View Full Version : How much do you roleplay?

2008-04-09, 11:56 AM
As the title says, how much does your group roleplay, and to what extent? PLEASE NOTE: I'm not trying to start a debate on roleplay vs. rollplay. I have a mix of both kinds of player in my group, and I like both aspects of the game. All I'm trying to do is get a feel for what the balance is in a typical group.

My group has a truly diverse mix: one or two of my players come up with fairly detailed backstories, to the extent of detailing family members, their former profession, and so on, and stick to their story in combat. They also tend to have a personality that can be seen in their character's actions. One is a heavy rollplayer and optimizer, and his characters tend to have just enough backstory to make them easy to introduce. The other three enjoy the plot and action of the game, but don't really roleplay much. None of us really talk in character regularly, and there's a lot of table talk and metagaming, which I'm trying to crack down on.

What's it like for the rest of you?

2008-04-09, 12:15 PM
I try to roleplay as much as possible, but I usually DM, which means I have to deal with players who either a) are totally new to the game and are so busy working out how combat works they don't have time to roleplay or b) treat D&D like a video game. Gah!

On the plus side, I think said new player will begin to roleplay as they get more experience.

When I'm playing I have the same problem. My party-mates will often roleplay when they have to, and no more.

2008-04-09, 12:15 PM
In my group, backstory and optimization tend to go hand-in-hand. The guy who makes the most elaborate backstories is also the guy who does the most number-crunching, and the trend holds fairly steady throughout. Instead of "roleplay vs. rollplay", my group seems to run on more of an involvement vs. detachment axis (if that makes sense). Usually, the character that has had the most work done in one sense is the character with the most work done in the other. I tend to eschew much backstory myself as it's pretty much the least interesting part of the whole experience for me, but it seems to work for other people as a part of roleplaying.

2008-04-09, 12:17 PM
When I play in statted games, my characters are all really roleplay heavy, but I sometimes have trouble converting that to combat actions - I get too attached to my characters to let them take less than optimal actions in dangerous situations in case they get killed.

Our group has more or less given up on roleplay with statistics, though, and we play almost entirely without character sheets or numbers of any sort, so roleplay all the way! Even the people who were previously mega-munchkins have actually learned to play characters with personalities, which is awesome.

2008-04-09, 12:57 PM
I require that my players write backgrounds but I'm not so strict on it. Likewise, I make sure they don't act greviously out of said character description (Ie. reminded a monk that burglary was non-lawful, no matter how much it might lead to "self improvement"). There are many players who really get into the roleplaying though, having very comprehensive character backgrounds and very complex character decisions. Costumes = not allowed.

2008-04-09, 01:10 PM
Depends on the group and on my character. Some characters just don't click for me and I can't tell that that's the case until I've met the character. I'm a shy person and I've had stage fright in the past so a new or large group will sometimes scare the roleplayer out of me.

With the right character and the right group though I'll roleplay constantly. I like doing journal entries between sessions. My best character ever did three journal entries a week under different identities (party identity, spy network identity, and his actual self). That was probably a little excessive, but bards are supposed to be over the top.

As far as roleplay vs rollplay goes, I don't take useless crunch just because it fits the character. My character wants to be effective. Skill Focus: Tumbling does not help him be effective, even if he is a master tumbler. There are a ton of other feats out there that fit the character too. I'll take one of those that is more effective.

Miles Invictus
2008-04-09, 02:24 PM
I very rarely roleplay; most of my characters don't actually interest me beyond the mechanical benefits they provide. Those that do genuinely interest me usually aren't viable for one reason or another, and I like being useful too much to play a gimped concept. And I find it hard to do characterization and backstory.

2008-04-09, 02:28 PM
My group all roleplaying very heavily and put an awful lot of effort into it. But that's because we tend to play systems that either rewards it or because the system itself is lean enough that we can spend more time focusing on it. (yes, certain systems are better suited than others for roleplaying.)

warning, spoiler contains a bit of a rant.

To me, roleplaying really comes down to two kinds: drama and color. Color roleplaying is basically stuff that you do that doesn't really impact the plot or your character in any meaningful way, like a minor habits such as "my character pulls out a cigarette and lights it" in between fights. Those kind of things do not push the story forward and really are not all that important. Unfortunately, a large portion of D&D roleplaying, due to the fact that the GM has to provide most of the story framework, tends to be this kind by necessity.

Drama roleplaying, on the other hand, is where your decisions and actions serve to push the game forward and has meaningful impact upon your character as well as speak to their motivations, etc. However, this kind of roleplaying requires the GM is flexible enough in his plotline. After all, if your actions as a player has no effect what so ever on how the plot unfolds, then none of your actions will ever really matter.

I make that distinction mostly because I used to see what people constitute as roleplaying to be... well... quite frankly, just plain annoying habits. i.e. one guy I knew played a character with a habit of fiddling with his flute when in non-combat situations. Fair enough. But then he started doing this at EVERY situation that was non-combat related, all the time. It got really annoying fast. but on the flip side, his character almost always never seems to have any personality or desires, or goals beyond "kill things, get rich, buy stuff, repeat". What was initially an interesting little personal quirk became the entirety of his character out of combat. When that happens, these characters just seem empty with a shallow facade. I can say the same for the myriad of people who play knightly characters who are anything but chivalrous but considers themselves good roleplayers because they speak "in-character" a lot, even though their actions and decisions often betray them.

2008-04-09, 02:59 PM
Depends on how much opportunity the GM (and to a lesser extent the rest of the group) affords me.

2008-04-09, 03:07 PM
So much that one of the novices in our group said "Next time let's not play dungeons and drama."

Yeesh. I'm sorry if I find character development fun.

2008-04-09, 03:11 PM
that really depends upon what you consider character development and what kind of game this novice wants to play. I've definitely played in peanuts-n-beer games where all we wanted to do was kick down doors and beat up some orcs. And in those instances, roleplaying is not necessary. On the other hand, I've also played in games where one of the players showed up with a cigar in his mouth every game because his character smokes even though the player himself doesn't. (it's kind of funny watching him work the cigar into his character dialogues)

2008-04-09, 03:14 PM
I Roleplay As much as possible. My group...not so much.

"Thou shalt stay in character, Less ye character sheets be Trashed!"

Back-stories are unheard of in My group.

2008-04-09, 03:14 PM
He's not a novice per se, I probably should have worded it different.

He's entirely closed minded. Everyone else at the table roleplays fine - He's the type that always plays an elven ranger and just lets things go without trying to bring attention to himself.

The interesting thing is that is character is pretty central to the story <_>

2008-04-09, 04:19 PM
In my game I encourage a healthy mix of RP and number-crunching. For the most part, the number-crunching is nonexistant; all of my players are 3.5 novices, so the basic rule structures are still fairly new. Maybe not this campaign, but two or three from now they'll probably be min-maxing fools. role-playing is still fairly rocky; the game's only recently under-way, and my players are still getting used to their characters. It also doesn't help that one of my player's wife is annoyed by the very existence of the game and makes fun of us when she's present and we're playing. It's hard to get into character with snippy comments from the peanut gallery >:( Fortunately, she's refrained from being around most of the time.

Most of my players are in the "my character says/does this" mode, which is fine. They know that they can't say "my character convinces the ogre to help us," so they're doing exactly as much role-playing as they need to for the game to work.

2008-04-09, 04:58 PM
In my regular group of 3-4 players + DM, I am by far the biggest optimizer, but I also write backstories for my characters (which none of the others commonly do) and try to stay in character whenever possible. Although, I might do some things that the character wouldn't necessarily do if not doing it would hinder the progress of the game or the plot, such as taking a plot hook.

The other players are a bit diverse. We have one who cares first and foremost for the roleplaying, he weighs every decision he makes against what the character would do in the situation and commonly takes sub-optimal choices (actions as well as feats, spells etc.) because of this. He sometimes writes short backstories, but not always. This guy sometimes ends up being a burden to the party in combat situations... Like that campaign where he ran and hid from nearly every single combat until.. level 10-12 I think.

Another player is a would-be optimizer who just doesn't get the rules well enough to make truly powerful characters, but has potential in the area. He has trouble coming up with backstories or descriptions of his character of any sort, but once he starts playing he soon develops a personality that he can stick reasonably well to in most cases.

The third player is my GF, who only recently got into the hobby and I think she only plays with us for social reasons, not because she enjoys the game particularly. So far her characters have been based on TV/movie characters, which we don't mind while she's getting used to roleplaying - better that than not roleplaying at all like some newbies do.

Then there's the DM, who I don't think will ever bother to actually learn the rules. *sigh* He makes fantastic plots and stories as well as deep and detailed NPCs though, and will approve anything mechanical by default, as long as the other players are OK with it. But to expect him to come up with statblocks for those NPCs, or direct tactical combat... Too much.

2008-04-09, 06:24 PM
I try to roleplay as much as possible, but I usually DM, which means I have to deal with players who either a) are totally new to the game and are so busy working out how combat works they don't have time to roleplay or b) treat D&D like a video game. Gah!

My experience is the same. I'm a relatively new DM as well, it's only been under a year. Thankfully my players are somewhat more experienced now, just that they are either unprepared or are experiencing bouts of depression (my players are my students, so um, teenage angst) that affect their play.

I had a lot of trouble with the paladin in the past due to his "..." dialogue (Despite his 18 CHA), but now he's been stepping up and looking for opportunities to bring out his character's personality.

I have to admit it's also partly my fault. I think too much about combat, which doesn't help the "D&D is like a video game" mentality. Thankfully, the players actually enjoy combat. Just that a lot of times we just end up rolling dice instead of roleplaying.

2008-04-09, 06:29 PM
I roleplay as much as I can, really. My group works mostly online, so I can get away with more than might otherwise be possible, and look back at logs for internal consistency. (One side effect of this is that I apparently write a character detailed enough that one of my friends could make a psych profile of her and get his professor to accept it, world-detail and all.) Face to face I find it a lot harder, though; feels a bit more like I'm taking up time rather than finding ways to fill the empty spaces, and I don't have quite the reactions for it.

2008-04-09, 06:45 PM
A lot! I can't/don't really produce Raskolnikov-deep characterization (which in my mind would require great talent and effort that I am still developing) but I always always always do my best to produce an actual personality with motivations, desires and past.
While I might sometimes be satisfied with only a little of that characterization too, depending my mood, playing a character as just a pile of stats without personality was never satisfying to me and I don't think it ever will be. Same goes for beyond D&D, even games that have no actual story to them like Unreal Tournament or only mildly like Heroes of Might and Magic.

Miles Invictus
2008-04-09, 08:03 PM
To me, roleplaying really comes down to two kinds: drama and color. Color roleplaying is basically stuff that you do that doesn't really impact the plot or your character in any meaningful way, like a minor habits such as "my character pulls out a cigarette and lights it" in between fights. Those kind of things do not push the story forward and really are not all that important. Unfortunately, a large portion of D&D roleplaying, due to the fact that the GM has to provide most of the story framework, tends to be this kind by necessity.

That's an enlightening way to define roleplaying. I suspect that homebrewed campaigns have room for more dramatic roleplaying, since the rails aren't as clearly defined.

blah blah blah considers themselves good roleplayers because they speak "in-character" a lot blah blah blah

Rantage about in-character speaking:

Can I confess my burning hatred for "formal olde-speake" as a form of roleplaying? Look, people, it's possible to effectively roleplay your character by speaking and acting differently...but it has to be done well. Intentionally muddling your language because of some misguided notion that "confusing = authentic" is a horrible, horrible idea.

Take the simple statement "Have you seen this child?" Direct and to the point. Sounds a bit modern (and by modern I mean "easy to understand"), so you might want to dress it up a bit with a "hark" or a "forsooth". All well and good, because you're still communicating reasonably well. However, occasionally you get people who routinely say things like "Might I inquire as to whether you have happened upon this lost youngling, whom we are searching for?"

This is not good roleplaying. It is bad roleplaying -- hell, it's anti roleplaying, because it does such an incredible job of smashing any sense of authenticity or verisimilitude. Seriously, stop doing it.

2008-04-09, 08:17 PM

like when you get together with your buds and play on an actual table... like once every two weeks with one group. (And we have just finished our first adventure together, currently making a new one with more people!!)
And with my other group I play like once a month if I'm lucky, but we play for 3 straight days YAY. Which is awesome except for when we have been playing for 5 or 6 hours and the DM doesn't want to give us xp... It's kind of frustrating to see my druid run out of spells. But it's really fun

Aside for that I play by post as soon as new replies are set on the threads.

Love for d20, hardcore:smallbiggrin:

2008-04-09, 08:45 PM
My group used to roleplay more than we do now, and we roleplay a lot. A couple of people in our group have (if I can use such a pretentious turn of phrase) transcended roleplaying - instead of asking themselves "What choice would my character make?" they ask themselves "What choice will bring truckloads of awesome to the game, and how should I adjust my character to make that choice in-character?"

Arguably, that's not roleplaying - it's adjusting the role to maximize the fun of the game for everyone around the table.

There are some days that I as GM hardly have to do anything. I just present the situation and off they go.

I love my players. :smallbiggrin:

2008-04-09, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the answers. Now I've got another question: What is a good level of roleplaying to expect from a group that hasn't done much before? I'm thinking about doing two campaigns next semester, with one group being more hack and slash, and the other being more roleplay. Thing is, I haven't got much experience in roleplay-heavy groups, so I don't know what sort of expectations to impose in order to encourage character development. I'll probably start off by banning table talk, but where do I go from there?

Fiery Diamond
2008-04-09, 09:33 PM
To answer the initial post:

I DM, and my group roleplays a lot. By a lot I mean that they speak in character during much of the interaction with NPCs and with each other (but by no means always), they have "color" roleplaying that a previous poster mentioned, and they solve noncombat problems through roleplaying, and occasionally solve combat problems through roleplaying. That gets interesting.

To answer the first question of your more recent post: Not much. Expect them to say things like "my character says '___'" (fill in the blank). Expect them to solve problems through mentalities different from their own -- a person playing a paladin being merciful, a rogue risking his safety for treasure, etc.

To answer your final question - banning table talk doesn't always increase roleplaying, sometimes it just irritates people, so be careful. My advice - give hefty (and i mean hefty) XP awards for good roleplaying, minor awards for roleplaying that wasn't very good. I mean, my characters just reached 8th level- I've been giving them XP in the 100-300 range per session just for roleplaying, and more if the session was primarily devoted to roleplaying.

-Fiery Diamond

2008-04-09, 09:41 PM
Actually, kieza, my group has a range, like yours. There're two of us who create detailed back-stories (or at least have strong ideas about them), and a couple that are really more casual about the roleplaying side and one guy who lands about in the middle. We have a laugh, and any given gaming session is heavily affected by the moods of the people in attendance (and who's GMing - one GM is more 'role' heavy, while the other is more 'roll'-oriented). Some sessions we get quite a lot done, with maybe a bit of investigating followed by a couple of battles. Other times, we'll laugh, joke, quote Monty Python and generally act like idiots, barely getting our characters down the street. Obviously it's a sliding scale, but when the sessions are closer to the latter, it is a little frustrating (especially since we only RP every two weeks), but that's life.

2008-04-09, 09:59 PM
I've DM'd with a group of friends for some time now, and found that even after years of experience playing, not everyone has the same idea of what constitutes good role-playing.
In-character dialogue at a tabletop game can be great if everyone enjoys it and is good enough that it doesn't slow the pace of the game significantly. Several of the people I play with, however, don't have that ability, don't enjoy that part of the game, but are great at making in-character choices.
Really, the dialogue can be a bonus, or it can detract from the game.
Same with table talk. If everyone is really into deep characterization, fine, but that should be a group consensus, not a DM decision. Not everyone likes their D&D the same way. [/trite and obvious comment]
Yay sunny side up!

Mushroom Ninja
2008-04-09, 10:27 PM
The group I'm a PC in is generally pretty hack-and-slash. That being said, there are still some pretty epic role-plays (such as the wooing of the castle maid by the hafling rogue with aid from the bard).

The group I GM for is a very mixed bag (there are 8 PCs). Some are very in-depth role-players others are less so.

As a PC, I've always liked roleplaying as it leads to much fun and a deeper game experience.

As DM, I find it a blessing and a curse. When your PCs roleplay a bunch, you get to use the personalities and backstories you made up for your NPCs to full effect. But, on the downside, some PCs have the tendency of causing conflict with their roleplaying escapades (for example, deciding that their character wouldn't want to go on the adventure or that their character feels morally obligated to be a jerk and try to force their morals on the other PCs).

Miles Invictus
2008-04-09, 10:27 PM
Thanks for the answers. Now I've got another question: What is a good level of roleplaying to expect from a group that hasn't done much before? I'm thinking about doing two campaigns next semester, with one group being more hack and slash, and the other being more roleplay. Thing is, I haven't got much experience in roleplay-heavy groups, so I don't know what sort of expectations to impose in order to encourage character development. I'll probably start off by banning table talk, but where do I go from there?

Fiery Diamond has some valuable advice.

I suggest that you make roleplaying important beyond experience points. An idea I've tossed around for a few months is a background sheet, required for each character. Players have to give a paragraph or two of personal history, outline a few strong personality traits, and compile a short list of important people in the character's life -- three friends and one rival, bare minimum, and the player must have a reason to avoid killing the rival without cause. Occasionally introduce elements of backstory into the campaign, and press your players into reacting. Granted, none of that makes your players roleplay...but the time they invest will make it more relevant to them, and encourage it.

You should also make sure your players have some knowledge of the campaign setting, as well as what sort of backstory is expected (i.e. no chosen ones or whatnot). That way, your players aren't making their characters in a vacuum.

I imagine you'll find it very difficult to ban table talk, by the way.

2008-04-09, 11:04 PM
I am just like somebody up there(rare bout of laziness, to lazy to check), I am the biggest roleplayer and the biggest rollplayer/number cruncher in both of my groups(one guy used to be the bigger roleplayer, but he got a life :smallfrown: ).

I think the attachment/detachment axis is a good point.

As for trying to increase player involvement/ban table talk, I think this is a bad idea.

Obviously, wanting more roleplaying is okay, but I, personally, absolutely hate being told that I'm "table talking." If I'm talking, it means I'm A) not asleep AND B) not playing Morrowind on my computer, both of which I have seen take place at a table.

I think you're better off rolling with your players' preferred level of involvement, or playing with different people. Don't try to force people into a mold you don't want. Loss of friends or other bad situations can(for me, have) result.

2008-04-09, 11:19 PM
instead of asking themselves "What choice would my character make?" they ask themselves "What choice will bring truckloads of awesome to the game, and how should I adjust my character to make that choice in-character?"

It's like min-maxing for roleplaying. You minimize dull and maximize cool. You just blew my mind.

Deth Muncher
2008-04-09, 11:39 PM
My group varies in level of roleplaying. We have one guy who has a Knight Exemplar, and has recruited a Squire. He is, amazingly, the best RP'er in the group, as he ALWAYS asks the question "What would my character do in this situation?" Myself, I try to roleplay as well as possible, but have to watch out, because if I don't watch out, I start LARPing, which my group frowns upon. Then there's this guy who's a Half Fiend Shapeshifter Cleric who appears as a human. He...well. He's also evil, and has a Ring of Lead-Sheet (or, Mindshielding, if you prefer) , and has Greater Darkness as a domain spell. It's irksome. If "screwing with the entire party because he thinks it's hilarious" is roleplaying, then yes, he does it a lot. And then we have our paladin, who...sweet Jeebus. He should have fallen ages ago. He doesn't stick to the paladin code. He barely RP's. So. There you have it.

2008-04-10, 12:12 AM
I tend to get with a detailed backround only if the character reaaally interests me or intrigues me...In general I have a sort of backround just so I can get some personality on the character but notheing more than that...I prefer to develop the character from point 0 and that is why I love playing from 1rst lvl...So the character's overall personality can be developed over the course of time and of course the campaign...

The group I am palying with consists of 2 people who actually roleplay some of the times, 2 people (including myself) that roleplay (at this current campaign) and 1 person that does not under any circumstances roleplay...Meta-gaming does not exist here though since it spoils the whole game and nobody likes it :P

PnP Fan
2008-04-10, 07:54 AM
I play in three different groups.
In the first group I'd say we spend a good 20-30% of our time chatting and talking about anything but the game, usually over dinner. Probably another 20% roleplaying, getting through the story. The remaining 50% is taken up by a fight in any given session. Admittedly, our combats are slow, and sometimes complex. As the game master I try to prep NPC actions, but not everyone at the table takes time to do that. This is also a group that meets once every two weeks from 6-11 ish (but really we sit down and play at 8:00, there are small children involved that don't go to bed till 7:30)

In the second group
Also meets once every two weeks, on a saturday evening, the stats shift more towards roleplaying, the combats tend to be a little simpler (superhero fights and low level games) so they don't take up as much time. Probably 20% chat, 40% roleplay and 40% combat.

In my third group
Also meets once every two weeks, all day Saturday (10 ish to 6 ish), in a public location. 35% chat, 30% role play and 35% combat, roughly.

Breaking it down by person, I'd say that we have a lot of chit chat because each group is composed of friends, as opposed to gaming buddies that don't otherwise associate. Nothing wrong with either, it's just how it works in my groups. In group 1 the split between role and roll play on an individual level tends to be people who want to go heavily in one direction or the other. We have maybe 2 people out of 7 who really ride the middle ground. In group 2 the game master tends to put a lot of puzzles and mystery, so while it isn't necessarily immersive role play, there is a lot more discussion about the problem at hand and the use of character skills to interact with the setting. Group 3 tends to have a more tactical background (several military folks, and several ex-wargamers) with some folks who ride the balance, so the game tends towards slightly heavier combat. Though we just had a new person join the group who has thrown some non-combat challenges at us, and is sort of pushing us towards a more roleplay focused game.

2008-04-10, 08:49 AM
Right... I have two groups. The first, I DM, the second I play in.

The first group is my regular group, consisting of good mates that I went to school with. I have been DM/GMing for those guys for over a decade now (and I'm only 21 :smalleek: ) - Originally starting with just myself and one other guy, and eventually growing to an occasionally unmanageable 8 players (plus myself, for 9 total). Its usually fine though, because I never get everyone playing a game at once (or rarely anyway), and if i have lots of people interested in a game I'll split the group and run parallel campaigns on alternating days or whatever. That way, everyone is happy.

This group consists of players from all over the frickin' scale of roll-to-role playing. One or two players base their concepts on what looks cool/sounds cool/happened to be in a movie recently, which I don't mind because they often alter it just enough to make it interesting. One of my players has one role, and one role only (Tank) and doesn't know how to do much else (Plus, even when we're not playing with an alignment system, he's ALWAYS CN). The majority of the others are all middling. Ironically, the three characters in the party that I would say are 'good' roleplayers are the two munchkins, and the guy who doesn't have a clue what he's doing. The third is in it for style and flair and plays his characters to a tee. The other two have their backstories and their personalities, but the way they handle the numbers is a little bit too efficient for my liking.

The second group I play in... and its just... well, chaos. Simply put, our current campaign is like living in a discworld novel. It is damn FUN, but we never get anywhere near a plot device (The DM even decided to trade the rogue's trapfinding class feature for plotfinding... and we still didn't get anywhere). Its a fantastic opportunity to develop a character though, because we have all these social interactions - and the group encourages playing 'in character' a hell of a lot more than my home group (To the point where we can't get a word of sense out of the mad army lieutenant, ever!).

I don't know really... I'd love to be able to mix the two into one manageable group and have a decent balance - but I don't think its going to happen soon. Till then I'll probably stick to my online PbP games :smallbiggrin:

2008-04-10, 09:16 AM
I'll probably start off by banning table talk, but where do I go from there?

Hmm... In my experience, table-talk or lack thereof has little to do with roleplaying.

One great way to get your players roleplaying* is to put some restrictions on character generation - specifically, make the PCs all siblings (or half-siblings). They start the game with relationships, which some of the group will start to play up. Everyone gets the "Nobody beats up on my brother but ME!" instinct among siblings, and it's fun. Unless your players just want to wargame, they'll probably get into it.

From that point, stretch the muscles a little more each new campaign. Roleplaying is a skill, just like other aspects of the game. Don't expect it to happen overnight.

* It's worth noting that you can't make people roleplay if they don't want to. Some people just want a tactical wargame, and there's nothing wrong with that.

2008-04-10, 09:18 AM
It's like min-maxing for roleplaying. You minimize dull and maximize cool. You just blew my mind.

Just remember - there is no spoon.

2008-04-10, 09:22 AM
Kieza, I would be careful about banning table talk as table talk can serve several functions that might be otherwise impossible to do. I think what you want to do is not so much ban all table talk, but rather keep non-game talk to a minimum. You basically need to recognize when the talk is about the game and the players are getting into the game as opposed to when the talk is about something else entirely and is just a time waster.

And you'll notice that a lot of the time, when your players are fully engaged into the game, you'll see that the players will all be actively talking about the game itself and what they can do in game. This is a good thing, even if the talk is not in-character, as this means that they are in fact, having fun.

but keeping the players engaged and keeping yourself happy with the player's actions requires that you be flexible in how you do things. and also, keeping player focus is in and of itself a skill all onto itself. Me? I believe that a lot of this kind of skill is a lot like movie directing. When you're writing up encounters and scenes, you have a rough agenda of the purpose of the scene. when the players enter the scene, you make a b-line to the point that allows them to do drama roleplaying. When the purpose of the scene has been fulfilled, you make a b-line for the next scene to start so that there is no dead air time. but that's for another time all together.

Also, to encourage roleplaying, I use a quick and dirty method of rewarding roleplaying. I tell the players to write down 3 beliefs/goals that their characters have. These are basically agenda items they want to see their character accomplish someday. The more entrenched in the campaign it is, the better. This will help you shape quests around their character and involves them. And every time a player roleplays to one of those beliefs, I give them a reward for it. In my past games, I give out things called "fate points" which are basically "oh-s***" points to save their ass. You can be a little simpler than that and just give them an xp bonus for it.

Then I ask them to write down 3 instinctual reactions. each one describes something their character will always do automatically without having to declare it. this can be useful in fleshing out how that character prepares themselves and is sort of like a "this is one thing my character will probably always do".

oh yeah.

instead of asking themselves "What choice would my character make?" they ask themselves "What choice will bring truckloads of awesome to the game, and how should I adjust my character to make that choice in-character?"

This is seriously awesome and is the exact mentality my group takes in our games. All that crap I talked about above still falls under this concept. If something about the character isn't fun anymore, change it!

2008-04-10, 09:59 AM
Me? Myself? I roleplay quite a bit. I like to try to have a distinct accent for my characters, or a facial expression (usually I need a facial expression to do the accent...cause...I'm lame?). That way, people know when I'm roleplaying.

I just started DMing my group, alternating weeks with another group member. It became horribly obvious that two of my players think they're role-players, but really aren't.

I'mma rant now:

Like, Shizuka (character name): The player is a big girl, who always plays the petite, lithe 18-charisma character. Well, that's fine and dandy, but she also always plays characters with extremely loose sexual morals. I've seriously had to make half of my NPCs gay to make her actually role-player, or at least roll diplomacy. She thinks seducing NPCs is roleplaying. In reality, however, it isn't. It's just creeping out the DM.

Or, Ul (character name, pronounced "Yule"): He always plays a version of himself. He's always gonna have high strength, and high con, and low dex, and high wisdom, but low intelligence and charisma. Always. I don't care that they're all similar. But, when his Druid, and his Fighter, and his Barbarian//Scout, end up being the same character with different mechanics, I get annoyed. This is something that the player has said in EVERY campaign I've been with him in: "My character goes "Huraaaah!" and pulls out his two axes and charges that guy." Seriously. Even down to the axes. I think once he had a scimitar and a quarterstaff. But, usually...axes. 'Cause they're cool?

There is a new player now, who doesn't have a character yet, but is supposedly building one for both campaigns: He came in saying he had experience, but his experience was a group that didn't have character sheets. They just said, "I'm gonna do this, I rolled a 7. Did I do it?" We asked what characters he'd played and he says, "I've been building a lot of half-dragon rogue-sorcerers." He had no idea what he was talking about, it was so...well, it was kinda puppy-dog-cute. But, when we got into playing (he played Shizuka this night, since she was gone) he was trying to steal from the party and didn't know this and that. I understand that he was new, so, it isn't really his fault, but still. His current characters are...well, he's trying to convince Me and the other DM to let him play Half-Dragon rogue-sorcerers, and, from what I've been told, he's focusing on his once a day breath weapon, and put a single rank every skill, until he ran out, starting at the top ending somewhere near profession. I asked what skills he put ranks in, and he just read the skill list to me. But...he refuses to let anybody help him.
That's not really relevant...but...well, it's spoilered, so, whatevs.

However, I also have a player who does the above mentioned befuddling of sentences. He actually starts his senteces with "Hark", "Hail", and "Good sir/madam". He's a nice guy, but it makes him sound a little crazy.

I've put in a rule that if you're speaking common, you talk like a common person.

Miles Invictus
2008-04-10, 11:00 AM
However, I also have a player who does the above mentioned befuddling of sentences. He actually starts his sentences with "Hark", "Hail", and "Good sir/madam". He's a nice guy, but it makes him sound a little crazy.

That isn't too bad, though; at least you can understand what he's saying. The people I was ranting about are incomprehensible. Thankfully, I'm not the DM and can view it with a sense of amused detachment. It still gets old really fast.

2008-04-10, 11:28 AM
Burly Warlock, I know your plight. But I must say, in the case of Shizuka's situation, I think you need to understand something.

For one, while some characters can be persuaded to do certain things, there are certain things that a charater with a certain attitude is just. not. going. to. do. In the case of Shizuka seducing everyone, sleeping with her would be one of them. Sure, the average schmoe will probably be helpless to resist her 18 CHA and probably obscene diplomacy check (ba-dum-CHH!). But for certain characters like a clergy who has sworn a vow of celibacy, he's just not going to act on it. When such a thing is important to a certain character's core values, changing that should not be as simple as rolling a couple diplomacy check, it would be a long and involving process that probably will involve some serious plot there. Personally, I would rule that in order for Shizuka to succeed with someone who has tight watch on sexual conduct, she would fail at seducing them without

-some magical influence that fundamentally alters the way he himself a character acts
-some serious epic level diplomacy checks
-some serious time investment into this side plot

Fundamentally, she would have to change the way the character functions at a very personal level, and that is probably far more difficult than just throwing herself at them.

secondly, sexual promiscuity does have it's physical risks. i.e. pregnancy or STDs. There's a good reason why even in the absence of a moral qualms that you might want to think twice about it. I'm not saying make her pregnant or give her something serious like AIDS or something. But you can always just give her something really annoying like a case of herpes or something where it's just plain embarassing.

third, sex detracts from the time they could be using doing adventuring stuff. It takes time, and it takes energy. reflect that in game. Have plot points occur while she's busy bonking these other guys so she misses the opportunity to influence the story. Put the players on a time line so that she needs to really consider which she wants to do more, getting on with the story or wasting it bumping uglies with some no-name NPC.

fourth, if she gets around enough in certain circles, people will hear about it. can she deal with that reputation?

If she can reconcile with ALL of these things and still want to play Shizuka that way, hey, more power to her.

2008-04-10, 01:04 PM
My group all knows how to roleplay, and be in-character and all that, but we generally don't have a strong feeling of immersion on the table - we're all prone to joking and screwing around and talking about other topics during the game, it's very beer & pretzels.

Still, when one of us gets a character we like, we tend to really get into it, and there are times when the immersion factor goes way up, like certain dramatic moments, or moments of heavy in-character interaction.

As for us individually, four of us I'd say are relatively versatile, with no particular preference in terms of party roles, and one of us tends towards quieter, thinking-before-speaking characters.

2008-04-10, 01:09 PM
Bi-Weekly early Saturday mornings. Time frame of 5-6 hours.