I was originally going to post this as a reply to oracleofdoom
's previous post (here
) but it's a) only peripherally related to the main point and b) an interesting enough subject that I thought it deserved its own post.
...I've learned, as a player, to try to find ways to avoid splitting the party up. It tends to lead to boredom for half the players while they wait for the other half to do whatever they're doing.
I actually used to be of the "Don't split the party" camp, but lately I'm thinking that the player boredome doesn't have to be inevitable.
I think the key realization I had is that not only are we all players in a game - we're also the audience. It seems like a simple thing, but IMO its quite significant. We don't *have* to be bored when the GM is one-on-one RPing with other characters - we only will be if we don't care.
So how to get players to care about the other characters?
1) Joint character creation. Not just stats, but concepts and all. Let the players riff off of one another, and encourage them to provide feedback and suggestions.
2) No secret RPing. That means no passing notes to the GM, no going off in a closet to RP. Everything happens out in public in front of the group. This is one that got a lot of resistance at first in my group (players didn't want their secrets exposed) until they tried it - then it worked swimmingly.
I should break here and make a note about secrets - I don't think character secrets are really a good thing. Sure they're fun, and revealing them can be satisfying - but I've found that what's just as satisfying (if not more) is when the players-as-audience know about a characters secret and can enjoy watching the character try to keep it. This goes into an essay that someone wrote somewhere (can't remember off the top of my head) about suspense vs. surprise.
Anyway, to draw it back to the subject - I don't think it has to be boring when the GM is playing with other characters. I just think that the group as a whole has to be consciously commited to enjoying the game as audience as well as participants.
Anyone have any thoughts? Am I off my gourd?