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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Getting people to think "outside the box"

    I have a group that I DM for in WoW:RPG that look at things as simply as possible. They don't catch the big picture of the game, the scope and size of what they COULD be doing to what they ARE doing. If they come across a castle they need to infiltrate, they'll go to the front door. I try and suggest they use Gather Information and learn about the castle, maybe check out some weaknesses. They do, disregard the data, and go to the front door.

    And they're trying is the thing. They think they're doing well when they have to fight through a castle and run away because they get overwhelmed. I guess I want them to role play a little more than roll play, but that's not exactly true. When I set them up with a pure "talking" scenario, as they call it, they try hard at that too. But they still try narrow scoped ideas that don't add any depth to the gameplay. It's always point A, then point B, nothing in the middle.

    It was kind of hard to put this into words, but I think I did a good job in explaining how they operate. Any ideas on how to get them to think outside the box would be greatly appreciated.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Make a castle with no front gate. Or have it hidden by illusions. Force them to think outside the box, don't just encourage it.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AmoDman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by DaMullet View Post
    Make a castle with no front gate. Or have it hidden by illusions. Force them to think outside the box, don't just encourage it.
    That's a good one. I instantly thought of letting them narrowly escape a virtually unwinable situation, and offer some priest or something who will restore them up and offer an alternative course of action which will be so cool/fun they'll look for such options in the future (Ie. hidden underground path with crazy traps and little monsters to kill - MMOers always want little monsters to kill, hidden treasure, and, best of all, the same xp bonus!),
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Maybe it's cause you're playing the [b]WoW[/b[ RPG? Presumably your players have only played WoW before, where everything is a lot more clear cut and they don't have to think (sorry if I just insulted anyone). Dnd is not a video game, you have to think real (fantasy) world solutions. You might just need to explain to your players the difference between PnP and MMO.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    TheThan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    WoW uses very clear cut goals in it’s quest system. Like kill that creature, find x items and return them to me… that sort of stuff.

    You could try to influence their way of thinking by the vocabulary you use. Like in the above example, instead of saying “break into the castle” or “assault the castle”, say “sneak into the castle” or “slip into the castle”. Words that denote what kinds of actions you want them to undertake. I dunno if this will help as some people just don’t pick up that sort of stuff. But at least it’s worth a try.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by DaMullet View Post
    Make a castle with no front gate. Or have it hidden by illusions. Force them to think outside the box, don't just encourage it.
    I hate to train the story though. I want them to want to look around and find things out, but maybe they do need a little structure to lead them along.


    I know what you mean. I have a bunch of DnD books, but I didn't think DnD would pull them off WoW. It definetly effects them too, when we first started playing they kept saying things like..."Ok, I turn on stealth." or "Someone else aggro, I'm Dps." But they seemed to have caught onto the concept of d20 and the rules, if not the spirt of the play.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Try giving them more open ended goals. For example, gather information on the mysterious cult, or help drive the undead away from the ruins. The party can't bash down the front door if they aren't sure whether or not it exists, or even if it's relevent.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    One thing that helps to understand is that in a computer game there are simply walls everywhere. Computer gaming, by necessity, puts constraints within the game that inherently limit choice. Your group is just playing by experience, in large part. You might think about giving some non-"crawl" type adventures. By that I mean you might want to move away from an exploratory type game, and put them in a situation - a social situation perhaps - where "opening the front door" just isn't an option.

    Likewise, a "slueth" type game, where clues are specifically hidden might be a good option. That way your player or group knows that they are supposed to look in out of the way places. The Secret Door (tm) isn't a known quantity to everyone, unless it's put in context first.
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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Man, my problem is always GMs who won't let me be creative...

    How about a mission where kick in the door combat is too costly... perhaps where the front gate is too heavily gaurded?

    JaronK

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Man, my problem is always GMs who won't let me be creative...

    How about a mission where kick in the door combat is too costly... perhaps where the front gate is too heavily gaurded?

    JaronK
    No offense, but it sounds like that's already the case (they're attacking regardless of what mobs may guard).
    Last edited by AmoDman; 2007-01-29 at 12:38 AM.
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    dude next meeting bring a box with you and a bunch of notecards.
    have stuff like break down the front door, and kill all the monsters, written on the notes. show the notes to your players then put them in the box.

    then just start the meeting.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    I just punish the hell out of PC's that make actions that annoy or aggravate me. I don't do it by having something absolutely random come up. I just make sure that the next time a situation comes up where I know they'll act one way, I make that the absolute worst possible decision in a realistic way.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of adventurers, for you are expendable and full of EXP.


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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    so your saying that like...
    if they always boot down the front gate make the front gate a mimic or some kind of animated door construct thing. so maybe next time they'll think twice before trying to just boot down the first door that they see?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Yes, exactly like that. In fact, that's awesome.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of adventurers, for you are expendable and full of EXP.


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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    1. Tell your players that they should approach the problem as if it were a real life situation. How would they approach it, IRL, if their lives were on the line?

    2. Don't cut them any slack. Set up realistic defenses, have NPCs behave realistically. Few things deliver the message 'That was stupid' as well as a TPK. If one or more PCs die, so be it.

    3. Help bridge the gap between the PC's stats and knowledge and those of the player. If you have a situation where a PC would think of alternatives and the player is just too clueless to do so, force a check of the appropriate sort (knowledge X, Int, Wis) and deliver hints on an alternative course of action.
    Last edited by Munchy; 2007-01-29 at 01:08 AM.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    and to expand upon Munchy's advice...

    2b. They are still new and inexperienced and your friends, the first time they get TPK'ed you might want to have them wake up back at the last inn they stayed at and make it a horrible dream. But only the first time.

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkshade View Post
    and to expand upon Munchy's advice...

    2b. They are still new and inexperienced and your friends, the first time they get TPK'ed you might want to have them wake up back at the last inn they stayed at and make it a horrible dream. But only the first time.
    Then have them leave the inn, notice some odd things, until it slowly dawns on them that they are, in fact, trapped inside a very special layer of Baator.
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Then have them leave the inn, notice some odd things, until it slowly dawns on them that they are, in fact, trapped inside a very special layer of Baator.
    Thats the most awesome idea I have ever heard. Offalion here we come!

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Then have them leave the inn, notice some odd things, until it slowly dawns on them that they are, in fact, trapped inside a very special layer of Baator.
    Though Baator has only ten layers. And one of them is unknown even by Asmodeus.

    You might be thinking of the foul plane that the wretched lowly fiends some people call "dem-", ah, I can't say that. You know what I mean.

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by Khantalas View Post
    Though Baator has only ten layers. And one of them is unknown even by Asmodeus.
    LIES! Asmodeus knows ALL!
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Well, that one was a state secret. I had to personally erase that particaular memory from his mind.

    As much as I hate tampering with the mind of a great and holy baatezu, that one had to be done.

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    A simple quest that gets the players to think.

    A obviously drunken Centaur (Or Tauren for WoW purposes) is in the bar making a mess.
    The barkeep/innkeeper wants the Cantaur/Tauren out, and enlists the PCs help.
    No one has the ability to throw him out of the bar physically, as the offender usually has more than enough strength to just throw them off.
    The simplest solution to get him out of the bar is throw a cold drink on him and run out the door.
    What happens after you are out the door could go many ways, but quest completed, and it forces the players to think of many ways of accomplishing the goal.
    Last edited by Logic; 2007-01-29 at 08:20 AM.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    If you're patient, present them with a situation where bulling through directly will give them momentary success with medium- to long-term consequences.

    For the example given: let's assume that they need to get into this castle for a reason beyond 'kill the occupants of the castle.' They're retrieving a valuable item from the vaults, or freeing a prisoner, or some such. Make sure you create at least one plausible path to success for both the gathering-information route (a secret tunnel guarded by advanced crocodiles running under the walls leads to a location near the vault) and a chance at success via the kick-the-door-down route (they can, if they act quickly, bust through the guards for a smash-and-grab before the whole garrison can be organized to stop them.)

    Then make sure that both methods have results in the world, but just as smash-and-grab is more blatant, so is the fallout from it. If the castle is a fortress of evil, then invading through the sewers might cause the villains to find and brick up the gate, buff up the sewer guards, whatever; they've found a vulnerability and the castle reacts. But a group smashing their way in indicates an outright danger to the organization that owns the castle; they start oppressing the populace, conscripting three times as many soldiers, etc. Conditions around the castle get dramatically worse.

    To pull out another example, the party decides to rid the hills of a tribe of nomads that are sometimes raiding a town rather than doing some diplomacy or investigation and finding out out that the town is plowing their traditional burial ground under? Also fine. The party kills a bunch of nomads and the rest fade away - until the party of obviously dangerous mercenaries leave. When the party swings back that way in a few months, they find a full-scale guerilla war going on with half of the village dead or impoverished and the nomads on the edge of extinction, with the reasons behind the raids now obvious.. Even if they can easily polish off the nomads and make the town safe, they've been given an example of how bulling through and then wandering off can create a problem.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    squishycube's Avatar

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    I must say your players are quite thick-skulled, they do A, A fails so they give up? Or they just try A again until it works? It sounds like they need some serious shaking about in the narrow-minded department.

    I agree with many options mentioned, one I didn't really see yet:
    - Learn by example. Give them a charismatic NPC that travels with them for a while and have him propose alternative ideas to those they want to do. They might be stubborn and still do it their way, but when their plan fails, they might consider his plan. After a while, they might catch on to his thinking outside of the box and you could even throw something that is totally clear-cut so they need to use the foot-in-door strategy again. Force them to use different, but thougt-out plans. Have the NPC propose back-up plans, exit strategies ("What do we do if this plan fails while we are inside?"), etc.
    Last edited by squishycube; 2007-01-29 at 10:35 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Everyone has great ideas, so I'll play Devil's Advocate. What if your players like the way they're playing and don't want a "complicated" game? In my D&D games, both groups specifically asked for me to avoid the moral ambiguity my Vampire chronicles had contained. So I did. They're happy. I'm happy (more-or-less... ::sniff::).

    They might be comfortable inside that box.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Hahaa, my group is the same way...we think outside of the box constantly, and the answer is often extremely straight-forward...but then, our way has gotten consistent and surprising results anyways. An NPC Fighter that should have beaten the crap out of us, didn't do so much as a single wound as we beat the snot out of him. Bears we were supposed to run from, ran from us.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Well, my problem is similar, but the players I have are experienced DND gamers. I give them the option to ask questions from important figures, and they just say nothing I can think of. I try to get them to ask questions, but I think that most people are used to a simple plot. If you give them a large, big picture type situation most people do not think as far ahead as the DM has planned.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamebird View Post
    Everyone has great ideas, so I'll play Devil's Advocate. What if your players like the way they're playing and don't want a "complicated" game? In my D&D games, both groups specifically asked for me to avoid the moral ambiguity my Vampire chronicles had contained. So I did. They're happy. I'm happy (more-or-less... ::sniff::).

    They might be comfortable inside that box.
    That works pretty well with my suggestion, I think. They hit the castle, the castle conscripts soldiers, they hit the castle again... harder. They kill the nomads, the nomads regroup while they're gone, they wipe the nomads all the way out. If they're happy with the smash, slice and kill, the consequences method just gives them more targets.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Getting people to think "outside the box"

    Try to think from the perspective of MMO players. While a D&D player might interpret insermountable obstacles as the DM's way of subtely suggesting he try a different approach, an MMO player will look at that same obstacle and think, "I must not be strong enough for this area. I should go gain some more levels, then come back and see how I do." What you must begin to show their players is that leveling up will not make the encounter any easier. Show them that the enemies' difficulty increases at exactly the same rate as their own power. Don't give them the option of running (for example: you could tell them that they are on a strict time limit, if they don't stop the bad guys today, they fail their quest). Maybe even add a stealth element (if the whole castle realizes there are intruders, you fail. You must not leave any witnesses of your prescense).
    Last edited by Woot Spitum; 2007-01-29 at 11:16 AM.

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