There are several posts about easing a new player into a campaign world. And others throw them in the middle of the pool of information and tell them to swim. I prefer somewhere in the middle. I've never been fond of extremes either way. I prefer somewhere between the two positions and that somewhere may lie anywhere, depending on the player I am trying to introduce to the my game.
As I say in many of my posts, I will with this one, this is what works best for me and I am not saying if you prefer to use different methods that you are wrong. I don't get paid to be the game police.
When I get a new player introduced into my campaign there a few factors that I take into account.
- What is the player's gaming experience? Is this their first gaming or are that a 30+ year tabletop warrior.
- What is the player's age? Once in a while you'll have a youngster join the party. I would introduce a 10yr old into the campaign differently than a 40yr old.
- How far along into the campaign is the party? If the new player starts with the rest of the party I will take more time creating something to introduce them to the world. But if a new player come in at the middle (I don't like doing this, but at times I have done it), I will give them a sketch of what is the current situation, and notes focused on how the party came to be where they are. I don't want to disrupt the flow of the game, by bogging down the party's momentum to explain why this happened or this is how that happened.
- Talk to the player. If someone is going to join my game, I like to explain what the campaign is about and what kind of game are they looking for. If they want a western theme, or a high powered video game experience I let them know they will be very disappointed in my game. Plus, you want to make sure your new player isn't a dickhead.