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In desperate need of help

Longspeak

I'm a Bard, Dammit!
Validated User
You could fix it in play by explaining or demonstrating in play that survival depends on working together, too. "If none of you work together, you'll all probably die."

Out of game, you just say as someone else said above. "Hey, guys, it's not really fun for me to DM 6 different side plots at once. Find a reason to stick together and work together please, and I promise I'll address all your characters' goals."

My son played in a pretty long-running game where the GM set them up as 1st level characters captured and dragged into the Underdark. They escaped their captors in the first session, and the rest of the game was surviving and escaping to the surface. If one tried to go it alone, they died pretty fast. So these disparate characters they'd all made HAD to work together, or they'd never see the sun again.
 

GloriousRuse

New member
Since others have gone in vast detail, I won’t repeat what they’ve said. I will say this however:

Consider playing something other than D&D. While it’s the big grand daddy of them all, it is also a system that has a lot of structure around “how to be absurdly powerful and heroic” and very little around anything else. Which unfortunately means that a band of self-interested miscreants trying to play a live version of an interactive MMO with you as the computer is pretty mechanically and thematically possible.

For some contrasts, Shadowrun or Blades in The Dark specifically put you together as a criminal crew to do jobs. Burning Empires is by default set against an invading alien race, with players deliberately designed to oppose it. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay makes you meek and weak enough that you can’t be a one man army, because you aren’t. Traveller and it’s succesors focus on social interactions, investigation, and profitable trading as much as bullets and blades - with the result that any one character is vulnerable in another sphere. Blade of The Iron Throne simply makes it so that at chargen, you have to state four pursuits your character will have, and every player needs at least one of the four to mesh with the group - ensuring that “what my character wants” is always lined up with the group to at least an explicable degree.

These are just some names, but there are literally dozens of quality systems that provide a different mechanical and thematic context than D&D, and in doing so can help focus a group. And who knows, you may just find a story you like better than going from level one to twenty.
 

Wicked Grin

New member
Yeah, this happens. If they all turn on each other, they all turn on each other. That's just how it works out now and again. z

Sometimes you get awkward dynamics like half the party wanting to get on with the adventure while the other half are killing villagers and insulting the king and... Sometimes you get dickhead players, sometimes you get people who are making a cool badass staring role characters, when they should be thinking in ensemble terms.

Probably the actual best thing to do is say to your players, 'Hey guys, I know you all have your own agendas, and we'll get to them,
but without some basic cooperation, we're going to have some problems playing together. Can we shelf the interpersonal drama for a few sessions?'

And yeah, in campaigns to come, try to give them a reason to work together. More experienced players won't need it but a patron, a mercenary company, a mission from the gods, asking the players if they'd like to be siblings or childhood mates, shared vengeance, something like that.
 

darnest

PureImaginationNoLimits..
Validated User
I also agree with a ton of good ideas on how to fix this... Here is my 5Cents...
Talking is key to any good game; GM feed back and player feedback should be ongoing (always). As a GM I personally hate telling my players your characters have to change so they will have a reason to work together; for the sake of the game. You need to have the disscussion about this not being a free for all definitely, but I like the idea of the plot twist better than a forced character change. After you start the discussion if some or all choose to change their characters; cool go for it. When someone does not they need to agree to play differently; with the party supporting each other, working together, to achieve all their goals. Then Plot twist the heck out of them.

They all have things they want to do fine. They are in a cave, close to the underdark? Sounds like dark elf and dwarf patrols are gonna start. Hey wait they are working together? against us? This is where you need to start building a world around the dungeon crawl. A dungeon crawl by itself has little to drive them together. However a Big Bad Guy that they cannot beat, an alliance of dark forces to find something amazing to hurt the upper world.. It's your world and you know what the characters want, no one says the bad guys cannot have multiple goals; which of course are directly against your characters. Just give them hints and rumors that would appeal to them, that all lead to a common enemy, leading to a common goal. That could take a few sessions, let the players, especially those who are feeling less support that Winter IS Coming :) if they don't become a party, its all gonna go wrong.

Last thought I have is about being a new party/DM. I know I always had a hard time with letting REALLY bad things happen to them, took me a long time to get past that. You want them to like the game, you want to keep playing, a character death can wreck a game I get it. Yet I have learned that Character death or really bad things needs to be an option, else they take risks they would not take. The Characters need to feel challenged and if they cannot die, cause you won't let it happen, that death defying crossing over a huge canyon is less. Make stuff hard, so they need to work together to get advantage and +1/+2 bonuses. When they complain they cannot do this alone, say SO? Nature and the Caves (and by extension you) don't care. Don't throw an ancient rock giant at them either (unless they can run away really fast), make every challenge just hard enough to challenge them, and always let tyhem overcome it in a way you did not think of.
You can give them the tools to fix a death or major wound after the fact (scroll of resurrection? if you get them out in the next 3 days they could be saved..), also you don't have to kill them either, nothing is more motivating than a solo person being dropped unconscious and waking up in their skivvies. Now they have to get their stuff back; hey party can I get a hand. DnD is fun game, I don't think you need to switch. It just needs to be player like the dangerous world it is. Play these caves like they are the crew of the Nostromo (alien) and they have no idea whats in the dark, they will stay together ro someone gets blasted.

Bottom line always work with your players of course, tell them your plans at a high level. Its gonna get more dangerous (even if it already is hint it will get worse, and solos are a bad idea) and then throw in your twist. Let your Players change on the fly too, not just when you talk. If Bing the Halfling thief wants to stop stealing everything in sight and only wants to find artefacts, find a way to make it work. But above all make it clear we need to work together so everyone, even the DM, has fun.

Anyway hope this helps. I have a party like this, they threaten to split or attack each other all time. What keeps them together is they need what the others have to get what they want done, done. So you can fix this. I hope you can get it on a track you can all enjoy.
Oh one more thing sometimes a player just won't get on board, then the group needs to talk to them. Sometimes that player just needs to go, it sucks but its true. I hope you don't have to deal with that, just wanted to say it out loud.
 

Malrex

Registered User
Validated User
This is how my group prefers to play actually. Our characters all have different agendas and yes, sometimes we stab each other in the back over a year or so of real time and good roleplaying. Factions are created within the group, Game of Thrones style. We try to stay together though because straying off gets you killed.
BUT....we have been playing years together and friends. So I don't recommend the playstyle when first starting out.

As people have said above...a encounter can bring people together (works for us, when we think its going to be a TPK if we don't). And if people's characters die, then they die. But since your group sounds pretty new, I'd talk to them straight--I'd say that I was happy they were exploring possibilities and options, but in this scenario, without working together, some of you are not going to make it. Then I'd let the dice roll as they may and if people die, they die...if the players still can't figure it out, then have another talk or try a new campaign.
 

DannyK

One Shot Man
Validated User
Unless everybody's really wed to the current situation, I'd just reboot, let people keep the character stats if they like them and re-roll if they don't and then have them make up a new party of characters who have a shared background and reasons to stick together, in a campaign that fits that premise. You don't actually need to abandon the sandbox, just say that they're all exploring the sandbox in the service of the Temple of Thor, or whatever.

In my experience, it's a lot more interesting to play with a group of characters that have some commitment to each other and also serious disagreements sometimes than a bunch of characters who can't stop sneaking behind each other's backs.
Fights between friends>>squabbles between strangers.
 

Litpho

Wandering stranger
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I am thinking a major plot twist could help unite the group, any thoughts on that?
If the players are already on the same page, a plot twist or other "must react to this" event can help focus the characters.

However, if the players are not on the same page (and it doesn't sound like they are), it is very much not a substitute for having the talk with the players. At best the event would have temporary effect, at worst you would now have six different approaches towards the event (including at least one "I ignore the unignorable event"). So talk.
 

Samaritan

One of the good guys.
Validated User
With them being new, are they perhaps not quite "getting" the notion that this isn't a boardgame, i.e., only one 'real winner', and that only at the expense of others? You might impress upon them that this is more like a story, and what kind of story works out where the people deciding to go into dangerous caves together aren't at least working together for mutual survival?
 

cloa513

Registered User
Validated User
You could fix it in play by explaining or demonstrating in play that survival depends on working together, too. "If none of you work together, you'll all probably die."

Out of game, you just say as someone else said above. "Hey, guys, it's not really fun for me to DM 6 different side plots at once. Find a reason to stick together and work together please, and I promise I'll address all your characters' goals."

My son played in a pretty long-running game where the GM set them up as 1st level characters captured and dragged into the Underdark. They escaped their captors in the first session, and the rest of the game was surviving and escaping to the surface. If one tried to go it alone, they died pretty fast. So these disparate characters they'd all made HAD to work together, or they'd never see the sun again.
The most fun ingame i way is to see another better party who split up and get individually annihilated. Blood curdling screams and showers of blood and body pieces.
 

Longspeak

I'm a Bard, Dammit!
Validated User
The most fun ingame i way is to see another better party who split up and get individually annihilated. Blood curdling screams and showers of blood and body pieces.
I've done that, though when I did it it wasn't a warning, but a plot device I'd planned from the beginning. In a Mage game, apprentices in the same cabal found their mentors dead. Their mentors showed a history of not working together, arguments, each going their own way. And some threat took all of them out, one by one.

The intended message had its effect... sort of. The PCs agreed they needed to work together... to HIDE. It was a fun game, but it was not the game I'd planned. They eventually learned the nature of the threat, and found ways to combat it together. In the end... a lot of sleepers learned about magic and a couple of disciples flamed out in paradox.
 
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