Jump to content

I need you advice? Assistance, Help?


Recommended Posts

I feel that I am running episodes in a formula.

 

- The PCs are already at the location.

- The PCs following up a clues.

- The PCs are not investigators and lack a number of skills needed to find the villains.

 

So the question is...

- Do I use an organization to support, give direction, or otherwise help the PCs?

- Do let the PCs struggle?

- Do I continue to place the PCs at the location of the events?

- Do I continue to give them blatant clues?

 

Note none of my players have complained, but I am sensing some disatisfaction. When battles do happen they kick villian butt.

 

 

 

Thanks

 

QM

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

It's time to sit down with your players and figure out if any of them want to play a game where there are investigations, or whether they just want to be thrown into the action and then deal with whatever comes as it comes.

 

Some players just *hate* investigating anything.

 

Another way to cure this tendency in your players is to give them the kind of game they want... but then throw in curveballs and complications that they could have avoided if only they'd bothered to investigate deeper than the surface.

 

Say, apparently foiling a massive bank robbery, but the replacement security guards are the real thieves... and they could have found out beforehand if only they'd bothered to follow up on a semi-obvious clue.

 

The subsequent press conference and/or police investigation should be a very interesting one for the heros... in the same sense as the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

I agree that you need to sit down with the players and ask them what kind of game they want. If they want to do investigations, well, there are lots of ways to investigate. They can ask Contacts for information. If they have good conversation skills(or even high COM or PRE), they can try to sweet talk info out of someone. They can use Streetwise to "check for rumors".

 

One very useful thing I've found for introducing plot seeds is to create "fake newspaper". One write up is always the last adventure (if it took place in public). That gives the players a good idea how their characters are perceived. The other stories generally contain plot hooks. Some are obvious, others less so. This means you need to take a weekend to write out 3 or 4 adventurers, but once that is done,you can go back to creating at a normal pace. Each week, add a new story (with a new plot) to the newspaper and throw out another element to the things they didn't investigate or solve last time. Another way to get the characters involved in a story is to have one of their Contacts call for help. Remember, it's a two way street. I generally assume that any Contact the PC takes has the PC as a Contact with a similar write up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

I personally love detective work. As a GM I like putting in those little clues that the players may never find, but which open up whole new avenues of possibility when if they do discover them. And, if I have a group with the right skills, I love writing adventures that hinge on such enigmas.

 

However, if the whole party lacks one iota of deductive prowess, investigations work becomes a massive drag on the game.

 

Players get bored with their inability to contribute/roll dice. The GM get's annoyed with how long the players sit around trying to figure things out when the answer is CLEARLY right in front of them. Or, if the plot really hangs on it, everyone tends to get frustrated with the inability of the group to progress anywhere. I've also been in plenty of games where I was playing a character that WAS NOT a detective and was not interested in such things. But since it was the only way the plot could advance I "cheated" and acted the detective anyhow. This often involves bad roleplay and/or using knowledge that the character might not have at hand to make "leaps of logic".

 

Mind you, I've encountered the exact opposite too. Players trying to find clues where there absolutely are none. Talk about a way to slow a game to a crawl :idjit:

 

Ultimately, the best way to figure this out is to just sit down and discuss everyone’s expectations. After all, you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes if you just know how to talk to the right people ;)

 

Maybe they would prefer an NPC to "dispatch them" to the scene.

 

Perhaps they want to be more proactive and go out on patrol. How many times has Spider-man just stumbeled upon a crime in progress?

 

Maybe they want to deal with more interpersonal character issues relating to their own individual backgrounds (if they all have background related Hunteds and DNPC, this is possibly a good direction to go in).

 

Perhaps you need to feed them more "rampage through the city" style villains.

 

You might even have a player that would really LOVE to play the role of team detective, but maybe he was trying something different this time and made a dumb brick or hot headed energy projector or something similar.

 

You really won't know til you ask...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

Well, what is their gaming style? The above advice is excellent, but it depends on your group..

 

If you have characters who like doing investigations, they'll do it themselves..

If you have characters who like interacting with the GM's PC's, develope them contacts and NPC's they can "manage".. Asking a street gang to keep tabs on Mr. X, an enamored Police Cadet sliding information to the pc's under the table at a diner, weaker NPC hero's who are more detectivy than the heros giving them the run-down on what's happening to the city, rival criminals or villains trying to sabotage their enemies plans by sending anonymous notes to the pc's, the PC's base AI making some Deductions or Statistical analysis on the basic information the PC's have uncovered, Plain Old Luck rearing it's head, A female investigative journalist with a crush on the hero trying to lend a hand..

 

If you develope these NPC's to expect favors or info in return, you'll have a rich interaction going on between the players and your universe, and never lack "hooks" to get the PC's to the big battles.

 

Dresdan from the Dresdan files used to hang around important people and be a dangerous annoyance untill they gave him information to get him away from them...

 

Whatever you do, don't let the PC's struggle.. Not having fun is the easiest way to lose members from a gaming group, considering what the whole point of the game is..

 

But all that aside - how about a rundown of the characters and their players style (maby just ask them a single question, what's the funnest way for your character to find crime to get a couple sentance answer) - With that sort of ammo, I'm sure these guys can come up with some gems.

 

-CraterMaker

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

I've used Mike W's suggested "fake newspaper" in my campaign, almost exactly like he described (a recap article, plus 2-3 articles on odd stuff that the heroes might investigate, and usually one small filler article). You can do the same thing with reading off news from the radio or TV, though.

 

Assuming that your players are not rabidly against investigating, but maybe just aren't highly motivated to dig for clues or simply don't know *how* to investigate...

 

I found that, if you make something compelling enough, they'll investigate it and try harder just to satisfy their curiousity. Basically, try for a "WTF?!" moment.

 

Example #1: A group of VIPER agents are robbing local branches of a particular bank -- but only taking the coins and leaving the dollar bills behind (other than a few agents pocketing handfuls for themselves).

 

A courier was carrying a computer chip disguised as a dime, containing information on covert VIPER operatives, but courier got mugged and the coin got spent at a store, then went in the store's nightly deposit to a bank. If they dig, they might learn of VIPER roughing up some muggers and thugs in one part of town, and also breaking into a mom-and-pop store in the same area. Actually, a hero on patrol might happen upon the agents there, giving them a throwaway combat and a plot hook combined.

 

 

Example #2: Prominent citizens are doing very odd and illegal things -- the mayor robs a liquor store, a local millionaire is caught rolling drunks for spare change, etc. Then, this same thing happens to one of their DNPCs, doing something clearly out of character, and he/she doesn't remember doing it afterward.

 

All have the same model of cell phone, which has been modified by Utility as part of a plan to draw the heroes into a trap. Or the cell phone is normal, but the "free leather case" that came with the phone is soaked in a mind-altering drug, making the user extremely suggestible for a short time.

 

 

Example #3: A number of animals (of the more intelligent variety) are stolen from the local zoo, and replaced with stuffed versions of the original, each with nearly the same coloration and markings (in some cases, dyed in manually).

 

Someone with animal empathy or control skills simply wants to use the animals to break into a high-security company. The stuffed animal thing is just a quirk, as is the same markings. This one is just a "made you look" thing. Don't do that too often, but once in a while is fine.

 

 

As to investigations vs. combat in general, I've found that my players all like at least one combat a night, even if they're investigating something that they aren't near the end of yet. And sometimes, they just don't want to play detective but want to beat heads. No problem with obliging them in that regard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

If your guys have been in action for a while, their enemies (if they have any)should be coming after them in some way.

 

In a table top game I ran, the heroes blew up the villains' base but didn't get all of the villains. So when the villain showed up wanting satisfaction, they knew they were in trouble.

CES

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

How are your players spending their XP, QM? If the players want more investigations in game, but the characters lack the skills for it, then I would look at the possibility of letting them learn investigation skills in game and then buying the skills w/ XP. There should just be some initial venturing into the investigative field by one or two characters - maybe they happen upon a clue but have no idea what it means, and as they try to figure it out, they learn a few investigative techniques that will help them in the future, too.

Or they could spend some time with Detective Soandso from the local PD, learning how to work a crime scene, etc.

 

Basically, though, if it's something that your players really want to delve more in to, and if it's something that YOU want to do, I would try to create a way to work it into your game.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

This really sounds like a game-flavor and player-preference question. BoloOfEarth's closing paragraph gets toward this. Are they all Butt-Kickers with little interest in any other aspect of a game?

 

If that's not the case (that is, they're OK with roleplaying legwork but just aren't putting the pieces together) then you should consider the possibility that it is only to you that the clues lead straightforwardly to the solution. I've been in a couple of campaigns lately as a player that were overcharged with player-GM mutual frustration. In one, the "next step" in the GM's logic chain was one I found to be completely spurious. In another, the constructed only-way-out was something that set off all my personal alarms (both as player and in character) as a deathtrap.

 

This brings up a more serious possibility, too. It is very easy to be seduced by your own logic, valid or not, and to feel that a puzzle is obvious when No One Else In The Room can make the associations you have.

 

A potential situation is that the players think that they are doing investigations, actively seeking the solution to your puzzle, trying to find anything to get a handle on this completely brain-fried trick question you've plunked immoveably in front them, and that you're cutting off their efforts, dismissing them as irrelevant, unworkable, "you don't have the time/resources/contacts/skills to do that", "that's not in genre", or merely silly or stupid. This also happened in those cases I mentioned above. If this is going on in your situation, you're on the verge of open player revolt -- one you deserve, because you're actively punishing their best roleplaying efforts. A frank, open talk out of character about what's going on is the only way to recover from that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

I will speak only for myself in this situation, as a player in QM's game. I like the investigative side, I'm just bad at it. I'm trying to develop some investigative skills for my character, but as a player, I'm no good at that sort of thing. I've still been wondering who did it at the end of a mystery novel. I've only made it to some isolated sessions, so I don't know what else to offer.

 

Do the other characters have contacts, family or friends? Can you complicate their lives useing said people? Could work? Depends on the players. I'm game for that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

That's a good point, Evil Steve. Even if your character has the skills (like Conversation, Deduction, and Forensic Medicine), it can be frustrating if you can't do those skills yourself or don't understand the results of a successful roll. And roleplaying those skills should be fun, not frustrating. If I had a skill that irritated me personally to use, I'm not likely to use it much.

 

*Shrug* Not sure how to resolve that problem. It would be boring to just say "Okay, roll your Conversation roll. Made it? All right, the thug lets slip that BigBadGuy is hiding in the DynaPlast warehouse on Seventh." But if the player isn't quick on his feet verbally, he's not likely to even try using Conversation if it means he has to roleplay it. Likewise with other investigative skills.

 

Perhaps, I dunno, let the players help each other out OOC, even though their characters couldn't actually be chiming in. If SuperDood has Deduction but his player can't mentally connect the dots, maybe HyperGuy's player can help draw the lines in if he gets what the GM is saying, and can present it in a way that SuperDood's player can understand better. And if HyperGuy's player is a verbal slowpoke, maybe SuperDood's player can suggest some things to say that might cause the thug to spill the beans.

 

BTW, QM, I hope you're not taking any of this as slamming your GMing. Since we don't have a lot of the picture, much of this is wild (and probably wrong) shots in the dark.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

So the question is...

- Do I use an organization to support, give direction, or otherwise help the PCs?

- Do let the PCs struggle?

- Do I continue to place the PCs at the location of the events?

- Do I continue to give them blatant clues?

 

To directly answer your questions (just noticed, I never did that):

 

(1) NPCs helping the PCs by providing skills they lack is okay, so long as they don't overshadow the PCs. If the NPCs are doing too much, that can be just as frustrating to the players. Now, the NPCs helping the players learn the skills they need, then slowly taking a back seat... that's a horse of another color.

 

Example: PC is working with MCPD detective Baker. Baker shows PC how to quick talk a mook. PC learns Conversation skill. At a later interrogation, PC watches Baker unsuccessfully try to intimidate a different thug, but notices something in the thug's file about a kid sister. After Baker storms out of the interrogation room in a huff, PC points out to the thug that BigBadGuy's latest plan might endanger the thug's sister, convincing him to spill the beans. Now PC has done something that the NPC failed to do. Makes the player feel quite good, and he's likely to try something similar again.

 

(2) Just let the PCs struggle? No, this will aggravate the problem IMO.

 

(3) Always placing them at the scene of the crime feels contrived after a while. Don't forget about DNPCs. I had one plot involving Utility, using subsonics to put everybody to sleep, rob a bank where one PC's mother and adopted daughter were standing in line. They were never in any real danger, but them being there (1) made it personal, and (2) gave the PC some inside info on what happened. Contacts can be used in similar ways. Maybe their UNTIL contact asks them to help him with a personal issue - his niece is hooked up with an organization that makes him nervous, and is actually a front for a Demonhame. They look into it, and maybe their roll with that Contact goes up one for free.

 

(4) As somebody said, what seems blatant to you might not be to the players. Without knowing the plot and clues themselves, I couldn't say.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

If I had a skill that irritated me personally to use' date=' I'm not likely to use it much.[/quote']

 

Actually, using the skills doesn't annoy me. Taking a skill for a character that a player doesn't personally have is typical to gaming. In some cases its critical (eg-necromancy, I hope no one in real life has this skill). For my character to reason out a solution via skill roles is vital for me as I'm typically the dumbest guy in the room (if I'm the smartest, I run, possibly screaming). I need those skills. My concern is game sessions being reduced to dice rolls to make up for my weaknesses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: I need you advice? Assistance, Help?

 

why not reboot them as a rapid response team storm-watch/jla style.

 

they have a teleporter, a team of agents to do grunt work an maybe some other NPC heroes who do the investigative work there job is just to solve problems right now.

 

port in fight the baddies, port in stop the disaster, port in assist the police in a bust.

 

then the sci tech boys look over the scene and a new lead emerges and they use it to go to the next location and beat on people.

 

its lease contrived because that's what there supposed to do

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...