Tuesday 20 May 2014

How to Grab and Keep the PCs Attention

This article was kindly submitted and shared by, Braden Jarvis. Thanks Mr. Jarvis!

1: See it to Believe It

RPGs require a large amount of using your mind unlike video games which is played in front of you before your eyes.  As many RPGers and nerds know the 21st century does not like using their mind. The way to fix this is to use a large amount of detail. Know that too much detail can be utterly boring and uninteresting. However in the right mixture of detail to action RPGs get much more interesting. Another way to fix this problem is by using drawn out maps and characters.  These may be very hard to get ahold of but can be made with simply paper and markers drawing out and using three dimensional pieces: checker and chess pieces etc. This allows people to know where they are know what to do.

2: Action!

Now many GM and players know RPGs are mainly appreciated for their action.  However, after a while of flashing and bashing RPGs become rather boring and unchanging. Always add puzzles and deep conversation to get the players attention. For example, during an RPG adventure, my companions and I were trapped in a dark elf tower. Every person in the party knew that there was absolutely no way to fight fight the guards for they were MUCH to powerful. However it was easier to escape other ways, but the challenge was much better than rolling damage die and hoping to win.  After all it is called a ROLEPLAYING game.  Your PCs should have a chance to get their juices flowing and actually think.  This is very rare in video games.

3: I do not Fear Death

I laugh at myself on how much I am a custom to making my PC's survive. Of course you always want to keep your players alive until the final battle. However at the final battle the must be an actual risk.  I have never had a character die in a battle.  I usually kill goblins and go back to the pub for more petty quests.  However this is good to offer an easy challenge for new players, but experienced players should be having adrenaline pumping throughout the entire game and at the climax actually have a challenge that could end up in throwing away character sheets.

4: You wake up in...

KNOCK OUT SCENES!  Nothing scares the pants off me like waking up after being hit to death by a giant troll. Also for a new players this adds an escape route from getting rid of their character sheet as I mentioned in the point above. This also makes suspense and straight out fear for your players.  Another thing to do is make players wake up somewhere else. I.e. you are KOd by goblins and wake in a gladiator fight with lions.


  1. Thanks a lot David! I have been trying to get my brother back into roleplaying. He's slowly morphing back into a roleplayer. For some reason, he won't stop being a dragon slayer!

  2. You're most welcome, B. I hope you're successful. Roleplaying can be a great hobby. I've always valued the stories we all remember with friends, family, and strangers who I've gamed with. It's highly creative, and playing with friends and family is a great experience.

    Ha ha, I wonder why he keeps playing a dragon slayer? Maybe he's hinting to the GM that he wants to find more dragons on his adventures. :)