Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 107: Raising up that reclusive Gamer at the Table
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Main Topic

Have you had or do you have that player that seems to just sit there? That player that never seeks the spotlight? You may have yourself a reclusive player. Is this a problem or an asset? 

  • Well I do have to say that for me I can worry. Questions I will ask myself: 
  • Am I not making it engaging for them? 
  • Am I sticking to the spotlight hogs? 
  • Are they just there to fill a chair? 
  • Did they come as a Significant Other to one of the other players? 

What do you do when you start to ask yourself these questions or notice that reclusive player?

First – See whether it is a problem.  Get together with the player out of the game, either in person or digitally, and see if they are okay with it. Maybe, this is a player who enjoys being supportive and nodding along with other players.  This player may make enough decisions during the day that they are happy to sit back and just watch.  If the player isn’t okay, then you should ask why.  It’s best not to put folks on the spot right then and there.  Touch base during the usual bio breaks/food runs and ask if they’ve got a moment away from the table.  They’re already kinda withdrawn right?  Being discreet can keep from exacerbating the situation

  • Are they having fun? 
  • Are they engaging with the game and the plot? 
  • Are they being talked over by assertive players?
  • Does their character build seem not to be useful mechanically? 

Second, how do you fix those problems if that is the case? Be aware that there are nigh infinite solutions, since the cause is most likely varied and nuanced. Do they like more “behind the curtain” kind of things?  Are they a leader in real life and are thus suffering analysis paralysis and just want someone else to do it?  So ask leading or probing questions.  One and two word answers (“I’m Tired”) may give some insight into a temporary situation. However, if this is a systemic issue you’ll need to use the handy dandy open ended questions to gain some insight into the situation.

  • If the plot and story isn’t drawing them in, try to find out why – a desire for Politics and intrigue vs dungeon delving and adventuring? 
  • Are other players talking over them? Bring a discussion to the whole table about wanting to make sure everybody gets a chance to contribute.  As a GM make sure to ask those players at times what their characters are doing. 
  • Is their build disadvantageous? Design some adventures to focus on what they can do.  Give them an opportunity to respec. 

Stat Blocks

Joules

Star Eaters

Hush child and stay near me.  I will tell you a story.  I swear to you that this is true, unlike the apocryphal stories of the rulers and priests.  

They gazed upon us from above.  The stars.  They shone and danced nightly, as they made their way across the celestial sphere.  The old legends described how monsters, heroes, villains, all that the gods deemed precious were placed in the sky.  

Till they all disappeared.

It started slowly, in a darker corner of the sky. One by the one, the stars winked out.  An ever expanding void blanketed the sky.  And the last of the stars winked out, we heard them. 

A cacophony of clicking and amelodic eldric chittering.

The Star Eaters.

Where they come from remains a black secret.  And their final objective, a mystery as well.

Our priests, prophets and kings succumbed to the influence of the Star Eaters first.  Our Leaders’ craving for power and control made them easy to influence and command.  They became the Star Eaters’ perfect zealots and acolytes.  And our people, terrified and lost, blindly followed their words.  It didn’t take long for the populace to act solely in interest of the Star Eaters.    

Know this, child. Without the stars, we are adrift and nearly helpless.  

We cannot navigate.  Long ago, we traveled using the stars as signposts, waypoints, and markers.  Now we cannot travel to trade or explore.  The stars determined the planting season and harvest time.  Without the star’ guidance, our larders grow barren and winter supplies grow scarce.  In times past, we used the position of the stars to determine fate and destiny for all things, great and small alike.  Without the stars, no decisions can be made. So we stagnate.  We die.  We forget.

So why do I tell you this, little one?  

Because there are so few of us left. There are so few who remember the night sky as it used to be.  So few who know the truth, heretical though it may be.

And if the stars themselves are forgotten, then we, as a people, will be lost as well.

How to Use Star Eaters in Game:

There’s a lot of ways this can be used.  It can be used to restrict your players movement.  Present varied plot inroads to address it.  Shroud your game world.  

Guard-a-Manger

Harvik’s Purloined Mendacious Scripting

Mendacious script is a pernicious evil.  Perhaps not so much evil as inadvertently responsible for launching a thousand ships on doomed quests. This script, this font, this particular way of arranging semiotic information can morph and change before your very eyes.  The actual meaning may stay the same but the words themselves will change and flow into something different.  Each time you open the page and lay your eyes upon what’s been transcribed or represented, it seems different.  Harvik is the person who gets the credit or blame for identifying what was happening… but whether Harvik first found the Script or perhaps invented it is still unknown. Which version is the right version? Is there a right version? 

How to Use Harvik’s Purloined Mendacious Scripting in Game:

If you ever wanted to mislead your players, here is your chance! The Mendacious Script may take forms suitable for many genres – from enchanted ink to viral nanites and can never seem to be controlled.  Leave clues and ideas in these cryptic, or sometimes straightforward passages, and let your players tear their hair out until they realize what they have in their tomes. 

Lexicon

Khamsin noun kham·​sin | \ kam-ˈsēn  \

Definition of khamsin

: a hot southerly Egyptian wind

History and Etymology for khamsin

Arabic rīḥ al-khamsīn the wind of the fifty (days between Easter and Pentecost)

First Known Use of khamsin

1685

Look-up Popularity

Bottom 10% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – Raised by Wolves The basis is Earth has been destroyed and this pair of androids have to raise a small group of children in a Keepler Planet. 

Joules – Jackbox Party Pack.  There’s 7 of them.  Play silly games with your friends. And you all don’t need the game, just one of you.  You can play on a laptop or phone

Guard-a-Manger – Challenger: The Final Flight.  A four part documentary series about the Challenger space shuttle: How we got there; what went wrong; and what we learned.  If you are of a certain age, you may remember specific moments that are in the documentary so be warned and aware but it is a fascinating look at where we thought the future was going in the 1980s. 

Music is courtesy of Sim on Twitter you can find him at @TheSimulacrae

Find us

 

Author Pages with all of our contact info

Zendead 

Joules 

Guard-a-manger
And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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