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D&D 3E
[[coming out from hiding..]] 
20th-Oct-2004 01:28 pm
Hello.
I need some advice.
I'm running a campaign, and it's my first. Currently, I have a halfling psion/rogue running around in the group, and in the last game session, decided to rob a wealthy inn keeper. Through and through he (in character, she) sucessfully found the secret door that led to the innkeepers "apartment" that is within a extradimensional space, found and disabled the forbiddance trap, picked the complex amazing lock (10 sucesses of a 40 open lock check a la Unearthed Arcana), made it up the stairs in darkness, as per the spell, robbed the guy almost completely blind, and only caught when he picked up a carved duck with emerald eyes, and triggered a soundburst spell out of the keepers nightstand. (Never, NEVER, pick up a duck. Just bad news.) Now for the kicker.. the innkeeper was in the room, banging a barwench.
Don't have a problem with this. (Even if he is only 8th level. Shows he just knows how to build them.) The problem I had, was obviously this took some time to game out. I had other players in the party, who, out of character, were bored spitless.
Any ideas on how to speed the process up/keep things interesting for everyone? The character did this at the equivalent to 4 or 5 in the morning, and the other PCs (minus one who I dealt with quickly do to stupidity on his part) were sleeping. I tried the whole speed time up thing for the sleeping characters to let them get on with the next day, and go back and forth, but even still, it was slightly strained.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Comments 
20th-Oct-2004 12:12 pm (UTC)
Allow the halfling to escape from the extradimensional space (how did an innkeeper get such heavy-duty magic, anyway?) and cause a ruckus as the innkeeper runs after him. This will give them some chance to get involved - wondering what is going on when they wanted to sleep, whether there is some attack by some monsters, and whose version of the story they want to believe.

If they side with the halfling, they will get into trouble with the law as accomplices. And if they don't, they might have to rescue him from a prison or something - more potential for their involvement (unless they want to get rid of him...).

And in the end, they will likely tell the halfling: "Never, ever wander off on your own like this again!" - which is probably a good thing...
20th-Oct-2004 12:34 pm (UTC)
if you're gonna have a campaign with a rogue who's going to go off on his own a lot while the rest of the party is sleeping, have something prepped for the players to do while you run that. or set him up with an adventure where he gets in trouble for doing it and let him sit tight while everyone else gets to rescue him. party splitting stinks, especially when only one member of the party is doing anything interesting.
20th-Oct-2004 01:07 pm (UTC)
As a player, I must speak out:

I HATE PARTY SPLITTING. It ruins games.

As a DM of another group I run, I must speak out:

Party splitting happens sometimes, and you best make a scene so that the other players wake up/somehow become involved, or the sentence above will go through the mind of all your players.
20th-Oct-2004 01:09 pm (UTC)
my players all hate party splitting too. problem is, it happens. a heavily armored dwarven tank just can't tag along on a scouting mission with the rogue and the ranger. but party splitting that doesn't meet some party goal, like a rogue going off and stealing for fun, that does suck and should be avoided.
20th-Oct-2004 12:35 pm (UTC)
How to keep your other players entertained...

Well, first off, think of your game kind of like a movie. Take "The Return of the King," for example. Now in that fictitious game, it's fairly obvious that the GM had an extremely split party. So he'd run for Aragorn, Gandalf, and Merry and Pippin for a while, get them to a "break" in the action, and cut to Frodo and Sam, who were very obviously somewhere else on the planet, and do the same thing with them.

It can take a little practice on the part of the GM to find the appropriate "break" points for a scene cut in the action, but they're almost always there. And after a while, nobody will think anything of cutting back and forth between "scenes."

Just a suggestion...it certainly works for our gaming group.
20th-Oct-2004 12:41 pm (UTC)
bohotremere already suggested "cut scenes" so I won't repeat that.

The other thing you can do is involve the other players as NPCs. Certainly much of the scene you described was solo, away from any NPCs, but as soon as the innkeeper and his barwench heard the noise, you could hand a stat block and a couple lines of personality description to two players and let them role-play the NPCs' distraught and fear.

If you're a very adventurous DM, you can even let the other players help DM the event. Take a break and let one or two of the players run the scene.
20th-Oct-2004 12:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, you also can make the solo rogue split his XP with the rest of the party. This will discourage him from going it alone (more risk and less reward) and will make the rest of the group feel better about giving up play time (they still got XP).
22nd-Oct-2004 05:15 pm (UTC)
I know I've commented towards you several times, but you seem to have mixed ideas with things. If a player builds a character to be a cat burglar, or truly a rogue and not a combat based character. Then he won't see as much xp because of the fact that he avoids situations in combat. So forcing him to split his experience is like saying "You can't play your character concept because it slows things down." If that were the case then several character concepts would fail because they slow things down. I have a character in my game that I'm running who's concept is that he's a half-dragon who is out for vengeance against his father who was a dragon slayer and killed his mother. He intends to go off and kill his father, but he sees it as a mission to do on his own. So if that is going to happen then maybe that is something that is better set aside to be run at a different time.
In game with the group he could collect information to locate his father, then run a small side game sometime where he goes and deals with his father. But forcing a player to lose xp because he played his character is a rather bad idea.
20th-Oct-2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
letting another player play a character involved makes it much more interesting. Next time, let them play the barmaid and the innkeeper...
21st-Oct-2004 04:40 pm (UTC) - Others DM
Letting the players DM the scene is a bad idea, because everyone runs differently. And that can completely screw up a part of the way your game is supposed to go. The players are more likely to do something to gurantee they're character's are the needed (and I mean that by saying the one character they are controlling). That's why the players should bring things, or possibly spend some time coming up with battle strategies for future reference. That's the other issue with a lot of games that causes game slow down is when people are not ready for their battle scenes. Spellcasters (the reason I hate metagamers) have a tendency to ask what the creature's save is. But back on to what I was saying about the issue of letting others gm the scene. All around bad idea.
22nd-Oct-2004 08:04 am (UTC) - Re: Others DM
See, I take umbrage with the phrase "the way your game is supposed to go." To me, this smells of control-freakism. I'm not accusing vampyrepoet of being a control freak at all but warning that the attitude can lead to it.

The game isn't the DM's. It's the whole group's game. If the DM has an agenda and the slightest deviation from that (on the part of the players) can cause the game to get "completely screwed up," then I suspect a fair bit of railroading is occurring. An RPG should not be a staged play where the players play bit parts in the DM's story. The DM should help the players create their own story, seeding the stage with ideas and sparks to play off. The DM is a player too and does get to tell his own story but not at the expense of the other 3-8 players.

If you're really concerned about consistency and what-not, the main DM can always overrule a player-temporary-DM. No, a temp-DM can't give his personal PC a powerful magic item. If this is the kind of player you have in your group, you're in bad shape anyway. Sharing DMing roles requires a bit of maturity.
22nd-Oct-2004 05:11 pm (UTC) - Re: Others DM
The point of the DM is to lay out the backdrop as it would be of the story. If you let another person take control of the story then you screw up what the DM spent so much time putting togeather. And honestly gaming requires a bit of immaturity. If you are to mature then you lack the imagination to actually get into the game.
If you think it is a good idea for players to be able to gm the game for a bit, good for you because that means you can trust your players not to screw it up. But in the most case players can't help but try and do something to favor their character.
It's the same reason I believe that a DM should not be allowed to have a pc in the party to level up with everyone else, because he/she won't be able to help but favor that character they are playing. And _rejected_ this is not a direct attack on your or anyone else in the group.
20th-Oct-2004 02:32 pm (UTC)
Ciollective dream adventure!
21st-Oct-2004 02:04 pm (UTC)
been there, done that. TWICE. First time was on accident. (Put them up in a fight, killed the ENTIRE party minus two characters. So I out of kindness said it was all a dream.)
21st-Oct-2004 02:35 pm (UTC)
Everyone wakes up with full HP, but1d4 temporary wisdom damage
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