Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First combat drop / Advice for new players

I'm currently exploring the possibility of running my first long distance game over the internet.
One of the logistical challenges I have is making sure a couple of new players are fully engaged and involved, and that they get all the guidance they need. One has never played before.
I'm a little concerned about remotely guiding a new player through the first few sessions. I've decided to use Fear Itself as the first game because its a low rules game and uses a d6, which everybody has.
I had looked around the internet for some new player advice, and worryingly came up short.
There's loads of 'getting started' advice for online video games, but nothing for pen & paper RPGs.
WTF, people. For shame.

So, OK, we need to fix this, like yesterday.

Total Party Kill advice for new players

- Stereotypes and stock characters are good. You'll hear a lot of talk as you get into the hobby about how everybody's character is a unique and precious flower amongst the weeds of predictable and dull average characters.
The people that say this are usually elitist ass holes, who are just apeing a character from an obscure book, film or comic.
As a new player, you shouldn't be pressured into creating a dramatically poignant homage to existentialism, rather you should be given the freedom to play Han Solo, Aragorn, Indie or Neo, if that's what you want to play right now.
Stock characters are classic, timeless and easy to portray. You'll be busy enough keeping up with the rules a d action without having to wade through obtuse characterization and motivation.

- Have a flick through the rulebook to get the geist of the setting and system, by all means, but don't for a minute think that you're expected to memorize it.
You'll probably get a good grip on the basics of a game if you read Wikipedia and its official web page.

- Talk to the other players. Hey, have a beer with them before and after. They'll happily give you advice and tell you about their character. This introductory period is the only time in your life you will genuinely be interested in hearing about somebody else's character. Enjoy it. Let their enthusiasm rub off on you. Look forward to the day you have such hoary war stories under your belt and can regale young pups with tales of your glory. Oh yes.

- At the gaming table, caffeine, sugar and trans-fats are your friends. One or two small beers may be good buddies as well, just pace yourself and be sensible.
If you turn up at a session with any combination of: soda, pizza, chips & dip, cookies, donuts, candy and ice cream in enough quantity to share, you will be a king, my friend. A king.
I tells ya.

There's obviously a hell of a lot more in the way of genuinely useful advice out there, and I invite all and sundry to either add it here, or to blog about it yourselves.
We, as a community, need to build up a greater repository of knowledge for those new to and interested in the hobby.

The best advice I have for players new to the hobby