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Old 03-29-2018, 09:59 PM   #41
InfinitePudding
 
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

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Originally Posted by Myrion View Post
I'm glad they didn't explore the cells.
Oh man, when I played the adventure we opened them all and it was a nightmare. If it hadn't been for our GM allowing some extra rules from outside DFRPG we would have been toast. Not to mention the shadow creature we accidentally let escape went and ressurected the armored golem and we had to fight it a second time.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:53 AM   #42
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

I can't speak to the historical aspects of the discussion here, but I can tell you of my experiences with group size.

In all the groups I've played in or know of, 6 players is a big, big group. Most GMs I know would call it their limit, and it's pretty rare for a group to get this big. Most groups are 3-5 players.

While there would be enough would-be players, I think it's a function of how play is typically at someone's home and not at a store or online. That forces everyone to live close by and limits the number of players that fit around a table...

Edited to add: But now, after some campaigning and recruiting, I managed to fix up a group of 6(-7) people for online play, with a more balanced party. That should work out better.
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:40 AM   #43
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

I played half of it at a convention.

Barbarian with axe, Healing Cleric, Artillery Wizard, Swashbuckler (don't remenber which one) and I added an heal bot (dumb cleric) since there were mostly newbies at the table.

The spiders were (almost) too easy.
Almost : I decided that the spider venom was 30 secondes-cyclic. (I don't remenber if it is normally the case). The Barbarian got bitten a few times but the first few damage rolls were for none or 1 damage, so she barely noticed it. Until the 5 poisoned bites rolled up 5-6-6-5-6 in a row.
-At which point the Cleric (new player to rpg) come in : I have Neutralize poison ! .. Wait ! it said here I need to identify the poison first... Diagnostics roll : 18. Sorry, no idea.
-Wizard: Failed diagnostic roll at default : No idea either.
-Swordmen : perhaps it was that lady inkeeper ? She seemed suspect, and gave us drinks ?
-Heal bot : "random quoting from the book of OM"
-Barbarian (well into minus HP and unable to speak, choking on his swollen throat) : desperately point to the spider bites with swollen red tissue and greenish-black veins, the many spiders corpses with huge fangs dripping green ichor...
-Cleric : maybe it is Spider Venom ? I will try !

The Giants rats and smugglers went down without trouble, protection from evil helped with the Runes, the Zombie were slaughtered thanks to an excellent Turn Undead at the chokepoint.

And then the Peshkali : The barbarian opened with an all-out attack charge (despise my very strong advice not to !) reasoning that it looked dangerous, and that a good alpha strike was needed, trusting in the 2 cleric to compensate.
He actually got in a couple very good hits, and then went in one round from full health to minus 3*HT and unconscious.
I had to fudge massively at that point, to avoid a TPK with beginners ... The peshkali suddenly became undead and vulnerable to electricity...

We barely had time to start in the jail area, but it was going well.

So yes, in my experience, the Peshkali can be a real surprise to the unwary.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:06 AM   #44
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

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Originally Posted by Myrion View Post
I can't speak to the historical aspects of the discussion here, but I can tell you of my experiences with group size.

In all the groups I've played in or know of, 6 players is a big, big group. Most GMs I know would call it their limit, and it's pretty rare for a group to get this big. Most groups are 3-5 players.
The group I played with into college hit I think 13 or 14 members at its peak. Technically everyone was enrolled in my Werewolf: tA game, although generally attendance was in the 7-10 folks area. When we ran D20, everyone who showed up played. I couldn't get them to play GURPS at the time.

It just became SOP that everybody was to some extent a Co-GM. Everyone helps with rules lookups, more skilled players help less skilled players with character creation, I gave groups of enemies to players to manage in combat (particularly if the player's character was out of the fight), they'd draw in battle maps (and embellish them with difficult terrain), and when they inevitably split the party (with that many people it's hard not to) they were good at keeping themselves amused RPing while I helped the other group.

I think it helped that we had rotating GM-ness so everyone was a GM at some point, and also everyone was the type to do LARPing, where a degree of independence from the GM is required.
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Old 03-30-2018, 12:00 PM   #45
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

Group size is highly variable and in my experience linked to (1) where you live, and (2) average age. Big cities support bigger groups. High school- and college-aged crowds have more time for gaming, natural cliques who engage in it, and often actual organized gaming clubs.

As somebody who lived in cities and ran his biggest gaming groups in high school and undergraduate school, I don't find "six to eight players" all that large. The real limit in practical group size was always "Do we have a room big enough?" We seemed to hit that at eight, with the 13-person group meeting in a friend's huge basement rec room (which also had a mirror and was set up for a whole dance troupe to practice in).

Anyway, I did put together the DFRPG thinking in terms of "about six PCs," which is explicit on p. 3 of I Smell a Rat. That isn't the same as "about six players," though. I can't see any special reason not to give each player two or three PCs, if you really want.
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Old 03-30-2018, 01:20 PM   #46
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

I once found myself in a game with about thirty players at a convention. Coordination was impossible, and the party split into three smaller ones, which could operate successfully. Fortunately, the DM had two assistants.
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:30 PM   #47
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

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I once found myself in a game with about thirty players at a convention. Coordination was impossible, and the party split into three smaller ones, which could operate successfully. Fortunately, the DM had two assistants.
I've always found that anytime the group size was 8 or more (and wasn't a LARP) it was unwieldly and difficult to coordinate.


Even 6 or 7 can lead to Players feeling like they're being hedged out or not being able to get a word in edgewise.
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:34 PM   #48
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

Personally I find that I do best running for groups of 3-5. 6 taxes me too much for pacing.

I was in the group Colarmel mentioned with the higher power, higher optimization but only 3 characters and we found it to be reversed:

The peshkali became super easy once the barbarian (very rapid healing and 20+ hp) had been blurred to -5 to hit, and the wizard followed up with a clumsiness spell. Once the Peshkali was at an effective 8 to hit it was just a matter of time.

Merle was super painful because we lacked a large enough number of attacks to burn all his parries. He also did a lot of move and attacking which meant we had to move and attack to keep up with him. Merle slapped down swing after swing with his respectable defenses until someone critted him (with a ceiling of 9 that's not easy). It was all downhill from there, but we spent easily 15 rounds chasing him around the room rolling vs 9.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:57 PM   #49
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

Years ago, I played in a D&D group that regularly had sessions composed of 6 to 8 players not including the DM.

I ended up noticing that the DM began relying on a dominant player to propel the adventure and decision making.

Many of the other players were very passive, watching videos on their devices, until their turn to attack presented itself.

I thought it was a dysfunctional situation for a shared, immersive gaming experience.

I guess many of the players just liked the community spirit of getting together every other week in spite of the back-seat many took.

I assume that different DMs and group dynamics may alter this result.

Last edited by Tom H.; 03-31-2018 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:13 AM   #50
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Default Re: [Spoilers] Experience running ISAR and some concerns

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
It just became SOP that everybody was to some extent a Co-GM. Everyone helps with rules lookups, more skilled players help less skilled players with character creation, I gave groups of enemies to players to manage in combat (particularly if the player's character was out of the fight), they'd draw in battle maps (and embellish them with difficult terrain), and when they inevitably split the party (with that many people it's hard not to) they were good at keeping themselves amused RPing while I helped the other group.
That's a great anecdote. It sounds like a great level of participation and support from everyone.
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