Getting Your Players to Work Together

When I first started GMing I was fairly against obvious hooks in a campaign.  I mean, how frequently does your party composition make a group that would all randomly come together at some tavern (and all happen to be at the same tavern) and group up to do whatever the story is.  Not frequently enough for a GM’s taste.

A friend of mine recently started up a Star Wars Saga Edition campaign.  He’s a good guy and a good GM, but he had no hook.  Most of the people couldn’t show up for the first session so we ended up just having three of us, less conflicting interests should be easier to manage.  Right?  We had a Dathomir Witch on the run from a sith attacking her home world, an ex-noble turned covert journalist after witnessing some empirical cruelty, and a drunkard bounty hunter spending the last of the creds he made during his last job on boozing his troubles away.  For some reason we are all in a seedy bar and we have no direction and really aren’t the types to associate with one another.

The GM tried to get us together.  He threw a semi-illegal job at us stealing some information, unfortunately the noble had heard of the people involved and felt it was too risky.  A politicians daughter is reported kidnapped on the vid screen…unfortunately the Witch could care less.  And an ex-rebel sympathizer offers some courier jobs with some old friends of his.  In that case the bounty hunter, a happy citizen of the Empire, couldn’t stomach it.  The GM tried everything and we ended up having to talk, out of game, about how to lie to each others’ characters properly, and ignore a few character quirks, to get something going.

This is always a problem, and it’s not easy to fix.  I’m someone who would prefer every character coming in and out of the game be explained in the story, but it’s not always possible.  In a campaign I’m running I did have a group start off as slave gladiators on a team and it worked very well, but this can’t always be the case.

Thinking up a way to get the players to work together, I’ve found, is one of the first and foremost things a GM should be thinking about upon starting a campaign.  Encouraging player interrelations and speaking with your players beforehand about how to start things up is a good idea.  Tailoring your first few sessions to encourage party unity is also a good thing.  And, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and force your players together.  This is a frequent oversight and can set a poor tone for a fledgling campaign so no matter what you do it’s important to give hooking PC’s into your story some extra thought.

[tags] Dungeons and Dragons, Fantasy, Role Playing Games, Star Wars, World Building [/tags]

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