Wednesday, 26 August 2015

RPing and Larger Groups

I am a far from experienced tabletop roleplaying type person (either as a player or a GM) yet it is clear that a small tight-knit group can work superbly in this format of gaming. The larger the group the trickier it is to keep everyone engaged and the spotlight has to flit around much more often - meaning each character is only getting to shine for a sliver of the time and thus their character takes longer to flesh out and integrate in with the others.

As we gear up for our next Tremulus game with more players I watched some Critical Role which has a BIG group of players and makes it all work. While there just isnt enough time in a day/week to watch all the things that need watching, there was something completely cool about seeing this group of 9 voice actors playing. I can see the inherent issue of letting the attention work its way around this many players, but they do a great job and there is lots to learn here about GMing and PLAYing alike.

The trend our game group has is towards story-based play, maybe out-of-combat play is a better way to describe it. This means more emphasis on the characters with each having their personal complexity, their personal story arcs and backstory intricacies. While this may be the trend in RPing as well, it may be tricky to deliver on this with the extra players. 3 players is very different to 6. We love those PC to PC interactions that flesh out relationships and the world whether the drama is high or just the cute little moments. This is a far cry from my characters of old which I feel were basically fleshed out using the power of 2 or 3 adjectives.

It is a serious trick to let the players spend the time to interact and get to know their PCs through these smaller exchanges or moments. Often the NPCs will be part of the puzzle as well or help broker things when the drama elevates. Allowing this when there is a plot waiting impatiently for the PCs' attention is a real art.

Seeing how Critical Role works, they play a pretty combat-lite D&D game and maybe that works better for a larger group actually as it's quick and more free-form. I loved our foray into FATE (best game) and wonder if that would work with the larger group as well - feels like it could. Zoinks - enough rambling from me...


Anyhow, the other reason for this post is I have been reading through my recently-arrived copy of Feng Shui 2. The kickstarter set came with heaps of character sheets, token, tracks, dice, GM-screens and such as well and it is very nicely presented all around. I didnt know that much about the game system actually but reading the book it feels like a pretty fun realisation of the cheesy melodramatic kung fu action flick.

1 comment:

Hak said...

Totally agree. Six players is tough, I did a summer gaming group for 4th Edition D&D at my workplace with six players and it was a tough gig, especially with that game's complexity and constant rules referencing.

We ran d6 System (original Star Wars RPG) for a couple weeks, and that worked better for a group that size. The less reference and the more you can play straight off character sheets with simple rules and straight dice rolls, the better it was for us.

My group enjoyed story-based play a lot as well, the rules never kept them coming back but 'what happened next' always did. Even at that size, the story slices were pretty thin, but the teamwork and shared experience was a huge draw.

Feng Shui 2 looks awesome, wow, nice buy there. I would love to know more about it if you have the time to share.

Great post, I follow along and love your blog.