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I have figured out how as a GM to handle large parties


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#1 wolfsnap

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 08:15 AM

My current gaming group has myself as GM plus eight(!) players. Granted, we almost never have a full table, but we're usually pretty close. It's a ridiculous proposition trying to run combats and keep everyone engaged. But I've finally cracked it:

 

Turn them on each other! :)

 

The half orc keeps failing his will saves against various mind-altering effects and over the course of several combats has ended up trying to kill or injure his companions over and over. I really wish we were recording this game, because it's totally hilarious how he always manages to roll a 1 at the right time.


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#2 Lucky_Strike

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 12:15 PM

I think I've only had 8 in tabletop once. Six has been the limit for regular attendance.

Oddly almost all of my big party regular games were white wolf back when. They weren't throne wars or anything but players at least plotting to vex other players was rampant.

Was in a Star Wars d20 game a buddy ran that was 7 regular and ran up to 9 at times. He used scene wipes to control the chaos very well. All the players were really into it and it was a rare time because it was rare for players to get bored with scenes they weren't in because the stakes were good and involved us even though absent and the other players were so darned entertaining.
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#3 Slartibartfast

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 12:55 AM

I had a group of 6 playing WFRP2 for a while.  It was tricky during combat so I had to keep that down to very short bursts of blood and fur but the social side of it was great as they spent much of the time riffng off each other.  Allowing the group to split up regularly worked well too and as @Lucky_Strike point out directing the action with scene whipes works well.


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#4 Lucky_Strike

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 06:50 AM

I've done WFRP 2 with 5. That was about a sweet spot for combat.

I did give every character a link with another character and a goal. Some goals were exclusive.

Oddly the group focused on the halfling smuggler's delivery list and a dwarf's abortive attempt to press a claim on a jewel mine that led to the party working to recruit a crew to slant mine into the jewel mine being worked by the local overlord.

We determined that the slang "drink his milkshake" for slant mining would translate from dwarfish as "push him off his mother's breast" and be one of the worst possible slurs there was.

For anyone considering WFRP concerned about the unremitting bleakness and social stagnation of the setting I cannot recommend the Renegade Crowns book and the border princes setting enough. The Wild West style of frontier settlements obsessed with resources, rampaging orcs, and remnants of lost ages allows for considerably more freedom.

To add a conclusion on topic here, running a changeling troupe LARP circa 1999 in college for approx 30 players with two narrators the best advice I got was to have something for each character to do every game no matter how small. In using that advice I learned that in practice the best thing to do is set those very small goals in opposition rather than the big ones. Everyone wanted to keep the dreaming from tearing reality apart and they did their duty there. But the guy who took the other guys parking space at the local music venue? Weeks of manic activity.
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#5 Tulty

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 08:27 AM

The PvP solution is certainly one which yields interesting results in large parties. In our Settlers campaign, PvP is very common, though not at all through the instigation of our long-suffering GM, Will. He will occasionally lob plot at us, and we'll more-often-than-not bat it right back as we continue to bicker and backstab amongst ourselves.
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#6 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 03:09 AM

He will occasionally lob plot at us, and we'll more-often-than-not bat it right back as we continue to bicker and backstab amongst ourselves.


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#7 Alexis

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 02:13 AM

I've run as many as 8 or 9 on a regular basis.  I have a few rules and tips that work:

 

1) Cut down on the chatter as much as possible.  This many players, they have to be interested in what the others players say or what they're doing.  Anyone not interested in that can be bused out of the game, solving the too many players problem.

 

2) No one gets to do something on their own, unless it requires less than three minutes to run.  Someone wants to head out and buy some equipment?  No problem.  They want to go off and adventure on their own?  No, absolutely not.  If nine people are going to play, they will play together.  Those who cannot play together can get out.

 

3) No one rolls a die without being told to first.  Having nine people spontaneously roll dice and announce results, it's impossible.

 

4) If something needs to be looked up, have a player do it.

 

5) Keep descriptions very short.

 

6) Learn to talk faster or use less words.  Make the point perfectly clear, but don't spend more than 20 seconds making it.

 

7) When asking someone what they want to do in combat, announce who the next person is going to be asked and tell them "So and so is on deck."

 

8) Give people 12-20 seconds to say what they want their characters to do; if they hesitate or just can't decide, tell them their character is undecided and move onto the next person.  This can be stretched out for situations where the decision is really critical and several character's lives hang in the balance.  The other players won't mind waiting several minutes if this is the case.

 

9) Shut down any jokes that do not directly relate to the action; shut down any and ALL cultural references, reminisces the player will want to make about themselves or comments designed to be clever or snarky.  Be firm.  Don't expect to be able to keep a lid on this for more than 15-20 minutes if the players are unused to this many participants.

 

10) When the jokes and side comments start happening a lot despite your efforts, call a break.  Every 20 minutes if need be.  Keep breaks short.  Sometimes five minutes is enough for everyone to have a laugh and be willing to focus again.

 

11) If this above doesn't work, ask three people to go home.


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#8 Slartibartfast

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:22 AM

... or just run two groups on alternate weeks.  Probably more fun for everyone.


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#9 glipe

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 05:09 PM

My current gaming group has myself as GM plus eight(!) players. Granted, we almost never have a full table, but we're usually pretty close. It's a ridiculous proposition trying to run combats and keep everyone engaged. But I've finally cracked it:

 

Turn them on each other! :)

 

The half orc keeps failing his will saves against various mind-altering effects and over the course of several combats has ended up trying to kill or injure his companions over and over. I really wish we were recording this game, because it's totally hilarious how he always manages to roll a 1 at the right time.

 

 

I used to run 1st Edition AD&D for 8 players, and it was definitely a challenge.  But then we had incidents like the Thief being caught taking treasure for himself, and the Paladin deciding that pushing him into a spiked pit would be reasonable punishment.  Players wanting to be charmed so they could turn on the party, and the infamous fumble roll where you swung and hit a friend instead of foe.  It was chaotic, and a lot of work, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


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