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Building a pool of face-to-face players

Palaner

Registered User
Validated User
Hi there -- mine is certainly not a new account, but I do have questions that many new GMs and players might find useful. At this point, I feel comfortable enough with GMing to organize D&D 5e one-shots on a semi-regular basis, with the dream of running shorter campaigns with whatever system and setting I please, regularly choosing from a pool of talented players. Just a few questions in the interest of organizing face-to-face:*

- I understand that the local game store is probably my best bet for getting new folks. What are some things you have done to generate prospective players, and how have you chosen to filter or not filter prospectives? I'm probably not going to run an Adventurer's League game any time soon, given the reputation I hear about it, but I do have a wealth of Forgotten Realms material to pull people in.

- How do you organize games in an existing face-to-face RPG scene, without worrying about poaching players from other GMs? The nearby city has a lot of GMs (the last monthly "GM support group" attracted 26 attendees), but I may be wading into groups that are already locked into their cliques if I'm going in as a player first. Basic networking may yet be the key, though.

- Have you found other locations to be just as good if not more effective than game stores for advertising and generating interest? I'm aware of Meetup and BoardGameGeek.

- Do you seek out diversity in your pool, and if so, how do you necessarily communicate that beyond maintaining a safe space while playing?

- How do you maintain your pool, in the meantime? Do you share a list with other local GMs? Do you run games often enough to keep player interest up?

*I have no interest in organizing online games at this time. Well, some, but I would prefer to work with the general obstacles of organizing games before tackling the logistical challenges of tactical combat and player aids online.
 
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g33k

Active member
Banned
Validated User
I think having a large "pool" of players and "filtering" players are a hard pair to pursue.

You can only grow your pool by inclusion, and can never tell how many quality players you might meet by way of a player you find "meh" at the table... or NOT meet, if you "filter" Mr. Meh.

Inevitably, the group(s) will intercommunicate, and your choices & judgements about who is a "talented" player (vs who is not) may cause problems; not to mention the "gamer couple a" where one half is "more talented" than the other half, or other tight-knit micro-groups where including/excluding ANY of them implies ALL of them (I recall a GM who lost all but 1 of his 6 players by trying to get rid of 1 player).
 

Void1-1

Old school noob
Validated User
Maybe just keep on running one shots. Play with a lot of different people. When you meet people you gel with start your own group. Approach potential players discretely, not in front of the whole group.
 

Void1-1

Old school noob
Validated User
Oh, yeah, online games - I run D&D on Skype, since you mentioned logistics, maybe think about running theatre of the mind? No fancy software, maps, etc. maybe have a map for yourself, encourage your group to help out tracking initiative etc and make their own notes?
 

Litpho

Wandering stranger
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Unless you're going for the really hard sell or specifically schedule your games on the exact same schedule as existing games with players who are interested in your game, you aren't remotely poaching from other GMs, as far as I'm concerned. So I wouldn't worry too much about that.
 

adwyn

Registered User
Validated User
I find running a short campaign of three to five sessions in a public venue works well. There are some quiet players who in a one off won't have time to shine or need a couple of sessions to feel at home enough to participate with more than the minimum. Other folks may have a bad day but multiple sessions give them to a chance to shine as well.

A hard, built in limit that is announced before the campaign starts along with a comment or two about the purpose of the campaign being meeting new people makes it easier to weed out those whose play style doesn't work for you without hard feelings.
 
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