View Full Version : Group game, solo Trials - thoughts?

Tony J Case, Super Genius
13 March 2002, 10:21 AM
So there's one problem that I hadn't counted on when I started my all-Jedi E1 game. Padawans eventually turn into Jedi. To turn into Jedi, one has to take a trial. Trials are solitary quests of a often personal nature.

Gaming, for the most part, is a group activity. Solo adventures in a group campaign means that the other three players sit there bored watching the show. That or the player getting the attention gets the short end of the stick by having a truncated trial (or a handful of friends along).

So - how have other people dealt with this problem? How do you make a solo adventure fun for everyone without stepping on the toes of the player who has the spotlight? Can you make it interesting? Or do you just suck up the fact that eventually everyone is going to have to be bored at some point - but every character gets the spotlight at least once, too?

13 March 2002, 11:26 AM
usually when i have a player off on his own, i give the other players a break and take the one aside. this helps when there are plenty of diversions and not much in the way of activity.

sometimes, if i know that it will be a long and drawn out adventure that the player has set himself on, i will let the other players take on the roles of some of the opponents or other recurring NPC characters. this is usually more fun for everybody when it involves heavy roleplaying and very little roll playing.

i also make use of AIM and Yahoo IM for roleplaying between the group so that the solo adventures that will be required can take place during a time other than the game and the characters get to play normally during the next time. in a group of good roleplayers this is the best option that i have found...

hope that helps

darth maim
13 March 2002, 11:37 AM
I have recently been running one of my players on a slew of background solo missions taking place before actual game time... This is basically done on off nights from usual gaming and one on one this way noone is bored... you could do this with each one as the time presents itself.

The Admiral
13 March 2002, 11:37 AM
if a situation arises in my game where one character is going to be doing important stuff on their own, I just book in an extra 1 on 1 session. It's always easier finding a few hours in a week where two people get hook up, rather than four or five.

Donovan Morningfire
13 March 2002, 04:16 PM
I guess it depends.

Are the Padawan Brigade going to be taking their Trials all at roughly the same time? If so, then have each PCs' Master take their Padawan aside and give them a task or what have you that relates to the current adventure. That way, each Jedi PC has a goal to shoot for during the session to complete their individual Trial.

If not, or this just seems unfeasible, then your best bet is one-on-one sessions. Talk with the players ahead of time to set it up, and try to keep each Jedi's individual session to a couple of hours. With only one PC to deal with, it should cut down on wasted time (at least in theory).

13 March 2002, 05:24 PM
I've done this a few times, and I 've found that some players like to see what the other characters are going through, and some get bored and whine. I've also found that quite a few players resist the idea of 1 on 1 sessions, and that if it is at all possible there should be a minimum of two player characters in any given party. Maybe that's just me (for some reason everyone has this idea that I'm always trying to kill them and that they need backup) or maybe it's players in general. Anyway, I'd say let it be open to the group, but an extra session scheduled with only one or two players. As a bonus for people who do show that didn't have to, you might do a mini scene that involves them just goofing off that they get a single CP or some credits for or something.

13 March 2002, 07:07 PM
Something else to consider while making a plan - ask your players. They'll know if they think sitting around watching somebody else play is boring, or an interesting thing to watch. They'll tell you if they think playing an NPC for an evening is a good idea, or bunk.

Then, once you know how they feel (and I'm sure you'll get a range of responses) you can better make your plan of action.

13 March 2002, 08:18 PM
Well, since it's an all-Jedi party, this ain't so bad.

Here's my idea: have all the players face their trials as a part of some overall adventure that allows them to use their individual talents for the greater good. Then, once they have all completed their individual quests, have them come together to be initiated as Knights as a group.

For example, say there is about to be a war break out on a planet. The group of Jedi are sent in to deal with the problem as their trials. Perhaps one Jedi must help negotiate a peace treaty between the two factions. Another must infiltrate a capital ship orbiting the planet in order to procure the deckplans and readouts of the security systems of a space station where members of the opposing faction are being held hostage. Another must disable a planetary turbolaser set to blow said capital ship out of the sky before the information can be retrieved. Yet another Jedi must help free a talented slicer from military prison and escort him to a place where he can slice out the access codes to the space station. Another might need to fly a transport through hostile space in order to deliver fodstuffs to refugees. In the end, it can all culminate into a mission requiring all of the Jedi to work together to free the hostages from the space station and fly them to safety. Obviously this scenario may not work for your game, but give them each their individual missions (maybe break them up into hour-long sidequests over the course of a couple of gaming sessions) and then bring them together to complete the trials as a whole.


darth maim
13 March 2002, 09:16 PM
I've never been a big fan of having players run NPC's in another person's solo adventure... this is mainly due to the fact that it makes too many potential problems... examples of this are:

1) NPC attacks the player and starts a forever long p*ssing contest grudge match.

2) It cheapens the this is all about your character feeling by brining the rest of the group into it (although they are just NPC's)

3) Perhaps the playing being the NPC decides to do something entirely out of character for the NPC to let the PC get off easier thus throwing your plan out the window....

The list goes on and on... just think of it this way...

They're called Npc's for a reason

14 March 2002, 07:46 AM
I'd just do it one on one if at all possible. Maybe set up a time different from the regular gaming time and then tell everyone they can come, but that the whole session is just devoted to that one players trial. Then the ones who want to see what happens can do so, and the whiners can stay home. Also this doesn't interfere with regular gaming and doesn't bog down the whole party while waiting.

Another option is to play it by email. I don't know how many rolls etc. are involved in your trials, but our group has met with great success doing solo stuff via email (or online message board).