Gaming My Way

01 Apr

The Roleplaying Star

From the GM’s point of view, at least to me, it’s easy to get carried away and let one person in a campaign steal the spotlight. Sometimes a player starts a subplot I just want to see finished because I want to know what happens, sometimes a player just does more in the campaign so gets more time in the spotlight because it’s what’s easy, sometimes people are doing things that are time consuming but not generally interesting to roleplay through (like crafting items), and any number of other things.

But the other players don’t want to sit around doing nothing while one person does everything in a session. Not most of the time anyway. So what is a GM to do?

Well, first off, if everyone is, in fact, entertained by the solo exploits, by all means, continue. Just be sure that everyone is enjoying themselves if this is the case. Not many people like watching someone else do everything.

You could just encourage the group to go along anyway, if it’s a highly group oriented campaign. Maybe give them a hook to get involved in the subplot of this influential character. If you do this though, make sure the campaign isn’t just about the one character with everyone else dragged along the whole time. Other players might have their own goals.

Alternatively, you could encourage them to pursue their own subplots, and switch back and forth, attempting to time the endings close by so then everyone can join back up… perhaps the subplots will all reveal information about the main plotline, or maybe they already have a reason to go back to each other. If the other players don’t dig as deep as the one stealing the spotlight, perhaps show them how to dig, or drop a few hints for them to begin a chain of quests they might find are in the interests of their characters.

Perhaps if you have some crafters in the group, design a way where they can direct people in how to create the item they wish to create, and then go off questing with their friends. If they give detailed instructions to some craftsmen with a modicum of skill, then the player character’s skill check is used instead. This way, the player gets to use their skill, but not be dragged out of the game forever. Perhaps they need to check in once a day or once a week to make sure things are progressing as planned. If the player fails a check, then progress simply doesn’t go as planned, and they redirect their workers more effectively when they check in on them.

Sometimes, you might just have to power through one person’s plot so you don’t wind up with one character a week behind/ahead of everyone else. If this is the case, do your best to give everyone else some airtime with little things, or provide something entertaining for them while they wait. And try to avoid this in the first place unless your players are cool with it.

If the only reason you’re pushing one plot is because you want to know what happens though, let your other player’s have some fun too. Just because one player is about to make a major plot breakthrough doesn’t mean the other players don’t want the chance to find out a little more about the new tradesman in town or to finish cleaning up the orc problem outside town.

Besides, the cliffhanger on the major plot breakthrough will leave everyone wanting to come back next session to find out what happens.

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