Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Special Circumstances / Unusual Group Sizes

Large Groups

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 33
Large-group games bring together the creativity and enthusiasm of many players, and they lend themselves to combat at a grand scale. However, they also divide the GM’s attention. Large groups also need to set ground rules for how many players need to be present for the game to run when some players are missing. Recaps at the beginning of each session are crucial to keep everyone on the same page. Delegation is one of your most powerful tools to keep the session running smoothly. For example, you can put the players in charge of recapping the events from the previous session, handling initiative, managing the party’s treasury, looking up rules, or helping with accessories like props and music. (For information on even greater degrees of player delegation, check out Narrative Collaboration) Also consider which tasks really need to be taken care of while everyone is there. For example, you could ask your players to handle selling items, deciding which common items they want to buy, and leveling up between sessions instead of at the table.

Each additional player adds to the length of combat twice: once for their own turn, and once for the additional foes on the field. By encouraging players to pay attention to the battle when it isn’t their turn and to plan their actions as their turn approaches, you can shorten each player’s turn and keep the battle moving swiftly.

Inevitably, there will be situations and circumstances that don’t involve the whole group. In a sufficiently large group, splitting the party is not necessarily dangerous. If the party splits up for more than a short stint, you can call for separate sessions to determine what happens to the two halves of the group, allowing them to reunite and share their findings afterward. Whether or not the party splits, having more players means less active time for each character. Look for opportunities to highlight each PC by providing challenges that play to their strengths or tie in story elements to which they are particularly connected.