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  #1  
Old 01-07-2020, 07:28 PM
Exfilia Exfilia is online now
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So I promised my players a sandbox

I solicited input (gave them each a photo and let them create an NPC to go with it). Then I put them in the game environment, gave them an introductory tussle with a (very) small monster, and dangled lots of characters (and text messages, and one TV news spot) that have adventure hooks, some obvious, some not so much. Then I got them together in this environment's version of a tavern, to let them decide what to do next.

Some of the hook characters approached only one PC, and I handled that by private message. Mostly the PCs aren't talking among themselves about any of these incidents.

I was running someone's PC at the time while the player was away (yes, with permission), and I had him ask explicitly, what shall we do next?

The party keeps wanting to walk away. There was a fission after the initial fight. I got accused of railroading when I pulled them back together for the meeting. And after the meeting, another mass dispersal.

They're free to ignore my hooks, of course--it's a sandbox--but they're not doing ANYTHING. They're doing exactly what a normal person would do in this situation, but they're not meant to be normal people. They're supposed to be heroes.

Any advice about what I could do now? I mean, I have an evil plot for the one character that gave me an opening, but that will still be just that one character.

Link to the campaign in question
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Last edited by Exfilia; 01-07-2020 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 01-08-2020, 02:08 AM
Auron3991 Auron3991 is offline
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Well, just looking over it, the railroading remark felt a bit tongue-in-cheek so, unless there were some pms to the contrary, I think you may have fallen victim to the nature of writing vs speaking.

As far as the actual story goes, remember most hero's journeys have a refusal of the call. You're still in the early stages, as I've been part of games where none of the hooks have been bitten until the eighth page of posts are up, and those were in games where the characters had baseline setting reason to start exploring.

My suggestion though: make sure you have an end goal for each of your plot hooks. Know which ones are some part of the setting and which ones are people's plans. Have setting ones keep producing whatever effect they have on the place and people working on their plans. Eventually the PCs will get involved if Evil McBadperson gets obvious enough. Honestly, sandboxes should be less static than games with a focused narrative. I actually highly recommend viewing the first part of Digimon Tamers for a large scale snapshot of how things might unfold, as it has a very similar vibe.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:29 AM
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You're absolutely right about the refusal. Thank you for making the point. I'll throw some more hooks out, then, and find them another mentor--they've decided the one I meant to use is a Bad Guy, which is okay... it's a sandbox.

Thanks again, and I'll certainly check out the recommended game.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:08 AM
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Remember it's a sandbox.

Doing nothing forces the world to get worse.

The villains, the plot hooks, the tribe of nearby ogres or the greedy dragon in it's mountain hoard, are NOT biding their time. They are not arguing over minute. They are creatures of action, and you should feel free to have them swoop the heroes up and force them into action or oblivion.

This is a common problem of sandboxes, and why they generally fail. I recommend mapping out your story regardless of their choices, because invariably their choices can be linked back to the story. Whether they go right or they go left, that road can still lead down the story-path you want, and they'll be none the wiser.
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Last edited by wodine; 01-08-2020 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 01-08-2020, 06:50 PM
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As already stated, consequences.

Perhaps start small to show that there will be consequences...They hear a monster has broken into the city and people are screaming for help. If they don't do something then they can't shop because the shopkeep was killed.

-me
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exfilia View Post
Thanks again, and I'll certainly check out the recommended game.
It's an anime. I should have been more specific.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
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It's an anime. I should have been more specific.
Even better! Off to hunt a stream!
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:58 PM
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I'm having a similar problem with my main tabletop group.

When they are presented with a genuine sandbox situation, they don't do anything. They retire and become farmers, or musicians, or whatever. Even if there are obvious things they could do.

When I try a more directed style of play - having NPCs come to them with specific requests - the players get all huffy, because they don't like to be railroaded into actions.

When I try the approach of getting the players to create characters with flaws that would motivate them to get involved in adventures, they flat out refuse to take any flaws. They have openly stated that they're worried these flaws will be used against them. (Well yes, of course. That's the point. If nothing bad happens, there's no story. We end up in a Pinter story about birds on a beach.)

The only approach that seems to work is for the game to be based around a hierarchical structure, such as a military force, in which the players are compelled to obey orders from their superiors.

These are very experienced players. And they didn't use to roleplay like this - it's a more recent thing, perhaps the last 2 or 3 years only. And it has me frustrated, both as a player and a GM. Perhaps more so as a player, because I'm constantly wanting to do stuff and get out there, and I'm always being voted down by players that think it'd make more sense if they just left everything up to NPCs.

In one recent example, they just watched as a building (an inn they were staying at, I think) burnt to the ground, because they felt that logically there should be a fire brigade in this town, and that it was the job of that purely hypothetical fire brigade to put out the fire.

I've tried to talk to them about willing suspension of disbelief. But they continue to roleplay their heroic characters like IRL disaffected people who don't want to get involved and don't want to take any risks.

Last edited by telcontar; 01-13-2020 at 11:02 PM.
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