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Advice for running a game for a large group


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#1 Ghost of Snori

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:08 PM

I've run warhammer in the past but not for a group quite this large and was looking for some advice on how to handle 8 players. I'm mostly running the pre-made adventures for 3rd ed and using a suggested order from Ermikol. I might throw in Sing for your Supper and Night at the Three Feathers from 2nd ed for fun too.  Any suggestions on how to modify the premades for the combat encounters without stomping my player to badly. We currently have 3 Dwarves, 2 Wood Elves and 3 Humans. The Dwarves are an apprentice rune smith, a slayer, & an iron breaker, The Elves are a waywatcher and a jade wizard apprentice (house ruled), the humans are a ratcatcher, a pistoleer and a fanatic of sigmar (wants to become a witch hunter).  Thanks for the help.


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#2 Emirikol

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 04:34 PM

My first suggestion:

Run 2 groups of 4 to teach/learn the game.

 

Essentially 8 players is like handling a military platoon (an elite one at that).  In regards to the mechanics of running a large group you'll need the following:

 

* Basic action sheets (rather than the cards)

 

* Extra dice or players use the dice roller app (or this: https://googledrive....lers/wfrp3e/#).

 

You can beef up encounters quite easily simply by using LOTS of henchmen groups or individuals.

 

An ironbreaker already breaks the game in a group of three..in a combat-elite group of 8 like yours...well, you have my sympathies...

 

I'd break them into  2 full-time groups.

 

jh


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#3 Carcosa

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 10:58 PM

Break them with social encounters............ :P

 

Seriously though, I agree with having 2 groups of 4. WFRP is best with 4 player IMHO (we have been doing ok with 3, though my toon is the only one from the start)

 

All that combat rage and access to player made magic items.......... OUCH.

Hmmm......

Lots of ambushes, lots and lots of ambushes with groups with lots of missile fire as that line up seems a little vulnerable to missile fire. Yes, they can shoot back with the WW, Pistoleer and wizard, but chances are they would be the first targets of op for missile armed troops. There are a few squishy toons in the line up as well, which could be exploited as well. I would see what stuff they take, ambush them and whittle down their numbers slightly and if you happened to do err to far on the side of the monsters, have them start "missing" or wasting turns on "death by 1000 cuts" on the Ironbreaker. (pc's tend to get worried when Ironbreakers go down)

 

Beyond that, I think your largest problem is going to be just how time consuming combats will be in a "bucket 'o' dice" game like WFRP.



#4 k7e9

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 12:24 AM

Long post follows.

 

8 will be crowded, I have to agree with the previous posters that two 4-player groups would be better.

 

If you do decide to go with one 8-player group however, I have some tips about how you could make it work. I have played and been GM for large groups so there are a few things that are key to make it work.

 

First, you need to set some basic "conversation" rules. 8 players is almost certain to have multiple conversations if you allow it and it can deteriorate into a cacofony. Often a large group will mean that a few players will do most of the talking, deciding and so on, while a few players will not. So if you're going to have one 8-player group you need to manage it in a way so that all players feel included in the game in general, not only in combat where you go in initiative order. Social encounters can also be played out in initiative order, that gives everyone the chance to part of the social aspects of the game.

 

 

Second, you need to plan a bit more. In most RPGs (WFRP included) combat consists mainly of waiting for your turn. In a 4 player group you probably just wait for your turn 80% of combats while the other 3 players and the GM does their stuff. Still, it's a fairly short wait and you can use it to cheer your friends rolls and plan for your next turn.

 

In an 8-player game you might end up waiting above 90% of combats, and combats will also take a lot longer to complete. There might be sessions consisting of a single huge combat where you get to make a few turns and wait around for the rest of the session. I mean when your turn is over, there are so many players until your next turn that you would probably get borded and when it's finally your turn you might not be as motivated. Imagine the frustration some might feel if they get a bad dice roll when they have waited around for an hour.

 

So combat needs to be managed as effectivly as it's even possible with an 8 player group. That means that you need to prepare as much as possible for combat encounters.

 

You might also consider breaking the group up when in combat. I played in one large group where the GM split the group in half each combat. Then the GM appointed a player to be the bad guys, and they moved to another table and played out their combat while the GM handled the other. That split the time of combat in half. After the combat, the player who wa playing the bad guys got some extra experience points as a reward (next time another player got to be the bad guys). It was a fun way to handle it, but requires a bit of GM-player trust to work well and the players need to know how the rules (creature cards) work. And all the players accepted and agreed that they needed to split up for combat.

 

As an example example chaos worshippers attack the small village the players spent their night in, half of the group engage a group of enemies in the northern section of town the other half moves to the south. One of the players gets to play the bad guys in the south while his character stays behind to help protect the children who has hidden in the Temple of Sigmar should any of the attackes slip past the towns defenders. 

 

With planning you can do similar things for most combats. There's a forked path in the dungeon, half go left, half go right to cover more ground etc.

 

Hope it works out! :)



#5 Emirikol

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 10:29 AM

I've been thinking about this more.  I think if you have experience running other games with a group of 8, then I'm pretty sure you can pull something off.  The main problem that I see is that the group is little more than a military platoon.  So, if you run a Dungeons & Dragons-style game, you might not just be be bored to tears as a player.  You have some dungeon crawls and lots of combats and that will be that. A world of darkness style game would be pretty much a "social" event, bit it seems clear your group is not geared that way.

 

Regarding published adventures, I'd stay away from anything with any investigation whatsoever. I can't even imagine running Eye for an Eye with a military platoon running around the house. 

 

Considering the strength of your group, you'll need to triple all encounter numbers (as encounters in published adventures are for groups of 3 ordinary characters..not all combatants).  Triple the number of NON-henchmen creatures or add +10 to the wound threshhold of current ones to count as double.  The advantage of adding +10 to the WT is then you won't have combats going on for 15 hours (which would be bad enough in a 8 player game in D&D much less WFRP), so amybe estimate 3 hour combats with players bored off their duffs awaiting their turns.

 

The game system can handle it, but I've run for large groups for a variety of systems and 8 players really kills the immersion factor and any action loses it's fun and just drags on and on and on and on and on while people wait for their turns.  I recall watching a player suck up 5 minutes trying to find the right spell in a Dungeons & Dragons game and then a fighter swing and miss..and then the cleric..looking up the "right" spell.  UGGHHHH!  I once played in a Call of Cthulhu game for 7 people (this was routine in my days of suffering at conventions).  Holy hell that sucked in an investigation-themed game.

 

Take combats and draw them out for an hour waiting for your turn and a suck-a ss way to do investigations and that sounds like a downright terrible game.  8 people in ANY system is a bad idea.

 

Hence, I'd advise to break the group into two groups and have fun :)

 

jh

 

 

..


Edited by Emirikol, 11 May 2014 - 11:36 AM.


#6 k7e9

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 10:31 PM

Large groups are hard. So another advice is to talk it over with your players. Do they feel that it's better to split them into two groups? Or do they want to play in a big group of 8? If they (and you) want the big group you should discuss with them how it should be managed.

 

A few examples follow of useful rules to duscuss in the case that you want to go for an 8 player group. There are certainly other things to discuss with your group as well, but these are the ones that I feel are critical for everyones fun.

  • A "one player talks at a time"-rule. You as the GM could act as a chairman/moderator and the players should notify you if they want to add to the conversation.
  • A "prepare your combat turn"-rule. So you do not have to suffer through what Emirikol described with selecting the right spell for 5 minutes. If you're not ready to roll when your turn comes, you miss your turn.
  • A "fixed initiative order"-rule. Instead of allowing the players to pick their initiative it would speed up things if characters have a fixed initiative.

Tell us how it went when you've started playing, I'd love to know if you went for the big group and how it turned out. Good gaming!


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#7 kvnwrnr

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:11 PM

As a player in this group, its goin to be a 8 player game * big group of friends all wanting to run plus at the rate it takes us to all have a day off would be crazy to run two games*.

He has run big games before and he has done well. Even thou our group is built fairly military. Alot of the players are very pro Roleplay and investigation / rp. We are currently all playing in a legend of the five ring game with him as game master. Agian many military built characters but hardly any fights.

Thankfully we have learned to have our actions in our head long before our turn so that combats arnt a all night event.

I think the probly he was mainly having was we rolled over the few combats then he would beef them and roll over us.

I think the +10 wounds is a great idea to not have to revamp everything but make combats more viable.

<---- am the terrible person to play the iron breaker. <with out saga of grungi :(>


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#8 Ghost of Snori

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:12 PM

Thanks for the advice all, I'll let you know how it goes.



#9 Carcosa

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 06:31 PM

If Snorri is amenable to it, you could have the lower initiative order people roll all their actions as soon as they decide what they want to do. It requires some trust from the Ref, but assuming everyone is adult, it shouldn't be a problem.

 

Another way to get around the bucket o dice per turn is to create results charts pre game and just use them as needed. I have found that method very useful in games with a strong storytelling aspect to them such as OWoD or CoC.






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