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Eltern
A song from the sixties
(5/28/03 3:07 pm)
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Old Poll
I know this has been asked several dozen times, but I'm doing it again, for personal reference. IMC we have 6 players. Right now they're midway through the Outer Fane, and we're thinking of adding a 7th player. Is this too many, even for this module? I realize that they will level slower, and the going may go a wee bit slower due to the logistics of having another player, but they'll be able to defeat challenges more quickly. So what size group do you guys have?

Oh, and also, what sort of fatality rating did/do you have in your campaign? And do you play if there's more than 2 people who can't make it? Half our problem is the logistics of getting 7, now 8 people together all at once, regularly.

Eltern

Andorax
A guitar
(5/28/03 5:15 pm)
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Re: Old Poll
I never get tired of saying this...largely because I feel it's so important.

Too many! Don't go to seven...six is pushing it. If you truly must include an eighth person in the gaming group, don't make it a seventh player...bring a co-DM on board. Someone who can help you with all the nuts and bolts, track numbers, assemble minis, run NPCs, and even handle keeping the missing players' PCs trundling along in the back of the party when their players are absent.

Really, the best groups have from three to five players. Six is doable, but a lot of work...and about that time I like to look at picking up a co-DM to help me with the load. Eight players? That's asking for a split into two groups of four.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Eltern
A song from the sixties
(5/28/03 6:12 pm)
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just FYi
Just FYI, Andorax, I ment that there'd be 8 peeps including me, so 7 players.

Eltern

SSShadowcat7
A song from the sixties
(5/28/03 7:33 pm)
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My thoughts
As much as I agree with him on so many other things, in this instance I'll have to disagree with Andorax.

But only slightly disagree.

I think that RttToEE is very do-able with 7 players. That's 7 PCs, too, right? I have 8 in my group and have not had a problem challenging them with what's written in the module. Granted, combats can take longer and there are more people to try to keep track of, but they can go for longer before having to take a rest.

I, of course, started with this many players long before we started RttToEE and we just kind of progressed into the campaign. If I had to start over...and boy, would that be kinds neat!...I would like to try it with only 4 or 5 players, but I think 7-8 is OK.

mirrorsh
A trophy
(5/28/03 9:22 pm)
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Re: My thoughts
My group and I have had 6-8 players regularly for almost a decade now, because I am ALWAYS the DM, and we have a bunch of friends who play.

It's very doable, especially if you're used to it.

That said, however, RP sessions IMO don't work out as well, because having EIGHT people try to interject comments and descriptions of activities at the SAME TIME in an RP situation is just too much to handle.

I mean the fact of the matter is that during a conversation between parties only so many people can talk at once without the topics of conversation getting bungled and going off track (think of a meeting at work where everyone is talking at once) or without one or two people stealing the show and everyone else basically issuing "me toos" every so often.

So usually what happens is 2-4 people end up playing out the scene, and half the group kinda sits around doing nothing. Either that or half the group wants to do something else simultaneously ("while they talk to the barkeep we'll go investigate the guild across town") at which point, like Andorax said, you're begging for a party split.

You could maybe print out some NPC stat sheets and pass them around to have your party and say like, "Ok you guys be the party, and you guys be the badguys/innkeeper/guards and role-play the situatoin out as best you can" but what you're really doing there is having a bunch of assistant DM's not player's acting as PCs.

In your standard dungeon crawl, melee, puzzles/traps, those type of things, however, it works out just fine, if a little slower than usual.

mirrorsh
A trophy
(5/28/03 9:29 pm)
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oh another thing
Quote:
Oh, and also, what sort of fatality rating did/do you have in your campaign? And do you play if there's more than 2 people who can't make it? Half our problem is the logistics of getting 7, now 8 people together all at once, regularly


Fatality rating has been super high, but I'm very lenient with getting raised from the dead. (It still costs beaucoup gp but I don't knock anyone's levels down -- otherwise no one would ever get their char raised and they'd constantly bring in fresh new PC's with fresh new gp; it'd be like you get a BONUS for getting a PC killed: new PC and new PC equipment for free).

We almost never have everyone at the table at the same time. I handle it in a super-metagaming fashion: if Bob was there in the cave last week but this week Bob isn't here... oh well his character disappears. Where did he go? What is he doing? Will he get killed by monsters?

I don't care. He's just not there. When Bob comes back the week after, wow, alluvasudden Bob's there and it's as if he was there all the time.

There is almost no point in trying to torture an "in game" explanation for why so-and-so's PC is or is not in the party at any moment in time; and there is absolutely NOTHING suckier than coming to a game and everyone's like "Oh gee sorry Bruno got killed last week."

Of course that means if the party cleric isn't around to heal people's wounds: so be it.

Grumgarr
A boxing glove
(5/29/03 2:59 am)
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Death toll
I don't know how many PCs (and players) are too many - certainly I get bogged down with more than 6 players. I once ran exactly one session with 9 players (in a small room!) and it was an unmitigated logistical nightmare. Eek!

Death toll in my campaign breaks down like this:

Moathouse (2)
CRM (9)
Outer Fane (4)
Inner Fane (1 - PCs retreated from T-Rexes)
Recovered Temple (7 - including 3 killed by Imix's Final Strike)

Grand total (still to complete the Inner Fane): 23 deaths (this includes 4 NPC deaths) from start to finish over about 2 years.
Phew!

Grumgarr

Offgall Fizziwigg
A cup of coffee
(5/29/03 10:56 am)
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Re: Death toll
Right now, IMC, my group is 7 strong. The meat of the game is no problem. Sure the battles take a little getting used to, but for the most part, running the game is natural. The problems with having a group this big is making decisions.

There are quite a few different personalities in my group, and table-talk gets out of control. I need to purchase a gavel to maintain order. The worst is getting the party started. They horde everything they find in the dungeons. After leaving the Moathouse, they must have had seven shortswords, five crossbows, an array of dragon parts, the list goes on. Deciding what to sell and who gets what is a problem. Arguing rules gets out of hand. Buying equipment gets crazy.

My advice is to keep track of everything the group finds and have prices ready for when they decide to sell stuff. That keeps you from having to look up prices during the game. Also, when people start talking at the same time, find a way to get everyone quiet, and then make them pick a party leader that makes final decisions for the group. Have a party spokesperson for talking to NPCs. Get them to pick one or two who can synergy with the spokesperson. Make sure you make them pay for chaotic behavior. When the party splits up, make them learn that working together is the best way. It's much harder for one thief to fight a wight. You have to maintain a sense of order.

Don't be a dictator, but when things get out of control at the table, take control and make them take turns talking and listening to each other. Then have the party leader make a final decision. If you are arguing over rules, make a decision as the DM, and move on. Tell them you can discuss it when the session is done. It's a difficult task, but it is definitely doable. You just have to deal with certain problems that come with more people at the table.

Caedrel
A song from the sixties
(5/31/03 2:52 pm)
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Re: Old Poll
I've got a group of 6 regular players, with a 7th very intermittent - his PC has been the only death to date, although I've had three players swp out their previous PCs for new ones.

Normally I try to end sessions at a point where one or more PCs can segue out in a not too unbelievable fashion. Every has a decent tolerance for fantastic explanations, but I personally hate the "fade into the background" stuff. We have also found that NPCing does NOT work. Even if the player is theoretically OK with his PC possibly dying, it introduces a knowledge gap between the player and his PC that can be tough later on ("I met this recurring villain for the first time yesterday? What did we do to/with him?"). Occasionally, we end on a cliffhanger, in which case I require every player to be there for the next session. Unfortunately, this has meant that we haven't been able to come back to our next session for two months (I'm going to have to re-recap things for them before we start).

The other danger of having PCs missing is that the party has to adapt to changed circumstances, which might not be immediately obvious to them eg. they're missing their tank, so going toe to toe is not such a good idea as before; of they're missing their cleric, so the healing post-battle becomes more of an issue.

The other thing that's happened is that I have players who have changed PCs during the campaign, for one of two reasons (1) sub-optimal build the first time around - we were all new to 3e and D&D generally, and some of them started spending time on min/max boards over at EN World and wanted to start over with "better built" PCs... there's a little bit of powergamer in all of us *sigh* :) (2) they wanted to be more involved in battle - the less combat oriented types found themselves readying their actions a lot in all of the combats, and felt like they weren't contributing much. I think this is also why my 7th player hasn't made too much of an effort to get to most of our sessions...

My party has also started out higher in level than the module says, so they've just mowed down the single monsters easily. But I've been able to challenge them with the temples and the bridge complexes, with intelligent tactics and by throwing lots of bad guys at them in waves. I think it will start evening out as they get to the end of the CRM...

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