|Ek Balaam--the lost city of Dr. Arrington's desire!|
I wanted to make this adventure really over the top, including some great challenges for the PCs. One of the ways I did so was through vehicles--the Nazis arrived on scene in the first chapter of the adventure riding on bulldozers, crashing through the underbrush and directly into two of the PCs! I won't spoil the adventure, as I may be running it at FOPCon this time around since their theme is superheroes, but it ended with a fantastic airboat crash in the middle of a huge swamp. Epic stuff!
However, the game wasn't without a few nitpicks. While I had planned on using my pre-built supers group--The Huntsmen--I ended up with 8 players at the table: two more players than I had Huntsmen! Not wanting to turn anyone away, The Journeyman GM and the PlatinumChick rolled up random PCs, and we rolled with 8 players at the table.
Therein lay my biggest problems.
You see, friends and neighbors, I ended up with two players in amongst those 8 that just Did. Not. Get. It. And, while it didn't "ruin" the game by any stretch, it did make GMing fairly difficult, as I tried to keep the rest of the group on track.
|ICONS--a four-color system...|
...but with grim 'n gritty players?
As a GM, I felt I had an obligation to act, so as I mentioned, I asked him to stop--he had been talking over one of the players at the far end of the table, who literally was raising her hand, trying to get my attention. It wasn't fair to her--or to the rest of the table, for that matter--for him to take up the limelight. Further, his actions were actively obstructing the advancement of the plot!
Unfortunately, that wasn't the only issue. Again, as you may know, ICONS is a free-form, narrative system which uses a riff on the FATE mechanics to focus on character development and over-the-top stunts. But, a second player--let's call him Jim Bob--took some issue with this idea. I've gamed with Jim Bob before, and his leanings definitely skew towards more tactical games. Jim Bob complained loudly about the fact that we weren't using a battle mat for combat, instead relying on imagination and GM description. Eventually, I relented, scratching a brief map on the room's white-board, but even that wasn't enough for him. He wanted precise detail in a game that not only doesn't focus on it, but doesn't even have true "ranges" or the like. He wanted something from the game that I simply couldn't give.
Jim Bob also just didn't get the idea of his character's Aspects and Qualities. He decided to play the Huntsmens' stealth and infiltration expert, yet began the game roaming about Playa del Carmen wearing an oversized sombrero, even trying to sneak around with it on! He claimed that the "Sarcastic Joker" on his character sheet prompted him to do this, but actively ignored every other Aspect or Quality on the sheet in doing so. Similarly, where others attempted to use their Aspects and Qualities to refine their actions--primarily through the use of Determination, by power stunting or using determined effort--Jim Bob really didn't do so.
I'm not posting this to rag on the WittKids by any stretch of the imagination. While I was frustrated at the time, it seemed that most everyone at the table--these two included--had a good time with the game. However, I raise these issues as a question: if these two were at your table, how would you adjust your GMing for the circumstance? I'm hesitant to say "deal with them", simply because they're people--they shouldn't just be "dealt with".
How do you, as a GM, alter the situation to better accomodate (or censure) actions detrimental to the game?