Unofficial players to RPG session
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Posted by bryanjonker

I'm running games independently, not part of a gaming group. Someone messaged me and asked if I could add two players to one of the RPG games I'm running or if I can add a session. He asked nicely. So, amongst my questions are:


  1. Can I just say, "I can create two more PCs for game X, so if you show up five minutes early, then I'll get you in." Or do I need to adjust the maximum number of players and hope no one preregisters before they do? 
  2. I assume I need to collect generic tickets for the new players. Do I note anything special when I turn them in?  
  3. If I create a new session, then is there a way to say, "two slots are taken?" If I'm envisioning seven players, do I mark "Max Players: 5" to limit the number of preregisters, or "Max Players: 7" and hope they preregister in time? 
  4. How do other GMs handle this? Am I starting a bad precedent? 

Thanks in advance. 

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Posted by derekguder

There is no rule saying you can't accept more players beyond your max, and they would obviously need to provide generic tickets (since everyone else paid to play).

The challenge with RPGs in particular, though, is that going from a 6-player game to an 8-player game (for example) can be a dramatic change to the actual nature of the game. Lots of people simply don't want to play in a game that large, so I strongly discourage it. Even asking the players at the table if they're OK with it is tough, because that puts everyone on the spot - no one wants to be that one player who has to dash some potential player's hopes.

Having walk-ups fill spots for players who didn't show up is great. Expanding your event beyond its listed parameters is almost always bad unless the game structure itself can totally handle it (and, again, that's probably not the case for a typical RPG).

If you are willing, the best thing to do would be to just submit an entirely new session of the event and run it again. There is no way to reserve tickets, however, so these interested players will just need to keep an eye out and grab the tickets when it's Active and available.

Does that make sense?

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by bryanjonker

Thanks. That makes sense. Didn't think about the "I don't want to be in a 9-player game" aspect, though in retrospect that would not be fair to those players. 

It seems kind of cruel to create a new session, though, and then have it sold out before he can get to it (especially since I can't say, "look for it at this date" because I can't predict when it will be Active). Both my games sold out fairly quickly, though past performance is not an indicator of future results. 

So, you're recommending that I just set max players to my expected limit and go from there? Not say, "Max players is X-2" and then put a note saying there may be a larger group of players?

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Posted by glory

I've been in one of those RPGs where it was supposed be 6 people and it ended up being 9 because the DM just said "sure! grab a seat!" 

I ended up leaving that game. It's not fun.

I think setting a game for 5 people, though, and then adding your friend in as the 6th is probably a pretty reasonable thing to do. But setting a game for 6 people and adding in two more is probably not. It's definitely a judgement call thing. Kind of one of those "I'll know it's not okay when I see it" things. :-P

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Posted by derekguder

Events added at this point likely won't sell out immediately (unless they're in real high demand and are promoted before being available), so you'll probably be fine just adding another session & telling the player when it's Active and letting them know they need to go grab a ticket ASAP.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by bryanjonker

Thanks. Will probably add another session. 

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Posted by stahlnee glory

glory wrote:
I've been in one of those RPGs where it was supposed be 6 people and it ended up being 9 because the DM just said "sure! grab a seat!" 
I ended up leaving that game. It's not fun.
I think setting a game for 5 people, though, and then adding your friend in as the 6th is probably a pretty reasonable thing to do. But setting a game for 6 people and adding in two more is probably not. It's definitely a judgement call thing. Kind of one of those "I'll know it's not okay when I see it" things. :-P

Cool for your friend.

Uncool for anyone with genrics looking to play and waiting.

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Posted by dblade

Definitely depends on the type of RPG. Many of my games can handle an extra player and I usually account for this by having an extra pregen ready to go, but when running a game like D&D 4E I am strict about numbers.

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Posted by bryanjonker

Me too -- if number of players is X, then I tend to have X+1 pregen characters available just to see what characters people don't choose. And I ran one game where someone played Slim and someone else played Slim, his twin brother. It worked, but I felt like I was shortchanging the players a bit. That's my main concern -- my attention gets divided too much and players don't get the spotlight, not that it's a cakewalk or the encounters get too unbalanced. Then again, my games lately have been very narrative. 

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Posted by glory stahlnee

stahlnee wrote:
glory wrote:
I've been in one of those RPGs where it was supposed be 6 people and it ended up being 9 because the DM just said "sure! grab a seat!" 
I ended up leaving that game. It's not fun.
I think setting a game for 5 people, though, and then adding your friend in as the 6th is probably a pretty reasonable thing to do. But setting a game for 6 people and adding in two more is probably not. It's definitely a judgement call thing. Kind of one of those "I'll know it's not okay when I see it" things. :-P

Cool for your friend.Uncool for anyone with genrics looking to play and waiting.

I mean, it's kind of the same thing though... right? 

Like the GM can say "Yeah, I know I can take one extra with generics and so and so reached out to me so they get to play." It doesn't really matter that so and so is his friend that he carpooled to the con with.

I have been playing the same game with same GM for about a decade now. I have little doubt that if I told that GM I didn't get a ticket but I really wanted to play he'd put me above some other rando who also didn't get a ticket and had generics. 

 

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Posted by derekguder

It's a matter of scale & a sense of "fairness," which is nebulous and very different from person to person.

Basically, we all know it happens intermittently but it should be avoided at all cost to reduce the chance that players with tickets are made uncomfortable or that other players who were interested don't feel like someone "cut in line" or something.

The only official ways to play in an event are to get a ticket ahead of time or to show up with generics. Anything else is technically not allowed and should not occur on any level that brings it to a wider notice, requiring further action.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by mu skulls frank

I agree with everything Derek stated and I've battled the number of players thing at registration versus at game time for years and here are some opinions:


  • 8+ players at a table is too many. Even if you can handle it the players don't prefer it.
  • Give the option of running your game with just 1-2-3 players and let them know it may not go the full slot. You'll have to decide what your personal minimum is. I've run a game with one player and it felt really weird to me but the player was new to the game and wanted to check it out so they appreciated it. I was worn out from the extra work involved.
  • You may still want to book 8 players for some games like Dragonquest just to make sure you're getting 3-6 just so your game can run. Though with the size of Gen Con now I'm not even sure this really matters any more. You may be doing more damage because people don't want to sign up for a game with so many players.
  • Running a popular game like Cthulhu will always get you your max players so don't sell above your max.
  • It's OK if you lose a ticketed player when you won't let his 3 friends with generics in the game because it puts you over max. The goodwill of the people remaining at your game will far outweigh any hard feelings about it. 
  • Never have the players at the table decide about going over max because only you know what kind of game it will be and how well it's suited to a particular number of players. 
  • Try and set up a contact system so if you do have openings at game time you can contact interested players or tell them to stop by the table at game time to check for no shows. All it takes is for a group that bought tickets to no show to game to make a bunch of openings.

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