I only run D&D when I need to establish a player base

DMMike

Game Masticator
I found the titular assertion intriguing. The D&D part is obvious - there are 40 million D&D players out there (is what I read, anyway).

What's this establishing-a-player-base? Do you, as GM, curate a game group? Do you, as a player, play D&D just long enough to find other players who match or complement your playing style?

Have you been told that you're not welcome in a group? Or worse, have you been told that a group was disbanding, just to find them playing another session without you?

A lot of questions, I know. Just be honest - this is for posterity.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
As a GM, I don't see any problem with using D&D as a gateway drug to help churn player base and curate a good group. I legitimately enjoy both running and playing D&D, but even then, with a new group you often have to roll through some poor fits before you get a solid group together.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I think I understand the phrase. I've moved around a bunch, and finding a new group can be difficult. Running D&D either for experienced players or new players is a lot easier of a proposition to sell than running some game they've never heard of with a less consensus aesthetic. And thinking about it, I'd probably be much happier going to play D&D with a strange group than I would most other systems because you really never know what you are going to get with a group, and D&D is at least some sort of baseline. For example, I'd probably decline an invitation to play a homebrew system with strangers, and there are ton of systems that I might at least try with a group I knew well that I'd never consider with strangers.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I generally prefer to run D&D, but our group will occasionally try out different systems. With varying results – the last time I let someone else run a not-D&D game, the gaming group mostly dissolved and I had to recruit new players by the time we went back to D&D. Though I think it more a judgment on the particular game than it not being D&D. After that experience, I’m feeling pretty leery of allowing anything more than a one- or two- session game of other games.

My opinion is that if people get together to play D&D, then that’s what they want to play. If they express an interest in trying something else, that’s great, but if not, then playing something else will likely just drive people away.

As for the questions below, I’ve honestly been on both sides of it. I’ve quietly “not invited” players back, and I’ve also had people go off and start their own groups without me. I will point out that those splinter gaming groups have since folded while mine is stronger than it has been in years – keeping a gaming group going is no easy task.

I’ve never been outright told I wasn’t welcome in a gaming group, but I have had to tell a friend that they weren’t welcome in mine. That sucked, but it was absolutely the right decision.

Have you been told that you're not welcome in a group? Or worse, have you been told that a group was disbanding, just to find them playing another session without you?
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
I’ve never been outright told I wasn’t welcome in a gaming group, but I have had to tell a friend that they weren’t welcome in mine. That sucked, but it was absolutely the right decision.
Ouch, painful indeed. Had to do that to my closest Cousin. He wasn't disruptive or a bad player or anything, but he and his friends played with a different type of content, that was kind of reflected in his mannerisms when he played. I'm fine with people having whatever they want in their games, provided everyone is on board with it, but my group wasn't - so I had to politely ask him to either fit in with the way we played, or not play with us - he chose the latter. We didn't talk again, despite many efforts, until his mother died. We've sort of spoken more since then, but never about gaming. Such a simple thing of respect can drive a pretty big wedge at times.

As for D&D, these days I only play in two ways; with my 20 year group at home, which is normally a very homebrewed Talislanta-inspired game, or running games at the FLGS - which is always D&D5E (it's pretty much all that's requested). My player base is well-established at home, and at the FLGS, I welcome anyone who sits at the table and respects the store's rules, regardless of experience or their rough around the edges traits. I believe anyone, in the right environment without preconceived notions, can become good player base.
 

payn

Visitor
I am a firm believer that not all playstyles are compatible. Sure, every group is going to compromise to some degree, but this isnt work or government, it's leisure and it should be time well spent. My time discussing this in person and online has lead me to understand not to be a badwrongfunner and more of a not-my-styler.

My #1 rule is to never ever join a long term campaign with a group of folks I dont know. It has rarely worked out in my experience and life is too short for bad gaming. I recommend working your way up from one shots and organized scenarios.

I actually find organized play to be a great way to meet fellow gamers. Its also a low commitment. I will usually pay attention to how the others carry themselves and start making a list of compatible and incompatible. Eventually, I will see about peeling a few folks off for a more intimate home game. I havent had to do this in 5-10 years so its pretty effective.

My group rotates Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, and Traveller. We will occasionally toss in a new system now and then to try it out. Though Id say 50% of the time we devote to PF.

I have never been 86'd from a table. I have gotten the feeling I don't fit and politely bowed out on my own accord. Many folks are terrible when it comes to manners and communication skills, which is why dropping a guy and reforming without them occurs.

I think the key is to be honest and open with your communication. If one player is a problem, see if you can work it out, if you are the sole problem, better compromise or might be time to mosey. The key is to ask yourself if you are having fun. If the answer is no its time to adjust or bust.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Wow, I can’t imagine having to apply the proverbial boot to a family member. That had to be absolutely rough. I game with my twin brother, and thankfully we’re pretty like-minded.

The friend I kicked out was a bad gamer – always more than an hour late, poor hygiene, frequently purposefully disruptive to the adventure. He got a pass on all that for the sake of friendship (though in hindsight, he shouldn’t have) until he started spewing some horrid misogynist stuff after gaming had ended.


Ouch, painful indeed. Had to do that to my closest Cousin. He wasn't disruptive or a bad player or anything, but he and his friends played with a different type of content, that was kind of reflected in his mannerisms when he played.
 

Xaelvaen

Explorer
Wow, I can’t imagine having to apply the proverbial boot to a family member. That had to be absolutely rough. I game with my twin brother, and thankfully we’re pretty like-minded.

The friend I kicked out was a bad gamer – always more than an hour late, poor hygiene, frequently purposefully disruptive to the adventure. He got a pass on all that for the sake of friendship (though in hindsight, he shouldn’t have) until he started spewing some horrid misogynist stuff after gaming had ended.
First, playing with a like-minded twin must be badass, at least it seems that way in my head haha. Crazy high jinks abundant!

Second, it's literally the only player I've ever had to put that ultimatum too - be less murder-hobo (amongst other things), or don't play. It's always hard to be the friend that cares enough to tell your friends what they're doing wrong. Cheers to all in this thread who've had to do the same.
 

ART!

Explorer
In my extended network of gaming friends, we had trouble for a few years getting a reliable game going. I figured if I yelled "I'm gonna run D&D" loud enough I would get lots of players, and I would not turn any away, knowing how most players can't always make it to the game, some can only make it occasionally, and some drift away. Once in a blue moon we wind up with 8 or 9 players, but it's usually at a comfortable 4-6. We've been playing 5E weekly for 2+ years as a result, and honestly I'm afraid to tempt fate by trying something else.
 
Finding a local group can be hard so joining a Pathfinder/D&D game is easier. Once you have a relationship then you can try convincing them to try another system. Odds are though they will prefer whats familiar rather than try something new.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Currently, D&D 5e is the game played by the most gamers I want to hang out with. Considering player availability and scheduling (we're well into adulthood, lots with families and kids), finding critical mass of people who are all into the same non-D&D game is hard.

We set up a group playing D&D. But now that the first campaign is over and we're still together as a group, we tried Dungeon World, we talked about 7th Sea, and while next is planned more 5e, as a group it's easier to get people to do something new then it would be to get a bunch of individual players to agree on a system and scheduling.

Being a good game that also has a wide player base makes it easier to get a group together in the first place.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Wouldn’t trade it for the world! When we’re both players, one of us tends to play the straight man and the other goes more eccentric. One of us might play the stodgy dwarf, the other a French halfling, or one an egomaniacal germophobe space wizard and the other an emotionless android.

Back in the day, we were in a band together. When we were on the same page, everything came together great. But when we weren’t, then it got bad. We were open and raw about it, and it fell to the other bandmates to moderate that.

Getting back to the subject at hand, when we had more time, it was easier to juggle multiple campaigns of different games. Now, D&D is the easiest to recruit for. But it's also the easiest to keep going. Switching to something else, for me, always has to be weighed against that – is the time to get everyone to learn the rules and get on board with it worth it?

First, playing with a like-minded twin must be badass, at least it seems that way in my head haha. Crazy high jinks abundant!
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
hmm...

I've found that D&D is the "gateway drug" for forming a new group, especially among crusty old folks like me. I've also found that groups like my current group (~80% old guys with the occasional young'un joining for a while) tend to forget all the things they hate about D&D. We play D&D for a while, get frustrated, play a campaign in another system or three, rinse and repeat. I have failed multiple times to create a new group advertising other systems (Fate, Gumshoe, etc.)

However, I have not noticed the same process with my kids and their friend groups when they play. They tend to look at the friend group first, the game second. Fate works just great for them.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Where did you hear/see that assertion, out of curiosity?
From the "Why do you play games other than D&D" thread, I believe.

And thinking about it, I'd probably be much happier going to play D&D with a strange group than I would most other systems because you really never know what you are going to get with a group, and D&D is at least some sort of baseline.
D&D's new slogan:

"At least some sort of baseline."

Seriously though, that makes sense. If I'm not going to know the people playing, I might as well know the game.
 

uzirath

Explorer
What's this establishing-a-player-base? Do you, as GM, curate a game group? Do you, as a player, play D&D just long enough to find other players who match or complement your playing style?
I regularly invite people to play TRPGs, but I don't use D&D as the gateway. The system we use depends on circumstances. I often recruit people who are new to RPGs; teaching them D&D is no easier than DFRPG (for example), so I usually start with what I prefer. They've usually heard of D&D, of course, so it helps somewhat that I'll be using the same heroic fantasy genre. (One of the reasons I dropped D&D as my preferred system was because new players kept asking to play character concepts that didn't exist and were hard to build without a toolbox system like GURPS.) I do run and play D&D games sometimes, but that's usually with established groups (i.e., jumping in to DM a side quest), or because we want to run a published adventure without bothering to convert it. Contrary to what I hear on the forums a lot, most gamers that I know are open to trying other games as players. GMing a new system is a different matter because it requires such an investment of time (and money), but most are happy to try any game that someone else volunteers to run.

Have you been told that you're not welcome in a group? Or worse, have you been told that a group was disbanding, just to find them playing another session without you?
I've never been explicitly booted, but I've certainly walked away from groups where the chemistry didn't feel right (and I may have been on track to be dis-invited eventually). In my own games, over many years, I think I've explicitly removed three players. All of these were due to critical differences in play style, genre expectations, etc. Interestingly, I continued playing with all three people in other contexts (i.e., them GMing, different genres, entirely different groups, etc.) and they were great. They just weren't a good fit in my long-running campaigns and were causing other players a lot of grief.
 

uzirath

Explorer
I just remembered, too, that back in high school we had such a large circle of gamers that some of the GMs would hold tryout sessions before forming a new group. Good role-playing was the key element being judged. Usually about half the people who "auditioned" would make the cut. There was much drama and angst about this, so I don't recommend it, but it did encourage people to flesh out their characters. Heh.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
My drinking team has a gaming problem. Used to be games were a good excuse to drink beer, now it is drinking beer is a good reason to play games. Real life group, online it's just the perpetual game: if it weren't for NPC's I'd have no reason to be there at all. The face to face group we usually play at pubs, and the establishments are pretty happy to have us at a table, we're low effort customers. D&D fed me into the churn back in the day, and I suppose I should be thankful of that, however there is a huge difference between games I want to play and games I will run. I mean I can introduce a game, and the others will be like "are you going to run it?" Then they will play, and the same goes for someone else running a game.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
Where did you hear/see that assertion, out of curiosity?
He's directly quoting me from another thread. I don't recall if that thread is here or at RPGGeek.

When one prefers to GM, it's easiest to get player trust by running systems familiar to them. One can then find out who is interested.

I'd rather have a game of D&D going than no game at all; I'd rather play (insert list of over 100 other games) than D&D, and If stuck running D&D, my preferences in D&D are limited to Cyclopedia/BECMI/BX and 5E at this time. I'd quit gaming entirely if my only options were pre-4E, and 4E is just too much hassle to GM.

Building a base of people who have seen that I can and do run fun games, and how I approach rules makes it easier to recruit for those other 100 games
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Building a base of people who have seen that I can and do run fun games, and how I approach rules makes it easier to recruit for those other 100 games
Aha. See, now I'm picturing you wearing a green beret somewhere in Africa. The locals are having political problems, and bringing D&D games into their village is how you will lift the oppressive banner of non-role-playing entertainment. De oppresso liber.

Finding a local group can be hard so joining a Pathfinder/D&D game is easier. Once you have a relationship then you can try convincing them to try another system. Odds are though they will prefer whats familiar rather than try something new.
Just wait 'til Pathfinder 2 hits. Yikes. Running D&D makes sense to me for establishing a base of n00bs, but I bet you can stray from that Path if you're looking for more experienced players. Any of the bigger-named games that aren't D&D would probably work for that goal.
 

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