I think campaigns wouldn't die out as often as they do if GMs learned a thing or two about narrative structures and how to get people engaged in a long term commitment to a piece of entertainment. Too many campaigns devolve into a meandering mess because they have an interesting hook at best but lack an overarching goal for the players to look forwards to. Of course the journey is more important than the destination, but you still need a destination. People get more excited and engaged about something when they want to find out what happens next, sure, but they need rudimentary knowledge of what to look forward to so that they can create expectations that can be either met or subverted during play.So many players and GMs are so deathly afraid of railroading that they conflate it with anything that even remotely resembles a solid structure or direction, and I think that's a huge mistake.Wanna know my method to get good campaigns? Have a pre-game discussion via a session zero or a group chat so that everyone's on the same page, and work on the HOOK and the overarching GOAL. These will be your starting and end points. Then, find out the level of commitment and the attention span of your players, and give a rough estimation of how many sessions there should be between your starting session and your final session. Then, and only then, do you actually plan out content, leaving room for players to deviate from that basic structure at their leisure.Do you have players who can play for about three months, 2 times a month, tops? That's only 6 sessions, 4 for the journey and 2 for the start and end. You have about four opportunities for interesting content, perhaps one dungeon a session, or maybe 3 big things and one final big thing that spans two sessions--one to drum up excitement, one to finish it all.Got excited players who are absolutely free every sunday? Check out any future plans and plan to stop before they leave.A little planning goes a long way, /tg/.
>>87498645>Too many campaigns devolve into a meandering mess because they have an interesting hook at best but lack an overarching goal for the players to look forwards toThis is mostly a /tg/ problem. Normal TTRPG players and GMs understand that a unifying call to action is important and players will be willing to play ball if the GM makes that goal flexible/open-ended enough for player choice to still be involved.>People get more excited and engaged about something when they want to find out what happens next, sure, but they need rudimentary knowledge of what to look forward to so that they can create expectations that can be either met or subverted during play.True, and having some OH SHIT moments that flip the knowledge of the players and their characters on their head is also fun as long as you limit it to one or two big ones.
>>87498645none of that has anything to do with narrative structures. besides, you dont understand the nature of a collaborative storytelling project. Your players and their characters are destabilizing agents. you create a series of (generally undesirable) events populated by likeable and unlikeable characters so that your players can exert their agency and tell their part of the story through how they alter the outcome.
>>87498645shut the fuck up and kill yourself nogaemz
>>87498645Huh, never took Kim for a nerd. But I'll take any advice best girl gives, without a single grain of salt.
This applies only to storyshitters though. Hexcrawl chads don't need big overarching narratives or end goals, they make it themselves as they go.
>>87498645No, the reason people flake is usually because the campaign doesn't turn out like people expected. What GMs need to learn is to communicate what expectations are reasonable for the campaign.
>>87499256>best girlYou're thinking of Lisa
>>87499382>don't need>make it themselvesThese are mutually exclusive statements.
>>87498645Have you ever been a GM before? You know planning too far ahead is bad and you should only have a loose outline on what you want to do. If you have a hard plan you tend to railroad players so your work doesn't go to waste and they will notice and possibly even fight against it. You would also know that the players have to work with the GM to get the game and story moving as a whole. It's not just the GM's job to hand you story beats when you can make your own or even make said story beats more interesting by you know, roleplaying and interacting with it? Too many times I just have players not knowing what to do, not even wondering off to go explore and find dungeons unless an NPC points them in that direction and is willing to pay them for it even when they know good loot would be in said dungeon for them to keep.All you players are spoiled until you actually ran a game yourself full of other spoiled players.
>>87500039I respect your opinion. Lisa was a ray of sunshine.
>>87498645I’m running a board game, not playing a book.Now I’m going to roll on the rumor table and you and the rest of the party are going to decide what are next session will be about.
>>87501008I may have had a stroke writing this, but you get the point.
>>87498645It's cute to think that the essential element is just GM planning, but it takes two to tango. Players can say they want this thing at the start, agree to some other thing during session zero, and say every other platitude necessary to make you think you know how to make them happy but no campaign survives first contact with the players.Players can get bored and completely spin off course during session 1, get lost on some random stupid detail in session 5, not pay attention to the event that sparks the final conflict, or a hundred other ways to shoot the game in the foot. I've seen players spend 2 weeks making a character and then drop out in session 1, and I've seen one-shots that launch within an hour of their announcement go from 5 filled player slots to one actual player and the GM.There's no real way to prevent a campaign from dying before the campaign starts. No special kind of recruiting, no barrier to entry, no amount of pregame discussion. You've just gotta hit the ground hard and pick up the pieces
>>87498645>if GMs learned a thing or twoYou are a faggot, OP. I have seen people flake out of campaigns where the GM was fucking incredible. I don't GM because I can't but I have the basic decency to show up and put some effort into roleplaying or whatever the fuck is expected of me according to the game. Way too many players are dumb flakes or they just sit there doing/saying nothing, paying no attention, and wasting everyone's time. People should be thankful that saints willing to GM still exist at all, but things will change soon because apparently tolerating players' shit is going to become a paid service. I hate my fellow players.
>>87501739You know how you become a GM? By doing it. You will suck for a while, but you will get better. Start with something small, like a one-shot adventure of some sort. Keep the scope small until you start to feel like you get the hang of it. Then if you want to expand your horizons, challenge yourself to do bigger things with a group of players that you know will stick around for longer.
>>87501925>You will suck for a while, but you will get better.The problem is that apparently, the players never get better. lol
>>87502307Then you gotta find better players. Separating the wheat from the chaff is all part of better GMing, even if it is not very glamourous (like scheduling your games).
>>87502321>Just do this thing that takes 10x more work and that way better people than you can't seem to pull off no matter how carefully they filterWhy? With the time and effort I can dedicate to the hobby I can be a good player and I will only feel a fraction of the disappointment once the group collapses when the usual couple retards shit things up. I have literally never finished a campaign, it's pretty insane how flaky people are online. I wish my IRL friends ever gave a shit about TTRPGs.
>>87502445>waah waaah waaah it's tooo haaaardI suspect you are one of the entitled players that good GMs don't bother to carry with them.
>>87502497Do you exist solely to act contrarian on the internet? Yes, GMs would call me to other games. On the other hand I don't have to like the new game, the people chosen for the game, or automatically renew my commitment to the new game. I generally join a game because it's something specific I want to play.
>>87502445I'm not >>87502497But the kinds of people online looking for games are often the sorts who can't stick around with any one game at a time. Do you engage in other activities with people, even if it is video games? Those kinds of people who engage with the same hobby or activity who can then carry that dedication over to tabletop are often the cream of the crop.
>>87502598Not everyone who disagrees with you is contrarian, but fine, I'll speak from my experience of what I've seen rather than make assumptions about you personally. The people I've seen who get to finish play multiple campaigns to completion either win the lottery of a forever GM who both gels with them and has a group that is great and sticks around. Of course, this is extremely unlikely for most people to get into randomly as these groups are fairly static and might accept a new guy only once every couple of years as a previous member departs.For the rest, being willing to GM and having even some experience with it greatly increases your chance of getting games you like with people you want to play with and pretty much every person I know who has consistent games has at least been willing to run a game so they have the experience necessary to know how to not make the GM hate himself for trying to run for them.
The amount of campaigns I've had which ended early (all of them) vs reached a proper conclusion (none) has honestly fucked my confidence up and affected my enjoyment of TTRPGs pretty badly. I don't even want to put any more of my cool ideas in front of mean players anymore sometimes.
>>87502776I've had a period where I had a great GM who got me very busy and I would play so much that the main campaign going to shit didn't impact me. What would happen in many cases was that the GM would call me to another game that I absolutely didn't feel for, either because of the premise or because of the people playing, or simply because I didn't feel like playing another game after a campaign I was excited for died in 4-6 sessions.>>87502713>Do you engage in other activities with people, even if it is video games?No, I really only like TTRPGs and my other hobbies are not even internet related (that has kept me sane).
>>87502862You've reached the threshold of something big to learn. With new players, don't give them something cool that you put all of your heart into; it won't survive contact. Instead, give a basic premise and let you and the players figure out what's going to be cool by playing it.If you only present your cool ideas, it would be better to make a novel or play the game solo with yourself.
>>87502934What are your non-internet related hobbies? Do you engage them with others?
>>87502961No, I don't like the internet communities related to my hobbies, so I don't see the point of using them as a proxy to get TTRPG games. That's unfortunate because it would be way easier if I played videogames or some other thing.
>>87503012How about real life communities?
>>87503260I'm on the internet because I live in a creativity-averse shithole.
>>87503458So you don't go to internet communities related to your hobbies, and you're in a creativity--averse area. What are your options then? To lay around and be miserable until a windfall comes your way?And if you don't engage in internet communities relating to your hobbies, why are you on 4chan?
Campaigns don't die due to lack of narrative structure. I've seen and been involved in campaigns that go on for years where the GM provides minimal, if any narrative and it is mostly the players deciding what they want to do in the world today, with no hook or goal, no intended destination or journey. No planning, no session outline. And not only did these games go for years, they were very popular for all those years. It isn't the lack of narrative that kills a game.So what DOES kill a game? Lack of interest. The players might SAY they are having fun, and on some level feel that they are. But then one week Scott is invited to a party and feels like the party is a one off, and the game will still be there next week, so he ditches the game for a night. The rest of the players don't really want to run without him. The next week Ryan isn't feeling very well and calls it off last moment. Before you know it the game is running once a month or so, and then it just sort of goes quietly, never to be played again.This happened because even though the players thought they were having fun, they weren't REALLY engaged. Engaged players make an effort to keep the game alive by themselves. They don't need encouragement to keep coming back, they will make sure it happens.So how do you keep your players engaged? Learn to tell them no. Make them work for anything and everything they ever wanted in the world. None of this 'yes and' bullshit, thats not game design, and you are trying to run an engaging game. Nobody plays the same instance of a theater exercise for more then 20 minutes let alone two years, so don't bring their 'yes and' into a game design space. Say no to players, tread them into the dirt, and be happy for them when they overcome all your bullshit to finally succeed.
>>87503621>What are your options then? To lay around and be miserable until a windfall comes your way?Well I don't know. I usually get motivated again in a few months, another campaign goes to shit, rinse and repeat. But lately I haven't gotten to the point where I joined a campaign at all. I think I'm dropping out of the hobby.>And if you don't engage in internet communities relating to your hobbies, why are you on 4chan?Just inertia, honestly. Being online is only slightly better than being around IRL.
>>87498645I agree.I've ran two finished campaigns and dozens of one shots, all closed and satisfactory. Whenever I plan a game I alway know for how many hours we will play, and I disclose it to the players. As a GM you have to manage everyone's time and concentration to exploit the fullest of it.Narrative structure is what can tell you how much time a scene will take.Introduction? Low stakes, about half an hour. But also low concentration, the GM needs to get everyone moving.The climax? Damn the GM needs to take their time. A hour to two for a one shot, half the last session for a campaign.It is but my humble experience.
>>87498645Why plan it? I prefer thoroughly engineered sandboxes where players are able to do whatever the fuck they want till it fits the rules.It's also easier to spend few weeks before the campaign creating lore, NPCs, tables, dungeons and stuff and then only improvise on base of it reacting to player actions.
>>87500157Players will waffle about and be indecisive if you don't give them a unifying goal. You'd know this if you ever played or ran a game.
>>87498645Solid advice. It's nice to see some actual effort and thought put into it.>>87501739>I have seen people flake out of campaigns where the GM was fucking incredible.Shitters gonna shit. So what? While accurate, it has very little to do with large numbers of campaigns simply fizziling out due to disinterest due to players having no real direction and no sense of purpose or goal which is what OP was talking about.> inb4: "Bu.. But mah straw mans."
>>87509449>Give players a unifying goal>They never do anything to advance towards that goal unless it is extremely simple such as "Kill X" or "Collect Y">If you don't put a "quest marker" on said goal they won't know it is something they should do>It is incredibly easy for players to fall into traps because of this>If the goals are more complicated they always put in the minimum effort unless it is to cause maximum chaos You'd know this if you ever played or ran a game. And what does having a unifying goal have to do with players not thinking for themselves unless it's an active threat?
>>87502862Desu, coming off from pbp games I made peace with 90% of the games I'll be part of won't have an actual ending. Kind of like an appreciate the journey over the destination kind of deal. Even in consistent groups without flakes I've had the GM give up on the campaign and wanting to out it on hold.So at least I'm glad that through trial and error I've gotten a good group to play games with, even if out of multiple campaigns only one of them has had an ending
>>87510308>coming off from pbp gamesthat's asking for it though. pbp is fucking masochistic
>>87498645>So many players and GMs are so deathly afraid of railroading that they conflate it with anything that even remotely resembles a solid structure or direction, and I think that's a huge mistake.Gamers are like a girl who keeps complaining about the bad boys she just happens to fall into bed with constantly and tosses out generic feel-good advice to her guy-friends like "be yourself!". They're not self-aware enough to describe what they really want. "Sandbox" games always quickly fall apart quickly. Everyone just stands around doing nothing. No one actually wants to fight random monsters from some encounter table. I can have any number of vidya games like Torchlight, Diablo etc toss together some monsters/dungeons for me to tackle. It's rather like how every once in awhile people think it would be fun to do an "evil campaign" but it always collapses after a session or two. Once the novelty of barbecuing the orphanage wears off people miss the structure provided by a good campaign. EG that your friends with raise you if you die instead of just looting your corpse. tl;dr gamers are submissive little piggies who desperately want a daddy dom dungeon master to rule with an iron fist.
>>87510370Oh yeah. Actual weekly games are so much better that I never went back. I prefer playing 5-6 sessions of a game then having someone flake on the group than having a PBP game where it slowly dies over the course of a month. The point being that I'm used to being blueballed in terms of getting an actual ending.
>>87498645Thanks anon-kun, you should put this on your wordpress
>>87510663You haven't played a sandbox game.All you need is a world populated with small story hooks - which, after the onset, aren't all that different from playing a "normal" campaign, but shorter - and a DM who's willing to improvise.You can do this with a handful of good premade adventures, a town, some characters, and hooks that tie to those premade adventures.Also, having a brain that likes to insert weird, whimsical shit here and there to liven up the world is great. Really, just any imagination at all.
>>87509804>They never do anything to advance towards that goal unless it is extremely simple such as "Kill X" or "Collect Y""Deal with X" is the best goal, because it gives the players a focus without locking them into a single potential method of dealing with it.>If you don't put a "quest marker" on said goal they won't know it is something they should doTelling the party at the get-go "You're given a job to do X, go do X" then giving them more shit to do as well as some way to keep up with their shit like a physical piece of paper or a digital handout they can all edit stops this. And you know so does... not being vague or autistic as a GM? If you've got any social skills it's never a problem and if you don't well... TTRPGs aren't for you.>It is incredibly easy for players to fall into traps because of thisAnd? If you're using insta-kill no save traps then you're a shit GM.>If the goals are more complicated they always put in the minimum effort unless it is to cause maximum chaos Stop playing with autists and retards?>You'd know this if you ever played or ran a game.You're the one who's never played or run a game. In fact the bigger issue with players is overthinking things. This is why I never use puzzles or riddles, because it never ends well.>And what does having a unifying goal have to do with players not thinking for themselves unless it's an active threat?They don't have to figure out what to do themselves, it gives a reason for the party to be together, and it gives the whole party a unifying end goal to work towards and helps weed out any That Guys because they'll instantly push back against it and you can boot them and replace them with someone cooperative.
>>87510308>>87502862This shit is why giving the players an ultimate, unifying goal is important. When they complete the goal, the game ends.Also, don't play with flakers, metagamers, minmaxers, or anyone who lacks basic social skills. That will fix your problems. I know, I've run at least 6 games that have all come to a proper conclusion, probably more at this point.
>>87517559>Either twisting the words I say or just flat out ignoring my argumentsAre you that desperate to get people angry or are you just a seething brainlet who is angry that I outed you as a selfish prick of a player who just wants his GM to jerk off his character?