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[ERROR] No.24753656 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

/tg/ I come to you in my time of need. I've got no idea where to go with this story and that's starting to make me feel dispassionate about it. I don't feel like some of my players are really engaged with the campaign, and it makes me feel like a bad DM(which is only multiplied by the fact that I just got off a hiatus from playing). The only feedback I've gotten so far from my players is that my veteran complained there wasn't enough loot(which I am fixing in the next session). I could really use some advice.

I'm going to post a brief story-so-far, and a little bit about the PCs and players. No help and sage is fine too. Posting character art along the way.

>> No.24753682

System is Pathfinder, story so far:

A party consisting of an Oakling Magus(now retconned to paladin, because he didn't like the class), Human Ranger, Human Paladin(now dead), and Mousefolk Cleric all awoke in an inn they had taken up while traveling separately. A noise in the bar downstairs led them to find that the barkeeper and his daughters had been killed by bandits. After the cleric healed the barkeep, the party accept his quest for revenge. Some unimportant encounters with bandits and monsters in the forest later, to help the players learn the system later, they came upon a camp. In the camp, the thieving Ranger took three items that, unbeknownst to her, were sentient, and magic. The inhabitants returned, and lo' and behold the samurai campers had slain the bandit encampment in a drunken rage(and had drunkenly invited their fellow bandit slayers to a party at a local settlement). At a party that night, the mayor was killed by fast-acting disease, and the evil sentient magic item dominated the Ranger to separate itself from the neutral and good item, by having her place them in the pouches of the Magus and Cleric.

The party, being newcomers, are suspect/taken into custody(along with some other party goers to include the samurai, a new-money noble, and an ambassador elf, for questioning at the capital by Hellknights. The Paladin was not among them, however, because he hadn't attended the party opting to spend the night helping a blacksmith on the work of forging a new +1 bastard sword. He enlisted the aid of a local informant(a new PC, a Human Rogue) to discover they had been shipped off to the capital, and they acquired a boat to pursue them.

Meanwhile, on the ship, the prisoners awoke after having been knocked out, and attempted to escape using the Cleric's small size to slip through the bars of their cell. There were no guards or crew on board, just clothes. As the Cleric found the keys, the ship found itself under attack.

>> No.24753684

Proceed.

>> No.24753709

Okay, so far it doesn't sound like there IS a story.

>> No.24753753

Is OP still here?

>> No.24753824

You need a bbeg somewhere. Maybe someone trying to marry the noble's sister and murder him for the money

>> No.24753880

The Magus decided that the water coming into their cell to drown them was the time to beat feet out of there, and blew a sizable hole for the party to swim through, because the Cleric was taking to long to find the right key. The ambassador drowned(presumably), and the samurai/noble were nowhere to be found after they swam ashore, having arrived at the capital. Cannon fire from the harbor had brought the ship down. Upon further investigation from the riled up crowd, it was gleaned by the Magus that the ship had been brought down after refusing to identify itself.

Looking into their new surroundings, the players found that the city was harsh and unforgiving. Hellknights policed the streets and a Lawful Evil Cleric of Pelor was running the only church. To top it all off, the outskirts of the city were in poverty and a plague was sweeping through them. After healing the sick child of someone who was rejected for having no money to donate to the church, the players listened in on a discussion between the captain of the city guard and a plague doctor, telling him to keep his men away from the harbor, by order of the king. Initially defensive, he ends up enlisting the players to look into the incident at the harbor.

The Ranger and Cleric dive in to find the ship filled with nothing buy clothes(as the Cleric had found), and a small silver box. Opening the box on shore as the Paladin and Rogue arrived, the party realized they had just opening a Pandora's box ala plague. Taking their findings to the captain, he explained the city had a similar burst of plague this month, probably caused by another box.

He sent the players to go to the church to seek a cure, and gave them another lead of an antiquarian of artifacts to see if he could deduce the origins of the box. They were rejected by the church after the good Ranger and Cleric let their tongues get the better of them arguing of them.

>> No.24753962

Okay, two questions.

One: What are your players into? You say they don't seem engaged, so in order to engage them you must figure out what they want. Are they big on roleplay, or are they munchkin murderhobos?

Two: What is the story? So far, it just seems like the heroes blunder into random encounters and cities with no overarching threat or plot. Do you have any sort of endgame in mind?

>> No.24753964

>>24753684
>>24753753
Internet issues.

On their way to the antiquarian, the Paladin spots eyes following them from a manhole. The party investigates the sewers to find a cult of Urgathoa conducting a ritual. During the battle, both parties accidently awake a pack of sewer trolls. Chaos ensues and the Paladin is mortally wounded and dies. One of the cultists gets away.

>> No.24754063

>>24753709
Where would you suggest I go from here?

>>24753824
So far I have an Urgathoan cult leader filling that role. As-of-yet-met bbeg.

>>24753962
1) From the responses I've gotten asking them, 2 like heavy roleplay, 1 likes number crunching, 1 likes murderhobo, and my other player has just as much knowledge about what she wants as I do. She's a new player.

2) So far, PCs stumble onto plague cult that's been manipulating various parts of the country, experimenting on false-prisoners they ship in from all around, and is about to attempt a coup with now-researched abomination creations and soldier fatalities by plague.

>> No.24754162

Players:

Oakling Paladin: Explorer/pseudo-ambassador for his people because the outside world knows little about them. Player is a vet that likes to see numbers, my former DM.

Human Ranger: Robinhood with special arrows that leans more Chaotic than good. Girlfriend. Played play-by-post with the Rogue. Heavy roleplay.

Human Rogue: Dick ass thief/informant. Coward, likes taking pop shots with her bow next to Ranger. Heavy in role play, play-by-post vet, completely new to tabletop gaming.

Mousefolk Cleric of Thalandr: Likes to party, generally easy-going. Party heal-bot. Young kid that's also new, not sure what she wants and neither is she.

Dead Human Paladin rerolling a Fighter:
Murderhobo that just goes along with whatever the group is doing at the time. Doesn't put in a lot of thought into anything he does in particular. Not sure how he's going to RP his next character.

>> No.24754168

>>24754063
You see, what you need to do is take it down notch on your side. This campaign is in heavy need of player agency.
Guess why your players don't care for your plot. Well, my guess is that because they just get plot thrown onto them - but why should they care? They seem to have little to no say in this matter.

Also:
>>lawful evil cleric of Pelor
>>hellknights
What the fuck? Did you tell your players that this would be your teenage angst homebrew setting? Hellknights are from fucking Golarion, the PF setting and Pelor is a GOOD deity from Greyhawk.

>> No.24754246

>>24754168
>Pelor
>Abadar

I have no idea why I mixed those two up.

>> No.24754306

>>24754246
Alright, but why isn't it a cleric of Asmodeus as would be normal in Cheliax your barbarian? Did they not conquer your lands and teach you how speak properly?
Also there are still some other suggestions in that post.
Furthermore what the fuck is a Oakling? What is a Mousefolk? Why did you allow the new kid to roll a heal-bot?
Why does it seem more and more that you're just a terrible GM?

>> No.24754437

>You see, what you need to do is take it down notch on your side. This campaign is in heavy need of player agency.
Guess why your players don't care for your plot. Well, my guess is that because they just get plot thrown onto them - but why should they care? They seem to have little to no say in this matter.

What should I do differently to take it down a notch? The only thing that I can think of that happened so far that wasn't of IC motives was being taken into custody(which is sort of because I ham-fisted the notes on the first part of the story, because it was going shit like the rest of the campaign and I thought a change of setting/pace would help).

>Alright, but why isn't it a cleric of Asmodeus as would be normal in Cheliax your barbarian?
...What?

>Furthermore what the fuck is a Oakling? What is a Mousefolk? Why did you allow the new kid to roll a heal-bot?
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/3rd-party-races/alluria-publishing/oakling
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/races/other-races/featured-races/arg-ratfolk

>Why did you allow the new kid to roll a heal-bot?
I wasn't expecting them to play a heal-bot. They told me they were going to play a righteous-fire type cleric and changed their mind, because they said someone should fill the role of the healer and wanted to do it.

>Why does it seem more and more that you're just a terrible GM?
Probably because I am, that's why I'm here asking for advice.

I'm not telling you what I've done is good or defending anything I've done, I'm just saying, "This is what happened, how do I fix it?"

>> No.24754461

>>24754437
The player with the Cleric was a fan of the Redwall series and wanted to play as a Mouse instead of a Rat, so that's just a cosmetic difference.

>> No.24754538

>>24754437
>The only thing that I can think of that happened so far that wasn't of IC motives was being taken into custody(which is sort of because I ham-fisted the notes on the first part of the story, because it was going shit like the rest of the campaign and I thought a change of setting/pace would help).
So it already slowed down before taking them into custody? And even though you wrote the stuff before happened because of IC motives, I don't read much about them doing stuff. They wanted to get revenge for some random dude and then what? They went into the forest but did they get their revenge? What happened there?

>...What?
I was asking in a roundabout way if you're playing in Golarion or in a custom setting.

>I wasn't expecting them to play a heal-bot. They told me they were going to play a righteous-fire type cleric and changed their mind, because they said someone should fill the role of the healer and wanted to do it.
Okay, how long have you been playing PF? You do know that 'healer' is not really a role you need in here, right? So you should have said: No listen, you guys don't need a healer, just play your original concept.

>the races
Okay, the 3rd party race actually doesn't look completely awful, I'm surprised. Ratfolk is cool too.

>> No.24754662

>>24754538
Oh sorry I kinda sidetracked myself a bit in the first part.
Also
>So far, PCs stumble onto plague cult that's been manipulating various parts of the country
has nothing to do with player agency, unless one of them told you he wanted something like this or it was in his background.
I propose you do the following after that whole she-bang in the sewers:
Nothing.
The players will have to decide what to do with that. If say fuck this to your grand scheme don't be a bitch about and change your plans.
I'm not telling you to not prepare anything though. This is fucking PF, you need some numbers prepared, but they have to be a bland set of numbers to which you can apply flavour. Also you have to think about how the cultists in the sewers will react to the PCs. Will they keep fighting? Will they flee?

Also what really is rubbing me the wrong is this:
>They were rejected by the church after the good Ranger and Cleric let their tongues get the better of them arguing of them.
Not all NPCs have to think that the PCs are the greatest guys ever, but this just reeks of a flat out NO from NPCs and you with an implied 'I'm punishing you for playing your characters'. This is being a faglord. You don't punish players for being in character. You make shit harder for them - but you don't shut them down. You make them pay gold so that the guards conveniently didn't hear anything, or the High Priest suddenly remembers a certain law that ends up being basically 'This guy is an asshole trying to exploit you'
Anything but NO

>> No.24754679

>>24754538
>What happened there?
Bad decisions. I ham-fisted it.

>I was asking in a roundabout way if you're playing in Golarion or in a custom setting.
Custom setting with borrowed elements.

>Okay, how long have you been playing PF?
Three campaigns as a PC, one other as DM.

>You do know that 'healer' is not really a role you need in here, right? So you should have said: No listen, you guys don't need a healer, just play your original concept.
I should have. I'll talk to them about it.

>> No.24754699

>>24754679
>Bad decisions. I ham-fisted it.
Whose bad decisions? Yours? The PCs?
This is important. You can tell the whole story here, I am judging you anyway.

>> No.24754839

>>24754662
>Also you have to think about how the cultists in the sewers will react to the PCs
Most of the cultists are dead, the only one that wasn't already pissed himself and ran off while the party was preoccupied with spilling troll guts.

>The dealing with the High Priest

Was grueling to war. It essentially went,
"Look, you were an asshole earlier, and you're an asshole now, but we need your help."
"That'll be tree fiddy."
"Let show you how many ways I can tell you to fuck off while the cleric threatens you with damnation."
"Guards escort them out."

And they left. They didn't try to threaten him, and they wouldn't pay him(or the guards off to rough him up, which the Paladin would've probably been against anyways).

I probably could have come up with some by-law in his books, but I didn't at the time. I really wasn't trying to punish them or tell them no, I just didn't think on my feet about it and I figured I could just point them in a different direction of finding a solution to the problem of curing everyone when they visited the antiquarian anyways.

>> No.24754853

>>24754699
Mine.

>> No.24754885

>>24754839
>They didn't try to threaten him

Well, not in physically, anyways. Just via preaching what Thalandr was going to do to him if he let the city fall to ruin because he wouldn't help his disciple.

>> No.24755071

>>24754839
>>24754679
>>24754853
>>24754885
Hmmm, okay.
To me it seems your players actually take initiative. As I already pointed out, for the next session prepare a bunch of stuff, but don't plan.
Watch what they do, what they are trying to accomplish. If it goes out of control to fast for you, call for a 5 minute break. That's okay, you're the GM, you are doing a lot of work already. Take those 5 minutes to formulate some kind of answer to what your guys are doing.
One of the biggest things I guess they're currently missing is their impact. They probably feel like pebbles tossed around in a giant river. Let their actions have consequences, but on a local scale.

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