February 4th, 2002


I created a list of 20 obscure words. Without telling my players what the words are, if they ever use one of the words while role-playing with an NPC, I give them an experience award (in Deadlands terminology, 3 bounty points). I'm hoping it will promote the idea of talking and communicating with an NPC that the players might otherwise be inclined to shoot upon first meeting.
OR, in other words:
I'm thinking of writing up a list of words and giving out the bounty point award whenever someone speaks the word, but what I'll really tell the players is that there are certain questions that might never come up but if you manage to ask them to the right people you'll get experience point bonuses for them. And what I'm really doing is periodically looking at the list of words that I have written up and rewarding bounty (experience) points for whenever I remember someone saying one of those words... which then makes the players start thinking "What was it that I said that gave me the bounty award?"

Have you tried things like having NPCs be the source of clues and solutions, and that sort of thing? That is, if the characters don't talk to people, they don't solve the mystery? In terms of gaming behaviour, are your players just killing every NPC they meet? And do you reward interaction more than killing?

I do use NPCs as a source of information and clue-dropping. In fact, my latest adventure REQUIRES it.
I'm a frustrated GM though.
My players are either really misguided in their attempts to continue the adventure, or else they don't know what they are doing at all. Last week during the game the party was ambushed by two men with shotguns, one player fought them, while another waited until the combat to end by standing outside the door of the room that the battle took place in. My players aren't killing every NPC they meet, but they aren't interacting with them in appropriate ways either.
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