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Hi folks, relatively new to the system and the forums here, but have had plenty of experience GMing in other systems like PF, D&D, GURPS, etc. and I wanted to ask if the way this system functions, the growth curve of PCs and relatively low number of skills, has had an effect on what size of a group you other GMs feel comfortable playing with? I've run games with as many as six or seven PCs before in systems like GURPS which have a similar character growth curve (incremental, point-based growth relatively free from class restrictions) and have felt that at times it feels like it's hard for all the players to find a niche within a group as lines tend to blur.

 

So, what do you fellow GMs feel is a comfortable group size for this system (F&D, EotE, and AoR campaigns)?

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I've had a very rewarding single-player (plus GM) experience with this system, as well as a great three player game (campaign lasted for over a year), and even as many as six (possibly seven for a session or two when we had a friend in town who wanted in while they were back, don't remember for certain) for long term play.

It's a very flexible system.

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I like 3-4 players best, but I've played  session with only 2 and a few sessions with 5 and both went OK. I don't recommend really big groups (6-8 PCs plus henchmen and retainers) like old school D&D used to do because, while the rules can handle it (using narrative 'cheats'), it can nonetheless really increase the time between each players turn and reduces the amount of focus on each of them (and their engagement drops with that).

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3-5 players seems to bee the sweet spot, mostly for just people management reasons. 

But between the system and GM prep work you don't need any specific number of players. Characters tend to be more capable, difficulties lower, and the story and encounter design more flexible to accommodate the Movie Simulator design of the game and adventures. So you don't NEED a party of a certain size with specific roles played by specific classes in order to survive like you see in other games. Especially ones like D&D and PF that essentially evolved from wargames where roles were rigidly defined and restrictive to encourage party diversity in the same way wargame units are rigidly defined so you can't just have an army of archers and expect to win.

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I prefer 4-6 players. I've run one 6-week session with 10 people and that got confusing and slowed the game quite a bit.  It's more of keeping everyone interested and active than anything else.  When you get that many people, they tend to split parties a lot more which then means you have to work to jump back and forth between groups.

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Thanks for the advice guys. I think I'll try to stick in the 3-5 range, I guess, and add more as I feel comfortable with fiddling with minion groups and whatnot as things progress. Want things to be challenging, not murderous, ya know? Unless, well, they're doing something insanely stupid...

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4 hours ago, Smeeg699 said:

Thanks for the advice guys. I think I'll try to stick in the 3-5 range, I guess, and add more as I feel comfortable with fiddling with minion groups and whatnot as things progress. Want things to be challenging, not murderous, ya know? Unless, well, they're doing something insanely stupid...

This game is designed to be very easy on PCs. Combat is about as threatening as a pillow fight and the good guys almost always come out ahead. The trick is for the GM to maintain the illusion that this isn't the case.

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For me, 1-3. I've run a lot of solo sessions and arcs over the years and love them with a good player. The ideal group for me, however, is 2-3 is ideal because I prefer to focus more on intrigue, role-play, and character arcs. That's not to say we don't have Burly Brawls and Action! But, its less than a lot of other games. I've run successful games for bigger groups, but find I don't care for those as much.

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My group has about 6 players and my experience varies. We have had sessions where we have run a party spilt lasting entire adventures and sessions we have all been together. I find two observations fascinating.

When spilt, the half of the table that isn't involved can take a break from things as while as fascinating as the events happening elsewhere might be, they aren't involved in it and frequently wouldn't loose out on unwinding a little. This is both beneficial and detrimental as it effectively became two separate tables joined at one at points. While we were trying to reduce the amount of time we did that; the entire latter part of the Ghosts of Dathomire adventure was conducted only between 3 people, the other three had failed an astronavigation check with 2 T's and a Despair and were engaged on another adventure across  the galaxy, trying to leave this closed system. This system works pretty well with this as there is plenty of resources at hand, and the more narrative aspects of the setting means that strictly speaking not everything needs to be stated out; it's easy to pitch a difficulty and be very responsive with new developments which is good for telling each other different stories. 

The flipside of this is that if there are players who like to game or be active all the time, this can be frustrating, especially if further splits occurs along the way; at one point the Ghost party was spilt into three different ways due to circumstance and character motivation, and you better be OK with roleplaying with a limited group of people around the table as my last experience of a long term spilt was nearly unbearable, leading me to strongly hate a character and the entire adventure we were on. The group we had spilt into just didn't work.

 

Sessions together depends. One observation from my end is it becomes difficult for the GM to plot complex encounters, largely due to the wide range of character capabilities we exhibit. Furthermore, six people is difficult to focus individual development around, I've found it to be a interesting experience in this adventure alone, we have had about 6 different splits away from the main group who is on a very important mission. Four of those times have been singletons or doublets who have been chasing personal agendas or self driven development, most of the time without conferring with the party on any great basis about why they were doing this. They just did and they frequently failed because they didn't have the skill set to accomplish what they were meant to be doing, or invited an odd choice along; in trying to be the wolverine all they got was scratched and frustrated for making uncharacteristically .

I suspect that largely this is due to the nature of a large group; it just simply isn't possible to satisfy all the players desire for character development in a large group all the time. This particular threat was a Sith Lord so naturally the two force sensitive's of the group were focal main characters in this particular venture and they were very driven in doing so; we had already lost a month chasing down a dead end and thus no more time to waste on distractions, otherwise the galaxy was going to end. I think that's a tough pill to swallow to accept that not every character is going to be a main character all the time. Personally I'm fine playing the second fiddle, the supporting role in an event despite my XP level being double of some as I occupy a particular role in the party with a long story about self acceptance, that of others and accepting responsibility for my current students and the sins I have committed in the past. I feel that a large party needs to keep that fact in mind; sometimes they won't be able at the forfront of every plot line and that is ok, as long as everyone understands that they will get their turn around the table. 

The other issue I find is that larger groups are just generally more difficult to plan for; they can have widely varying abilities.


We also did short skype sessions with fewer players; a two player campaign involving a 800 and 1500xp character went really well, was strong narratively and even featured a boss at the end of this horroresk adventure that had no child breaks on it, a very spooky adventure into an abandoned fortress in wild space. Personally I feel the 2-4 player counts is where it shines best and the stronger identity the group has of what they want to be (are they Jedi? Heist Masters? part of the alliance military? Imperials?) the stronger the campaign would be. Leave those DnD tropes at the door, not every game needs to be focused around combat encounters. I personally wouldn't run a game for 5-6 players if I had the choice; at least not initially.

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I'd go so far to say that 4 players is about the sweet spot, with three being about the minimum to have a group broad enough to account for most types of challenges in an adventure/campaign, and five being the cap before you start having characters with too much overlap (some overlap is good, but you don't want two people playing what amounts to the same general character theme/build).  Six feels like things start getting cumbersome, but that might just be my own preferences as a GM.

I could see two players/characters as feasible, as long as that duo are largely different from each other in terms of overall theme and especially in build, though there's still going to be some areas of focus that neither character is going to be especially good at.  Although, like Ghostofman said, this isn't D&D or Pathfinder, so there's not really any "roles" (tank, DSP, face, blaster, healer, controller, etc) that must be filed in order for the party to have a chance of success.  Though if only two players, it might not hurt to include an NPC in the form of a droid to help support some of the areas the two PCs aren't strong in, preferably in support roles such as fixing things, piloting the ship (assuming that starship combat isn't meant to be a big focus of the campaign), or even just healing and treating critical injuries.

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On 1/17/2019 at 11:30 AM, awayputurwpn said:

With the dynamic initiative system it's easy to run large groups (I've run 9 players a few times with very few headaches), but I would suggest a solid group of 3-5 players is optimal.

I'd expand the optimal range slightly to 3-6, but I can see a case for cutting it at 3-5 (that has more to do with the size of the table you live play game at and coordinating people's schedules than the any limitation of system itself though).

The first ffg star wars campaign I ran had 7 players, although getting everyone to show up at the same session was tough, we had an at least n minus one rule for scheduling and then one or more people would cancel at the last minute.  2 players dropped out (1 got married, the other I'll take the blame for), scheduling for the out of town player to drive in became difficult so I got a high end USB webcam to Google chatroom him in.  I mounted the webcam on the end of an extra thick bent metal hanger sticking out from a shelf so it had a somewhat close to downward view of my coffee table, and I put different colored squares of construction paper under the base of PC wotc minis to help him distinguish who was where (I used minis and maps).   Point is the problems I've encountered for large groups are more related to real life logistics than the system.

Edited by EliasWindrider

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On 2/5/2019 at 11:15 PM, Donovan Morningfire said:

Five being the cap before you start having characters with too much overlap (some overlap is good, but you don't want two people playing what amounts to the same general character theme/build).  Six feels like things start getting cumbersome, but that might just be my own preferences as a GM.

 

I didn't find much overlap when the group started but the "face" player got bored so switched to a melee. We now have two melee fighters and this is a good overlap as they make it their own.

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The great thing about this game is that it isn't super specialized by design. You can hyper specialize but it isn't really necessary, in fact I'd argue it's less fun if you do. It's not hard or expensive in EXP to become somewhat proficient in combat and there is a lot of opportunity to do stuff with other non-combat Skills and Talents. Also it's not uncommon or undesirable for the party to split during the investigation portions of adventures so being able to do several things well really pays off. As a GM I encourage my players to have focus but not to sacrifice other abilities.

On 2/11/2019 at 5:12 AM, MrTInce said:

I didn't find much overlap when the group started but the "face" player got bored so switched to a melee. We now have two melee fighters and this is a good overlap as they make it their own.

A similar thing happened in my group but not because she was bored but because being part of a group that encounters both the Empire and the Galactic underworld it helps if you can do a little damage. That said she isn't switching to a combat role just upping her game a bit.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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3 minimum. 4 ideal. 5 still good. 6 max. 

 

What i experience is that once a game starts a lot of people want to join. To many d&d 5th. Not enough edge of the empire games. I’ll probably end up going up to six easily. 

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