How do you make players feel accomplished after saving the [kingdom/world/multiverse] in a fast and rewarding way?
My last session devoted a large period of time to thanking the PCs for saving the populations of four worlds. I was told that: (1) it dragged out, and (2) there was no emotional impact.
I had a great crowd gathered before party, composed of many inhabitants of the four worlds (thus, four groups). I had each group approach the party one by one, offer gifts to the party (including much food for feasting), discuss matters, give a few leads relevant to the overarching plot, and ask for advice or help with something. Each group was composed of nameless NPCs, but they had different attitudes, manners of speech, gifts to offer, matters to discuss, leads, and things to ask for advice or help for.
The players asserted that the way I GMed made them blend together, and the end result was the players feeling as if they played out the same scene four times in a row. This made it drag out, and even if not, it was still too long
The other issue the players identified was that the crowd was composed of nameless NPCs who were everymen of their worlds. The party had met and befriended various unique, named NPCs from those worlds, but I deliberately chose *not* to highlight them in the scene (they were in the background). My logic was thus:
Is it more meaningful to be told by a friend, "Thanks a bunch. You are a great person, and I look up to you," or to be told the exact same thing by a stranger who has simply heard of you? I would think that the latter is more powerful a message, because it means that your deeds have had so much impact that even many nameless strangers appreciate you.
My players did not see things the same way. They wanted to be thanked by named, unique NPCs, but this does not make sense to me, because it says nothing of how the everyman views the party.
How would you treat such players to a fast and meaningful "thank you for saving us" scene?
>Is it more meaningful to be told by a friend, "Thanks a bunch. You are a great person, and I look up to you," or to be told the exact same thing by a stranger who has simply heard of you?
The former, what are you a mollusk? That's not even a question
The players and their complaints have been described above.
Someone who is a friend is already likely to have a good disposition towards you, and it is unsurprising for such a person to express appreciation towards you.
A complete stranger expressing praise and admiration towards you for your heroic deeds is a testament to the far-reaching impact of said deeds, as well as to how wide your reputation has spread, is it not?
Some players love to roleplay with nameless NPC and have lengthy discussions over fictional ideologies and beliefs, while others suffer and endure this necessary evil of non important filler characters.
One is not inherently better than the other and only you can judge what is optimal ratio of unique to nameless NPC is.
Perhaps you should have let the unique NPC's come to them at a later time. It is only obvious that they would be drowned out and pushed back by the cheerful crowd.
>is it not
Yeah, but who cares, I want to hang out with my buds, not listen to a bunch of strangers pretend they see me as more than a device of their personal salvation. For a stranger to thank you is nice, but sitting through hours of it sounds like a tedious form of ego stroking that frankly, nobody who isn't a complete narcissist doesn't need in their day. I'd rather the town just throw me a nice dinner, where I get to chat with my pals and enjoy the night
The problem is here the goal itself, of saving the world. If the players don't care about saving the world, if they have no reason to do it aside from being "the heroes", it won't matter to them.
Something as mundane as making a sword can be as meaningful as saving the world if the player's character has spent their whole life learning the craft and striving to be the best. Maybe their search for new and rare metals to work with got them tangled up in saving the world, but at the end of the day their real reward is that advancement or fulfillment of their life's ambitions.
Goku did nothing but train. Ever. When Krillin was out eating and having a good time and chasing skirt, Goku was training. When Vegeta was preening and politicking and searching for lore, Goku was training. When the whole fucking gang was dead, Goku was dead and STILL TRAINING. This image is shit, and Naruto cheated.
Yes. The "worlds" in question would be Lunia (the first layer of Mount Celestia), the mind-bogglingly gigantic corpse of a greater medusa goddess in the Astral Plane, and two world-sized behemoths in the crystal sphere of Herdspace.
Two out of four of those are admittedly more Spelljammer than Planescape, granted.
The nameless NPCs were not just thanking the PCs, but also discussing matters with them, giving leads relevant to the overarching plot, and asking for advice or help with certain issues depending on each group.
Does there always need to be an emotional investment when it comes to creating an impact in the game world? At the end of the day, is it not about results?
If I was playing a world-saving, multiverse-traveling, altruistic fantasy hero and the GM presented a world of innocent sapients to be saved, even a world my character had never previously set foot in previously, I would have my character save that world without a second thought even if the character had no emotional investment whatsoever in that world. It is simply the right thing to do if one is playing an altruistic hero who wishes to enact the maximum amount of good for the maximum amount of people (and these players' characters were literal celestials, so it only stands to reason that they would indeed be concerned with such altruistic ideals).
The impact of a hero's deeds are what matter most when it comes to the aftermath of an adventure, is it not?
For some people, being the hero all the time works... for others it gets stale fast.
It's kind of a tangent, but this does a pretty good job explaining my feelings on always being the hero. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg_Lp5bO1U8
Additionally, for context, I was never originally going to have any NPCs overtly go out of the way to thank the players for their deeds to start with, aside from a trite and token "Thank you for saving my world" from a few named NPCs they had already befriended.
Before the session, the players had requested that they get to see the impact that they have had on the NPCs of the worlds they had saved, which is why I had accommodated them by trying to have the scene with the large crowd.
Creating an impact in the game world, simply put. Most prefer for that impact to be positive and affect as large a number of people as possible, no?
If the idea is to play an altruistic and world-saving hero, then it only stands to reason that success would be measured by the character's impact when it comes to maximizing overall good for the maximum amount of people.
Therefore, by seizing opportunities to maximize overall good for the maximum amount of people, the characters are all the more altruistic and heroic for it, correct?
My players seem to care more about chit-chatting in slice-of-life style with the named, quirky NPCs I place in front of them (which they constantly praise me for, because apparently I have a knack for crafting likeable and endearing NPCs), and seem disinterested in actually going on adventures, investigations, infiltrations, and other bouts of testing their wits against puzzles, mysteries, and enemies in order to save worlds and planes.
the most important NPC's of the four planets as one group thank the players,
nice dinner ( don't even need to describe the everyman NPC's gratitude, the dinner itself does that)
hindsight is 20/20
The character caring is much less important than the player caring.
Give your players what they want, or at least tell them that the game is going to be about saving the world before you begin.
There is NOTHING that feels as good as scrabbling your way to the top from nothing.
I get the feeling that the players cared about the worlds they saved only because they met and befriended likeable NPCs on those worlds. Thus, when those NPCs were not highlighted as the crowd thanked them, the players grew disinterested.
This strikes me as irrational: if you are going to save the world only because it is home to someone you like, then that is not being an altruistic celestial hero, is it now?
I had considered this, but would that not be simply *telling* how the everyman appreciated them, not *showing*? A dinner does not necessarily mean that many people appreciate them; cooks prepare meals every day.
My players feel accomplished generally in the sense that everywhere they go in the area, people know who they are, or have heard of them. In some cases, this has actually been a bad thing, because Thief or Rogue type characters generally could benefit the most by being out of the spotlight. Although one in particular got his reward by wrangling a pardon for "assorted felonies" across the board and throughout his entire somewhat-odious career, and took over the job of Spymaster. Which made his activities "legal".
Your players are not their characters. The altruistic celestials would save the world for no reason, yes, and the players will do so if they're good RPers. But they won't enjoy it.
its clear they want money and things
have leaders thank them before crowds in brief ceremonies
have said leaders reward PCs with money, weapons and/or plots of land
Have NPCs only occasion properly recognize them
Convey that they have some sense of influence over the nearby politics, but the world continues
A party plus a few of the most important NPCs of those worlds would amount to 6 to 8 members at most.
That is hardly out of the question for a typical restaurant or well-off household's cooks to serve up a meal for.
The gifts did include plenty of valuable objects, even though this is a virtually "physical equipment does not grant any meaningful bonuses" game.
I see, you're interested in what else the masses did to show their appreciation
oodles of trinkets would work.
the ship maker NPCs make the players a ship
the statue maker NPCs make the players a statue
the carpentry NPCs make the players a house
the horse breeding NPCs give the players horses
the royalty try to give the players their daughters to be married.
>I had considered this, but would that not be simply *telling* how the everyman appreciated them, not *showing*?
If it's a scene / encounter in a roleplaying game, you've got to ask what the players are going to do in that part - while it might seem a shame to simply describe, quickly, the events that thank the party, unless you're expecting the players to do something (or something happens that the players can step in to get involved with) it might be best to do that. Getting thanked by four groups of NPCs doesn't leave much for players to do but, what, shake hands and say you're welcome? It's quite dull.
It's not about showing rather than telling, it's about looking critically at the thing you've got planned out and going "what's this for?", "what will the PCs be expected to do?" and "what will the PCs likely do?". A wedding is important, but if the player character's involvement is sitting there and listening to speeches, it's going to be a dull part of a gaming session. If the family of the groom arrive and drunkenly, violently object to the wedding going forth, it gives players a clear "this is where we're supposed to step in and do stuff". It's the doing stuff that's important. If the players aren't going to interact with the thing you've got planned, either make it so that they can, encourage them to do it if they're not sure, or handwave it with a simple description of events to move onto things that are more interesting.
The archons of Mount Celestia's layer of Lunia gave them what Mount Celestia is best at producing: plenty of trinkets wrought of precious metals and celestial radiance.
The medusae of the supermassive medusa-greater-goddess-corpse had gifted the party with many a petrified creature.
The hunter-faeries of a world-sized behemoth had given the party exotic and tender meat of many kaiju-sized magical beasts.
The half-sibyllic-guardian-archon sheep-people of another world-sized behemoth bequeathed upon the party items of precious ultra-soft wool and written fragments of a grand prophecy involving them.
The interaction mostly relied on conversation with the PCs, as I mentioned in the opening post:
>I had each group approach the party one by one, offer gifts to the party (including much food for feasting), discuss matters, give a few leads relevant to the overarching plot, and ask for advice or help with something. Each group was composed of nameless NPCs, but they had different attitudes, manners of speech, gifts to offer, matters to discuss, leads, and things to ask for advice or help for.
I had done this because the players like conversing with NPCs (it seems to be the one thing they are most interested in, really; I must have a knack for likeable NPCs).
seems like this goes back to if praise is better coming from a stranger or from a friend
well, it depends
your friend is the Royal Lunarian stylist and says your beard will be world famous
is better than
an urchin boy runs up and tugs at your pants and says, "nice beard mister, i've heard all about it"
a stranger, the captain of the royal guard, after hearing about your incredible strength asks you to help him hunt down a dragon
is better than
your minstrel brags about your strength to all the wenches in the bar hoping that of the 7 of them trying to bang you maybe he will get to bang one.
>The interaction mostly relied on conversation with the PCs, as I mentioned in the opening post
>and the end result was the players feeling as if they played out the same scene four times in a row
So you need / needed to make sure that there was some serious differences between these four groups. You've got a scenario that fits into four neat parts, with each part being defined by the different NPC group that approaches them, one by one.
Scene 1 - a group of NPCs arrive, offer gifts to the party, discuss matters, give a few leads relevant to the plot and ask for advice or help with something. This scene toots the players horns and makes them go, hopefully, yeah, they did well. Here's your reward.
Scene 2 - a group of NPCs arrive, offer gifts to the party, discuss matters, give a few leads relevant to the plot and ask for advice or help with something. Okay, this is.. the first scene, with some different names and gifts attached. This scene doesn't really serve much purpose, being a rehash of the first part.
Scene 3 - a group of NPCs arrive, offer gifts to the party, discuss matters, give a few leads relevant to the plot and ask for advice or help with something. Now it's getting silly, isn't it? What are the players going to be doing that's going to be so amazingly different from the first time they did this, let alone the second?
Scene 4 - a group of NPCs arrive, offer gifts to the party, discuss matters, give a few leads relevant to the plot and ask for advice or help with something. At this point, your party of player characters should be making some kind of skill check or something not to yawn openly in the face of the visiting crowds. Oh, yeah, some gifts. Nice. Throw them on the pile of gifts over there. More plot leads? Because we've not got enough of that from the other three groups that came before you.
See the problem?
From my perspective, each scene was reasonably different, considering that the content of each segment had different outcomes, such as the precise nature of the gifts, the matters, the leads, and the sought-out advice or help.
None of the players had even stopped to mention that it was growing monotonous for them until *after* the session; I thought that they were finding the session entertaining until that point.
How could I have better presented such information in a more exciting way?
>How could I have better presented such information in a more exciting way?
One scene where you briefly go "this is what's going on, people are giving you tribute and there's a meal in your honour" to set the grand scale / theme / environment, and then bring the focus in to the players. Maybe a back room deal is being made at the time?
Focus on the players. Focus on the players. Focus on the players.
Was it not sufficiently focused on the party to have them be the center of attention at all times, and to have them be the ones whose wisdom was sought out?
No. Because there's not really much for the players to do there, and if they indicate to you that they were bored, you've got to be wilfully dense to go "well, the problem wasn't that what I presented them was boring, it was that the players were wrong and they should find it exciting!".
It's not about being the center of attention, it's about players getting to do things. Sitting there and being given presents is fine, but doing it over and over and over again, yeah, that shit is going to get dull for players.
Long after the session had concluded, one of the players suggested that a better way to handle things would have been to have a named, unique NPC that they had befriended earlier approach them, say, "Thank you for helping my world. It seems that you have helped people of other worlds too, and all four of our worlds have prepared this for you," and then hand them a magical video recording of multifarious everymen from those worlds thanking them for their heroic efforts.
It seems astoundingly trite and meaningless to me, yet this is what the player themselves suggested as a substitute. Would this have indeed been more apt?
>Would this have indeed been more apt?
If it had kept the player/s happy, then, generally speaking, yes.
It keeps it brief. It lets them know that they've achieved something via a thank you, but lets them get on with doing stuff pretty quickly. Look at in terms of films and novels and what-have-you; we don't often dedicate much time, or too many words, to the rewards that protagonists receive. We acknowledge as quickly as possible what the player characters have done, then throw them into the next plot. You might think it's fun to spend lots of time gushing praise over how amazing the PCs are, but player characters are generally people who do stuff, and doing stuff is what the game is about. If it's not doing stuff, keep it as brief as possible. Enter the scene at the latest possible point, leave the scene at the earliest possible point.
That's sort of what I was trying to get across about focusing on the players. They're there to get stuff done.
The players had specifically requested a mostly slice-of-life, relaxed session, and had pointed out that they wished to see the impact that they had on the various peoples that they had rescued.
If I cannot predict what other players will think like (even after months if not years of playing with them), and I cannot presume that they think as I do, then how am I ever supposed to know what my players will like or dislike?
This has been an issue of mine for quite a long time, I assure you, and I doubt there will ever be a day I can accurately gauge what others will think like.
>The players had specifically requested a mostly slice-of-life, relaxed session, and had pointed out that they wished to see the impact that they had on the various peoples that they had rescued.
So they could have gone to visit the worlds that they had an impact on, inspecting the outcomes of their actions and getting to direct their own movements through quaint villages, majestic cities and ending with a visit to some important civic location where they're each given a medal and a key to the city.
This way, the players get to pick the direction they're going in (shall we visit the statue they've erected in our image, or do we accept the child's coat-tugging invitation to visit their farm for a family dinner, or perhaps we're above that sort of thing and we're off to hob-nob with nobility), which gives them some feeling of control and something to do. The players will steer themselves towards the sort of thing they're interested in, and the choices they make get to help them say something about what their characters are like. Receiving wave after wave of visitors doesn't give the players much choice but to sit there and take it. That gets dull.
>Receiving wave after wave of visitors doesn't give the players much choice but to sit there and take it.
Consider that "meeting waves after waves of visiting dignitaries" is usually the sort of dull situation that characters tend to try and avoid in stories. It's an opportunity to sneak off and have some fun while boring, dull people shake hands and exchange pleasantries.
I ask my players what they would like and find enjoyable all of the time. The issue is that either: (A) I wind up misconstruing what they would like, because it seems that I am so poor at reading my players that I misunderstand most if not all of their requests, or (B) I cannot understand what they are saying *at all*, and the players would not like to expound any more, because expound more would be practically telling me what to do, which the players are seemingly recalcitrant to do.
This had not occurred to me because the players are not fond of traveling too much as part of their slice-of-life sessions. For some reason I can never quite fathom, they take great comfort and enjoyment in simply talking to NPCs in limited locations (usually going no further than a single block in a single city), and are only really willing to travel when it is time for adventure.
It certainly would have been a good idea otherwise. I imagine I could have adapted your idea into some sort of a makeshift "embassy district" idea which would have worked just as well.
I simply do not understand why players even enjoy these banal slice-of-life sessions, and I certainly do not find it very entertaining in an action and adventure campaign. (I run *another* campaign that is a dedicated slice-of-life game).
It simply registers to me as irrational to expect to have a game that accommodates both equally well without diluting one or the other.
I can run a dedicated slice-of-life game *or* a dedicated action and adventure game, but running both in the same campaign is where I have trouble.
Whenever I ask my players, they simply respond that "a mix is good" without ever being able to articulate *why* they would find a mix entertaining, as opposed to a campaign specializing in one sort of activity and doing that activity well.
>I imagine I could have adapted your idea into some sort of a makeshift "embassy district" idea which would have worked just as well.
Stop that, the players don't want the emissary of Fuckistan brown-nosing their tight adventurer butts before asking for aid, they want to see children dressed in a crude imitation of their own attire playing Knights and Knaves, or a wizard wanting the arcane caster to sign their spellbook, or the barbarian getting a lengthy back n' forth courtship ritual by a tribe that's *confident* he or she will want to breed with their blushing bride/groom.
>I simply do not understand why players even enjoy these banal slice-of-life sessions, and I certainly do not find it very entertaining in an action and adventure campaign. (I run *another* campaign that is a dedicated slice-of-life game).
It's a way to vent the pent up stress of an adventure and recognize that yes, you're doing shit that matters! I'm not saying every adventure needs to end in a big ole party, but if the players play a pivotal role in stopping the Army of Darkness from descending on Good Kingdom, you should be preparing a (half) session of the players getting their mental dicks stroked for it.
While I thank you for your suggestions (which contain ideas that would have never occurred to me), I fear that I would manage to execrably muck up their execution to the point of unenjoyability. It seems that the players would no longer like *any* prolonged period of recognition and thanks from NPCs after that last session, so perhaps the players' suggestion mentioned in >>44835177 is what I will do in the future.
Still, I suspect that the players will request more slice-of-life sessions in the future (just not related to being thanked for their efforts; they simply enjoy slice-of-life in general even when it means *not* getting things done with action and adventure).
>Still, I suspect that the players will request more slice-of-life sessions in the future
Offer them slice of life sessions after climactic ends to arcs; they shouldn't be too hard to plot out. Include NPCs that they've taken a shine to over the arc, think of ways in which you can show that the players have achieved something, possibly by comparing/contrasting to locations they've visited before. The PCs could see a village being evacuated due to the threat of whatever it is the party is opposing, with the epilogue slice-of-life focusing on helping a family come back to the village, for instance.
Don't be afraid to be direct and go "what sort of shit do you want?" and, if players go "this is the sort of shit we want", take it into serious consideration. If you don't want to directly ask them, scenarios in which player characters can pick their directions and choices of action will help inform you what sort of thing they're going to want to do; players are rarely going to choose something they're not interested in.
One character is a trumpet archon, one of Mount Celestia's designated heralds and field agents. They are the "cool elder sibling" type with a frosty exterior and a calm, composed charisma to them, but they are actually quite hasty (for good or for ill) and they have never been the especially smart or well-read sort (by their species' standards). They have the tendency to underestimate their own power. They specialize in sound, healing, and protection/wards/binding magic, and are no stranger to swordplay.
Another character is a lesser (far, far lesser) constellate, a manifestation of a constellation. Specifically, a constellation of Mount Celestia's night sky that was once a mere constellation of a cat, but has since become dead stars and black holes. The character is quite feline in persuasion and in mannerisms. They are the "timid yet studious younger sibling" type, ever skittish, meek (often creating significant communications issues even in critical situations), and weak-willed, yet also very clever and well-read. They likewise have the tendency to underestimate their own power. Their magical specialties are gravity, light, and portals, and they can fend for themselves with their claws.
The trumpet archon has taken the constellate as a (willing) familiar of sorts even before the game had begun.
>Offer them slice of life sessions after climactic ends to arcs
That is what I have been doing, but it has reached the point wherein they sometimes want *two* slice-of-life sessions in a row. My logs show me that the game has a 1:2 ratio of slice-of-life sessions to action and adventure sessions, which means that the game has been *one-third slice-of-life*, which hardly seems right to me.
Would this not take place during the adventure itself? Logically, if they are going to save a place, they would get to see the "before" and then personally make it the "after."
>"what sort of shit do you want?"
Just came here to say I'm reading OP in her voice.
I find games that mix "action and adventure" and "slice-of-life" roleplaying to be unenjoyable.
In my view, you should pick one or the other without diluting it. I have been running a pure, dedicated slice-of-life campaign for a while now, and it has been running swimmingly.
Meanwhile, a campaign that mixes "action and adventure" and "slice-of-life" always bores me during the latter segments, because for every session the players spend simply faffing about in town, they could be making an impact on the world or actually advancing the plot (thereby producing *results*).
My players tell me that slice-of-life roleplaying is something that happens at a ratio of 1:1 (compared to "action and adventure") to 1:4 in most campaigns, with many groups content to simply roleplay their characters doing nothing of note other than talking to each other and not doing anything particularly plot-relevant. Is this true? And if so, why does one never hear about it on, say, /tg/?
They enjoy it barely enough to keep playing (and have been doing so for a very, very long period of time) even when most sessions are flops in their eyes, with them finding a legitimate issue to complain about after every session.
Meanwhile, I have a campaign that I would like to run and that I would never forgive myself for dropping (and they would never forgive me either).
The players in question are the only ones who have proven capable of withstanding me and my "aberrant" and "extremely different from that of most people [they] know" mindset, and thus I must accommodate their tastes.
I run a slice-of-life one-on-one game for one of them that goes on without issue, but my attempts at action and adventure games have proven to be resounding failures, possibly because we have greatly differing expectations on "action and adventure" that we can never seem to reconcile even after having been together for so long.
You could maybe start at a 1:1 ratio and slowly transit towards one end or the other, it'd capture the feeling of how most of such adventures would go. Players would start trying to fit both goals into what their characters do, but eventually they'd either realise a higher calling is more important than pursuing simple desires or that they're not fit for grand things and settle down. By the end of the adventure they should have all but completly given up on one of them and if not, show them it's too tasking to conciliate both.
>withstanding me and my "aberrant" and "extremely different from that of most people [they] know" mindset
>my attempts...have proven to be resounding failures
>we can never seem to reconcile even after having been together for so long
>most sessions are flops in their eyes, with them finding a legitimate issue to complain about after every session.
>I would never forgive myself for dropping (and they would never forgive me either
OP, you're worrying me here. Are you ok?
Oh, you are the guy who previously complained how you absolutely were unable to run the game right and how you and your players just always misunderstood each other and your feedback session lasted longer than the games themselves.
I guess people called you a touhoufag then and you have some sort of shitposting reputation. I wouldnt know since I dont follow board drama.
To keep it simple, Touhoufag is legitimately autistic, keep that in mind, though I personally like him, the posting style is good for a change and liked his planescape threads.
But then, I don't like 3.pf that much and I hear that's where he posts more often, so who knows?
You're funny, posting in a thread made by a person who you don't care about and don't know drama on but yet still identify correctly with various details and take the time to point this out.