"Reactive" players and short first sessions

  • 6 Replies
  • 5401 Views
"Reactive" players and short first sessions
« on: July 20, 2010, 07:57:01 AM »
Two important facts before I start:

1) I've just started running AW.

2) I'm quite lazy.

To expand, there are 4 players, a Driver, a Chopper, a Savvyhead and a Gunlugger.  Since 2 of the 4 character types are innately very mobile, (and the Savvyhead has a van as her workshop) the game is based over a reasonably large area of dusty, scrubby desert rather than being based around a single Hardhold.  I keep thinking of maybe Dukes of Hazard, only in a desert and with more murder.

Thing is, most of the players seem to be having their characters reacting to what's going on, rather then striking out and trying to get their characters to achieve something off their own back.  Which is OK, but it's down to running that balance between nudging the players into action and leading them around by the nose.  Plus, as I said, I'm lazy and I want the player pulling me in their directions and I can nudge them towards conflicts rather than having to put them in motion.

After a very, very short first session, we seem to have created just a very small bubble around the PCs.  Partly this is due to time, we just didn't have time to create that much world.  Partly, it's the setup, the player characters are spread out physically(which is fine), but also clumping together whenever action happens (which is also basically fine).  Thing is that the NPC population is also spread out, and there are fewer chances to bump into people.  Finally, there's the fact that the players aren't driving their characters as much as I'd like.  Not a massive problem, but I think they need a bit more input from me than I was originally expecting.

My plan, I guess, it to treat the second session as a kind of "1.5 session" that's not really quite a first session, and not really quite a full-on session with the requisite fronts and all.  Basically, I'm not sure I have enough from that first session to build enough Fronts to make things interesting, so this next session is going to be digging a bit more and working with what I have already.

I'm not sure if this is typical, anyone else have a similar experience?

*

Bret

  • 285
Re: "Reactive" players and short first sessions
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010, 08:41:40 AM »
I don't think this is really a game your players have to be proactive. Personally I think you should proceed to the second session as normal, create your Fronts and Threats, and start those countdown timers. There will be plenty for them to react to, and maybe along the way they will find things to be proactive about. So far based on the way the game is built whether my characters are proactive or not hasn't been a problem. Their water supply kicked, a firestorm was blowing through on the horizon, and some raiders hit the town. They had plenty to do.

Remember the players' job is to play their characters as real people, and that's it.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 08:43:31 AM by Bret »
Tupacalypse World

*

Chris

  • 342
Re: "Reactive" players and short first sessions
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 09:32:11 AM »
Ask more questions, especially about resources. Make them leading questions, if you have to. The more you flesh out their characters and the world around them, the more they'll have to grab on to. NPC-PC-NPC triangles are good too.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: "Reactive" players and short first sessions
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 12:50:57 PM »
Aaaaand, after thinking on it over the course of the day, I think I've just figured the source of my unease and also the answer.  The answer is the important bit:

It's OK to create Fronts and Threats from your own imagination and to involve the players in them.  They don't HAVE to originate from the players.

*

lumpley

  • 1293
Re: "Reactive" players and short first sessions
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 01:00:52 PM »
Right you are!

-Vincent

Re: "Reactive" players and short first sessions
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 02:32:02 PM »
I don't think this is really a game your players have to be proactive...
Remember the players' job is to play their characters as real people, and that's it.

This is good. I MC'ed the first session last night, and it went really well, but there were just a couple moments where when we cut to a new scene, instead of stopping to think up a move, I looked at a player and went, "So, is there anything you want to do?" I immediately realized that I shouldn't be doing that in AW unless I've thrown a move at them. "She's pleading with you. What do you do?" = yes. "Okay, so it's the second time we've seen your character, you're sitting in your room, what do you do?" = no.

*

Bret

  • 285
Re: "Reactive" players and short first sessions
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 02:50:40 PM »
Well, I usually get some prompts from the players. Like:

"So what's your plan now?"
"I'm going to go down to the market."
"Okay, you only set off your pain grenade in the middle of the market like an hour ago. There's probably going to be some pretty pissed off people down there. You're going?" (Tell them the possible consequences and ask.)

I let them give me the direction they're headed, then I swing a move at them.
Tupacalypse World