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I will be starting a Pathfinder game on Roll20 though I don't have any experience gamemastering in an online environment. I am going to be putting together an online questionnaire to recruit and select potential players. I'm trying to figure out what kind of questions should I ask in order to be able to identify a player's expectations of the game, and whether they are a murderhobo or not.

What questions have you used to recruit and vet online players to ensure they align with your desired playstyle, and how well did it work in practice?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok so here on RPG.SE we want expertise. You should answer indicating questions you have used or seen used to vet players and how they worked out, not just make something up and assume it’ll be good. Answers not expressing this expertise will be downvoted and potentially deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 17 '19 at 17:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am confused about your comment. Are you saying i asked in a wrong way and in that case how can i improve my question? \$\endgroup\$ – Maiko Chikyu Feb 17 '19 at 17:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ That was a warning for answerers, but you can help prevent people from mobbing your question with unsubstantiated opinion answers and thus getting your question closed as primarily opinion-based by being clear in the question about Good Subjective/Bad Subjective criteria. ‘What questions have you used to recruit and vet players to ensure they align with your desired playstyle?” \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 17 '19 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ In fact, I just went ahead and made the kind of edit I'm talking about. It should draw a lot more expertise from people who have done it, and not just those with opinions on it. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 17 '19 at 18:23
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Short Answer: everyone has their own style when it comes to applications, and you should take some time to decide how picky you're going to be about it.

A lot of what you're going to want to ask, and how much you want to ask, is going to depend a lot on what kind, and length, of game you're looking to run.

Is this a short oneshot where you'll never have to run these players again if you don't want to? Oneshots and shorter adventures can get by with a bit less interrogation than intended long-running campaigns, in my experience. Are you setting up for an epic campaign possibly spanning months? That means you'll probably want to be pickier about your players, since switching out characters and players in medias res can be a disruption.

Everyone has their own red flags for people and types of people they won't feel comfortable gaming with, and as you go through this process, you'll likely gather up a bunch of your own.

Basic questions/prompts that are a good idea for any length:

  • What's your knowledge/experience with Pathfinder? (Are you, as DM, willing to take the extra time to help newbies figure out the system?)
  • What's your knowledge/experience with roll20? (Are you, as DM, willing to take time to help newbies figure out the website?)
  • Tell me a little bit about yourself
  • Give me a rough character idea so I can get a feel for your style/Tell me about your favorite character that you've played in the past*
  • We're going to be using voice/video and voice/etc. to play. Do you have the ability to do that?

*This can be a spot for potential flags, including murderhoboism, though personal interpretation will vary by DM.

If you're looking to gather up a group geared towards regular, long-running play, it may be worth it to have a 2-step process, where you chat 1-on-1 with possible players to get some more in-depth answers. Here are some of the questions my group used when interviewing new players to add to our ongoing long-runner:

  • We play regularly at [time] on [day of the week/frequency]. Can you commit to making at least most of the sessions?
  • What sort of themes and concepts do you like to see in D&D campaigns? War conflict, political games, intrigue and skullduggery, etc.?
  • What do you like out of D&D? What are some past stories you've played through that you've liked?
  • Do you have any "hard NOs" or things you don't want to see at the table? Either player-wise or plot-wise.
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Red flags can end up very personal to the DM in question, and asking for examples of those might be better suited to a discussion forum. (E.g., a red flag for me is anyone pitching a concept specifically requiring a 3rd party homebrew outside of a very narrow list. Other DMs/groups might not have a problem with that.)

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