No built in goal for players?

I ran the first Hommel Lane session. For the players, it seemed a "What's my motivation" moment - well, not moment, but the entire session. I don't think they mystery itself is compelling to them. Or even all that apparent (as mysteries are wont to do). And leveling is done by attending three session - what are the players to DO in those session, they don't know and kind of bounced around and cracked jokes in their confusion.

I think some sort of points they can collect to power up a weapon, or to gain points of healing potion healing, might be good. It could even be 'If the players talk to so and so, they get X points. If they discover special fact from so and so, they get Z more points.'

As is, they either didn't talk to anyone, just kind of floated in the setting. I had to go the awkward route of having NPC's talk to each other (like Wyndell and Devi) to give some exposition. I know a common practice is that the GM basically tells the players they are, for example, now standing in front of Devi and 'what do you say?', ie, GM's tell the players to talk. But to me that seem counter to the notion that they have choice.

If they knew there were potential points in it for them, they'd have a goal built into it all.

In the end they decided to rest at the inn and suspecting a trap, talked themselves into having one room together (a cramped room, as Betram tried to separate the PC's but failed to). So they talked, and they did so because they sense it'd come down to a fight/mechanics. If there were mechanic rewards to engaging what they module wants engaged, I think it'd all go down smoother. Otherwise they float - they know they aren't going to get any more items or points, they don't really know what they are doing because it's a mystery. So they float.

It's really a problem with the 'the mystery is the game!' paradigm in any game system over the years.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

It's not your job to give the characters meaning in their lives. You provide the pretext and it's up to them to motivate themselves.

That said, there should be a hook. The hook here is: !!EVIL!!, in the form of the spirit int the paladin.   That's a pretty lame hook. Give em a rumor of the Throne of the Gods in the area and imply heavily that they can become gods if they find it. Put it int he evil temple at the end and turn them in to gods at hte end. That should be enogugh to get them digging up stuff.
 

Find a new Dungeoncrawl www.tenfootpole.org

I think if the game of  D&D (or even the module) had in it that after eight sessions you become a god, I'd go 'oh, that's the game/module where you become a god after a short time - okay, when I feel into that, I'll play it'.

Otherwise I'm not going to add that you become a god in eight sessions and either A: Give the players a false impression that that's how D&D works or B: They figure becoming gods in eight session is not part of the game, that I put it in and that I've not really given them the game they came for.

If you want to pitch to wizards that godhood should occur in that time, that's a fair enough pitch - they might take it up.

But my point is, so far they haven't. It's not a solution to add it in.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

It's a one-shot campaign for an hour on Wednesday evening; you can make the hook whatever you want without consequences. You can do things not in the rulebook ... and the hook isn't even a rules thing.

You coudl also just close your books and say "ok guys, doesn't look like you want to play D&D tonight." Ravenloft boardgame?

The DM's responsability, and Wizards, only goes so far. The players must engage for a reason other than "I'm paying you $20 each to play D&D with me."
 

Find a new Dungeoncrawl www.tenfootpole.org

There are consequences - really this is a playtest. If every time someone comes across a problem someone else says 'do what you want and patch it over' rather than report the problem, why bother with playtests?

I'll leave it to wizards whether adding in some points to collect during gameplay so as to provide some personal motivation is something that is beneath them or not.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

D&D always has this problem if you don't create a party together. Easiest way to solve this is just a 20 minute character gen session, quick "why we all know each other" talk, and a big, fun hook to get the players into the adventure. Like doing a favour for a powerful friend, or just plain murderhobo'ing can get you good enough for a night. The best way, though, is to start in media res, at the opening of a dungeon and ask two things; "Why are you here?" and "What are you worried about?"
There are consequences - really this is a playtest. If every time someone comes across a problem someone else says 'do what you want and patch it over' rather than report the problem, why bother with playtests?

I'll leave it to wizards whether adding in some points to collect during gameplay so as to provide some personal motivation is something that is beneath them or not.



Your language is very loaded. Are you very unhappy? 

I guess I see the playtest as testing the rules, not the module. The conversion from the 4e is clearly just a rough hack so more people can experience the rules. Errr ... at least that's what it lokos like to me.
 

Find a new Dungeoncrawl www.tenfootpole.org

In something like AD&D, the hook was written directly into the rules, as the pursuit of gold/xp.

I mean, you can pitch 'No, the game rules nor the module need a hook! I'll do that as GM!' as how to handle it. I can think of a number of issues with it (like getting into the group habit of leading the players around) - but for how some (many?) people play, they wouldn't be issues. So maybe wizards will aim toward that demographic. I'd prefer they don't though, so my pitch is to build a hook into the rules, as you've done before (and so far 5e seems to borrow good bits from every previous edition)

Also 'are you very unhappy' seems like language that is either non sequitur or ad hominem.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

So I ran the next session, where as per their notion last session, they went to the inn of the winsome wench and the tunnels below. This being alot more fluid as they knew where they were going and the options branching from it were fairly straight forward.

I scattered a couple of made up glyph marks in the basement as treasure, which can add +2 damage to a successful melee attack (can only one at a time; uses up that glyph mark). Though the players didn't know these existed so they obviously weren't pursuing them. One player was a cleric who favoured using lance of faith. I had in mind they were weapon only (and the damage on lance seemed huge at the time already). But next time I might have both melee glyphs and magic beam glyphs scattered around for players to find.

On combat, did a tiny one and a main one in the hour and a half game (as well as them exploring a basement and questioning prisoners latter). One against a lone bullywug, where the first attack almost got it, while the lance of faither then did damage equal to it's max hitpoints on the second attack.

The second fight in the basement - I assume some kind of attack of opportunity happens - as per the advised tactics, the two main guys flanked a PC - and even with advantage did terribly against his armour (he was a cleric - not sure what he wore). Still, they had a chance! That's after they shot the lance of faith cleric and hurt him a great deal, so he stepped back around some cover and hid. Indeed they did drop the armour cleric, but the lance cleric healed him back to full (with a spell that also turns dead, not that there were any)

Overall it felt like the tide of combat was in question during it, which is good (as opposed to say the tide going with the PC's, but they have to whittle down hitpoints for X turns now).

If anyone at Wizards is reading, they could just go and heal up to full now. It'd be good if combat had some sort of long term damage that is sometimes inflicted, but only say a point or two per character at max (you can't collect more than two points of it (at first level, anyway)). This can't just be healed overnight. Heck you could add two HP to all classes and then even if they always suffer this long term damage, they are still exactly as you had max HP before. And make it that any fight, no matter how easy, might inflict some long term damage. Maybe every week the PC's rest for they can roll 11-20 heals one point of long term damage.

Or atleast as a modular option.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.


It's not your job to give the characters meaning in their lives. You provide the pretext and it's up to them to motivate themselves.

That said, there should be a hook. The hook here is: !!EVIL!!, in the form of the spirit int the paladin.   That's a pretty lame hook. Give em a rumor of the Throne of the Gods in the area and imply heavily that they can become gods if they find it. Put it int he evil temple at the end and turn them in to gods at hte end. That should be enogugh to get them digging up stuff.
 

Agreed.

Players should find their own motivates and dm should give them appropriate scenarios. Story itself can be main goal, not anymore...
The rule set itself can assist with rewarding the creation and pursuit of character motivations.

If you don't want it to, okay, that's what you want. But I don't know why it's always refered to as if this sort of stuff must be done without the games authors writing rules to help with it.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.