Running a game at ORC

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The following could be considered a "best practice" guide.

Choosing a System

Here's where you need to self-promote. By far the most popular systems at ORC are D&D, Pathfinder, and Call of Cthulhu. These games are always popular, although GMs may need to be strict as to what particular ruleset mods or PC types are allowed (e.g. PHB only, core rulebook only, etc.). If your game is little known, try promoting it on the forums - talk about it: the setting, the PCs, ruleset, etc. Beginning GMs will often find that some players know the rules extremely well, so they can let these players help provide advice to those less sure of themselves (including the GM). See if there is anyone interested among your friends or societies you are already a member of - even online forums for the games themselves.

Finding Players

Aim for six players. Most games have 3-6 at ORC. That way GMs can cover the occasional absence, without the game becoming overcrowded. Bill estimates that in any game you'll likely lose 1/3rd of any players in the first few sessions as well. You can use the Looking to Run A Game area of the forum and also the LookingForAGame PM list on the ORC site for this. Use the ORC Messaging system to contact the list - in the To: field use #LookingForAGame or select it from the Contacts drop-down list. ORC always needs GMs to run.

It's best to talk about the game in the forum and give yourself about a month or so to run up to this. Smaller and lesser known system you may have to go into depth about the settings and rules! Put an event in the Calendar when you're ready. Folk can register for it at that point. The event is also published on the ORC twitter feed (@orcedinburgh, and the ORC Facebook page. There's also an ORC Facebook group.

Talk to folk in other games, or at the occasional pub meets, but don't set out to "steal" players from established games. You can also contact players directly - check the Introductions section of the Forum for new players and send them a PM. Also spread the word outside ORC and get other folk onto the site if they are interested.

When to Run

Weekly or fortnightly works best. Too often and a GM will likely "burn out", and players will often have scheduling conflicts. Too long, and players may lose interest or the game loses its drive and energy (not to mention remembering what happened!). If you're gaming on a week-night allow time for people to get to the venue, especially from work, and try and finish at a reasonable hour. If you're playing on a weekend, try and keep the game to 4-6 hours. Stop at a cliff-hanger moment!

Finding a Venue

Always a tricky point to bring up. A lot of ORC games happen at peoples homes, but there's a number of venues to use as well. It's a good idea to check with the owners of these venues regarding bookings, and remember: if they sell food or drink, they expect you to buy stuff there. DON'T bring your own. Here's some of them:

  • The Kilderkin in the Royal Mile, also popular with boardgamers.
  • Droothy Neebors at 1 West Preston Street, also popular with boardgamers on Fridays.
  • The Montague and Cambridge St bar are happy to host RPG sessions, but they are currently an unknown quantity.
  • The Edinburgh Games Hub is also popular, but it gets very busy. Make sure you book a table - and try and avoid days when there are tournaments on.