Having the Players Keep the Party Together
Every once in a while, you’ve got a character in the party who just doesn’t want to work with the rest of the group. Maybe he has differing viewpoints, maybe he disagrees with the party’s goal, maybe he just wants to cause trouble. Sometimes this conflict is good for the game, but often times it can be detrimental. In a premade scenario, it can be a real issue if one of the characters doesn’t want to follow the presumed path.
In my Deadlands mini-campaign, we had a situation like that where one of the characters disagreed with the rest of the group about what to do with the Heart of Darkness. The rest of the party realized that they needed to destroy it, but he wanted to take it straight to Dr. Hellstromme (which would have been a very bad thing). The player told me, “In character, I’m ready to kill this guy who’s trying to stop me and walk to Hellstromme since that’s what my character would do. Out of character, I’d just like to get back to the plot.”
As the GM, I could have narrated something that would force his character to stay with the party. But I thought that this “railroading” might have been an unsatisfying solution to the player and to everyone else.
So I came up with an idea: I told the player to take over the GM reigns for a moment and narrate out the scene so that his character could get back to the plot. He said that if one of the other characters would return the Heart of Darkness that had been pick-pocketed off of him and calmly said to at least have a talk before turning the Heart of Darkness to anyone, then his character could go along with the plot.
And that’s what happened. In the end, everybody was happy and we were able to move along with the prewritten scenario. It turned out to be a really effective tool and it’s one that I think I’ll keep in my GM toolbox for a long time.