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Amehdaus

Seeking Tips for Large Group

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(If you don't want to read everything, the short version of my question is, "Are there any tips/tricks you can provide to make a group of 8-10 players to run more smoothly.")

My current campaign has exploded and is now running at 8-10 players. Unfortunately schedules don't allow for the group to properly split into multiple sessions and I've been struggling to keep momentum during the sessions we hold.

Tricks I've used include: operating the group as two sub-groups, each with their own Party card and different goals for a single adventure that (ideally) converge for the finale scene; ensuring the charismatic/impulsive players have the clearest understanding of the situation to help keep track of their team's maneuvers; and ensuring player seating encourages interaction for both teaching and roleplaying.

The greatest issues I face are when any sort of combat breaks out that leads towards players spending time on individual actions.  I find my players will be discussing amongst themselves to clarify rules and to roleplay (a good thing), but then not failing to have grasp of situation when their turn arises and losing more time trying to strategize their own actions.  Worst is when any sort of "minor" fight breaks out in a situation where all of the characters are present.

Because of the amount of time required by certain players' agendas and playstyles, I feel that others are being left out.  Looking back on the sessions, some players spend too much time in the background (only problematic because when it is the players that slighted on time -- these aren't the wallflower players concerning me).

As a first step, I plan to make more queue cards with goal reminders for individual players and for teams to give a concrete reminder of what needs to get done.  The greatest challenge is allowing players to be proactive, inciting action in a situation when they want to be polite and let others take the spotlight.  I would like to reward players at the end of the night for taking the initiative in certain scenes, but don't want to penalize players in a group this large that were not granted an opportunity to shine. Initially, I had a player-voted MVP of the session gaining +1 XP, but that led to too much drama instead of the 'review of how awesome everyone was' that I was hoping.

 

Are there any other tips that experienced GMs or natural tacticians can provide that might help run sessions more smoothly?

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I am just beginning my WFRP campaign and discovered that I have 9 people wanting to play...so I feel your pain. I'll be happy to share any tips I discover along the way, but I was also hoping someone else would chime in with some advice as well.

I'm mainly concerned about properly scaling combat encounters for such a large group. I'm afraid they are going to just plow through everything.

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My gut reaction is 'more than 6 players is too many', but if you really wanna persist, the suggestion above is probably the best - have a second GM (and encourage them to split into two groups'  :)

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Hehe, i am preparing to start a campaign, first time playing WFRP , and i am scared...but , i had the opportunity of been the Gm in a World of Darkness campaign, sometimes having as much as 12 players! So my first advice is, make them do something! No matter what, make them lose their spare time doing something, i usually put them to plan something , or to roleplay a bit, meanwhile i am with the other group turn.

 

The 2 group strategy is good, try to make them stand in their ways, giving them different missions, but equally important. Also, it is always good to have 2 or 3 players, that you designate to help you, of course , in secret, so they can kind of "promote" roleplay, or at least try to be an anchor in the midst of chaos, since most of them will need to be supervised regularely, and you can be eveywere. Also , with many players, you need to designate a lot. 1 for tracking initiatives, other for doing something else, 1 in charge of supervise that everyone at least is trying to roleplay, other to keep track of the damage. in one Dark heresy campaign, i have the blessing to have many people too, and i found that many had different abilities in real life. One was good for drawing, so i designate him to try to do the character portraits, other was good in maps, so he helped me with doing the scenary, other was good in acting, so i ask him to promote acting, and to do it with his character, in short use their real life talents( is always good to have some "rule monkey" there also, since he can help in searching the rules, meanwhile you describe things).

Another thing you should remember, since they are more now, their enemies should be more prepared, not necesary a horde, or way more powerful, but more cunning, and be ready to put them against themselves, for me that is good in a big group, they will always tend toward grouping by affinity so, you can exploit that, an powerfull enemy can try to seed discord, especially the Dark Powers.

Try to show that you are a kind and nice GM, but if neccesary, you can be the law too. It can be a mess sometimes, with everyone speaking and asking things , and sometimes discussing, but you need to show that , you cant give too much time to everyone, so you need to keep the game going, if some problem arise, solve it quickly, and if needed designate somebody to help, and keep moving meanwhile. Dont show that you panick or that you are over your head, they will fill that , and some can try to take advantage of it.

The only problem that i find in big groups are 2, the time given to each one (it is difficult to do, but you need to sense them, better to play with them in the same place, but it they arent, try to big short but continuos time to each) and the inmersion. This last one is tricky, since it is possible to have all inmersed in the game, but it is difficult to have them roleplaying all the time instead of chatting out of character, so try to use other good roleplayers in your group so they can promote it, also, if you do or ask someone something in character and he/she is not paying interest, you can always make them regret their careless attitudes, meanwhile rewarding their good roleplay and good ideas.

It can be done, with big groups, you just need to be good at multitasking :)

Hope it helps, i know i am forgeting something, but it is pretty large as it is now . Any advice for using all the rules in WFRP 3rd? I know them , but never used it still

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imo its all in the tone of the campane. if i had more than 6 players i would set a campain that needs many player to acomplish and needs teamwork or it will fail. some ideas...

they can be a merc. company hired bye a noble family or the military.

a quest to the chaos north to figer out what going on up there.

exporers going to a new contenet like lustrea or such.

my main point is you cant do run of the mill campains with a large grp. a big grp means big campain.

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I don't think I would like to try (or would be any good at running) a group this large.

 

But I've had a thought: perhaps the 3rd ed dice set can come to your rescue, the abstraction they provide allowing you to compress actions and time.

Here's an example off the top of my head: A fight breaks out in a large manor, and you've got 10 players spread around a couple of rooms.   Roll initiative as normal, then instead of going through each player doing one action at a time, ask them what they'll do for the duration of the combat and make one roll.

eg. "I react to the sudden commotion by rushing over to barricade the door, but as there are so many of them, I probably will get pushed back unless someone comes over to help out.   If there aren't enough of us, then I'll retreat with anyone else in the same room to the internal door and try to make a stand there until they're driven off or we're dead."

Don't roll the dice, but get each player in turn to describe what they'll do.

Then, when everyone has said how they will approach the scene (and all of the players should be paying attention the whole way through as a) everything can affect them and b) this is how the scene plays out before their eyes - if they don't listen, they'll miss it...

Then - when all your players have a rough idea how things should progress if all goes according to play, you can then take it in turns to roll the dice.

 

You'll have to be pretty confident and flexible, and probably willing to accept narrative help from your players, and you'll probably want to make a single roll for the actions of all of the bad guys put together and then apply the results to each player depending on how successful they were with their roles.

The end result is that as each player rolls, you describe the course of the events of that battle.   And you can do this because you know what all of the players are planning to do when it comes to their turn.   To take our example (let's say the player rolls well): "the door crashes open but you manage to grab it and slam it straight back into the face of the first beastman, breaking his nose.   His two comrades trip over his collapsing form as they push their way inside and you're able to slice open the stomach of another.   The 3rd knocks you back but isn't able to press his advantage, and after some pushing, shoving and inconclusive swinging, he realises that his allies have been killed or driven off, and makes a run for it too.   You are too exhausted to follow far."

The aim should be to finish every encounter in which you expect everyone to roll dice (like a battle) with a single roll for each player.   This should allow you to a) keep the pace of the game going, and keep the game focused on the story rather than the dice rolling, and b) keep the attention of all of the players during these dice rolling sessions due the amount of action and story development that will result from every single roll.

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