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Cilvyn
2009-02-16, 08:21 PM
Hey ppl,

I have a group IRL wich I would like to encourace to roleplay their actions more than they do now. They simply do what they say they do, but there is totaly no interaction or whatsoever about what they are doing.

an example:
The blind ranger walks in front of the group in a tunnel. They encounter a trap, and the rogue simply put his character in front of the ranger and begins to pick the lock. How can I make him communicate with the rest what he wants to do?
What i would like to hear him say: I shout to the front <ranger name> what is going on over there? bla bla.. I walk past the rest and take out my thievery tools and begin to try to disable the lock.

What can I do as DM to encourige this kind of roleplaying? Need i to discribe the enviroment? Let NPC's do this kind of roleplaying as it was a sort of example?

I would like to have some tips or arguments what I should do!

Thanx alot!

Cil

Kiero
2009-02-17, 06:05 AM
Have you talked to the players about this? By which I mean outside of the session, sat them down together, and explained that it's a concern for you?

arguskos
2009-02-17, 06:08 AM
Have you talked to the players about this? By which I mean outside of the session, sat them down together, and explained that it's a concern for you?
Meh. I know in my group that such an approach does basically nothing (I have a similar issue).

OP: Try what Kiero suggests, but keep in mind that they merely may not be interested. Some folks just don't care. It happens. Enjoy the game in a more "beer and pretzels" sorta way (read: about killing dudes and taking their loot).

Kiero
2009-02-17, 06:26 AM
Meh. I know in my group that such an approach does basically nothing (I have a similar issue).

OP: Try what Kiero suggests, but keep in mind that they merely may not be interested. Some folks just don't care. It happens. Enjoy the game in a more "beer and pretzels" sorta way (read: about killing dudes and taking their loot).

But my simple point is this: unless you've raised it with them, you don't know what the reason for it's absense is. Nor have you started the dialogue that might allow you to remedy it if they're not opposed to doing so.

arguskos
2009-02-17, 07:09 AM
But my simple point is this: unless you've raised it with them, you don't know what the reason for it's absense is. Nor have you started the dialogue that might allow you to remedy it if they're not opposed to doing so.
I mean, yes, do TRY the conversation, but, know going in that if they respond negatively (as in, they aren't interested), it's probably just because they don't play the game for RP reasons, more just to kill monsters with pals. It never hurts to keep all reasons in mind. :smallwink:

To be fair, I've been talking it over more with my group, and I might have gotten some results. Herman (a stuffed bunny I've got) is now the Out-Of-Character Bunny. If you want to talk OOC (and that isn't strictly mechanical in nature), you need Herman. It's that easy. If you don't have Herman, your character said it. Been working alright so far (not amazingly though, still working out the kinks).

Totally Guy
2009-02-17, 07:18 AM
Make an "out of character fan" out of a piece of paper. It's just a small sign that your players can use for out of character talk. Make it funny when people forget to use it and npc's think they're crazy.

On the other side of the fan/sign/paddle have the word "action". This is for when they describe their actions.

Get each player to make one or hand them out at the start of the session.

Kiero
2009-02-17, 07:29 AM
I mean, yes, do TRY the conversation, but, know going in that if they respond negatively (as in, they aren't interested), it's probably just because they don't play the game for RP reasons, more just to kill monsters with pals. It never hurts to keep all reasons in mind. :smallwink:

By all means, but until you've asked the question, you don't know what the reason is. There could be any number of reasons, including that they weren't even aware there was an alternative.


To be fair, I've been talking it over more with my group, and I might have gotten some results. Herman (a stuffed bunny I've got) is now the Out-Of-Character Bunny. If you want to talk OOC (and that isn't strictly mechanical in nature), you need Herman. It's that easy. If you don't have Herman, your character said it. Been working alright so far (not amazingly though, still working out the kinks).

Not every group is concerned with a strict delineation between what's in character and what's out of character. My WFRP group certainly doesn't concern itself with that sort of thing. We stay largely IC, but the odd bit of OOC chatter doesn't worry anyone enough to say it's not what the characters are saying.

arguskos
2009-02-17, 07:35 AM
By all means, but until you've asked the question, you don't know what the reason is. There could be any number of reasons, including that they weren't even aware there was an alternative.
Fair enough. I've had this conversation with my group a few times, so I know about mine.


Not every group is concerned with a strict delineation between what's in character and what's out of character. My WFRP group certainly doesn't concern itself with that sort of thing. We stay largely IC, but the odd bit of OOC chatter doesn't worry anyone enough to say it's not what the characters are saying.
True, but sometimes it can be an issue. For example, I really like people to actually, you know, roleplaying, and not just hack-n-slash. However... my D&D group is amazingly anti-roleplaying, to the point that I had to inform them that I was getting worn out by the lack of any character development, and that it was hurting my enjoyment of the game. As the only DM the group has (no one else is willing to try), they agreed to give it another shot for me, something I am eternally grateful for.


Anyways, back on topic, OP: yeah, try talking to them. From there, you should have a pretty clear idea about what's going on. It's fairly easy really. :smallwink:

Kiero
2009-02-17, 07:40 AM
Anyways, back on topic, OP: yeah, try talking to them. From there, you should have a pretty clear idea about what's going on. It's fairly easy really. :smallwink:

And yet, just like communication in other areas of life, it's not as easy to do as it might seem. For some reason people are always looking for subtle and complicated ways of achieving their goals through the medium of game, rather than just talking to the people they game with. :smallwink:

Atelm
2009-02-17, 07:41 AM
Luckily, I've never had this problem yet. And to make sure it doesn't come to pass either, I usually give small amounts of roleplaying xp to my players and make sure the NPCs appreciate being treated like people too instead of loot/xp machines (as in, if the payers start ignoring them, not interacting with them, etc. There would be consequences.). :smallwink:

arguskos
2009-02-17, 07:42 AM
And yet, just like communication in other areas of life, it's not as easy to do as it might seem. For some reason people are always looking for subtle and complicated ways of achieving their goals through the medium of game, rather than just talking to the people they game with. :smallwink:
*sigh* I hear that Kiero, oh boy do I hear that. Honestly, it's thoughts like that which remind me why I studied Psychology at school. :smallbiggrin:

elliott20
2009-02-17, 07:47 AM
another thing you need to think about is whether or not they are not roleplaying because they simply don't know how, or don't have enough to play on. (both environmentally and internally)

After all, most d&d characters tend to be nothing more than a collection of numbers on a piece of paper. Heck, when people describe their D&D character, 99% of the time it's just a race/class/alignment combo. (I'll call it RCA for now)

What about the character concept itself? If I were to ask you to describe one of the OOTS casts, you COULD conceivably describe them with an RCA combo. But you and I both know that's a paper thin way of describing them. I mean, you wouldn't describe hamlet as just "male caucasian nobility", would you?

Really, how can you role play a character when there is essentially no real character to role play?

AslanCross
2009-02-17, 07:57 AM
It's really difficult to encourage or force players to RP if they really don't want to. The paladin in my now-defunct FR game RPed rather well when he prepared for the session (ie, events that he could predict were going on), but when he was actually confronted with a situation he didn't expect (interrogating a sudden prisoner), he suddenly goes blank. (His character had 20 CHA too)

Even if people try, sometimes they really can't "RP well" (this is of course subject to the DM's opinion). Example: I'm playing two characters in our current Eberron game: a female human artificer with 18 CHA and a male-personality Warforged warblade with 9 CHA. Switching back and forth is rather difficult, but I think my party members can tell which character I'm speaking as. On the other hand, I can barely tell if they're speaking in-character or OOC. @[email protected] Even then, everyone at least tries. This isn't always true for every group, though.

elliott20
2009-02-17, 08:02 AM
It's really difficult to encourage or force players to RP if they really don't want to. The paladin in my now-defunct FR game RPed rather well when he prepared for the session (ie, events that he could predict were going on), but when he was actually confronted with a situation he didn't expect (interrogating a sudden prisoner), he suddenly goes blank. (His character had 20 CHA too)

Even if people try, sometimes they really can't "RP well" (this is of course subject to the DM's opinion). Example: I'm playing two characters in our current Eberron game: a female human artificer with 18 CHA and a male-personality Warforged warblade with 9 CHA. Switching back and forth is rather difficult, but I think my party members can tell which character I'm speaking as. On the other hand, I can barely tell if they're speaking in-character or OOC. @[email protected] Even then, everyone at least tries. This isn't always true for every group, though.
No offense AslanCross, but if unexpected situations is enough to give his paladin a personality transplant then the player in your example just doesn't know his paladin well enough.

Winterwind
2009-02-17, 08:23 AM
I would propose sending them more frequently into situations where roleplaying is all they can do. Have NPCs come up and talk to them. Have them be sent on missions where they are meant to infiltrate some organization, act as spies or just stay for a while at the castle of duke Von Fantasyname because his daughter claims something weird is going on there, without getting specific enough for them to have information they can work with on basis of that alone. Essentially, put in more social encounters. And do not accept "I question him about XXX" or "What can he tell me about...". Refuse anything but direct speech for anything but the most trivial matters ("I ask the servant for more wine" is fine, "What does the servant tell me about the duchess' weird nocturnal habits" is not).
If they are used to more roleplaying in situations such as these, sooner or later it will become a habit and spread into other, more combat- and challenge-focused situations as well.

valadil
2009-02-17, 10:18 AM
Lead by example. Put them in situations where roleplaying is the way out.

Vorpal Soda
2009-02-17, 10:30 AM
To be fair, I've been talking it over more with my group, and I might have gotten some results. Herman (a stuffed bunny I've got) is now the Out-Of-Character Bunny. If you want to talk OOC (and that isn't strictly mechanical in nature), you need Herman. It's that easy. If you don't have Herman, your character said it. Been working alright so far (not amazingly though, still working out the kinks).

So, what happens if someone doesn't want to speak out of character, but wants to cuddle with Herman anyway?



another thing you need to think about is whether or not they are not roleplaying because they simply don't know how, or don't have enough to play on. (both environmentally and internally)

After all, most d&d characters tend to be nothing more than a collection of numbers on a piece of paper. Heck, when people describe their D&D character, 99% of the time it's just a race/class/alignment combo. (I'll call it RCA for now)

What about the character concept itself? If I were to ask you to describe one of the OOTS casts, you COULD conceivably describe them with an RCA combo. But you and I both know that's a paper thin way of describing them. I mean, you wouldn't describe hamlet as just "male caucasian nobility", would you?

Really, how can you role play a character when there is essentially no real character to role play?

Depends on the player really, my only experience in non-LARP RPGs involves character sheets that are yes, basically just a few stats, but the characters have since developed personalities and ambitions through gaining a feel for the character in play.

This won't always work however (And clearly isn't working for the OP), and giving some suggestions for characterization may be useful, but obviously, allow their own ideas for the character to take priority. Perhaps give them a list of various groups and issues in the setting, and ask them to answer from their character's point of view.

elliott20
2009-02-17, 11:28 AM
Depends on the player really, my only experience in non-LARP RPGs involves character sheets that are yes, basically just a few stats, but the characters have since developed personalities and ambitions through gaining a feel for the character in play.

This won't always work however (And clearly isn't working for the OP), and giving some suggestions for characterization may be useful, but obviously, allow their own ideas for the character to take priority. Perhaps give them a list of various groups and issues in the setting, and ask them to answer from their character's point of view.

I'm not really suggesting that the players pile MORE information onto their character sheet per se. A D&D character sheet has enough junk on it as is. What I was getting at is that if you want a character to come alive, the characters themselves need to have some kind of guiding principle behind it that goes beyond just alignment. Call it your character concept from a literary stand point. That is essentially what you're shooting for and THEN add layers on top. That is, your character needs to be able to endure some level of literary analysis if it's to be interesting.

It's funny you suggested characterization help because that's what I wrote previously prior to the board eating up my post.

The way I try to do characterization help comes in several methods:

method one: beliefs and instincts

taken from Burning Wheel, you basically ask your players to write down 3-5 core beliefs that the character has. These beliefs work best if they lead to some course of action or some agenda on their part. i.e. "My family's honor is the most important thing in the world, and so I will kill so and so to avenge my families honor". Basically, you write down what motivates your character.

Then you write down 3-5 instincts. Or rather, gut reactions to certain situation. i.e. "when in doubt, shoot first, and ask questions later". this nature shows the idiosyncrasies that each character has when in certain situations. While it might not be advantageous to role play in this fashion, (i.e. shooting first and asking questions later could cause you either anger or kill an important NPC) it does show very clear characterization.

method two: aspects, the SOTC way

take your character's background, and break down into say 3 phases in their life. Each phase is usually characterized by either some major event, some trait acquired, some other person, some organization, SOMETHING. ANYTHING, really. Take two of the most important ones from each phase, and write up a list. Works best if you already have major events happen in the history your campaign. i.e. say there was a great famine prior the beginning of the campaign, that could mark one of the phases. What was your character doing during the great famine? Just like the belief system above, these aspects are basically drivers for role playing.

But how do you use these things? Well, first take all of the aspects and beliefs and instincts (basically, characterization written by the players) and compile it onto a single sheet for your own references.

Any time a player role plays to a particular aspect/belief/instinct on the sheet, make a check mark next to it. (or if they just do something really cool, put a tick next to their name) At the end of the session, hand out rewards based on that performance. (basically, role playing bonus codified)

Of course, if your player manages to RESOLVE a particular aspect/belief/instinct (say the guy above finally manages to avenge his family's honor), you give an even bigger bonus for it. (Or maybe even hand out quest XP)

But it doesn't end there. You have a sheet in your hand of what your PCs care about. USE IT TO WRITE ADVENTURES! If your player wrote down that he was part of a cult in the past, guess whose gonna come knocking down his door because they believe he leaked an important cult secret? If your player has a nemesis who destroyed his family, guess who is going to be getting in his way on the next quest? In essence, you give your players a little bit of control over the setting a here since what they could write could change how the setting operates in some areas. But trust me when I say it's totally worth it because when players feel they have a hand in creating the world around them, they become more vested into it.

Narmoth
2009-02-17, 11:46 AM
Give them more talking encounters.
And no, you don't get them to talk by making the people they're supposed to talk to more powerful than the group. Just make a quest where they beforehand know that they'll need the cooperation of a NPC, and can't charm or torture him to do what they need of him
Also, have everyone say what their character is saying, rather than say something like "my character asks for directions/price/the unconditional surrender of the enemy"

Comet
2009-02-17, 12:21 PM
Social encounters are a good way to go. You can also slow down the pace of the game from time to time to give the players time to RP. I don't think dungeons, trap-ridden corridors and such are very good places for roleplaying.

I think it's also worth noting that "Hard-core" roleplaying is, basically, impro acting. This may or may not feel comfortable for your players. If it does, cool. But if it doesn't, its not the end of the world.

In our group(s), we dont really do much acting. I like to think of our games more in terms of storytelling than roleplaying. We aim to create fun stories, we play our characters as well as we can but we don't feel the need to launch into fifteen-minute drama monologues everytime someone dies.

So if your group doesnt feel like actually acting out their characters, I think it's perfectly OK to just have them play them. "I ask the soldier where the nearest tavern is" is as much roleplaying as "good sir, could you show us the way to ye olden tavern. Over yonder? Thank you and God Save the Gueen!"

The important part is to find a playstyle that is fun for you and your players. Some RP is of course required but you don't have to overdo it if it doesn't feel right.

Fiery Diamond
2009-02-17, 04:57 PM
3 stars for the social encounter suggestions. Yes, this will help enormously. Also, definitely talk to your players about it to make sure they understand that it's an issue. Also, I use the extra XP method: I grant extra XP every session for roleplaying; the amount varies bases on how much they roleplay, how interesting it was, how useful it turned out to be, how funny it was, how appropriate it was, and so on.

Combining the XP method, talking to players, and social encounters certainly helped me with my players, so those are what I recommend.

Also, about the bunny - I'd wanna cuddle the bunny while talking in character too!

arguskos
2009-02-17, 05:30 PM
So, what happens if someone doesn't want to speak out of character, but wants to cuddle with Herman anyway?
Well, they have to pry him from my hands (I like cuddling with him too). :smallwink:

Who_Da_Halfling
2009-02-17, 05:38 PM
I mean, yes, do TRY the conversation, but, know going in that if they respond negatively (as in, they aren't interested), it's probably just because they don't play the game for RP reasons, more just to kill monsters with pals. It never hurts to keep all reasons in mind. :smallwink:

To be fair, I've been talking it over more with my group, and I might have gotten some results. Herman (a stuffed bunny I've got) is now the Out-Of-Character Bunny. If you want to talk OOC (and that isn't strictly mechanical in nature), you need Herman. It's that easy. If you don't have Herman, your character said it. Been working alright so far (not amazingly though, still working out the kinks).

Seems to me like it might be easier (unless you've already started it the other way) to have Herman represent In-Character speech. Otherwise your NPCs will hear an awful lot of "Hey, Mike, hand me the bunny."

I've found my particular group is ok with simpler role-playing. When they're dealing with important NPCs, they often say what their characters are saying, but at a lot of other times, they just say "I'm doing this." They're cool with it, so I'm cool with it.

-JM

elliott20
2009-02-19, 01:29 AM
that is one thing you need to consider. After all, not all of us are proficient in "medieval speech patterns" and "Faux accents". While they can help immensely when you do it convincingly, it just looks PAINFUL when it's someone who doesn't know how to do this right completely butchers it. In those cases, you should just let them by with "I ask the guard about escaped prisoner, but lay on the notion that I blame him for letting the prisoner escape in the first place."

The key to effective social encounter roleplaying, I believe, is about effective expression, whether it's a complete soliloquy that you wrote up for your character's moment of clarity, or a simple declaration of action and intent.

Xuincherguixe
2009-02-19, 02:06 AM
I've found that when you create situations that are designed to involve the players, good roleplaying naturally follows. This generally only works when the players have actually bothered to think of a background. Shadowrun had a good system for that.

You could also start bringing in consequences for their actions. Ideally, they're all jaded misanthropes, so that after their emotionless killing sprees they don't particularly care when the Kobold children show up crying asking why they killed Mommy and Daddy, or walk through town one day and find that everyone is hideously poor thanks to the inflation that all the gold they just dumped into the town brought.

Or, you could try and force some decision making upon them. Come up with a few plot hooks, and let the players decide what they want to do. And fewer of them will go wasted if you design them to scale. The zombies that have been going after the graveyard could get some extra hit dice, or the pirates having been left alone while the PCs went and rescued some artistic prince who's name is an unpronounceable symbol, so that he could be sold into slavery had been able to get more riches. And thus have hired some goons to help them out.

Creating absolutely ridiculous scenarios like the above may not be a bad idea either actually, the less sane, the more it screams for involvement.

Alternatively, you could make various characters exceptionally antagonistic towards them. Better yet, the people that commission them for work are rude, horrible people that the PCs would want to snap the necks of, and all the monsters are civil and polite. If they get sick of it, they could always switch sides.

elliott20
2009-02-19, 02:31 AM
that strikes me as a very specific kind of campaign though. I think the first half of that should really be sufficient. Just make sure that the players have a stake in all of this somehow. (Again, that goes back to good background planning and good characterization.)

One thing I noticed about a lot of PCs is that they won't care if your BBEG just slaughtered and murdered and entire metropolis of people but they will carry a personal grudge for ever if you do something personal to them like, I don't know, grapple them in combat using your larger size and horse-like physiques to keep them pinned.

It's weird like that sometimes, but it does work to get the players involved inthe game.

Xuincherguixe
2009-02-19, 02:41 AM
That's because the millions of people totally deserved it. Always. Even when they don't.
Especially when they don't deserve it.

elliott20
2009-02-19, 02:54 AM
I never thought of it that way. You make a very persuasive point, good sir!

*goes on a killing spree killing everyone who totally deserves it*

ShadowFighter15
2009-02-19, 06:16 AM
I would propose sending them more frequently into situations where roleplaying is all they can do. Have NPCs come up and talk to them. Have them be sent on missions where they are meant to infiltrate some organization, act as spies or just stay for a while at the castle of duke Von Fantasyname because his daughter claims something weird is going on there, without getting specific enough for them to have information they can work with on basis of that alone. Essentially, put in more social encounters. And do not accept "I question him about XXX" or "What can he tell me about...". Refuse anything but direct speech for anything but the most trivial matters ("I ask the servant for more wine" is fine, "What does the servant tell me about the duchess' weird nocturnal habits" is not).
If they are used to more roleplaying in situations such as these, sooner or later it will become a habit and spread into other, more combat- and challenge-focused situations as well.

This sounds like the best way to go about it. Besides; if most of the stuff your group's been doing has been normal dungeon-crawling, it'll make a nice change for them. Got the same feeling at one point in Oblivion (I know it's a PC game, but the thoughts and such behind it are comparable) when I did that quest for Chorral's Countess to find the missing painting. It felt like a nice change from having people send me out into the arse-end of nowhere to go into an old cave or something and enjoyed going over the evidence thinking through just who in the castle could've stolen it.

Kiero
2009-02-19, 06:24 AM
3 stars for the social encounter suggestions. Yes, this will help enormously.

Not if you don't know the reason for them "avoiding" roleplaying it won't.

If they don't do it because they're not interested, you'll just have some frustrated players with an equally frustrated GM.

Look, people, you don't fix what is potentially a player-related problem by blindly applying game-world solutions.