Aug 21, 2008

So you just got you're first set of RPG books...what now?

So you are a newbie. You have just received a brand new core rulebook set for your birthday, and you want to play. Grats! and welcome to the single most enriching experience of your life! As a 16 year veteran of the RPG world, I feel it is my duty, no, my privilege to share a few tips with you as to how to get started.

By this point, you have probably heard all the stereotypes and even found an online horror story or two. The myth of the introverted, smelly weirdo living in the basement is just that, a myth. I have gamed with nearly 100 unique individuals in my lifetime (not counting LARP or Convention play) and I can say with certainty that I have met VERY few peeps that even come close to this particular creature.

That said, there are some folks out there that just will not mesh with you and your playing style. Lets start with a list:
  1. Start with your friends - YES! Start with your circle of friends. You would be astounded at the number of people out there that have "always wanted" to play. All they usually need, is someone "cool" to hold their hand and show them the way.
  2. Yes, that means chicks too - This hobby has "no chicks allowed" written in exact;y one place; NOWHERE. Yet another stereotype that has made being a gamer difficult over the years. A female perspective is quite useful at the gaming table.
  3. Family counts too - Little brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, even your parents! Yes, your parents. In this day and age, a lot of parents are frustrated by their inability to connect with their kids. It is always worth some consideration.

So we have a few basics on how to assemble a group. Still short? None of these apply? Here's my tried and true:

  1. Go online - There are MANY places across the web where you can anonymously post a "gamers wanted" ad and recruit veteran or newbie players alike. Being at work, I am finding it difficult to access most of them from work :-( However,'s message boards, as well as are good places to start.
  2. Go to your FLGS - That's Friendly Local Gaming Store, or whatever passes for one in your area. This can easily be expanded to cover your college bulletin board. Talk to the owner. Talk to the customers. This (IMO) is usually the best option.
  3. Be picky - When you contact newly recruited players, it is wise to try and get to know them before giving a thumbs up. The last three times I have recruited a group, I have held interviews at Denny's. Yes, Denny's. The food is inexpensive, the joint is 24 hours, and it is as laid back as you can get. I have found that speaking to the manager is a good idea, as "loitering" there can be problematic. In my experience, as long as you order "something" every couple of hours, they will even let you play there!
  4. You aren't god - Your group has the final say. While you, as DM have veto power, use it at your own risk. If someone in the group has a problem, it is a big deal.

Remember: These people are going to be defaulting into your circle of friends. With some campaigns going on for several years, it is a good idea to have a good solid group of players.

There is loads more, but these simple steps can keep you from the uncomfortable position of having a smelly socially dysfunctional jackass killing your game. They are rare, but they DO exist.

Anyone else have some similar advice for newbies? Speak up, and be heard.

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