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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Had an interesting session come up. One of the PC's came across someone that she remembered from a long time ago, before some events that wiped her mind. She, unsurprisingly, wanted to spend time talking. Now, IC, this is the absolutely correct action to do. OOC, it's really incredibly boring for the rest of us. It ended up with the DM rushing through, which I have a feeling left no one happy at all - the one player felt cheated, and the rest of the group still felt like spectators for the time.

    How would you handle this in your games? Again, I hate to say "don't roleplay so much," but it gets really annoying when one PC takes center stage. Even if we're rotating, in a group of 7 players that means I'm spending a lot of time being irrelevant to the action.

    P.S.: no groaning about the amnesia thing, it has to do with the last game - basically everyone who was alive when we broke the timeline and wasn't in contact with the artifact we broke has two backstories, one "real" and one that they actually remember.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2010-11-19 at 11:21 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Amneeeeeeeeesia!

    This is one of the reasons it's on the no-no list.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Uuggh......amnesia.

    Anyways, I spend most of my RP time doing what my relatively simple minded CG human male barbarian would do....which often entails being a large ham.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Well it's not technically amnesia. We sort of broke the world last game, so any new characters had to come in with a "real" backstory and the backstory that they remember. It wasn't even the player's choice.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2010-11-19 at 10:03 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    As a DM, you have to meaningfully engage the other players while you RP with the "amnesiac". The best way to do this is to split the party up and give each character their own scene to shine in. Otherwise, shelve the RP with the "amnesia" and do it via email.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Felhammer View Post
    As a DM, you have to meaningfully engage the other players while you RP with the "amnesiac". The best way to do this is to split the party up and give each character their own scene to shine in. Otherwise, shelve the RP with the "amnesia" and do it via email.
    Email might be a good idea, although part of me feels like it would break the flow up. Then again, the give everyone their own scene thing is emphatically *not* working, so maybe we should give email a shot.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Even "not-quite-amnesia" is a drag in a group setting. It works great in single-player RPGs (e.g. Planescape: Torment) because... well, because there's one player.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Even "not-quite-amnesia" is a drag in a group setting. It works great in single-player RPGs (e.g. Planescape: Torment) because... well, because there's one player.
    I was really hoping more for advice on the general situation. This is hardly the first time the issue has come up, and it is the first time it's involved anything resembling amnesia, so that's clearly not the problem.
    Hail to the Lord of Death and Destruction!
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I was really hoping more for advice on the general situation. This is hardly the first time the issue has come up, and it is the first time it's involved anything resembling amnesia, so that's clearly not the problem.
    The problem is your DM is engaging in solo RP around a pretty dull topic and turning the rest of you into spectators. The solution can only be "don't."

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    The problem is your DM is engaging in solo RP around a pretty dull topic and turning the rest of you into spectators. The solution can only be "don't."
    I got the "don't," but then we're having players feel that they're being forced out of character by not being able to talk or do something when it would be the obvious logical IC action.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Well despite the overwhelming "don't" answer, there is one other solution. What you do is break up the solo scene. After about a minute of the solo conversation cut to what everybody else is doing then come back. Think of it like scenes in a movie. If you have a long dialogue in an action flick, you've got to break it up with some "meanwhile" stuff.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    I think there's just something about telling someone to not roleplay so much that strikes me as odd...
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Had an interesting session come up. One of the PC's came across someone that she remembered from a long time ago, before some events that wiped her mind. She, unsurprisingly, wanted to spend time talking. Now, IC, this is the absolutely correct action to do. OOC, it's really incredibly boring for the rest of us. It ended up with the DM rushing through, which I have a feeling left no one happy at all - the one player felt cheated, and the rest of the group still felt like spectators for the time.

    How would you handle this in your games? Again, I hate to say "don't roleplay so much," but it gets really annoying when one PC takes center stage. Even if we're rotating, in a group of 7 players that means I'm spending a lot of time being irrelevant to the action.

    P.S.: no groaning about the amnesia thing, it has to do with the last game - basically everyone who was alive when we broke the timeline and wasn't in contact with the artifact we broke has two backstories, one "real" and one that they actually remember.

    Why do you hate to say it? It's perfectly reasonable to not want one character to get so much spotlight that the player feels like a special little princess. And that the player feels entitled to sapping the fun of everyone else even more by playing talky feely with the DM, ignoring and leaving out the rest of the party... That's just disgusting.

    The DM shouldn't have done it in the first place. And if he was going to do it, it should have tied into what the rest of the party was doing so that they could interact with the person at all. This isn't one on one free form RPing with the DM in a private instant messenger chat.

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I think there's just something about telling someone to not roleplay so much that strikes me as odd...
    Ok, how about, "Don't waste our time by hogging the spotlight and making it so that we have nothing to do but sit and listen to you and the DM go back in forth for half an hour or more."

    That she felt slighted by the demands of the game limiting her face time which had already gone over the limits of the patience of the rest of the group makes her look selfish and conceited.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2010-11-20 at 12:46 AM.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Heh, I started my last campaign by telling my players that they didn't remember anything. That way, most of the reveal was news to all of them, with bits here and there for each of them on their individual stories.

    RP that focuses on one character probably shouldn't last more than a minute or two... but it's the perfect chance to do things such as expository text via forums or emails, or even story writing. This might not be an option for your group, but if it is, give it a chance. People get bored during long stretches of game that don't involve them, but everyone likes story-related material that they can read on their own time. If you can fit the other characters in, you'll get an even more positive response.

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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    In face to face sessions, the way to do this is to multitask. Several times I've had my players split up, two or three here, two there, one guy off on his own there. I'd spend maybe five minutes focused on one scene, then say, "Okay, scene shift" and look to the next group, spend five minutes with them, and so on. Make sure you keep it in the same order so no one feels slighted. If something major is going on, maybe go for ten minutes with one group, at most.

    I did this several times in my face to face group while I had one. Whenever they got to town, they'd split off. They seemed to enjoy it a lot: It gives the impression that the world doesn't revolve quite as much around the PCs because stuff is happening in multiple places at the same time. It was also neat (if a bit contrived sometimes, I admit) to see a character leave one scene and appear in another.

    So sure, do your solo RP. Make it extensive. Just don't exclude the others.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Try writing whatever reveals you have out ahead of time, then give it to the player to read. If you use computers IM can be a good way around this, provided are you are reasonably fast typers. RP it in between sessions, especially if it isn't likely to affect anything that session.

    Those are the solutions that come quickly to me for that situation.
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    RogueGirl

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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    What I usually do with players who want more interaction with certain NPCs is to do a sidequest on msn or irc, just one-on-one, where he/she gets all the time needed and wanted to talk with that person. I have had 6+ hour sidequests where most we did was talk, and there were only about four dice rolls made. :)

    The only downside is that some of the players in the main group may feel left out if the player who had the sidequest comes back with all kinds of stories about the great things that she did.

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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Let the player talk to the NPC, and let everyone pitch in with their advice! I find that most players are like people watching sports, it's exciting to just shout from the sidelines even if you aren't actually playing.

    Also, amnesia is awesome. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Okay, sometimes it's not but still.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by Conjob View Post
    Also, amnesia is awesome. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Okay, sometimes it's not but still.
    I agree. The list linked to seems to be how not to do things that are normally fine, rather than what not to do at all.

    I'll add one more opinion on the "rotate in small increments", maybe sprinkle some "sideline participation while not in the spotlight" in, too.
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    A group of Bloodthirsty Orcs jump out of a nearby bush and start attacking you!!!!!!!

    That's a good way to end a boring conversation fast.
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    Human: "Hey, elf, you look like a girl!"
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    Elf: "Half-elf, half-orc, half-dragon, half-celestial..."
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Its easy.

    DM: Smoke brake everyone!

    Players: Yay!

    DM looking at solo RP player: Except you!

    Solo RP player: awww.....

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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    How would you handle this in your games? Again, I hate to say "don't roleplay so much," but it gets really annoying when one PC takes center stage. Even if we're rotating, in a group of 7 players that means I'm spending a lot of time being irrelevant to the action.
    In the group I game with, we just take it in stride. We know it's bound to happen, eventually, and we also know that our turn will come. We just sit patiently, and depending on where our characters are at, write down what we've been doing and hand it to the DM to adjudicate those actions.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmiles View Post
    In the group I game with, we just take it in stride. We know it's bound to happen, eventually, and we also know that our turn will come. We just sit patiently, and depending on where our characters are at, write down what we've been doing and hand it to the DM to adjudicate those actions.
    Huh. See with our game it's ending with players being bored and tuning out.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Huh. See with our game it's ending with players being bored and tuning out.
    We've all been gaming for 20+ years, except for the current DM's son, who's more into bashing things with his axe. But he doesn't let a little character-centric RP ruin his fun. Age and experience may have a little to do with our ability to take it in stride, but I'd like to think that we're just patient people.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    I would probably do something along these lines:

    Try to manipulate events so that the long conversation occurs at a moment when players are ready for a short break. Start the scene, and after a short time cut back to the other players and see what they'r doing. Then do the "Let's take a break. But not you, Jane." thing that stenver described.

    During the break, don't try to finish the conversation, but try to get a sense of where it's going, and tell the player, "We'll finish this later by email. But based on how it's going now, how do you think your character will be acting when it's over?" Then she can reunite with the group and move forward, but still go back and finish the conversation later by an arbitrarily long conversation later by email or in a one-on-one session.

    If you can arrange for the solo scene to take place at the end of a night's play, then better yet. Then you can just handle it by email or by a side session before the next game.
    Last edited by mucat; 2010-11-20 at 11:58 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmiles View Post
    We've all been gaming for 20+ years, except for the current DM's son, who's more into bashing things with his axe. But he doesn't let a little character-centric RP ruin his fun. Age and experience may have a little to do with our ability to take it in stride, but I'd like to think that we're just patient people.
    Out of curiosity how long are your solo bits, and how many of them are there as compared to the rest of the game?

    Also, how long are your sessions? A lot of the group has expressed frustration because we have a limited gaming time each week when we can all meet, and they feel that they're spending a lot of it watching others instead of playing.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2010-11-20 at 12:01 PM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Out of curiosity how long are your solo bits, and how many of them are there as compared to the rest of the game?
    Maybe...maaaaayyybe 10-15 minutes at a time, and there's usually about one or two every session. Admittedly, most of our game time is spent in combat (just because we take soooooooo long to finish one, not because we have a lot of combats).

    EDIT: Gaming sessions usually last about 5-6 hours on Friday nights.

    EDIT v2.0: We usually break for about an hour of that for dinner.
    Last edited by dsmiles; 2010-11-20 at 12:05 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Doctor
    People assume that time is a strict progression of cause-to-effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Also, how long are your sessions? A lot of the group has expressed frustration because we have a limited gaming time each week when we can all meet, and they feel that they're spending a lot of it watching others instead of playing.
    It might also be a cumulative thing, since you have mentioned multiple things that distract from proceeding in the game in various other threads around here. This might just be the one instance where it's egregious enough for them to let on.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Put me in as a strong dissenting opinion against e-mail/im. RP by text is not at all the same as in person. Very different vibe and interaction.

    First off, our group is also mostly longtime gamers (10-25 years depending on the person) and no one really has issues with someone taking a bit of an RP spotlight as it were. Everyone will go stretch, grab a snack and a fresh drink etc. The ladies usually have a jigsaw puzzle out that they are working on anyways.

    My advice to the DM is to try and coincide this with a "rewards" portion of the game. If your other PCs have direct access to a large city this works perfectly. Just tell them "Hey guys, this is a good time to shop and that wizard/church/whatever is willing to do a bit of commission magic item creation for you as thanks for your services." Players can refill their mundane supplies and usually getting people passing around the DMGs, Magic Item Compendium and various splatbooks for items can keep people occupied for a good chunk of time while the solo RP is handled.
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    Default Re: How do you handle long RP focused on one character?

    Quote Originally Posted by Warlawk View Post
    First off, our group is also mostly longtime gamers (10-25 years depending on the person) and no one really has issues with someone taking a bit of an RP spotlight as it were. Everyone will go stretch, grab a snack and a fresh drink etc. The ladies usually have a jigsaw puzzle out that they are working on anyways.
    Doesn't really address the underlying issue of feeling pressed for time to tell players to go play a jigsaw until they learn to become mature enough to accept time where they're sitting twiddling their thumbs, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Warlawk View Post
    Players can refill their mundane supplies and usually getting people passing around the DMGs, Magic Item Compendium and various splatbooks for items can keep people occupied for a good chunk of time while the solo RP is handled.
    That, at least, would be a good compromise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keld Denar View Post
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