“I wanna lot of stuff
I wanna lot of glory
I wanna see guts
I wanna tell a story”
Introduction: I’ve classified PCs on the podcast, but that classification was more about what they do — and less about their motivations. Below I’ve classified players by what they want for their PCs. Generally, I think most people probably fit into more than once category, and often have varying amounts of each type in their makeup.
Introduction if this were a Women’s Magazine: GMs: how many times have you had to have that heart-to-heart with one of your players? He’s just not satisfied, he’s wondering if you’re the right GM for him. Maybe he’s already strayed and is looking for a new GM at the FLGS. Never fear, we have collected information about the four types of players (at least the players worth keeping), and how to keep them happy and satisfied.
I Wanna Lot of Stuff (aka: the Hoarder)
Description: For this guy, the goal of their character is the accumulation of wealth, be it gold and platinum, credits, magic gear, a better cyberdeck, etc. Often this player wants all the cool stuff for his character to increase effectiveness, but sometimes it’s just hoarding for hoarding’s sake. Heck, dragons do it, why not PCs? When’s the last time you’ve seen a dragon spend a gold piece?
Signs you have one: This player will often be the first to ask what’s on the enemy’s body when combat is over. He may bicker over the distribution of loot. He may look for ways to store more loot than your game’s encumbrance rules allow.
Women’s magazine advice: Don’t Monty Hall this guy — it’s a sure way to his heart, but it’s not the stuff of a lasting relationship — he’ll soon stray and find a GM who doesn’t sling his “treasure” at every passing adventurer. What he needs is scarcity. He already values your stuff, so if you’re stingy with your stuff, it’ll make him want it that much more. Once he gets a taste and has had to work for it, it will be all-the-more valuable. Don’t get too stingy, though, or you may find him looking for an Encounter at the FLGS.
I Wanna Lot of Glory (aka: the Hero)
Description: This player wants his character to be a bad-ass. He wants to do awesome stuff. He wants a reputation as a bad ass. He wants NPCs to cower (or bask) in his radiant glow of awesomeness. In short, he wants to be a Hero with a capital H.
Signs you have one: This player will often come up with colorful descriptions for his actions. You won’t hear him say, “I attack.” Rather, you’ll hear, “I leap off the table and bring my sword down on his head.”
Women’s magazine advice: Your player wants to be awesome, so tell him how awesome he is, and say so when you’re playing. Describe him actions as awesome. Use flowery descriptions. If he comes up with a particularly heroic and outlandish tactic, make the results spectacular. As with the Hoarder, scarcity may make make the action more exciting when it happens, but it also might backfire.
I Wanna See Guts (aka: the Hacker)
Description: For this player, the character exists for fighting bad guys. He lives for combat.
Signs you have one: With this type of player, you may find that combat breaks out in scenes in which you didn’t prepare for combat.
Women’s magazine advice: The Hacker wants action, and if he doesn’t get it from you, he’ll find it elsewhere. He might see an entire session without a fight as a waste of time. If you decide to gamble with scarcity, he’ll probably initiate the action whether you’re ready or not.
I Wanna Tell a Story (aka: the Actor)
Description: This player wants to tell an interesting story. He’s not as concerned with the destination as he is with the journey. He may not mind if he never reaches the destination, as long as there is an opportunity to interact with NPCs and struggle with personal shortcomings.
Signs you have one: This player can very often create his own complications and roadblocks. He may meander in town before heading off on an adventure to interact with your NPCs.
Women’s magazine advice: The actor lives for three things: drama, drama and drama. He’s got flaws, he’s got complexity and that affects every aspect of his life. Furthermore, he seeks out flawed and complex people. Give him complex NPCs, give him plot hooks that run contrary to his sense of morality or cause him to question his worldview. Think of it as foreplay.