Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

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Yorkblack
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Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#1 Postby Yorkblack » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:05 pm

Hello everyone !
Willing to introduce my friends to rpgs, I asked who was interested, and now I'm finding myself with at least 6, and more probably 7 or 8 players to deal with. I wob't complain about having so many motivated players but now I have no idea how to manage this many, not being a very experienced GM myself.
I proposed a few systems to them and they seem to be going for deadlands (reloaded), which is good since I very much like this system and the world around it.
However, I haven't played it much and I never GM'd it.

So now what I'm asking is :
- Any advice for a new GM ?
- How to handle many pcs ?
- Should I run a published adventure or come up with my own story ? i also have the last sons and stone and a hard place, I bought them a while ago. Are they good for begginer players, and adaptable to a large posse ?

Also note that they are total begginers in rpgs, not just in deadlands

Thank you !

ValhallaGH
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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:57 am

Hello!
Congratulations.
In a hurry, so link to what I want to say: http://www.pegforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=319316#p319316
Also: http://www.pegforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=451936#p451936

Good luck!
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#3 Postby Mavis » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:40 pm

Welcome and good luck!

Word of warning. Eight players is a lot to handle. It will require a lot of GM concentration to keep all of them active and engaged in the session, especially until you are more famniliar with the players likes and dislikes and can find a pace that can suit everyone. Would it be possible to run two groups of 4?

Start with a combat, it is a good way to teach the basics of the rules and can allow each of the characters to try out their abilities and learn a little bit about each other. Don't rush the combat, make sure everyone understands the basics (see Valhalla GM's excellent advice for this).

The Plot Point Campaigns are great, each one can provide hundreds of hours of entertainment. They are all structured to teach the rules to new players. I learnt how to play Savage Worlds 6 years ago with a group of 7 (and another group of 4) by playing the start of The Flood. Both The Flood and Last Sons start with PC's travelling together (train and stagecoach respectively), a little bit of roleplayed introductions as they get to know each other and then they are thrown into a combat to teach the combat rules. I think this is an ideal set up for your situation.

Stone and a Hard Place starts slightly differently (with a bar room brawl) and then feeding into a complex gunfight. In my opinion this set up, as written, does not work quite as well to introduce the basics to new players but the Plot Point campaign itself, especially if you delay initiating Plot Point 2 for a long while, is ideally suited to episodic sessions. With some players missing each week (a likelyhood bearing in mind your large group size) a self contained 'mission' per session structure, with the PC's tied to Tombstone and the play centred on a relatively small area (Cochise County) is ideal and easy to accommodate missing/returning characters. My advice would be to play the bar room brawl (encourage the use of Improvised Weapons/Tricks and Tests of Wills) as the starting combat and save the gunfight for the second session and let the players play the Earps and Doc in the gunfight (and get to see some cool abilities). As long as you can hook the players to be motivated to like and want to help Tombstone/The Earps then knowledge of the meta plot is pretty irrelevent for (most) of this Plot Point Campaign to work.

In my opinion the start to the Last Sons is slightly more difficult to introduce to new players because player and GM knowledge of the Deadland's meta plot is more important to the start of the campaign and it requires a more specific group of characters (at least one Indian PC is a must).

I know you don't have a copy but I think the start of The Flood is also ideal because it introduces the rules and meta plot in manageable and logical chunks (just be careful that the PC's don't think they can fight Hellestromme) and allows everyone to learn the meta plot as they go. If you wanted the first seven Plot Points could be run quite quickly before opening the setting up for the players to explore in their search for glyphs, a task which is also suited to episodic play that can accommodate missing players. If you started with The Flood you would be able to play them through in order but that depends on keeping a consistent group.

Hope this helps.

Yorkblack
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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#4 Postby Yorkblack » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:27 pm

Yes, that helps a lot.
Actually my idea was to make an initiation session with a one sheet, and pregen character (either official, or made by myself), to introduce them to the rules, see if everyone likes it, and everything. If it goes alright, I think I will let them make their own characters and start a campaign, last sons if the group has some indians, stone and a hard place if it doesn't. I'm not very interested in flood because it doesn't feel western enough to me. I mean, it's about chinese triads, a water maze, and everything, where last sons and stone really have a western feel (indians, dodge and deadwood for the last sons, and the south west desert with the earps and doc holliday for stone, that feels great !)
The setting is important after all !

Any one-sheet you recommend ?
Again, thanks a lot ;)

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#5 Postby Jounichi » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:05 am

With a group that large it'll be that much harder to keep everyone in attendance each week for long campaigns. I'd stick with a sandbox style game centered around a single city or town (interspersed with a few one-sheets) and simply let whoever show up participate in that week's adventure. Anyone who misses out still has their character around, but you can always have them be up to something else in the background. Consider handing out 1/2 XP to player characters who miss a session so they don't lag too far behind.
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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#6 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:52 am

My favorite DL:R one-sheets are Daddy's Boy and Envy.
That said, none of the ones PEG has released are bad.
Daddy's Boy may be a bit spoiler heavy, especially for a new posse.
Envy hasn't been updated in the decade since it was written, despite some pretty serious changes to relevant rules (mostly the Undead ability and how it interacts with bullets).
... I guess I should stop recommending those.

Hanging Tree is pretty awesome.

The newer ones have better balance, with fewer "oh, you don't have X in the party? Well, you're pretty screwed" moments. Still, all of them work really well as introductions to Deadlands, or adventures to bulk up your campaign.

Good luck!
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"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#7 Postby Mavis » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:07 am

Jounichi wrote:Consider handing out 1/2 XP to player characters who miss a session so they don't lag too far behind.


I award the same experience, whether the player is present or not. Just because they are not involved in the session it does not mean their PC was not doing something. Usually if someone can't make it there is a good reason and I don't think it serves any purpose to penalise a player. Also it makes it much easier to track mistakes (or in our case the group cheat) as everyone will always be on the same experience.

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#8 Postby Yorkblack » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:28 am

I've looked at envy and daddy's boy and they seem pretty good, though I thought one sheet were supposed to last for 3 hours or something and I hardly see how those can take three hours. Still, for a little introduction to the game, that seems fine !
Couldn't find hanging tree though, where is it from ?

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#9 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:07 am

All of the one-sheets are deceptively short, but I've run many of them (several multiple times) and they usually last 3 to 5 hours. The text is a framework, containing enough information to run a cool adventure, but leaving out pages of "read this aloud" text, atmospheric descriptions, etc. Much like the adventures in the back of the Deluxe rules, the one sheets are short but pack a lot of gaming into them.

Sorry, I meant Lynched. :oops: I never can remember the correct name of that adventure.
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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#10 Postby Ryche » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:57 pm

Yorkblack wrote:I've looked at envy and daddy's boy and they seem pretty good, though I thought one sheet were supposed to last for 3 hours or something and I hardly see how those can take three hours.

I have played through Daddy's Boy and it end d up taking two game sessions. Granted there was a lot of inner player interaction as we were a new group. But it can easily be stretched out depending on the group dynamics. The nice part of one sheets is they are open enough to expand and short enough you can do a short session if necessary.

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#11 Postby Yorkblack » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:01 pm

By looking at the sheets, I didn't think it could take this long, but I believe you, lots can happen in a rpg :p

I just looked at lynched, isn't that a little hard for begginers ? The tree looks though...

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#12 Postby Jounichi » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:10 pm

Mavis wrote:
Jounichi wrote:Consider handing out 1/2 XP to player characters who miss a session so they don't lag too far behind.


I award the same experience, whether the player is present or not. Just because they are not involved in the session it does not mean their PC was not doing something. Usually if someone can't make it there is a good reason and I don't think it serves any purpose to penalise a player. Also it makes it much easier to track mistakes (or in our case the group cheat) as everyone will always be on the same experience.

I only suggested it as further incentive to get players to show up, but a simple tweak might be they're never more than one advance behind the highest character. That way even if somebody misses a month or two they're not lagging horribly. It's no worse than dying and making a fresh character, really.

Though I do understand your perspective.
"Rush not in to fights. Long is the war. Only by surviving it, will you prevail." -Yoda

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#13 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:55 pm

Yorkblack wrote:By looking at the sheets, I didn't think it could take this long, but I believe you, lots can happen in a rpg :p

I just looked at lynched, isn't that a little hard for begginers ? The tree looks though...

And it's still better than Buffalo Soldiers. That's an adventure that can TPK Legendary characters, but can be defeated by a clever (and somewhat lucky) Novice posse.

Yeah, Lynched is rough. But that encourages players to get clever. Like throwing half the contents of the Saloon at the tree to make it highly flammable, and then trying to ignite it. I like that sort of response, and the games are generally more awesome for having it.
Just make sure to work in a few normal foes for the players to show off what their characters are about. If someone is running Velasquez, then there needs to be a Duel at some point. Feel free to have a mob show up and need to be talked down by the "Face" character. You know, the usual GM tricks to help everyone shine.
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"... We're all gonna die."

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#14 Postby Yorkblack » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:27 am

I think I'll keep this one for when the players are more experienced. I like the idea, but I don't want to kill everyone just yet, and it's not just that the characters are novices, their players don't know the game at all, so it would be hard for them. I think I'll go for Envy at first, a few zombies and a harrowed in a strange family tragedy seem a good introduction to the game and its universe !
And about the problem I had with a large party, it seems to be self-correcting : unlike what I thought, no one else joined the group, so I have "only" 6 players, and twi seem not to take the game seriously at all, so I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them left the group after the first session. Three of the others seem really into it however, and are beggining to read the book to get into the universe, write a backstory for their characters and everything, and the last one is motivated and serious enough, so I think I'll have a good core group of 4 people, which is good !

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#15 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:46 am

Yorkblack wrote:I think I'll go for Envy at first, a few zombies and a harrowed in a strange family tragedy seem a good introduction to the game and its universe !

That's what I did with my The Flood campaign. It worked really well, so congratulations on a good choice. :)
Just make sure to update the zombie stats. Half damage from bullets is really powerful and lets them last long enough to gut a PC or two. Which will happen if your dice enjoy hurting player characters at all.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."

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Re: Introducing total begginers to deadlands + managing a large party

#16 Postby Yorkblack » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:54 am

Yeah, I thought so too, especially since they already have a -2 to hit because the zombis are in the dark. Good luck getting a headshot with that (that would be -6, so pretty much impossible)


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