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.