Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Forming a Party

I've been reading your great comments and thinking about the chaos of my last session.  Chaos in the sense of the "party's" decision making in the dungeon.  If I had a more homogeneous group in the level of experience or if I was certain that this same group of folks would continue meeting regularly I would let them muddle through as Scott suggests.  But, one player has already told me he won't be able to play on Fridays anymore.  And both of the brand new players told me they were disappointed that they only got through two rooms.  The party actually got through four rooms and had two battles, but I interpreting their disappointment as being about the same chaos I'm talking about.

James C. mentioned  Tuckman's stages of group development.  So, how might I help these players that don't know each other turn from rabble into an adventuring party.  Don't worry, I'm not going to turn this into a team building exercise or take them on a ropes course.  I think I'll just give them some questions that they should probably be thinking about even if they don't ever arrive at explicit answers.  Here are a five:
  1. What are we trying to achieve?
  2. What are we trying to find?
  3. What will we do if we encounter a door?
  4. What will we do if we encounter something strange and dangerous?
  5. When should turn around and head back to town?

Are there other questions you would consider important for an adventuring party?  I'm guessing that experienced players probably decide on these things without even thinking about them.


  1. 1) What equipment will the party need given the stated goals and what is known about the environment?

    2) Who will be bringing said equipment?

    I like where you're taking this... I've often tried similar approaches when trying to foster certain kinds of thinking or discussion from the party. Also helpful with a new group that has rpg experience is a brief survey on what they like. I've posted one I used a couple of years ago when kicking off my current D&D campaign here:


  2. while i don't think this is a good idea i am interested to see how it works out. :)

  3. @James: Check out this handout:


    I was trying to use it to have a party think about having at least one grappling hook etc. Your survey is interesting, I'm afraid I'm selfish in that I'll probably DM the way I enjoy and hope the players like it too.

    @shlominus: that's the perfect feedback, haha :) Although, I have to see if I can get these cats herded together this Friday or not.

  4. I dig the handout, and most of the handouts you've been posting. I've got a few saved for my own use, in fact.

    As for the survey, it wasn't so much meant as a basis for me adjusting my style as much as a means of getting some structured feedback. I realize now the version I posted wasn't the one I actually gave them, as there was a question missing from the former related directly to adventuring locales whose feedback was rather telling. Overall, most of the responses were about what I expected but a few of them surprised me despite playing with most of my group since we were all kids.