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We want to recruit players for our regular table-top group, and have been debating where to look, to find non-players who would most likely be interested in playing and enjoy the experience.

Going through our list of hobbies and the people we share them with, we realized that most of them seem to contribute to and/or complement, in some significant way, the required skills for playing pen and paper table-top RPG games.

The list so far includes improv comedy, amateur theatre, video-game playing and creative writing. What are others that would fit the description?

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It seems that the question title should actually be flipped around. What you might really be wanting to ask, if looking to recruit new players, is which addictions the RPG hobby would best complement? Either method could work I suppose - just my two bits. –  Iszi Jan 28 '11 at 5:38
    
In a lot of ways video game playing is the anti-thesis of RPGs. There's a strong correlation between enjoyment of the two (I certainly enjoy both) but few video games tap into the same themes of imagination in the same way as the other activities you mention, even if they utilise similar settings and themes. I think the similarities are very superficial. –  Jon Hopkins Jan 28 '11 at 15:46

8 Answers 8

up vote 11 down vote accepted
  • Sources for converting from
    • Other Gamer forms:
      • Video Gamers into CRPGs
      • Board Gamers into character driven and/or character scale boardgames
      • Miniatures Gamers, especially those into 1 figure represents 1 man games
      • LARPers (but many of them already are into tabletop RPGs)
    • other übergeekly types
      • Trekkies/Trekkers - but you need to break them in with a GOOD Trek based RPG.
      • Fantasy fiction fans - you may need the correct licensed game, tho...
      • Star Wars fans - definitely need the right game system for the era they appreciate.
      • general Sci-Fi fans - pick a decent game. Traveller, GURPS Space, Star Hero.
      • Hard SF Fans - Again game is important: Diaspora or Shock are excellent choices... DO NOT USE TRAVELLER...
    • College Kids - they may be flaky, but it's the time of life with low parental interference and low inhibitions.
    • Run an event in the mall... you'd be surprised how many people think it cool enough to try then and there... (A certain US Representative started buying SFB stuff after seeing it in play in the mall. Supposedly for his offspring.)
    • SCAers... just don't mention it AT events. They also tent to think they aren't a LARP... due to no Character Sheets.
    • 1st term soldiers. Just like college students, but more likely to be drug-free.

To be honest, when it comes to Hard SF fans, Traveller used to be pretty much as hard-SF as gaming got. But now, as Hard SF has gotten harder, it's not kept up. It's at the hard end of Space Opera, which is towards the soft end of Sci-Fi.

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Such an excellent answer. I know from personal experience that all of the above are true. 1st term soldiers is especially true since deployed soldiers often have nothing to do, and the themes of many RPGs appeal to that mind set. –  C. Ross Jan 28 '11 at 15:25
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Thanks! Yeah, 1st termers tend to be low-rank, as well, meaning not a lot of extra duties. OTOH, military members as players, you run the constant risk of (1) deployment, and (2) Late/missing for game due to alerts and/or random duty schedule changes. –  aramis Jan 28 '11 at 16:32
    
SCA events a LARP huh never thought of it that way. LOL –  Ben Kennett Jan 28 '11 at 21:25
    
@aramis I have a 1Lt friend, and he played D&D while deployed in a non-hostile middle eastern country. –  C. Ross Jan 28 '11 at 23:36
    
@Ben: The SCA doesn't consider itself a LARP. A lot of SCAers do get in persona and treat it much like a LARP. It lacks the key element distinquishing LARP from Reenactment: character development. Amongst those who feel that it's a LARP are My Pelican and his Pelican & Laurel wife... –  aramis Jan 29 '11 at 3:04

Well you should of seen this one coming but reading, is a big one. I can't tell you how many times I've been reading a book and thought this would be great for a game. And there are so many books out there I'm sure you could find one that is in the same genre as your game.

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I am not sure how this answers the question. –  mxyzplk Jan 29 '11 at 16:28
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It does how I read the question, what non-rpg hobbies are complementary to the RPG addiction? Reading is very complementary to RPG's. It's how I've gotten most if not all of my plots in the last...well forever. –  Ben Kennett Jan 29 '11 at 17:13

Adding mine to the list:

  • Board game players
    • There are feeder games like Descent. Check gaming groups/sites.
    • Collectible Card Game players - out of favor now, but still out there.
  • Software engineers - at least in the 80's that was a nearly 100% overlap for my crowd.
  • Art School Students/Graduates - all about imagination. CS students too!
  • Comic book/Manga readers

These folks can all be found on appropriate mailing-lists, groups, blogs, and sites. Sometimes you can post notes on physical bulletin boards on campuses and specialty stores.

Hmm. This is starting to look like the Geek Hierarchy - that wasn't intentional. The Geek Chart

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Actually, Randall, CCG's have moved to a large elementary/middle school fanbase with Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, and a few others. And those are sold in Wal*Mart... –  aramis Jan 28 '11 at 7:42
    
Good comment. I was perhaps assuming an older demographic group in my comments. :) –  F. Randall Farmer Jan 28 '11 at 16:40

People in the arts would probably be very open to rpgs. Writers, theater majors, various other artists. Creative people in general are naturally good at the improvisation aspect of rpgs.

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On the other hand, they often fear being considered "nerds", so they'll avoid RPGs. –  Lohoris Jan 28 '11 at 16:53
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I think that's just people in general. But I think creative people are drawn to creative activities, particularly if they involve a group. Once they've experienced it, they would probably be less likely to care how nerdy it originally seemed to them. –  d3n3b Jan 28 '11 at 19:33
    
Do you have any actual experience with this or is it pure speculation? –  mxyzplk Jan 28 '11 at 21:21
    
See "Jumpers", a multigenre RPG written by a vocal coach and cast member. –  ExTSR Jan 28 '11 at 22:00

A lot depends on the gaming style of your group as well: what kind of game(s) do you prefer and play and in what way do you play them? Without knowing this, the best broad advice seems, indeed, to look for people working in creative fields. (Mind you, a lot of fields can be considered creative, imo. From programming through cooking to graphics design, and everything inbetween...)

If you prefer a less rules intensive, story-oriented approach, go for creatives in a tighter sense: graphic and similar designers, writers, critics, journalists, artisan "crafters", musicians... I mean, people interested--not neccessarily working--in these fields.

If you're more into strategic, rules-heavy "arcade" gaming, programmers, engineers, various developers would seem a better choice, imo.

All in all, if I were you, I'd go for those already interested and involved in rp gaming: I'm sure there are forums, social sites concerning this hobby that are frequented by people living close to you - mention the opportunity at such sites. Also, look for "peer recommendation", see which friends of your friends might be interested.

I think personality is more important in the long run than any single "skill". The latter is (probably a defining) part of the former, but is not alone in itself. It's way better to play with a bit less imaginative person (who's interested in gaming, though) than with a wild creative whom nobody in your group likes. (But that's plain obvious, I think. :))

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It is good form, I think, to answer questions on a SE site from experience, not from speculation, that is what keeps questions from being closed as subjective. A word to the wise.

Though it "makes sense" that people would be led into RPGs from acting or whatnot, that is unusual in my experience. I have had actual people come into RPGs from:

  • CCGs like Magic: the Gathering (though often they had previous RPG experience in their youth) - a CCG group at my workplace years ago converted over to a gaming group.
  • General "Genre" media - we recruited one lady based on a mutual love of Babylon 5 (but for a D&D game). People I've recruited for gaming who are big SF/Fantasy fans tend to be more open to it probably because of the relevant genres.
  • Board games - I started in RPGs because I got a chit-based tactical game at a store, liked it, and started looking around for more by the publisher (TSR).

Mostly I haven't seen any actual hobby synergy at work - people I've seen brought into RPGs new (as opposed to lapsed) have almost exclusively been simply brought in via a group of friends who decide to do it. Groups of work friends, groups of social friends. One or more people game or want to game, a couple people used to play/played once and are up for it, and then a couple more figure "sure" and go along.

Besides that I have seen very little synergy from other associated hobbies that "make sense." I have seen zero people come from MMOs to RPGs - one of my gaming friend's wife is a huge MMOer but considers RPGing to be the stupidest thing she's ever heard of in her life. Drama kids or whatnot, practically zero. There's a reason there are only a couple high visibility film stars have played D&D (Vin Diesel etc.) - they are not correlated and in fact are probably negatively correlated.

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Are you speaking of Greyhawk Wars perchance? –  yhw42 Jan 28 '11 at 21:27
    
"Attack Force." I'm one old mother. trollandtoad.com/p200357.html –  mxyzplk Jan 28 '11 at 21:49

If you have a hacker space in your area I highly recommend starting there. You will probably find many people who are highly literate in fantasy and science fiction, if not already tabletop gamers.

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Ask everyone. I've got/had people in my group(s) that you'd never expect would be interested in gaming.

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While not really answering the question, it is true and relevant. –  Nigralbus Jan 14 '13 at 11:21

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