Recently I was messages on Spielerverzeichnis.org, a German site dedicated to finding new people to game with. Sadly, my area of northern Germany is not too well represented there, and this may be why I got the message. It was by a guy who said he and and a few friends never had played any RPGs but were eager to give it a try.
Now, you all know how it is. You get older and all of a sudden you are no longer master over your schedule. The wife and the kid need attention, as do a million other things. So I talked to my wife,m got the go ahead, and messaged back that I'd be happy to help. Sadly, I could not offer them a long commitment, but I would meet and talk with them, and then maybe GM a few sessions for them.
Our first meeting was last Wednesday in a local bar. I was surprised to learn that all of them did not know each other before then, as they all had met online, too. So it was a true "blind date" situation – four guys at a table with nothing in common but being RPG enthusiasts. And I had a great evening. We talked about what they'd like to play, about RPGs in general, and a million different things beside. At the end of the night, I promised to GM a couple sessions for them, we talked about some games I could offer to run, and made a date to meet again next Wednesday.
We exchanged cell phone numbers and texted throughout the week. A fourth player couldn't make it to the meeting in the bar and she was available for next week's session, too. So we talked about what games to play. One of the guys was completely into the idea of roleplaying and had read some games. The others only had a slight idea what was in store for them. All had heard a variety of snacks was required.
And they brought lots of these. My table hadn't been so filled with chocolate and cookies in a long time. A good start, indeed. One of they guys was ill, so we started discussing games between the four of us present. I had prepared a selection of games I could run without great preparation: Star Wars Edge of the Empire, 7th Sea, Urban Shadows, Danger Zone. My favorite to try was Mud, Blood & Glory by Black Hat Games which I'd just read and was eager to give it a shot.
We chose Mud, Blood & Glory, as character creation is short and we would be able to start playing in about an hour's time. I started to explain the character sheet. Here I stumbled for the first time. When no one a t the table has ever seen a character sheet, how do you explain it without all the terms and concepts that are familiar to you? My newbies challenged me to rethink my preconceptions at every turn. And it was fun all the way.
We started playing after having made characters. Jerry Burch, Lucie Williams, and Jim Novack were ready to make it as outlwas in the West. I had them start in the middle of things, robbing a stagecoach. They had a little time to plan before the coach came into sight. Their plan was sound and worked, they overwhelmed the armed guard and the driver. One of the passengers resisted and a small shoot out followed. Lucie and Jim were wounded, the passenger and the armed guard were shot. The characters got away with a strongbox full of money and some other loot. But they also found the dead passenger to be a Pinkerton detective.
Well, they made their getaway, spend time in the wilderness, rode into a town to visit the saloon and buy supplies, before returning home to their families, for which they'd stolen the money. Eastern carpetbaggers were encroaching on their homes, and their plan was to pay the debts pressing their loved ones down. We had some roleplaying along the way and everyone had a blast. The game will continue in two weeks, hopefully with all players present.
My conclusion so far: I love playing with new players! Their enthusiasm, their fresh take on scenes and adventures us "old dogs" have seen a hundred times, it was fun to be part of that. Of course, they had questions and at some times, the game did not run as smoothly as with experienced players. But that's to be expected and it didn't happen all too often. I'm looking forward to our next session, and if time wasn't an issue, I's happily GM for them for a longer campaign. Let's see about that. For now, I'm glad to have helped a few new players on their way.