Friday, October 16, 2015

Starting a New Player

I've been reading various posts and the subject I've been drawn to lately are about starting a new game.  A new game with new players specifically.

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.
I don't do much more than that.  If I have the time I'll do an outside session with them to develop their character and run them solo to get a feel for the background of the character and the tone of the campaign.  


  1. Very sensible considerations.

  2. That last line under the last one is actually step 1.

  3. I always have new players sit by experienced ones, and they never mind explaining things to them. A whole new table? I would beg at least one of my regulars to show up and help me out.

  4. I second Peter's somment. For someone who's absolutely new to tabletop games, I'll usually run one of those D&D Fast Play games that I print out at my university library (preferably the one that uses polyhedral dice, instead of 3d6). Of course, your mileage may vary depending on what system you move to after that; the FP games are based on either AD&D 2e or D&D 3e.