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How do you have your group meet, besides the age old, tried and true method of, "You all meet in a tavern"?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! This is a very broad question, and as such does not work very well for our questions/answers format. Is there a specific problem you're running into with your games? We can usually help with those, if you give us some more context for what you're trying to do. Also check out our help center to see how this place works. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Aug 27 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ "“I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”" is explicitly on the list of questions you should not ask here. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Aug 27 at 15:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot While I think it should be rephrased to better fit the site's guidelines, I think there is a valid question here and I think this can be a real problem for a lot of GMs. \$\endgroup\$ – TimothyAWiseman Aug 27 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimothyAWiseman if you know how to rephrase it, by all means, that's what edits are for. I won't do it, because I'm not sure OP's intent was anything more than what guideline says not to do. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Aug 27 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ A related link that I am sure I found here but cannot find now in any of our Q&A. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 27 at 15:28
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I run a lot of one-shot adventures. My approach is to tell them they've already met. I say: "You guys are the official group of adventurers for this village, you've been working together for a couple of years, you guys are all friends and you trust each other. Nobody's going to do anything like backstab your allies, steal loot from the group, or betray the group to a villain for the lulz."

This cuts out a lot of the intergroup drama and lets us move straight to the adventure.

I've tried (and seen other DMs try) other approaches, like just narrate that everyone is in the same place and expect them to make up reasons to form a group.

  • I've never liked this approach, because it always feels artificial.

    One player character is an elf wizard who's racist against dwarves, one player character is a dwarf who hates all wizards, one player character is a thief who's obviously out to steal from everyone else; why are these people deciding to trust one another with their lives? The players can always feel that it's awkward and artificial, but they have to do it anyway.

I have found that it's better to skip the forming-a-group step and tell them they're already friends.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's exactly what I did last weekend, I could tell my players were really surprised when I announced it but since it allowed me to jump straight to the hook, everyone was happy and the adventure was launched with good momentum \$\endgroup\$ – Pierre Cathé Aug 27 at 15:23
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Fiat

The technique I find works best in most genres is to inform the characters that they already know each other before they even create their characters. When I expect detailed stories and time is abundant, I often tell them to collaborate in their stories to arrange for some sort of shared history before the game begins.

An NPC introduces them

The first quest-giver can also call them all together and inform them that they will be working together on this particular mission. This fits a little less well with the "Sandbox" ethos than some might like, but most groups I have played in, even the ones that prefer sandboxes, tend to accept this particular conceit fairly well since it gets the ball rolling as it were.

I think this also has a great deal of verisimilitude since it is often the employer that assembles the team, at least initially, in the real world and you will find similar concepts constantly in fiction.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that in the second case, you might need to work with the players to explain how they all got to work for the employer \$\endgroup\$ – Pierre Cathé Aug 27 at 15:25
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Consider the Campaign

When choosing the way to introduce PCs, consider what kind of campaign it's going to be. Here are some relevant factors to keep in mind that should influence your choice as a GM:

  • If the campaign is some sort of relatively short 'gauntlet' with PvP elements, you don't need to think hard, and just throw all the PCs into the situation without a way out of it until they solve it.

  • If the campaign is co-op and mission-based, then of course the PCs were introduced by the employer, usually. This ensures that they are duty-bound or otherwise incentivised to stick together.

  • If the campaign is more free-wheeling, with the party being a rag-tag bunch of misfits that for some reason are supposed to stick together, consider asking the players to come up with a backstory that explains why they're all friends or at least allies.

  • If it's a fantasy game where the PCs are slightly at odds but must not stoop down to killing each other, consider making them bound together by some prophecy, or by some supernaturally binding oath that they have all sworn one way or another.

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