Impractical Applications: Ravyn Vs. Reactives

This week I didn’t get to run. Again. At least it wasn’t my fault this time. I did, however, have most of my players, so I started asking them to plan.

A word of explanation: I’m a reactive GM. My players are reactive PCs. I also have an absurd number of inspiration-sinks to get into, and I just got out of…. well, suffice it to say, I haven’t been particularly brimming with ideas recently. I’d had some decent inspirations for things that could happen during the party they’re going to be throwing, but that was just events that would happen without their interference, and I needed to know a little more about what they’d be trying to make happen. Moreover, I’d designed my current arc to be rather sandboxy; there are a lot of things the group can try, and a lot of… entities they can try it with.

The first problem is… well, reactive/reactive. Bad combination. Worse is the fact that nobody quite knows what they’re doing; it’s a political situation, and I’d been hoping they’d be able to carry it; I’ll admit, I’d also been expecting a lot more input from people who aren’t involved in the game. So we’re all stuck, and this leads to lack of inspiration loops.

The second is that I’m a response-powered GM; I do a lot better when I can see collaboration or am getting feedback. (Particularly compliments.) Only nobody’s doing much of that either, and one of the players is leaving for the second time. An ego downswing for me doth not an interesting plot make.

So I’ve decided I’m going to try to do something to fix it: in this case, explicitly ask the group to start bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s going pretty decently, so far. Or at least, that part is. Sure, the politics thing is still slowing them down, but at least someone’s figuring out what they’re doing. Moral of the session: Never be afraid to ask about these things.

Thing I learned today, though: sometimes, reactive players are such because they’re worried about having too big an impact on the storyline. You may need to tell them not to worry. Regularly. As in, every time you see them and the subject comes up.

And… sorry, but that’s all the wisdom I have for you today.

Anyone who does a riff on countering burnout sometime in the next two weeks, please, leave a link in the comments.

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