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A fellow player of two years has started to run a game for us. He's the best game master I've ever had the privilege of playing for, and we love our game.

However our DM's ambition to run a large group (7 to 8 players) is conflicting with what his core players enjoy (3 to 5 players). I believe that our DM's ambition is specifically for a large group, rather than running for novice players.

Four players plus the DM represent the core group; we've been playing together for a long time and enjoy the natural benefits of this. We're comfortable in roleplay, we understand which niche each player enjoys occupying, and we tag-team well in combat. We also know our DM well enough to play into the game elements he enjoys; dramatic tension, lots of lore, and scene setting.

We've had multiple people hop in and out of the story, and many of them are less experienced players. This effect tends to be disruptive to story and raw gameplay. Many of the biggest sessions become very disorganised, and quite loud., with the usual issues of 'too many people and not enough time', as well as disruption from newbies who haven't learned the enjoyment of immersion.

I wish this wasn't the case, and this is where I'd like advice. I wish it was thrilling to have new people play; to introduce new people to the game, and make new friends. But a few weeks ago we had a session where only the "core" group could attend, and it was such a relief. We haven't had such a varied and productive session in a long time. Our DM has asked me about our concerns in the past, and resolved to cap the player count to 7.

I want that feeling of playing a fantastic game with my best friends, rather than babysitting, and I know that's selfish; what should I do?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is the main problem that there are too many players or that the additional players don't mesh well (or both)? \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 4 at 15:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly. Are the new players distracting from play altogether by not immersing themselves in the game (as it sounds like you and your core group enjoy), is it just slowing things down because they are new, or are there simply too many players and so it feels like no one gets a turn/people zone out? \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 4 at 15:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you or any of the group talked with the DM about having hesitations with the new larger group? If so, what did they say? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 4 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, a general note: "should" questions aren't against the rules here, but they frequently get closed as "primarily opinion-based" (sometimes rightly, sometimes mistakenly). To avoid this, it helps to ask for the pros and cons of certain methods of resolving the situation. In addition, the phrasing of "what should I do?" in particular is somewhat open-ended; are there any particular solutions to the problem you have tried already, or any solutions you would rule out entirely (e.g. "find a different group" or something like "your concerns are misplaced; what should concern you is [X]")? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 4 at 16:31
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This is a really good question. Here are a few suggestions, perhaps just pick one or try a couple. This advice comes from my experiences as a player and a GM.

Engage the New Players as much as you can

Babysitting is not my idea of a fun RP session, so I get where you are coming from, but perhaps there is a way to enliven the game by challenging the new players a little through engagement from you and your experienced team.

Lead by Example: Continue playing the way you have always played, as much as possible, but be open to the new players and their suggestions.

Give them space: It might be hard to look around the table and wait for the rogue to realize he's the one who has to check for traps...but give them space to come to this on their own.

Spotlight: Find a reason to throw one of the new players into the spotlight. Ask them for help or to use their character's abilities (can they open the door? turn undead? would they mind strapping light steel shields all over themselves and running through a goblin-infested square as a diversion for you, pretty please?). Basically, ou are asking the other player to engage in a meaningful way to the game-play and also role play...kind of demonstrating the whole thing but through their own actions.

Constructive, OOC Feedback: Try not to show that you feel you are babysitting at the table, but I think it's important to let the new players know what they are doing really well, and what they need to work on. Ask about their characters and how their character feels about the setting/situation/actions. Wouldn't their character (a druid) care about this thing (the wizard haphazardly burning down the forest) and want to act/engage? This gets new players thinking about what their character should be doing and how they could act.

Talk to the GM

Re-introduce Rules: There may be age-old rules and table courtesies that the GM has forgotten to let the new players in on because you guys just know them. Things like: - Work out your character's action before their round. - Know your spells/special abilities/feats/equipment (make notes!) before play so that you aren't looking up the rules as you go and taking up game time.

Character Background: You guys probably have a standard level of character background needed because you've been playing together, comfortably, for years--but the new players don't have that advantage. Perhaps the GM, maybe with your help, needs to encourage the new players to build up some character background and knowledge.

Side Adventure: Let the GM know how you are feeling and ask them if they'd be willing to run the occasional side adventure for your usual gang so that you could go back to your preferred style of play every now and then. It should be a different campaign and set of characters, something to sate your desire for comfortable, fast, immersive play while the new players catch up and learn.

Split the Party?: Normally, inadvisable (as you probably know), but perhaps it could be useful for a session. In my experience it has been useful to split up a large party in specific circumstances--perhaps there is a time constraint and more than one objective, making it feel necessary for the group to split up (play each group on their own initiative or host a session for one group, and another session for the other).

Splitting and mixing new players with old players is useful because everyone in the smaller groups becomes that much more useful--and more keenly aware what they miss from the larger group (i.e. a helpful flanker, an AoE spellcaster, a buffer). After this experience the new players might come to respect the aspects of each of the other classes a little bit more and perhaps see other ways around obstacles besides hack-and-slash.

That said, this last is more circumstantial. If it is built in by the GM, it may seem contrived or a little deus ex machina. It also means more quiet time for players at the table in the group not active and/or half of the party missing one week at a time until the party reunites. Talking with the GM about it might be the best way to execute this particular suggestion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I was with you up until splitting the party. While learning by example (watching) could be good, it can also be boring. Have you done this successfully at your table? If so, can you talk about that? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 4 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the answer. Constructive feedback is definitely what's helping so far. Time is a big concern for our DM, he's a busy guy so we value our sessions a lot. He definitely doesn't have the resources for two groups unfortunately. Regarding splitting the party; without moderators, our new players are free to disrupt the world. Antagonising large enemy groups, or undermining diplomatic efforts, because they're still treating the game as a hack-n-slash. They're learning, but it took us three years to reach where we are now. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Harvey Mar 4 at 16:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch, totally seen. Edited so this suggestion is at the bottom and elaborated on a bit more. \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 4 at 18:47
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Its your leisure activity, it's OK to be selfish

People who like opera selfishly go to the opera. People who like football selfishly go to football matches. People who like both selfishly go to both and people who like neither selfishly avoid them.

Don't feel bad because you don't enjoy things other people do. My wife enjoys banana on pizza and I can love her in spite of that! Maybe you can love your DM in spite of their weird enjoyment of running large groups.

Conflict

When your selfish desires are incompatible with someone else's selfish desires you have a conflict. You need to resolve this conflict.

Some conflicts can be resolved with win-win outcomes where everyone walks away better off than they were before. This is the other type.

One or both of you are going to have to do something you don't like. Either he is going to have to not GM for large groups or you are going to have to play in a large group or you are going to have to find another GM.

Fortunately, humans have evolved at least 2 techniques for resolving conflict: violence and talking to one another. In this situation, I recommend the second option.

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