View Full Version : Bad Players

26 September 2002, 02:24 PM
Ok, my bounty hunter campaign (D20) has not quite as you say, gone into full gear. One of the PC's has fishing tournanaments for the next Two weekends, and the others seem to always be convienentley "unavailable". This is not the problem, however, as our next gaming session is tommorrow, and I am really excited. Here is my problem.

My characters, 2 of my very best friends, used to be my only player characters while I ran D6. Because the rules were so simplistic, they got 'em down quick, and we ran a relativley good campaign for about 7 months. Back then, my characters were really enthusiastic about the game, they would talk abou it at school, think about their characters histories, and always begging me to GM a session for them. Unfortunately, I didn't share their lust back then, and I didn't take advantage of the oppourtunity. Now, that we have switched to D20, the situation is reversed. I am excited by the new rules, characters, and designing elaborate campaigns, while my PC's have contracted a serious case of laziness. They still have a lust to play their roles, but not to learn the new rules. Of course, we all have lives, and all of my PC's are big sports fanatics, and I seriously cannot expect them to read the RCRB cover to cover. Is it to much to ask though, to just learn what everything means (i still have my suspistions that they don't know what the combat rounds really are, despite their own claims :raised: ). Now, before you blame it all on a GM's poor teaching of the rules, hear me out. I did my best to teach them, but our gaming sessionsare short, so my friend said he would learn the rules and teach everyone else in their spare time. He still doesn't know the rules himself :mad:. So, what can I do? Ican't just ditch my PC's because they are they only ones willing to play and they are my good friends. Please help this disdraught GM.

26 September 2002, 02:33 PM
One idea would be to just start playing. When you get to a 'Rule', explain it to them while you use it. Eventually you will cover them all.

26 September 2002, 02:34 PM
D20 doesn't require the PCs to know the rules all that well.. you can run a damn good game when all your PCs know what to do is roll d20s.

in many ways this could be perferable and allow em to focus on the story as opposed to the system. don't get all antsy if they do not know the exact target numbers of all their rolls by heart. thats YOUR job:)

26 September 2002, 02:52 PM
i had lazy players. then i used the rules to the GM's advantage- they questioned everything so i told them to look up the rule "on or around page so and so"

sure, this caused a little bit of lag in the game, but the more they thought they knew... the more i pushed them. Now, my players are every bit as rule savvy as i am- with the bonus that they get to correct me so i can expend more energy on storyline rather than being nitpicky.

Remember, if the players think they are being treated unfairly in a situation, they'll learn the rules through sheer survival instinct. :D

evan hansen
26 September 2002, 03:48 PM
A question: Were you disappointed in the D6 rules or do you just feel like you weren't hitting your stride? The level of planning and excitement a GM can generate for him- or herself really has no bearing on the system. So I'm just curious why you're so excited to jump into d20 if your players are geekd about d6. I think an answer to that question would provide the material for some helpful advice out of some of us holonetters.

26 September 2002, 05:36 PM
I have to echo the sentiment of not worrying too much about the rules. If your players like to Role-play, instead of Roll-play, I'd say that you are already ahead of the game. You can make all the rolls, and just let them say what they want to do. It takes some time for either you to learn how to let their actions be worked by the rules, or for them to learn what skills will accomplish what sort of actions, but you still have lots of flexibility.

As I run a play by email game, that's really what I have to do, so I get used to this style. I'd at least try that part, and see how it works.

Best of luck to you.

26 September 2002, 11:40 PM
Gming a group of relatively inexperienced players (half & half actually) I've found it almost preferable. The new players to d20 would say: "I want to do this---" And I would explain it in game terms "Then you'll need to make a move of 20 m and a Jump Check..." And so on.

Eventually they will just remember how it went last time. It's not really necesary for them to know the rules at all, instead they can focus on their characcter better (unlike rule-knowing power players who try to stack the numvers in their favor...:rolleyes:)

On the whole I say don't worry about it. If they seem unenthusiastic about playing with rules they don't understand yet, tell them to relax and just trust you. As long as you got a handle on the rules just tell them to sit-back and enjoy playing their character and let you do your job ;)

btw How often do you play? Every week? Month?

I know personally I've had problems with particular *thick* players that had to be told the EXACT same rule every game session because they played infrequently or just didn't "get it". That get's annoying after a few months...belive me, I know. :p

If you haven't already sat the group down and talked to them about their little problem with not understanding the rules I recommend doing so.

Try explaining that since the game times are so short it is important (in order to expidite game play) to know the rules so play can run smoothly. Perhaps emphasize this first by using a Timer, and timing how long you take during a game session to explain rules to your players, but don't tell them what you're doing. At the end fo the session explain to them and let them know how long it took away from everyones game time. This should help drive your point home...

Best of luck to you Admiral!

27 September 2002, 01:28 PM
Hmmmm...interesting ideas. I thought that it was VERY importatant for them to know the rules, and I am seeing alot of different views on the subject. I guess they don't need to know ALL of the rules (I could never expect them to), it is just very frustrating having to walk every player through the character creation step by step. I took about 5 hours once and was very frustrating. I'll think about this one....

BTW, I wasn't dissapointed with the D6 rules, its just that I had a very narrow window back then, and I wasn't as excitable about GMing back then.

27 September 2002, 09:52 PM
well its good for players to know the basic rules, but boy i have one player. We do it every week and we have three diffrent GMs anyway this one player hes the brother of one of the GMs so when his sister is making missions he looks at the books. Man he is kinda anoying because he always wants to go by the rules even if none of us like them and it would be terrible to do so but he still corrects all three of the GMs including me (who happens to be the one that OWNS all the books) it wouldn't be so bad if it were helpful but all he does is be nitpicky about the rules that no one else cares about

27 September 2002, 11:01 PM

I was reading the thread title, and while I was waiting for the first post to appear. I kept thinking of all the bad player threads I have seen. I kind of got the vision from The Phantom Menace:

"Wipe them out, all of them."

I was thinking that maybe that Sidious guy was on to something.

Then I saw what was plagueing you. Sure it may be annoying to have to constantly say,

"Okay guys, it is initiative time, please roll your D20's. Oh, the D20s are the dice with twenty sides in case you are lost.",

but I find it even worse when I am GMing when players KNOW all the rules. I use the rules as a guideline for my games. I like the rules, but some of them I think quite honestly either don't apply to things as they should, or are just too complicated to apply without calculators. I skip them and make my own homebrew rules. I have had players just know the rules, and not really ever take interest in their characters. They just roll and look to see if everyone else, including myself are playing by the rules. Perhaps they should stick to "CandyLand", "Monopoly" and "Battleship", because in roleplaying, the rules are not always followed. Telling players over and over again that a GM's rules (not necessarily the manuals) are the rules of the game versus reminding players what their next move is over and over is an easy pick for me. They will get it eventually, though I don't really know what there is to get. Roll a D20 and add the ranks and other bonuses.....they cannot help but get that down eventually.

My advice is to relax, and since your players don't seem to be trying to hard, go easy and try shooting from the hip for your future game sessions. Some improv games are much more fun and exciting for the GM, as opposed to the players not going along with the GM's well thought out plan syndrome. Don't worry about them not knowing the rules. That makes your job all the more easier, especially when you as the GM have to fudge rolls (all for the entertainment of they players, right? ;) ). Keep the game fun, and it may sound mean, but like the fact that you don't ordinarily (at least I don't) let them see your GM rolls behind your GM screen, why should they know all the rules?First off, they don't need too, not even you do. Secondly, rule ignorant players seem to ask fewer questions (believe it or not, IMHO), and never challenge your made up rules, becuase they don't really know better or how to do so.

I hope this helps you some in realizing that you may be able to use "your problem" as an advantage. Relax, and have fun. If all else fails, you can always carry out what that Sidious guy was talking about :)

BTW, I have had more fun GMing a game for my now eleven year old sister in law (who only knew how to roll a D20, and did a lot of problem solving and roleplaying on her own), than I did playing with a group of battlehardened roleplayers, some of which were GMs themselves. No really involved questions, no one getting mad, no one telling me as the GM that I was not going along with what was being said on page so and so. It was great. We had a blast kicking the crap out of some Vong! That is what it is all about!

30 September 2002, 08:26 AM
You could always just go back to the D6 rules. Evan has a point... why were you so anxoius to spend a lot of time and money switching to the new rules when the old ones apparently worked fine? One of the important things about GMing is listening to the players... what they like and don't like. Its possible that its just the D20 rules that they dont like.

30 September 2002, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by BrianDavion
D20 doesn't require the PCs to know the rules all that well.. you can run a damn good game when all your PCs know what to do is roll d20s.

in many ways this could be perferable and allow em to focus on the story as opposed to the system. don't get all antsy if they do not know the exact target numbers of all their rolls by heart. thats YOUR job:)

I'd say I agree to some extend.... They will still need to understand (partly anyway) what their skills are for and how to use them, otherwise it makes for a pretty dull session of the GM pointing out to them that they could use such and such skill for such and such thing... Feats also (even though I don't know them all myself either). But I guess, that comes with playing too. So, I'd concur, just start to play and it'll come to them.