Player Problems Specific to Maptools

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DMFTodd
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Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by DMFTodd »

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.

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!"

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.

In short, my players seem to have the attention of caffeinated hamsters when playing with Maptools. This last session was very frustrating.

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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by neofax »

I feel for you. Te initiative thing was so bad in a recent PFS game, one of the players made a macro to remind people to press the initiative button. By the end of the game it was quite comical when the person who made the macro forgot to press next. I use Ventrilo for VOIP and have this problem sometimes(normally from me forgetting to hit the CTRL key), but I usually try to type the info in chat as well for a record of what has happened. It helps give me a mental jog later when I try to remember whether the players did some action or not. I try to make VOIP only for OOC speak. I play in a couple games where the players numbers seem strange and have to look them over to verify they are correct. Yes, players can be a pain sometimes. Especially online as you cannot throw a mini at them to remind them to pay attention to the game and not something else.

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Azhrei
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by Azhrei »

DMFTodd wrote: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!

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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by DMFTodd »

When a player is not paying attention in our game or asks a question about something that has been clearly explained, I turn his token into a boob. Doesn't seem to help though.

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Azhrei
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by Azhrei »

Well, you could always say, "That's already been described. Ask another player in chat and in the mean time, you're Delaying..."

Maybe that will help. :?

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Simetradon
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by Simetradon »

Sounds like your players are just undisciplined.

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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by seraph1m »

For the XP, I would recommend using google docs, you can populate all the xp, loot, etc into a spreadsheet where everyone can see it and make edits if you so choose.

As for initiative, set a time limit. If they haven't moved on by then, that's their fault for not paying attention and they get delayed or miss their turn. You can always NPC their token.

If you want to mention wall, maybe impersonation for tokens/player actions in the chat window so it's "public record"?

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Bone White
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by Bone White »

DMFTodd wrote: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.


I run my initiative through a next macro button - which is disabled unless the clicker owns the token with initiative, or the clicker is a DM.

DMFTodd wrote: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!"


Draw a graphical representative of the wall on the map to remind everyone and leave a note in the chat.

DMFTodd wrote: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.


Record the xp as a list (or even better an object with field labels) which can be output to remind them, or summed easily for the total.

--------

In summary: most of your problems could be solved/limited through the use of MapTool macros.

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lmarkus001
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by lmarkus001 »

Yes, you are describing very common issues.

XP:

Keep it in an online spreadsheet (Google Docs, EditGrid, etc.)
We use online sheets for treasure listing too, that way everyone can easily see the list and see what has been divvied to whom.

Attention/Initiative

Good luck. As DM, I fire the Next for my players about 50% of the time. This ends up causing confusion 15% of the time, but keeps the game moving. I also call who is up (verbally) and if they are not immediately replying I move on. I have had some players miss 2-3 rounds of action (but this is very rare). It is also good to call yourself and let folks know you are processing a creatures initiative, especially if that creature is not visible so does not show in the Init panel so the players lose track of where the initiative mark is at.

But in the end, it is up to the participants to decide to embrace the environment/tool and make the most of it.

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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by DMFTodd »

Holy Necromancy, Batman!

Looks like one solution was overlooked in this discussion: Get rid of the problem players. We started a new campaign and that step has helped a bunch.

Macro For Next: That would be handy. Can anybody point me to one? Maybe if NEXT is a big red button in the campaign window right next to their attack button, it might help. (LMarkus framework)

XP Spreadsheet: Yep, went with this idea for this campaign. Works much better. Pasted the level up progression in there as well so that question doesn't get asked every week.

Treasure Spreadsheet: Trying this. To early to say at this point.

Player Math: I required online character sheets this time. Everybody can see everybodys' math.

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Bone White
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by Bone White »

DMFTodd wrote:Macro For Next: That would be handy. Can anybody point me to one? Maybe if NEXT is a big red button in the campaign window right next to their attack button, it might help. (LMarkus framework)


This is a basic version of the one I use in my framework:

Code: Select all

[h, if(getInitiativeRound() == -1), code :
    {
    [h, if(! isGM()): assert(0,"It is not your turn.",0)]
    };{
    [h, token(getInitiativeToken()): owner = json.contains(getOwners(),getPlayerName())]
    [h, if(! owner && ! isGM()): assert(0,"It is not your turn.",0)]
    }
]
[
h: nextInitiative()] 


It allows the GM to advance the initiative even if the gm doesn't own the token, and only the owner of the current initiative token can advance the initiative.

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jfrazierjr
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by jfrazierjr »

Unless you are playing in some type of organized league or with some really anal players, my solution is "you level up when I tell you you leveled up". For example, last session at the start I had them all level to 7 even though only two were at 6th level one at 4th and the rest at 5th.
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by neofax »

jfrazierjr wrote:Unless you are playing in some type of organized league or with some really anal players, my solution is "you level up when I tell you you leveled up". For example, last session at the start I had them all level to 7 even though only two were at 6th level one at 4th and the rest at 5th.

Amen brother!
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jfrazierjr
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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by jfrazierjr »

neofax wrote:
jfrazierjr wrote:Unless you are playing in some type of organized league or with some really anal players, my solution is "you level up when I tell you you leveled up". For example, last session at the start I had them all level to 7 even though only two were at 6th level one at 4th and the rest at 5th.

Amen brother!


Heh.. yea, I let the story and natural breaks in the ongoing action determine when they level and as in this last case how much they level. This is also important to me because some of the guys work jobs that require work on the one day a month when we can all get together, so if someone misses a few sessions, they quickly get behind. One level is not so bad, but once it's more than one level, things get quite bad, especially for the guys who a lower level that are tanks since they get hit more due to lower defenses, hit opponents less often(which means they get hit more often due to longer battles), and have less HP so require more healing to stay up(again, extending battle length and worse drains the limited healing resources available)

I used to be a stickler for precise XP tracking, but that was when I was younger and I played often with a core group that was almost always present. Now, it's just whenever I feel like it.

Another plus, is that since we only play once a month(and I co GM so sometimes not even monthly in my game), neither I, nor the players have to keep up with the XP numbers. Heck, they can't hardly keep track of the treasure given out(and that's important to them!!) or the story elements.... I just recently had to institute a "you are the party scribe for this session, so you take notes" concept to keep track of plot elements such as NPC names, treasure gained, etc... I started about 2 years ago doing the whole collaborative world building story telling thing... so I say, you meet a dwarven shop keeper, _____(player name) describe him/her and give them a name. My thoughts here is that if the players are active in the naming and description of NPC's, they are more likely to remember their names later(most of the time, the other players give the person a funny nickname based on the original name which again, makes it stand out even more!)
I save all my Campaign Files to DropBox. Not only can I access a campaign file from pretty much any OS that will run Maptool(Win,OSX, linux), but each file is versioned, so if something goes crazy wild, I can always roll back to a previous version of the same file.

Get your Dropbox 2GB via my referral link, and as a bonus, I get an extra 250 MB of space. Even if you don't don't use my link, I still enthusiastically recommend Dropbox..

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Re: Player Problems Specific to Maptools

Post by aliasmask »

From my experience, players pretty much ignore the plot for about the first month or so depending on the GM to remind them of key points.

I would recommend a site like Epic Words where you can post wiki entries, session reviews in the journal and intermediate player discussion in the forums. It also has XP and Loot tools, but I didn't use those features since I do as you do and level up when I thought appropriate. And since they were higher level, I didn't give out much loot they were interested in (game was story based). The one feature I really liked was the calendar because it could send out email reminders and player could respond about their attendance. And all that stuff is free. You can subscribe (I did, just because it's an awesome tool and the price was right) and get online storage and some other features, but all the free tools is way more than what other similar sites offer (*cough* Obsidian Portal *cough*).

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