Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

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honorentheos
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Hey Bret - Sounds like you handled it well, and the folks at the table played it well to keep it engaging.

PG - I like the idea of having some sort of magical means of facetiming the party like sending stones and scrying rolled into one. "Roll for mute" seems like a viable wisdom save given the number of virtual work meetings I've participated in where someone failed theirs.

As for my own experience with split parties, it's really been hit or miss. My work game has 7 players and I also ignore metagaming and table chatter in favor of keeping folks engaged. Otherwise when it happens I think I'd lose some people, possible permanently. I try to keep running the decisions I make through the filter of if the activities involved can be engaging, and if not I try to find a way to handwave / roll quickly and move to something more meaningful. In fact, editing is my current point of practice in general as a DM. Just in general I find with a large group the tempo has to be managed much more intentionally than with smaller groups of 3 or 4 where just about anything can be engaging and fun.

I also have two one shots I'm running over the holidays. I'm planning to run the same one at both games. I homebrewed it, with the intention of making it largely a faster paced game. My plan for managing potential party splits is to go to combat/hostile social encounter almost immediately if someone runs off on their own with the rest of the party within quick reaction distance. The game is built around three major acts:

- Party is escorting a special delivery of diamonds heading to the village of Greenwinter. The party gets ambushed by a goblin warband accompanied by a wind-up dire wolf construct. Investigation after the combat involves multiple clues pointing to an evil influence wishing to prevent the diamonds from reaching the village clerics who use them in ritual worship of the goddess of nature, Malora. Clues also point to the person behind the influence seeking to set a number of invisible evil fey creatures to creating chaos at the winter festival taking place there that night.

- Act 2 is the party arriving as the festivities are underway. This is an investigation/exploration act. The main events include games the party can play and people they can talk with, but also the appearance of devious fey creatures attempting to do things like open the cages of an owl bear, chimera, and displacer beast so they can run wild among the crowds.

- Final Act is the reveal that the devious influence is the mayor who is a skilled and powerful artificer, this fact being unknown to most people in Greenwinter. His goal is to stop the festival and final acts of worship of Malora to prevent her protection of the forest around the village from being renewed for another year so he can mow down the woods to fuel the many large foundries and forges he has planned. And he doesn't need villagers anymore as he has created a force of constructs to do the work instead. So the final show down is him, a huge warforged titan he created, and his construct minions attempting to level the village, kill the party, and "destroy all humans". The clerics of the village will be able to support the party with what diamonds make it to revivify anyone who happens to go down to the mayor's tough forces.

I think it should be tight enough but fun enough to keep folks together. Plus I'm interested in keeping death on the table but with limited immediate consequence via the cleric support. I'm curious how that affects the game. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing more about your next adventure! I don't think anything I could offer would improve on what creative ideas you have for Zenobia and Ommitt.
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Physics Guy
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by Physics Guy »

honorentheos wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2023 2:54 am
"Roll for mute" seems like a viable wisdom save given the number of virtual work meetings I've participated in where someone failed theirs.
Yep. Tabletop role-playing games actually are a form of meeting, and I guess a lot of meeting dynamics are relevant. How things scale with participant number is important, all right. I think all I ever learned about dealing with that, though, was to confirm that twenty players are way too many.

It might have been seventeen, or something, but it was absurd. Even when the characters were all together, I broke the players up into sub-groups of three and four, with middle-management callers for each sub-group, so that they could plan and discuss in smaller units. It didn't help nearly enough. Resolving melee took so long, it made the silly old D&D rule of one action per minute look wildly optimistic.

After that my procedure for handling over-large D&D groups was like the supposedly traditional Inuit recipe for loon soup.

"Do not make loon soup."

(I tracked down the source of that supposed recipe. It's from page 19 of a handwritten book of recipes collected by a teacher from Inuit schoolchildren in 1952, and the popular misquotation omits a "the" from the final direction in a brief recipe for boiling loon, "Do not make the loon soup." That might just mean not to boil the loon for so long that it all turns to mush, but I guess it might mean that the broth was no good and should be discarded. It's hard to find much information about eating loon, but everything you do find is about how awful it tastes.)
I was a teenager before it was cool.
honorentheos
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Physics Guy wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2023 11:35 am
Yep. Tabletop role-playing games actually are a form of meeting, and I guess a lot of meeting dynamics are relevant. How things scale with participant number is important, all right. I think all I ever learned about dealing with that, though, was to confirm that twenty players are way too many.

It might have been seventeen, or something, but it was absurd...
:shock:

I can't wrap my head around trying to handle that many players. But if it all paid off in your sharing the recipe for loon soup on our little board, surely it was worth it in the grand cosmic sense.
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Bret Ripley
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by Bret Ripley »

honorentheos wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2023 12:35 pm
Physics Guy wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2023 11:35 am
Yep. Tabletop role-playing games actually are a form of meeting, and I guess a lot of meeting dynamics are relevant. How things scale with participant number is important, all right. I think all I ever learned about dealing with that, though, was to confirm that twenty players are way too many.

It might have been seventeen, or something, but it was absurd...
:shock:

I can't wrap my head around trying to handle that many players.
Every time I try to think about it my imagination responds with a whimper, and a short time later I find myself snapping out of a fuzzy-minded middle-distance stare ...
But if it all paid off in your sharing the recipe for loon soup on our little board, surely it was worth it in the grand cosmic sense.
Soup of the loon was no mean boon; I am grateful to PG for his sacrifice. I only wish he could find a way to share recipes that doesn't involve triggering psychodynamic defenses.
honorentheos
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

As a DM, One of my favorite resources is The Alexandrian. Justin Alexander has a pretty good resume when it comes to game design and understanding, and he's got a gift for honing in on fundamentals behind concepts that make them accessible.

https://thealexandrian.net/

I mention it because I recently picked up his book, So You Want to Be a Game Master? Having read through the majority of it now I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone with any interest in putting on their robes and wizards hat in order to give DMing a try:

https://thealexandrian.net/so-you-want- ... ame-master

I'd argue just about anyone could gain from it regardless of experience level GMing. Even as a regular reader of his blog posts I found the books organization of much of the material I'd seen from him elsewhere illuminating and helped me in my game presentation and preparation.

And, really, I hate to see this thread off page 1...
honorentheos
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

honorentheos wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2023 12:35 pm
Physics Guy wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2023 11:35 am
Yep. Tabletop role-playing games actually are a form of meeting, and I guess a lot of meeting dynamics are relevant. How things scale with participant number is important, all right. I think all I ever learned about dealing with that, though, was to confirm that twenty players are way too many.

It might have been seventeen, or something, but it was absurd...
:shock:

I can't wrap my head around trying to handle that many players. But if it all paid off in your sharing the recipe for loon soup on our little board, surely it was worth it in the grand cosmic sense.
Karma...

I was introduced to a couple of new folks at our company Christmas party who are young and excited to play D&D. And of course they wanted to know if they could join our game? Sure, says I, hiding the immediate spike in concern that I already have 7 people in the game and find it difficult to keep everyone engaged.

So I'm trying something out and will return and report. That being, I am hoping to set this up so the work game becomes a sort of West Marches campaign. There is enough going on in the story that I am hoping to present the idea in game of the players choosing to split the party to carry out small group missions I can run separately then getting back together to digest the information, considering priorities, then assembling new mini teams to tackle the next goals. Rinse, repeat.

I have a mini-session scheduled this week with the two new players that is meant to give them some in world experience and knowledge before uniting with the main party in the regular session next week. We will see how it goes.

If anyone has any experience with this sort of thing, I'm very welcoming of suggestions.
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