Feb 072011

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no folks, it’s the latest episode of UnderDiscussion! This week’s episode brings back frequent guests Hooligan and Nockergeek and introduces Sentinel! Within this episode we talk about superhero gaming in general, wax nostalgic about our first superhero game experences, discuss the differences between HERO system and Mutants & Masterminds, and share some stories from superhero games long past.

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Wizz by Bob Wizman

Jun 092010

I came across a site and it got me thinking: How can I do my part to increase membership in the RPG hobby? I ask because it certainly isn’t increasing its self.

I’m currently running a Ghostbusters game up at Pulp Fiction in Lee’s Summit, and that seems to be drawing a small amount of interest, but the game is currently at the size I’m comfortable running at. I have four players. To me this is the perfect number of players for a game. There are just enough people that I can keep the encounters interesting without being overwhelming and I can balance the face time between all of the players reasonably well. Adding new people at this point faces problems from a number of directions: character creation is somewhat time consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing with GURPS and it’s difficult to justify in game where these people are coming from or dropping off to. That’s just my game. I’m open to the idea of playing with new people (provided that someone that I know can vouch for them, but I’ll get to that in a moment.) There are other games run at the same shop that have similar issues. WDR’s Warhammer fantasy game or That Damn Punk’s Shadowrun game just don’t have any space for new people when you already have large groups of friends that want to play. It’s just human nature to go with what you know and it means that given the choice between playing with someone new and someone you already know you’re going to go with the new person most of the time. I’ve personally read a lot of horror stories on RPG forums about new people joinging this group or that and completely wrecking the game. I know that those stories are the worst cases from a self selecting group but it’s always a concern in the back of my mind.

To me the only real answer is to run an open game specifically to attract new people. Now most people might not be up to the task, either because they don’t want to recruit or don’t want to deal with the issues of teaching someone off the street how a particular system works every single game session.

I personally think that to entice people to try something they’ve never tried before it should be as familiar as possible. In terms of customers of a comics and games store who have never played RPGs the answer is really simple: superheroes. Running a Justice League style game with a boat load of pregen’ed characters and a really streamlined introduction to the rules paperclipped to the character sheet should get some people’s attention.

I’ll be posting more about this idea as it forms and solidifies.