Gaming, New Character, New Player, RPG, RPGs, Warhammer Fantasy, WHFRP
So, I was prepping for Sunday’s “The Enemy Within” (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1e) session… And I’m finding myself weirdly familiar with the material I’m reading – even though I’ve never owned or read Death on the Reik before now.
And then it hits me. This is the game I was “playing” in that taught me a vital skill in my DM kit – how to engage new players and new characters into a game.
A close friend who was in two of my gaming groups invited me to join his Warhammer group. When I showed interest in playing a dwarf he was excited and explained that the group were about to get to a point where it would be PERFECT to introduce a dwarf to the group.
So I roll up my character, and then show up for the session. We’re high schoolers, so the sessions are 8-12 hours long on average. Start at 10 am, play until we burn out.
I sit down at the side and wait for my character to be introduced. The party futzes around some big city for a few hours, get into a tussle with some cultists, and then spend the rest of the session trying to track down the cultists and the cult to no avail.
The entire time, I’m not introduced to the party.
12 hours later, the session ends and we go home. I never got to play. And this is in the 80s so I have no portable entertainment with me… and since I expected to be gaming I didn’t bring a book to read or anything. I just sat there and watched other people game.
The DM tells me not to worry, I’ll be introduced right away when the next session starts. Sorry about that.
So, a week later, I’m still not part of the party when we break for dinner at 6pm… 8 hours into the session. “They just haven’t made it to where you get introduced! Don’t worry, it’ll be soon!”
As everyone goes downstairs for dinner, I toss my character sheet in the garbage and walk the 90 minutes home.
The DM was HUGELY pissed off at me for bailing when he had “worked so hard” to prep the story to introduce my character into the group.
I just read the section of the module where he was going to introduce my character. Yeah, it would work well, but seriously, it would also have worked fine in… you know… the capital of the fucking empire.
From this experience, when I run a game, I do everything in my power to introduce a character within 3 minutes of the player arriving. 5 minutes I consider a failure. 10 minutes is complete rubbish.
Brett Slocum said:
Bad DM form. If you can’t introduce a character in 20 hours of gaming, you shouldn’t be DM.
It’s pretty amazing, and disgusting, that the GM would wait you sit idly by for two weeks and twenty hours of play time and then get annoyed at you!
“You’re deep in the dungeon, several levels down, hunkered down fighting off bugbears, when you hear someone clearing their throat behind you. “Need some help, folks?” says the rugged looking dwarf carrying 150 pounds of gear, including twin axes and lots of food and beer.
“Nah, we got this,” said no one ever.
There I fixed it.
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It’s like inviting a friend over after getting a new video game console and making them sit there and watch you play without ever giving them a turn. I had a friend who did this every time he brought me over to visit. I liked the guy but really fucking annoying. It’s pretty narcissistic behavior.
“Come watch me have fun!”
20 hours is ridiculous but I think this kind of thing is more common with newer players. You want your game to run perfectly, with perfectly being defined as following a narrative you have in your head as closely as possible. You over-prepare, railroad the players to death, and try to micromanage the campaign. I think a lot of younger DMs are guilty of this to varying degrees.
After DMing a while though, you realize that the narrative should never take precedence to everyone having fun. if your players aren’t having fun, you need to make changes to your game/style/etc. You deux ex machina the hell out of things when needed to correct course because at the end of the day if no one had fun you failed anyway.
But yeah, 20 hours is crazy. I usually have an NPC or two hanging around with the party at any given time. I’ll let new or re-rolling players use them until they finish their character and then bring in the new one ASAP.
Devin Parker said:
Exactly. “Your character mysteriously teleports in from somewhere else” is a hell of a lot more forgivable than “sit here and wait for hours until I find a spot to introduce you into the narrative that satisfies my storytelling desires.” It’s a game and a social event first and foremost.
Had this happen once. Had a GM who was usually excellent in every way and all of us had been playing together for a while and in this campaign for a good bit. Towards the end of one session another player messed with something we said he shouldn’t mess with, a curse was released, and my character died.
Not his, mind you. He made his save.
So I build a new character for next week, for Role Master no less. And I show up. And the GM says don’t worry, I’ll introduce your new character. But that entire session I never show up. It’s half way through the next session that I finally was introduced. I have made sure never to do that to one of my players, because I was pissed.
Red Dice Diaries 🎲 said:
Can’t say I blame you for leaving, you lasted longer than I would have. I’d have not gone back after the first session of sitting around waiting.
Reblogged this on DDOCentral.
So, it was like attending an RPG “actual play” in person. You did not know you were years ahead of the curve!
Adam Ranald Fairbairn said:
You have to think on your feet as the DM. Not be hidebound by what you originally thought would happen. I started a new campaign and because of the legal restrictions on outlanders and magic, half the party were outlaws from the start. I worked all of them in within the first 15 minutes, relating them to certain factions and developing backstories for them all. One character, who was a human sorcerer, was given to a halfling clan to keep him safe. Only later did I realize that it was a reenactment of “Elf.” An agile DM can see the bends and go with it. A clunker DM, well you wait 10+ hours for nothing.