Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DM Shortage

Well, it turns out there are a bunch of other interns (and even some full-timers) at my current place of employment who want to game, and while I'm not the only DM in town by quite a way, I am the only one advertising "seeking 1-2 more players".  To the point where I now have about 10 potential players, and only one of me.  So I've been considering a few options:
  • Fork a splinter group.  Take on 1-2 more players, and get one of my current players (maybe?) to DM a second game at some other time for the rest.  Problem: convincing someone else to DM.  A similar approach would be co-DMing, but the same problem presents itself (along with a host of new ones unique to two people having full authorial license on the same world).
  • Blow some of them off.  Problem: people don't get to play, and I might not get to play with some fun and clever people worth gaming with.  I remember being rather intimidated when Jared joined us for Traveller last spring, but that all worked out quite well.  This is related to the selection problem; given six candidates, who do you take?  We could spend half the summer running test games with people before we had enough data to choose...  I guess the proper old-school approach would be to let the dice decide, right?
  • Rotating death.  When you die, you go on the end of the queue of waiting players.  When someone else dies, if you're at the head of the queue you come in with your backup character per standard henchman or reserve XP rules.  For this to work, I think two sessions per week would have to be the norm (minimally), and I might have to crank up lethality.  Clever play would then shaft all those waiting, though, and it would badly screw my current players who didn't sign up for that.
  • Trial by combat, with the last five players standing winning the right to game.  Problem: I have little confidence that my current players would make the cut, and I kind of like them.  Also there might be legal issues with this approach.
  • The Western Marches or cloud approach.  I've really wanted to try this one for a while, and never had either the playerbase or the free time to support it properly.  Now I do...  but I'm not sure how well it would work out in a partially-civilized setting like the Shieldlands.  Then there are issues with how to handle my current three 'core' players; they seem unlikely to take being downgraded well (though they do have certain advantages like the +3 shield, and having cornered the henchman market of Deal...).  There's also the question of "just how much time do I want to spend doing prep work per week, and how many nights a week do I want to eat pizza?"  I guess I could provide when I'm available, set a max party size and a rule of max of one or two sessions per week per player, and see what they come up with, as well as a party-shuffling rule like that used in WM to keep things from settling into me running two games for disjoint sets of players.
Pleh.  In Ben Robbins' words, "Fear the social monster" indeed.

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