Here's one of those whiny "my players are driving me nuts" posts. These problems are specific to Maptools, I'm wondering if other Maptools DMs are dealing with the same issues.
1) Half of my players can't remember to click Next in the initiative. Or I'll wait 10 seconds for them to click it, decode to click it myself, and then they remember to do it thus skipping somebody.
You're right -- they have the attention spans of hamsters. Very hungry hamsters.
This is something that I try to get my players to do as well, although it doesn't bother me too much. Heck, when I'm playing sometimes *I* forget to click Next! How sad is that
2) They don't seem to hear the things that are said in voice chat. This last sessions, the Shaitan genie put up a wall of stone blocking off an entrance. The very next player then moved right through it - "Huh? What wall of stone?". Two rounds later, the wizard stone shapes an opening through the hole and walks through it. A different player - "Huh? What about the wall of stone? You can't move there!"
Again, they have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
You can't force them to shutdown web browsers or stop messing with their iTunes music or turn of their IM clients during games. The best you can do is ask them not to use them and if they refuse, boot them from the game.
I'm pretty fortunate in that my Tuesday night game is filled with people who (generally) do pay attention. Everyone gets interrupted from time to time, but these guys keep it to a minimum.
3) Every week, EVERY WEEK, they all have to discuss XP. I hand out XP at the end of the session and it immediately launches into "How much XP do you have?", "How much XP do you have?". YOU HAD X XP LAST WEEK, I GAVE YOU Y, YOU NOW HAVE Z. If they can't handle this basic math, I have very little confidence that their attack rolls, damage, saves, skills or anything is calculated correctly.
LOL! I don't hand out XP any more. I keep track of all of the numbers in a spreadsheet that I maintain and I tell the players when they've leveled up, or if they're getting close to leveling up. That has numerous benefits: I can work the numbers offline if I'm tired and want to go straight to bed, and I can create logs of exactly what the XP is for (I keep creature names and counts but also record the chapter of the AP and the area where the encounter took place). But I'm not going to do that at the end of the game session while everyone is online.
In short, my players seem to have the attention of caffeinated hamsters when playing with Maptools. This last session was very frustrating.
Heh. The problem I have the most is players not responding when their point in init comes up. I usually will give them a few seconds to respond, then I put them into Delay and go on to the next person in init. If the player is one that is usually very attentive then I may call their name twice using the voip channel, but someone who is frequently gone or has stated they are working on other things (such as studying during exam week!) I'll just delay them and move on.
I don't have much problem with PCs trying to move through walls, though. I draw on the map when a special effect goes up (wall of fire, etc) and I try
to remember to put a Timer token on the map nearby which has the name of the effect so the players can mouseover it and see the name. For something opaque I put a line of VBL onto the map -- really helps prevent some of the unintentional metagaming that can occur. And I love
the new VisibleToOwnersOnly feature! I can set that on the invisible rogue and when a spellcaster casts Glitterdust to get the bad guys, the rogue needs to roll a save as well! Loads of fun right there!