RPGBlog

This is a collection of the RPG Circus Blog Items.

Number of Players at the Table

Yesterday, I was flipping through on old book of mine, Gary Gygax's Role-Playing Mastery. In one section, he had a little to say about the maximum number players that a Game Master can handle while maintaining a good game. He set that number to three or four players.

What's interesting is that is the number of positions in the old standard party. You know the one where there is a fighter, a magic-user (wizard), cleric, and thief (rouge). It really sort of makes me wonder if that number was sort of influenced by that concept in some way. Of course it could have been the reverse as well. Honestly, I'm not sure which came first, I'm just sure that there is some sort of link between the two concepts.

In the same area, talked about using a Game Master's assistant. Someone who could handle some of the GM administrative work. Gygax, basically suggested that with such an assistant a GM could handle eight players without make his game suffer. Of course, I'm not sure anyone would want to be an assistant. Much like the working world, assistants seem to get none of the glory or respect that the person they give assistance to gets. As GM, I'm not sure if I'm down with someone not really playing and not really the GM. But that's my opinion.

Still, what is maximum number of players that can be handled at the table without assistance? I've always thought that six was my personal number. Any more than six and you have no idea what the hell is even going on. And even if you do, you will find that a few players will monopolize you time. Of course I guess the same could be said about any number of players. I do now that no matter what, there is a limit of some sort. Once a long time ago, I played in a group with about ten to twelve people. That's right ten to twelve people. The adventure involved some sort of war and we were in some sort of castle siege. Since there were so many players, the poor GM couldn't help but focus on a few people at time. This meant there were long stretches with nothing to do. We actually started to do other things while we waited for our turn. This became a huge disconnect for us. Since we were not paying attention, we sometime had no idea what exactly was going on. I dare say that game ended poorly. Eventually, I think group broke into two groups, which is what sort of needed to happen in the first place.

So what is the maximum number of players you can handle as a GM? What are your thoughts on a GM Assistant? Have you ever used a GM assistant? Finally, what is the largest group he have ever played with and how successful was it?

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Choosing a Game Day

When I was a young boy, I use to be able to game whenever I wanted. Which of course makes sense. When your 13 to 17 years old, you really don't have all that many things that are demanding your time. Or it was at least that way for me. I remember doing gaming weekends, where we would start Friday evening and play until about midnight. We would get up the next day and start gaming Saturday at noon and play until midnight again. Finally, we would get up on Sunday and start playing at noon and then stop by sundown. It was a pretty gaming intensive time for me. I'm actually sort of glad I was able to do it then because today, I don't game that much. Hell, I dare say the amount of gaming that we got done in a weekend is more gaming than I do in about two months. On a side note, I'm not sure why my mother let me do that. I guess she just like the fact that she knew what I was doing and who I was doing it with. I should note that most of the people I gamed with when I was in High School were either in the Military or going to college. Which when thinking on it, makes me wonder how much faith my mother had in me. But I ramble on. The point is that I did a lot of gaming when I was a boy and now that I'm an adult I don't game that much anymore. Now, we have to pick a day to game on and try to make that happen. With only seven days to choose what day works best? Let's take a look.

Monday - An interesting option to say that least. I think it's hard to get people for a Monday. Most people I know just started the work week and they usually don't want to do anything on a Monday.

Tuesday - I like Tuesday. I think Tuesday could be a good day for gaming. My only problem is that many of my son's weekly activities seemed to be on a Tuesday. I guess because it's the second day of the work week people feel safe doing things that day. I seem to know only one group that played on this day and they were all college students and didn't have classes on Wednesday.

Wednesday - "Hump" Day. I've known a few groups that play on Wednesday. I usually don't because we normally record on the podcast on this day. That and there were always seems to be other functions that press for my time when I'm not recording the podcast.

Thursday - One of the groups I played off and on with use to do Thursdays. Nominally, we use Thursdays as a backup day if we can't record on Wednesday. This sort of means that I can't play this day. I'm not sure if my friends even play on this day anymore.

Friday - As an adult, it use to be that this day was bad because everyone I knew would go out this night. Now that I'm married, we sometimes use this as a date night, but not as much as we use to. I think for now, I'm just too tired from the week to run or play most of the time on Fridays.

Saturday - Oddly this is one of the few days that's still generally OK for me. It's also traditionally the day when most people can game. The only down side is that as adult, this is a day with possibly the most conflicts. I send out an email to my players a week in advance to see they can game. Since we only play every other week, it tends to work out for us.

Sunday - I'm played a few sessions on Sunday as an adult, but most people I know use it as a day of rest before they go to work the next day.

In short, It seems like I'm going to be sticking with Saturday for now. Although, I might be up for trying a game on a Thursday. What is your best day of the week to game and why?

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RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 6 - Don't Forget Your Companions.

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 6 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Archetypes
  • NPC Companions
  • Games within Games

Hosts



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RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 5 - We Apply a Little Leverage

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 5 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • The Leverage RPG and the Cortex System
  • Play by Email and Play By Post
  • The Firearms in Fantasy Games and the Myths and Mystique Surrounding Them

Hosts

    Phil (aka ChattyDM)

    Mark

    Jeff



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RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 4 - RPGGeekdom Unite!

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 4 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • RPGGEEK.com
  • By Listener Request, More about Rolemaster



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RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 3 - BASHful? Not Us!

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 3 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Interview with BASH Creator Chris Rutowsky
  • Problem Players
  • Finding Monster Miniatures



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Season 3 Episode 2 - The Episode That Almost Wasn't

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 2 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Digital Cartography
  • Memories of Gaming Groups in Our Youth



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RPG Circus Season 3 Episode 1 - And So It Begins Again

Welcome to Season 3 Episode 1 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • What Mark Learned From Doing D&D 4e Encounters
  • Our Views on the D&D 4e Fortune Cards



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RPG Circus Season 2 Episode 23 - Winter Solstice Fun

Welcome to Season 2 Episode 23 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • DnD 4e Home Encounters
  • Listener Question about a Game for those that like it Crunchy and those that don't
  • Interview with Alex Flagg of Crafty Games



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RPG Circus Season 2 Episode 22 - We Never Met Nevermet Press

Welcome to Season 2 Episode 22 of RPG Circus

Episode Topics

  • Interview with Jonathan Jacobs and Paul King of Nevermet Press
  • Ammunition in Roleplaying Games
  • Time Travel in Roleplaying Games



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