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Noahjam325

Running Large Parties

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So I have a Shadow of the Beanstalk campaign I'm going to be running in the next month or so, and the interest has grown exponentially among both my personal gaming group and FLGS. I can only bear saying no to so many people.

 

With this in mind I've been trying to brainstorm some house rules to more easily facilitate a large group. The main issues I've identified so far mainly center around the time to resolve checks and rolling initiative.

 

My current strategy for managing check resolution is for the game to involve more actual roleplaying and less dice rolling. And trying to save die rolls as a last resort. 

 

Initiative I'm having a bit more trouble streamlining. There's the tried and true method of just going in a circle clockwise around the table, but that method always shoehorns all the enemies going at once.

 

I saw one suggestion on the Facebook group that I like that involved the PC and NPC slots just going one after the other;  e.g. PC > NPC > PC > NPC etc. With the ability for a player to flip a story point to "jump ahead" in the initiative order.

 

I've also be mulling over an idea that involves a die roll, most likely a d10. One roll per initiative slot in the encounter. Each character gets to add either their ranks of cool or vigilance (as dependant on the situation) as a +1 to the die roll. Higher numbers generating higher initiative slots. Talents involving initative would just add more bonuses.

 

But I'm mainly looking for feedback on these ideas and what other players have done for large Genesys groups. What problems have you run into and how did you solve them?  Or were you never able to solve them?

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I haven't run large genesys groups, but have run an open D&D campaign, with my largest session have 14 players.  How well it works depends primarily on your group, not just on how you handle it.  I ended up having them grouped in 2-3 groups (selected by themselves), and while they were all in the same mission, each group was almost a separate party, sometimes merging, sometimes breaking off.  As GM, I ran each party for a certain time, generally based on real time, but if combat occured, run 1-2 rounds for each group, then switch groups.  Each group has to entertain themselves while you deal with the other groups.  And that is the trouble, because nobody gets a lot of play time in, but spends a lot of time watching everyone else.  My D&D game really had a core of 6-8 regular players, and a host of drop ins, and that worked well.  If they weren't committed, they wouldn't return. 

I did make a critical mistake in a subsequent Mechwarrior game.  It had about 10 people who all wanted to be consistent, and that system cannot handle large groups well.  I asked for volunteers to drop the game, because I didn't want to upset any of my friends, and no one left.  So I warned everyone that the next session was going to be extra lethal, and I would actively try to kill half the party at random, and the half that died had to leave the game.  Unfortunately, the dice killed the wrong half, and the game collapsed within 2 weeks because the remaining players started bailing for a variety of reasons.  The lesson there is if you need to thin your group, ask for volunteers (so anyone who was thinking of dropping goes first), then pick who you think the game will work best with.  Don't leave it to chance, even if they are your friends.

Oh, and don't forget to check with your players privately whether they enjoy all the other players presence.   I had one player that finally dropped because of scheduling reasons, and after he left, 2 female players said they were glad he left because he "creeped them out".  I didn't notice anything at the time, but now try to impress on my players that if they have a personal problem with the group, tell me so I can deal with it.  

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Posted (edited)

As Anomalous said-- if you pre-roll initiative you can speed things up. You can also recruit a "Battle Master" (an intelligent and reliable player) who helps you do things like track initiative or even NPC health. 

If you have more than 6 players I highly recommend you run a game for perspective GMs to learn how to play/GM. You should Teach the Teacher--then you can lots of groups. For groups larger than 6 I highly recommend getting ready to split and make two groups. See if your LFGS will let you teach a "Learn to GM Genesys" night. Teaching people how to GM really helps the game grow.

Edited by shamp
spelling.

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