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The Results From My First Gameing Session As The Keeper. 
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Skobbit

Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:00 am
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Post The Results From My First Gameing Session As The Keeper.
For those of you who posted on my previous topic, thank you. Your advice was invaluable. And for anyone curious about how my first attempt at Castle Keeping went, here's a recap:

Based on what my players had told me throughout the week, I had planned on running a game with the following four characters; an Elf Paladin, a Dwarf Cleric, a Gnome Illusionist, and a Half-Elf Bard. We had agreed to start play at 8:00pm. What actually happened is we started play at 9:30ish and the final group was this; an Elf Paladin, a Half-elf Cleric, a Gnome Illusionist, a Half-elf Rogue, a Human Monk, and an Elf Ranger. I wasn't expecting the two extra players and it ended up taking about an hour to build those characters.

When play finally got underway I introduced the mission with the character's overhearing a couple of conversations in town mentioning the trouble in Malforten (I started The Rising Knight module). I then had the group meet up on the road, after each of them decided to head east for either riches or to help this pitiable town. Introducing the first five characters was easy, as they were all goodly aligned characters and they could share a common goal. Introducing the chaotic evil Elf Ranger took some doing as his intentions weren't known to the group at large and our Paladin likes to be liberal when detecting evil. But in the end it all worked out and the group was complete. After a few days of travel and a fight with some Goblins and a Gnoll, our heroes were finally in view of the town they set out towards. And that's about where we ended play.

The Ranger was a complete @$$ to the rest of the group and totally racest towards the half-elves (calling them half-breeds) to the point of completely ignoring them. The Gnome Illusionist hated this and couldn't stand the Elf Ranger, even though the Ranger ended up really liking the Gnome. The Paladin was wise and discerning and even though the Ranger was evil, decided that the more help they had defeating this menace the less needless bloodshed there would be. However, the Paladin, the Rogue, the Monk, and the Gnome, still hated the Ranger with a passion. The Cleric was indifferent, as his god was the god of knowledge and wisdom, "And with knowledge and wisdom comes peace."

Some of the highlights of the evening were when the Monk (using a bill) uppercut a goblin in half (rolling a natural 19 to hit and a 7 to damage); when the Rogue climbed up a tree and then proceeded to fall out of said tree; and when the Ranger kicked the head off of a goblin (rolling a natural 20 to hit and 4 to damage), which at the time was being held by the Rogue at arms length (the worst joke of the night was when the Gnome said, "Would you say he's being held for questioning?"). So all in all, a great time of gaming.

But I do have a question to ask anyone that has some experience in CKing. It was my first time CKing and it ended up taking me a couple of hours to find a pace that worked. After an hour and a half I really started to find a grove, but things were still a bit slow. We had six players and each one had a cool backstory in mind for there character, and each player wanted to reveal his character to the group throughout the session. However, this caused the gameplay to slow down considerably and it took the group five hours to get through four and a half days of, what should have been, meaningless wilderness travel.

My question is then this: How do I keep my players from fighting over the spotlight while still allowing for fun and interesting roleplay?

-Pirate Rob-


Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:53 pm
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Ulthal
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The only way is to train them slowly. Reward and punishment, but in game.

Use npcs to bring certain characters into the spotlight from time to time.

If one player keeps acting out, wait for him to do it at the wrong time and suffer an in game resulting punishment (the local lord couldn't give two craps that he is a level 1 fighter, nor should the guards).

Now if they had fun spending all night wandering around and roleplaying, jump up and down for joy! Many's the CK who would kill for those kinds of players.

Also, nothing gets their attention like wandering monsters
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Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:58 pm
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Maukling
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If your people are having fun, don't fiddle with it. Finding a certain play balance in your group takes time. Its not going to happen instantly. Your players will soon let you know what they want when they get bored showing off.
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Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:10 pm
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Lore Drake
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Probably a little unrelated, but I often get asked how I do things when the group breaks up. The simplest answer is to do what they do in Hollywood and do frequent breakaways that coincide with natural cliffhangers, small or large. Keep the other non participants involved by telling them to listen to it because it'll save time for the character to explain what happened.

Of, course that latter part you need a group that can clearly distinguish between what your character knows and what they know as a player.

Do not feel that you have to complete one whole session for just one person before moving on to the other guys... otherwise you'll get bored players rummaging around the kitchen asking where the Mountain Dew is and if it is his turn yet.
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Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:54 pm
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Greater Lore Drake
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Part of the difficulty you experienced may be the result of allowing a CE character into the group. Allowing evil PCs can be tricky, especially when the rest of the party is good. The conflicting alignments (plus the general ass-hattery CE characters tend to engage in) can suck up enormous amounts of gaming time.

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Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:27 pm
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Lore Drake
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This is what is known as a "learning moment."

Evil Party Member + Paladin = Bad Mojo.

I'd be surprised if you have any smooth sessions, my friend. Consider asking the ranger player to give you a break as a new CK and change that alignment.
I sure as heck wouldn't want to mediate that. I've been lenient with players and their preferences for a very long time. I still am. That, however, smacks of an experienced player taking advantage of a novice CK that is hesitant to say no.
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Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:38 pm
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Unkbartig
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Quote:
gideon_thorne wrote:
If your people are having fun, don't fiddle with it. Finding a certain play balance in your group takes time. Its not going to happen instantly. Your players will soon let you know what they want when they get bored showing off.



I've seen some great advice in this thread, but Peter's really sums it all up best.

I have my group put together write-ups on their characters that they send me before we start running. I give them some direction as to how the PCs know each other etc., but otherwise they're on their own. If they want to share with each other, they're welcome to but aren't required to. In some circumstances, it comes out in combat, but in others, the showboating comes off during the RP sessions in town. Maybe it's the cleric tithing the local church or helping out the local minister. The knight/paladin helps the little girl get her kitty out of the tree. With a bastard sword. It's okay, sweetie. The cleric here will do a quick wave of his hands and kitty will be just as good as new, won't you cleric? Thieves and inns are too good to pass up, as are bards in that setting.

Bottom line, what Peter said.


Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:44 pm
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Mogrl

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If there becomes a question about cohesion between players, then the game should be put on hold and the issue discussed -- perhaps Player X thinks that is how things are supposed to be, or enjoys the rivalry associated with in-game character battles. In any case, players are like you... unique. They will develop their own methods and wants. As the Castle Keeper, you can gently guide, but its your job to run the game, not mandate it.
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Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:58 pm
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Skobbit

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Quote:
Fiffergrund wrote:
Consider asking the ranger player to give you a break as a new CK and change that alignment.



The Ranger is my best friend so I think he will if I ask him. The problem is that the other players like that sort of conflict within the group. And as much as I like to make my players happy, it just doesn't quite make sense for them to be so good and still allow someone so bad into the group. And with all the added roleplaying that comes with the added drama, most mundane things (like wilderness travel) are taking a really long time and there's not enough forward motion happening. Any ideas on how I can make the players happy while still moving the story along?


Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:31 am
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Lore Drake

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Quote:
The Dread Pirate Robbins wrote:
The Ranger is my best friend so I think he will if I ask him. The problem is that the other players like that sort of conflict within the group. And as much as I like to make my players happy, it just doesn't quite make sense for them to be so good and still allow someone so bad into the group. And with all the added roleplaying that comes with the added drama, most mundane things (like wilderness travel) are taking a really long time and there's not enough forward motion happening. Any ideas on how I can make the players happy while still moving the story along?



That's when I would totally erase any random encounters and other "filler" as they are likely just going to derail the entire session. Just do the main encounters (and maybe add some cool powers to a few monsters to make those a bit more memorable). Also, throw in a good riddle or puzzle as I found that groups that are heavy on the IC stuff generally like those.

What happens if the bad guys capture the ranger? Will the other heroes rescue him? If he frees himself will they suspect treachery? Should they suspect him?
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Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:11 pm
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Red Cap

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Whenever I feel the pace is slipping I ask everyone to roll dice and shoot me a number. I probably don't even have anything in mind or perhaps I have come up with some random events and encounters table (I hate just random encounters... events can be fun) they don't even have to necessarily have to do anything witht he adventure but it can be good to avoid red herrings and use a event or encounter to shoo the players into action if they are dawdeling (spelling)> !

While they roll dice I go around the table and very tersely and excitedly ask "Ok what did you get" and continue around the table nodding "ahh yes" or "oooh thats not good" and the players are all "what what what".

The thing is It doesn't mean shit. I really dont care what their die roll is. Thats the funny part. It's just a way for me to get them agitated. Then I spring the encounter, event, or whatever on them and get them moving.

It could be "small child runs out of the woods screaming."

Or. "You find a body along the side of the road swarming with flies." Maybe a note on the body leads the characters back to the adventure if hey have gone astray.

Town, villiage, and wilderness adventures are hardest for new CK's. Dungeons are easiest as they are often small, confined, and characters are less likely to get completely lost.

Just remember... the non player characters and monster are the key to your game. They have personality, needs, wants, desires, and lives. Even wicked little goblins are about as smart as average humans. They aren't going to keep fighting if they think they might get their ass kicked. They may offer to surrender and give info in exchange for their lives. With a paladin in the group he would be required and duty bound to let a prisoner live. Stuff like that is gaming gold.

Just remember the monster and NPC INT rating. If its high, they are smart, sneaky, ambushers, plotters and if their charisma is high they may also be conversationalists. Not all monsters want to die at the hands of your characters. Some may want to be friends! Use the interesting monsters and NPCs to get the game moving in the direction and at the pace you want it to move.

C.


Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:32 am
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Mist Elf

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Quote:
Quote:
Any ideas on how I can make the players happy while still moving the story along



Well, this is the beauty of being a CK, the power of pacing the story is really in your hands. Perhaps the players are roleplaying to such an extent (and this in itself is to be applauded and encouraged) simply because they feel nothing else is happening. You can either throw in enlivening random encounters along the journey or simply fast-forward to the next event and recount the past few days of travel in retrospect.

e.g.: Simply interject: "The journey to Malforten has been largely unremarkable. The woodland trail has been clear and the few travellers you met along the way have been friendly but guarded. As you crest a slight incline you sight the township in the distance and imagine the mouth-watering scents of roasted boar drifting in the cool air. Finally, you have reached your destination..."

It's quite important, as the CK, to keep the 'right' pace of the adventure. Whether it's the look of boredom in one of your player's eyes or your own sense of stalling, it's your perogative to keep things interesting and enjoyable for everyone, yourself included. Random encounters can be fun but having the next plot-point ready to spring at any point is incredibly handy.

Good Luck mate! Seems like you have a good group to start with so you're well on your way! As discussed above, I'd encourage your friend to convert his evil elf to a more agreeable alignment, as it will likely cause division or implausibility in future. Being in a party with a Paladin and a good Cleric should give him good cause to do so anyway!


Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:11 am
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Unkbartig
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I no longer allow mismatched alignments simply because players seems to think Evil=A$$ and Chaotic=Sociopath.

Your player seems to match my description.

Mark my words: trouble is coming if you allow this matchup to continue. It is easier to avoid a catastrophe than control one once it breaks.

With 6 players you are already pushing the limit. The more numbers the longer the wait, the quality of role-playing goes down, and the level of unruliness and showboating goes up.

6 is the ultimate maximum number of players I allow any more. I have gone up to 8-9 and it just adds up to players shouting over each other and waiting for long periods of time for their turn.

This in effect results in players showboating due to the little amount of table time they get invested in their characters. I think they compensate for limited game time by showboating in the little time they do get.

If you want less showboating then lower the number of players that will be competing for attention and focus more on them and their stories.

Allow the "Showboater" to be attacked, robbed, and generally harrassed more often as a result of making a mark of themselves.

Pacing is a bit tricky for me too. For some reason I am better pacing an impromptu adventure I am forced to make on the fly than the published material.

Learn to read your players level of excitement/boredom.

Keep your players pressed for time. If they wish to overanalyze and over discuss then move them along with some sort of challenge that forces them to get into the action.

Try to identify a player that is experienced, positive, and capable of helping you push the others along. Steer clear of negative nellies with a plethora of experience. Their negativity will effect the game and their level of knowledge may be a hindrance when when you are forced as CK into dealing with their negativity.

My two cents...
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Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:03 pm
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Skobbit

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Thanks to everyone who posted, you all make me feel like a valued member. You've all helped my group to grow into a fun and fast paced gaggle of gamers. I was going to keep posting the results of our gaming sessions so that you could all see what it's like for a bunch of gamers to grow from the ground up, but we've had about twelve sessions since I first posted this and by now it's a little late. Haha But I hope this post and future posts of mine will help the beginners on this site, since my questions feel a bit beginnerish.


Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:51 am
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Ulthal
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Glad to hear you are still going strong!

Cheers for the New Year!
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Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:55 am
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As Aslan said, glad to hear your group is having fun.

And don't worry about "beginnerish" questions. We were all beginners once, and even those of us who've been at it for decades can still learn something new from time to time!

Keep having fun. That's the important thing.
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Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:30 pm
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Lore Drake

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Quote:
The Dread Pirate Robbins wrote:
Thanks to everyone who posted, you all make me feel like a valued member. You've all helped my group to grow into a fun and fast paced gaggle of gamers. I was going to keep posting the results of our gaming sessions so that you could all see what it's like for a bunch of gamers to grow from the ground up, but we've had about twelve sessions since I first posted this and by now it's a little late. Haha But I hope this post and future posts of mine will help the beginners on this site, since my questions feel a bit beginnerish.



We need more beginnerish stuff.
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Sat Dec 26, 2009 6:29 pm
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Henchman

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This was a very useful thread for me to read. My usual group has been very entertaining running a CnC campaign for the past two months now. I have recently began a little activity on the side to try and hone my CK skills in hopes of giving our usual CK a break eventually since he has ran our sessions for the past year regardless of what rule set we are using. I know there was a point around mid year where I think he was getting a little burned out. So I have enlisted a couple of close friends to help me experiment with things and learn the ropes of running games. So far it has been fairly smooth but this post gave me several pointers to improve the flow and game play at the same time. I just wanted to thank all those that gave constructive feedback to this thread for all of us new CK's!


Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:01 pm
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Lore Drake

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Quote:
chad.b wrote:
This was a very useful thread for me to read. My usual group has been very entertaining running a CnC campaign for the past two months now. I have recently began a little activity on the side to try and hone my CK skills in hopes of giving our usual CK a break eventually since he has ran our sessions for the past year regardless of what rule set we are using. I know there was a point around mid year where I think he was getting a little burned out. So I have enlisted a couple of close friends to help me experiment with things and learn the ropes of running games. So far it has been fairly smooth but this post gave me several pointers to improve the flow and game play at the same time. I just wanted to thank all those that gave constructive feedback to this thread for all of us new CK's!



Welcome to the boards, Chad!

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:22 pm
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