ago and the character is looking to rejoin his kin spirit.
Maybe the PC is a thieving coniver how hates getting caught when stealing.
It could be that a person has a dark secret in their past that they are afraid will be revealed to the group and their will go to any lengths to prevent the group from finding out.

Try to come up yourself with a list of spiritual attributes and ask the player to let you choose one of those.  It could bring in some very interesting plot twists, and would allow you as a Sceneshal to actually come up with adventure plots based on some of those less common Spiritual Attributes.
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Tralese
"Work before you play, BUT PLAY!"
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2003, 06:08:38 AM »

An idea which may help is to create a relationship map. Give the players the basic setting idea, and throw out a few characters, either NPCs they can link to, or characters they can choose as well. Then sit and brainstorm for a while, creating basic concepts (bodyguard, seneschal, reeve, etc.) which all link together. Get away from the "band o' adventurers" that those SAs seem to suggest. It may help jog them out of the normal rut, as well as giving you a whole list of NPCs (the unused concepts) to use, and relationships already.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Jaeger
Member

Posts: 73


...
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2003, 10:14:02 AM »

It seems to me that your PC are using SA's to give thier characters a power boost - not to define who thier characters really are.

   One method I have used is to make the SA's for a character first before I assign a single priority - defining what my PC was all about and only then giving him the skills to match.

  I think that changing the setting will do bugger all when it comes to making your players pick more diverse SA's. "Incan?! OK, now wer're Incan Heros!" ...
   What you need to do is to get them to have different SA's. One way to do this is to not allow any two charactors to have any similar SA's ouside of consience - force some of them to think out of thier normal "Hero" paradigm. And even using the methods of SA's first like I outlined above would be better -
     I noticed that a lot of players will create a death machine character and just try to find him some SA's so he could be even more of a death machine. Instead they should be creating the motivations of a man, and then give him the appropriate skills to survive.

 (Trying to get your PC's to not play clean cut heroes all the time might help)

  It's hard to come up with good SA's - because the natural tendency is to choose that which is most likely to help oneself in combat (I know I have trouble with this) - but you might be suprised that when you give yourself "non-combat" SA's and play your PC properly how often they do come into effect.

Oh, remember, you are ALMIGHTY GOD. If you think the SA's are too carbon copy, don't allow them! Tell your Players to think harder!
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I care not.
Spartan
Member

Posts: 192


WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2003, 11:13:58 AM »

Quote from: Mokkurkalfe
There will still be some difference since metal is *very* scarce. Just enough for spearpoints, some tools and such.


Tekumel, anyone? :D

-Mark
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Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2003, 12:41:40 PM »

Quote from: Jaeger
It seems to me that your PC are using SA's to give thier characters a power boost - not to define who thier characters really are.

   One method I have used is to make the SA's for a character first before I assign a single priority - defining what my PC was all about and only then giving him the skills to match.

  I think that changing the setting will do bugger all when it comes to making your players pick more diverse SA's. "Incan?! OK, now wer're Incan Heros!" ...
   What you need to do is to get them to have different SA's. One way to do this is to not allow any two charactors to have any similar SA's ouside of consience - force some of them to think out of thier normal "Hero" paradigm. And even using the methods of SA's first like I outlined above would be better -
     I noticed that a lot of players will create a death machine character and just try to find him some SA's so he could be even more of a death machine. Instead they should be creating the motivations of a man, and then give him the appropriate skills to survive.

 (Trying to get your PC's to not play clean cut heroes all the time might help)

  It's hard to come up with good SA's - because the natural tendency is to choose that which is most likely to help oneself in combat (I know I have trouble with this) - but you might be suprised that when you give yourself "non-combat" SA's and play your PC properly how often they do come into effect.

Oh, remember, you are ALMIGHTY GOD. If you think the SA's are too carbon copy, don't allow them! Tell your Players to think harder!


Ooh, they are not clean cut heroes, even if the SA might make them look like that.
SA's first is a good idea. I'll try that. Though I usually allow several characters (though not everyone) to have the same SA. It gives them a good reason to stay to gather. And I don't mind them sharing SA's, if they would only share an *original* SA for once.
Still, if I forced them to pick different SA's, or maybe even if they had to pick SA's first, then they'd be lost. I think it's a genuine case of lack of inspiration.
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Ashren Va'Hale
Member

Posts: 427


« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2003, 03:26:08 PM »

there is a series of questions that I usually ask players when they are making characters, first I have them give me a basic concept, then I ask them to tell me why the character would be a con man or a pirate or knight. No one does something like pick a career path without a reason- maybe a trauma, or a quest for revenge or because it was a mission from god. Usually the reason will suggest one SA that can be unique.
Next I ask why they would be in the setting I am running the game in. if the guy picked a stahlnish knight when my campaign is in gelure then he needs a reason to be there, thats a second SA.
Then I ask them what would make your character happy and what would upset him or her?
Then I ask why they are with the other guys and gals in the party.
Finally I tell them that to pick a final SA on their own but I would define any destiny picks myself unless they can give me a reason for it to be something else or give me a better destiny than the one I have.
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Philosophy: Take whatever is not nailed down, for the rest, well thats what movement is for!
toli
Member

Posts: 313


« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2003, 03:39:47 PM »

Quote from: Jaeger
It seems to me that your PC are using SA's to give thier characters a power boost - not to define who thier characters really are.

 


One suggestion RE power boosting.  You could point out that it doesn't really matter how powerful a PC is to begin with.  A good sen/dm/gm etc should adjust the difficulty of the adventure to suit the PC capabilities more or less.  Remind them that if they make super-powered-combat combat PCs they will get super-powered-combat NPCs to match...or perhaps the NPCs will be sneaky gits (no offence) who outwit them and avoid combat at all costs.   Thus they don't really gain anything by making the ultimate combat knight.  Instead they can make interesting PCs with complex motivations and abilities.  You can provide the NPCs to provide the appropriate challenge.

NT
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NT
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2003, 04:48:23 PM »

Quote from: Spartan

Tekumel, anyone? :D

-Mark


Oh here we go with Tekumel...
;)
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
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