My daughter is a fan of all the superhero movies and shows. There’s a couple that she’s convinced me (at first) were worth watching, so I dove in. Yea, they were all right at first. The thing I noticed about each of them is a tendency towards the belief that if a character does not in fact have any superpowers, that is a situation that should be rectified. In one particular series, in a very short time almost every non-super character in the story discovers super powers, or is changed somehow, or otherwise altered. Every single one of them. It seems like the writers just can’t stand normal people and they strive to super-power the world.
I quickly gave up on that show. Along with a few others that seem to follow the same principal. It seemed ridiculous to me.
But recently I’ve been thinking about that type of story line and how I believe it could be used in an RPG session. I’m sure that if anyone out there reading this has ever been in a RPG group, a live, in-person group, then you’ve probably encountered the Attention Grabber. The one person in the group who wants to be the center of attention in every situation. And the Attention Grabber always seems to be paired up with The Shy Flower. The Shy Flower doesn’t want to speak out. Doesn’t want to have anyone look their way. Doesn’t want to be judged for their opinions. The Shy Flower usually wants the Attention Grabber to keep people away from them.
I don’t really like either type of player. Not because I think inherently they’re bad people, but it’s the fact that it is not an equal share of the enjoyment of the game, of the plot, that they each get. I want everyone at the table to enjoy the game, with no one left out. You’re probably right that they may each be enjoying the story in their own way and I should let them be themselves.
Over the course of the story, each player, each character should get their own moment in the sun. Show them how each of them are as important to the story as anyone else. Show them how they can each be a superhero in their own right (even if it’s not the Supers genre you’re playing).
Plan it out. Develop your plot with these twists built in. Plan on each of the players to suddenly become the center cog in the architecture of your world. Make even the quiet player’s character the center of attention. Make the story revolve around them in some way. Of course, the Attention Grabber is going to try to divert it back their way, so you’ve got to understand that and make sure you can compensate for it.
Transform your story. Transform the characters. Let them transform the entire experience for everybody. Not just the Attention Grabber.