Content of the article: "How to make Players more interested in NPCs, the story and the campaign in general."
As we all know, sometimes players will ignore the plot and important NPCs and go Taming frogs with goblin that has a funny name.
So, here are few suggestion that might help (some don't apply when doing very serious or grim dark campaign): If you have any question or aditional advice, share it in comments.
Set the expectations on session 0. And talk about what they are interested in. Setting the tone in very important. Some players might expect some goofy campaign, only to be surprised with grimdark setting on session 1.
If you don't know the players, don't start the plot in first few sessions. Instead experiment with NPCs and ecounters. You might find out how players respond to different situations and NPCs, then plan accordingly.
EXAMPLE: players like the character with high pitched voice, but don't like the wise wizard. They might like misteries, or puzzles. Maybe they prefer combat over roleplay.
Based on 2nd suggestion, make the important NPCs in some way interesting to the players. It might only need to have a funny mustache, or be a fully weird character.
Give players a good reason to be involved with the plot. Maybe it has something to do with the NPC they like, or it it big part of their backstory. Or they were hired to kill a few monsters and now are trapped in the BBEG's personal dimension.
Make a goofy enemy or ecounter from time to time, just to break the tension and monotony. It doesn't have to be something grand. Just a little thing.
EXAMPLE: drunk Bandit, badly coordinated goblin ambush, some guy stuck in a hole
As with the 4th one, increase their interest in the plot by making them really hate the bad guys.
EXAMPLE: Kill or kidnap the NPC they like, and make sure they see how the BBEG tears his head off, while the poor shopkeeper screams in pain.
Don't be afraid if a PC dies or someone looses an arm. If player seem to never die or get downed, they will do stupid stuff or get bored.
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