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Help! How to manage group dynamics

Yeah I don't really mind the power gaming, it's a mild annoyance at most. I think it often holds him back from getting to enjoy the nitty gritty of exactly how the characters are getting around that pit trap (which is more my style preference) because it makes no reference to *cool powers* (tm). However his not really getting it with those parts of play doesn't seem to dampen everyone else's fun so it's fine.

I do personally feel like power gaming is a bit more like looking for weaknesses in the rules (which are always going to be imperfect) to exploit than really getting into the substance of the actual game but whatever, that's beside the point and I can handle it.

I don't really do stories per se, so story length isn't really an issue. But running a few sessions (3ish or so like you're suggesting) sounds like a good solution, and alternating that with game of the month type things. Fair to everyone.

Thanks! This is all really helpful advice.


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Think of stories as more of 'what challenges will the characters overcome and bring meaning to their lives by overcoming?' I cut my gaming teeth on AD&D and Red Box D&D and played a lot of HackMaster when it came out.

Sometimes, the pit traps and how to get around them is a lot of fun. However, things are more fun when the characters are doing something that's meaningful if you have players more into roleplaying. So, for challenges which takes a couple of sessions, make smaller objectives that matter to the PCs.

For example, if they are really into dinosaurs, a dinosaur hunt could be a good challenge. They need to get a big dinosaur for some reason that makes sense for the characters--maybe one player wants a pet T-Rex. Maybe the T-Rex bounty is big and gets the players a lot of funds for their other needs.

Also, since you're pressed for time, I suggest reading a book like Odyssey by Engine Publishing on campaign management. If you only have some much time, thinking carefully about what will get everyone playing and having fun means you waste less prep time.

For example, I used to prep many PCs because the powergamer players expected it. Now, I run a more sandbox style and prep major events and the large-scale historical and sociological trends. The players create actions by what they do, with a lot of choices. If in the current game, a historical western, they want to go off and start gunfights, well I can handle that. If they are focused on scheming to build up their businesses, I have some ideas ready to implement on what challenges they face and what resources they can use to do better. Big picture, their area will be more settled but right now none of the nations interested in the Shattered Frontier (it's the Aces & Eights: Reloaded game) has moved with much speed. The gold mine the PCs found and are recruiting miners for and the town will bring more people in and someone will try and ally with or annihilate the PCs.

Plenty of ideas in Tabletop Roleplaying Open in the 101 threads and in just running scenario ideas by other fans of games as a 'is this a good idea?' check. I hope your group figures out how to have more fun.
Oh yes, for sure, the whole game world is essentially a pit trap to be navigated around in a certain sense, just larger and with more moving parts.

That was just an example really. I'll check the reference though.


Southern Mane
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I have found 5e to be fairly resistant to powergaming. Powergamers have an edge, sure, but not to the extent that nobody else gets to have fun unless they start powergaming as well.
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