As a GM, I try really hard to encourage my players to develop strong "role play" options for their characters, and really try to avoid "railroading" them into the direction I want them to go.....
I am finding that our group has certain "tendencies" that make running AP's very challanging...
1) Characters always seem to be in the Neutral alignment range....it's almost impossible to get them to show any interest in doing something that simply is in the best interest of others, or that helps others without some personal motivation or gain on their part.
2) All are pretty "stubborn" when it comes to following someone elses lead...you would think they where each carrying a shard of pride :)
3) Intimidate seems to be a far more preferable tactic than Diplomacy.
If intimidate fails...they get frustrated that they couldn't "bully" their way through, and disappointed that their characters have to resort to diplomacy with NPC's more powerful than themselves.
As a GM, what advice would you give for trying to develop a more "team" oriented approach ?
FYI: We just started Shattered Star, and I was hoping being a member of the pathfinder society would give them a bit of a motivation to act as a team....but so far they seem to be resorting to their standard MO.
Any advice ?
First, some players are just more oriented toward team play than others. It unfortunately sounds like you've got a bunch of stubborn individualists, so you've got an uphill climb. Some things might work better than others -- but the basic idea overall is -- reward teamwork.
1) Common goal. Since you say they won't do things unless they have strong personal motivation, the challenge you must meet is to find something where those strong personal motivations all play toward the same end. I don't know Shattered Star so I can't comment on the specifics of how the AP would help, but generally some things that can work --
--- if there's a bad guy they need to track down, give each of them a reason to hate the bad guy. The bad guy killed the fighter's sister, stole the wizard's family heirloom, burned down the rogue's house, borrowed the cleric's core rulebook and spilled coffee all over it.
--- Good old bribery. They all work for the Pathfinder Society, what is the Pathfinder Society giving them to do what they need to do? Do they gain rank, priveleges, items? Has the Pathfinder Society perhaps offered a monetary bonus for displays of exemplary teamwork?
--- A mystery that compels them. They each have the same dream, the same mysterious package, or something go missing with the same clues left behind.
You said they tend to be roleplay driven so I would presume they either have back stories or would be willing to provide them -- you can also use this to give them extra common motivations and common ground.
2) For not working together as a team in combat, that should be cured by a fight or two with multiple strong creatures who excel at dividing and conquering. Make sure YOUR teamwork tactics are good -- show the bad guys flanking, ganging up, using excellent group tactics to show how powerful they can be.
3) "Reward" them with teamwork feats (APG), forcing them to set up tactics that make them work together.
4) Regarding the unwillingness to play nice with NPCs -- using Intimidate over Diplomacy, etc. First -- accept to an extent that's their choice. People shouldn't be forced to talk it out any more they should be forced to fight everyone. However, the way they handle things should have reasonable and realistic consequences -- they bully the town guard, the town guard puts them on watch as trouble makers. They bully a shopkeeper -- now all shops refuse to do business with them, or charge unreasonable prices. They bully a noble, rumors of the party's unsavoryness and untrustworthiness begin to circulate through town, and the whole place becomes hostile to them.
Make sure also that you're using the Rule of Three here -- there should be three ways to get any form of clue or information. So that if the AP calls for them using Diplomacy or Intimidate to gain certain information, that you think of a couple other ways they could find the information if they opt out (a note, a trail, etc.).