Saturday, 2 December 2017

#RPG12: Q1 New Players

In the spirit of RPGaDay in August, Paul Mitchener has started an alternative set of daily RPG questions - the Christmas dozen, one every two days. His argument is that 31 questions is too many (and for me, August is holiday month so it's doubly bad).

Even so, I've found 12 questions fairly challenging. I think I'd prefer one a month...

You’re running an RPG to introduce new players to the RPG hobby this month. Which game and genre do you choose, and why?

Although I don't do it often, I love introducing new players to the hobby. But, I find that I do put myself under a lot of pressure to make sure that they have a good experience. The last thing I want the game to be is a disappointment. (It’s a bit like running a convention game in that sense.)

And I’d always run a one-shot to show off roleplaying, rather than drop a new player into a campaign. (Not that I run campaigns these days…)

So while the system is easy (Fate Accelerated - it’s my current go-to system, it’s simple, and character sheets are easy to parse) the genre depends on who they are.

If I felt that the players were up for fantasy, I’d run something like The Craster Demon. If I thought they would be more likely to enjoy urban fantasy, then I’d run an Other London adventure for them. Both of these are my own settings, and both are things I’m comfortable running.

I have a feeling that Ben Robbins’ Follow would be a good introduction to roleplaying, but I’ve yet to play it.

Looking back

And having said that, I thought I’d look back at what I’ve done when I’ve run games for new players in the past.

In the dim distant past, I have used Call of Cthulhu as in introductory game. Call of Cthulhu has lots of bonuses - it’s set in the “real world”, so that removes a lot of the learning and geekiness (which was more of an issue back in the day). And everyone understands horror. These days I’d be more likely to run Cthulhu Dark than Call of Cthulhu, simply because Cthulhu Dark is simpler (although I need to get a few games of Cthulhu Dark under my belt first).

Megan's first character sheet
The first game I ran for Megan, my daughter, was Faery’s Tale. But she was only five - and I was targeting the game to my audience. (I ran a rescue scenario. Megan played a fairy who had to rescue Jack from the giant in the clouds, and she invented a "mechanical Jack" that would replace Jack so that they could escape. I was so proud.)

On the other hand, I ran the D&D starter set for my two nephews Ben and James and their father, Simon. This must have been about the time of D&D v3, and  we were in Travelling Man in Leeds and, out of the blue, Simon decided to buy the boys the D&D starter set for Christmas. I quickly read up on it overnight, and the following day we played through the introductory adventure.

As an introduction to D&D it was really good, although it wasn’t really what I think of as roleplaying (too much combat).

Shameless self promotion

Way out West
Looking slightly beyond the table, I set up Freeform Games with Mo Holkar to bring freeform style roleplaying games to normal people. We don’t tell people that they’re playing a roleplaying game, because we don’t want to scare them off.

But I estimate that most of our customers are new to roleplaying, so I think that counts.

If you'd like to find out more, you can get a free murder mystery game (Way out West) by signing up to our newsletter.

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