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AzazelSephiroth
2009-06-03, 03:43 PM
So I am starting a new campaign and all of my current friends want to join. I want all of them to play. However there will be 7-8 people at that point. I think I can handle this large a group but I would love to hear suggestions and ideas from fellow GMs or even Players on what you think of large parties and gaming.
Should I limit the number to less?
Does it take too long?
Too Loud?
No limits?
3.5 Dungeons and Dragons, Forgotten Realms is the setting.

Cicciograna
2009-06-03, 03:45 PM
I play with a group of 4. We are way too much. :smallsmile:
But don't consider my experience: my friends can be really, really time losers, at the point that in one evening we finish just a simple fight.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-06-03, 03:50 PM
Start 2 groups. 5 players I'd view as the max for ease of play reasons.

Dogmantra
2009-06-03, 03:50 PM
A few popular solutions:
In combat, they should be thinking of what to do while the others are taking turns. Give them 10-30 secs extra thinking time on their turn/time to tell you what they're doing
Get a Co-DM to keep track of monsters and stuff in combat.
Use index cards for initiative (stack them in initiative order)
You should have copies of character sheets, so roll initiative for the first combat, and passive checks before hand. Same with monsters. Roll initiative for them before the session.

Doc Roc
2009-06-03, 03:55 PM
Index cards for init: hell yes.
No shopping without a shopping list.
All cities need to be really interesting.
Make them read each others backgrounds.
If they don't, kick them out of the campaign.

It's very painful to have a group of ten people trying to meet in a tavern when they should already know each other.

Gorbash
2009-06-03, 04:10 PM
I DM for a group of 6 players and here's some pointers:

Initiative cards - but just for initiative, writing the stat block won't help, since you'd have to search through cards to get their stat block when players are attacking them etc. Paizo's combat pad (http://paizo.com/gameMastery/accessories/v5748btpy7uvm) has been a great help to me, too.[/url]

The only dice rolls that count are the ones you are observing. So, everyone rolls one at a time, that way you'll avoid dice fudging.

Keep a paper around with key stats of every PC. Asking them what's their AC all the time slows down play.

Try to get them to think about their turn while others are playing. It speeds the game a lot.


If they don't, kick them out of the campaign.

I seriously suggest against this. If you're playing with friends (and why wouldn't you?), nothing good will come out of this. You're not their boss to fire them if they miss-behave, you're there to have fun, as much as they are.

Doc Roc
2009-06-03, 04:18 PM
I normally wouldn't advise it, because it is extreme.... But I'm running a campaign that had a month and a half prep-time, and two of the players didn't read anyone else's backstory, and in fact didn't really have their own backstories. I don't ask for much, just a couple of paragraphs. If you can't put that little bit of effort in, then I'm not sure I want to put in the effort of drawing maps, rolling NPCs, building worlds, and laying out enticing quest hooks. I'm sorry if I sound bitter, I guess I am.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-06-03, 04:21 PM
Try it out, and keep reminding everyone to stay focused. Picking a game with smooth and simple combat is important and useful, although games with medium-sticky combat can work if everyone makes a big effort to learn it thoroughly and early. If you can't keep on focus and run adventures smoothly, split the group. 8-9 people makes two groups, easy.

darkblust
2009-06-03, 04:25 PM
I also play in a group of 6,and it takes forever to play.First of all,it takes 30 minutes or so for everybody to settle down and get ready to play,and thats after we sit down.every combat takes at least 1 hour,even the small ones.Thus,we only get to play 2 or 3 encounters evry time we play.Most of our players are quite new to playing,so that might be it,although they have been playing for atleast 1 year.Luckily they all play melee oriented classses,but if they played characters with magic it would take much longer.Our dm tried rolling initiative beforehand a couple times,but all that did was confuse them even more:smallfrown: if your friends have experience in playing,and they are somwhat serious rp,then it wont be too bad....but otherwise,u should either run 2 campaigns or decide which ones u secretly hate:smallwink:

Ellye
2009-06-03, 04:26 PM
Combat with 8+ players can easily become really, really tedious and confusing. It's probably better to split the group.

AzazelSephiroth
2009-06-03, 04:40 PM
The only dice rolls that count are the ones you are observing. So, everyone rolls one at a time, that way you'll avoid dice fudging.
I will try this one but I am a little worried about the time. Perhaps combined with planning of there actions ahead of time.

Quote:
If they don't, kick them out of the campaign.


I seriously suggest against this. If you're playing with friends (and why wouldn't you?), nothing good will come out of this. You're not their boss to fire them if they miss-behave, you're there to have fun, as much as they are.
Today 02:55 PM
I agree. I think it would just cause problems to try and kick any of them out. Also I am not so worried about them not following direction but more about them just being a bit too loud/excited.. if that makes sense.

I like these ideas. I was also wondering about making alignment restrictions to good or perhaps making them know eachother before hand.
Thanks to everyone so far. You guys have been a big help.

Rhiannon87
2009-06-03, 04:41 PM
I'm in a group where, on the rare occasions that everyone shows up, we have 8 players plus a DM. It's rough sometimes keeping track of everyone, but we've made it work. Letting other characters RP stuff on the side while you're dealing with one or two other characters is good.

Notecards for initiative are indeed made of win. Also, if combat is taking too long, implement a time limit for players to decide what they're doing. (If these are new players, don't do this right away-- combat's going to go slow because they're learning.) Give them thirty seconds to come up with an action; if they can't decide what they're doing in that time, they're holding their action.

Basically, just be prepared for things to move a bit slower. Our group has a ton of fun, and we're generally pretty well covered as far as party roles go (except for healing because our f$&#ing cleric never shows), but it takes us a long time to get stuff done. Best to just embrace the fact that it'll take several sessions to complete things that you expected to only last one or two.

shadzar
2009-06-03, 05:05 PM
Should I limit the number to less?
Does it take too long?
Too Loud?
No limits?
3.5 Dungeons and Dragons, Forgotten Realms is the setting.

You may want to, but will depend on the speed of your group and how quickly they want to play.

It only takes too long when those 7 players don't have their acts together in combat. Looking through books only on their turn to find out what they are doing or something like that. Make sure they are getting ready for their next turn while waiting for it.

Volume could be a problem if people are talking over each other. The DM should make "rounds". Go around the table in order of people for things when a clustered event is happening and their isn't a set order (like combat), and find out what each person is doing in turn, and the others should be quiet so each person gets his chance to speak.
When the group is not talking to the DM, but discussing things amongst themselves, they could be given a time limit or reminders to turn the volume down or use the above "rounds" to present their ideas to the group in a calm way without having to yell over each other. Loudness is not really dependent on a large group either.

I wouldn't really go for more than 8 players for 3.5. Of the few I played it it kinda got a bit out of hand for one person at that point and people would wonder off mentally and slow down the game by getting out of gear of what they were doing because how long it make take for them to get around to their turn.

I mostly play in or run games of 4-7 players. That is just where my comfort level is for both sides of the DM screen.

Coidzor
2009-06-03, 05:39 PM
And for godsakes, if the session is going to overlap with a meal-time, have everyone prepared for this ahead of time, say if you're meeting in the evening, work out ahead of time what kind of delivery food is going to be ordered and how costs'll be split up for the "usual."

Basically you can't afford to get bogged down by poor organization, and should get everyone to do as much as possible to prepare for sessions ahead of time so that spellcasters don't waste 5-10 minutes going over their spell options and shopping doesn't take forever.

rolling ahead of time for a fair number of things is another timesaver that I've heard praised, so that the start of combat is far more orderly and there's not the oddness of unexplained spot checks being asked for.

Since there's so many PCs you'll also want to do what you all can to keep down drawn out intraparty conflict by having them/establishing some sort of party rules for adjudicating things quickly/a contract. You don't wanna lose half a session due to one or two players getting their characters at loggerheads.

AzazelSephiroth
2009-06-03, 09:21 PM
And for godsakes, if the session is going to overlap with a meal-time, have everyone prepared for this ahead of time, say if you're meeting in the evening, work out ahead of time what kind of delivery food is going to be ordered and how costs'll be split up for the "usual."

Basically you can't afford to get bogged down by poor organization, and should get everyone to do as much as possible to prepare for sessions ahead of time so that spellcasters don't waste 5-10 minutes going over their spell options and shopping doesn't take forever.

I agree completely. I have begun working on dinner plans for each evening and trying to start a bit earlier so we don't have to end up pushing into the Midnight hours:smallsmile:
I am happy to see so much help for my post. This is one of my first questions in the forums and the responses have been wondefully helpfull!

shadzar
2009-06-03, 09:33 PM
I agree completely. I have begun working on dinner plans for each evening

:smalleek: Make the people eat before they come or bring bag lunches!

Dinner plans = arriving on time to play and picking out your pizza toppings and ordering it so that when people get hungry they can grab a slice when it isn't their turn to play.

Anything above that the players should have the meal catered for the DM!

D&D really is something you should eat before you come kind of thing unless you are planning a marathon game.

Also if you are having people eat at your place, then you may just want extra air-freshener for the bathroom. And keep that window open! :smallwink:

Mark Hall
2009-06-04, 12:22 AM
I've run a big group before. There are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Someone to run initiative. Pick someone, have them write it down and call on people in order. Tell them the initiative of the enemy, as well, even if you just identify them by initials. When Bob finishes, it will be B, then Charlie, Frank, followed by O, and Terri. This can be a player... it's not a taxing job, but one that should be put on someone not the DM. If you can put it up on a board or a screen, so everyone can see it, all the better.

2) Limit table talk during crunch time, allow it while dealing with other people. If you're in combat, Bob should be ready to go, not talking about the barista at Starbucks with Frank. On the other hand, if you're dealing with something Charlie and Terri are doing, Bob and Frank keeping themselves quietly entertained, but at the table, allows you to DM.

3) Figure out a food arrangement that works for you. My wife would cook us all a meal, with the guys kicking in a few dollars and bringing drinks and snacks. We'd play, and people who were not involved would get more food or drinks. It worked. For some groups, and some spaces, it simply will not. Another group, in college, we'd take pre-determined breaks for "Dara's runs"... running to the convenience store across the road for soda and munchies, giving us some air and time to plot. That also worked.

4) Related to number 2, limit spotlight hogs. My wife was a horrible spotlight hog. She wanted everything to be about her. You have to reign these people in hard in a large group, and provide everyone with something to do.

Dumbledore lives
2009-06-04, 12:30 AM
So I am starting a new campaign and all of my current friends want to join. I want all of them to play. However there will be 7-8 people at that point. I think I can handle this large a group but I would love to hear suggestions and ideas from fellow GMs or even Players on what you think of large parties and gaming.
Should I limit the number to less?
Does it take too long?
Too Loud?
No limits?
3.5 Dungeons and Dragons, Forgotten Realms is the setting.

I did this about a week ago, it was me and 7 of my friends, exactly one of which had any experience at all with D and D. We spent the first couple of hours working on the characters, but it still worked decently well, and we got through at least a couple of rooms, and considering we started off after school, it worked pretty well.

You just have to make sure that everyone is kept in control, some people need to really want to play the game, otherwise it will just be chaos. That's just my advice though, but it worked for me. I didn't need anything special, just ran it like a normal session. Works fine.

Edit: Also for dinner, pizza works perfectly, just get everyone to chip in and order delivery.

Shpadoinkle
2009-06-04, 01:45 AM
Personally? I'd run two games and trade off. Things can take a long time to get done with just four players, I can only imagine what eight would be like.