Monday, March 9, 2020

The Quest For New Players - A Common Sense Approach To Old School & OSR Gaming

Getting new players is never an easy quest. The fact that this morning I had a 'gentleman' over the weekend email me & insist he had to meet with me on Monday wasn't a problem. A no show though that's a problem. My day job is beyond busy & that's the way it is. Its also the way I like it!  Rather then go completely haywire about the situation I decided to make the most out of it & share some insights.

Here are some of the actual ways that I've found new players for table top rpg's & some common sense guidelines:

  1. Ask around to people you might know in the hobby locally. And keep in contact through local folks in the hobby. There always people open to talk about & get into games. 
  2. Wear a tee shirt advertising your favorite games such as AS&SH or the like. Right now with shows like Critical Role & many other venues of table top role playing  games we're right now living in the Golden Age of Dungeons & Dragons. Yeah its sometimes that easy to start a game. 
  3. Run on line, this has been a very curious option where I've watched Venger Satanis & many other dungeon masters run OSR game sessions on line. Some of the research that I've done offers up some places a couple of options according to this Reddit ; "Roll20 it has a virtual battle map which you may not need but it covers a lot of other things as well. Chat program, has video and voice, can roll dice (of a huge variety), Characters have journals and sheets, you can play music to the party, share handouts, and more.Obsidian Portal will handle all the paper work. Has a wiki, character sheets, maps, and more. Want a timeline? Every session add an entry to the adventure log (blog). Keep a wiki with all the NPCs and small details that come up. All pages can have GM only parts.Pair your chatting program (or Roll20) with Obsidian portal, grab some dice, and your ready to go."
  4. Take an add out in the local classified's news paper. Yes there are still newspapers around & you'd be surprised at how often this works. 
  5. Approach your local library about starting an OSR or Dungeons & Dragons club. Yes this is another option & one I'll be pursuing this option in the near future. 
  6. Get a game going in the local hobby shop. Yeah in 2020 the old habits die hard & since about 90% of hobby shops in my area are card collecting & playing pits this isn't an option for me as a dungeon master. Your area may yet have a dedicated board game or table top rpg hobby space. Get to know the shops owners.
  7. Go to a local rpg table top hobby conventions. By this I mean conventions dedicated to the hobby. 
  8. Run Dungeons & Dragons in any of its incarnations regardless of the BS that the OSR feeds you this game is gonna get you the widest number of players. The brand recognition is still strong  among both new gamers & old schoolers.

From here on out there are two options to start a game in my opinion. Public game campaigns which is done at hobby shops & libraries as well as the like in which these are run exactly like convention events. In other words anyone can show up, the adventure has a beginning,middle, and open end. And private games which are run within your home, at a friend's house,etc.
Both options require the one thing that no one ever tells you about, interview your new players. Yes there are all kinds of freaks, weirdos, etc. out in the world today. Having a bit of an interview will give you the heads up & keep you & yours well safe. Talking with the new player is going to give your exceptions of the campaign & those of the player. Avoiding any unnecessary drama over the long haul. 

Do yourself as a DM a favor & don't plan an elaborate play session for the first outing. Plan this adventure like a ground up convention style game session or mini campaign with four to six sessions max or two or three to begin with. The keep it simple out of the gate approach
with a minimalist adventure the rules won't scare off new players & will have returns to the table top. 

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