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30 Days of Gamemastering: Part Nine

October 10, 2013

This is part nine in the continuing series of posts for the “30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge” from Triple Crit.

Player “homework”: what do you ask of your players before and between sessions?

Player “homework” has been a relatively new development in our campaign group. When I started using Obsidian Portal for my Serenity RPG campaign a couple of years ago, I started trying to get the players to get more involved in the campaign away from the table: updating their character sheets, writing character journals, creating item rosters, etc. I had to use incentives to get them to use it. In that RPG, I could give bonus Plot Points to those that contributed to the site. For the most part it worked. I got a fair amount of player buy-in to using the site and people liked getting the extra benefits. For the current Pathfinder campaign, I’ve started using “Hero Points” as incentives. We’ve only had one session since I introduced them, so we’ll see how it goes. In the Dresden Files RPG campaign, I can use Fate Points.  In these newer campaigns, I’ve been less successful in getting that buy in. Granted, two of my players have recently had new babies come into their lives which restricts the amount of extra-curricular work that can be done. But, nevertheless, a lot less activity is happening on the site…which is a shame because I think that extra work makes the campaign a lot more richer and more fun.

I guess the biggest thing is that I don’t “expect” players to do homework. I try to reward it for the extra work that it is. It is above-and-beyond work, not expected. I think it’s more appreciated that way.

What about you? Do you issue “bennies” for extra homework? Are your players thinking about your game away from the table?

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