Dear Ted, Dave, Ryan, & Nate:
This is a bit of an advanced GMing question. I love running and playing in D&D games that emphasize specific strong themes and interesting settings (Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Cthulhu, etc), but find myself frustrated when players act in a way that is not condusive to the mood of the setting.
Aside from a very strong session zero, handing out RP resources (that aren’t daunting), and supportive reminders, how would you keep your players immersed in the setting during a game? Would you consider giving out inspiration & hero-points for maintaining the theme (it is rewarding good role-playing)? Would you give out other rewards? What about cinematica-framing of scenes to keep focus?
A big part of the keeping on theme issue is the “gobbillo” problem – some players LOVE to vent and be jackasses, and this can be incredibly entertaining. However, jackassery in horror, intrigue, dramatic, or brutal-survival themed games don’t work well, as it disrupts the GM and other players efforts. Punishing a jackass and being a hardass has it’s problems too. How do you handle it as a player, and as a GM? Do you go to the group for consensus? What if you are the jackass (and I know you are sometimes)? What would help reign you in?
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