OSR gameplay and MC syndrome

This is OSR SciFi gaming with some extensions for RP. That’s shorthand for “Old School Renaissance”, meaning that the book only covers the mechanics of making a character and the mechanics of combat, survival and skills. The book doesn’t bother defining roleplaying, that’s just the chatter created by the background. The book[s] don’t define a background. Hopefully “SciFi” is understood as speculative future fiction.

Sessions are 3hrs. I’m DMing along, writing a little area to cross with story hooks to dungeons, confrontations, traps etc. I have 5 players, Alf, Bet, Cap, Del, Ech. To be simple this is also their level of seniority. Their leader is Alf. Oddly Bet is always ‘in-cryo’ or ‘in med-bay’ and misses the action.

Cap has main character syndrome so bad, he’s trying to rewrite canon OOC, he floods chat. Alf has openly asked that Cap calm down and stop asking “Out Of Character Do I” questions about the background of a watercolor* campaign. These questions lead to rabbit-holes that only interest Cap. Del has stated specifically he wants to ‘get on with it’ and stop dicking about.

I start them at a point on the map, showing the whole map, even the ‘lair’. They are standing at the sign that says “Dragon’s Lair Untold Riches”. They have magic fire-retardant.

[this is shorthand, they have Uzis, grenades, and a police drone] The plot: orientation to map1, hear rumor, meet seer; then maguffin hunt map2, deliver the maguffin to Oz from the rumor map3, survive gauntlet against wicked witch map4; Oz rewards you with treasure and a new rumor.

Ech says “we leave this area and spend twenty thousand gold for a week in the uncomfortable nearby inn instead.”

I move the hooks to the new location and point them back to the dungeon. They manage to roleplay the fuck out of a hook and decide, instead of hooking back to the dungeon, Ech turns their informant in for a five hundred credit reward. Spend 20k, made .5k, loss 19.5k.

I set three new hooks. Literally roll on the table in front of them. Again Cap spends clock time imagining android-theft-ring hooks that don’t exist. He babbles. The crew inspects a roleplay object associated with their informant. They discuss the non-existent economic system. I tell them about salary again. They get into another nonsense about filling up with loot to sell elsewhere. They’re writing themselves full circle… burning hundreds of terraflops that put them right back where they were, but millions in the hole.

Over two hours burned off the clock – no movement toward the dungeon. Game called at 2:13.

They literally ask for XP for refusing to play. It is costing months just to get them to enter the door in front of them. I despair.

Epilogue: Cap reads this and suicides because he doesn’t get to go shoot androids for fun; Bet quit last month citing time conflict; Ech runs from responsibility like a pussy after stranding the ship on a heavy world that’s sucking the life out of them.

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