Seeking Recommendations on Campaign


Advice


Hi all.

I have a game that I started up relatively recently. It was a challenge to approach it, as only one of the five players had played Pathfinder before - and his experience wasn't much by any means (he didn't even know a feat like Weapon Finesse existed) - and only one other person had ever done tabletop stuff, but they're all my friends, and they're all geeky, so I thought it'd be fun. And it was. Was.

We haven't met for a long time, about a month or so, and we won't be able to meet for another couple of weeks because of plans already set. Why we don't meet changes from week to week, but it's usually that there's always one or more people who have decided to not show for one reason or another. The guy giving me the most problems in terms of showing up - as in, has not shown up, ignoring calls and texts - is vital the current story (he's the only dwarf in the party, and they were brought into their first dwarven mountain where they were only welcomed because of him), so it's hard to proceed without him.

At this point, I'm kind of thinking of just scraping this campaign, and coming up with something that fits better to a group that can't be relied on to show in full. This would be a more "gamist" campaign, less story focused, I think, but my other players are getting tired of not being able to play. My thoughts at this moment are some sort of military or guild or otherwise organized structure of people where missions, named whatever is appropriate, occur roughly once a week in real life, so whoever shows can go and I can just modify the numbers on the fly to fit the relative strength of the party. This idea isn't new, I don't believe, but I've never done anything like it.

Has anyone ever tried anything like this? Would it work, are there problems that arise? If not, do you have a possible solution to my situation?

I appreciate any and all advice.

Sovereign Court

Wow this is a toughy. It sounds like your players are basically playing only if they have nothing else better that they want to do. As such this does make it hard to run a campaign. The only suggestion that I have is to run the Pathfinder Society Modules for them as they are self contained 4-5 hour stories, or create something that is of a similar nature. That way you wont have to worry so much as to who will be there or not at the next session. You still can have an over-arching story, it is just harder to pull off.

The only other thing is to talk with the group about this and find a common time that everyone can meet. Real life happens of course, but there should be a solution. If I have 9 players about to make every seconded Saturday then your group should be able to find a day/time frequency that works for them.


I second the above answer, try and have stories that can be finish in one session. The PFS mods work great for that. Many of them link together to tell greater stories. You can also delve into the faction stuff to add extra material.
Just remember that a two level difference is the most you should have between PCs.

For leveling I would go with the with every 2 adventures you complete you get a level and if some one gets to far a head have them make another character they can play.

Have the society take all of their all treasure gained on the missions but grant them 55% of their wealth by level and the opportunity to but any item they find on the mission for half price but only if they can afford it right after the mission. This allows you to have them find and use really high level stuff but they do not get to keep it. A +5 Vorpal sword is great fun at 4th level but it will ruin a game if the PC can keep it. The response to "My character would not turn this over." is the Pathfinders would not send some one on this mission would not turn it over.

New PCs come in at 95$ wealth but can be up to two levels less then the highest level PC at the table.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I ran some games last year focused around a megadungeon (I modified an ooooold Judges Guild module for the basis) that had the intention of doing something like this, encapsulating each session and making the game more episodic. Whoever was there could join the outgoing "party" and they withdrew back across the river to the safety of the ramshackle town there at the end of each session.

Something like that makes it a lot more easily adaptible to changing attendance. I also let them sell their maps of the areas they'd explored to the other parties to make some cash on the side (off each other..) and the old-school mapping was fun for a lot of the newer players that weren't around in 1e/2e.


Vendis wrote:

At this point, I'm kind of thinking of just scraping this campaign, and coming up with something that fits better to a group that can't be relied on to show in full. This would be a more "gamist" campaign, less story focused, I think, but my other players are getting tired of not being able to play. My thoughts at this moment are some sort of military or guild or otherwise organized structure of people where missions, named whatever is appropriate, occur roughly once a week in real life, so whoever shows can go and I can just modify the numbers on the fly to fit the relative strength of the party. This idea isn't new, I don't believe, but I've never done anything like it.

Has anyone ever tried anything like this? Would it work, are there problems that arise? If not, do you have a possible solution to my situation?

I feel your pain. It can be very hard to keep a group gaming regularly.

I think your idea of a "mission based" campaign would definitely help. Make the campaign episodic with each session having a clear beginning, middle and end. That way each episode can stand alone and doesn't rely on the same players each week.

In this format it's still possible to loosely connect the episodes but not have them rely on one another or a particular character. It's actually similar to what Pathfinder has done with their PFS modules.

I'm thinking of doing something similar in my next campaign. I may make all the PCs part of an investigation/problem solving team employed by a town. Each game the group would be contacted by officials to "look into something" that may be a concern.


Take control of the guys character asa DMPC, and play without him. The partty still has that connection, the story hasnt changed, and you and your players can move on without him.


i looks like the dwarf dont wanna play.
Maybe you can turn him in to an NPC ? And if the player turns up make him make another player ?

good luck :)


The majority of the players want to play and almost always ask with down faces why we aren't playing when I announce we aren't. If none of them cared, I have no problem simply not playing, because I plenty to keep myself busy, but I don't want to brush off those that want to. I just have a gap that would have occurred regardless, so I'm hoping to try to remedy the situation before we would otherwise meet again.

I've thought about the modules, but the thing is, since there's virtually no experienced players, getting the group to move forward has been slow. If they pick up on what they should do, they do very time-wasting stuff to prepare for it, and if they miss the clues, they think they've figured it out, so they prepare for wrong stuff in the same manner anyway.

Part of it might be on me, but I've GM'd for others without that issue, so I believe it's more based on their experience.


mission based "episodic" campaigns run into problems in my experience: Like any TV show, once it has gone for enough seasons you run out of dissimilar enough storylines. Things start to sound the same. There may be an overarching storyline, but it ends being a "monster/mission of the week" episode situation.

You also need to make a new campaign, and your other players will (presumably) need to make new characters. ITs a lot of effort because of one player failing to show up.

Just take over his character as a DMPC. keep your campaign, your hard work, and your players. IF he shows up again, give him he character back for the session, keep the sheet for when he doesn't.

This way everyone is happy, you dont have to do more work than you have already done.


It sounds to me like with so many new players that you do need to put them on some rails for a bit since they don't really know any better. I'd build it out to suite each of them - ask each of them to provide you with as detailed a background as you can get from them and each session have them doing something that relates to one of their character backgrounds until the understand the game better.

OR

If you don't like that, you can go with cutting down on the choices that are available for them to make so that they aren't paralyzed by too many of them. Give them straight up A or B types of things such as:

A) The lord of the city has sent out messengers far and wide to have someone investigate the nearby mine. The miners all went missing and every time he sends in someone to see what has happened, that person disappears.

B) There are goblins ransacking a local farming village and stealing babies, they need to be hunted down and killed.

You give them those two type of choices at the beginning of each session and have the monsters/encounters prepared ahead of time and you'll be golden. It'll give them something they picked and give you only a couple of things to prepare for, then they go off and have fun with your adventure.


I tend to view no-shows and no communication behaviors as a sign to move on. If someone flat out ghosts on me for two sessions with literally no information...I confirm that they are still alive through some means or another, and then either absorb their PC as an NPC or just let them take the first exit off the campaign freeway as it were. There are so many reasons why people go dark on communications that it's pointless to speculate about your pal. Hopefully he's okay and will decide to play with Pathfinder with you and the other cool kids at some point.

If everyone else is into playing, then cater to the fans. It's kind of silly to derail playing because of one person when you have a number of others thinking..."man our GM is a nice guy but he keeps canceling our sessions for [fill in ghost's name here]." If you hold out on em too long, they'll just move along to other distractions and then you'll be left with a head full of ideas and stories and no one but your dog/cat/fish to tell them to.

And roleplaying with canines isn't as fun as you'd think...I guess they're just better at poker.

TLDR; Don't sweat over spacey nerds :-). Huddle up with the remaining folks who ARE interested and bash some baddies, loot some bodies, and discover ancient unknowable secrets.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Seeking Recommendations on Campaign All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.