Tuesday 29 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 29 - Which RPGs facilitate running very large groups enjoyably?

The official topic for today - best run RPG KS backed - doesn't work for me because I've only backed 2 and both using Husbit's KS account rather than mine and I haven't paid any attention to how they were run and to be honest, kinda like with the writing, I'm more likely to notice if they were badly done than done well. Silly human nature.

Looking at the alternate questions, the only one that stands out to me is "Have you learned a skill because of events in a game? Tell us about it!". I sat there thinking for a bit about whether I actually had an answer, realised part of why I started circus was becaus eI enjoy playing rogues in D&D-style settings, then realised I liked this because it meant I could talk about circus, and this is RPGaDAY, not AerialADay (... ummm... I may have to use that...), so I'd rather talk about RPG's (and I talked about aerial + RPG last year). I don't really have anything to add to previous day 29's, so I've selected another alternate question that stood out less because I feel like I'm going to repeat things I've already said this year, but never mind.

Which RPGs facilitate running very large groups enjoyably?

Ok. I've talked a few times about the huge games that uni friends run when we visit, usually some kind of horror. A spaceship is not an unusual setting, nor a variation on the town itself (one where they didn't close Y Bae. We generally feel that having The Bay open makes up for the horror events), and the first or second I played in (while I was still at uni) was set in an ancient Celtic settlement.

Why do these games work well for large groups? Partly it's the group: we like playing together. Most of the group are used to playing in the large group, and the rest of us are just excited to see everyone else. The party constantly splits, so the little groups work together and chat in or out of character while the focus is on another - we all seem to be pretty good at tuning out what we don't need to be hearing.

The other benefit is that they're very rules-light. At the start, whoever's running (usually Rowan but sometimes John) will give us the rules to create our characters. Pick a name. Pick an occupation from a list or appropriate to the brief outline setting we've been given. Here's a set of stats (5 or 6): you have a few points to split between them. We're going to use this type of die/dice today. Quick introduction to establish who's who and whether anyone knows anyone else. These steps may not all happen. The way dice and stats are used are usually inititally a little fluid, settling into something that works as the game goes on.

The GM's, then. They have a concept. They know what's happening around us, but let us add to the world through our conversations and actions (though they aren't afraid of the word "no" when appropriate). They have great imaginations and are great communicators, so we can all swim together. The concept has had more consideration than any 'rules'.

And the dynamic of the group as a whole. The comfortable atmosphere that makes it ok to fail or do something stupid, and it doesn't matter if your character dies.

These combine to make an easy, fluid gaming experience.

So which RPG's facilitate large groups? As usually with "which RPG..." questions, the group is probably more important than the system, but rules-light, make-it-up-on-the-fly systems are the best!


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

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