She's just selfish, doesn't care about anyone else except for her personal drama?


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Dark Archive

So hey I had a question for you guys about what you think of something in a game, something a player said (in character)

Okay, so first quick rundown... In a modern setting game I am running, a local werewolf (who's family in general are not very nice) was killed along with her daughter. The only survivor was the granddaughter. However, those that killed her family were coming after her too... and the players helped save her. So then, a few other things related to that her entire family mow are considered traitors to the werewolves, the characters said... "Ramona doesn't care about anyone but herself, always it's just her personal drama."

Like, okay I get it if as players they don't like the storyline, but... to say something like that in character? Just struck me as off... I mean, her entire family is dead and she's trying to stay alive... is her wanting help with that 'selfish'?

Especially ironic is that if they were to tell her about their current chosen goals, she'd actually be able to send them to someone that can help them out, an old friend of her grandmother's.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:

So hey I had a question for you guys about what you think of something in a game, something a player said (in character)

Okay, so first quick rundown... In a modern setting game I am running, a local werewolf (who's family in general are not very nice) was killed along with her daughter. The only survivor was the granddaughter. However, those that killed her family were coming after her too... and the players helped save her. So then, a few other things related to that her entire family mow are considered traitors to the werewolves, the characters said... "Ramona doesn't care about anyone but herself, always it's just her personal drama."

Like, okay I get it if as players they don't like the storyline, but... to say something like that in character? Just struck me as off... I mean, her entire family is dead and she's trying to stay alive... is her wanting help with that 'selfish'?

Especially ironic is that if they were to tell her about their current chosen goals, she'd actually be able to send them to someone that can help them out, an old friend of her grandmother's.

There are a couple of ways to handle this:

First talk to your players and ask how they got that impression of the NPC. While they explain do not interrupt or correct them. Simply listen. As a GM it's sometimes hard to know what impression the players are getting of your characters or scenarios.

After the players have said their bit, you have a choice, course correct the characterization, put the deadly werewolf assassins on the backburner and have your NPC actively help the PCs accomplish some of their goals.

Alternatively lean into it, their perception is correct, Ramona is super self-interested and cares only about her drama. What started as a survival instinct made it hard for her to care about anything other than survival. She never feels safe, so until her enemies are destroyed she is gonna stay arms length.

Either way, you as the GM don't get to control player reactions, that's not a knob that exists behind the GM screen. You can only alter your story, characterisation or exposition to assist player comprehension.

Dark Archive

Well, right I've already put her on the 'back burner' in that she realizes they hate her, that isn't going to change any time soon, so she'll just find help elsewhere.

As for her helping them, that's my point... she could but they'd never ask and she doesn't know they need her help. They seem to be set on NOT helping any NPCs with problems, yet... expecting the NPCs to be there to assist them... Which is going to be a problem when, trying to help Alice, they go to see her best friend Nessa... and can't find her... Why? Cause she's in a mess trying to fix another 'timed' problem by herself (one which they also were interested in fixing, but they chose to go do the non-timed one and put aside the timed one for later.)

I guess my problem is finding that happy medium between an NPC asking for help based on limited knowledge of the whole situation, vs. an NPC laying out the entire campaign plot (even stuff they sholdn't know) and showing the players just exactly how their goals and the NPC(s) goals are one and the same. Does that make sense?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Talk to your players about their expectations and your expectations in regards to this campaign. This is a problem that is only solved by talking to each other as people, not players or characters. It sounds to me like the players are expecting to be led a bit more explicitly down their backstory plots, while you are expecting the players to go hunting.


Quote:
I guess my problem is finding that happy medium between an NPC asking for help based on limited knowledge of the whole situation, vs. an NPC laying out the entire campaign plot (even stuff they sholdn't know) and showing the players just exactly how their goals and the NPC(s) goals are one and the same. Does that make sense?

Not particularly. Why would it be one extreme or the other? Have the NPCs sat down and actually tried to befriend them or even talked about their goals and how those goals might benefit the group? Or does the group feel they're just put in situations where they have to help?

Quote:
They seem to be set on NOT helping any NPCs with problems, yet... expecting the NPCs to be there to assist them

Does anyone interact outside of one group or the other needing help?

You said they helped Ramona, and are trying to help Alice, so it doesn't come across as they are all _that_ set on not helping. But then, the feeling of fatigue at helping NPCs can set in quite quickly.

Quote:
Especially ironic is that if they were to tell her about their current chosen goals

Is it ironic? She's apparently from a family of traitors, why would they trust her? As Dudemeister says, their perception of the situation might be more extreme than yours.

It's hard to say from your explanations what the players actually know- but even putting aside normal player trust issues with NPCs, I can easily see why the characters wouldn't trust these people either. Are they aware that some problems are 'timed' and others not? Because, similarly, that can just seem like another case of NPCs not being there for them.

Dark Archive

Well, for a bit more explanation on why they are traitors, it's a White Wolf NWoD game and they are a family of Ivory Claws. Long story short if you don't know who they are, they are all about purity and despise any werewolf that would be okay with Luna, even going so far as to kill them. So, when Ashley left the Ivory Claws because she didn't want her daughter growing up among such werewolves, the 'right' thing to do was to hunt her down and kill her. But, the matriarch of the family, Anya, has a stronger sense of family than tribe. Which led to the betrayal. When it was found out that she let Ashley live, the entire family was declared traitors.

The players DO know the important bits of that, that they are traitors for not killing Ashley, not to mention that when the werewolf from England showed up to kill Ramona that she didn't have any problems killing any humans who got in her way, whereas Ramona said she'd go willingly if others were left alone, and yea they helped her then but after that they suddenly did a 180 and didn't want to help her anymore...

As for them helping Alice but not Ramona (anymore), yea it seems they are really wishy-washy on who they are trying to help, and it's confusing.

Like, okay Ramona is pretty much a b~#!%. They don't like her. They don't want to help her.

Lex is the school bully. They don't like him. Yet, he's the 'timed' help that they want to help but are helping Alice first.

Alice they really know nothing about other than she comes to school wearing heavy black leather and a heavy black really wide sun hat, students joke that she's a vampire. They're helping her even though Lex's problem is much more pressing.

Then there is a few NPCs that are involved in some of those other plots, and yet the players don't know that because they're too intent on not even caring why they need help.

It's... kinda confusing, and I'm really not sure how to talk to them about why it's confusing without revealing more information than their characters would have.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:

**SNIP***

It's... kinda confusing, and I'm really not sure how to talk to them about why it's confusing without revealing more information than their characters would have.

Just don't worry about spoilers? Like it's okay to throw down some spoilers so the players have an idea of what's going on. Often it's a good solution to the problem of players not knowing where the railroad is going.

Dark Archive

Problem is, one of the players absolutely hates knowing ANYTHING his player doesn't know... and ya I am trying NOT to railroad, which is why I have a few things going on, but it seems like they were helping Ramona then suddenly did a 180 (partly because of the game's annoying "turn a failure into a dramatic failure and get a free xp" mechanic... they like to use it on information rolls and then act on the false information that a dramatic failure gives them... knowing full well as players that the information they are getting is blatantly false...)

It's almost like they expect a sandbox game (they insist that's not what they want though) even though I've made it clear from the start that while I don't have to go full "Adventure Path" railroad games, I do need some semblance of a basic plot. Which, again I have a few things going on...

However, what really threw me for a loop is as the main title says, the reason they won't the others, yet want to help this 'vampire' chick they don't even know and the school bully is because... they aren't selfish and only care about their own personal drama? A girl whose only concern is getting out of jail (she's in for murdering her father) so she can take care of her sister (she allegedly killed her father in defense of her sister)... how is that not "personal drama" too? The school bully that torments everyone, especially the LGBT students? Why are they caring so much about helping HIM? Makes no sense.

Oh, and yea as for the timed thing, they do know that Lex's soul is slowing dying... six months to a year at most before he soul is annihilated. So, when Lex's half-sister (though they didn't know she was his half-sister at the time) wanted their help in a related matter, that's anther 'personal drama' they don't care about...

As I said before, I really can't see a middle ground of what to tell them out of character that isn't laying out the whole plot.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Gaming the system to get experience is not playing the game. It's playing the mechanics.

Full stop.

Shut that noise down, and indicate that if it continues the exp mine will run out of points.

They seem to want local (read: character) control, or to at least have the feeling of 'agency'.

NPCs more or less shoved into their faces will probably continue to have 'Bizarro' effect depending on what weight you give them, so the players may feel they are expressing agency when in reality they are expressing the opposite.

Do you keep a list of Dramatis Personae for the campaign in a commonly accessible location so everyone can review it? If so, can people see the notes about each individual and how the party has interacted with them thus far?

It doesn't have to be a lot, but these things can help a campaign without giving away significant plot.

Dark Archive

Yea, I'm already thinking I might need to start limiting the whole "take a DF, get an xp" thing (can only do it once a session, but as it's only when you fail a roll, it seems to always happen at the worst times for ME as the GM for the players to get a DF. Also, you don't really get an xp, you get what they call a 'beat' which is 1/5th of an xp.)

As for a Dramatis Personae if you mean what I think you do, yes. I have a "Who's Who" page on the forum (we play on Roll20) where there is information about Anya, Ramona, etc. That's where they got what little they know about Alice too, as that's where I explain how she's super pale and that she always comes to school dressed like any amount of sunlight will kill her. It's also where they know that past Ramona was a total b~++&, although like I said, she's changing because of many things they know about and many things they don't.

As for the "agency" thing, yeah. That's why I said it almost seems they want more of a sandbox game, yet they claim that's not what they want.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I dunno, try introducing some more NPCs with different plot-hooks. Perhaps they do want a bit more of a sandbox.

Honestly, ask your players if they are having fun.

Ask yourself if you are.

It's probably time for a morale check for the game.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Introduce another NPC to give them the info they need. But instead of giving them the info they need, give them a side quest to the info they need. And maybe another side quest after that. When they finally reach their objective they learn original NPC had the short cut.

Maybe they'll even talk to original NPC again, and she can say, "Why would you do that. I can tell you a better way." And maybe charge them too. :-)


People tend to slot others into simple categories; villain, victim, hero, bystander, scumbag, patron... They do this in real life, but especially in RPGs, where these categories are usually correct.

And first impressions tend to last. Once we think someone is a bad person, it takes a lot to make us change our mind.

To make a character more sympathetic there are a number of options:

Have them suffer unfairly.
Victim: "Why are you doing this to me? I don't even know your name!"
Villain: "Your grandfather betrayed my grandfather."
Victim: "I hardly even knew my grandfather!"
Villain: "I like to think that he's down in hell, looking up at me torturing you... Also, I really like hurting people."

Have them do something completely unselfish, perhaps showing awareness of their past failings.
"Here, take this. It's my only valuable possession, but you'll achieve more with it than I ever could..."

Have them try to improve the situation, rather than just complain and wait to be rescued.
"Maybe I could act as bait to draw them out? I know I'm being selfish and probably just getting in your way, but I can't bear to just sit here..."

Reveal that something they did in the past that seemed selfish was actually done for more noble reasons.
"I'm sorry I said I hated you... I just thought that if I drove you away, you'd be safe from my enemies."

Dark Archive

Matthew Downie wrote:
Have them do something completely unselfish, perhaps showing awareness of their past failings.

Well, yeah that's kinda what Ramona did... Knowing full well that the 'rules' won't allow them to kill her, so instead they'll just torture her until she begs them to let her kill herself (which she made very clear that is how the Ivory Claws deal with traitors, and it's even worse because any true Ivory Claw can endure agony for a week that most werewolves would break the first day. It's actually in the book that their tribal initiation they stab you with a silver knife, you can't eat and you can't sleep with the searing pain and if you at any time pull it out yourself, they kill you. Nice ritemasters stab you in the arm or leg, sadistic ones pierce a lung. Ramona's ritemaster was a sadist) she was willing to go with the bad guys if they would leave everyone else in town alone... the bad guys were totally willing to take that deal, but the players were like "Nope, you're not taking her." and saved Ramona, yet they still hate her...

Scarab Sages

You really need to just let it go. Your players don't like this NPC. Don't take it personally. They're not wrong just because they don't like an NPC you thought they would like. Arguing about why they are wrong and should like her is just missing the point. And the more you push against them, likely the more they're going to hate her. Just move on, get them the info from another NPC as others have suggested, maybe lean into it and make her hateful in exactly the way that they've already decided to hate her.

Dark Archive

Well, it's not just her, it's a few others too which I don't understand. Plus, now they have decided they hate this girl Nessa (I'm really not sure why, I guess they think she's rude or something because she didn't say please?) and so they have tonight decided to help her half-brother who is a total jerk to them (he's the school bully) and yet they still want nothing to do with her in trying to help her brother... makes no sense that they'd want to help HIM and yet go out of their way to avoid her (even though initially when they thought she was rude she was going to ask them to help him)

Honestly, it makes me wonder if I just have a problem with not being "polite" myself, and so that comes off in my GMing and so players end up thinking all my NPCs are a+#&~%@s, which is kinda why I started this as I am really not sure what to do at this point.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Zelda Marie Lupescu wrote:

Well, it's not just her, it's a few others too which I don't understand. Plus, now they have decided they hate this girl Nessa (I'm really not sure why, I guess they think she's rude or something because she didn't say please?) and so they have tonight decided to help her half-brother who is a total jerk to them (he's the school bully) and yet they still want nothing to do with her in trying to help her brother... makes no sense that they'd want to help HIM and yet go out of their way to avoid her (even though initially when they thought she was rude she was going to ask them to help him)

Honestly, it makes me wonder if I just have a problem with not being "polite" myself, and so that comes off in my GMing and so players end up thinking all my NPCs are a%%~~%@s, which is kinda why I started this as I am really not sure what to do at this point.

Are all your players dudes, and all the characters they dislike girls. Because that might tell you something about why they have a double standard.

Dark Archive

Yes and no but that's not the case, as there are girls they do like.

However, it's now a moot point because the game just imploded when they thought I was railroading them to go help Nessa, even though had they actually tried to contact her, they'd get her voice mail because she's kinda not available right now since when they refused to help her initially she went alone... I hadn't decided if she was dead or just captured, just knew that she wouldn't be able to do it alone.

I think at this point I'm done GMing, or at least with them. I love GMing, but I've never had this much trouble as I have lately. But it's not their fault, it's mine. That was made clear.

Dark Archive

Thinking more on this the entire night, I think part of the problem is that they players expected something completely different than I ever intended.

See, the game was a modern day game where they were newly changed into werewolf, mage, whatever. So they were anywhere from 16-18. Now, it was my intent for things to happen, kinda like a TV show. Like each adventure is an episode but there might be a week or even a month between them. But it seems they wanted a Dark Shadows High School Edition or something... no skipping, play every day and each game picks up right where the previous one left off. Seeing as how that was never my intention, mostly because that's boring as watching paint dry... but as I said above, it's all my fault, none of it is theirs. (and I'm not looking to blame them entirely, but unlike them I think the fault is with both myself AND them, whereas they just straight up blame me.)

So now, a slight direction change I guess is in order for this thread, anyone ever had a similar situation where it seems the player expectation and GM intention were so far off base from each other?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not these days anymore, I'm super transparent when I come to GMing <_< Like, when I recruit players, I work rather hard to explain them what to expect and what I'm expecting. I did early days have problem when it came to recruiting new players when old ones had to leave due to irl, one really obnoxious snob comes to mind who didn't like system I was running but joined anyway due to boredom and seemed to think he was better than everyone else when it came to roleplaying.

Dark Archive

Well, these two players have played with me before, so they know what happens in my games, and yet that is also part of what made them so mad... because apparently I did the same thing with this game as I did the last game... um... yeah?

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