Today’s installment is on forming a new group; what to look for and what to avoid. I hope this helps you in forming your own future groups!
Determine the Sort of Game You Are Playing
This is the first and most important step in finding a new group. What kind of game are you planning on playing? Is it going to be role-playing heavy, or more laden with dungeon crawling? Will it be a serious roll through the campaign or more lighthearted? The group makeup will largely determine the makeup of your group, as well as managing expectations.
Now that you have the type of game you are playing, set up your ground rules. Do you have specific house rules you use, if any? Who brings snacks? Are snacks allowed at the table? Where will you meet and how often? Is this a one-shot game or an extended, long-term campaign? These are all things to consider.
Where to Look
Oftentimes, there are many places to look for groups. Discord is a great place if you are looking for a virtual game, as is Roll20. I’ve also found that the dndbeyond.com forums are a wonderful place to find virtual groups to play with. For live play, some of the forums are good to place a LFG post, but your local game store is a great place to find players and play your game. There, you can find players at Adventurers League as well. Lastly, conventions are also a good place to find new players
Types of Players
You’ve found a pool of players, and you’ve established ground rules and know what kind of game you are playing. Now to the players themselves. Obviously, you want to find players you get along with that have a good temperament. Oftentimes, the best way to find out these things are to run a game with folks (as a test run), or to play at a table with them. With my personal game, I have either run an adventure with Adventurers League or my Adult D&D night. Very rarely, I’ve taken someone on the recommendation of another player, but I know that in those cases, I’m both taking a chance, but putting trust in a player that I already trust. Thankfully, it’s worked out pretty great (you’re the man, Darren!). You definitely want to find a nice diverse group as well.
That said, here are some folks you may want to avoid…
The Alpha Gamer
You know this player. They are an attention hog and like to min/max their characters for maximum benefit to themselves. These people often overshadow more polite and shy players. They also have a tendency to bully other players into doing what they want. I’ve had one of these in my games on my Adult D&D night and he wasn’t much fun. This isn’t to say that players who like to maximize their builds are bad, but that those people who want to “win” at D&D are to be avoided where possible.
The Reluctant Player
These players don’t actually want to be there. Maybe they came as a favor to you or another player, but they would rather be doing something else. This is the kind of player that is on their phone most of the game, and barely, if at all, pays attention to what’s going on.
The Angry Player
This is the player that gets angry at the slightest provocation. Like…they roll a 1 and rage. They yell at a player when they make a “mistake.” It goes without saying that this sort of player should be avoided or dealt with quickly in other instances of open play (like Adventurers League), but should be avoided for private play.
The Rules Lawyer/Argumentative Player
I really hate these kinds of players. As the DM, one of my expectations is that my ruling is law. Period. And I’m not talking about the ones with encyclopedic knowledge of the game that helps me with a ruling at my request, but the ones that insist that things work a certain way, regardless of what the story or adventure says!
Let’s say magic works different in a certain place. The rules lawyer would argue that it works the way they want it to, specifically in order to benefit themselves. I’ve found that some rules lawyers are also Alpha Players. I avoid these at my personal tables.
Other than that, most people who want to play D&D are pretty cool people. They come in all other sorts of great personalities and experience types. Choose those folks.
So what do you think, Dear Readers? What kind of groups do you like?
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Until next time, Dear Readers…