Given the still almost weekly call out for monsters and aware that your event could always fail to run or not run at the last minute what could be done to make monstering and specifically booking in advance more appealing?
Is the non standard system strong enough still to maybe only allow YP to be purchased with a spend of MP's (which means you have to earn them!)
Just trying to throw ideas at a never resolved issue with Labyrinthe that is more and more making other systems more appealing.
I think Nick has a point - particularly re. getting to 8th. I recall fondly as a child the excitement of trying to get to 8th. It was a real challenge. I know now that for many players it is just a minor inconvenience - but for newer returning players that is a lot of what they remember and what they enjoyed - tying this to ministering - newer players are more likely to monster - there's still the novelty element.
The other point that I think needs to be made is that no other system runs as frequently as the caves - multiple events every weekend - linear dungeons with large numbers of encounters - so you're on your feet all day - a lot of the player/monster base has been doing this for 10-20+ years broadly people are increasingly less likely to monster randomly - they're there for a specific event, person etc. Rewards will help - and I really don't see the issue with constantly changing monster rewards to entice experienced monsters in with novelty. Possibly less time pressured linear dungeons, maybe less combat orientated but then you are starting to change a formula that for players at least is tried and tested.
I've suggest a fix that seemed to go down well with players on another thread to do with counting a fully crewed dungeon as a guild special for the crew.
Also I'd suggest that the 'ref crew' bonus's for when 3 of you book at the same time gets reinstated.
Personally and I don't know if this is viable is that I would make all of the books free online so new players are not put off by the high bar for entry into the system.
I'd also agree with Giles that perhaps incentives need to be regularly rotated so when their shininess has worn off they just get replaced.
I think you'd see a spike in monsters if you could only make 9/3 items in march..
These are all just personal thoughts, and can very much be taken with a large pinch of salt, as I have very little personal knowledge of other systems and the like!
But I think one of the big problems is that the people who are most likely to crew regularly, and appreciate the bonuses the most, are the people that might be the least likely to stick with labyrinthe for long enough.
That being because the best source of people willing to crew regularly are those who are more time rich than cash rich. Which would be mainly students and younger, newer players. Please excuse sweeping generalisations.
I know that was definitely true in the past, for me and many others, I used to ref and monster a lot more, and really appreciated the credits at the time. And that was a time when rewards were a lot less than now.
Whereas nowadays, for me its so much harder to spare the time for a hobby, so making the commitment to ref or crew is a big deal. And quite honestly, I don't think any reward would change the amount I do. I ref because I enjoy doing so and like to give something back, but nothing is going to enable or encourage me to do more than I am doing.
So the solution may be that more younger players who have the time, and will appreciate the rewards more, to be attracted to trying out labyrinthe and to make sure they stay.
But nowadays there is a lot more choice and competition out there. And labyrinthe can seem very overwhelming. And there is the issue that when you look at a system that has 35k characters, and people who have been playing for 30+ years, it can be off putting. I think a lot of younger players are going to prefer to go somewhere where they can "matter" and "feel powerful" quicker than is the case here.
The playing field just isn't as level as it would be at a newer system with less history. And without sounding too much like a total old fart, I really believe that (a lot of) younger people nowadays want instant gratification and have less patience and willingness to stick with something than might have been the case before. It's definitely something that I see IRL in my job anyway. So that just exasperates, I think anyone can find it off putting seeing how much time and investment is needed in labyrinth. But it is most likely to put off the people that are needed the most to help with crewing.
In terms of solutions, apart from some things quite radical that I wouldn't want to go into here, I'm really not sure. But yea, I think the system and club as a whole needs to really encourage new blood. And make the system as accessible and welcoming as possible.
PS I wouldn't want any of the above to seem as a criticism that people aren't already doing lots. Think huge efforts are made for young players to go ahead. Probably moreso than I've ever known. Please read as constructive not critical!
The biggest problem imho is that largely monstering at the caves is an incredibly boring experience. Typically you play waves of near-mindless parts which are just there to get hit or have extremely limited roleplay or engagement; you're just trash/fodder to be attacked all day long. Most systems have some semblance of that (it is difficult not to have at least some things which are just there to be fought if you system has at least a serious combat element), but many have a significant emphasis on engaging parts with much lengthier roleplay engagement and meaningful interaction with the party. This is one of the reasons I far more readily monster extended lengths than caves events (as it is a far easier thing to accomplish and think about, because you have the time), but is I think is something which could be thought about a fair bit more on your typical caves event.
Doing so might make for a more engaging monstering experience.
It *is* difficult though because the status quo of the caves for its entire existence has been a system of high combat and lots of fighting. In that framework it is a trickier proposal to include more meaningful roleplay parts and parts which engage with the party on a level outside of simply stats and fighting. It is possible, it just needs some thought and a willingness to engage by the players (rather than just tick an encounter off and get on to more fighting).
It is something Rebecca has done particularly well in her Mistbound stuff, and which she did particularly well for me when a-reffing all the Torsland/Aria's Song stuff. Yes, all those events have had a fair bit of combat/fighting/boring parts to play too, but I generally think monstering would be a more rewarding and fun experience if there were more really engaging and re-occuring parts to be played around the 'fodder'.
All of my best monstering experiences have been on extended lengths because of being able to play re-occurring, engaging npcs that spend significant time with the party and who can engage with them meaningfully.
Clearly, you can't have that sort of length of time investment in a single day at the caves without a drastic system / perspective redesign, but I think it would potentially create some more excitement in monstering.
The other thing r.e. extended lengths is simply the down time with the crew, chilling, chatting in an environment which isn't a dark, damp cave.
Anyway, enough rambling - I suspect people look for different things when they monster and what people want out of it will be different. For me it needs to be involve at least some sort of engaging parts to play and some solid plot to get involved in.
I have noticed at times that a few dungeons have finished short of their intended encounters.
Perhaps some could be written with that in mind, it would allow longer roleplaying moments, or other situations.
I'm sure most parties are more than accommodating if the ref team needs a moment to brief the monsters more in depth, or to set an encounter.
I think a good way of squeezing more roleplay and thus making monstering more fun is
a) to be a bit more flexible with the plot as the ref (obviously big plot spoilers are a no go - but if the world isn't too written in stone the monster can freeform it a bit*
more campaigns. Not you must do X date, Y date, etc. but for example, almost every dungeon I have reffed has the same NPC in it ... and not the brief ... Just so that when the actual focus on the NPC dungeon is run people will have a) come across them and influenced there state of mind when they actually do ....
c) Perhaps a few random NPC's can be written in advance for the year, possibly tied into final dawn, possibly not - and then these are freely available to throw into random dungeons to flesh out the world ? (perhaps with costume requirements so even if a different monster the same costume everytime helps identify them)
Not certain if these are plausible but from my perspective they might make roleplay monstering more enticing and abundant....
*Admittedly this is often the case - but one of the reasons I often 'skip' major roleplay parts on other dungeons is simply not having the info before the morning to do it justice - so don't want to mess it up .... (This could be factored by getting a dungeon in advance - but this is not always possible - real life getting in the way etc.)
Some good points here on a subject much debated.
There are very good monster rewards already imo, which do seem to work (I would be having a chilled day tomorrow rather than crewing if not for my annual incentives).
I really like Craigys idea of giving a bonus if a ref team (ref, a ref and monster) all book together in advance, and the idea of giving a guild a boost as a reward seems like something that could work.
Giles idea of rotating rewards sounds good too. Maybe with each new almanac?
I think these days there is a lot of crewing for others who crew a lot, which is good. Club spirit in general seems better these days than any point in the past I remember.
For some people I think they would prefer to hit people all day rather than engaging in the roleplay side of things, different people have different preferred monstering styles.
Adventures tend not to be cancelled due to lack of crew as generally some players will swap sides to allow the event to go ahead.
Encouraging younger club members (who as Sean said may be more likely to crew) seems the way forward, not sure how this would be achieved.
Good topic though Tim
I'm not going to talk about the incentives side as such as I have had the same feedback each time of - the incentives are already substantial and other systems don't give rewards.
What I would like to see though is the annual incentive scheme being allowed to start at any point in the year not just beginning. Someone might crew a few months and once they have those under their belts it might seem a waste not to do the full year.
i think the rewards for monstering these days are fair, a good mix of points, credits and items!! whats not to like, plus your getting to role play and play out what you normally have to imagine in dnd, table tops etc right...which is what im guessing got you into the hobby in the first place right?
if i were more local id be down so much more but alas im not and now days i have even less time to give up.
i did like the bonus wkends that were run few years back there were good fun .
P.S. nick you were fine monstering for us dude as was young josh
Monster incentives are great, the only thing that i can think of would be to have an increased reward for being involved for a whole weekend. That way, if you are already playing on Sunday, you might have more of a reason to turn up on the Saturday too.
In my mind this would incourage younger people and bring people who have to travel a long way more of a reason to stay with a friend/hotel on the Saturday
I have no idea what the reward should be and i feel happy with what i get whenever i monster/ref
My two pence
I think there are very few of us who monster primarily because of the rewards we get for monstering. (Alright, sure, Im always short on Monster Points, but other than that Im mostly here for a free drink in the pub at the end of the day.) What motivates people is a community spirit and a fair exchange of how much work we all put in to make sure other people have good events as well. Thats universal across each of the dozen games I actively play and crew. Making sure people who have helped you have a fun game also, in turn, get their fun day matters wildly more to me - and probably should to you as well - than if I get 15 credits or 27.
I think that some people may feel that "Well monsters get some credits and some MPs so actually they are covered for their involvement" and dont feel a need to monster in return. They're your problem people and they arent going to be swayed by an extra 20 monster points and 5 credits because to them the reward is already irrelevant.
More people = more possible crew
Need to spread the word around
Hype up the Labyinthe
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