The players turn was fast again last night. The players had failed their mission (to rescue Kenzie and his patrol who were captured by bandits) but they had earned 2 additional checks due to breaking a tie to an opponent.
The first player spent his 1st check of 3. He grabbed some bandages from the lighthouse and attempted to recover from his injury. He failed.
The second player spent his check and described himself cooking food. I told him foraging would be more appropriate as he had nothing on him. The the player succeeded and found some edible seeds.
The first player this didn’t know what to do. Circling up a healer was out of the question. He suggested he could spend a check to go to the island where Kenzie’s patrol was being held and look for clues. But he thought it’d be a bad idea to spend his check on something that’d probably happen for free next session.
After a little thought I considered that as GM I didn’t have to set another mission about rescuing Kenzie, I could choose to do something else entirely! But if the player spends the check and gets the clues and traves to the next town I’m pretty much obligated to use that mission again. Is that right? Have you guys GMed this with a similar mindset?
So the player sailed to the island and found a clue. (But became tired in the process) I said that the next mission would again be about the rescue.
The second player picked up the 4th check and decided it was time for a rest in a tavern to aleviate tiredness. He asked if he could get rooms for both of them so I put on +1Ob and he succeeded. (That’s legit, right?)
Players running off in a different direction than you had planned on. Man welcome to just about every game I have run.
There are ways to guide and direct the group but sometimes the players have their own desires, like getting closure with a failed mission. This happens and you just learn to be flexible and go with it. What you can also do is start planning your next adventure and plant it into the end of the rescue. This will enlarge the scope of the mission and make the players feel more satisfied about their original attempts that failed.
Try to set boundaries on what the characters can do but leave lots of flexibility to go in a different directions so the players feel they have some control over their characters’ fate.
To answer the second question if a character wants to help another character get a room and you set the difficulty higher and it passed just roll with it. It is the players turn and there is no reason to be a hard nose all the time. Also if it had failed they both would have remained tired.
Actually, a really consistent approach to presenting GM turns beyond the intial, literal “here is your mission” turn continues to elude me. Sometimes it’s obvious-ish from the previous turn’s events, and sometimes it feels contrived and railroad-y. Usually it’s a mix of both – here’s the obvious thing that comes next, so that’s the thing you will be doing.
I weep tears of joy when the players use their turns to shake things up: tell me what you want to try next! Please! Less time and effort spent laying new rails for the next turn.
I have yet to run a game, and I can see how things could feel like this. I’m assuming that in order to avoid this, the GM should introduce numerous plot threads/obstacles/complications/etc. (based on group BIGs) for the players to choose from during thier turn… again, all theory here and no application… yet.
@Paul. It should never feel railroaded and if it does then something is wrong. The players are playing Knights that take commands that are as simple as “deliver this message to Wolfepointe.” or “Lakeside has reported that it is being threatened with flooding waters, find out if you can stop the flooding. If not save the Mice and bring them to a safe haven.” How the players handle those orders is up to them.
At times the GM will have to say “No you can not use your science skill to make black powder to blow up the blockage. That knowledge has not been discovered yet.” or “No you can not use your turtle wise to make armor out of its shell.” Otherwise say yes most of the time and set the Ob as high as you deem is appropriate.