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Expected levels of engagement and interest

hyphz

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I mean, if the question is what to do about this situation, then the answer is the same as it is to basically every other problem-at-the table, meaning that you have the following choices:

1. Have a conversation with the other person about what bothers you
2. Don't play with the person whose behavior bothers you
3. Make peace with the person's bothersome behavior because it's not going to change and you can't or don't want to bail on the game for whatever reason
Well, no, the question is about the fourth option:
4. Make peace with the person's bothersome behavior because that's just part of what RPGing is, and higher expectations were unreasonable

This thread was more intended to ask if 4 was actually the correct option and so far several posts have suggested that in fact it is.
 

Wulfgar22

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Well, no, the question is about the fourth option:
4. Make peace with the person's bothersome behavior because that's just part of what RPGing is, and higher expectations were unreasonable

This thread was more intended to ask if 4 was actually the correct option and so far several posts have suggested that in fact it is.
And several that it isn't. Maybe you could do a poll?
 

Random Goblin

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Well, no, the question is about the fourth option:
4. Make peace with the person's bothersome behavior because that's just part of what RPGing is, and higher expectations were unreasonable

This thread was more intended to ask if 4 was actually the correct option and so far several posts have suggested that in fact it is.
Fair enough. In that case, no. No particular set of expectations (or lack thereof) is inherent to the RPG experience, and I don't know why it would be. I mean, if you just think about it for a minute--obviously you would like to have a tighter set of expectations at the table, and you can't possibly be the only gamer in the universe who wants that. If you can't find local people to play with who want the same thing as you, then it's not that the bothersome behavior is "part of what RPGing is," so much as a compromise you might have to make in this particular instance if you want to keep gaming with this set of local players.

But I guess I don't see where your #4 is not covered by my 1-3. If it is in fact inherent to the RPG experience (it's not, but let's assume arguendo), then you're left with the exact same choices, and probably going to have to settle on choice #3, which is functionally the same whether it's because all players that exist engage in this behavior and won;t change it or just because all potential players you have access to do.
 
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hyphz

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Fair enough. In that case, no. No particular set of expectations (or lack thereof) is inherent to the RPG experience, and I don't know why it would be.
There have to be some expectations inherent to the RPG experience. If there weren't, you could deem yourself playing an RPG when you just sat at home alone watching TV. You could deem yourself to be playing tennis in exactly the same situation, if there were no expectations inherent to the activity of playing tennis.
 

Random Goblin

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There have to be some expectations inherent to the RPG experience. If there weren't, you could deem yourself playing an RPG when you just sat at home alone watching TV. You could deem yourself to be playing tennis in exactly the same situation, if there were no expectations inherent to the activity of playing tennis.
...Okay?
 

JetstreamGW

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Validated User
+1 to this. If a player is on their phone the whole time, it's likely a sign that you need to reevaluate your GMing skills - after all, it's your job to keep players engaged in the game. I imagine there are **some** asshole players out there who will be on their phones regardless of how good the story is, but I've never encountered them myself, and I've been playing for a while...
I kinda take issue with most of this. Aside from the fact that it's not the GM's job to make sure absolutely everyone is having the best time ever, we're gonna have to talk about me as a player.

I get up. I wander. I get water. I dick around on my phone. I always know what's going on. I'm always paying attention.

So this is my advice to the OP: Are you sure they're not engaged? Or do they just not look engaged enough from your perspective? I know I had a friend or two think I wasn't paying attention, until they tried testing the theory.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
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There are very few things in the whole world that I can pay complete and total attention to for hours at a time, and tabletop RPGs are not among them. I suspect that I am in the vast majority on this, so at my table, I try to have a lot of grace for other people's capacity to hyperfocus.

That said, if everyone paying unbroken attention to the game at all times is necessary for you to have fun playing an RPG, then I think you'll be well-served to find a group of players who think the same thing, as opposed to expecting and demanding it from that players who don't.
I agree on both counts. I've never seen an RPG game I could give my full attention to all the time; before I had my laptop I'd just wander into a book at some point. Do I understand why this annoys some people? Sure. But it is what it is. It hasn't changed in the last 40 years so I'm thinking people who expect it to change now because it annoys them are simply going to be frustrated.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
Well, no, the question is about the fourth option:
4. Make peace with the person's bothersome behavior because that's just part of what RPGing is, and higher expectations were unreasonable

This thread was more intended to ask if 4 was actually the correct option and so far several posts have suggested that in fact it is.
I think the more accurate answer is "It depends." Obviously some people are fervent in expecting proper attention all the time. Others, like me, aren't. So which is the "correct" option?
 

hyphz

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If it is in fact inherent to the RPG experience (it's not, but let's assume arguendo), then you're left with the exact same choices, and probably going to have to settle on choice #3, which is functionally the same whether it's because all players that exist engage in this behavior and won;t change it or just because all potential players you have access to do.
Well, no, because if choice 4 is true, it's rational to simply depart from the hobby because it was not what you thought it was - whereas if choice 3 is true it's potentially better to remain involved and attempt to gain access to different players.
 

Wulfgar22

Registered User
Validated User
There have to be some expectations inherent to the RPG experience. If there weren't, you could deem yourself playing an RPG when you just sat at home alone watching TV. You could deem yourself to be playing tennis in exactly the same situation, if there were no expectations inherent to the activity of playing tennis.
I don't think expecting someone to engage with the game and people they are playing with...or not...is anything other than a basic social etiquette. It will be the same in any kind of group game or situation. There is nothing inherent in RPGs that means normal social etiquette doesn't apply. Maybe the length of the sessions need to be taken into account but that goes for board games or any other type of game that can take several hours.

Mr Low put it best...

Everyone pretty much paying attention to what's going on, to the GM and any player talking to them. Also, players talking to each other in-character, or considering a course of action out-of-character, checking a character sheet and so forth.

Of course, there will inevitably be some distractions, making towers out of dice, a joke that takes the focus off what's happening, somebody offering round sweets, a bit of gossip, someone needing the toilet, feeling a bit tired and unfocused. That's just life. I've been guilty myself of distracting behaviour.

But prolonged absence from the table, lengthy non-game conversations between players, messing about with mobile phones, near total lack of engagement with GM or fellow players/PCs? I believe the commonly used phase is "fuck that shit!" If all someone wants to do is roll dice when it's their turn, they can go play snakes and ladders.

Regards,

Robin
 
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