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Too many players (RPG)

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The games I ran for my brother were 7-8 people plus various roommates walking in and out and butting in.

 

I used what other people call a mental disability. I'm autistic. I don't filter auditory data, instead I hear and process it alllllll. Unless something weird is going on, like light amounts of alcohol.

 

My brother's games always involved booze. When we sat down I'd get handed a glass of something made out of lemonade and whatever bottle was open at the time. Because these idiots could never figure out what 'taking turns' meant so when they wanted to do something outside of combat it was all just shouted at me. 8 things all shouted at me, at once, in a din that because of my condition I was forced to separate into individual words that I paid utmost attention to. So I'd just point back at whoever said their thing and responded. "No there's nobody else in the room." "Roll perception and tell me what you get." "With that knowledge(history) you realize..." "You don't find any traps." "Yes you can climb on the table." "You find a wheel of cheese." "No, it's an unmolested cheese."

 

Not exactly helpful for anyone else, I admit. It took a distinct type of brain condition to do this and after 9 hours I often ended up with a helluva headache. I don't do it as much anymore, the largest my games are now is a neurotypically-normal 5 PCs with people sober enough not to talk over everyone else.

 

Over time, life may indeed cause attrition. We always had some attrition due to "not for me" or "I got things to do" or "vague excuse" or "I don't like the system". It's CoC, try killing off some characters? That'll weed out the "I died this sux" players.

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Honestly, processing multiple conversations at a time is tough for me too, and I don't have autism (that I know of - but family suspects my grandfather does). I regularly end up telling people to talk to me one at a time, whether it be my students, co-workers, or D&D group. Pointing at people and stating "your turn" helps a lot. 

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6 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

Honestly, processing multiple conversations at a time is tough for me too, and I don't have autism (that I know of - but family suspects my grandfather does). I regularly end up telling people to talk to me one at a time, whether it be my students, co-workers, or D&D group. Pointing at people and stating "your turn" helps a lot. 

One addendum to this - having people sit around the table in initiative order can help a lot.

 

And I have twelve(?!) players in the kids game. (Right now that group has been split - which has made it easier on me, but wreaks havoc with time. I end up handing monsters to the kids that are not in the group currently in play, which has been working much better than I had any right to expect.)

 

The Auld Grump

My sweet spot is six players plus the GM - Megan's sweet spot seems to be the Five Man Band plus the GM.

 

Five or six players gives a fair amount of flexibility when the party splits, as it inevitably does at some point or another - sometimes with actual planning afore hand!

 

The Auld Grump

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2 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

One addendum to this - having people sit around the table in initiative order can help a lot.

 

 

This would... if I did initiative once for the game. I do it once per combat, so order is variable. I agree with you that 5-6 is my favorite number of players for D&D. I think this 4 person group we just started will be good though. We have a 5th who is interested, but doesn't know how his schedule is, and refuses to commit to a campaign unless he's sure he can make 90%+ of the games (very appreciated). If things look good later, he may join in. Less than 4 limits DMing ability (for D&D at least). More than 6 is unwieldy. But if everyone is a friend and having fun and can make it? I'd try to make it work before downscaling. 

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Scientific research has shown that 7 is the magic maximum number for groups. Any larger than that, and a meeting/gaming session etc WILL break down into sub groups that talk among themselves unless the group leader/GM runs a really tight ship.

 

Personally I prefer gaming groups of 4-5 players and a game master.

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17 hours ago, NebulousMissy said:

. Because these idiots could never figure out what 'taking turns' meant so when they wanted to do something outside of combat it was all just shouted at me. 8 things all shouted at me, at once, in a din that because of my condition I was forced to separate into individual words that I paid utmost attention to. So I'd just point back at whoever said their thing and responded. "No there's nobody else in the room." "Roll perception and tell me what you get." "With that knowledge(history) you realize..." "You don't find any traps." "Yes you can climb on the table." "You find a wheel of cheese." "No, it's an unmolested cheese."

 

Okay, i gotta ask:  what keyword triggers "no, it's an unmolested cheese"? ::D:

 

16 hours ago, Cyradis said:

Honestly, processing multiple conversations at a time is tough for me too, and I don't have autism (that I know of - but family suspects my grandfather does). I regularly end up telling people to talk to me one at a time, whether it be my students, co-workers, or D&D group. Pointing at people and stating "your turn" helps a lot. 

 

I have also found that people just like to hear themselves talk.  i usually treat these kind of conversations like I'm in a busy bar.  the guy who is talking to me at the moment gets primary attention and everyone else is talking to each other.  Occasionally someone will say something that catches my attention and i will change conversation partners.  It usually works and I am pretty good at monitoring 3 or 4 strings of conversations (comes in handy when i am double booked on conference calls at work)  while paying primary attention to a single thread. 

 

personally i like a group of 5+ GM  but it depends on the game.  Traveller I've done 1-12 without issue because a lot of the groups quickly break down to do their own thing and a lot of those things can be controlled by charts and rolls.

 

CoC is a smaller is better rule.  having a small army can overwhelm the lurking horror aspect.  It still doesn't affect the end result but 12 people in a haunted house spoils the effect of something creeping up behind you.

 

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3 hours ago, Kangaroorex said:

 

Okay, i gotta ask:  what keyword triggers "no, it's an unmolested cheese"? ::D:

 

 

"You find a wheel of cheese."

"Did the [local monster] get to it?"

"No, it's an unmolested cheese."

 

First the unmolested cheese was simply the only cheese in a pantry that the goblins hadn't gotten to (high shelf is high). Then it became a running joke. Then the cheese became an anticipated part of low/low-mid level treasure. 

 

I had 3rd level adventurers trying to sell a 3 foot wheel of good Parmesan. Eventually they gave up and ate it. This happened in multiple adventures, it may still be happening even tho I haven't been their GM for 2 years.

 

Most memorable treasure ::D:

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My Monday night D&D game at the FLGS has a variable number of people depending on who shows up. For the longest time, it was just 3 regulars & there were nights where it went all the way up to the max of 7 people to back down to the min of 3. Currently we are at 5 but I did have someone show up last week & wants to get in on the games, so appears I'll be at 6. She might bring her husband, so that would max us out at 7. My sweet spot is 4 or 5 players. I've noticed with the bigger groups, the players tend to go off track with chatter (last Monday it was shelter cats........) but I can get them back in game with a few GM sentences. It's all part of the whole gaming night.

 

The store owner has wanted to up the gaming (MtG, rpgs, board, etc) in the store so he is hoping to even get a 2nd table going on Mondays. I won't double up on GMing both thou. I guess we'll see later this year how that's handled.

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1 hour ago, NebulousMissy said:

 

"You find a wheel of cheese."

"Did the [local monster] get to it?"

"No, it's an unmolested cheese."

 

First the unmolested cheese was simply the only cheese in a pantry that the goblins hadn't gotten to (high shelf is high). Then it became a running joke. Then the cheese became an anticipated part of low/low-mid level treasure. 

 

I had 3rd level adventurers trying to sell a 3 foot wheel of good Parmesan. Eventually they gave up and ate it. This happened in multiple adventures, it may still be happening even tho I haven't been their GM for 2 years.

 

Most memorable treasure ::D:

Hey, based on how much I pay for Parmesan, that could be some dang valuable treasure!

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23 hours ago, NebulousMissy said:

 

"You find a wheel of cheese."

"Did the [local monster] get to it?"

"No, it's an unmolested cheese."

 

First the unmolested cheese was simply the only cheese in a pantry that the goblins hadn't gotten to (high shelf is high). Then it became a running joke. Then the cheese became an anticipated part of low/low-mid level treasure. 

 

I had 3rd level adventurers trying to sell a 3 foot wheel of good Parmesan. Eventually they gave up and ate it. This happened in multiple adventures, it may still be happening even tho I haven't been their GM for 2 years.

 

Most memorable treasure ::D:

Back when I was running Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (1st edition) it became a given that one of the players would always try to give away the most valuable treasure found.... (A barrel of Brettonian brandy? I Give it to the ogre mercenary as a bonus....)

 

The Auld Grump - My players have also come to realize that the trapped chest is sometimes more valuable than the stuff inside of it.... ::P:

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On 1/11/2019 at 8:00 PM, Cyradis said:

 

This would... if I did initiative once for the game. I do it once per combat, so order is variable. I agree with you that 5-6 is my favorite number of players for D&D. I think this 4 person group we just started will be good though. We have a 5th who is interested, but doesn't know how his schedule is, and refuses to commit to a campaign unless he's sure he can make 90%+ of the games (very appreciated). If things look good later, he may join in. Less than 4 limits DMing ability (for D&D at least). More than 6 is unwieldy. But if everyone is a friend and having fun and can make it? I'd try to make it work before downscaling. 

For the kids game, I have people move around each combat. ::P:(Tempted to take away a chair after each initiative, then play musical chairs....)

 

The Auld Grump

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I have a player that likes to sit in certain spot for the game, so the whole sit in initiative doesn't work for my group. Thou I do ask for initiative whoever is sitting on my left, no matter the rolls. I use a Paizo Combat Pad for mine. It works pretty well. The wet-erase & magnets are very handy.

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Around our gaming table is a sofa, an okay chair, and what is dubbed the “got here last” chair. Which is actually a bar stool from the kitchen that doesn’t go down quite far enough to get your knees under the table- so I don’t think the sit in initiative order would work for us either, unfortunately. I do need a quicker way to write down everyone’s initiatives though, I’ve been looking at those magnetic strips I’ve seen people use to save me writing I can just put them down in order... but as my old campaign is on “long term hiatus” after 2 of my players both unexpectedly became fathers(!) and I’m currently selecting what pre-made campaign I want to run next such things aren’t necessarily my priority.

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My last 2 DMs have slips of paper with basic character info (AC, passive perception, movement/reach) that fold over the DM screen, as well as several generic monster ones (monster 1, 2, 3, etc). When initiative is done the sheets all get rearranged.

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Five or six is best, especially when the group has a tendency to split up.

 

It makes the flex characters like rogues, bards, and rangers more useful, you need a sneaky group you can split off two or three sneaky types, you need combat types to make a distraction and you can split of the high hit point types.

 

Which gives the party flexibility, which gives the DM flexibility! Which means you can come up with something that sounds like fun to run, and let the PLAYERS be the ones that decide how to tackle things.

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