October 26th, 2007

  • thelala

Over the top roleplaying: Why does it happen?

This question is similar to the one below, but it seemed different enough to warrant its own post. I was gamemastering an investigative sci-fi, the kind set in the normal everyday world where the characters get exposed to Weird Stuff and have to explore it to find out what is up. They knew that this was the style of the roleplay beforehand and I've played this kind of thing with them before and they played well and we all seemed to enjoy ourselves. Yet, this time they were going a little crazy and it's been driving me crazy trying to figure out what I did wrong to make them behave this way.

When they heard of a strange book that seemed to have supernatural properties, they went to the shop it was located at, killed the unarmed shopkeeper without even speaking to her and then took the book. Then they didn't even look at the book! When they encountered a little girl who appeared to have some supernatural power at a marketplace with her father, they just tried to convince the father to send her to military school and then walked away. When they found out that someone very powerful is working at a café, they didn't even try to speak with her, but just tried to blow up the café!

I was quite annoyed because I had worked hard on this roleplay and there was a lot of story to it and lots of stuff to find out, but they never got to find any of it. I'm just trying to figure out what provoked the players to act like this. This was my fourth time gamemastering and the first three went smoothly, so I was just starting to build up some confidence and then this happens. So now I'm skeptical of my abilities and not sure I want to gamemaster again until I figure out what I'm doing wrong. I would guess boredom must have fueled a lot of it, but they were acting this way from early on in the roleplay, so there has to be more to it than that.