Content of the article: "My players have a hard time thinking outside the box…"
Hello everybody, I just want to take a quick second and thank you for being such an awesome subreddit and resource for me personally and many of those like me.
Getting on with business: I have a group of five individuals that I DM for and I have been DMing for them for the past eight months or so. I took a small hiatus from DMing when covid hit because I wasn't sure how exactly I would do any sort of role play without a table full of people. We found it pretty easy to transfer into slightly use of roll 20 and the majority of the time we spend strictly on discord.
The issue that I have is that the party that I am now DMing for has two new players one mildly experienced player and one player that I would say is extremely experienced in dungeons & dragons as well as many other role-playing type games. The last player is a pretty busy guy and he's in and out of sessions so I'm just going to leave him out of this.
The first mildly short campaign that we played ended when they decided to fight a beholder that also happened to be a magic weapons dealer for the underground community. It was a very climactic very heroic but ultimately needless end to the party. They were aware of the risks and the rewards as well as the unnecessary goals they were setting for themselves by thinking they needed to kill him in order to get these magic items.
Anyway in both that campaign and my current campaign they are having a very hard time thinking outside the box. When I say that I mean that they don't try and utilize their environment very often they are really okay with an NPC telling them go do this or go do that. Which is great a lot of the time that they don't double ask questions or anything like that and they're very flexible in the idea of what they need to do next. The issue that I have is when they come across a issue it almost seems overwhelming for them and I as the DM don't want them to get stuck on it so I'll offer up a suggestion and I've even gone as far as having an NPC run with them and explain the issue in a little bit more detail.
I really want them to think outside the box use their skills in weird ways, allow themselves more freedom of thought in general.
When I ran a few campaigns at a table I never seem to have a hard time getting players to think outside the box. Granted they were different people but at the same time I can't help but think it's because I'm playing online and they don't get to see the reactions on each other's faces or my face.
I do explain a lot of the scenes that they are in and if there is anything weird or out of place I definitely point that out. But even with doing that I can't explain that there are 12 rocks in this field and four trees and they're exact positioning so on and so forth when it's just a random encounter. If we're inside at a tavern I can't explain that there is a cup of ale in front of every person and that one guy has a whiskey bottle and all of the details that go into an entire room mentally.
Is it my fault for them not being able to think outside the box or is it just an experience or is it just awkward for everyone? I don't know if it's something that I could be doing different or something that I'm not doing currently and I'm hoping somebody has run across this issue and at least has some pointers for me.
TLDR; my group seems unimaginative and I think it's my fault for not explaining things more thoroughly but at the same time I can't take 15 minutes to explain every scene that they are in. How do I get them to think logically about what would be around them and what they may or may not be capable of doing and either trying to do it or at least asking the question?
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