Advice for Encouraging Player Participation

Advice for Encouraging Player Participation

Obsidian Portal is a tool and you need to use the right tool, for the right job; namely your campaign and/or gaming group.

Ask yourself a few questions…
1) Are you prepared to do most or all of the work yourself? If not forget it!
2) What kind of group do you play with? Enthusiastic or lazy? Beer and pretzels or weekly epic? Dedicated lifers or casual gamers? Do they have families? Work commitments? Other hobbies? You need to know who your players are and their willingness and capacity to help.
3) What are your players already doing? Do you get a 10 page character background? Are your players already writing session notes? Are they always pitching you ideas for items, home rules or story hooks? Have an artist who loves to draw all the NPCs you meet? Looks like you might be in luck! If they’re groaning about ‘homework’, maybe not…
4) What IS the best way to use OP for your game? For most groups, it’s a database for NPCs, items and session recaps. But it won’t do everything. I couldn’t run a nights gaming from OP, simply because of how I like to write my notes and run my game- So I don’t. Don’t make a rod for your own back, use what works for you and your game, ignore the rest.

My Campaign? Rogue Traders
Why did I decide to use OP?
1) I have a committed, mature and enthusiastic group.
2) I wanted a repository for campaign notes, houserules and NPC profiles (but I still write the game in Word and print it out Module style).
3) I wanted somewhere to record all my hard work and research somewhere where other GMs with a similar campaign in mind might find and use it.
4) I was looking for an ’art project’ that would force me to get drawing in my spare time (I’m a professional artist)
5) I wanted to immortalise the already extensive session notes my players were recording!

It pretty much sounded like a good fit… And has been! One great thing for my campaign has been player participation…
I asked my players to contribute one journal entry each session (one per session, not player) so at most it was a once a month commitment.
And… My players stepped up to the plate and delivered! Every session has at least one entry, the more interesting sessions attracting multiple entries, in fact, as the campaign progresses, a friendly ‘rivalry’ has developed and it’s fascinating, even hilarious to hear the conflicting points of view.

I give the credit to my players but I have a few tips to encourage player involvement.

Player Involvement
1) Be realistic and clear about your expectations
2) Be persistent without being pushy. Be understanding and patient but keep nudging…
3) Applaud their efforts. When someone writes up a new journal or adds to the wiki, email your group and say how good it is, why you like it, why it helps make a better site game!
4) Foster competition. If someone writes a Journal entry, goad the others to respond!
5) Build incentives into the site to attract their interest and attention. Create sections for them to contribute to, lace the site with hints and secrets (I publish NPCs BIOs!)
6)Inspire by example. If you want more, give more. Fill the wiki with house rules and background information, maps and illustrations.
7) Focus on what they DO do, I haven’t had any Wiki contributions yet! But the Journals keep coming thick and (almost) fast so I don’t complain.
8) Lastly and most importantly, reward their efforts and don’t be cheap!

Reward
I started off with a simple reward. Any journal entry got a Character Point (essentially a bonus dice) valid for one session only.
I was (happily) getting my weekly entry but nothing more, so I decided to experiment and upped the ante…
I turned character point into a Destiny Point (a character point on steroids).
Whilst still valid for one session only, it could be used for about half a dozen additional purposes in game.
The first time someone used a Destiny Point to do something cool, I was suddenly receiving a lot more Journal entries!

Don’t threaten them, don’t throw a tantrum, don’t cry, don’t abuse them, don’t be passive aggressive and DON’T punish them in game. Be persistent , be consistent, lead by example and don’t be a jerk (not that I’m calling anyone a jerk- It’s just the best rule of gaming)

Advice for Encouraging Player Participation

Star Wars: Rogue Traders DamienMaster