Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We Play Stars Without Number- Part 2

I ran a game for eight players tonight. That is roughly double the size I originally envisioned. It took me awhile to get everything sorted out. I think I'll do better next time in terms of orderliness.

Usually when I start a campaign, I over-invite because of attrition and scheduling problems. This time, attrition did not happen...

I ditched my plan for the evening had had Director Dutta conscript the PCs into surveying for ice asteroids. The ice asteroid they found ended up being the Cold Tombs.

If you're not familiar with the Hard Light module, I'll break it down: the PCs ended up exploring a frozen, flooded tomb full of traps, malfunctioning equipment, and hostile drones left over from a hostile alien race.

We had one combat and the PCs handled it very well, though one of them was badly wounded and nearly had a catastrophic suit breach.

This group is going to take some getting used to. It bothers me that I don't know all the PCs names yet.

Next week we are unable to play, as I have to travel again. The week after that we shall resume.

...damn, how do you big group running people deal with this?

4 comments:

  1. Haven't tried SWN (or any other space game) with a large group, but I did with both BX and my BX cyberpunk game (9+ players at times). Here's the best advice I've got:

    1) know the system intimately
    2) it helps if the system is simple (e.g. No skills or major character customization)
    3) THEN you can be active in the Chargen process (knowing your PCs well) and
    4) couple that to a free-wheeling style where you rotate from player to player keeping folks actively engaged (practice juggling), and
    5) finally, you've got to be aggressive in your demand for active participation. If players aren't being proactive making choices, you can't sit around hand-holding (too many PCs). Allow leaders to emerge and direct the action; allow players to do their own delegation (or step-up in the volunteering for action).

    Oh, yeah: and you have to keep the brutality/danger ratcheted up so PCs get killed ((especially those not on the ball); gives you fewer PCs to interact with while the others are making new characters.
    ; )

    Oh, yeah

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    1. Hmm...that 2nd 'oh, yeah' is a typo, btw.

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  2. Raggi posted on forums.rpg.net, you could try the same thing.
    http://lotfp.blogspot.com/2008/08/handling-large-groups-of-players.html
    (See also the thread itself.)

    Also from other posts, I don't know how good the advice is myself!

    ---------------------
    Some things I've learned...

    1. Get some Assistants. People who know the system well that can answer questions easy enough.

    2. For D&D especially, ask people to bring thier books. I might also recommend that you don't allow levelling to kick in until next episode, as it can take some time for that, or make them NPC level forgettables until they're done.

    3. Only roll initiative once, and maybe give monsters an init before you see them.

    4. Keep control! Don't let people wander around in real life, etc. To do this, keep em interested. Divide them into groups or "wings". Have a captain (highest CHA rating?) for each group, who's in charge of basically letting you know what people are doing out of combat.

    5. Make them roll all their attacks, damages, etc. all at the same time, before you ask. Thirty seconds of this will save minutes later.

    ---------------------

    I've ran games for groups that large a few times. The trick is to keep plots and character concepts absurdly simple, and keep the focus moving from player to player if the group gets split. I'd recommend using much less complex NPCs than usual, in fact basic fantasy sterotypes like the gruff dwarf, arrogant elf, and so on are fine. With 12 pcs competing for screen time, and persuing their own in character agendas, fully realized NPCs just slow things down.
    If the group gets split, give each character 1 action worth of description and decision making before moving onto the next character. End scenes on cliff hangers, so that the player who just took their turn is waiting anxiously to find out what the Orc he's fighting does next. Don't keep anyone waiting for too long, because it leads to boredom and hurt feelings.
    Finally, be reactive. Describe the scene, and let the PCs drive the game. I wouldn't even bother with any more than the bare bones of a plot; the actions of your huge group are going to provide more than enough story.
    Good luck.

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  3. Ogranization is key. Also having a co-gm or even a spin off table of the same game to absorb the extra players.

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