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Hello everyone. I've been playing SR for about eight years now. I moved recently, and found a new group to play with. Just one caveat; I have to GM. So I had a question or four for the experienced GMs out there...

1. What's a decent way to attempt to tone down a power level in a game? My players are a textbook example of munchkins ("Vindictive?! Dude! Free build points!")

2. What is a good way to deal with a whiney player? For example; the player's character had a good amount of stock in a corporation the group was trying to form. The brains behind the outfit died in combat, so he arranged it that the other characters could try to buy his stock. Well, through some backroom dealings, he eventually lost a majority share status, and the new controlling party decided to just issue a bunch of new stock to dilute his monies to strike at him. When he was informed of this, he said "Fine. I'll just make a new character! I've got nothing!" And yes, that was a direct quote.

3. What is a good way to make characters develop backstories? My wife (I love her dearly) actually created an uncle that lives in town, and has family, and a couple of brothers who just live normal lives. Everyone else is just an orphan. I tried to give her bonus karma for having a well-thought out life, but it turned into accusations of "She's getting free karma just for sleeping with you!" (That player doesn't play anymore, by the way)

4. And finally: what is the recommended method of getting another player to take the reins and run a session? One person did, and it was a long night of 'Go here, kill him, go there, blow that up' which got old very quickly.

In advance, I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to read this and thank you for any solutions you may have.
Herald of Verjigorm
1. Ban certain flaws stating "I don't know how to make this really work, so you'll have to get along without it" or ask here for malicious sadistic ways to abuse anyone with whatever specific flaw you have trouble with.

2. Let him make a new PC. Also, have one of the first things they encounter being his old PC who found a way to overcome the setback and is out for blood. Make the discarded character into a major threat who torments them and progressively takes away everything they value (apparently just gear, ware, and freedom based on question 1).

3. Ask them endless questions, possibly followed by "sorry, we already have three of you, try to make a different character than the others" or "so, you're playing a clone of your last five PCs?"

4. Wait until they start talking to you about complex plot ideas or "you know what would be a fun campaign to try" and let the one who has shown the imagination run it for everyone else. Because they thought it was a good plot idea, they are more likely to try hard to make everyone think it was fun. This may lead to painful amounts of railroading, but at least gets a better story.

5. Ask here whenever you feel a need. Someone will post answers of some sort. Take the ones you like, and alternates will arrive shortly for the ones you don't like.
HoV had some good answers. To add:

1. Already said: Make sure those flaws aren't free. If they take an enemy, make sure he's coming after them. If they take spirit bane or something like that, make those shamens throw a spirit or two their way. One way I've toned down the power level in our games is by making characters pay for their actions. Heavy weapons tend to attract attention from the cops, corps, and god knows who else. Bad news is, theirs will be bigger and better than yours =) Usually though, if you can just have a talk with these players about the issue, that will take care of it.

2. If you really want him to stick with that character, have a contact give him a call. The contact somehow got screwed in the deal too, and just happens to know a great way to get the bastards back, plus make a little cash in the proccess....otherwise, screw him, make a new character.

3. If they're an orphan, they don't know who their family is, so you can make it up as you please, including all their associated problems when they come looking for their long lost son. After a good one of those, the next character they'll make sure an let you know that their family is safely dead somewhere, then you have to make them explain how. Just keep asking questions until you have a fairly fleshed idea about the character....take notes if you want so you can throw it back in their face later. Award the characters who go out of their way to create a fleshed out character. Not only in the form of karma, but in the form of adventures centering more around this person's story, out of nowhere a break every now and then from an old friend...stuff like that.

4. You'll just have to ask someone and explain that you could really use a break from GMing, but even that might not work.
1) Toning down the power level. You could either do as HoV said, or you could ban the Shadowrun Companion completely. Make them roll up characters from the BBB. Nothing else. No weird edges, no weird races.....just a normal PC.

2) HoV had an awesome suggestion. notworthy.gif

3) Whiny players. Bring in a karma award system. My players all know that a well-rounded charactor history is worth 4 karma points. They also know that if they do it, I will be able to personalise the game for them. Everybody wins.

4) I would get hold of one of the shadowrun adventures, or module settings for them to run. (Renraku Arcology...whatever.) They are going to be worried about following your act, and they are going to be worried because they are inexperienced. Give them something to work with, and tell them to plan ahead.
And you have to give a new GM at least 4 sessions to find their feet.

My 2 nuyen.gif worth
Crusher Bob
Your problem is in personnel, not in rules. Alas, most of the replies you are going to get are going to be rule based. This is a little bit like beating your children to sleep each night becuase they misbehave, while it might make you feel better, it not going to solve the problem.

Sounds like the first step you need is to pick up some basic social engineering skills. There is plenty of material that can help you become a better GM. Try googling for such motivational things as 'dealing with problem teenagers' and 'getting your kids to do their homework'. Papers covering these things are likely to discuss basic social engineering...

Also, you will need to reward your players more for the few things they do right not punish them more for the things they do wrong. This just leads to escalating amounts of punishment as the players try to 'one up' the GM. Also note that your rewards can be both in game (karma, etc) or out of game (have a cookie). Remember that things that would be rewarding IRL (free food, for example) are not rewarding in game (you don't get to really eat the food).

Also, if you players are this bad 'tangible' in game rewards (re: story of your wife) are probably not a good idea right now. Instead have 'good' play provide more opportunities. For example, a contact treated well knows about a cache of (gun, drugs, money). If the players want it, they have to go get it themselves. There was no 'free karma' for treating the contact well, but there was an in game reward. 'Direct' rewards at this stage are just likely to lead to complaints of GM favoratism, rather than being seen as a reward for good gameplay.

From your description of your players, it sounds like you have a long road ahead of you.
1) vindictive... if they want to take it, make sure it gets used. They HAVE to go after everyone that so much as insults them. On the streets, this can be pretty much everybody. Someone that goes off the deep end when ever some brings up "yo' momma..." is going to end up with some serious social difficutlies, not to mention more enemies than you can buy with a flaw!

2) I've had whiny players, and made them stick it out. SOmetimes, if they see the ups and downs ('NO WAY! I CAN HAVE GOOD AND BAD DAYS!"), they'll be a little more willing to stick it out next time. Let 'em fight for what they earn, they'll appreciate it more.

3) big fan of karmic rewards for good back sotires. Also, bring the character back ground into the game more. Have something from it pop up every few sessions. Eventually, other players will see how boring their 'back grounds' are. Also, the '20 questions' helps a bit.

4) I've actually given my players 'homework assingments'. Basically, they have to write up a run. Give them plenty of time to wrok with it. If they're worried about the pressure of running a game for their GM, maybe sit one game out, have them play without you.Then play in the next one. Try requirements for their 'assignments'. Like, 'No Wetwork', or 'write an extraction run', or 'write a leg work run'. It might not work, but at least it'll have them thinking beyond "go here, kill him".
Okay, my thoughts are your problem, (some of this is derived from my experience from GMing a D&D campaign, but I think it still applies)

also, great comments so far, good suggestions all around, but here are some more suggestions, sorry about the length ahead of time, (I get to rant, YAY biggrin.gif )

1) Overpowered characters can be a real problem, just throwing something bigger at them is also a problem. the problem IMHO comes from when one player is really powerful, and the others are not. This means the game, or combat boils down to that one person, therefore you no longer have a team.

The best way to deal with this IMO is to have a nice long talk with that player and try to convince him that having a unkillable character that can do everything really well is just game breaking, yea it's cool that their are those loopholes and they found the coolest exploit, but this is a game about semi-normal people that are not gods, and the game is about ROLE-PLAYING, not making something that looks really cool on paper. The game itself is about interacting with the people, story, world... etc.

the next thing is that IMO the edges/flaws are just for min/max players. If a player wants a edge/flaw, make them come up with a good in character reason why they want it, if it is not a natural thing, how they got that edge/flaw, this can also help flesh out a character. also make every egde/flaw by GM approval (basically approve their characters and make sure their math is correct, I know it is lame, but I have know people to go through the rules, read it a certain way that is really advantageous them, but not quite the right reading and make mad bank off of it.)

Also, look up the Becks v.2, character generation system, it works wonders at making the party less powerful. My current GM did this with us, and allowed us only 375 karma (look up becks, but basically you buy everything with karma,includingg money, skills, and attributes) when normal characters get 425. And let me tell you that 50 karma makes a big difference. All of our characters are way less powerful then a normal starting char. My rigger started out with lvl 1 VCR, and a unmodified (except for rigger controls) ford americar. It really sucked, it made me really make my character better then he needed to be outside of the vehicle. Also, it made us really scarred of just about everything, which btw really makes the game a lot more fun, when you are worried your character is even going to live against the sprawl gangers, hehe it makes things interesting. SO yea, this method worked really well for our game, and it leaves a whole lot of room for improvement. (I have so many plans for my character, he needs so much money/karma...)

2) whiney player? hmm, not sure on this one, other then just talk to him, and reward him when he thinks of innovative ways of dealing with his problems. Also, try to show him that characters with flaws (not the rules ones, but with character flaws), can be really fun to play. I once new a character who played a fighter (in D&D) with one hit point. He was the greatest warrior in the world, until the bear tore his head off, and basically we all just laughed really hard at this. I am not saying laugh at the player, but show how having character flaws, or being ineffecutal in some areas or losing some things can turn into something positive. Make the dude look at the bad circumstances as an oppurtunity. I think the idea of getting revenged as suggest by FrostyNSO, and plus, let them grow to like a character, care for that character, and really be invested into it. This can be done by trying to flesh out the story/background, also have the players interact in character. Try to get them to imagine that they are in the characters shoes, and bring the experince of the game more alive. Describe the situations they are in with rich detail, and try to communicate what you are seeing in your head to your players. Invole them in combat more by not just asking for dice roles, but ask them how they do that action, have them describe how they hit the other character, have them decribe what they do in rich detail. And again, karmic rewards for those that use their imagination, and really get into the game.

If you can get them on the edge of their seat waiting to see what happens next all of their eyes on you, then you know you are in the zone. At that point, the characters are more then just some stats on a sheet, they are a real person, in your and theirs minds. And that is the key IMHO to really enjoying role-playing.

(sorry didn't think I would talk this much so I will try to wrap it up, and please tell me if this helps...)

3) backstories? yea, ask them the million questions, ask them to create the background so they and you can understand how the character thinks, and why he does what he does. Again, I think having a good background is one the many keys to making a character more then just stats, but a person, that the player then cares about what happens.

If they say they are a orphan, then they have like 30 brothers and sisters, right? make them develop the orphanange and explore what it was like growing up there, and what not.

By making them care it makes them think about the mistakes they made, (I once had a troll character that had a little sister, said sister was kidnapped and used against me to basically make me give one of the other PC's and some information up to the kidnappers. I tried to communicate to the other players what was going on, but I was being watched and there were other things going on, so I could not speak plainly. It ended up by my character taking a serious wound from another PC sniper shooting me in the back, the kidnappers shooting my characters sister, and us losing any trace of them. I mulled this over for weeks, and it still bugs me, I keep asking myself, what could I have done better?

If you can get your players to do something like that, then they won't want to just retire their characters so readily.

4) premade adventures. Great way for a new GM to get used to things, and really just explain to them that GMing is really taxing, stressfull, and hard, and you just really want to play and enjoy yourself for once. I GM said to me that he missed playing and just wanted to play some, thus I am now running Survial of the Fittest for my group at the same time he is running his, and we switch off each week. This makes it fun for everyone, gives you a break and them a glismp into your world has a GM, hard isn't it.

Also, just talk to them, if they are mature about it and willing to listen to you and maybe you can talk to them about what you can do better has a GM, and what they can do better as a player. Doing this can really help out the game, and the levels of fun for everyone. Also, try to show them how playing the same basic character idea (i mean personallity wise) everytime can get really old. I knew one player that just loved to play a dick, nice guy in real life, but a real dick to every NPC I had in my campaigns, plus he also just wanted to wack and kill stuff. IMO his character was not a real character, just a collection of stats, thus not fun to GM and deal with.

There I hope that is enough matierial for you to get something out of it.

and always remember, the point of the game is to have fun, if it isn't fun, then what's the point?

1. What's a decent way to attempt to tone down a power level in a game? My players are a textbook example of munchkins ("Vindictive?! Dude! Free build points!")

Ezra had a good suggestion about limiting chargen to the BBB. In my recently started campaign, my players and I wanted the feel of "first level". So we instituted real draconian generation rules: BeCKS with 375 Karma, gear only allowed from BBB. As a rule, I do not play with Edges and Flaws, because for every player that will use them as a role-playing aide, 4 or 5 will use them to twink the PC. I'll probably relax that for my next campaign, as my group is really kicking ass RP'ing (they wanted to start with 375 Karma!).

It's been working out real nice. They feel threatened by everything, have tons to aspire to, and it's been easy for me to challenge them.
2. What is a good way to deal with a whiney player?

I don't have a silver bullet for this one. I've talked to players that have had this problem until they understood the value to having flaws, and that you don't have to "win" Shadowrun.

In a long running D&D campaign I played, we allowed players to swap out characters, but they were penalized. Maybe say, "Sure, make a new PC. But they'll have 30 less Karma than the rest of the group." It's important that you lay these rules out ahead of time, and that they apply universally to everyone--as to not make the winey player feel picked-on. Maybe bringing in a new character from death is only a 10 karma penalty, an intentional death or swap is a 30 karma penalty.
3. What is a good way to make characters develop backstories?

Again, for recently started campaign, the entire night was me with my laptop and my players around the table. I went down the list for each player:
"where did you grow up?"
"why are you shadowrunning?"
"where did you get your mad skills/gear/contacts?"
I kept at them until we had cohesive stories for everybody. Then I emailed little narratives about the PC's to each player, and asked for feedback/rewriting/revision. Most of my players created much more detailed histories based on the narrative, and even the ones who didn't elaborate more have a good image of their PC in their head.

The final issue I posed that night: "I don't want to go 'so, you meet in a bar...'. You guys know each other, and are already a team, even if it's tenuous. We're gonna figure out a good reason why." We all brainstormed until we had a good, solid backstory for the team as a whole.
4. And finally: what is the recommended method of getting another player to take the reins and run a session?

Just get a good solid premie, and convince somebody to run that. I complained that I haven't played SR in 3 or 4 years, and being a GM all the time is draining biggrin.gif We went out and bought Survival of the Fittest, and one of my players as been running that. I'm playing a sneak adept for the first time, and lovin' it smile.gif
heh. Didn't see amadeus' reply until after I posted. As for the congruence of advice, he's one of my players, and running Survival of the Fittest for me.

QUOTE (Crusher Bob)
From your description of your players, it sounds like you have a long road ahead of you.

Yeah. A whole squad of munchkins... <shudder>

Make sure you challenge them with everything. Lots of Etiquette and Negotiation rolls to get information, various magic and spirits, change up environments (forest, urban, jungle), and sometimes drop them in situations they can't plan for (amadeus: like having your plane shot down smile.gif ). The super twink street sam and 18 Body troll will soon discover glaring deficiencies.
If you read up on the forum, these kind of questions seem to pop up all the time. The most common response from people who are veteran die hard role players is:

No gaming > Bad gaming

If the group is a total mismatch for your play style, and you're just not having fun (but they are!), then you might be better off suited just finding another group. Different people have different perspectives on the "right" way to role play. In the end, this isn't something with an objective right/wrong. As the GM, you shouldn't be running if you're not having fun. But, if the players aren't having fun when you are, then you probably need to find a different group.

Having said that, you might want to have a sit-down with your players and talk to them straight up about play style. Explain that the way they've been playing isn't the way that you're used to playing. Cite examples when you're explaining it. Then let them talk. Some Munchkins are only Munchkins 'cuz they dont' know better. Others are Munchkins 'cuz being a Munchkin is what they enjoy about gaming. If that's what they enjoy, and their enjoyment makes your teeth ache, try to part ways amicably.

If they're willing to try and adapt, run a session like this, and see how it goes:

-Grab a scrap piece of paper and have everyone write their character's name and metatype on it
-Put the regular character sheets inside the rule books.
-Close all the books and put them on the floor.
-Put away all your dice.

Run the session completely without rules. Just let things happen out of dramatic necessity. If the story works better with a success, then let people succeed. If it works better with a failure, have 'em fail. If a character does something ridiculously stupid, let them die. Unless it'd be funnier if they lived.

At the end of the night, ask the players if they had fun. If they did, you've started them on the first step on the path away form Munchkin. Go back to using rules in future sessions, but downplay them. Everything else flows from that.

If they hated the session (They may have!), thank them for their patience. Then, either accept that they've got a very different playstyle from you, or find anothe rgroup.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's taken the time to respond.

What I've decided to try is a game where combat will not be a major issue. One of the character took the flaw of Hunted. And I had a big cabal of mages after him for his blood to perform a ritual.

So what I've decided is that a Free Spirit will come after them who has a enhanced version of the Isolationism and Accident Powers. And it will be powerful enough to isolate the runner (who just happens to be the munchkin who whines) and a couple of his friends.

And I think I might run one of the modules like Harlequin or another epic game, and have the group remake characters and take the suggestions above to heart. Especially the one whole session of making characters. And I think I'll continue to use the Companion, but use 110 build points. That'll help I think.

The main problem is that it's only two players who are abusing the system. And they're friends. And I don't want to alienate them.

But after a few sessions, I may retire the game/campaign and play something else or a new campaign for a while.
Here's how I've handled these types of things:

1.  What's a decent way to attempt to tone down a power level in a game?  My players are a textbook example of munchkins ("Vindictive?!  Dude!  Free build points!")

If you are looking to tone down the players, then there are few options you can try. Increase Lone Star presence and enforcement of equipment legality, if nothing else it will make them think twice before pulling out a weapon.

Another option is to have a vengeful enemy send the characters a message by blowing up safehouses and their equipment caches. You don't have to wipe them out, but they've got to stash those Panther Cannons and Rockets somewhere.

If you are looking to tone down the GM side of things, then you need to control who and what the characters are faced with. I rarely write down villains or enemies unless they are of special note. Most of my "stock security guards" have all attributes at 4, 2d6 reaction , 5/3-like armor, Combat Pool = 6 and most skills at a 4. I'll bump up (or down) the numbers depending on how I want the encounter to run.

Remember this: You control everything.

2.  What is a good way to deal with a whiney player?  For example; the player's character had a good amount of stock in a corporation the group was trying to form.  The brains behind the outfit died in combat, so he arranged it that the other characters could try to buy his stock.  Well, through some backroom dealings, he eventually lost a majority share status, and the new controlling party decided to just issue a bunch of new stock to dilute his monies to strike at him.  When he was informed of this, he said "Fine.  I'll just make a new character!  I've got nothing!"  And yes, that was a direct quote.

If being whiny is personality trait, then you might be outta luck. Some people just like to complain. If instead his whining is a result of an "unfair situation" then you can do something about it.

Always have an agenda even if they players can't see it immediately. If you goal is to "screw up this stock deal so X corporation can buy the shares" then do it but have something in mind as to why it's happening. Make your "unfair" act something the players can do something about.

For example, with that in place, now you've got the makings of a runner-revenge type run. Have "Corporation Z" (who also lost big on the same dealings) approach the team for some corporate payback. Nothing like having vested interests in the down-fall of a corporation eh? For this case, they corporate payment probably won't equate to the lost stock, but the player will be getting back "something" not to mention revenge.

More generally, for every action, I try and create options or opprotunities the players can be a part of on some level. Depending on the magnitude you could spread out the missions across many sessions or setup any number of scenarios.

On a side note, Shadowrunners buying stock?!?! I hope they've got some good fake ID's and no one is asking questions. wink.gif I try and push my teams out of more legitimate, activities or if they insist, I move in the Mafia, Yakuza, Power Corp, Government, corrupt Lone Star, etc. to ruin their dalliance into the "real world". There is a reason they are running the shadows, at it's not to work at the Stuffer Shack.

3.  What is a good way to make characters develop backstories?  My wife (I love her dearly) actually created an uncle that lives in town, and has family, and a couple of brothers who just live normal lives.  Everyone else is just an orphan.  I tried to give her bonus karma for having a well-thought out life, but it turned into accusations of "She's getting free karma just for sleeping with you!" (That player doesn't play anymore, by the way)

You really can't make them unless you want to potentially lose players. Karmatic rewards are good incentive, but honestly it's hard. Don't tell them "X-pages = Y Karma" that's the wrong approach, instead I try and ask questions of my players like, "What did you do before you ran the shadows?", "Where did you live before Seattle, Denver, etc.?", "How did you get the money for all the cyberware?", etc.. Just asking them often will get them thinking about some type of backstory.

Sometimes, players (or GMs) care as much about backstory as to "just playing the game". With a new group it's good to find out what everyone's expectations are upfront. You want to play a game and so do they. It would be unfair to assume you all want the same thing without first asking.

4.  And finally:  what is the recommended method of getting another player to take the reins and run a session?  One person did, and it was a long night of 'Go here, kill him, go there, blow that up' which got old very quickly. 

Most of my players have interest but one their biggest excuses for not Gm-ing is, "they don't know the rules". Since I don't want to be "the all knowing OZ", I always explain the rules as we use them so everyone is at least comfortable why things are going down like they are, at least from a rules perspective. It's gets the players involved with more than just browsing gear and rolling dice.

After each game session I let them all know that they are welcome to run something if they'd like. I emphasize it doesn't need to be "the-end-all-be-all-of-runs", just something to get their feet wet. Food Fight, or the classic "Stuffer Shack" from SR1 are great ways to get others addicted to GM-ing. One of my players really liked the feeling of controlling the story, he was the last person I would've pegged to GM.

Being open to others ideas and suggestions about your own campaigns, or at least hearing their thoughts will give them a sence that their ideas matter. Take an idea and use in a mission or plot-twist. Getting the character invoved "behind the scenes" is also a good way to give them a backstage pass into the GM's lounge.
1. Read up on the rules for acquiring items and then just make it a bit more difficult, if need be. Make it expensive for them to buy big guns, and make Lone Star have some real eagle eyes concerning illegal cyberware or use of illegal magic and such. Maybe even have Lonestar assign some detectives to open a case to track down who did X run. That way the players will get to know what it is really like to have the Heat just around the corner. Then take the illegality one step further and look up the legality codes and let them know just how bad it is to be caught with illegal stuff or committing illegal actions. Then maybe make it a little easier to get the lower powered stuff.

2. Some players are just whiney. From all the years of gaming I've had it has become clear to me that these whiney players will get dealt with, eventually. Either they'll just get used to some things not going their way or eventually they'll be ousted from the game. Either that, or, maybe the player was just pissed that his stuff was made worthless and he spoke out of anger. Maybe let a few days pass and talk to the player one on one and see if they still feel that way. Maybe it was a reflex action to feeling like they were screwed. It happens.

3. As for back stories, nothing beats a good ole fashioned history. But if your players aren't interested in writing them, well, make them fill out character information forms. I have one I created below, just click on the Spoiler link.

[ Spoiler ]

4. As for getting a player to take over the GM duties, well, I wouldn't announce that you no longer wanted to GM and that you wanted to play exclusively. Make it a tag team kind of thing. At first, let the player run their first game. Perhaps take a book adventure, or even go so far as to write the adventure yourself and let them GM it while you only observe and help. After that, hopefully the player will be interested in trying it again later, and maybe help them write a run. Then, maybe let the player run a game all on their own. Keep in mind that this whole time you're running almost every game, and the other player turned GM is taking over the duties every once in a while. After that, if your players enjoy the games the new GM is running, and the new GM truly enjoys running, suggest doing things in a tag-team format, that way you both get to play and GM.

Good luck, and welcome to the Darkside!!
Crimson Jack
QUOTE (Gilgamesh)
1. What's a decent way to attempt to tone down a power level in a game? My players are a textbook example of munchkins

I've found that munchkinism is in the heart of a player. Another name for this is lime-lightus, or He Who Must Always Rock In Front Of Others disease. There isn't much you can do about the players wanting to min/max their characters. To a certain extent, it should be welcome. No one wants a cybered mage on the team when they already have a full mage and a street samurai. In the pursuit of covering as many angles as possible within a finite number of team slots, it behooves each member on the team to be as good as they can in their profession without sacrificing other facets of their character that should also be considered.

If things are as you say, regarding edges/flaws and getting "free" points, you might consider truly enforcing these edges and flaws in the game. I keep a note card of all of my players edges/flaws. I try to have each of them run into situations where they're having to deal with those elements of their characters on a semi-regular basis. Your player may think twice about taking Vindictive when the NPC who offends him is someone whom he probably wouldn't want to mess with in the first place (ie. mob boss, Lone Star detective, a cabal of vampires, etc.).

QUOTE (Gilgamesh)
2. What is a good way to deal with a whiney player? <snip> When he was informed of this, he said "Fine. I'll just make a new character! I've got nothing!" And yes, that was a direct quote.

Say, "Ok." And then move on to the next person who's enjoying the game. Whining is an insecurity issue that you aren't going to be able to solve from behind the screen. That's something that should have been dealt with when the player was growing up. If they can't remember that this is a game and everyone is together to have a mutually fun time, then they're playing for the wrong reason. It's not about winning. Might want to remind them of that.

QUOTE (Gilgamesh)
3. What is a good way to make characters develop backstories?

I can appreciate awarding those who write up a good backstory, as your wife did. However, when no one knows that you're looking for a backstory and suddenly your wife gets an instant karma boon, regardless of intent, it looks like favoritism. Perhaps next time just say that you're going to award a point or two of karma to everyone who writes a solid backstory... sort of like extra credit. smile.gif

QUOTE (Gilgamesh)
4. And finally: what is the recommended method of getting another player to take the reins and run a session?

Good luck. I've been running my shadowrun group for about 12-13 years now. I just got another guy to start running a game. So we're switching on and off. It's nice, but to tell you the truth, I like being behind the screen better. More control. Muwahaha! nyahnyah.gif
Wounded Ronin
Your players sound like a gas. Who the hell tells you that your wife got karma for sleeping with you, especially when it's like 4 points?
I tried to sleep with my GM for karma. There was a bunch of screaming and some hitting and I had to run home naked. Oh my gosh, it sucked.
Swing Kid
1. Use realism against them. Keep notes on each of the character's flaws, judgement errors, etc, and give effects to what they cause. Don't overdo it, but stay on them. Openly reward players who are not offsetting your balance. Remember, you are GOD when running your game. If the character is playing a Vindictive character then cut thier Karma when they don't play the character's flaw out to your liking, and cause counteractions for when they do. Remember, no matter how tough they think they are, there is always someone tougher, and the most dangerous person is the weak character that has a real reason to cause problems at the worse possible moment. Have everyone in the group pay for the flaw. They will police themeselves. Make the flaw...a real disadvantage. Don't cater to the Rule's Lawyers.

2. He sounds like he is worth keeping around for coming up with that strategy, but you need to pull him aside away from the others to not screw with the pride factor. Simply don't play into it. If he brings in a new character for this reason, then make gameplay difficult for the new character.

3. Make Karma awards a common thing for bringing any characte development into the game. Make it public. Oh, yes, and Sex is always worth Karma. The guy you were speaking of obviously has never been a GM.

4. No point in leading them. It might be worth prepping anyone who shows any interest, but beyond that, it rarely works. If you do get lucky enough to have more than one GM, then make agreements not to step into specific corporate, criminal, or even regional areas that you are working on. In our group, there are four separate GM's. For instance, the other three know not to use runs that involve Novatech, Ares, the Yakuza, or the Redmond and Renton districts without consulting me first to make sure that they are not about to change something I have in mind for later.
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