Icefield wrote:I think because they are younger than me I am basically appealing to their familiarity with computer games rather than pure tabletop RPG storytelling goodness.
Be aware that telling stories isn't what some people want from RPGs, and that doesn't just mean computer-game-addicted roll-players. Some of us just enjoy playing the role of a person in another world, exploring that world, and experiencing that life without trying to be Big Damn Heroes or worry about dramatic arcs. If your players get into haggling with the cabbage merchant and tracking their inventory so that they can calculate their taxes, it's possible that they're just getting off on living the lives of their characters.
Of course, if running a mundane day-in-the-life campaign isn't something that you enjoy, then perhaps it's time to talk it over with your players and see if you can find out how to make high adventure more appealing to your players.
Icefield wrote:I also always liked how Traveller had random hooks for a patron, and I would not roll until just before the game or sometimes not until they talked to that guy so that I could feel some of the excitement of chance. I recently realized that a major problem with my GMing is that I am too nice. I don't like taking stuff from them or hitting them with their self-imposed doom. In my games all of the decisive action happened in combat where I could externalize the blame to the dice.
I can definitely sympathize. This is basically why I gave up on Amber Diceless RPG after two sessions - I didn't like being in a position where the only way for something bad to ever happen to a PC was if I actively chose for it to happen. I want to be able to blame cruel fate for their misfortunes.
But I think you may have already stumbled onto your solution with the mention of Traveller: Randomize things outside of combat! When they murder the cabbage merchant in cold blood, roll to determine how firmly the witnesses could identify them. Based on that, roll for how long it takes for the authorities to respond. Roll for the strength of that response. Roll for vengeful relatives or members of the cabbagers' guild. Don't just make it an automatic siege of the inn where the PCs reside, give them a chance (even if only a small one!) that they might get away with it... or did they really get away with it? Maybe the authorities are still trying to figure out who to go after. Maybe the authorities are, this minute, on the other side of town, executing the wrong people, and it's all the PCs' fault. Shake some dice and shake things up, so that the players are always guessing - and so that, when it all comes crashing down on their heads, you can say, "It's not my fault. The dice did it!"