Ah, think fast?
I am currently running a 3.5 game with an average of 7 players fluctuating between 4 and 10. There are two DMs which helps with the load of information coming back and forth.
What tricks are there for running a game with this many players?
Ah, think fast?
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For starters, don't have 10 characters fight a single foe. The foe will either be tough enough to erase a PC in a round, or will die waiting for his turn to come up. Multiple foes, split the party, etc. would be good.
Think about splitting the game in two, with the two DMs running disparate parts of it. 10 people at the same time is tedious, and in my experience, people get bored waiting for their turn, so they get cranky.
Obviously your mileage may vary, but I'd suggest that when there are 8-10 players; have lots of interactive roleplay, complex non-combat traps and hazards, and few to zero combat encounters. When there are 4-5 players; have nothing but combat encounters. Mix it up when there are 6-7 players.
I get overwhelmed at 8. I can do eight but six is my preference.
Large groups? Robert's Rules come in very handy. Enforce order, make sure to see that everyone gets their time in. You not only have to be DM you have to be Chairman as well.
For a group that big you do need to ride the players a bit. Make sure that all decisions are final (at the time and can be looked up later) and that play runs smoothly. Ensure that everyone has a say (since some folks don't speak up in groups) and that you have scaled your encounters to that number of PC's.
I'd like a group from 5-8 but larger would work for big adventures. It's almost a mercenary company at that size so...
As i go around ther room asking for detail on players actions, everyone knows they better have an aswer or i move them to the bottom of the initiative list for that round. With this in mind, players behave like chess players in that they already have moves decided based off of what happens before their turn.
I dont mind large groups but i do find that i attack...approach DM'ing in a different way. If done right, it's alot of fun.
I'm just about to start a new game and I thought I would have a hard time attracting players and in the end I ended up with 9 or 10 players. Usually my limit is 6-7 but there are players I don't want to turn away because they are good friends and good players so we are going to give it the old college try.
Back in the mid to late 80s we used to play at a FLGS and the owner ran some huge games. 14-18 players were the norm, this would usually be a Saturday-Sunday game, and we would start at 6pm when the store closed and go till late Sunday morning. He was a master at keeping everyone involved in the game. No one was bored; people were always interacting with something in the game and each other.
A couple of things I learned from him was when you have larger groups like that have 1 person appointed as party leader or spokesman. The party can work together to make a decision but only the party leader “speaks” to the DM. When the leader tells the DM what the party is doing that’s it. Another thing I learned and one person kind of mentioned it above is, keep the combats large and with many smaller targets. If you have 10 people at your table, they aren’t really a CR1 group obviously. You’re looking at more like a CR3-4 with 10 people. But if you want to throw a tough single monster at them, maybe +2 CR then you could put a CR6 creature out against them at 1st level. Well, that’s a sure fire way to get most if not all the party killed off. But if you put x2 sized CR2-3 group against them it makes all the difference. So instead of 4-5 Orcs through 8-9 Orcs at them or something along those lines.
The other problem with 10 players at the table is OOC talking taking up far to much of your time. As others have said you need to be a bit tougher on the players and keep them in line, try to keep them in character as much as you can. The way I like to do this is have characters interacting with other characters, along with NPCs. That way you can keep more of the players actually doing something even if your not in combat.
One thing I don’t like to do is split the party. (Yes, this would be ok if you had 2 DMs) but with 1 DM and 10 players it’s like having 2 parties and playing a strange version of a “hot-seat” game. One group will be engaged with the DM and the other will be sitting there, and they usually don’t sit there quietly…
In the end I think it depends on the quality of the DM, and the participation level of the players. Also having veteran players in the group to keep things moving will be fairly important.
Last edited by Jcosby; 08-06-2008 at 03:33 PM. Reason: Not done...
2 GMs makes it easy, split them up. Two seperate rooms if they figure out a way to communicate then someone who already went can run. The 2 groups can interchange, join or whatever at any time. I assume you know who is coming and who isn't in advance. If not, you should impress upon your players that you need that information.
I know I would be ultra pissed if I was one of 10 people trying to figure out a trap or puzzle though. That stuff gets horribly irritating often when there are only 4 people. Throw in 6 more it just compounds.
i've never ran a game for a big group. my only gaming group included 3 people. but i think that i would go about it the same way.