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

3 thoughts on “First combat drop / Advice for new players

  1. From Jay, by email:

    > Great idea mate,
    > I can't post from here .. can you add a comment for me ?
    >     1) be yourself .. but on a good day  (I have heard that somewhere else?)
    > I mean, this is a game ..
    > don't get too embroiled in Rules and Physics and Rules and Reality !.. and Rules !
    > if you think you can make a 30 foot leap across buildings land on the opposite roof, roll stand up and empty a clip into the BBEG …
    > for gods sake GO FOR IT !…
    > it puts pressure on the GM to not make you dead unless youy totally fudge the dice roll
    >     2)  Put some effort into the HISTORY of your character .. people you know, family friends etc.
    > it gives the GM some angles to work ..
    > Hooks … 
    >  more interaction for YOU into the game at a later stage .. he might not use them but it's good to have them
    > Thinking about some old games I've been in …
    > Not everyone in the entire game world is a loner whose family died in a fire/ accident/ at birth etc. 
    > and along the way you meet people and interact .. 
    >  this gives you agreat idea of how your character behaves around new people as well
    >     3)  see 2..  but really … don't get TOO emotionally attached to the character !
    > Death happens .. have a backup plan and don't be too grumpy when you depart this mortal coil
    >     4) Bribing the GM is good
    >     5) Bribing the GM is good
    >     6) I love Nooks photo on this blog … DO EPIC SHIT !  it says it all really.     But .. !!
    > remember there are other players in the game too ..
    > if you have a skill point in EVERYTHING and try and railroad the whole shebang to how you like rather than letting someone else shione once in a while..
    >  you'll be very lonely
    > (and out of crisps & dip quicker than you can say Geek hissy fit!)
    > I'll try to think of more later
    > Have fun


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