19 thoughts on “When you have a party that needs a bit of.”

  1. External threat is, of course, the go to, but it can be kind of ham fisted if applied too broadly. If all the external threat wants is to attack PCs, that has no teeth. He needs to have a deeper goal so the PCs have something to counterattack against.

  2. The characters are having difficulty finding a common cause, though, to their credit, they were mashed together in the first three sessions as new players joined and one was lost.

    I try to find situations that give all of them reasons to come together as a group, but it does not always go as planned.

  3. Physical isolation – boats, dungeons, behind enemy lines – the place can drive unity out of necessity. Social isolation (language or class barriers) can be used to similar effect.

  4. These are great ideas. Some have been tried and failed, though I think a “sit down” session for them to roleplay out some necessary connections between them would help. Like you guys said, expand on the bonds and cumulative needs.

  5. I think most players want to connect their characters with the other characters. It can be hard sometimes when they don’t initially see a strong connection between their character and the other characters. I like your idea for a “sit down”. You could possibly do some meta-gaming around it as well.

  6. Jay Haase  The biggest argument I hear is “I just don’t know why my character would want to stay with them.” I almost wonder sometimes like, “well, how do I necessarily do anything besides present situations?” I wonder if I’m simply not invoking the right type of scenario’s.

  7. I found creating stronger bonds in the beginning can really help. I like to spend a lot of time on bonds during character generation. I ask the players a lot of questions about their bonds and history, and help them find connections between their characters and the other characters. As a prepare phase for your sit down, you might tell the players, “We are going to explore our characters’ bonds with each other and find more ways to connect each other.”

  8. I wonder, do the PCs have NPC allies and/or enemies? If so, perhaps you can tie those characters to other PCs. One PC’s long lost friend suddenly recognizes one of the other PCs, even though that PC might not recognize them? Maybe an enemy of one PC suddenly sees the entire group as enemies? This definitely leads back to bonds/histories, which the players come up with, but as a GM, you have total control of the NPCs and can use them to your advantage.

  9. Also, the “its what my character would do” defense is really thin ice. Sure yiu want to be a fan and all, but regardless of the game it often boils down to two things:

    1. I can play an adversarial character without being an adversarial player. An evil guy can work with good guys against a greater threat or as part of “the plan”.

    2. If thecharacter is so far out of line for the group, maybe they should make a new character.

  10. How committed are the players to their current characters? How committed are you to the world that’s been established so far?  Because at someone point, it’s just not worth trying to get everyone back together. 

    I’ve had good luck in the past having a sit-down session with my group and being like “hey, guys, what sorta game do we want to play?”  Figure out some stuff in advance (tone, tech & fanasy levels, heroes vs. rogues, etc.) and then–and this is key–figure out why the PCs adventure together.  Are they childhood friends from the same town?  All marked by a strange tattoo that calls them to a greater destiny?  All crew or passengers on the same ship?  Members of a formal adventuring guild (with T-shirts & everything)?  Members of a sacred order charged with preserving civilization from the ever-encroaching forces of chaos? 

    (If you have a problem with players dropping in and out, maybe push for some theme that accomodates this.)

    Have this conversation as you make characters, or just before doing so.  It’ll make your first session longer but it’ll pay dividends if you’re intending to run a longer game.

  11. I would start the next session with questions like:

    – how did character a save Charcters b life when they were children

    – why did character c show up at characters d coming of age Ceremony or his fathers funeral

    – when did character e first realize that character f had a mcguffin that would cure her magical curse – what was the curse? Why did e give it to f in the first place

    – where were all the character when magical event xyz pulled them together? Why do they never speak of it even when together or alone? What happened?

    – how did character g end up with the same tattoo as character h and I

    Establish some ground rules (don’t be a jerk is a great one) and ensure that both players have to agree. If they can’t well ask why is that?

    Most nice people that want to play together will find a way to give and take and the questions give the responsibility back to them to figure it out.

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