Do you play with Casual Players?

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Havard
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Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Havard » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:01 pm

By casual players, I mean people who will show up for the game, but who aren't really willing to invest much in the game outside the actual session. I like this type of players, but when the game itself is dominated by casual players, it can get a little boring.

I've heard some DM's recommend that you specifically don't challenge casual players to try to force them to make choices for the campaign that they aren't really interested in. Many such players are just there to be taken along for a ride, which some might describe as a railroad. If they are forced into a more sandbox style campaign, they might be frustrated with the number of choices they are presented with.

How do you deal with casual players?

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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by shesheyan » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:16 pm

I'm fine with one such player if the group is at least composed of four. I had one for many years. He just wanted to hang out and roll combat dice. I suspect he had a vivid imagination and listening was enough for him. He didn't like to be in the spotlight for important decisions but he was fine with short role play bits with npcs if infrequent.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by agathokles » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:35 pm

Most of my players don't have the time or will do spend too much effort on the game outside the sessions proper. I don't think it is a problem, although some specific types of games (too crunchy ones, or those with very complex plots that require to keep and revise notes between sessions) are better avoided if the majority of players are of the less involved kind.

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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by snorri » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:47 pm

I don't care too much. I play with my friends. If they want to sit and listen the story, roll a dice from time to time, it's ok. As long as one or two take initiatives, the game is going on.

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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Yaztromo » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:19 pm

You can either run an one-off game that will be completed in that very session (in that case you can have as many casual players as you want) or you can have a PC (or a NPC being temporarily promoted to PC) joining you regular group for a little while (in that case you need to limit the number of casual players).
Occasionally casual players can play the "bad guy" or can be a traitor planted in the regular group (adding a little twist of paranoia), but you can't do it all the time, otherwise your regular players will know who's the usual suspect.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by timemrick » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:58 pm

I've had some casual players in my games from time to time, but I usually recruit from among friends who want to invest a bit more in a game than a casual player does. We all enjoy the character development and world building as much as the action adventure hero stuff.

The two players who left my Tarrasque game (due to work taking them cross-country) were probably a bit more casual players than the rest of the group. The rogue's player in particular didn't have much interest in roleplaying for its own sake, he mostly just wanted to find the plot and beat things up.

A couple decades ago, I ran a three-year-long fantasy GURPS campaign for my wife and two of our friends, all of whom were very invested in exploring their characters and the world. I was persuaded to add a fourth player when another friend expressed an interest in playing, but she was pretty much the textbook example of a wallflower player. She had fun, and did contribute to the game in her own quiet way, but never wanted to be the focus of any scene--she just wanted to hang out with friends and enjoy the weird adventures they got themselves into.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:35 am

Havard wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:01 pm
How do you deal with casual players?
I wonder if pre-gens (which I really don't like using myself) would be something that is much more useful for casual players. If they don't like the idea of spending time outside the game working out a character background and all that, maybe giving them a few ready made options to grab from would get them to roleplay one that jumps out to them.

Or...if you don't want it to feel railroady, you could go for a quick session with the Hero Builder's Guidebook, some dice, and a sheet of paper to knock up a bespoke background for you and your casual player to work up together.

For example, if you roll up the size of their birthplace, you could then look through your notes, find several places that might match that and ask them to pick one.

And, even if they didn't especially care about the details that HBG generated for them, you could add those hooks into your game as much as the hooks that your more committed players designed for themselves.

Another thing, that might help your other players bond with the casual player more, would be to toss some of the Hero Builder's Guidebook "facts" onto the table and ask if anyone has an idea of how to tie any of them in with one or more of the other PCs. That might help the other players feel that the PC of the casual player is an important part of their PCs story.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:00 pm

I have no problem with casual players since I am one.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:22 am

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:35 am
I wonder if pre-gens (which I really don't like using myself) would be something that is much more useful for casual players. If they don't like the idea of spending time outside the game working out a character background and all that, maybe giving them a few ready made options to grab from would get them to roleplay one that jumps out to them.
I have one player who's been in my group for years who has been perfectly happy to play a pre-gen or let another player create a character for him. In the past seven years, I believe he's created one character but has played six. As others have said, he's happy to roll some dice, fight some monsters, and participate in some skill challenges. Pre-gens have worked out really well for him.

I also run a game for my co-workers at the office every other week. I'd estimate that half of the players picked up a pre-gen and have continued playing that character every since. Similar situation, where they're there to do some team building and decompress from the work week on a Friday afternoon.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by RobJN » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:00 am

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:00 pm
I have no problem with casual players since I am one.
Your seat is still open at my virtual table, Angel, if you should ever want to casually drop back in. :D
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by shesheyan » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:43 am

I totaly prefer a casual player to a mn/maxer who can't remember his rules from game to game and wants to change his choices (feats/paths) has his character progresses....
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Coronoides » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:27 am

Really depends. In a large group a casual player (not the same as an apathetic Player) no problem. If I'm running a crunch heavy game and/or a more sandbox style game where the players are supposed to drive the narrative and have in game goals and ambitions than I'm going to have a small table and everyone there needs to be an active co-creator. In that instance the 'casual player' would be taken aside the problem explained and if they stay and don't change then Again in private they would be asked to leave and make space for someone else.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:28 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:43 am
I totaly prefer a casual player to a mn/maxer who can't remember his rules from game to game and wants to change his choices (feats/paths) has his character progresses....
Min/maxers drive me a bit potty sometimes.

After initially reluctantly moving from 2nd Edition to 3rd Edition, I really came to like things like Feats, but min/maxers seem to break my sense of immersion and reduce characters down to raw mathematics.

So I think I agree with you. I'd prefer to have someone who isn't totally familiar with the rules, but who plays the character, when they are there.

I've previously thought of looking at the SRD to find a way to chop bits out of it and make a bespoke player handout that would work for a player who doesn't seem to want to read the PHB cover to cover.
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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by willpell » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:50 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:28 pm
I've previously thought of looking at the SRD to find a way to chop bits out of it and make a bespoke player handout that would work for a player who doesn't seem to want to read the PHB cover to cover.
I have a strong interest in that kind of thing myself. I started work on what I called my "godbook", an attempt to cut the redundant text out of the PHB and get it down to a manageable summary of the basic rules, but unfortunately my tendency to over-write got carried away, and I ended up making it longer rather than shorter. It was replacing dull and repetitive "corporate" text with illustrative examples, so I do still think it was a useful change, but contrary to my intended aim, and I haven't really pursued it.

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Re: Do you play with Casual Players?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:43 pm

willpell wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:50 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:28 pm
I've previously thought of looking at the SRD to find a way to chop bits out of it and make a bespoke player handout that would work for a player who doesn't seem to want to read the PHB cover to cover.
I have a strong interest in that kind of thing myself. I started work on what I called my "godbook", an attempt to cut the redundant text out of the PHB and get it down to a manageable summary of the basic rules, but unfortunately my tendency to over-write got carried away, and I ended up making it longer rather than shorter. It was replacing dull and repetitive "corporate" text with illustrative examples, so I do still think it was a useful change, but contrary to my intended aim, and I haven't really pursued it.
I think that things with Plain English and lots of bullet point lists might be a way to create something a super casual player might actually read.
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